Fathers, it can be a difficult topic for some to think about. But God has chosen to reveal Himself as a loving, gracious Father. He welcomes home and celebrates the return of any who fail and fall. This is the way of healing for a broken world. (Luke 15:11-18)
Speaker(s): Pastor Schaller, Pastor Michel Texier
Sermon # 11281
11:00 AM on 6/18/2017
P. Texier (France)
Good morning, everyone. In this church we have a lot of French speaking Africans. If you are French speaking and from this church, stand.
Heb 12:18-24, I’d like to speak about four different things: two mountains, one assembly and the first borns.
We know the Jews to whom the epistle was written for several reasons left the church of J.C. and were meeting in synagogues in the temple in Jerusalem. An assembly with Jews, and for them it was kind of the same thing because the Jews are the people of God. The author says something very important. We need to walk by faith. We are doing things on this earth but we live by faith.
What happened by faith when we met J.C.? When we believed in Jesus, we didn’t meet or assemble in Mt. Sinai. This is the first mountain the author is speaking of, the mountain on which is the wrath of God, fire, fear. Even a beast touching the mountain was to be stoned. Law doesn’t allow us to assemble in peace and joy. You can’t meet God according to the law. It takes away from God.
What’s amazing about these conferences when we assembly, we might come because we live close by, or others take a plane and do long trips. We make decisions…from the point of view of God these gatherings are a gathering in a mountain, but not Sinai. It’s Zion. It is a mountain on which grace reigns. The finished work is communicated.
On the first mountain, the people were so afraid they didn’t want to hear anything from God. God be silent. This is too difficult for us. When we come here we want to hear from God. We want God to speak to us, to touch us. We want that through the speakers we hear from. We want this voice coming from the top of the mountain. We allow us to get closer to God. Mt. Zion, the mount of hope. This is the hope we partake or share with each other.
I really enjoyed P. Pavel’s illustration this morning. Everything inside the car is brand new. Why? Because the grace of God came into our lives. Maybe some of us went through a difficult year. Maybe we lost someone. Maybe on the mission field and nothing went the way it was supposed to go. Maybe things around us look difficult. We have this privilege to get together and hear from God. Whatever we see by sight, and it says about this mountain the angels are looking.
There is also an assembly. In French it comes up as one word but in Greek it’s two words next to each other. ECCLESIA speaks about gathering an assembly of Christians and next to it is another word. PADAGOS. What does it mean? It’s a gathering for a feast. The church he is talking about here…this is not the church though it is amazing already. It is a feasting church. Not because our lives are amazing but because God did something inside our lives. We are celebrating God and we have a feast to celebrate what God has done. We allow and give us everything we need to go through this life. How many things can happen in our lives this week? Maybe we shouldn’t look what we are going through. We can hope there is a mountain amongst us and together we gather. Not just a church but a church on a feast. A feast in the f.w. which leads us to speak about each of us we are the first borns. Does it have any meaning? You can only have one first born in a family, not first borns. We know every first born had specific privileges. This is what Jacob wanted to steal. This is amazing which is why we are in a feast. No matter what gifts we have, the life we have, maybe we would love to be like someone else. From the point of view of God, every one of us is a first born. We have everything in Christ.
Lk 15 the heart of the Father, P. Schaller spoke on this morning. Glory to God because what we are living is not Lk 15. We see and experience the heart of the Father as in the parable but we also have a first born, Jesus. He is not jealous. He didn’t consider himself superior. He had a perfect life. We were lost. We were all prodigal sons. Our firstborn went into the world, went to take us and bring us back to the Father. Through the Father, each one of us is a first born. What Jesus had he gave to us. This is why we are feasting. Like the Father said, let’s rejoice and kill the fattened calf. He wasn’t jealous.
I’m going to party, too. We are in that assembly and we rejoice. We will not be stoned. This is not thunder from the mountain. Come unto me you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Maybe this conference will be an expression of an assembly in a feast.
This morning we want to give a message on fathers.
Lk. 15. Also sometimes in some way it can be a sad topic for some people.
One journalist Tim Russert wrote a book, The Wisdom of Our Fathers. He communicated to people in the U.S. that they could write to him a letter about their dads. He received 60,000 letters and emails and read all of them. One comment he said about a Dutch man in Minnesota who raised 8 children and they loved him. On his 75 birthday, the children put together a booklet and listed 75 reasons why they loved him. I wonder how big my booklet would be! They’d try to dig up two or three! He found in his study that there was an overwhelming positive response from people, not in every case. A man from Oregon wrote his father was a beast. The only thing I learned from him was to stay out of his way. I learned more about love from my dogs than my dad. But he said overwhelmingly there were positive statements. Not because all fathers were good. There is so much bad talk about fathers, one woman wrote. It makes me cringe to see how they portray fathers as stupid, incapable, sports-obsessed, clueless, etc. Every father I know is nothing like those TV dads. My father was the complete opposite. He found a common thread through the fathers and the book is on the letters. They spent time with their children. They paid attention and loved them. Third thing he said was common they were relatively modest men, not big talkers, men that showed up and were there when things were good or bad. They did not abandon their children or ignore them but made the effort to be there. There were moments of love in many of these letters. One said my dad didn’t talk much but was there. Wasn’t flamboyant or had a big personality but my dad cared. These letters are interesting to read.
