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Dr. Ed Young - God is Dad

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    Dr. Ed Young - God is Dad

Hope you have your Bibles opened to the Gospel according to Matthew, Chapter Number 6. Matthew 6. I'll read Verse 6 through Verse 9. Jesus is speaking: "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to the Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you; and when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose they'll be heard for their many words. So do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray then in this way: Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name..."

Is anyone out there? Is anyone up there? Is, when we make a cry, is there any answer? Is there someone like us out there, but yet, unlike us out there? That kind of question has been asked through the ages. G. Studdert Kennedy, one of the great men of the last generation who fought in the First World War, if you know your history and the First World War; for many, many months, they had the trench of the allies and the trench of the enemy. And they fought trench warfare. One group would charge the other. One group would charge the other. They would come out of their trenches; they would go back in their trenches. This went on for month, after month, after month.

And Kennedy said, "As a soldier, I was trapped one day between the trenches in the middle of the night". He said, "I was lying still". Said, "As the darkness came in, I saw a wheww-a Presence". And he said, "I wanted to say, 'Who goes there?'" But he said "I didn't know whether my words would be answered by a bullet..." He was in no-man's land, "or a friendly response, or silence..." and he said, "Therefore, I just continued to lie there still and did not move". Kennedy says, "Many years later, I was in a moor walking at night. All I could hear was the boom of the waves, and the whistle of the wind". And he said, "As I was walking by that moor, suddenly I felt a Presence... a Presence..." and he said "It was frightening. It was overwhelming". He said, "I didn't know what to do. I felt just like that between the lines during the war" and he said, "I wanted to shout out, but I didn't know whether the answer would be silence, or the Presence would speak".

And he said, "But on that night in the moor, I made my cry and I asked, 'Who goes there?' And said, 'I got my answer!' I've never forgotten it. It changed my life"! He said, "Had I not got that answer, my soul would have been dead" and he said, "I realized then I was in the presence of God. Of God..." Who goes there? Jesus would answer and say, "Our Father, our Dad, our Abba". That's who goes there. Now a lot of people think that when Jesus said, "Abba, Dad" that affectionate word; that was the first time that anybody had ever called God Father. That's simply not true. The Greeks had a Name, and they would call God "Father" in the sense He was the Father of all.

In the Old Testament, you have the Name "Father" referred to by God seven different times. But it's like God is our Father; God is the Head. God is the progenitor. God is our Father. It's used like that. But when Jesus here in our passage says, "Our Abba, our Father, our Dad..." Oh, that's different. Therefore, in the New Testament, you have the word "Father" used two hundred and seventy-five times. "Our Father..." Who goes there? It is that cry that has been offered out in time and history by gurus, and philosophers, and seekers, and religious leaders. They have issued that cry, and they've got a multiplicity of answers. "Who goes there? Who is out there"?

So many, many answers we have heard and we have received. And there we have all the religions, all the creeds, all the cults, all the philosophies that we know anything about. It's an answer, basically, to that question. Is there anybody out there? Is there anybody alive in this universe? Are we orphans in this world, or is there somebody at home here with us, the other? Who goes there? Who goes there...? Let me say something to you: If you can pray "Our Father" all the "isms" are invalid. Now understand that. There are a whole lot of isms running around, a whole lot of beliefs, a whole lot of doctrines, a whole lot of ideologies; but if you can pray "Our Father", really pray "Our Father" all the isms are yesterday. They're invalid; they're not true. For example, atheism.

Now I know there are different levels of these. I'm going to give you the pedestrian level. Atheism! There are people who are atheists. David Hume is the leading philosopher of atheism. An atheism belief, there is no God. They made their cry, "Is anybody out there"? And the answer was silence. Therefore, the atheists say, "There is no God". Richter, the philosopher said, "I had a dreadful dream and I soared out into the universe, and I went to all the planets. I went out in the cosmos. I went out in the bottom of the black hole and I came back, and I went over the earth, and all the created order" and he said, "I did not find God". No God. Atheism. It's like the Russian Cosmonaut who went into outer space the first time. He came back. He said, "I didn't see God. I didn't see God. There's no God"! Atheism. But if you can pray, "Our Father, our Abba" atheism is invalid. If you can pray, "Our Father" agnosticism is invalid.

What is that? It means I don't know. "Is there a God"? I just don't know. I don't have enough information. It is the "know nothing" belief. And the father of agnosticism, the philosopher is a man by the name of Emmanuel Conte. Isn't that interesting? Emmanuel means "God with us". He is the father of agnosticism. He is saying you can't know whether He's with us or not. Interesting... Agnosticism. But if you can pray, "Our Father", agnosticism invalid. And then there's pantheism, the idea that God is in everything. God is, and God is in everything. In pantheism, you can't distinguish between the creator and the creation because they are one.

