So then, where has our Father in heaven gone? Have you seen Him?
Years ago at the founding of America here in the west, the church of God was sustained by women, as usual. Even to this day, we see female attendance in the institionalized pews at least in the 70% range. Men seem AWOL by and large, as usual.
This led to the gals naming God as the “sweet Savior” and other feminized terminology. This evolution is detailed in Stephen Prothero’s expose called American Jesus – How the Son of God Became A National Icon (Buy American Jesus Here). Indeed, when I was first saved and for the ensuing years, it was all about Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. But…
Not to be outdone, the so-called charismatic wing of the faith virtually abandoned Jesus as the primary emphasis and called out to the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost. To this day, the insignia of this tribe is the dove, reflecting the event after the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan by His cousin.
OK, then. Where is our Father in all this?
Nowhere, actually. He’s MIA.
Notice the music and the conversation that surrounds your life and faith. What do you experience?
As in most things in western Christianity this very day, we may boldly proclaim to retreat to the safest place of truth. Where might that be? Observe what is the most popular, called the doctrine-teaching, and investigate the exact opposite.
Let’s not take my word for it. Let’s take God’s Word for it!
Look no further than the apostle Paul in his great treatise in the book to the saints at Ephesus. Here we see overwhelming evidence into the heart of God Himself.
Since the Holy Scriptures are help in very low regard for most western Christians, a review of God’s writing style may be in order. The Bible is an Eastern document that is high context. That means that the audience has a high knowledge of the surrounding culture and it’s goings on. So, the Bible authors needed to write only the bare minimum to save parchment and ink.
Therefore, what made the writings was extremely important. Any repetition of words, principles, and practice provides clues to God’s earnestness. Our western practice of emphasizing things missing in the Scriptures is a serious offense to God.
Don’t believe it? What did He say at the end of the Revelation about adding or taking away from the prophetic words? God Himself adds the plagues to these human beings. Not nice to those who believe that God is eternally nice. He’s not. He’s holy and just. That describes His love.
So, then, the content and the style is vital, no? What does God reveal through Paul in Ephesians? Let’s take a brief look. Don’t trust your feelings, for they can often deceive us. For instance, when Paul writes the word “God” he’s almost always speaking about our Father.
Ephesians 1:1-23 (NASB) – The Blessings of Redemption
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God (our Father), To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He (our Father), chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him (our Father). In love He (our Father) predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself (our Father) , according to the kind intention of His (our Father) will, to the praise of the glory of His (our Father) grace, which He (our Father) freely bestowed on us in the Beloved (Jesus).
What a start! Do you see a trend here? Now the Spirit through Paul turns to Christ, but our Father maintains His prominence:
In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His (our Father) grace which He (our Father) lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He (our Father) made known to us the mystery of His (our Father) will, according to His (our Father) kind intention which He (our Father) purposed in Him (Jesus) with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.
In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His (our Father) purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will (our Father), to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His (our Father) glory.
Paul goes on:
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s (our Father) own possession, to the praise of His glory(our Father).
For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God (our Father) of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father (our Father) of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him (our Father).
Paul’s prayer for his church plant:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His (our Father) calling, what are the riches of the glory of His (our Father) inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His (our Father) power toward us who believe.
These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His (our Father) might which He (our Father) brought about in Christ, when He (our Father) raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His (our Father) right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He (our Father) put all things in subjection under His (Jesus) feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Let’s explore the rest of this book and our Father through these passages.
In Ephesians 2 (NASB) – Made Alive in Christ
But God (our Father), being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He (our Father) loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and (our Father) raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He (our Father) might show the surpassing riches of His (our Father) grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God (our Father); not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
For we are His (our Father) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God (our Father) prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s (our Father) household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God (our Father) in the Spirit.
Who is Paul’s great prayer in the 3rd chapter directed toward?
In Ephesians 3 (NASB) – Paul’s Stewardship
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father (our Father), from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He (our Father) would grant you, according to the riches of His (our Father) glory, to be strengthened with power through His (our Father) Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God (our Father).
Now to Him (our Father) who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him (our Father) be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Notice who Paul bowed his knee to? Notice who has the riches of glory? Notice the fullness? Notice who is able? Notice who has glory forever? Our Father.
And finally, those famous closing words about the armor…
In Ephesians 6 (NASB) – The Armor of God
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God (our Father), so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Therefore, take up the full armor of God (our Father), so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (our Father).
When you now begin to notice this emphasis, you’ll see it everywhere in the Word of God.
You must be in the Word.
Put away the other books, the audio-video, and the teachers for a time. Maybe a long time. Turn the a-musement off. Turn off the TV. Put away the computers. Ask our Father, and the Spirit of Jesus will respond.
A new friend recently told me he did exactly that. I asked him what his impressions were after this experiment. He looked very sober, didn’t hesitate a second, and replied:
“God is very serious about obedience.”
Does any of this matter? Is there a consequence to ignoring this emphasis?
It must be.
It’s important since God the Father took the time to describe it just so. Our Father in heaven is He who sits on the throne. The Lamb is with Him as They interact.
But it’s our Father who’s on the throne.
Revelation 5:13 (NASB)
And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him (our Father). who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”
And again – the great day of their wrath:
Revelation 6:16-17 (NASB)
and they (kings, great men, the strong) said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him (our Father). who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
Revelation 7:10 (NASB)
and they (martyred saints from The Great Tribulation) cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
Revelation 22:1-4 (NASB)
Then he showed me (the apostle John) a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God (our Father). and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God (our Father). and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.
Years ago, my wife and I went through an intense season of spiritual deliverance. The team who gracious and lovingly took us on spoke primarily of “Father.”
It had a refreshing and satisfying ring to it. I knew in my heart from the Word that this was so, but this was the first time I saw a group of saints naturally practice this. And dare say they too were “Pentecostals.” Lord, I do hate labels, don’t you?
Let’s pray too like Jesus Himself taught us in Matthew 6:
“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your (our Father) name. Your (our Father) kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us (our Father) this day our daily bread. And forgive us (our Father). our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us (our Father) into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours (our Father) is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’”
It’s our Father’s kingdom. It’s His eternal purpose. Our relationships and His bride, His body, are part of it. But God talks about His kingdom as the centerpiece of who He is and all that does.
The kingdom of our Father shall come. Let us obey and please our Father in all respects. And pray it’s early arrival. For Christ’s sake.
Let’s do our level best to put the Father where He belongs. In the limelight of our lives. We put things on a billboard to make them big for all to see. Can we do the same with our Father who is in heaven and on the throne?
And come quickly, our Lord Jesus. We’re waiting to greet You as You take us to our Father.
Please comment on this post right below. Feel free to write and proclaim your leadings in the Spirit in an honorable fashion.
Your friend and brother in fighting the good fight,
Saints, we’re one day closer to Home, and Him! Love Him wholeheartedly!
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Please comment on this post right below. Feel free to write and proclaim your leadings in the Spirit in an honorable fashion.
Marc White, Director, Walk Worthy Ministries, www.WalkWorthy.org