Sons and Daughters

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In this message, we learn what it means to be sons and daughters in the kingdom.

Everybody, what a great Easter we had last weekend! Anybody enjoy Easter last weekend? It was incredible. We had six services as every single service was packed, front to back, side to side. We were at max capacity at all six services. It was incredible. And here is what I want to do. I want to say, “Man, thank you.” Thanks for being a church that gets it; a church of people who are willing to take their next steps on their journey with Jesus. Thanks for being willing to give up your seat and go to inconvenient service times, so more people can come to find out about Jesus. Thanks for being willing to serve. Thanks for being willing to give. Thanks for parking in faraway parking lots [Laughs] and taking shuttle buses. Thanks for doing all kinds of things to make it easy for other people to come to know Jesus. You all cared a whole lot about somebody’s somebody last week and it showed, because we had six incredible services where a whole lot of people got to meet Jesus. And I just want to start by saying thank you.

Thanks for being a part of a church that makes it exciting for me to be a part of, that makes it exciting for you to be a part of. Listen; God tells us that if we are faithful with the little things, He will entrust us with much. And so when we’re faithful with the people that God brings into this place, He is going to trust us with even more in the kingdom of God to bring people to the name of Jesus. So I just want to start by saying, “Thank you. Because of you thousands and thousands of people last week got to experience the presence of God and got to hear about Jesus Christ.” I mean, you all just were incredible people. That’s what I’m trying to say. You came ready to worship. That was a big deal. I’m telling you; every service you guys came in. You were ready to worship. I always tell you; worship is not always about you. Sometimes you don’t feel like worshipping. Worship for the person next to you because the presence of God will set them free. And you all came ready to worship, and it showed. It made a difference. We had people getting up in service, giving up their seats, because we were overflowing and having to turn people away. I know of a couple of people that got turned away three different times. They came for three different services and every time they gave up their seat to say, “Man, somebody doesn’t know Jesus can take this seat. I gladly will go and sit in the café for a little while and let them come in and take it.” That’s awesome! That’s what church is about. It is not about you. And everybody say –

Right? It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about Jesus and caring about somebody, somebody. So, thank you for creating amazing experience last weekend for people to know Jesus. We’re in our series called Finding Our Way Home. We started it last week and so if you have your Bibles, turn with me to Luke Chapter 15. And basically we’re looking at the story that we call The Prodigal Son. But we said last weekend it’s probably the wrong title for it; that the word, prodigal, it means recklessly extravagant; one who gives and spends lavishly. And we said that while the prodigal son, he is recklessly extravagant with his inheritance, that the Father is even more recklessly extravagant with His love and His grace and His mercy. The Father gives and spends lavishly. So really it’s a story about the prodigal Father. That Jesus is teaching us in Luke 15, not about the sins of the son but about the love of the Father.

It is not the rebellion of the son. It is about the Father’s heart. And we said last week that home is found in the Father’s heart, that it is literally found in the Father’s love. Here’s what I want you to hear from me in this series. This is a little bit of a different series. I’m not trying to give you one, two, three application points that you can go out and put into practice. What I’m trying to do is change the way we think. Romans Chapter 12 says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” That we have to refresh and renew and change the way we think if we actually want to be transformed and become more like Jesus Christ. So this is a series where I’m trying to change the way we think about some familiar concepts and get a revelation about what the Spirit really wants to say to us. You see, spiritual things the Bible says are spiritually discerned. You know that? Spiritual truths are spiritually discerned. They’re not logically understood. They are spiritually discerned by the Spirit of the Living God. So can you make a decision today to say, “I’m going to open up my heart and my spirit to hear what the Spirit wants to speak to me?” Okay? Are you with me on that?

Luke Chapter 15 – let’s jump into the story. Here we go again – Verse 11 – “Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his field to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses” – and you know how the rest of the story goes. He takes the inheritance from his father. He goes out, blows it, lives a wild living. And it says, “When he comes to his senses, when he wakes up in a pig field and he is starving to death he thinks, “Maybe I can go back home. I know I can no longer be a son, but maybe I can go home and get a job. And my father will give me a job on his estate, so I can work for him and at least have enough money to survive.”

