INTRO: As I was developing this series of lessons on the twos of the Sermon on the Mount, I overlooked one of the wonderful comparisons Jesus makes. In our text there is the comparison of two fathers ... one is our earthly father. The other is our Heavenly Father. For most of us our earthly fathers have been a great blessing. I know that I am richly blessed for having had the father I was privileged to have. But I have heard other people say that their earthly fathers were not a blessing to them ... and they have questioned my references to my father as something they could not understand and with which they simply could not relate. No matter, however, our relationship with our earthly fathers, we have an incomparable Heavenly Father! So, what about fathers?
I. FATHERS GIVE THEIR CHILDREN GOOD THINGS
A. Even unspiritual, non Christian fathers can do so
1. so, our children ask of us, and we try to give to them
2. we certainly try to provide them with lifes necessities - bread ... fish
3. what kind of father would give a stone for bread or a serpent for fish? only a warped and cruel mind would do such a thing
B. But our Heavenly Fathers giving exceeds that of even a loving father
1. how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give...
2. at 6:32 is this affirmation: ...your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need...
3. or at Jas 1:17 - every good and every perfect gift is from above...
II. FATHERS GIVE THEIR CHILDREN DISCIPLINE, INSTRUCTION
A. Fathers have a concern for the success and direction of their children
1. yes, there are exceptional situations of absentee fathers, or abusive fathers
2. but I believe that the general rule is that our earthly fathers really do want us to live ethical and successful lives
3. so, they teach by word and example - Eph 6:4 with Prov 1:8,9
B. Just so, our Heavenly Father provides for our discipline & instruction
1. 1 Thes 4:1,2,7 - ...how ye ought to walk and to please God...
2. Eph 5:8-10 - ...walk as children of light ... proving what is acceptable unto...
3. our Heavenly Father has not just left us to flounder in a sea of uncertainty - He has very explicitly give us the path within which to walk
III. FATHERS GIVE THEIR CHILDREN LOVE
A. Not all of us express our love to our children in the same ways
1. but I know of very few fathers who do not love their children and whose children are not a source of delight and pride
2. that love provides us with a sense of being wanted, of belonging, of security
3. that love tells us our fathers want the very best for us in life ... and will sacrifice for us
B. There is no doubt of our Heavenly Fathers love
1. He has sought our best by giving His Best
2. Eph 1:3 - ...blessed us with all spiritual blessings...
3. Eph 2:4 - ...for His great love wherewith He loved us...
IV. BUT THERE ARE SOME OBVIOUS CONTRASTS
A. Earthly fathers are fallible men
1. so, yes, they can make mistakes
2. they may even be unjust at times - because of their limitations
3. but our Heavenly Father is infallible - Ps 143:1 - faithfulness ... righteousness
B. Earthly fathers make promises they may not be able to keep
1. how many of us have said to a child, I promise - only to find we could not keep our promise ... we have severe limitations
2. was it what we intended? No ... but that made it no less a disappointment
3. but our Heavenly Father is without our limits - Isa 46:11 - I have purposed it, I will also do it
C. Earthly fathers grow old and pass from this life
1. their physical bodies grow frail and fragile ... and, finally, death overtakes them
2. we certainly hold them in memory - but the security they offered is gone
3. but our Heavenly Father lives on - an relevant thought is 1 Pet 1:24,25
CLOSE: There is nothing to equal the kind of love and concern a father has for his children. No one can take the place of my earthly father. In fact, my earthly father was a blessing from God. Yet, our Heavenly Father is truly incomparably superior to what my earthly father could be for me. Have you accepted His Fatherhood by being born into His family?
Cecil A. Hutson
09 February 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)