This is basically Hinduism and Buddhism, that God is impersonal. God is an "It", I.T. God is an "It", not personal. Therefore, you have pantheism. But if you can pray "Our Father", pheww! Pantheism goes away. And if you can pray "Our Father" also polytheism, the idea there are many gods. In ancient Rome, there were over thirty thousand gods and goddesses for everything! Can you imagine it? Sure you can! There are more than that in the world today. Pantheism, many, many, many gods. But if you have narrowed it down to one will, to one Father, to an Abba; there's no polytheism. There's no pantheism. There's no deism. There's no atheism. There's no agnosticism. And then we come to deism.

Let's look at that. What do deists believe? Deists believe that God wound up this world, created it, wound it up like a big clock and threw it out into space-shoom! And then deserted it, and said, "There you are! You're on your own! I'm outta here"! Shooow! That's deism. Benjamin Franklin was a deist. Thomas Jefferson was a deist. You say, "Well how did these intelligent men fall prey to that"? Remember, they lived during the day when the laws of thermodynamics were being discovered? They lived in the day when some understanding of gravity was brought into the scientific world, and they began to see the symmetry, and the unity, and the power, and the consistency of all the created order, and all the galaxies that they could define. They began to see that this may be God, the created order, and therefore, they were deists. But see, if we can pray "Our Father" deism is invalid. Then what about scientism? That's a big one. Scientism says, "I don't believe anything until it can be proved by the scientific method".

Now the problem with that, there are many scientific methods. The basic one is truth revealed by experiment. But there's forensic evidence, etc., etc.... But having said that, that's what the scientists believe. But scientists today in the modern world, because I think of quantum physics; they don't think of the world as a great big mechanical something that's been thrown out in space. Scientists are not deists. Instead, most of them who haven't become theists-and many hundreds of them have-most of them, they would say that the Creation is a giant thought. And they move in the spiritual realm. It's like Arthur Eddington, the scientist said-he said, "We have seen strange footprints on the shore of the unknown". Did you get that? He says, "We have seen, scientists, strange footprints on the shores of the unknown".

Jesus would come along and say, "Those footprints are of our Father". He would say, "The footprints are everywhere"! He never sought to prove God. He said God is self-evident. He saw that every blade of grass that begins to force its way up through the sod, that's God. And He saw that the Heavenly Father observed every sparrow that would fall. That's God! He just keeps on working. He keeps on working... So we know that when you and I can pray, "Our Father" atheism, agnosticism, deism, pantheism, polytheism, scientism, deism-psht! Invalid. Invalid when we can pray, "Our Abba, our Father, our Father". You know, in the Creeds, if you came in a liturgical church, you would quote it week by week, Sunday by Sunday. "I believe in God the Father Almighty" right? That sound familiar? "I believe in God the Father Almighty".

And the problem with that profession is the word "Almighty". I believe in God the Father. Okay, I believe in God the Abba, that's good; but the word "Almighty"... You know, if God is Almighty, why doesn't He straighten this thing out we call the world, beginning with you and me, if He's Almighty. We get Father, but His Almightiness is what we challenge. But you see, the secret of understanding that Father is Almighty is the very title "Father". Other words, by virtue that God is like a Father, a Dad; that limits something of what He can do. For example, if you're a father, you'd like to say to your son or daughter, "Hey-get with it! I know you're just one years old, but let me tell you something! You gotta grow up! You gotta get my mind in you and grow on up! Hurry up! Hey, get on with it"!

Fathers, we don't conduct ourselves like that. We are hopefully, prayerfully patient. Great fathers are fathers who wait, who love, who forgive, who challenge, who discipline, who pick up, who forgive, who push much like our Abba Heavenly Father. It's with infinite patience that He sees things get all mixed up in the world, but He knows His sovereign hand is there. It's comforting to you and I who can pray "Our Father" that everything that comes to pass in your life and in my life and in this world comes through the hand of God, through the mind of God, through the wisdom of God to make sure that all things are working out for good for those who love Him. It goes through His hand. We don't see it now; it's impossible to see. But He sees all the way, all the way. So we pray "Our Father" everything is changed.

Remember the first Scripture that I read? Psht! That was a long time ago. What did that teach us about prayer? It teaches us two kinds of praying. You've got the praying of the pagans, the gentiles, and they pray so they could be heard. They go in public places, and they mumble their prayers over and over, or they go before God and they go through all their rituals, and they pray and they pray and they pray, and they think by their much praying, you know, they've got an entrée with God; they've earned a place with God. And then there's Christian praying, which is entirely different. Has a different basis upon which you pray. For example, do you pray to God as if you're a renter? You're renting? And He's the landlord? Is that how you pray to God? That's what this is teaching us. "Now what are you talking about"?

