A Father's Day Message
June 18, 2017
Living in the Perfect Dream House -- The Father's House!
John 2:16, "And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise."
John 14:2, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."
God is called "Father" 15 times in the Old Testament and 245 times in the New Testament. One hundred of these references are found in John's gospel and the name is used 51 times in John. 13-17! Both Fatherhood and Sonship are manifest and modeled by Jesus.
Of all the names and titles of God, none is more precious, promising and currently politically incorrect, as is the term “Father.” Radical feminist want to replace the Heavenly Father with the Earth Mother. Many Bible printing companies are now producing gender inclusive translations that refuse to acknowledge God as Father and the Sons of God as His only children. We are told that the concepts of a Father God, of fatherhood, and all fathers in general have had its day, and that we must get away from patriarchal societies and back to matriarchal ones.
Muslims are commanded to rebuke anyone who dares call God their Father. According to Jesus, God is our Father, yet the Quran very specifically denies that Allah is a father (Sura 112.1-4). In fact, in Sura 5.18, the Quran tells Muslims to rebuke Jews and Christians for calling God their loving Father because humans are just things that God has created.
In spite of vehement, vociferous, and sometimes violent protest against the concept of the Fatherhood of God, the reality is that there is a “Father-shaped” vacuum in the heart of us all. I believe this is God-arranged. God has so fixed us that we cannot ever find all that we are looking for and need in a human father. Because of this, we must come to understand that God in Heaven has so programmed life that until we come into a personal relationship with Him as our Father through the Lord Jesus Christ, we will forever be searching for a human father or father-figure to meet needs that only God can meet.
J.I. Packer asks, "What is a Christian? The question can be answered in many ways, but the richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God as Father. “Father” is the Christian name for God."
Dr. Packer enlarges upon the above statement: "I have heard it seriously argued that the thought of divine fatherhood can mean nothing to those whose human father was inadequate, lacking wisdom, affection or both, nor to those many more whose misfortune it was to have a fatherless upbringing.
This is silly. For, in the first place, it is just not true to suggest that in the realm of personal relations positive concepts cannot be formed by contrast -- which is the suggestion implicit here. Many young people get married with a resolve not to make the mess of marriage that they saw their parents make: can this not be a positive ideal? Of course it can. Similarly, the thought of our Maker becoming our perfect parent -- faithful in love and care, generous and thoughtful, interested in all we do, respecting our individuality, skillful in training us, wise in guidance, always available, helping us to find ourselves in maturity, integrity and uprightness -- is a thought which can have meaning for everybody, whether we come to it by saying, “I had a wonderful father, and I see that God is like that, only more so,” or by saying, “My father disappointed me here, and here, and here, but God, praise his name, will be very different,” or even by saying, “I have never known what it is to have a father on earth, but thank God I now have one in heaven.”
God’s design and desire is not to remain aloof and remote from His world, or to simply run it by His omnipotence, but to relate to the people in it in by intimate, personal and manifest presence whereby He ultimately makes their heart His home. The fact that the infinite God became an infant in Jesus and dwelt among us is proof positive of this. The angel of the Lord said to Joseph that the child supernaturally conceived in Mary’s womb would be called Immanuel, which means “God with us”! The Bible closes with the assurance of God forever present with His people in Revelation 21:3: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
God isn’t interested in us realizing the Blessings of His Promises without enjoying the Beauty of His Presence! Man’s very reason for being was to be a house for God; to live in His presence, enjoy His company; to hear His voice, to catch His heart, reciprocate His love, and to be awed at His majesty and glory, and reveal His presence to those who have never met Him.
The good news of the gospel does not start at the cross of Jesus, or with the gifts of the Spirit, but with the Father who so loved the world that He gave us His Son by the power of His Spirit. The heart of the gospel is not that man can have his soul saved, or his body healed, and his church revived, but that he can glorify the Father and enjoy Him forever. The Christian gospel is essentially a Father movement whereby the forgiveness of sins and the regenerating work of the Spirit give us confident, continuous access to the Father and His House -- which is with His forever sons and daughters in His Family!
- Father's House is Finally Manifested in Christ -- Jn. 2:16
This is demonstrated by the process Jesus uses as He enters the temple:
- There is an Exposure of the Sinful – He declares that the temple has become a den of thieves – Matthew 21:13
- There is an Expulsion of the Secular – He cast out the money changers – Matthew 21:12
- There is an Exclusion of the Secondary -- He turned things upside down in order to get them right side up— Sacrifices, tithes, temple stuff was the secondary. Helping, healing and hosannas are the main things and this began to happen only when God was manifestly present in the meeting house.
