The Father's Heart
John 1:14-18 and Ephesians 1:3-14

Have you ever seen God?  Many people say that they experience God in nature, in the trees, mountains, flowers, animals, you name it.  I am one who agrees with that line of thinking.  As I was floating down the Howqua River on Tuesday morning on a surf mat, I couldn’t help but see the beauty of God in his creation as I gazed upon the grasses, ferns, sparkling bubbling water and tall mountain trees, all of this is part of what God pronounced good at the time of creation, but do we ever actually see God himself?

I think there are many reminders of God around his amazing and complex world, but as far as I know I’ve never seen him face to face.  Do you think though that we can know God without having been introduced to him face to face?  I think we can and do.  How do I know this, because even though we have never seen God, we have read about him in his Word, that is, in Scripture, the Bible.

Here’s a bit of a glimpse at what God is like.  I was reading a book this week by John Eldredge titled “The Heart” and read a great passage that described the kind of love that God has for his people.  He loves us so much that he gave us free will, that is the ability to choose to reject him.  Now that might sound a little strange, but when you think about it closely, true love is only possible when it is freely chosen.  You can’t force someone to love you, but when they are given the power to accept or reject you, even at great risk, it is possible.

Adam and Eve second guessed God and put that love to the test, they wanted to be more like God, not realising that they were made in his image and they disobeyed his request.  In doing so they rejected his will for them.  Ever since then we’ve tried to know God and his will for us but have been separated by sin.

The problem is, as I’ve been experiencing on and off this week and maybe you have too, is that every day we fall into some kind of desire that distracts us from knowing our loving Father in heaven or from having a relationship with him.  As all of the post Christmas and New Year sales have been happening I’m sure many of you have been excitedly justifying overspending your budget to get yourselves a bargain.  Then you may have spent time worrying about how you will pay off the credit card bill.

It doesn’t matter where the distraction of the heart comes from, when we are focussed on other things, God our Father is sitting in the wings of our lives, still loving us as we day by day reject the relationship he wants us to have with him.

Have you ever thought that the relationship that we have with our earthly Father may affect the relationship we have with our heavenly one, with God?  I’ve often heard that mentioned by people, maybe your relationship with your father was or is strained for some reason.  Just one of those is about our father’s acceptance of us and approval of us.

At the Shedmen Christmas windup we gave out another of John Eldredge’s books, this time it was the booklet, “You have what it takes.”  This little gem puts quite simply and quite plainly what every child longs to hear from their fathers.  “You have what it takes, and you are lovely.”  As children we look to our fathers for their acceptance, their approval of us and who we are as their children, we need to hear those words spoken, and regularly.  When we doubt that we struggle in various aspects of life including our self esteem and maybe even in our relationship with God.

As we heard in our first reading this morning, we are God’s adopted children through the son to the good pleasure of his will and according to the riches of his grace.  God the Father reveals to us what he thinks of us, through his son.

As we heard in our Gospel reading, the Son is close to the Father’s heart, the one who revealed him to us.  We also hear or read in Luke 3 just what the Father thinks of the son, “You are my Son, the beloved, with you I am well pleased”.  This father loves his son immensely and he lets him know it out loud, for all to hear.  He loves us so much that he gave the life of that son, to restore us to a right relationship with him.

He doesn’t accept us because of the earthly treasures we’ve built up, or because of the good things we do or say.  It is purely through his love for us, poured out for us, grace upon grace, even though we constantly turn away from him, as has been happening since the fall when Adam and Eve did it for the first time, he loves us, and wants us to receive our inheritance.

He sent his Son, the Word which became flesh and lived among us, in him we have seen HIS glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.  In the written Word given to us by God, his Son is revealed to us, and in doing so we know the Father more intimately because of who his son is and what he does – for us.

So now do you think you know a little better who our God is?  Maybe you haven’t seen his face, maybe you haven’t SEEN his face shine upon you, but just maybe through what he did for you through his son, you might realise how much he loves you.

Through all this we get to know the Father’s heart, a heart of love, of compassion, of grace and truth.

No one has ever seen God.  It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart who has made him known.