Do you pray to God as if it's some kind of business relationship? If you are renting with your landlord, you have a business relationship. You'll pay your landlord this much rent for you to stay in this place for a prescribed period of time, and his responsibility is, he kind of keeps the place up and maintains some basic stuff, right? That's a renter paying to a landlord, and that's a business relationship, is it not? Some of us pray to God like that. "God, I want You to, or I want You not to, or I want You to..." And when God, we feel, doesn't show up-whooah! "I've been good! I go to church! I pray! I read my Bible! Wait a minute, God"! That means that you're treating God as if He's your landlord. "I've done my part, God. Now You do Your part". We're treating God as if it's a business deal.

Lot of us pray like that, and therefore, when our prayers don't come out the way we want them to come out, "Oh man, my mother died anyway and I prayed! My goodness, God, what in the world"? You're praying to God as if it were a business relationship. That's pagan praying, Jesus says. What is Christian praying? Christian praying is you pray to God in a family relationship. If you are in a home and you're not paying rent, you're family. You're a son or a daughter. Relationship is entirely different, isn't it? Entirely different. And we're to pray as Christians, we're family. What is the first words of the Lord's Prayer? "Our Father..." they're words of adoption. You and I have been adopted into the family of God, and Jesus said, "Father, as You treat Me, I want You to treat those who've come into your family through Me. We are family".

And therefore, we do right, not because of what we're going to get; we do right because we're family. We're in the house of God. We have the keys to the house. We have a right there. When someone is adopted, they don't suddenly become "Oh, okay, perfect, just like everybody in the family..." Oh no! When they're adopted, their legal status has changed, see? Now they're legally a member of the family, and we pray like a family, and therefore when God hears our prayers and answers our prayers and works in our lives, we say, "Lord, we thank You for this miracle! We thank You for Your grace..." And we go to I John, Chapter 3 Verse 1. It says, "Behold, I am amazed at how much You love me..."

That's family praying, isn't it? "Behold, I am amazed that You worked this out in my life. Behold, I'm amazed with the patience you show for me..." See? Therefore, when we pray "Our Father, Our Father..." All the isms are-ptt! invalid. When we pray "Our Father" everything is transformed. When we pray "Our Father" our prayers are powerful. Powerful... You see, Jesus lived the life that you and I did not live, and died the death that you and I deserve to die so you and I will be able to pray, "Our Father, our Abba" and be a member of the family. Let me say that one more time because to be a Christian, you have to in some level understand that.

Jesus lived the life that you and I did not live, and He died the death that you and I deserve to die so that you and I will be in family and able to pray, "Our Father, our Abba". He didn't teach us to pray "Our King" though He could have. It works. He didn't teach us to pray, "Our Creator". No, but He could have. He didn't teach us to pray, "Our Friend" though that would be accurate. He taught us to pray, "Our Abba", intimate. "Our Father", intimate. "Our Dad", family, family, family...

It was a worship service. They invited a well-known actor to come and recite for the congregation the Lord's Prayer. That was sort of his specialty. He traveled, and once in a while, he would go to places and recite the Lord's Prayer. He was a brilliant actor, Broadway, film, just had all bases covered, wonderful reputation. He'd been in all kind of movies, all kind of plays, and they asked him to come to church. And in the middle of their worship service, they introduced him, gave all of his credits. Everybody applauded. They were so thrilled to see this famous, well-known actor there. And he was going to recite the Lord's Prayer. And he stood up with great dignity and deep resonance voice from the huuuh-the diaphragm and he quoted, "Our Father Who art in Heaven! Hallowed be Thy Name..." and it was magnificent. It really was.

I mean, "Hallowed" had fifteen syllables when he pronounced it. I mean, "Halloooowweed" I mean, and the people were just overwhelmed. "Aaahh"! And when he finished quoting the Lord's Prayer, they just stood and cheered and cried! Boy! They'd never seen anything like this. It was wonderful. And they were seated and they went on with their worship service, and they took the offering and had the Lord's Supper and had a time of singing and praise.

When they got through, the presiding pastor asked everyone to stand and said, "You know, many times, we've heard Uncle Billy Johnson pray here. Uncle Billy, would you come up and just lead us in our benediction"? And Uncle Billy, you might just pray for us. We'll listen to you, and just pray for us the Lord's Prayer. And Uncle Billy residently slowly walked up front, and he prayed, "Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed, hallowed, hallowed, be Thy Name..." and he prayed the whole prayer. When he was finished, everybody was weeping, and they left the place of worship.

One guy there who was a pagan, kind of crass, and he'd been invited by one of his buddies to come and see this famous actor. And when he walked out, he walked out with his buddy, got out to his car. He said, "I don't get it". He said, "I missed it". He said, "There he quoted the Lord's Prayer magnificently and everybody responded with cheers and applause". Said, "Then this old guy gets up and he says the same words, and everybody weeps. What's the difference? I don't get it"? The Christian man said to his friend, "You see, the actor knew the words, and as he quoted the words, it was magnificent". He said, "Uncle Jimmy, he knew the Father, and as he prayed the words, it was humbling". Can you pray "Our Father? Our Abba"? If you can, Heaven's in the middle of your life.
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