And as he heads home the father sees him and says from a long way off – and you get the picture that the father has been looking and waiting for the son to turn. And the father runs to the son, embraces him, kisses him, recklessly extravagant with his love and his grace and his mercy. And the father says, “Go get a robe, a ring and sandals. Put it on my son. Let’s have a party because he was lost and he is now found.” And when we read this story we get a picture of an amazing father. Not only is he amazing in this one-time moment, he has been an amazing father in the son’s entire life. Yet when we read this story we find that the son is kind of tired of the father. He is tired of living under the father. He is tired of the father’s rules. He is tired of the father’s authority. He is tired of the responsibility he has in his house. He is growing restless and he is looking for freedom. He wants to go live life his own way. He thinks, “If I could just have my inheritance and get on and go out into the world, somewhere way out there I will have the life that I’m looking for. I will finally find freedom.”

But instead of finding freedom all he finds is bondage. Listen to these two things that it says about him. It says, “He began to be in need” and “no one gave him anything.” He began to be in need and no one gave him anything. Do you realize this is the first time in his entire life that he has experienced that? First time in his entire life that he experienced being in need with no one to give him anything. Why? Because he has always had a good father who gave him everything that he needed and gave him everything that the father had. It’s the first time in life he experiences need with no one to give him anything. The son leaves, to go and try to find freedom, but all he finds is bondage. And what the son does is he trades son-ship for an orphan lifestyle. He trades living as a son under a really good father for an orphan lifestyle, which means he is by himself, on his own, having to make his own way. And he found out very quickly that freedom is found in submission, not in independence.

Anybody know that’s true? Freedom is found in submission, not in independence. You see, true freedom is found in submitting to a good father, a father who loves us and blesses us and covers us and protects us. And yet for some reason in our minds we think freedom is independence. That if we could just push off everything, all authority in our life, and just be out there on our own, we would finally be free. Like if I could do things my way, how I want to do it, when I want to do it, where I want to go, what I want to do, if I could just live life my way by myself, I would finally be free. And we think that freedom is controlling my own finances. That freedom is achieving greatness on my own so I get the praise. That freedom is sin because sin will make me happy. Freedom is being on my own. And we think it’s going to lead us into freedom, but all we ever find is bondage. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it only leads to death.” Do you realize there’s a whole lot of things that seem right to you and me in our own eyes?

A whole lot of things that we look at and think, “Oh, that’s going to bring me some great freedom.” But the Bible says, “No. In the end it only leads to death.” In the end it will only bring incredible bondage in our lives. And all you have to do is look at the Israelites and you will see this pattern over and over in scripture. God makes it so clear to the Israelites in the Old Testament. He just says, “Hey, if you just live under my submission, if you just do things my way and let me be a good Father and you be my son or my daughter, I will protect you and you will be free and you will be blessed. But if you push me off and go live an independent life and go worship other gods, you’re going to find yourself enslaved.” You read this cycle over and over and over again. The Israelites, they’re blessed; they’re living in this incredible freedom under their Father. Life is great, but they think freedom is found by pushing God off and going and finding this independent route by themselves. And what happens? They get enslaved, whether by the Babylonians or the Assyrians or some other nation. They quickly find themselves enslaved and in bondage.

And there is this principle that you will see in scripture from Genesis to Revelation and it’s this. When we live as sons and daughters, we live free. That’s the big idea. That’s what I want to share with you tonight. If you’re taking notes, write that down. When we live as sons and daughters, we live free. You see, true freedom is found in joyful submission to a good father, when we rest and trust and depend on Him. Listen; think about my two kids for a second, a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old. Okay? My two kids have no independence. They have no control. They have no authority. They are in complete submission, complete dependence upon me as their father. And yet my two kids, 3-year-old and 5-year-old, they are the freest people I know on the face of the earth. Okay? I mean, they’re free. They’ve got no guilt, no shame. They don’t perform. They’re not trying to achieve. They don’t have stress or worry or anxiety or fear in their lives. My two kids are the freest people I know in life. I mean, they run around and play with toys. They wear crazy costumes. They sing crazy songs. They do headstands and back flips [Laughs]. The biggest stress they have all day is what toys am I going to play with. Right? My kids, they get to wear Footie pajamas. How many of you know that you’re free if you get to wear Footie pajamas?

