The Father Heart of God (Part 1) Luke 12 & 15

  • Because our parents were imperfect, we can have problems with God as a parent figure.
  • It is so important to correct this so that we can experience the intimacy and security that the Father offers us.

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  • This is the first week of two sermons on this topic—it is too important to squeeze it all into one!

The Father Heart of God (Part 1)

  1. Problems with God as a Parent Figure
  2. Why this is so Important
  3. The Teaching of Jesus

1. Problems with God as a Parent Figure


  • You may have heard Christians saying at different times that everything we do should be Christ -centered
    • and that is absolutely right.
  • In the last few decades, there has been a renewed emphasis on the Holy Spirit
    • an emphasis that had been lost for many years
  • But the Father rarely receives due emphasis
    • Paul teaches almost as much about the Father as about Jesus
    • In fact, one of the main purposes of the cross was to reconcile us to the Father [Eph 2:16]
  • Many Christians find if much easier to relate to Jesus than to God the Father
    • Sometimes we are more comfortable praying to him because we feel he is more approachable than the Father
    • So this raises the question—why do we find God the Father less approachable than Jesus ?
  • There are some very clear Scriptures, but we can have trouble taking them into our hearts, e.g.

2 Thessalonians 2

  1. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace,
  2. comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

1 John 3

  1. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
  • God the Father is a parent figure, and all of us have had imperfect parents
    • Now I know that some of us have had wonderful parents
      • but even the very very best human father or mother is not going to be up to the job of giving us an image of God
    • The problem when we come to our Heavenly Father is that we bring all kinds of baggage with us
      • We bring our experiences of imperfect parents, who can’t really love us as they should because they are flawed and human
    • What we have to do is to detach our imperfect parent experiences from our image of God
      • I want to emphasize that this is possible, even with the most abusive parents

Our Earthly Parents

  • What kind of flaws do you think earthly parents can have that we can unintentionally project onto God the Father ?

Some Parental Flaws

  • Judgemental
  • Love based on performance
  • Inattentive
  • Emotionally distant
  • Absent
  • Angry and critical
  • Harshly punish
  • Abusive

2. Why this is so Important

Why this is so Important
Because it affects:

  • Our intimacy with God
  • Our prayer life
  • Our anxiety/security
  • Our sense of value and destiny

Our intimacy with God

Mark 14 – Jesus’ trust and intimacy

  1. And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
  2. And he said, “Abba (daddy), Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
  • An autobiography I read recently about a man who grew up with an abusive father

Our anxiety/security

  • One of the main things that good parents provide is security

Secure in the Father’s Love

  • Loves to bless and provide for us
  • Not earned —nothing we can do to make him love us more/less
  • Slow to anger
  • He enjoys the relationship with us!

Luke 12:6–7, 24–32 God will Provide

  1. Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight.
  2. Indeed, the hairs of your head are all counted. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
  1. Consider the ravens: They don’t sow or reap; they don’t have a storeroom or a barn; yet God feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than the birds?
  2. Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying?
  3. If then you’re not able to do even a little thing, why worry about the rest?
  1. “Consider how the wildflowers grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these.
  2. If that’s how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will he do for you ​— ​you of little faith?
  3. Don’t strive for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious.
  4. For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.
  1. “But seek his kingdom, and these things will be provided for you.
  2. Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom.


Our sense of value and destiny

  • More on this next time, but one of the verses I will look at is not being slaves but sons or daughters
    • Our identity flows out of this, our position, our destiny
    • This is critically important!

3. The Teaching of Jesus

Our Heavenly Father

  • We must take our eyes off from our earthly fathers, no matter how imperfect they were
    • and let the Scriptures describe the true father
  • The Scriptures sometimes present a deliberate contrast between the two

Luke 11
Better than an earthly father

  1. What father among you, if your child asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish?
  2. Or if they ask for an egg, will give them a scorpion?
  3. If you then, although you are evil (comparatively), know how to give good gifts to your children,
    how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
  • Jesus was very intentional about helping us approach the Father.

John 14 CSB

  1. “Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.”
  2. Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time and you do not know me, Philip? The one who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
  3. Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who lives in me does his works.
  4. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me…
  • What Jesus is essentially saying is that the the gentle and loving character he displays is a perfect reflection of the Father
  • Jesus came to earth to show forth the Father’s love
  • Parable of “the lost son”, or better, “The loving, forgiving and rejoicing father”

Luke 15:11–24 Parable of the Loving Father

  1. He also said, “A man had two sons.
  2. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate I have coming to me.’ So he distributed the assets to them.
  3. Not many days later, the younger son gathered together all he had and traveled to a distant country, where he squandered his estate in foolish living.
  4. After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he had nothing.
  5. Then he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs.
  6. He longed to eat his fill from the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one would give him anything.
  7. When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger!
  8. I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight.
  9. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired workers.” ’
  1. So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him.
  2. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.’
  1. “But the father told his servants, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
  2. Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast, 24 because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! ’ So they began to celebrate.


  • If you are not a Christian right now, then this is the perfect picture of what you need to do...
  • Let’s use this beautiful story right now to come to the Father in prayer
    • Take a moment to imagine the joy on his face that you are coming towards him
    • He is running towards you!
    • He hugs you as we start to pray