I’m reading about the Faith of the Fatherless by Dr. Paul Vitz. He makes a 400-year study on atheists and the predominate ones, the intellectuals, the political atheists and then the believers. He made a comparison. When the fathers were absent or evil, oftentimes it planted seeds in the children of hatred and rebellion. I have two short pieces to read regarding that. Joseph Stalin during his early year’s received undeserved and severe beatings that made him as heartless and hard as the father was. Arose in him a vengeance feeling against all people standing above him. His father often not at home…drank heavily, beat his wife. This rough, violent father had great difficult making a living. Young Stalin nearly died from small pox. His left arm was permanently injured. Joseph’s mother gave her son, her only surviving child, deep affection and support and brought him toward the priesthood in the Orthodox Church. A few years he studied in the seminary but became an atheist. Changed his name to Stalin, “steel.” He persecuted the Orthodox Church with great vigor. They are rooting the anger and hatred in his childhood. Hitler like Stalin received regular and severe beatings from his father. He was authoritarian and selfish. As a hard, short tempered man, Adolf had a half-brother who left home at 14. Hitler’s mother wanted to bring him into the church also. He was 14 when his father died. After that, he had no father figure. His mother pushed him toward the church but by the age of confirmation, he was rebellious and never had anything good to say about Christianity. The importance of fathers. Their absence or death or brutality. What it can sow in the heart of a young person. Division of families and single parent families in our country. Mothers raising teen boys and young girls. A Catholic, Italian named John Bosco lost his dad at age two. He was hard working, 19th century…after losing his dad an uncle came into the picture. This uncle played such an important role in fathering and caring for this young boy. At two, his father died and at age 13 he first met his uncle. After his uncle, there was a priest and then another priest. This man became a priest himself and started a mission to help young boys and girls spiritually. These dreams he had to help young people were very important in his life. He had a powerful impact over 100 young people. He became a father figure when he himself lost his dad.
When born again, God gives us a new heart and the H.S. God himself becomes our heavenly Father. If you come from an abused background or terrible, young girls sexually abused and violated, and those painful thoughts and memories may be in your mind. There is a message for you. God knows you and cares about you and wants you to know his love. God has chosen to make himself known by his name called father. Our Father, who art in heaven. All the names he could have used, he used father and son. I give my son. I love the world so much. Maybe in a way with the breakdown in our moral climate and relationships, there will be more and more hurting people amongst us. God is our father is the message the church has.
My dad was awesome. I’m so thankful. He was a modest quiet guy, hardworking and cared. He could take me so far. When 19, I got saved and prayed God would lead me to a good church. I’m from N.Y. and I ended up in Maine. God gives me a spiritual father, Dr. Stevens. He brought me to more.
Our heavenly Father puts people in your life to help you so you would be taken care of. He’s the great shepherd and gives to the church shepherds, pastors, and others, young men and young ladies that care about other young people. We never outgrow it. We need someone to spend time with me, sit with me, show up at an event, or come to a baseball game. Young people are looking for a little bit of attention. I remember someone of importance walking by and saying, I wish they would notice me. I thought if the roles ever reversed and I walk by and remember what it was like and I stop and go to the young person, not always of course but I want to be sensitive to the fact that there are people who need attention, a listening ear. A person with a word. A person that cares. This is what God has put in your heart.
In the bad case where we have radical and traumatic cases of hatred, they were common young people and became political and powerful and the hatred goes out to millions of people. What an amazing thing that is in history. In another way, the love that goes in to us and then how much spiritually we can affect the world. How much our words mean to someone who is alone. Let’s read the parable and think about it.
Lk 15:11, What kind of man was he? He had two sons. Was he a good father? Yes. The earthly picture of our heavenly Father. He could have been a bad one. We know there are bad ones. If there is a bad one and I’ve been in that family that cannot define your life. Your past pain cannot define your life. The disappointment or abuse cannot define your life. The Son of God came into the world so anyone would believe in him and be a new creation. Old things are passed away.