That’s freedom. That’s what I’m talking about right there. They are the freest people I know. Now compare them with independent adults. Independent adults with an orphan spirit or an orphan lifestyle are the most enslaved people on the face of the earth. They’re the most in-bondage people that you and I know. All you need to do is look around a room like this. There’s a whole lot of enslaved people sitting right here tonight; independent adults. We control our own finances. We control our own time. We control our own lifestyle. We’re completely independent in our mind, and yet we’re the most enslaved people on earth. We’re stressed. We’re anxious. We’re worried. We’re fearful. We’ve got shame and guilt and baggage in our lives. We’re striving. We’re trying to win the approval of others.

We’re never at rest. We’re bitter. We’ve got conflict. We’re frustrated. We’re in some serious bondage. You see, freedom is found in submission to a good Father, not in a lifestyle of independence [Laughs]. And as adult we need to wear some Footie PJ’s, that’s what I’m trying to say, alright? If we wore Footie PJ’s a little bit more with some super heroes or some princesses on it [Laughs], I think we would be a little bit more free. Why? Because when we live as sons and daughters we live free. And almost your entire spiritual journey is this. It’s about moving from an orphan lifestyle to sitting as a son or a daughter in the kingdom of God. And what’s really interesting is we have this massive misconception. We have this misconception and here’s what we say. We walk around and say this. We say, “All of the people on earth are God’s children.” Isn’t that what we say? Do you ever hear anybody say that? That everybody is God’s children. And while that may sound really nice, it’s actually not theologically accurate.

While God wants everybody to be His children and while God loves everybody and while we’re all created in His image and His likeness, the truth of the matter is not everybody on the face of the earth is God’s children. Why? Listen; Ephesians 1:5 – this is some theology that you need. This is good theology if you can get it, and it will help you go where we’re going. It says, “God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.” It says that God wanted to adopt us into His own family, which gives you the understanding that we weren’t a part of His family. We had to be adopted or brought into His family through faith in Jesus. John 1:12 says, “But to all who believed in him and accepted him, Jesus, he gave the right to become children of God.” We were not children of God, but when we put our faith in Jesus Christ we become children of God. And so in a sense, salvation is not about raising your hand, signing a card, or praying the sinner’s prayer. It’s about getting adopted into the family of God.

You see, we all start as spiritual orphans. That’s what I’m trying to say. Every person, we’re all born as spiritual orphans by ourselves. In fact, the only people who were born as sons and daughters were Adam and Eve. They were the only one who were born as sons and daughters. And when you look at the Garden of Eden, it’s a picture of perfect freedom. I mean, they were children in complete dependence and trust with their Father. They didn’t have to strive for anything. They didn’t have to perform for anything. It’s a picture of perfect freedom. And yet like the son in our story, they thought freedom was found in independence. So they pushed God off and traded son-ship for the orphan lifestyle. And now because of sin, everyone of us is born performing, striving, and achieving. We’re all born as spiritual orphans in this world. We never talk about it that way. We never think about it that way, but that’s true. And yet God so wanted his family back that He sent Jesus Christ to the earth to come to adopt us.

In fact, think about the world like this. The world is a big orphanage. The globe, the world; the entire earth is like a big orphanage. And God wants to adopt everybody out of the world into his family to be a common part of the kingdom of God. But it’s a big orphanage and the adoption process is incredibly costly. If you’ve ever met anybody that’s adopted children – my sister is in the process of adopting her second right now – adoption is an incredibly costly process and it takes a lot of time. And almost the entire process is about securing the legal stuff. It involves all the lawyers where they can secure the legal documents to change the child’s identity, change the child’s name, give him a new family. The legal process is so nobody from the past can ever have a claim or authority on that child again. It’s an incredibly costly process, and do you realize it was for us? I mean, it cost Jesus everything for God to adopt us. And when you look at the Cross of Jesus Christ, you can look at it as your adoption paperwork, to say no one from the past can ever have a claim or authority on you again.

