Today we’re continuing in part three of our series “The Light Has Come” and it’s really such a significant series, because it’s such an important event in the spectrum of humanity; that moment when God invaded our world, being born in a manger, and becoming the man Jesus Christ. In just two short weeks we celebrate the birth of Christ as he began his journey to the cross to die for your sin and my sin. This is what we’ve been gearing up for in this series, remembering this most significant moment in history as we have been looking at this prophetic word given by the prophet Isaiah.
As we’ve been looking to the Word of God in Isaiah chapter 9, we’re looking forward to the birth of Christ, but in a deeper way we’re considering who he is, and looking at some of the names used to describe him. You see, by ourselves we can’t figure it out, we know there’s something greater than our simple existence because of the complexity of the universe, but still we’ve never seen God, we can’t quite grasp the immensity of our Creator, so he must reveal himself to us. You and I have been constrained within the natural limitations of time and our senses and we can’t rise above that in our flesh; we can’t reach out into the supernatural realm by ourselves, we can’t have fellowship with God in the flesh, but instead God reaches down to us and does something for us that we couldn’t do for ourselves.
The Bible describes this in Ephesians chapter 2 saying, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions…” (Ephesians 2:1-5).
When we were far from God, long before we did anything right, in fact, when we were just doing our own thing, following the ways of this world, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature, and sinning against our God, the Bible says in Romans chapter 5, even before we could do anything right or wrong, “Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). And so, because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, reaches out to us, he speaks and reveals himself to us in a supernatural way. Hebrews chapter 1 tells us he revealed himself through his prophets at many times and in various ways until finally he sent his Son who is “the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being…” (Hebrews 1:3).
This morning, we’re going to look at Jesus as our Everlasting Father. He is the revelation of the Father, he is the radiance of God’s glory, and the exact representation of his being. As a matter of fact, Jesus said it this way, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father” (John 14:9). And so, the prophet Isaiah tells us in chapter 9 at verse 6, and this is such a wonderful word picture,
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father…” (Isaiah 9:6).
Suddenly, Jesus reveals himself to us in a very personal way because all of us have a father. And yet, the revelation of Jesus as the Everlasting Father may prompt images, memories, and emotions that aren’t completely positive or affirming, or maybe for you the image of your earthly father is wonderful, but the reality is that not all of us have pleasant memories of our fathers. For some of us, as we consider Jesus as our Everlasting Father it may stir up painful emotions because of our personal experience of an earthly father who wasn’t there, was never satisfied, was always angry, and who would often say things that would just tear you up inside; and so the temptation is to run and hide. Many of us struggle with our perception of our Heavenly Father, because it’s been tainted by our view of our earthly father. And when we don’t trust the nature and the goodness of our God who came to seek and save the lost our natural inclination is to run and hide just like Adam did in the garden after he had sinned. God came seeking Adam asking, “Where are you?” and Adam replied in Genesis chapter 3, verse 10,
“I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked so I hid." (Genesis 3:10)
And today, many of us like Adam, hide from God, hide from Jesus our Everlasting Father, because we look to him and we see him through the lens of our earthly father. This morning, if that’s where you are, if you’re looking to Jesus, maybe through the eyes of a victim of an abusive family situation, or a divorce, or a dad who just wasn’t there, I want you to realize that as a follower of Jesus, you’ve been adopted into the family of God, you’ve been adopted by a Father that’s perfect and holy in every way. You are God’s son or God’s daughter and you don’t need to hide from him, because he’s sinless, faithful, and he loves you. The Bible tells us that the Lord appeared to us in the past saying,
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued my faithfulness to you” (Jeremiah 31:3, Amplified).
Jesus, our Everlasting Father, is a loving and faithful Father, and yet some of us whether you realize it or not have been hiding from God. But when you understand that he loves you, that he longs for you, and that he’s drawing you to himself, you’ll stop hiding and run to him. I love the way Proverbs chapter 18 describes God,
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10).
