OF the 989,318 babies born in SA in 2018, 61.7% have no information from their father on their birth certificate. According to the Humanities Research Council, 64% of children do not grow up with their biological parents. Statistics SA states that according to the 2016 census, there are 21 890 600 children under the age of 19 in South Africa. That’s 39% of our population of 55,653,654 people. There are overwhelming studies that fatherlessness is the most important contributing factor in suicide, rape, behavioral problems, absenteeism, violent crime and general crime. Women are made pregnant by men, instead of fathers.
The Good News Gospel addresses this issue directly in word, example, and deed. The revelation of Jesus is the revelation of the heart of the Father. Jesus’ entire ministry was aimed at glorifying the Father (John 4:34; 5:30; 14:13).
Through the ages, He calls us as His children to glorify the Father: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16).
“In this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; and you will be my disciples.” (John 15: 8).
It is clear that we glorify the Father most when we do His will, bear His fruit and do what is right!
However, this doing right is rooted in our focus on Christ, and He reveals the heart and will of the Father. Jesus is the perfect will of the Father. The more we sound, do and live like Jesus, the more the Father is glorified by us. This is the fruit of a Jesus-centered life – we reveal His heart and will – Jesus!
One of the first revelations of Jesus is that He calls God “Father”. This form of address must have caused earthquakes in the spirit world, because the Jews made a big difference in how you address God. God’s primary name was never pronounced by removing the vowels: Jhwh – Jahweh. The fear was never to use God’s name in vain. The idea that God is the Father was not the problem, but the fact that someone could address God directly as the Father was unheard of.
Through the Bible, the concept of “God as Father” is fairly common, yet there are only 15 direct references to the name “Father”. The understanding and comprehension of the fatherhood role of God takes a dramatic turn with Jesus, because “Father” was His favorite term for addressing God. In the Synoptic Gospels He says this 65 times and in John more than 100 times. The intimate Aramaic word for father or father appears three times in the NT (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8: 15-16; Gal. 4: 6).
God’s interaction with man and the foundation of faith begin with Abraham and the promise of fatherhood. Then the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The role of the father is therefore central to our faith. The father determines the path and direction in which the family walks. The chaos in our world today can be largely attributed to the absence of fathers.
We Must Not Seek Our Salvation In Earthly Fathers
There is a reason why earthly fathers fail us: God wants to reunite us with our heavenly Father first. Consequently, our behavior and actions are, of course, determined by our heavenly Father.
- We get our DNA from the Father (1 John 3: 9).
- We are born of Him (John 3: 4-5), through immortal seed (1 Pet. 1:23).
- We know the Father and His ways (1 John 2:13).
- Earthly fathers are limited in their provision toward God as Father. Therefore, we should not put our trust in people (Ps. 118: 8-9).
Good earthly fathers direct us to see God the Father and to be dependent on Him.
Note the admonition in Matt. 23: 9: “Do not call anyone on earth as” Father “, for One is your Father, the Father in heaven!”
Surely our view and experience of our earthly fathers determine how we see and experience God. But we must not let that hold us captive. No earthly father, biological or spiritual, can replace God or be equated with Him. Their weakness and imperfection must convince us to look to God as our Father.
That is primarily why Christ came – to give us the gift of childhood and access to God through His righteousness so that we may know Him as Father. The more God as Father becomes a reality to you, the more He will cause you to grow into maturity and the fulfillment of His will.
Jesus, the Son of Man, showed us how to do this. He was totally dependent on the Father. “The Son can do nothing of Himself unless He sees the Father doing it. For whatever He does, so does the Son. I can do nothing of Myself. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My will, but the will of the Father who sent Me. ” (John 5: 19-20, 30).
“I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:38).
“Out of Myself I do nothing; but what my Father taught me I speak. And he that sent me is with me; the Father has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to Him.” (John 8:28).
“The Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” (Jn 12:49).
“The words that I speak to you I do not speak of Myself; but the Father that abides in me, he does the works. The word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. But that the world may know that I love the Father and do as the Father has commanded me. ” (John 14:10, 24, 31).
“The Spirit of truth, he will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak on his own behalf, but whatever he hears, he will speak and announce to you the things to come.” (John 16:13).
“Yet not my will but Your will be done.” (Matt. 26:39).