You have the adoption paperwork to say you have a new name and a new family. You’ve been brought out of the orphanage into the family of God. And so our position, okay – position in Jesus Christ is we are sons and daughters, but we need to learn to live like sons and daughters. Our position in Jesus has changed, but we need to now learn to live like sons and daughters. We need a revelation that we are a son or a daughter of the God of the universe. Have you ever had relationships with anybody where you know somebody that adopted a kid out of an orphanage and brought them into their family? Kids that have been adopted out of orphanages, they respond really interestingly. They have a new name and a new family and everything is legally done. And they’ve been brought into this new family, but they’ve grown up in the orphanage so long that they now need to learn to live like a son or a daughter in this new family. I have a friend; they adopted a 5-year-old little boy out of an orphanage.

And they brought the boy home, and they were so excited. And the boy has got a new name and a new family and everything is legal and right. And they bring the boy home and after a couple of weeks they started finding food hidden in random places all over the house. Food was stashed like where the boy’s toys were and in the closet and under the mattress. And they were so confused and thinking, “What is he doing?” And one day they sat down and they realized what he was doing. He was taking food from the dinner table, stashing it around the house, because in the orphanage he never knew when he would get fed again. So he is taking food in his parents’ house and stashing it, thinking “I don’t know when I’m going to get fed again. So I need to hide food to make sure I have some.” And so they sat down with the boy and they said, “Son, you are our son. You don’t have to hide food. You can eat whenever you want.” You see, he had to learn to understand, learn to think, learn to live like a son in the house. You will hear about other kids that get adopted out of orphanages, and they tend to lie a lot. So a lot of people will say when you read research on them. They lie a lot. Why?

Because in the orphanage they had to protect themselves. They had to tell stories, because there was nobody to defend them. So they need to learn to now understand that I have a father who is going to protect me. I don’t need to lie. Or they’re unwilling to share toys. They want to hoard everything. Why? Because in the orphanage if they give it away, they may never get it back. And they need to learn to live as a son or a daughter, that they have a father who is going to give them everything. They need to have a revelation that their position has changed and they can have a new lifestyle and live in a new way. And that’s exactly what’s happening with our guy in the story. See, he’s never had a revelation that he is a son. Catch that. He never had a revelation that he was a son. He had an orphan mentality, living under the loving care of a good father. And so because he had an orphan mentality he could never receive love from the father. See, he was always a son, but it wasn’t until he came back home that he actually had the revelation that he was the son.

In the beginning of the story he is living under the loving father’s care, but he has orphan mentality. Then he goes out in the world and he still is living like an orphan. It’s not until he comes back home that he has a revelation that he is a son, and everything in his life changes. You see, sometimes it takes the pig pen to realize we’ve always had access to the palace. Okay? Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom, the pig pen, to help you understand you’ve always had access to the palace. Like this young man, we’ve got to come to our senses and look around. And if I can just stop and tell you; listen, I think a whole lot of us live like that boy. I think a whole lot of us live like that boy. We put our faith in Jesus. We’ve been adopted. Our position has changed. We are sons and daughters of the kingdom of God, but we haven’t got that revelation yet. And so we have an orphan mindset, an orphan mentality, living under the loving care of a good father. And if you have an orphan mindset, living under the loving care of a good father, it’s always going to make you frustrated. You will always be frustrated.

In fact, that’s why I think a lot of us are very disappointed in our journeys with Jesus. We’re disillusioned, discouraged. We don’t think it really works. We think the promises of God never come true for us. “I can’t live that abundant life. Why can’t I find the freedom that Jesus talks about in scripture?” Well, it’s because we have an orphan mindset, living under the loving care of a good father. And when you have an orphan mindset, living under the care of a good father, you can never receive the love that He wants to give to you. So your position has changed, but you’re not living as a son or a daughter. So it creates massive frustration and disappointment in your life. And that’s why I think a lot of people tend to drift away on their journey with Jesus, because their position has changed but in their mind they’ve never got their revelation. “I am a son or a daughter. I don’t have to stash food in this house because I’ve got a good father who will feed me whenever I’m hungry.” It changes everything. When we live as sons and daughters we live free. And so let me ask you the really simple question. Are you living as a son or daughter or as an orphan?

