THIS WEEKS MESSAGE
MIND AND CHARACTER OF GOD!
Presented to you by Pastor John S. Torell from his home church
message is available on audio Cassette from our Book
February 15, 1998
GOD IS OUR HEAVENLY FATHER.
I found that this subject is vast. It is so big that I will not really be able to do justice to it in one lesson. We'll see how far God takes us today. This is a very important subject.
Turn to John, chapter 14 verse 1. "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way you know, Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Phillip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and who sayest thou then, shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works sake."
In verse No. 8 we find Phillip, who is one of the apostles, questioning Jesus. At this time he had probably been with Jesus for about two years. Philip probably walked up to Jesus and said, "We know who you are but show us the Father. Let me see the Father and I will be satisfied." Jesus said, "If you have seen me you have seen the Father."
To understand our heavenly Father we have to understand that He loves us. I am very fortunate. I was born into a family where we had no divorce. I remember when I was a little boy maybe two or three years old. I felt that my father was the biggest man on earth. When I would looked up at him he was so tall. In my child-like heart I felt that there was nothing that my dad could not handle. He gave our family security. He was a good provider. He was a Father who cared for us and was with us all of my youthful years. This made it easy for me to understand my heavenly Father. There are so many people today that do not have a Father that is alive, or is too busy to be with them. What we want to focus onto today is that God is your heavenly Father.
A human being is created in the image of God. I think about this. God did not create man to be independent. He can only function properly when he is in deep fellowship with God.
Turn to Genesis, chapter 2 verse 7. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a Garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed."
We will only function when we have fellowship with God. What does this mean for you and I?
Turn to John, chapter 15 verse 1. "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that bears not fruit he takes away: and every branch that bear fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word, which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same bring forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing."
We think that we can be independent and function without our heavenly Father. It does not work that way. We cannot function properly. This is why people are taking tranquilizers and different remedies continually. It is because they do not have fellowship with the Father. When we do not function we try all the earthly ways to correct the problem, but it is because we're out of fellowship with our heavenly Father. Jesus said, "Without me you can do nothing."
How many times in your travels have you passed a cemetery? You may have seen a cluster of people standing around a certain grave. As you slowed down you may have seen one of the people wiping tears from their eyes as they laid some to rest, that they loved. These people were realizing that this person that they loved is gone from this earth. These people want comfort but if the person that is dead is not saved what comfort can be given them? The person is gone. "For without me you can do nothing."
When I was a little boy I remember that I wanted to do things with my dad. There were probably times when he just wanted me to go some place and play somewhere. But I wanted to play with him. I wanted him to spend time with me. I wanted to walk the streets with him so that people could see that this was my dad. This is how our heavenly Father feels. Our heavenly Father is yearning for us. He is yearning for us to say, "Daddy, Lord, I love you. I am so thankful to you." We have not understood how deeply our heavenly Father loves us.
One of the most precious memories that I have is of when I was sick. One of my parents was always there to comfort me and take care of my needs. There were even times when I was frightened of the dark but I could always go into my parents room and crawl in bed with them. I always felt so secure with them. These are the feelings that our heavenly Father wants us to have for Him. He loves us with an everlasting love. He gave His only begotten Son. He wants to minister to us. Many of us may not have grown up with an earthly father or mother that ministered to them. Know this, without Him you can do nothing.
We had many testimonies today. One in particular ministered to me. What I saw was the growth of a man that had learned God is in control. Even in calamity you can have the peace of God and tranquility. This is how God wants us to live. He wants us to be totally dependent upon Him. When we live like this the devil will not be able to shake us. We will be able to say, "I may not be able to understand what God is doing but I know who holds my hand." In Romans it says that He is faithful and able to save us.
I want to share something with you. We had a financial need here a few weeks ago. We were not sure where our rent money was going to come from. The offering was low and it did not look good. I received a phone call late Monday afternoon from our treasure. She said, "The rent is paid. All the bills that need to be paid, are paid and there is even a check for you." I said, "Sister, are you joking?" She said, "No, I am not joking."
A prophetic word was given here today and it said, "God, has all things under control." Our heavenly Father has all things under control. He is guiding us to that place where we will no longer look upon circumstances. We will no longer look upon what we think can happen. We look upon our heavenly Father. Jesus said, "Nothing is impossible with God. All things are possible with Him. Sometimes God will place us in a situation until we come to this kind of faith.
Man is a creation of God.
Turn to Genesis, chapter 1 verse 26. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that
creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Genesis, chapter 2 verse 7. "And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed."
God is showing us here that he is not a derelict Father. When he created man He said, "I will stick around. I will take care of my children and minister to them."
In Vietnam during the war, we had 50 or 60 thousand babies born to Vietnamese women, Fathered by American GI's. Most of these children were abandoned. Some were black and some were white. They suffered a great persecution. After the war was over the Vietnamese people called them bustards. These children had to live on the streets and fend for themselves. The American fathers abandoned most of them. Understand this. When God created man He did not say, "Here you are. I will not be back." Instead God the Father is with us every day, 24-hours a day. He has never left His creation. He said, "What I created, I will also nourish." He is our heavenly Father.
