Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Notes on Ephesians 3:14-21: The Fatherhood of God

God the Father: Ephesians 3:14-21

Intro: Fathers day = a national holiday. It is a day in which we honor fathers. Let us spend this day meditating on and honoring God the Father. Our passage ends with the words: “To Him be the glory in Christ Jesus and in the Church.” It is appropriate – indeed it would be sin to do otherwise – to praise God the Father.

We will consider 1) Approaching God the Father, and 2) The Fatherhood of God, 3) The Family of God.  

I. Approaching God the Father
1. This is done in Christ: 

For through (him) Jesus we both have access in one Spirit to the Father (Ephesians 2:18): Jesus is the only mediator between God and Man (1 Timothy 2:5)

Access = unhindered access; warm welcome before the throne of God

2. This is done with bowed knees:

Our posture is important in prayer. Why bow? The heart sometimes follows the knees! I have heard of men who read the whole Bible on their knees as a sign of reverence to God. But, even if our knees are not bowed, our heart should be. We pray to our Father – remember though, our Father is GOD!

What does bowing indicate?

1. submission: this is a beautiful word!
Edward Payson: “O what a blessed thing it is to lose one’s will. Since I have lost my will I have found happiness. There can be no such thing as disappointment to me, for I have no desires but that God’s will might be accomplished.”
2. reverence
3. earnestness: desperation and longings after God in prayer

II. The Fatherhood of God

1. He is The Father of the Lord Jesus

First of all: Jesus: Ephesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Before the Foundation of the World:

John 17: 24: Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Ephesians 1:5: Jesus referred to simply as the Beloved

During his earthly ministry:

Matthew 3:17: “A voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Application: Love, affection, delight in his only Son is basic to God the Father – that means it is basic to all Fatherhood. We ought to rethink our views of Fatherhood in light of this. There is a myth that the manly Father is cold and distant – that he would never tell his children he loves them – never share his affection. Evidently, those who invented this myth know nothing of God the Father. We err because we start our ideas of Fatherhood with man, and not with God.
Illustration: Floyd Mayweather Sr. and Jr. famous father son boxing combo – have had a somewhat rocky relationship. I recently read an interview in which Mayweath Sr. laments his poor relationship with his son. "I wonder," he says before pausing, "even when Little Floyd was younger & did I ever tell him I loved him?" He looks down at the pavement and shakes his head. "You can show people a million different ways," Big Floyd says. "But sometimes that one word, 'love,' makes all the difference in the world. This time, I'm going to tell him."
2. He is Our Father
Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
-He blesses: he lavishes good gifts
-He chooses us – before the foundation of the world
-In love he predestines us for adoption: with loving intentions he picked us out and determined our destiny – that we would be his children.
Illus: Friend Tim: Wife worked at a school and they came across and abused girl. Even before this girl (Veronica) knew it, Tim had set his heart on her, chosen her and planned on adopting her.

III. The Family of God of God The Father

We are taught to pray OUR father... all of us, our father; Lord’s Prayer: Our Father...reminds us we are in a family.

 “every family is named (v. 15)” = you are all the children of one Father; remember the one of the main problems of Ephesians is the Jew-Gentile issue. Jews felt that they were especially the children of God, while Gentile were second class citizens. Or, maybe the Gentiles themselves felt that they were second class citizens and tended feel impoverished in that they did not have the spiritual lineage of the Jews. They could not say Abraham was their father; they could not say that they had equal access in the temple in Jerusalem. However, Paul is saying: if you are a Christian, no matter your background – you are a child of God.

This point is made more explicit later in Ephesians:
Ephesians 4:4-5: There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

This has two important implications:

1) If you are a child of God, then God is indeed your Father – but as much as he is your Father he is also the Father of every other believer.

Illustration: I remember in younger years having a strong disagreement with my little brother. We carried on for sometime seemingly unable to come to a peaceful resolution. Then, we both turned to look at our Father and we saw how grieved he was by our actions. All of a sudden our eyes were taken off our quarrel and fixed on our Father. The thought of doing anything to grieve our common Father was beyond us.