Now, I know this is all like new language for most of us sitting here. So let me just kind of give you two categories here – orphan and son. Let me just kind of unpack these categories for you and see if either of these sound familiar to the way you live. Here’s how an orphan tends to think, okay? An orphan is going to see God as master, that God is a heavy-handed, authoritarian figure, that He is somewhere way far off. He is distant. He doesn’t want to be close in relationship. That God is there to discipline or correct us when we’re wrong. An orphan lives with a lot of fear; fear of what’s going to happen today, fear of what might happen tomorrow, fear of the unknown, fear of punishment. An orphan tends to think that they have to take care of everything themselves, that there is nobody there to provide for them, so they need to provide for themselves. They need to work really hard to make sure they can provide for themselves because there’s nobody that’s going to take care of them. An orphan thinks they have to make it happen on their own, that nobody else is looking out for them or nobody else is going to give them a break or some favor. So if it’s going to happen, they’ve got to make it happen on their own.

An orphan tends to feel very lonely, especially sitting in a room of people like this. An orphan has this loneliness, as if they’re alone by themselves. An orphan feels like they constantly have to win the approval of other people through performance or striving or achievement or success, that they literally have to win the approval of other people in their life, that they have to win the approval of God by their performance and their achievement and their success. An orphan tends to be very independent and skeptical of all authority figures and they have a poverty mindset. Hold on to everything they have as tight as they can, because they’re not sure if they will ever get it back. Okay? That’s how an orphan tends to think. Now contrast that with the son. A son sees God as a loving father who is very close. A son doesn’t have fear. A son lives in freedom. Why? Because perfect love casts out fear. A son knows that the good Father is going to take care of him and make it happen for him in his life.

A son knows that he has a good Father who will provide all of his needs. A son is not lonely. He feels accepted and wanted and included. A son knows that he is the beloved son in whom his Father is well pleased. A son tends to trust and have major dependence on his Father. And a son has an abundant mindset because he knows the more he gives away, the more his Father is going to entrust to him. Orphan versus son. Orphan is all about performance and doing – my worth, my success, my life, my value is found in my performance and what I do. But a son, it’s all about position. Who I am? I am a son, and I will operate and live out of my position in Jesus Christ. Which of those sound more familiar to the way you live your life? You see, when you start breaking it down like that it starts making more sense. And all of a sudden when you start to kind of getting your brain around this concept that’s all over the Bible – I’m just kind of unpacking the big picture for you – it’s really easy to see in other people. It’s so hard to see in ourselves.

It’s so easy to see in other people. The woman that dresses provocatively all the time; it’s an orphan mindset. Why? Because she thinks her value is found in her good looks. That if I can just dress this certain way, people will notice me and like me. That’s orphan thinking. It’s the man who is always trying to achieve, succeed, perform, is competitive, is trying to take the next mountain, accomplish the next thing; he thinks his value is found in it. That’s orphan thinking. He thinks that he is only valued and only has worth if he can accomplish or gain more money or finances or job title or whatever it is. It’s the person who is always shut off. They’re very guarded and they keep everybody at arm’s length. They never let anybody in. They seem very cold. And you’re always confused; like, why won’t they ever share anything? It’s orphan thinking. They’re trying to protect themselves. You see, it’s so easy to see in other people. It’s so hard to see in ourselves. And I stand up here and tell you all that, because that’s my life. That’s my life.

See, everything I’m telling you in this series is the revelation that God has been giving me over this last year. See, I’ve had orphan thinking for probably almost all of my life. I know I’m a son or a daughter. I can give you every verse in there that you want to talk about. Yeah, God is Father, son – yeah, yeah. And yet I lived with a whole lot of orphan thinking for a really long time. In fact, the main way that I thought as an orphan is this. Nobody wants me for me. They want me for what I can do. Nobody wants me for me. They want me for what I can do. The people want me around because I can contribute great things to whatever is happening, but they don’t really want me for me. That’s orphan thinking, and most of my life has been driven by that thought process. That if I can get really good grades, people want me around. If I can be the all-star on the lacrosse team, people want me around. If I can work really hard at church and do great things for the kingdom of God, people want me around. I found my worth and my value in this orphan thinking that it’s about performing and achieving and people will then want me, because they don’t want me for who I really am. They want me for what I can do.

