MSG: Get A Grip on your Father’s Will

This message was presented on March 24, 2013 as the second of a three part series about God the Father related to the Resurrection event.  Jesus went through the resurrection tumult, because He had a Grip on Father greatness, on the Father’s will and the final message for March 31, on the Father’s Promise.  Considerations for questions at the bottom will be posted on March 28.

Get A Grip on your Father’s Will

Luke 22:39-46

I remember it like it was yesterday.  My dad and older brother were standing at the entrance of our house, the inside door was open, the screen door was closed and the rain was coming down pretty hard.  Dad and Gary, my older brother, were facing off and it seemed like the blows were about to happen. I was in eighth grade, my brother was a junior in high school.  I was standing in the dining room peering around the corner to watch and listen to what was about to happen.

      They were talking about what Gary could do and not do in the house and in life.  I was young enough, that I just did what dad and mom said.  I didn’t care about staying out late at night. I didn’t know what opportunities existed.

We lived in a new addition and there were new homes going up behind us between our house and the great fields where we built forts.  We used scrap lumber to build our castles and play empire against other neighborhood rivalries.  Gary was old enough and had his driver’s license.  He didn’t think he needed to be in at a certain time, do chores any more or eat with the family at dinner, or something like that.  I was young. I didn’t even consider those as options. I like to eat.

      I’ll never forget the anger my dad needed to express at that moment.  I remember him saying he was willing to scrap it out right there in the house.  Dad wasn’t a big man.  My brother had surpassed him in height by that time, however.  But my dad needed to get his attention and I had heard about dad’s scrapping as a kid during the depression.  I know he sure got my attention.  I didn’t want to go through the arguments they had.  I didn’t always, however, want to do my father’s will.

      When we moved onto White Bear Lake, my brother graduated from high school that year and went off to college.  That left a lot of the lake and yard work to me. Huge trees meant over a hundred bags of leaves.  The lake meant weeds floating in and needing to be piled up.  It was the blessing of living on a lake, but it was work.  The annual putting out of the 120 foot dock and taking it back in was a chore my friends didn’t have. 

Have you ever heard of Minnesnowda? With my brother away, that meant much of the show shoveling rested with me. There were a few years, when the piles on either side of our driveway were up to eight feet high.  We prided ourselves on how well we kept the driveway clear.  It also meant removing snow from the house, garage and carport with a snow rake and shovels.  Fortunately, it rarely ever snowed when it was below zero, but blizzard conditions were not pleasant.  I wanted to do what my dad expected, but my flesh didn’t want all that work.  How do you get a grip on your Father’s will?

1)      Jesus’ Father gave Him strength to press for you Luke 22:39-40

It was Jesus’ custom to go out of Jerusalem to Gethsemene on the Mount of Olives. Gethsemene means “oil press,” which is a term where olives are put into a press and the oil is pressed out.  Olive oil is wonderful for cooking, eating, burning in a light and topical medicinal purposes.  The “Oil Press” is where we see the true humanity of Jesus squeezed under extreme pressure and the “oil” or the “Holy Spirit control” come out of Jesus by His submission to the Father’s will.

39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. (Luke 22:39)

Jesus had just eaten the Last Supper with the disciples and while they participated, they still did not understand what was about to happen.  They were believers, except for Judas, yet they still did not understand the unfolding events.  While the disciples followed Jesus, Jesus stood alone with God, knowing what needed to be done and pressing forward for you. God the Holy Spirit strengthened Him to press forward for you.

40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:40)

Jesus came to “the” place.  This was a particular place.  The disciples had been there before. It was familiar to them.  It was familiar enough that they became complacent and were not vigilant.  Jesus left the disciples to pray and He went alone.  Jesus commanded them 1) to pray so that they 2) not enter temptation. Someone might be reverently sarcastic and ask, “What were they going to do, steal from a store? Get into a fight? Throw rocks at people? Look at pornography on the internet?” No.  They would be tempted to not act in faith. Paul writes, “…for whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Rom 14:23)  What is faith?

Faith is dependence on the Lord.  Faith at salvation is dependence on what Jesus did. It is trusting what Jesus did on the cross.  As Paul says, “For by grace are you saved through faith…” (Eph. 2:8-9) We are also to live by faith. Faith in life is dependence on the Holy Spirit. Paul writes, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Eph. 5:18)

The temptation warning was a warning of trusting self rather than God; it was lack of depending on God.  Prayer is dependence on God.  Pray is an external form of faith or dependence on God. That’s why prayer and prayer meetings are crucial to spiritual growth.  People don’t think about getting to a major sports event 30-45 minutes early.  Yet people often run into church at the last minute. 

