By: Ng Shaowen
Here’s an abridgement of Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Fatherhood of God“. This convicted me alot as i didn’t have a great earthly father. 6500+ word classic based on the beginning of the all-familiar Lord’s Prayer.
Delivered September 12, 1858 by Charles Haddon Spurgeon (at age 24)
“Our Father in heaven…” – Matthew 6:9 (ESV)
I doubt our Saviour intended the Prayer to be massively repeated amongst professing Christians. Jesus Christ taught it to His disciples, and this is a prayer adapted to the truly converted. In the lids of an ungodly man, it is entirely out of place. Jesus said, “You are of your father the devil”! So how can you mock God by saying “Our Father in heaven..”? When you presumptuously and blasphemously approach Him by calling Him your Father when your heart is attached to sin, you prove yourself to be a child of wrath! When you neither love or honour Him, calling Him your Father is an abomination to Him.
I don’t even think it was supposed to be used by Christ’s own disciples as a constant prayer. The Lord’s Prayer, for me, was a model offered by Christ. However, just like an architect, when he forms a model of a building he intends to erect using plaster or wood, he never expects us to live in the model. Likewise, if i have a map, i am not a traveler if i put my fingers across two points of the map. And so when we use this prayer, it is not to the omission of others! There are obvious, separate distinct sins to confess, and other Spirit-led conversations with God.
However, let none despise this prayer as it is matchless. If we must have other forms of prayer, the Lord’s Prayer is first, foremost, and chief. Let us draw near the throne of grace and let the Holy Spirit teach us how to pray.
As we come to the text, there’re several things we need to notice. “Our Father in heaven” denotes sonship, and brotherhood – the double relationship. Next, there is the “spirit of adoption” whereby we can cry, “Our Father”.
First, the double relationship implied in the text
Firstly – Sonship
How are we sons and daughers of God? I believe, in this prayer, we are to come beforeGod, not as Father through creation, but Father through adoption and new birth.
God has created many things. But are the earth, sea and fullness thereof His children? You say these are not beings. What about the angels? High and holy are they, but “For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you…”? – Heb 1:5. It needs something beyond creation to constitute a Father-child relationship. “Our Father in heaven” means we are dopted into His family. He has washed us, cleansed us, given us new names and a new spirit, making us join heirs with Christ, our Big Brother through sovereign, unmerited grace.
Regeneration by the Holy Spirit
We’re born and adopted into a new family by the faith of God’s election, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. If God be my Father, oh, how He loves me! The best of Fathers. Oh fathers, perhaps you don’t know how much you love your children. You hurt when you’re ready to chasten and discipline your children. What more, then, the unfathomable abyss of the love of God to you, unwilling as He might be, by sending His innocent Son to die for you, so you may have eternal life? Look out at the moon and stars and I am certain you will say, “What is man, that you should be mindful of him” – Psalm 8:4.
Duty of love to God
Oh, if we’re God’s children, will you not love your Father? What child is there that doesn’t love the Father? Shall we not say, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” – Psalm 73:25.
Duty of obedience to God
When we say “Our Father in heaven”, it is not for me to rise up in rebellion against His wishes. If He be a Father, i shall note his commands and reverentially obey. If He says “Do this”, let me do it, because I love Him. If He says “Don’t do it”, let me avoid it. Good works don’t make us acceptable to God. We are only acceptable because of Jesus Christ.
Sonship is never violated by temptation or sin
A man has a child; that child is suddenly bereaved of its senses and becomes incapable of mental judgment. Is that child no more a child, still? What more then, through our foolishness and sin, are we not children of God? Thanks be unto God, that we are still His children! God’s children are God’s chilren, and shall be even unto the end. Nothing can sever that sacred tie, or divide us from His heart.
Fatherhood of God is common to all his children
From the greatest to the most little, we are God’s children. David, Peter, Paul, are of the family of the Most High; and so are you. You may have children. One may be an adult, one an infant. “Which ones of these are your kids?” “Both are,” you say. Let this cheer and comfort us, that one may be spiritually more mature than other, but all are children of God, and are able to say, “Our Father in heaven”.
Innumerable privileges being the children of God
Time will fail me if I were to attempt to list. “The world is ours, and worlds to come; Earth is our lodge, and heaven our home” God is rich, without a limit to His wealth. God is blessed, without a boundary to His bliss. All this, and more than I can enumerate, is involved in our being able to say, “Our Father in heaven”
Secondly – Brotherhood
Our Father means there is a great many in the family.
When you pray that prayer, remember that you have a good many of brothers and sister that do not know the Father yet. When you say “Our Father”, think of the many brothers and sisters that are in the dens and caves of Satan, intoxicated with the spirit of the devil. Pray for those who do not know the Lord.
That also includes God’s children that differ from us in doctrine! Ah! There are millions of differences; but yet we are God’s children! I was in a prayer meeting, and there was these two people, one Calvinist and one Wesleyan. They all began their prayers with “Our Father.”
That also includes praying for the poor. For our Father is the Father of all, rich and poor. Though they are poor, but they are rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom. Put them all in the same prayer, and say, “Our Father”
That also includes praying for people outside our countries. Those people who are in faraway lands, scattered like salt in the sea, pray for them!
Don’t say, “Our Father” and look upon the other brothers and sisters with a frown or sneer. Get up and do something! Help the needy, cheer the sick, comfort the faint-hearted, do good, minister unto the suffering people wherever you find them! Be what you are on your feet what you are on your knees, so that you are a brother unto all the brotherhood of Christ, a brother born for adversity, like your Master Himself.
Thirdly – Spirit of Adoption
Honestly, I am extremely puzzled and bewildered on how to explain tot he ungoldy what is the spirit, except for an analogy. A parentless child will have great difficulty to make him understand what are the feelings of a child towards its father. Poor child, he has been under teachers and governors all his life. There is a nameless charm here once he receives a Father’s love!
“The spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father!”. I cannot tell you how it feels, but if you’ve felt it, you will definitely know it. Oh! It is like nothing like it beneath the sky, save heaven. Heaven’s bliss is in that word, “My Father”, when applied to God, and when said by us with an unfaltering tongue, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
My hearers, do you have the spirit of adoption? If not, you are miserable. May God the Father lead you to the cross of Christ! May He bathe you in the blood, so you have the honour of entering the family!
Lastly – A double argument
“Our Father” means “Lord, hear what I have got to say. You are my Father.” The only reason that God will listen is beause He indeed is our Father.
“Our Father” means “Lord, give me what I want.” If I come to a stranger, I have no right to expect he will give it to me. However, He is my Father, He will, He must hear my prayers, and answer the voice of my crying, supply all my needs out of the richness of His fullness in Christ Jesus the Lord, according to His will.
Go away with that upon your mind, and rejoice. But if you love not God and fear Him not, go home, please I ask of you, to confess your sins and seek mercy through the blood of Christ, and through His cleansing and love, bring you to His house, rejoicing!