That’s orphan thinking. And what’s crazy is you might say, “What kind of dad that he grown up?” I had the best dad in the world. I had a dad that told me he loved me. He was proud of me. My dad was always there. It’s got nothing to do with my dad. It’s got to do with this. I grew up in an orphanage called ‘the world’ and so did you. And so I grew up with orphan thinking because I grew up in the orphanage called this world, and I needed to learn to live as a son just like you need to learn to live as a son or a daughter. We all get conditioned as that 5-year-old, hiding food all over the place. It’s different for you as it is for me. It’s all very different, but we grow up in the orphanage called this world and we need to learn to live as sons and daughters. I was thinking this week; I was thinking, “How is Jesus the freest person that ever lived on the earth?” Would you agree with that, right? Jesus is the freest person that’s ever walked on the face of the earth. And I started thinking why? Like, what made him so free?

His best friends betrayed him. People constantly rejected him. His own family thought he was crazy. The crowds wanted to kill him. And yet Jesus lived incredibly free. How? Because he lived as a son, totally secure in his Father’s love. The God of the universe submitting and humbling Himself to a great Father. Jesus knew freedom was found in submission, not in independence. John 5:19 and 20 – “Jesus says, “I tell you the truth; the Son can do nothing by himself. He can only do what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all he does.” Read the scriptures. You will see it over and over and over again. Jesus says, “He is my Father, the good Father, the heavenly Father.” Jesus always postures Himself as the Son in complete dependence upon his good Father. Trust, submission, dependence, rest, allowing the father to do everything; that’s why he lived free.

When we live as sons and daughters we live free. So how do we start living as sons and daughters? How do we turn that? Let me just give you these couple of little takeaway things that you can just kind of start letting rattle around in your heart. You’ve got to do this. You’ve got to acknowledge your need for a good father. You’ve got to just acknowledge your need for a good father. It all starts with humility. Until you say that I need and want a good father in my life, it’s never going to happen. You will never live as a son or a daughter until you acknowledge the fact that you need a good father. 2nd Corinthian 6:18 – God says, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” He wants to be your Father. Psalm 68 – “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families.” Listen; God will never force you to live as a son or a daughter. He will never force you. You can live as an orphan for the rest of your life. You can positionally be a son or a daughter, but you can have orphan thinking the rest of your life if you want. God will never force you.

He didn’t force the boy to come back home. He didn’t force the boy to stay. He just said, “Come, live at home. Let me be a good father. Be my son. You need me, son or daughter.” And it’s not until we acknowledge it. Well, think about what a good father does in your life. A good father will speak forth your identity. He will tell you who you are. A good father will provide for you, protect you, guide you, love you, discipline and correct you. I don’t know about you. I need a good father in my life, and I want to learn to live as a son. And if you’re sitting here and you’re a man and you’re thinking, and there’s some condemnation flying around in your head about fathering. First of all, there’s no condemnation in Jesus, so can you pitch that out? And second thing; here’s what I would say. If you’re thinking about yourself, dads; as a dad, listen. Don’t try to be a great father. Become a great son and you will be a great father. The best sons become the best fathers. If you want to be a great father, you’ve got to learn to be a good son with your heavenly father.

You see, you can teach what you know with your kids, but you will always reproduce who you are. So if you have orphan thinking, you will always reproduce orphan thinking in your kids. But if you live as a son, you will recreate and reproduce in your sons and daughters how to live as sons and daughters. Don’t focus on being a great dad. Focus on being a great son, and you will become a great dad. I want to be a great son, okay? We’ve got to acknowledge our need. And the second thing is this. We’ve got to forgive our earthly father figures. We’ve got to forgive our earthly father figures. Listen; in a room like this there’s a whole lot of father ones. Hurts, pains, disappointments, brokenness; listen, you’re all looking at me and some of you, I know, you’re kind of like, “What is this all about?” You have no idea how hard of a topic this is to preach on, because the moment I start talking about father I can literally feel the spiritual walls in tons of people in this room go, “Boom! I’m not going there, because I hate my dad or I hate that coach or I hate that grandfather, or that uncle or that teacher – that father figure in my life that hurt me.”