All the NT text verses where God appears as Father refer to our relationship and connection with Him. God’s kingdom is a family. There is currently an overemphasis on God as our “lover”, but do you know Him as Father? Father implies discipline and growing up to adulthood. The Father determines the final destination on which children walk. So many people have no direction because they do not know the Father. Can we trust the Father? For His ways are not our ways. Isaiah 55: 8 says He is not our equal, yet He is near to us. The fact that we may call God Almighty as a child, Daddy, speaks of the childlike trust and bond we have with the Father.
The Father also determines the protocol and manner in which family members act toward one another. The Father’s heart eventually becomes the heart of the family.
Separation and division come into the church as we cling to the hearts of earthly fathers. Especially when the fathers build their own kingdom (1 Cor. 15:24).
God is the supreme government. Even earthly fathers are subordinate to His government. True mature fathers who deny themselves live under God’s authority and rule. They therefore reveal the same heart as the Father (1 Cor. 4:15). Hence the warning to earthly fathers not to rule over their children to break them (Eph. 6: 4 and Col. 3:21).
God the Father’s heart for us is wisdom and maturity in Christ (Gal. 4:19). Earthly fathers want to keep their children small and dependent so that they can use them to their own advantage.
In Jesus He Gives True Childhood Directly With the Father
We Are Born of Him: We Receive New DNA. We are born of God, born again as new creatures from His seed (1 Pet. 1:23; 1 John 3: 9; John 3: 1-10; 2 Cor. 5:17). We can therefore not try or strive to be more like His children. We are His children or not. We became His children, not by works, but by our faith (Rom. 4: 5) and His great mercy (Eph. 2: 8). See Joh. 1:12.
He Answers Our Prayers: If one of your children’s friends asks for a Christmas present, and you bake him a special birthday cake, you will think indignantly, where is your mother? The buddy is not your responsibility. However, if your child asks for something, you as a parent would like to help. Jesus therefore draws us in as family members, to be able to ask now with confidence. Therefore, the following promises are a wonderful gift from the Father. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask for anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14: 13-14).
“You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16).
“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Pray and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. ” (John 16: 23-24).
We Have Boldness and Access to the Father: “Brethren, through the blood of Jesus we now have free access to the sanctuary, in a way that is new and leads to life. This way He has made for us through the veil, that is, through His body. And while we also have Him as great Priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with full assurance of faith. After all, our hearts are cleansed of a guilty conscience, and our bodies are washed with clean water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope; for God is faithful: he will do what he has promised.” (Heb. 10: 19-23). The same boldness and comfort that God gives us to be able to ask also unlocks access. We can, as in our own homes, be comfortable and bold and appropriate what belongs to us.
“All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. The Spirit that was given to you, do not make you slaves and do not let you live in fear again; no, you have received the Spirit who makes you children of God and who makes us cry out to God: “Abba!” It means Father. This Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. ” (Rom. 8:14-16).
Heirs: We are with Christ co-heirs of the glory and grace of God (Gal. 4:1-7 and Rom. 9: 15-17). You can only claim your inheritance when the testator is dead. Jesus died, and rose again! So we have a share in the inheritance and a share in the person! The core of this inheritance lies in the work of the Holy Spirit in us, which gives us the courage to call the God and Creator of the universe “Daddy”.
“And because we are children, we are also heirs. We are heirs of God, heirs with Christ. Since we share in his suffering, we will also share in his glory.” (Rom. 8:17).
May the Lord open our spiritual eyes to appropriate this rich inheritance (Eph. 1: 17-23).
New Operating System: True children of God live according to a divine kingdom operating system. Because we are born of God, we do things differently from the children of the world. We do things in the opposite spirit because we have and are dying to ourselves. We love our enemies, we bless those who curse us, and we pray for those who abuse us (Luke 6:35 and Matt. 5: 43-48).
The Leading of the Holy Spirit: True children of God let themselves be led by the Holy Spirit, they themselves hear God’s voice and live according to it. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14).
“Jesus says His food is to do the will of the Father.” (John 4:34).
For us, there is no life other than to obey Him in everything we do. I no longer live for myself, there is nothing I desire or want more than just doing His will.
Childhood Implies Correction and Discipline
True children of God welcome correction. “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Heb. 12:5-11).
As His Children We Can Testify That We Conquer Satan
True children of God can testify that there are areas in their lives where they have overcome satan’s hold. “Because your sins are forgiven, because you know Jesus who was there from the beginning, because you have overcome the Evil One, because you are strong and the word of God abides in you.” (1 John 2: 12-14).
Our aim is to finally be able to declare like Jesus: “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” (John 14:30).
Connection to the Body
“… till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph. 4:13-16). Like any Father, God the Father wants His family members to live in peace and harmony with one another. (John 17:21). We do not have to strive for unity, He has united us. However, we must fight to maintain unity and connectedness.
