I want to talk to you about something important. You see, I think you have a unique opportunity to make some money by following my advice with a specific investment in the stock market. Now, if I under any circumstances ever say anything like that to you, RUN! Why? Because you should not trust me in things in which I don’t know what I am talking about. And trust me on this: I don’t know anything about the stock market! Trust is warranted if the person you are trusting knows what they are doing and are experts in that field.
But what about trusting in God? Some say we can trust God when it comes to spiritual or religious matters, but in other areas of life God isn’t involved enough in our lives to follow His advice. Some trust God to lead the church and their spiritual life, but not other areas of their lives. This morning, as we continue our study of the section in the Heidelberg Catechism on the apostle’s Creed, we look at God the Father, the first person of the Trinity. Can we trust him? The answer is resoundingly “YES!” Why? Because He is God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. Let’s read Ephesians 3:1-19. We will focus on verses 14-16.
I. The first thing we want to notice is God is the essence of fatherhood.
What does fatherhood mean? Often when we think of fathers we think of our own fathers or fathers whom we know. We know that fathers are supposed to be kind, compassionate and loving. We think of earthly fathers because that is what we hopefully see and experience. And then when we read in the Bible of God as Father, we logically assume that God as Father is like a greatly enlarged and perfected humanly father. Earthly fathers care for their children, so God perfectly takes care of His children. Earthly fathers love their children, so God perfectly loves His children. But we didn’t come up with the idea of fatherhood and use it to describe God.
Rather God is Father “from whom his whole family in heaven and earth derives its name.” A family is a group of people who share a father or a common ancestor. God is the Father of all of mankind, the whole family He has created. The word family comes from the same root as fatherhood. Paul is saying that God as Father is the One who defines what fatherhood really is. Any type of fatherhood you can imagine comes from God our Father in heaven. That is the meaning of “derives its name.” God the Father is the first or model Father. It is this aspect of fatherhood that we want to focus on this morning. In Ephesians 3:14-16, we have some very clear insights into what it means for God to be our Father.
II. What is seen first is that God is Almighty Father.
Paul says in verse 14: “For this reason I kneel before the Father.” Paul has been talking about the greatness of the grace of Christ which brings life to those who were dead in sin. God sent His Son, Jesus, to suffer and die to bring us forgiveness. He has brought us into a new relationship with Him and with others who believe. This “reason” points to the greatness of what God has been doing in the lives of Christians and in the church.
Moreover, verse 16 says that the Father is one who has glorious riches. This means that God has inexhaustible glory, that which makes God, God. God has an infinite supply of wisdom, power and love. There is no one who is as great as God is or who has more glory than God has. In fact, God is the source of all power and of all things.
That is what Question and Answer 26 is saying. The question asks: “What do you believe when you say, “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth”? The answer states: “That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who out of nothing created heaven and earth and everything in them, who still upholds and rules them by his eternal counsel and providence is my God and Father because of Christ his Son.” God created this world out of nothing. And He continues to uphold and rule over it with His unending power. God is the God of all glorious riches, the Almighty, all-powerful who can do all things!
III. But notice that while God is Almighty God, God is also our loving Father.
And because God is our Father, we are able to pray to him, go to Him as our Father. We can bring our needs to Almighty God in heaven and call Him Father. Because of what God has done for us in Jesus we can pray to God in Jesus’ name. God is our loving, perfect Father whom we can call “Abba,” or “Dad.” Second, we can be assured that God will answer us from out of his great store-house of glorious riches. Almighty God who has all the glorious riches is also willing to share those riches with His children. God will not lose anything by giving the things Paul is asking for.
For what reason? So that we may be strengthened in power in our inner being. Our inner being is not just our soul or personality. The inner being is the new life which the Spirit has created in us. Elsewhere, Paul teaches that the inner being is that part of us that is being recreated to become more and more like Jesus Himself. So what Paul is asking is that God shares His wisdom and power so that we may become more and more like Jesus whose Spirit is already living inside of us. That is God the Father’s goal for our lives. He is willing and eager to give us all that we need so that we will become more and more like Christ Jesus, His Son. God is a great and almighty God who can do all things, but He is also a loving Father who enables us to be what is truly best for us.
IV. For that reason we can trust our heavenly Father.
The last part of Answer 26 says what we can specifically trust God for. “I trust him so much that I do not doubt he will provide whatever I need for body and soul, and he will turn to my good whatever adversity he sends me in this sad world.” We can trust that God will provide for us. That includes material and physical needs like jobs, food, shelter, and clothing. God will take care of us on this earth and provide whatever we need for body and soul; we can fully believe that and trust God for that! That calls for a complete willingness to give ourselves over to Him. Go watch a family playing together in a swimming pool sometime. The father is in the water and the children are standing on the edge of the pool, dripping wet and giggling. One at a time, again and again, they leap out over the water, trusting completely that their father will catch them. He doesn’t disappoint. There may be a few near misses, but the father is focused on his task and is determined to be reliable. And he is. God will always be there to catch us when we trust in him in all things.
Moreover, we can also trust that God will turn to good whatever adversity he sends us in this sad world. Now think about that a moment. Does God really send adversity to us? Does God send sickness, unemployment and problems to us? God does send us trouble and adversity just as God allows Satan and our own sin to cause us problems and grief. But this opening statement of the Apostles’ Creed says that we believe in God Almighty who creates and controls all things. That means that God controls and guides all things; yes, even the bad things. But we must remember that God is also our Father who loves us deeply and will not do anything that will be truly harmful to us. Whatever God allows or does is for our own good and for our own benefit. God’s goal is to strengthen our inner being so that we become more and more like Christ Himself and that may well involve hardship and adversity. But we can trust God our Father that he will watch over us in times of hardship as well and will turn this to good.
Why? The last statement of the Question 26 summarizes this nicely. “He is able to do this because he is almighty God; he desires to do this because he is a faithful Father.” What a powerful statement of faith for a believer to make! God is the great God who can do all things. There is nothing He cannot do. God is also our loving Father who will always do what is best for His children. He desires to do all that is needed for the good of His children. There is nothing that he will withhold from us if it is really for our good. God is truly the perfect Father who perfectly cares for all His children.
Now perhaps you have trouble accepting that. You look at your circumstances in your lives and you wonder if God isn’t playing some cruel games with you. Please know that God is your loving Father who not only can do all things, but will do whatever is best for you. God does love you and wants what is best for you, even if we can’t understand it. And the important thing to remember this morning is that God can and will do whatever it takes to do what is truly best for us. Are you living your life trusting in God our Almighty Father completely?