The temple had become a place where convenient worship was offered; where shortcuts were sought; where priorities were inverted.
- There is an Expectation that is Satisfied -- Jesus’ didn’t come to cleanse the temple in order to clear it of its religious clutter and commercialization and resume services, but to consummate its type and close it forever! God’s presence hadn’t been in the temple in Jerusalem in centuries. Jesus was the satisfaction of all the Old Testament expectations, the fulfillment of the Temple type and the True Temple of God. He is the only Person in which we can meet with God, worship God, and be touched by God!
As Jesus enters the scene you see people peddling it. Men were getting rich because others needed forgiveness. People sold their wares, that others bought to obtain God’s blessing. This is picture of the economy of religion. Religion says forgiveness and righteousness and blessing were just a matter of doing, earning, and paying your way to a place in Father's House. But God doesn’t accept cash for forgiveness. Righteous blood needs to be shed for your righteousness. And because he loves us, he sent his Son. And his Son came down, entered the temple, and turned the economy of religion upside down. Cages broken, birds flying, animals running, coins bouncing on the floor, people shouting, others running away. He turned it around, and replaced it with himself.
Jesus is the True Temple, the House of God, the place where heaven and earth meet!
The authorities were outraged. They asked him what authority he had for doing this. They asked him for a “sign.” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days. (Jn. 2:19)” Jesus was talking about his body, which was raised in 3 days as proof that the bill has been paid. It was “change” returned to him because his life was more than enough payment for all of our sins. Jesus is the true temple. Everything inside the temple pointed to him. When Moses and God were talking on the mountain, all God was talking about was his Son. And in symbolism, he hid truths about this new covenant in the temple which housed the old covenant. The gold, the wood, the silver, everything. The priest symbolized Jesus, our true high priest. Even his clothes did. The ark symbolized Jesus too, the atonement cover which hides the law from God’s remembrance. The mercy seat where blood is sprinkled. Everything! The animal sacrifices which were killed, the ritual of the priest entering the holy place standing there as a mediator for the people. All of this is about Jesus and what he did on the cross for us. And all this work is finished! And all of this is the best of good news for you and me.
Graham Cooke writes, "The desire and design of God is to have a habitation among His people. It is not to visit occasionally when circumstances permit and conditions are fulfilled. His desire is a place to live in a Church that has done everything in her power to attract her beloved.
"When God comes to live, His manifest presence breaks out into the community. Demons fall, strongholds are cast down, and the hard-hearted cry out for salvation. Three thousand souls are saved one day. Faith is alive on the streets because the sick are being healed and the dead raised. Heaven comes to earth in reformation. Laws are changed, unemployment is reduced, and the crime rate falls. Marriages are restored and the divorce rate drops. Domestic violence decreases. Miracles of every description occur as society is turned upside down.
"The windows of Heaven are flung open and God displays His majesty. People share all they possess because the presence of the King generates such confidence and love. No one withholds anything, thus adding to the quality of life."
The ultimate design of Jesus' incarnation was to recover God's right of occupancy in man. Man was made to be a house for God. He was to experience and reciprocate the Love of God, express the light of God, and extend the life of God. He was designed to enjoy intimacy with God and exhibit the image of God.
The Spirit-filled church -- the people of God -- not a material building, but a spiritual building of living stones, is the Now house and life of Jesus on the earth. Through the people of God the many-sided facets of God’s wisdom; His love and grace and mercy, as it is localized in Christ and personalized in the Holy Spirit, is manifest to men, angels and demons. The Spirit-filled church is a people of ministry and not just religious activity.
So what is it that God desires of you and me? He wants us to move into the perfect dream house now with increasing levels of glory and enjoyment to come and continue forever!
God's desire is to be living transparently in us, among a fallen race of people, so that we can be Enjoying the Presence of God; Re-presenting His Likeness; Sharing His Heart of love; Serving from the fullness of His grace and truth, by the Holy Spirit’s power; Living for His glory; and longing to move into other people, making their hearts His home!
Father's Life is Imparted in a Son; His Heart is Revealed through a Son; His Love is Enjoyed by the Son; His Life is Multiplied through a Son.
Ephesians 3:19 --Amplified Bible: "That you may really come to know practically, through experience for yourselves, the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge without experience; that you may be filled through all your being unto all the fullness of God – i.e. may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself!"
O the glory of Your Presence, We Your temple give You reverence; Come and rise to your rest and be blessed by our praise as we glory in Your embrace as Your Presence now fills this Place!
Living in our Father's House NOW, with the best final house always ahead -- GLORY!