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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Our Father Who Is In Heaven

Michael Youssef - Our Father Who Is In Heaven

Michael Youssef - Our Father Who Is In Heaven

Hello, my friends. Isn't that amazing that when God our heavenly Father revealed himself to us, he revealed himself as a Father? Now, some of you may have had a negative experience with your earthly father, and that tends to color your views of the heavenly Father, but I want you to imagine the best, the kindest, and the most generous earthly father you could have. Now, that is your heavenly Father. Stay tuned, you'll be blessed.

One of the big mistakes that some believers fall into is that they equate the heavenly Father with their earthly fathers. This is a big mistake, regardless of how wonderful our earthly fathers are or were or not. This is even a bigger mistake and a bigger problem if the earthly fathers are aloof and angry and abusive. That really compounds the problem. Equating your heavenly Father with your earthly father will rob you of far greater joy than you can ever comprehend. And I know there are probably some here today or watching around the world who have a hard time accepting the fact that the heavenly Father is far greater and beyond description of whatever their views of their earthly fathers may be. Or sometimes because God allows some painful experiences in our lives, and I am no stranger to painful experiences, we cannot truly see how incredible, how indescribable, the love of the heavenly Father is.

Now, I want you to think of your heavenly Father. Regardless of what your earthly father was like, your heavenly Father tells us that he loves us in a thousand different ways. He verbalizes his love for us 24/7. Through the pages of the Scripture, he's constantly saying, "I love you". Through the blessing that he pour upon us, those blessings of which we are conscious, and the blessings that we are not conscious, we take it for granted through these blessings, he's saying to every one of us, "I love you". Through other people whom he brings our way, people that he brings into our lives, he is saying, "I love you. I will always love you, and nothing will stop me from loving you," but there's more. Our heavenly Father gives every one of us his whole, total, undivided attention, amen?

What the heavenly Father does when you come to him, when you cry to him, and when you call upon him, "Father in heaven," he never says to you, "Wait a minute, I'm busy right now. Not now, come back later, in an hour". He never does that. "I have more important issues to deal with". Every second of every day, our heavenly Father is attentive to our cries. And there is an amazing thing when you think about it. This membership into the family, when you'll be able to call him, "Father," is always open, and he's always welcoming. His arms are open for every repentant sinner who comes and receives Jesus as their only Savior and Lord. He is always welcoming repentant sinners so they can call him, "Father".

Because I know you hear people say, "We're all the children of God". Oh, we're not all the children of God. We are the creation of God, yes, and in the sense that there's a fatherhood, but only the believers in Jesus Christ can truly say, "God is our Father". I'm gonna come back to that in a minute. But I was thinking about how the difference between the believers viewing God as their Father and these people who don't believe in Jesus and say, "We're all the children of God, and we're all God's children". To nonbelievers, God is a foreboding character out there in the sky somewhere, who is really maybe angry or happy or whatever it may be. But to us believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, he is our Daddy.

To us who know him not as a mighty Emperor, but the Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth, but he's our Daddy. Only belonging to the family of God can truly make us call God, "Daddy, Father". That is a privilege, my beloved friends, that so many people in the churches, so many people in the pews, they do not understand, and they don't spend enough time to comprehend what it means to call God the Father our Daddy. And that is why during Jesus's earthly ministry, during his time, the Pharisees, those who kept the laws meticulously, those who did all their religious duty perfectly, those who never missed anything, they were absolutely meticulous, they were fastidious about keeping of the law and keeping of the tradition, and they could not understand. They were flabbergasted on how Jesus could call God, "My Father," at least 70 times in the New Testament. They couldn't understand it.