My prayer today is that many of you will stop hiding and run to God. You’ll know the comfort, the confidence, and the security of being in the arms of your Everlasting Father. And so, what I want you to do this morning is to open your heart, to believe, to trust God, and to lay down every misconception, every false way, every hurt and fear; giving Jesus, your Everlasting Father the opportunity to reveal who he really is.
For the remainder of our time together let’s not look at him through the lens of our earthly father, but let’s look at him through the lens of the Word of God, because when we do we’re going to see our Everlasting Father, our Heavenly Father like we’ve never seen him before. And so, number one, when we look at Jesus through the lens of the Word of God, we’re going to see an Everlasting Father who is compassionate.
The Light Has Come and the Bible says in Psalm chapter 103, verse eight, Jesus, our Everlasting Father, “…is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” (Psalms 103:8).
He’s compassionate and therefore he acts; because to say you care, but not to act, is not to care at all. Therefore, Jesus was moved by compassion because all true compassion demands action. We see this time and time again; the Bible says in Mark chapter 1, a man with leprosy came to Jesus and falling on his knees before him pleaded,
“If you’re willing, you can make me clean." Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed” (Mark 1:40-41, NASU).
Jesus was moved with compassion, meaning that from deep within he felt sympathy, and therefore he stretched out his hand and healed. In Matthew chapter 14, Jesus crossed the lake and as he came to shore there was a large crowd waiting; again the Bible tells us in verse 14,
“When Jesus landed… he had compassion on them and healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14).
Jesus is compassionate, he felt for them, he was sympathetic, and therefore he was moved to action and healed their sick. Again, in Matthew chapter 20, as Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, two blind men cried out to him. Verse 32 says,
“Jesus stopped and said, "What do you want me to do for you?" They said to him, "Lord, we want our eyes to be opened." Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him” (Matthew 20:32-34, NASU).
Jesus is compassionate and therefore he acts. He’s moved with compassion. It’s the character of your Everlasting Father to move and to act on your behalf. He loves you for who you are. He looks at you and is moved with compassion.
Now some of you, you may have grown up feeling like you needed to perform for your father and you’ve taken that same principle and applied it to your relationship with God. And so, you’ve been trying to do good, you’ve been trying to gain his approval, because you feel like you have to do certain things so that God will accept you and love you. But Jesus, your Everlasting Father, sees what you are doing, he’s moved with compassion and he says to those who are working so hard to gain his approval,
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).
Your Everlasting Father wants you to find rest in him. He loves you and accepts you for who you are. He cannot love you anymore or any less than he already does, and he certainly doesn’t want you to be burdened because number two, he cares.
As a matter of fact, I would suggest that Jesus cares more than anyone else who’s ever lived. The prophet Isaiah reveals Jesus to us as the Everlasting Father so that you would know that he’s compassionate and that he cares. And when I say that he cares, what I mean is that he loves you, he’s faithful to you, he’s not angry with you, and that he will never abuse you. He cares and yet many of us struggle to believe. We find it difficult because of our earthly fathers, we find it difficult to care like Jesus cares, and we certainly find it difficult to care for our neighbor as ourselves. However, our Everlasting Father is not limited by the things of this world. The Bible says,
“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him” (Nahum 1:7).
And so, we can cast all our anxiety on him and we need to because the amount of information that we’re exposed to on a daily basis is overwhelming. It’s so much so that we don’t even feel like we can really make a difference. For example, if you go through the feed on your phone, you might read about President Trump’s Jerusalem decision, fires raging in California, or the shooting at a New Mexico school. Not to mention your friend’s GoFundMe account on Facebook for their kid that needs surgery, rescue attempts for a cat in West Virginia that fell into a well, or images of Jesus in the clouds. And so, there are just so many different things that we’re processing that it makes it really difficult to care, because there are just so many things to care about.