Many people through our years say I don’t want to talk about it. I have forgiven my father. I am a new creation. I don’t want to talk about it or think about it. It’s over and gone. It’s over and gone. Not going to be around me anymore. I’m born again and a child of God. Thank you Jesus.
What about the men of God with us this week. I am so honored to be in the presence of men and women of God doing good works and pastoring and caring for people. When the door slammed in your face by your daughter or son – it was in the video – standing there rejected. Get out of my face. You know where he is. Standing there. Taking the hit. He’s standing there. The girl doesn’t know what she’s doing. She’s out of her mind. She hates her dad. I hate you and slams the door. He is more than a child. He’s a father. He has something going on in his life that is bigger. I’ve written unto you fathers because you have known him from the beginning. I have written unto you children because your sins are forgiven. I have written unto you young men because the Word of God abides in you. Three categories mentioned. He says same things again about fathers.
vs. 11-12 Dad, take your stuff. Get out of here. I got nothing to do with you.
vs. 13. He was gone. The dad is still the dad, isn’t he? He’s patient, kind, loving, imperfect, but some content here. I don’t say this to shame any of us. I urge all of us don’t give up on your wife, your husband, and your kids. If you haven’t seen your kids, don’t give up on them. Reach out to them as God leads you. This son is the bad son but actually isn’t. He comes back.
vs. 13-15 backslidden people always find some way to make it and survive without their family. They want the world to be the answer for their future and their heart and for their lives. They find someone. A citizen of the country. In the back of his mind, he has someone who is kind of permanent, the impression that God can make in a person’s heart when they meet you. When they are with you at work, when they watch you. It happens they may mock you but when the collapse comes, they may come to you. At the march, someone said on 9/11 their work mate was mocking them. They didn’t like the Christian woman. When 9/11 happened, the woman is shocked, collapsed and runs to the Christian and says tell me what is going on. Fathers have to be there when the house comes down. They can’t pack up and leave. They can’t abandon. The only way any of us can make it, we have examples and we learn those examples. Teach me when my son leaves that I will never leave him. A man has a whole family and gives a speech to the children. Children, your mom and dad love you. We will be faithful to you and protect and raise you. If any of you get in trouble in school and bring shame on our family name, it’s over. Don’t come over. If any in person and bring shame on our family, it’s over. Is that clear? What is he talking about? How crazy that is. When it comes to God, Christians say this. God says you’re my children. I love you and am faithful to you. Let me tell me if you ever bring shame on my name, depart from the faith, it’s over. Cast into hell. It’s over. Well, ok, if that is the way it is. It’s not natural to be that way in a family. The family says your mom and dad love you and get in trouble in school, I’m the first one you call. You end up in prison, we’ll bring sandwiches for you. We are there for you in trouble. We are there for you in your failure. Which one sounds right? How can you lose your salvation if you live like hell? God gave his son and secures you and keeps you. If my earthly father forsook me, then I make a direct comparison. If he beats me, I hate him and God who made him. If he beats me and abuses me like that, that explains a lot of the trouble we have in the world. The seeds of that trouble are being sown in our country. They need a friend, a word, someone that loves, the church, a relationship.
Lk 15:16-17, his view of his father still wasn’t that great. My father will hire me. I’ll be able to eat some food and live in the servant’s house. We are that way with God when we are shallow. We think God is not rich towards us. We don’t realize the grace of God. Our guilt takes us away. Our rebellion and hatred takes us away from each other. Love draws us like a magnet. I’ll leave my stuff at the Cross and come into the assembly and have fellowship with God. 80 times in the N.T. it says “father.” Pray our heavenly Father.
vs. 20. It’s not too late if a bad dad to pick up the phone and apologize. If been an absent dad say that if you want to as God leads you. Healing can happen. We want healing in a broken world. There are not perfect dads or pastors or Christians. We are learning love. We are learning to be there. When the door is slammed in your face, I feel that way about you too! No, my heart is broken. But I’m there. When you come around to yourself and get back and when life happens and you realize and I’ll run out on the highway and run down a great way off to meet you. I don’t have any life without love, without him and me and me loving you and waiting for you and being restored and healed and we can sit at a table and we’ve been through hell. All banged off, half an arm hanging psychologically. Been to hell and back many times sitting at a table with a big smile and a lot of love and grace.
God is saying there it is. I am in their presence. I am a healing God. I am the heavenly Father. Life gets better. Let’s not fail in our relationships.
The devil is saying leave it, get out of it, drop it, all the stuff everywhere.
God’s way is the best way. Jesus Christ on the cross is saying I’m not leaving. I made the world and I’ll save the world. I’m not leaving. You can try and get rid of me but I’m coming back three days later. I’ll be in your face and I’m not leaving. What an example for us.
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