Sermon: Our Father, Our Daddy
Scripture: Matthew 6:9
In this week’s lessons, we see how we are enabled to approach God in prayer because of the reconciling work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Theme: God’s Children
Yesterday we said that during the time of Jesus, the distance between God and man seemed to be widening, such that the names of God were increasingly withheld from public speech and prayers.
This trend was completely overturned by Jesus. Jesus always called God “Father,” and this fact must have impressed itself in an extraordinary way upon the disciples. Not only do all four of the Gospels record that Jesus used this address, but they report that He did so in all of His prayers (Matt. 11:25; 26:39, 42; Mark 14:36; Luke 23:34; John 11:41; 12:27; 17:1, 5, 11, 21, 24, 25). In fact, the only exception is one that enforces the significance of the phrase, for it is the cry from the cross: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” That prayer was wrung from Christ’s lips at the moment in which He was made sin for mankind and in which the relationship He had had with His Father was temporarily broken. At all other times, Jesus boldly assumed a relationship to God that was never assumed by His contemporaries and which would have been thought highly irreverent or blasphemous by most.
This is of great significance for our prayers. Jesus was the Son of God in a unique sense, and God was uniquely His Father. He came to God in prayer as God’s unique Son. But now, He reveals that this same relationship can be true for those who have believed in Him and whose sins were soon to be removed by His suffering. They were to come to God as God’s children. God was to be their own individual Father. Thus, Jesus could announce to Mary in triumph after His death and resurrection, “But go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God” (John 20:17). Today it is as God’s children that believers in the Lord Jesus Christ come to Him.
Now you will have missed the point of all that I have been saying up to now if you have failed to notice that this first phrase of the Lord’s Prayer, properly understood, cuts to pieces that false doctrine of the universal fatherhood of God that’s been so popular in this century. According to the Bible God is most certainly not the father of all men. He is uniquely the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. And He becomes the Father only of those men who believe on Christ and who are united to Him in faith through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus did not teach this only by implication. On one occasion He said it directly to those who thought they were God’s children but who were, according to Jesus, actually children of the devil. In the eighth chapter of John we are told that Jesus had been teaching in Jerusalem and had made the statement, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” (v. 32). The Jews answered Him, “We are Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man. How sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?” (v. 33).
“I know that ye are Abraham’s seed,” Jesus responded, “but ye seek to kill me … If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham” (vv. 37, 39). At this point the people grew angry and accused Him of being illegitimate. Then, in righteous anger the Lord Jesus Christ replied, “If God were your father, ye would love me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do” (vv. 42-44). Thus, we put to an end forever the misleading and totally devilish doctrine that God is the Father of all men and all men are His children.
On what occasion did Jesus not address God as His Father, and why?
On what theological basis can believers come to God as their Father?
Reflection: There is only one way through which we can call God our Father. On what other bases do unbelievers assume God is also their father?
For Further Study: Download and listen for free to Joel Beeke’s message, “The Glory of God as Father.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)