In addition to all that, the majority of us are incredibly blessed and are in great comfort, but our blessing can become a curse and I think that some of us just need to acknowledge that. You see, so many of us have been lulled into complacency believing that it’s easier not to care, it’s easier not to get involved, because it’s just too risky. You know, if I do something I could get hurt, it could cost me and so, it’s just easier not to care. But Jesus, our Everlasting Father, is not distracted or limited by the things of this world. His attention is fixed on the goal to move us heavenward and he cares more than we could ever even imagine. As a matter of fact, in Matthew chapter 9, it tells us in verse 35,
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:35-36).
Jesus cares so much that he forsook his own comfort. He said, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). And so, Jesus knew what it was to give sacrificially, to pray for hours, and to deny himself. He knows what it is like to grieve and mourn and cry over somebody or something because he’d been blessed, not with comfort, but blessed with a burden to care. As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it, because he cared (Luke 19:41). He saw the crowds and he broke down, because he cared. He cried out, “These people are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”. He said, “I care.” “I’m the good shepherd and I will lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14-15). Jesus cares, and so, as we look at the Everlasting Father through the lens of the Word of God, we’re going to see that Jesus is compassionate, that Jesus cares, and number three, Jesus is always there.
Our Everlasting Father is always there and like a man overboard in the middle of the ocean we find ourselves in great peril. Often, we don’t even know the danger that we’re in, but the Bible tells us that at one time each and every one of us were separate from Christ and were without hope and without God in this world (Ephesians 2:12). Every one of us here this morning either were or are overboard, drifting aimlessly, making willful choices to ignore and disobey God’s laws and we’re dying. And yet, the Word of God in Zephaniah chapter 3 contains a phrase that gives us hope that Jesus is always there; and that he has the power to do whatever it takes to save you. Jesus can save you from the emptiness and the turbulence of a life away from God and even more importantly the agony of an eternity without God. The prophet says in verse 17,
“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).
This is God, the Everlasting Father, speaking to you and me. He’s the one who’s “mighty to save” and he wanted you to have the chance to grab the nail pierced hand of his Son Jesus Christ. He knew that one day you’d “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” and that you’d be gasping and clawing for the hand of heaven’s rescuer (Psalm 23:4). It’s those nail prints that remind us that he had to die so that we could live; that he took the penalty for our sin on that cross, he rose again on the third day so that all who would trust him, calling on his name, would know the fullness of life.
You see, Jesus is always there, he’s the Everlasting Father, and if we can internalize this truth deep in our hearts it’ll transform our lives. As we look at him through the lens of the Word of God, we see Jesus, an Everlasting Father, who’s compassionate, caring beyond our wildest dreams, and he’s always there. As a matter of fact, once you run into his arms, once you grab his outstretched hand, he’ll never ever let you go. God said it this way in the Bible, Hebrews chapter 13,
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Now remember, this is Jesus speaking to you and me. This is our Everlasting Father, and I want you to realize that if you’ve had a father that was inconsistent, absent, or not available that the literal Greek translation of this word never… is never. And if you’re here today alone and empty, maybe you’ve been bumped and bruised, maybe you’re bleeding, you’ve experienced heart wrenching pain all of your life; but when you run into the arms of your Everlasting Father he’s going to hold you and never ever let you go.
This morning, as we close, if you can look to Jesus as your Everlasting Father. If you can look through the lens of the Word of God, seeing an Everlasting Father that is full of compassion, a Father that cares beyond what you could ever imagine. The Bible even says he has plans for you, plans to prosper you, to give you a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
Please hear this and allow it to sink into your soul. Jesus is compassionate, he cares for you, and he’s an Everlasting Father who’s always there. Even in the midst of your most painful past, Jesus was always there, reaching and waiting for you to give up, to stop struggling and resisting, and to surrender your life. My prayer this week has been that many of you will surrender your life completely to Jesus Christ. I pray that you’ll experience his compassion like never before, that you’ll know the care of your Everlasting Father, and that your lives would be transformed because he’ll never leave you or forsake you.
Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church
303 West Lincoln Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
December 10, 2017
Graphics, notes, and commentary from LifeChurch, Ministry Pass, Preaching Library, and PC Study Bible.
Scripture from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.