Jesus left the Last Supper and ventured to the vulnerable place where He would be arrested.  Jesus was depending on Father greatness.  He was willing to go through the worst to receive the best. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus.  The writer to the Hebrews records, “2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:2)

When you get a grip on your Father’s will, God will give you the strength to go through your trial.  You need that grip, because the Father may put you in a place for you to reveal His glory.


2)      Jesus’ Father wanted Jesus to hang on the cross for you Luke 22:41-44

Now, how could the Father want to hang Jesus on the cross?  Even if it is for you?  Would the Father put His only Son on the cross?

 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. (Is. 53:10)

The word for bruise means to crush.  The Father put the Son on the cross to crush Him for the sake of our sins.  In fact, it was the pleasure of the Lord that prospered in His hand.  Why?  Because it brought everyone who would believe on Jesus to be with Him forever. Jesus went to be alone in prayer.


41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, (Luke 22:41)

Jesus withdrew to pray alone.  He is teaching you that your faith is your faith.  You have to make the decisions yourself.  You can have support, but prayer and faith are personal decisions.  Additionally, He was on His knees.  He was in anguish.  He had become weak.  He knew He didn’t have the power.  He was totally dependent on the Holy Spirit.  Why did He have to be dependent on the Holy Spirit? He was our model of dependency to show us there is NO glory to God without total dependence on His Spirit. Jesus said,

42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

The word “take” means “to remove” or “carry alongside,  lead aside.” Then Jesus requests that the cup be taken “from me,” literally “from the ultimate source of Me.”  He DID NOT want this (from His humanity.) That is not sin to not want something; it would have been sin if He refused His Father’s will.

This verse has two major implications.  The first is that Jesus did not want the cross? Why did He not want the cup, which was used as a symbol of the cross?  (God would pour His wrath into Him on the cross, like pouring into a cup)  He knew He would be identified as sin, He knew He would bear the penalty of sin. He knew the anguish of separation from the Father, so that He would cry out for three hours in darkness.  He was silent through the ridicule. He was silent through the beating.  He was silent through the whipping.  He cried out when He became sin for you and me, when He was “separated” from God the Father.

The second implication regarded the Father, who also didn’t want the cross.  Jesus said, “If it is Your will…” and the implication is that it was God’s will that the cross be removed, but that is not what the Father determined.  The Father didn’t want it, but He chose to hang Jesus on the cross for you.  The holiness of God is more important than any personal desire.  Remember, we are talking about the infinity of God and it will not be fully understandable.  Note how Jesus’ desire is expressed physically.

43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.

 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:43-44)

When it says that Jesus was in agony, the word describes exactly that – Jesus was in agony, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  This was not a walk in the park or a tip toe through the tulips.  This was the worst agony any human being ever experienced and the Father hung Jesus on the cross for you.

Luke is the one gospel writer that records the medical agony of Jesus.  Jesus’ prayer is pictured as with drops of blood. This is a medical condition called “hematohidrosis.” One writer explained this in medical terms,

Around the sweat glands, there are multiple blood vessels in a net-like form. Under the pressure of great stress the vessels constrict. Then as the anxiety passes the blood vessels dilate to the point of rupture. The blood goes into the sweat glands. As the sweat glands are producing a lot of sweat, it pushes the blood to the surface – coming out as droplets of blood mixed with sweat.

As Jesus prayed, He was in a battle with His flesh.  He did not want the cross, but He was getting a grip on the Father’s will.  As He gripped the Father’s will, the Holy Spirit sustained Him and the blood vessels ruptured.  The further constriction forced the ruptured blood vessels to spill out from His skin onto the ground.  Jesus was willing to hang for you.

Men, are you willing to hang where God places you?  This is not just being tough to get a job done.  It is the strong calling at home to get children to follow your godly lead.  It is the challenge of the second half of your daily championship.  Your work is the first half of the game.  When you arrive home you enter the second half of the game each day, although it is not a game.  Remember, no game is ever won in the first half.  Your real battle is how you lead your family.  You may be very successful in your job, but if you lose at home, you’ve lost far more than what you can lose from a job.  Are you ready for the 2nd half of the game?

            This is the calling to lead your wife spiritually.  It is your leadership to discuss Scripture with her.  It is your calling to lead your children to understand Father greatness.  You have to be as tough as nails, but gentle as a shepherd.  You have to be fixed to pure holiness, but tender to reach the heart.  You have to be unwavering with God’s righteousness and merciful at humble repentance.

We saw this in the Lord’s relationship with Abraham.  The Lord said, “…I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice,  (Gen. 18:19)   It is the ability to command your household WITH compassion.

Jesus showed He was dependent on the Father’s will and then He exposed the complacency of the disciples.

3)      Jesus’ Father left Him without men who would stand with Him Luke 22:45-46

45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow.

