READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary l The Scripture tells us that God loves us so extravagantly that He calls us His children. He is our Father! (1 John 3:1). This is one of the most important revelations in the Bible. Through Scripture, He reveals Himself as a kind, compassionate and forgiving Father. He desires to draw near to each of His children.
The Father Heart of God
The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-31) reveals the heart of the Heavenly Father as one who is loving, forgiving and patient. We know that while the Prodigal Son was still far away, his father had already spotted him, and ran towards him to embrace him. This tells us that his father had been on a lookout for his son’s return. Without rebuke, he restored his son and threw a party to welcome him home. When we sin against God, we can be hopeful that He will extend the same grace and loving kindness towards us. We will often fall short but God is faithful and patient to restore and guide us.
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him.” (Psalm 103:13 ESV) The deeper meaning of the word “compassion” in Latin means “to suffer with”. Through the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus, God reveals His heart – that He suffers with us. In challenging times, we can be comforted that God is suffering with us, and He understands.
Knowing our Heavenly Father
When we think about the word “Father”, what comes to mind is often coloured by our experience of our earthly fathers. Depending on our backgrounds, we may think of a man that is protective, loving and understanding. Conversely, it may trigger feelings of frustration, rejection or anger which may make it difficult to trust God our Father.
God loves us and wants us to experience His love, and have an authentic perspective of who He is regardless of our childhood. Scripture has many descriptions of who God is: considerate, encouraging, discerning, sensitive, gracious, just, merciful, thoughtful, generous, powerful, wise and mighty.
If we cannot see this invisible God, how do we embrace and experience Him as our Father?
Philip had the same question even though he was a close disciple of Jesus (John 14:8). Jesus’ response was clear; anyone who has seen or knows Jesus, knows the Father (John 14:9-11).
- To know Jesus is to know God the Father
- To experience the love of Jesus is to experience the love of the Father
- To see Jesus in action is to see the Father in action
We can experience God as our Father through Jesus.
The Holy Spirit who came into us when we believed in Jesus, is the assuring sign of the Father’s presence in our lives.
The Bible also tells us when we love Jesus His son, we will experience God as our Father (John 8:42). God and His amazing love beckons us every day to draw near to Him through our love for Jesus. Here’s how:
- Start by trusting Jesus
- Live by abiding in His Word
- Continue to delight in His company
- Always speak about Him
Consider the great love that God has lavished on us by calling us His sons and daughters (1 John 3:1)! In spite of our unloveliness, God has set His mind and will on seeking our highest good.
Be captured by God’s amazing and extravagant love, and let it stir within us a sense of awe and wonder. Finally, let it inspire us to emulate this all-encompassing love of God the Father.
(Sermon notes by Stella Chiam)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
- How does your relationship with your earthly father affects your perception of God as your Father?
- “God is a Father who suffers with us.” How does this truth help you find consolation in your own suffering?
- If we cannot see God, how do we experience and embrace Him as our Father?
- The preacher listed 4 ways to love Jesus with God as our Father. How are they evident in your life?
- What other ways can we love Jesus?
- How does the amazing love of our Father inspire you to imitate Him to love others?