************ Catechism Sermon on Lord's Day 9 ************


By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman


This sermon was preached on June 18, 2017


Lord's Day 9
Galatians 3:26-4:7
"God the Father"

Introduction
"Bring yer Dad to Church!!!" Nothing wrong with that. That sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate Father's Day. But then listen to the next line of the flyer I looked at this past week:
Father's Day Car Smash! At 10:10 am, church services will be accompanied by cars being SMASHED by bulldozers and excavators, and there will be free BACON for all the Dads on Father's Day! Come celebrate the #1 guy in your life at the manliest morning the region has to offer!
A Father's Day car smash and bacon at church. You know what Paul calls this? Paul calls this the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming (Eph 4:14).

We don't resort to gimmicks to bring people to church. We don't cater to people's itching ears that turn away from the truth and turn aside to myths. Instead, we give them what Paul calls "sound doctrine" (1 Tim 4:3-4). Remember what sound doctrine is? It is doctrine based upon the Bible. Therefore, it is true doctrine, correct doctrine, reliable doctrine. Because the Catechism is based upon the Bible, what we are looking at this morning is sound doctrine.

What does sound doctrine teach us on this Father's Day? It directs our attention to our heavenly Father. The father we remember and celebrate today is our Father in heaven. The father we remember and celebrate today is the Father mentioned in the first line of the Apostles' Creed: "I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth."

Let me start with the obvious. We believe in the God of the Bible. We believe in the God Who has revealed Himself to us. We don't simply believe that God is; the Devil believes that too. The true Christian believes in God. In God he puts his trust and his confidence.

"Who is your God?" Is He the God of the Bible? Is He the one, true, eternal God Who has revealed Himself in three distinct persons? Is He the God Who has revealed Himself as Father? And, is He your Father?

I An Eternal Father
A Sound doctrine says "I believe in God, the Father." We confess God is Father. Not mother. Father. Father is Who He is. Father is Who He is in and of Himself. God did not become Father when He created the universe. Nor did God become Father when He created mankind. He doesn't need the universe and He doesn't need you and me to be Father.

B Who is God? Who is the God we believe in? He is "the eternal Father." I became a father on May 9, 1981 when David was born. But I cannot pick a date when God became Father. Why not? Because He has always been Father and there never has been a time when He has not been Father. I repeat, He has always been Father.

C Who is God? Who is the God we believe in? He is "the eternal Father." How? In what way? "He is the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." The word "father" implies a child. The word "father" implies one who begets or generates a child. Meaning what? Meaning that between the Father and the Son is an eternal Father-Son relationship. The Father has always been Father. The Son has always been Son.

God is the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have an expression: Like father, like son. We look at our kids and we see ourselves, for better and for worse. They imitate our habits, our language, our faith, our posture, our way of walking, our likes and dislikes, our attitude. Listen to what is said about Jesus:
(Heb 1:3) The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

(Col 1:15) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Like Father, like Son.

God is the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. And Jesus is the eternal Son of the Father. This means true Christian religion does not stand in harmony with Islam, or Buddhism, or Hinduism. Nor does it stand in harmony with the Mormons or the JWs. Christianity is not one with Judaism either. We believe in God the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sound doctrine declares this eternal Father. Saving faith believes in this eternal Father. On this Father's Day we celebrate this eternal Father.

II An Almighty Father
A Sound doctrine not only teaches that God is eternally Father but also that He is an almighty Father.

This world is a valley. The entrance into this valley lies at birth; and the end of this valley is death. This world is a valley. This world is a valley of tears. There is what the Catechism calls adversity. There is suffering, misery, anxiety, enmity, hatred, sin, corruption, and death.

Sometimes -- maybe I should say many times -- we earthly fathers feel completely helpless when it comes to our kids and this valley of tears. We can't spare our kids from the pain that will come into their lives. We can't spare them from cancer and broken marriages and empty wombs. We can't spare them from bad financial decisions. We can't spare them from accident and surgery. We can't spare them from death and sin and Satan.

B Our heavenly Father, unlike us earthly fathers, is almighty. How almighty is He? The eternal Father "out of nothing created heaven and earth and everything in them."

The world scoffs at this. Atheists scoff at this. Even some churches and church members scoff at this. They don't believe in a creating Father. Instead, they believe a big bang theory explains the universe. Theory. Theory. The word "theory" means it has not been proven. Or, they believe the universe always was. There was no Originator, no Mover, no Creator. The universe exists on its own, in and of itself.

What the unbelieving say about the universe they also say about mankind. Sound doctrine says Adam and Eve were created by God as the parents of the human race. But the unbelieving hold, instead, to the THEORY OF EVOLUTION. Here is a dirty big secret. Evolution is a theory. A theory. A theory that has not been proven. A theory without conclusive evidence. A theory.

How almighty is our heavenly Father? Out of nothing He created heaven and earth and everything in them. Read Genesis 1 & 2. Read about our almighty Father. Marvel about His might, His power, His Word, His creativity. Read about the creation of mankind.

God created. He was not limited by anything. We are limited by time, strength, tools, supplies, materials, money, sleep. We take materials, and from these materials we make, we form, we fashion, we build, we mold. But God did not have materials and then shape them into things. God is not limited in creating but we are. We are limited by everything. We cannot make a computer from a stick. We cannot build a house from bread. We are limited. But God is not. He is not dependent on anything. God has His Word and God has His Will; and, when He names something it comes to be.. We must see a thing before we can name it; but God names it before it is there.