The Heart Of The Father
There is a clear biological but also psychological distinction and difference between being a man and being a woman, and between fatherhood and motherhood. The world wants to destroy this distinction.
But God is the Creator and Maker. He knows what He has created in us. ŉ Mother cannot take over the role of father completely, and neither can father from mother. The two roles complement each other because the fullness of Christ cannot be fulfilled in one role. The role of the rest of the family is just as essential.
Role of a mother: “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.” (1 Thes. 2:7).
Role of a father: “as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thes. 2:11-12).
The examples where Jesus calls different women “daughters” are special and show the heart of the Father (Mark 5:34); little girl. (Luke 9:22).
The Father Is Not Like Earthly Fathers
Father God can never be compared to our earthly fathers – He is far better, wiser, stronger and more loving. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matt. 7:11).
“Our fathers chastened us a little while, even as they pleased: but he chasteneth us for our sakes, that we may share in his holiness.” (Heb. 12:10).
The role of the Father is twofold: Coaching to maturity and protection. Therefore, when Jesus chooses His followers and begins to teach and coach them, we see the following coaching formula repeatedly in Jesus’ ministry:
- Show how.
- Go do it.
This recipe is beautifully illustrated in Mark. 6: 35-44 where Jesus asks them to feed the crowd. But he saith unto them, “You feed them”. (John 6: 1-15). Then He showed them what to do and He taught them the deeper truth. God protects His children, and will never betray us, but He also wants us to grow to maturity. Some parents are overprotective and the children never become adults. Others do not protect at all, and the children feel betrayed. God the Father maintains a sovereign, all-wise balance so that we both feel loved but also mature.
The Jewish tradition of Bar Mitzvah is the custom of dedicating children when they reach the age of 13 (boys), girls 15. They are then prayed for, they receive certain family heirlooms, and from then on they are held accountable for their deeds. The local congregation should provide this type of protection for their members so that children are adopted by the extended family, and each child becomes “everyone’s child”.
The Father Never Chooses Sides
Jesus’ impartiality is very clear. He treats women with the same respect and equality as men. The Samaritan woman at the well (John 4); the woman who suffered from bleeding (Matt. 9: 18-22, 32-33) and the Greek woman from Syro-Phenicia (Mark 7: 24-30).
The place and role of the woman are restored: Mary anoints His feet (John 12: 1-8) and a woman anoints Jesus’ feet (Matt. 26: 6-13; Mark 14:3).
No distinction between employer and employee: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord, neither is the messenger greater than he that sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed when you do them. ” (John 13:16).
Even when parties are brought before Him, He opens the field: “Those who are not against us are for us.” (Mark 9: 38-40). “Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” (Luke 12: 13-14).
This impartiality of God is sometimes difficult for us to understand, but for a child it is important that we also be so just in our actions. It makes a child strong, if they know their parents are fair, then they get respect for the parent.
Leaders, parents and business owners who know and live the Father Heart of God bring calm, security, and direction to their family, congregation, and business. One of the characteristics of people who truly follow Jesus is that they see and discover the heart of the Father. In the process, the Holy Spirit reveals through the Word our orphan mentality, short-sightedness and a self-centered, self-driven, selfish, self-life. A true Father wants to be in the background, almost invisible, and watch His children come to light.
The Father GIVES
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life…” (John 3:16).
The Father’s Love is Unfathomable
The first realization of the Father’s heart is His penetrating, unfathomable love: “For the Lord is good; his love endures forever; his faithfulness endures to all generations.” (Ps. 100: 5).
God loves everyone. God does not have enemies, for He also loves those who rebel. There is nothing more beautiful than when someone trapped in the darkest, most heinous sin meets God’s love! The story of the prodigal son is a good example of the Father’s love standing firm forever waiting for us to turn to Him!
But until we turn back to Him, His love cannot be fulfilled in us. Our turning away and continual walking away unfortunately has bitter consequences because we turn away and walk away from the protection and rich fulfillment in His love.
God’s love is eternal, but conditional:
He gave His Son; those who believe in Him will not perish but will have eternal life. “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who serve him.” (Ps. 103: 13).
Love to save, heal and set free so that we can achieve His purpose of creation (Rom. 8:29). A Dad’s heart rejoices when he sees his children develop to their full potential. We so want to hear and know that God loves us, but continue to recklessly follow our own heart.
“Knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance.” (Rom. 2: 4)