 46 Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:45-46)

We often put the disciples down, because they fell asleep and didn’t remain alert for Jesus.  Notice the text says, “They were sleeping from sorrow”, i.e. they were worn out; emotionally drained. They had just experienced the Lord riding into Jerusalem and the people shouting Hosanna.  They were hoping that Jesus would deliver them from the Roman oppression.  Jesus is not mad, critical or making a cute cut. He knows the answer to His question.  They need to ask themselves the question.  Their temptation is to make decisions apart from the Lord.  They need to be in prayer over the next few hours.  They would be tested and they would run.  Remember, failing isn’t the problem as much as not returning to Jesus and strengthening the brothers as Jesus exhorted Peter,

32 “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

 33 But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”

 34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” (Luke 22:32-34)

 

Men, are you on spiritual red alert for your family?  Does your wife know that you would never waiver from God’s Word?  Does she know that she can count on you to pursue Jesus for your decisions?  Does she know that you will lead your family to Father greatness?

Are you willing to go through any situation to raise your wife and family to Father greatness?  You may have friends like Peter who tell you they will stand with you, but leave you on your own in suffering and crucifixion.  Yet, you also may not have someone standing with you, or holding you accountable.  Will you say, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup from Me, nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)  Are there men willing to do that?

Father’s, men, let’s look at what we’re like. This first slide exposes where most of the problems come,

• Men commit 90% of major crimes

• Men commit 100% of rapes

• Men commit 95% of burglaries

• Men commit 91% of the offenses against the family

• Men comprise 94% of drunk drivers

Source: Raising a Modern-Day Knightby Robert Lewis, pg. 46

That does not speak very highly of men. 

            It’s interesting when you compare Christian and non-Christians there is often little difference,

CHRISTIAN & TECHNOLOGY

FACT: Christians own about the same amount of technology as the general population

·         Born Again adults spend about seven times more hours each week watching television than they do participating in spiritual things, like Bible reading, prayer and worship

·         Born Again adults spend twice as much money on entertainment than they donate to their church

·         Born Again adults spend much more time surfing the Net than they do conversing with God in prayer

So the question exists, “Where are the men?”  Barna responds,

Where Are The Men?

·         26 Million Men Attend Church

·         68 Million Do Not Attend Church

#1 Reason… Men do Not Find Church to be Relevant to Meet Their Needs

Source: Barna Research Group

Some people might say, “Okay, so what difference does it make? Does it really matter that men are not involved in life or ministry?”

The Power of Influence

Attending Church First Families Follow

100 Children 1.7%

100 Mothers 18%

100 Fathers 93%

This chart is saying that if you have 100 kids that are won to Christ, then 1.7% of the families of those children will also be won to Christ.   If you win 100 women to Christ, then 18% of the families will be won to Christ.  But if you win 100 men to Christ, then 93% of the families will also be won to Christ.  I’ll explain more of that next week.

            The problem today is that we often mix up the order or the priority for reaching men.  For many churches, the church pours their resources and people assets into winning children and then winning women, hoping that men will follow.  God’s order is that we should reach men, who will then draw their families to church.

The Order to Reach People

Gods Order                                                  The Church

Man                                                                Child

   V                                                                     V

Woman                                                           Woman

   V                                                                     V

Child                                                               Man   

            Richard Baxter makes a clear statement regarding the importance of the father person for the family,

“The husband must be the principal teacher of the family, he must instruct them, examine them, and rule them about manners of God.” – Richard Baxter

But not everyone is that wise.  There are many in the world who are duped by the god of this world, deceived that man can handle things himself and make foolish comments, like Rousseau did in the 1700s,

“If there are laws for adult life, there should be laws for childhood, which teach obedience to the others; and just as the reason of each man is not left to be the sole judge of his duties, so too the education of children should not be left to their fathers’ capacities and prejudices, especially since it is even more important to the state than to their fathers…the state remains while the family is dissolved.” – Rousseau (deist-humanist)

Rousseau was way ahead of his time for far-left thinking.  Families and fathers may fail, but that does not discount God’s order of the father’s being responsible in their families for communicating truth to their children and the following generations.

            Jonathan Edwards clearly understood the principle,

“Family education and order are some of the chief means of grace, if these fail in the home all other means are likely to prove ineffectual.” – Jonathan Edwards

In fact, George Whitefield said there should be a longing for holiness in our families until family devotions and reverence returns.  He wrote,

“We must for ever despair of seeing a primitive spirit of piety revived in the world until we are so happy to see a revival of family religion.” – George Whitefield

How do we see this?  How are men held responsible?  Paul places responsibility for child rearing on to one person’s shoulders,

4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4)

Notice it says, “fathers.”  Obviously in single parent homes, whoever is parenting must fulfill that responsibility.  Fathers are responsible for 1) training – which means to bring the child up under the authority of the parents so he will learn to obey God and 2) admonition, which word means to “put into the mind” and refers to the necessity of every parent knowing well the Scriptures first, so that he/she/they can put God’s Word into the child’s mind.  How is this done?