God gave being to everything: birds, animals, fish, sun, moon, stars, light, ground, sea, sound. It was He Who gave being to every relation. He gave being to the relation between our eye and light, our ear and sound, our tongue and taste, our skin and touch, our nose and smell. It is He Who formed fish to live in the water while man and animals live on the ground and breathe air.

C Our heavenly Father, unlike us earthly fathers, is almighty. How almighty is He? By His eternal counsel and providence He upholds and rules what He has made. Our almighty Father in heaven is involved with His universe. There is a theory that God made the universe and lets it run on its own. This view is known as Deism. Thomas Jefferson was a deist. Under this view God is compared to a clock maker. He makes the clock, He puts new batteries in the clock, and then the clock runs on its own.

What would happen, do you think, if the heavenly Father was not involved with His creation? Without His controlling and upholding hand, the universe would cease to exist. The natural laws that God put in place would lose their place. Instead of gravity holding us to the ground, cows and barns would float off into space. If God was not involved, evaporation and rain would not happen. If God was not involved, trees would not produce oxygen. If God was not involved, babies would not be formed in the womb. If God was not involved, a stalk of grain would not be able to stand and multiply. You get the picture. We need an almighty Father to be at work in His creation.

Sound doctrine declares this God, this almighty Father. Saving faith believes in this almighty Father. On this Father's Day do you believe in this Father?

III Our Father in Christ
A Sound doctrine is not cold doctrine. Sound doctrine is not heartless doctrine. Rather, sound doctrine gives us immeasurable comfort and strength. Notice what sound doctrine proclaims and saving faith believes: that the eternal and almighty Father in heaven "is my God and Father because of Christ his Son."

Here we come to the beauty and grace of the Gospel. What does our Bible reading say?
(Gal 3:26) You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,

(Gal 4:4-6) But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, (5) to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. (6) Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."
The eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is my God and Father.

Marvel about this, congregation. On this Father's Day, be amazed about this. That the Maker and Sustainer of the universe is your Father. That the King and Ruler of the universe is your Father. The Apostle John mentions this with a sense of awe and wonder:
(1 Jn 3:1) How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
What an act of love. You know, of course, that we are rebellious sons and daughters of God. We don't deserve to be called children of God. We don't have the right to call God "Father." Yet, out of grace, out of love, God calls us His sons and daughters. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! " I repeat, marvel about this, be amazed about this.

B The eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is my God and Father. Notice the result:
I trust him so much that I do not doubt
he will provide
whatever I need
for body and soul,
and he will turn to my good
whatever adversity he sends me
in this sad world.

Let me remind you that earthly fathers are not perfect. We all end up failing. We all end up disappointing. We all fall short. But our mighty and eternal Father in heaven never disappoints. He never fails. He never lets us down. Trust. I can trust such a heavenly Father.

C First, if I believe that the eternal and almighty God is my Father, then I trust Him to provide all my needs. Do you remember the words of Jesus?
(Mt 7:11) If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Jesus also tells us that our heavenly Father feeds the birds of the air and clothes the lily of the field. Won't He do this and more for us who are far more valuable than birds and lilies (Mt 6:25-35)?

How do you know if you have this trust? You trust in your heavenly Father if you do not fret, worry, or are anxious about life's necessities. You trust in your heavenly Father if you, in faith, ask Him for what you need believing He will give it to you. You trust in your heavenly Father if you seek first His kingdom and His righteousness instead of seek first the things of this world.

D Second, if I believe that the eternal almighty God is my Father, then I am to trust that "he will turn to my good whatever adversity He sends me in this sad world."

Perhaps you don't see the good of the adversity the Lord has permitted in your life?! Perhaps you even doubt there ever will be good from the heartaches you have gone through?! When we are filled with such doubts we have to listen to what the Bible says: "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him" (Rom 8:28). We have the unshakable guarantee that everything will end up all right with you and me and all those who love the Lord.

It is true that sometimes the Lord does not grant us the grace to see the good He brings out of adversity in our life. More often, though, we are allowed to see the good but only after time has been allowed to pass.

E Sound doctrine tells us two reasons we can trust such a Father. First, because He is almighty He is able to do all things. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is too hard for the LORD (Gen 18:14). Being almighty He is more than able to provide for my needs. Being almighty He is able to turn adversity to my ultimate good.

Second, because He is faithful He desires to do this. He is a faithful Father. He is the Faithful Father. Faithful to His love. Faithful to His promises. Faithful to us His children. Faithful to forgive.

Conclusion
Let me end with a warning to all dads. Too often our conception of God as Father is based upon our conception of human fathers. So dads, let me tell you, you are responsible for how your children see God as Father. If you are domineering and angry, chances are they will see the heavenly Father as domineering and angry. If you are abusive and unloving, chances are they will see the heavenly Father as abusive and unloving. If you are uninvolved and unresponsive, chances are they will see the heavenly Father as uninvolved and unresponsive. If you bury yourself in work or play, chances are they will think they are not important to the heavenly Father. But, if you are full of grace and truth and love, chances are they will see the heavenly Father as full of grace and truth and love. So, I call earthly fathers to mold themselves according to the character traits of our heavenly Father.

Remember how this message started? "Bring yer dad to church" for a Father's Day car smash and bacon. You know what is better? "Come to yer heavenly Father in church." Come to the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Come to the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. Come to and trust in the faithful Father. That's what sound doctrine declares and saving faith believes.
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
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