Application: Next time you who are thinking of speaking a slanderous word: that is your brother/that is your sister you are speaking of. You ought rather to defend your brother, think the best of them, and come to their aid.

Application: Do we not tend to degrade our brothers and sisters in Christ? We say: that one does not have as much learning as me! That one does not have as many spiritual gifts as me! What use are they in the family of God? We dishonor our Father with such comments; when someone speaks ill of your child you take it very personally. When one of your children mocks another one of your children you are apt to get upset because they are both your children – they are both beloved. So, let us view one another as children of God.

2) If you are a Christian, then God is just as much your Father as he is of the greatest saint in the world.

This is comfort for the person who is not from a good Christian family, or the person who came to Christ later in life, or the person who feels they do not have much to offer to God even though they try with all their might to live as an imitator of God, as his beloved Child. This person may begin to feel that they are not so much the child of God as the one from a long line of Christian ancestors, or the one who has known Christ from an early age, or the one who is called to minister publically as a pastor, or elder in the Church, or leader of some Christian society. You are just as much blessed, just as much chosen, just as much predestined in love, just as much a child of God.

Some might say: I can’t see what use I am in God’s kingdom. I cannot preach like the minister; I cannot go and serve Christ in a foreign country; I stay at home all day with my children; or another, I have to devote myself to hard labor to provide for my family and I do not feel that I am able to do as much for God as some.

Illustration: One Pastor told me he really had a hard time because he was comparing himself to other Pastors – feeling he was not as successful because his Church was not as big, or he was not as seemingly important.

I was at a loss for words, but now I think I would read him this quote from Spurgeon:

    ”Now I want to say one or two things to Little-Faiths this morning. The little children of God who are here mentioned as being bruised reeds or smoking flax are just as safe as the great saints of God. I wish for a moment to expand this thought, and then I will finish with the other head. These saints of God who are called bruised reeds and smoking flax are just as safe as those who are mighty for their Master, and great in strength, for several reasons. First of all, the little saint is just as much God's elect as the great saint. When God chose his people, he chose them all at once, and altogether; and he elected one just as much as the other. If I choose a certain number of things, one may be less than the rest, but one is as much chosen as the other; and so Mrs. Fearing and Miss Despondency are just as much elected as Great-Heart, or Old Father Honest. Again: the little ones are redeemed equally with the great ones! the feeble saints cost Christ as much suffering as the strong ones; the tiniest child of God could not have been purchased with less than Jesus' precious blood; and the greatest child of God did not cost him more.”


The God and Father of our Lord Jesus is our Father! We have this standing because of the work of Jesus Christ. We are all equally children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

To be a Father is to delight in and love one’s children. Since we are children of God we are delighted in, we are blessed -- from the least of us to the greatest.

Elizabeth Prentiss: wrote about a character named Emily that is probably about her own Father.

Emily came home from her dear friend Anna’a house and scribbled her best friend’s name all over one of the walls and in her brand new Bible. When her father saw it he called her into his study and gave her a whole stack of paper. He told her gently that he could write her name to her hearts content on that paper, but that she should not write in her bible.

Prentiss Comments: “Emily felt very grateful. This little kindness on her father’s part did her more good than a month’s lecture could have done, and made her resolve never to do anything that could possibly grieve him again. She went away to her own play room and wrote on one of the bits of paper, some verses, in which she said she had the best father in the world.”

There hardly anything which transform us like the love of a Father: Paul says so in Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

What should be the result of knowing your Father’s loving heart? As Prentiss said: Resolve never to do anything that could possibly grieve him.

A final word to Father’s: be imitators of God as beloved Children. What does this mean? It means delight in, cherish, and love you children based on the pattern you see in God toward you. It means, to quote Malachi: turn your hearts toward your children – even as God has turned his heart toward you. 

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