Even more astounding, in the garden of Gethsemane, when the Lord Jesus was sweating blood, he uses the word, the Aramaic word, not the Hebrew word, the Aramaic word, which a word is filled with terms of endearment, "Abba". The closest we come to it, "My Daddy". Now, my beloved friends, we are able to call God, "Abba". We're able to call him, "Father, Daddy," only because Jesus had taken us to himself. Without that, we could never call him, "Abba". Why? Because Jesus alone is faithful. Jesus alone is obedient. Jesus alone is perfect. Jesus alone is sinless. Jesus alone is righteous. And Jesus alone could call God, "Father". Yet, I want you to listen to Galatians chapter 3:26 and 4:6. Listen to what Paul said: "You are sons," slash daughters, "of God through faith in Jesus Christ". "Because you are sons and daughters, God sent his Spirit of his Son into our hearts, that the Spirit can call out, 'Abba, Father.'"

You see, he gave us the Holy Spirit in order his Spirit connect with our spirit so we can truly call him, "Daddy". Focus with me. Here's what Paul is saying. By faith, we are made sons and daughters of God. And, my friend, there is no amount of self-righteousness, there is no amount of good works, there is no amount of good effort can ever achieve that. Only the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross accomplished that. That is a privilege. It is a privilege that no one and nothing can truly give us except the Lord Jesus. And that is greater than anyone can ever give us. Listen, that is why Muslims cannot pray the Lord's Prayer, they cannot. Because they cannot address God as, "Father".

You see, their god, Allah, is an impersonal god. Their god, Allah, is a distant god, a remote god. It's a mostly angry god. Occasionally, he can have mercy on you. Their god, Allah, is completely separate from creation, including man, and that is why they don't understand, "How can God become Man"? As a matter of fact, their tenet says, "Allah has no sons". But oh, beloved, listen to me. The incredible joy, the incredible exuberance of Muslims who come to Christ when they realize for the first time that they can have a relationship with God, that they can actually call him, "Father". It is a joy that most people in dead Christian churches in the West can never understand. And that is why, without faith in Jesus Christ and his blood on the cross, no one can call God, "Father".

So what is that portrait of the heavenly Father? Throughout the Scripture, in the Old Testament, God tried again and again. You just read the Scripture. Sometimes I look at heaven and said, "God, you're an incredibly patient, longsuffering God". And they mess up, and he forgives them. And they mess up, and he forgives them, and he restores them again and again and again. For all the time in the Old Testament, God was trying to reveal his heart to his people. Some of the others added to the Bible, and the very Talmud is an extra additional stuff that God never said, and they kind of distorted the picture of who God is and what God is trying to reveal himself.

And so, finally, God, once and for all, to make known himself to humanity, he sent his one and only Son, his own image, the Lord Jesus Christ, to show us truly what God is like, to reveal the heart of the Father. And the Lord Jesus, during his public ministry, year after year, he tried to tell them, "The Father, the Father, the Father". And finally, he comes in Luke chapter 15, where he literally paints a portrait, a beautiful picture to show us the character of the Father, the nature of the Father, the love of the Father. And so he begins in Luke chapter 15, verse 11. People call it, "The parable of the prodigal son".

It's a story. And there in that story, he doesn't necessarily want us to get a point or a message about the two types of people represented in each of the two sons. No, that's secondary. He's not showing us the two kinds of people, those who are rebellious and yet repentant, and those who are prideful and stayed in the church but they were equally rebellious. But he starts by telling the story to illustrate the nature and the character of the heavenly Father. And that's why he said in the beginning, he said, "There was a father".

Jesus is attempting to relate to our finite minds and showing us a portrait of the Father. The character of his Father shined through this father in the story, and we call it, "The story of the prodigal". And even nonbelievers talk about prodigal because they know the story. But you miss the most important point when you think this story's about the prodigal. It's not about his other brother, who was filled with pride. The story, from beginning to end, is about the Father. It's about his deep care for his children. It's about compassion for his children. It's about his longsuffering with his children, about his quickness to forgive a repentant child. Oh, but don't miss this. Don't miss this. The Father in the story is not a reactionary father. Don't miss it. One young boy demanded that he liquidize his estate in order to give him his share of the inheritance, choose to leave. He let him go.