Boom! We just go like that. I mean, you just shut it down and Satan wants you to live in a fatherless existence. He wants you to have an orphan spirit, because then he wins. We run around and do all these crazy things instead of resting and receiving what the Father has for us. We have got to forgive our father figures or we live in bondage. Esau never forgave his father, Jacob, for giving away his blessing. He lived in bondage the rest of his life. Absalom never forgave his father, David, for what happened to his sister. It ultimately led to Absalom’s own death. We’ve got to forgive, so we can be released out of bondage. In fact in Matthew 18, Jesus tells us this great story. He says there’s a king who is settling his debts. And he says the first man comes in and the man owes him like hundreds of millions of dollars, an unpayable debt. And the king says, “You need to pay me back what you owe me”, and the man begs for mercy. He says, “I don’t have it. I’m really sorry. I can’t pay it. Can you give me some time? Can you give me some mercy?” And the king cancels his entire debt.

Hundreds of millions of dollars, an unpayable debt. The man walks out – like, you’ve got to be flying high after you’ve just got hundreds of millions of dollars cancelled. You will be excited if somebody cancels your credit card bill. I mean, these are hundreds of millions of dollars, right? He is walking down the street and he bumps into this guy that owes him a few thousand bucks. And he says, “Hey, you give me the few thousand bucks right now”, and the guy says the same song and dance. “I’m so sorry. Give me mercy. Be gracious to me.” And the guy says, “No.” And he has the man who owes him a few thousand bucks thrown in jail. He won’t release the debt. The king hears about it, brings the first man back in, and looks at him and says, “Shouldn’t you have forgiven the other man, the debt he owed you, the way I forgave the debt you owed me?” And he takes the man and throws him into jail. And Jesus tells us that story to help us understand that we’re like the first guy. We’ve been forgiven hundreds of millions of dollars by the grace of Jesus Christ, an unpayable debt.

And he says, “When we don’t forgive the people in our lives, the few thousand bucks, we put ourselves in jail.” It’s self-induced bondage that we will live in, in our lives, and there’s a whole lot of us that live in self-induced bondage because we never forgive the earthly father figures who have hurt us. Can I ask you tonight to maybe make a decision to say, “I’m going to let it go. I’m going to choose to forgive tonight.” It’s not a feeling; it’s a choice. Can you maybe just make that decision to say, “I’m going to forgive and let it go.” In fact, can I stand up here right now and look at you and say, “As a father and as a spiritual leader, as a father figure in this church, will you forgive me tonight, today – based on any earthly father figure that has hurt you in your life, will you forgive me on behalf of that person?” Will you choose right now to receive my apology for however you’ve been hurt? That’s not God’s heart. That’s not God’s design. That’s not what fathers are supposed to do and how they’re supposed to be.

Will you choose to forgive me tonight on behalf of whoever that was? I want to say I’m sorry for those of you that had dads that made you perform. I want to say I’m sorry for those of you that had dads that abused you. I want to say I’m sorry for those of you that had father figures that were passive or abandoned you or left you hanging or never told you they loved you and they were proud of you. I want to stand up here as a father and as a father figure in this church and say, “Will you forgive me on behalf of that person, so you can be free, so you can live as a son or a daughter?” Don’t let an earthly father figure keep you from the good Father’s love. You have a great Father who loves you so much, and we’ve got to forgive our earthly fathers figures. And the last thing is this. You’ve got to ask for revelation. You’ve got to ask for revelation. I know some of you are sitting there and you’re thinking, “Dude, how many times you’re going to say son, daughter, father? We get it.” Right? Father, son, daughter.

