Father in Heaven
Luke 2:41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day's journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.
Even at about 12 years old Jesus of Nazareth was fully focused on His Father in Heaven. He respected his (as was supposed) earthly father and mother but His commitment was to His Heavenly Father.
John 1:12 But as many as received Him (Jesus of Nazareth), to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (Jesus – I AM Salvation): who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
For God to be our Father, we must be born of God, born from above. Otherwise we may think of God as our Father when He is not.
John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water (baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins) and the Spirit (baptism in the Holy Spirit), he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again (Literally ‘from above)’.
This was further explained when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples of Jesus Christ on the day of Pentecost, Acts chapter two.
1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
The wonderful effect of being born of water and spirit is the reality of having a new father, the God who loved us and gave His only begotten Son for us.
Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;] because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Those called out of the darkness of this world into the glorious light of the kingdom of God have been predestined to be included in the family of those born of God, through and with the Lord Jesus Christ our older Brother.
Matthew 6:5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
This model of how those born of God should pray focus heavily on the Father in heaven. The Father’s name. The Father’s kingdom. The Father’s will. The Father’s provision. The Father releasing us from our debts. The Father leading us. The Father delivering us. The Father being the One to whom belongs the kingdom, the power and the glory. As His children it should come naturally to us to be looking to Him daily.
Matthew 10:32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man's enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
In order to follow the Lord Jesus, the anointed King, we must make the conscious decision to let go of our personal family ties. We have to choose between our earthly, natural family and the heavenly, spiritual family. We need to let go of the family we know and can see before we have access to the heavenly, beginning with the Lord Jesus the Christ, Who brings us into the presence of His Father, Who becomes our Father.
Matthew 12:46 While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him.] Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”
Our inclusion into the heavenly family begins when we start obeying the command to repent and be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of our sins. We continue in this family as we continue daily taking up our cross and sticking with Jesus.
Matthew 19:27 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.
Matthew 23:8 “But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called masters (leader); for One is your Master (Leader), the Christ.
Here Jesus is referring to our human weakness for looking to men and women for teaching, instruction and parenting. Jesus commands those who follow Him to look only to our heavenly Father and to the One He has sent. Even after initially making the decision to follow Jesus we can be tempted to look to men we can see rather than Him who is invisible. Having left our natural families to follow Jesus we can be easily tempted to look for a replacement rather than wait for Jesus to introduce us to the Father and add to us brothers and sisters.
John 4:19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
When we worship – serve – the God who is the Spirit out of the relationship He gives us as sons; time and place become irrelevant.
John 5:19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honour the Son just as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent Him.
The foundation for our relationship with the Father is our relationship with the Son, Jesus of Nazareth. We can only come to the Father through Jesus the anointed king. Billions around the world seek to honour God but the only acceptable way is through God’s Son, Jesus.
John 8:31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
I know that you are Abraham's descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
The stark reality is that until we are born of God, by water and the Spirit, we are of our father the devil. It is his will we do, his words we repeat. If we will believe upon the only begotten Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, repent – leave all in order to be able to follow Him wherever He may lead us – and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of our sins – He will give us the gift of the Holy Spirit and we will become the sons of the Living God.
John 16:25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”
The secret to a relationship with the Father is a relationship with His Son, Jesus. The result of a relationship with Jesus the Christ – where we daily die to our self and taking up our cross follow Him – is an intimate direct relationship with our Father in heaven.
Galatians 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
If we are become the sons of God by His immeasurable grace drawing us to His Son Jesus by granting us repentance and remission of sins through being baptized in His name – Jesus- : Let us live in this marvelous reality of sons of God with God as our Father in heaven.
Colin Thompson, Gateshead, England.
To discuss this or any other matter regarding the good news of Jesus Christ please email; email@example.com
Other material on site at http://www.followingjesuschrist.co.uk/