            We’ve studied Deuteronomy 6:1-15 several times.  The Word must be hidden in the parents soul and  every opportunity must be used to train the children. Whether sitting in the home, or walking along the way or lying down or rising up, the parents, especially fathers, must train the child to holiness.  Ultimately, the purpose is to get a grip on the Father’s will.

We all need to Get a Grip on the Father’s Will!

I’d like to be able to tell you I was a perfect son of my father.  After my father died last year, I mentioned to my mother some of the things I shouldn’t have done, some of them.  She said, “Bryan, how could you?”  We laugh now about it, but we don’t really talk any more about it.  We do talk about life now and how my father desired to live an honest and ethical life.  I never wanted to confront my dad, like my brother did or get on my dad’s bad side.  I wanted to eat.  But I was more subtle about doing wrong things.  I now know how moral and ethical my father was and what he was trying to teach me growing up. 

I’m glad he was strict with me to do what needed to be done. I’m glad when I complained about painting the house in the hot sun, he didn’t give in.  I’m glad when I mistreated my little sister, he came down hard on me.  I didn’t want to do many things my dad made me do, but I liked to eat. I wonder if we fathers are too easy on our children.

      Men, do you know the Father’s will to live out Father greatness?  Are you going over and over the message from last Sunday and answering the Message Based Discussion Questions?  Are your children understanding that there is NOTHING more important to you than that they learn Father greatness from you?  Do you talk about Jesus more than you talk about sports?  Do you talk about what you are learning in your relationship with Jesus, more than bemoaning the downward spiraling of our nation?  Do you command your children and household to God’s holiness in the compassionate mercy of a shepherd? 

      Twice each week, lead your family in discussions about the questions and give them opportunity to show you how they are applying them to their lives?  Lead them to talk about how they are applying what they are learning to life.  The enemy does NOT want you to do that.  If you are not doing that, he is winning.  If you are doing that, regardless of how well, you are letting Jesus win through you.

Rodney Atkins wrote a great song about the influence of father’s over their sons.  It’s the attitude we should all have toward God the Father of wanting to be like Him AND also being aware that younger men are watching everything we do.

 
Drivin’ through town just my boy and me
With a Happy Meal in his booster seat
Knowin’ that he couldn’t have the toy ‘til his nuggets were gone.
A green traffic light turned straight to red
I hit my brakes and mumbled under my breath.
His fries went a flyin’, and his orange drink covered his lap
Well, then my four year old said a four letter word
It started with “S” and I was concerned
So I said, “Son, now where’d you learn to talk like that?”

Chorus:
He said, “I’ve been watching you, dad ain’t that cool?
I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you.
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are.
We got cowboy boots and camo pants
Yeah, we’re just alike, hey, ain’t we dad?
I want to do everything you do. So I’ve been watching you.”

We got back home and I went to the barn
I bowed my head and I prayed real hard
Said, “Lord, please help me help my stupid self.”
Just this side of bedtime later that night
Turnin’ on my son’s Scooby-Doo nightlight.
He crawled out of bed and he got down on his knees.
He closed his little eyes, folded his little hands
Spoke to God like he was talkin’ to a friend.
And I said, “Son, now where’d you learn to pray like that?”

Chorus:
He said, “I’ve been watching you, dad ain’t that cool?
I’m your buckaroo, I want to be like you.
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are.
We like fixin’ things and holding momma’s hand
Yeah, we’re just alike, hey, ain’t we dad?
I want to do everything you do; so I’ve been watching you”

With tears in my eyes I wrapped him in a hug.
Said, “My little bear is growin’ up.”
And he said, “But when I’m big I’ll still know what to do.”

“‘Cause I’ve been watching you, dad ain’t that cool?
I’m your buckaroo, I want to be like you.
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are.
By then I’ll be strong as superman
We’ll be just alike, hey, won’t we dad
When I can do everything you do. ‘cause I’ve been watchin’ you.”

 

Message Based Discussion Questions

1)      When you were less than seven, how did you look at your dad?

Digging Deeper:

2)      Read Psalm 78:1-8.  How many generations are included in this passage? _____________  What are several admonishments and exhortations of the passage?

3)      Note Malachi 4:4-6. Whose heart must turn first? __________________  What is the context of Malachi?  What are the consequences if the exhortation is not followed?

4)      Look at Deut. 6:1-9. How many ways does it say a parent should teach their children? ____________  Based on that, what does the word diligently look like?

Applying the message to life:

 

5)      How can you help the fathers at Grace be more effective to get a grip on the Father’s will?  What specific steps can you take?

6)      How should Grace best help fathers who do not grasp the Father’s will?

7)      How can Grace best help single moms or moms who do not have husbands who are leading spiritually?

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