Okay listen; this is not a concept you can understand logically. You have to ask for a spiritual revelation. Information is the head; revelation is the heart. Information is taught to you by man. Revelation is taught to you by the Spirit. Information is logically understood. Revelation is spiritually discerned. In fact, listen to what Roman says about this. Verse 14 – “Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of son-ship, and by him we cry, “Abba! Father!” – or Daddy; close intimate – “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” This is what Romans is saying. Let me just break it down for you. It’s basically saying this. When you get saved you put your faith in Jesus. The Spirit of the Living God comes inside of you to confirm that you are a child of God, that you are now a son or a daughter. No more do you have a spirit of fear.

No longer are you enslaved. No longer do you have to live the orphan lifestyle. You’ve been set free from all that. And he says, in Verse 16, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” In other words, the only way you will ever learn to live as a son or a daughter with the good Father is by a spiritual revelation from the Spirit of the Living God. You can’t logically understand that. You have to ask the Spirit by faith to deposit it in your soul, and it’s a journey that we all go on. And I know a lot of times you want me to teach you messages that bring you to this very conclusional point. Like, “Okay, I walk out of here and this is what you get.” This is one of those ones. I’m just trying to untie the bow and create this thinking, this new way of thinking, and let the Spirit start moving in your life. We had a woman a few weeks ago. She was right here getting baptized. She stood in the water and this is what she said. “I have never had a dad, but I just learned I’ve always had a good Father.” That’s not information. That is revelation.

That’s revealed to her by the Spirit of the Living God, and it will change your life. When we live as sons and daughters, we live free. How different would life be if you stopped performing and started resting; if you stopped striving and started receiving; if you stopped carrying the burden and started trusting? How different would life be if you really believed you have a good Father and you are a son or a daughter? How different would you treat that situation at work? How different would you use your money? How different would you use your time? How different would your marriage be? How different would you engage with your kids? How different would life be? And so here’s the thought I want to leave you hanging with. It’s this; how about this week as you walk through life, how about when you respond to something or something happens, how about you just stop and ask yourself the question, “Am I thinking like a son right now or am I thinking like an orphan?”

Just try it, one week. When a guy cuts you off on a road, just stop and say [Laughs], “Am I thinking like a son or am I thinking like an orphan?” When your boss annoys you, “Am I thinking like a son or am I thinking like an orphan?” When that conflict, when that need, when that call from the doctor’s office that you don’t want to receive comes in, “Am I thinking like a son or am I thinking like an orphan?” And watch the revelation that will start to give. So Lord Jesus, thank you for this really simple truth that could change our lives. Thank you Jesus, that you spent your whole time on this earth living as a son. May we follow that example, so that we might be free. Spirit of the Living God, would you testify to our spirits and teach us the revelation that we are sons and daughters? Help us to live differently, renew and transform our minds.

Help us not make it the simple little, silly logical thing that we have in our mind. “I’m a son. I’m a daughter. I get it. He’s a father.” All that. That’s the position; we get all that. Give us the revelation. Help us learn to live like sons and daughters, that we might be free. Lord, we’ve been so imprinted by the orphanage of this world. May we learn to live in the kingdom of God, the family of God, with a great Father who loves his children. Spirit, teach that to us. Set us free. Do something inside of us. Simple little question is this. What’s the Holy Spirit saying to you tonight? Here’s my hope for you; it’s that you don’t take this message and just push it off to the side and say, “Yeah yeah, whatever, and just go about your day, and get in the car and drive and go for dinner, and all that stuff.” But that you sit and let this percolate in your heart this week, because I promise you it will change your life.

If you’re here tonight and you need prayer for anything, we want to pray for you. We’re going to have people up here to pray for you. Maybe you just need prayer for this whole concept in your life, living as sons and daughters for freedom. I don’t know; I just feel like somebody needs it. You need to come up for prayer. Don’t leave without it. If you’re new to Valley Creek Church, I’ll be over here in Guest Center with some of our leaders. We would love it if you could come in. We want to introduce ourselves to you and tell you we’re glad that you’re here. But I pray you go with a revelation that you are a beloved son or daughter and you have a great Father. Have a great week. Love you. Blessings.

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