Now, let me tell you how un-Middle Eastern this is. If a boy comes to his father before he died and he said, "Give me my share of inheritance," you know what his father would give him? The back of his hand, trust me. Trust me on this one. With deep hurt and broken heart, he lets that rebellious son go. He wanted him to taste the fruit of his rebellion. And when this boy comes back with his tail between his legs, he welcomes him home. He forgives him, and he honors him. When the older boy, who stayed in the house, but his heart was in the far country, the older boy, who was very religious, but full of pride, when he accused, falsely accused the father, the father never scolded him. He just said to him, he said, "But everything I have is yours".

I believe the message that the Lord wants us to learn from this, that he's saying to the older boy, "You have been trying to do things on your own strength. Your pride is getting in the way of humbling yourself before me". Beloved, I am convinced in my heart that this is a picture of the type of Christian who's too proud to ask the heavenly Father for guidance. This is the type of Christian whose pride keeps him or her from humbly asking. This is the type of Christian who values his own or her own opinion more than the Word of God. This is a type of a Christian who thinks that, "God is aloof and distant, therefore I've got to make things happen myself".

Please understand, what Jesus is telling us here, he's telling us that the father loved them both. He loved them both, and he humiliated himself twice in one day. One time, humiliates himself by running to his younger, repentant son, and the next moment, he goes out and leaves the festivity and humiliated himself in order to restore his prideful son. He loved them both. The Father loves those who do the right thing even though they're filled with pride, and those who do the wrong things, but they repent of it. The Father's heart breaks over the willful rebellion and the willful independence and pride.

Listen to me, there is nothing you can do to make God love you more. There is nothing you can do to make God love you less. There is nothing you can do for God to love you more. There is nothing you can do for God to love you less. He loves you. In the end, when we utter these words, "Father in heaven," we are equalized before the Father. You often hear me say, "The ground is level at Calvary". You know what made the difference, to both boys actually? The one who rebelled and got away, and the one who was filled with pride and stayed home, you know what they both missed out on? It's the same thing. They both missed out on the blessing of fellowshipping with the Father. They both missed out on the blessings of intimacy with the Father.

Beloved, listen to me, we waste time, precious time, valuable time being away from the heart of the Father. But the one thing our heavenly Father longs for is for his children to receive from his hands, to receive freedom from fear, to receive confidence in their relationship with him, to receive constant companionship, constant intimacy, and the joy that comes from that intimacy. Well, I left the last part till the last, till the end. When Jesus taught the disciples to pray, he said, "Say this," or, "According to this," or, "According to this pattern: Our Father who's," where? When Jesus was about to depart, before his death and Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension, he said to the disciples, "I will not leave you orphans. I will not leave you comfortless. I'll send you the Holy Spirit".

The reason it's Holy is because he is the Spirit of Jesus. Why? In order to keep our spirit united with his Spirit. And that is why Paul pleads and says, "Don't grieve the Holy Spirit. Don't quench the Holy Spirit". Whether it is by deliberate sin or by deliberate disobedience, don't quench, don't, because he's your best friend. He's the one who takes your prayers and bring them to the throne room of God, and he brings the answer from the throne room of God back to you. That's why Paul pleads, "Don't grieve, don't quench the Holy Spirit". He's in us, and he's in between, but the Father himself is where? In heaven.

The Lord Jesus is on the right-side hand of the Father, and that is why, when we pray, "Our Father in heaven," we pray with deep longing to be in heaven with him. We pray with deep longing for our joy to be complete when we get to heaven. For there in heaven, there will be no pain, no suffering, no temptations, no failures, no sin, no tears, no hurt. For Jesus and God the Father in heaven, and I can't wait. I can't wait.

What about you? What about you? Is this the longing of your heart? Or is it, "Oh, I hope it doesn't happen any time soon"? I pray to God if there's a single person at the sound of my voice who cannot in the affirmative say, "If I close my eyes in death, I will be in the presence of Jesus," today you can pray this prayer. Will you pray with me? "Heavenly Father, I come to you in repentance and sorrow over my sins. I come to you believing that only your Son Jesus can eternally save me, forgive me". And the Word of God said, "Because God is waiting with open arms, you can be assured of his forgiveness, just like the father of the prodigal did in welcome a repentant son or daughter".
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