Adam and Eve were also created and had a deep personal relationship with each other, as husband and wife. They were to be ONE FLESH!
Turn to Genesis, chapter 2 verse 21. "And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."
There is a deep truth in these scriptures. When a man and a woman marry they become one flesh. You might say, "How is that possible?" It is because of a spiritual union. Think about yourself. You are one flesh. You are the product of your father and mother. When you were conceived you became one flesh. You are the product of your father and your mother. Every time your father or mother looks at you they see one flesh. You are the product. If you understand this, your marriage will be much more sacred. You may have been married several times. When you got saved God forgave you all your sins. He will also restore a marriage after you have excepted Christ. It makes no difference. God makes all things new.
Genesis, chapter 2 verse 25. "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." The nakedness was not only that they did not have clothing on them, but also they were naked spiritually to each other. Adam and Eve were living in the perfect paradise. Their thoughts were open to one another. Adam and Eve could probably see and feel what each other was thinking. They were totally naked to one another. There were no secrets. Today in most marriages we do not share everything, do we? There are certain rooms in our heart that are off-limits. We lock that room up. Our spouse is never allowed to enter. Certain rooms can be entered but not the locked room. A perfect marriage has no secrets. There shouldn't be any secrets. We must be open with one another.
Turn to Matthew, chapter 19 verse 3. "The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made [them] at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so."
It is because of the hardness of the heart. That is what really happens when there is a breakdown in a marriage? The first thing that happens is the spiritual communication ceases. There is a hardness that comes over the heart. Suddenly the man and the woman are no longer naked to each other spiritually. There are barriers being put out. These are walls and the walls are called lies and cover-ups. This is when the divorce begins. Divorce does not begin in a courthouse. It begins when a man and a woman no longer let their spouse come into their heart and see everything. This is when they lock it up and say, "No, this is my secret chamber." From the beginning it was not so.
Matthew, chapter 19 verse 9. "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except [it be] for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."
The disciples sounded like many people today. If you can't have it that way why bother even getting married? Jesus held marriage as something sacred.
Turn to Ephesians, chapter 5 verse 25. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; [we do know that the wife is to submit to the husband as is stated in verse 21 but the key is verse 25. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.] That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:"
As we learn about our heavenly Father, we see how God has set it up. We see the plan of God. We see how He created us. We need to understand who God is, what He wants and what He has intended for us so that we can function. What gives security to children? It is when a child sees his father loving the mother and the mother showing reverence to the husband. When a child sees this, the child is secure. That is the beginning of all things. Notice the command that Paul gave us. It didn't make any difference whether your husband or wife was a drip; you are to love your spouse regardless of the situation.
I want to share something with you. This person does not live in this city. This person was married and had four or five children. He developed kidney problems. His kidneys failed and he was on dialysis for a number of years. He finally had a kidney transplant. Shortly after the transplant he had open-heart surgery with several bypasses. This man was laying in the hospital with tubes protruding out of his body when the bad news came to him. A paper was given him stating that his wife left him and was divorcing him. What a nice place to receive a divorce paper! Furthermore, she walked away from all her children and gave the man the shaft, so to speak. She then took off and lives a life like a prostitute. She never came back. Devastating! This is how wicked man's heart is. Only Christ can bring us to the place where we have a deep love.
Ephesians, chapter 5 verse 30. "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and the two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife [see] that she reverence [her] husband."
If you can understand this and live this you will have a marvelous marriage.
Some time ago I purchased a lemon tree. I was happy with this little lemon tree. I watered it every week and after the second year leaves began to drop off. It began to look very sickly. I thought it had a disease. I took a small branch from it and took it to a nursery where they analyzed it. I asked what kind of disease it had? I was told it was the disease of neglect. I said, "What do you mean?" She said, "This tree has been neglected. It needs to be fertilized." I said, "I thought there were enough nutrients in the ground so I just watered it." She said, "No, it needs to be fed every second month. And it will give you much fruit." I bought some fertilizer and fed the tree as she directed. After a few weeks the tree began to flourish. Later on, in the season, it produced fruit that my wife and I enjoyed. I learned something from this. We want a woman that is as strong as a horse. One who never gets sick and keeps a spotless house. One who takes care of all the bills and the necessities of the home. We want her to always look gorgeous, so that we can satisfy our appetite. A wife cannot be a horse and a sex object all at the same time. Some men think they need to send their wife to a school to learn how to be a wife. The secret is nourish your wife and love her. Give her a few weeks when you first start this because she will think you're up to something. "What does he want now." As this continues your wife will be fertilized with love. She will begin to be transformed. She will bubble up with love, compassion and all kinds of energy. She will be a new person. Love will do this. If you starve her she will look like that little lemon tree death warmed over.
Just as a men cannot function properly apart from God, neither can a child function properly unless they are secure in the love of their FATHER AND MOTHER. A rejected child BECOMES A DYSFUNCTIONAL ADULT. Only in Christ can that hurt be healed and the adult healed from this damage.
Turn to Romans, chapter 8 verse 5. "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
We had Henry Wright ministering to us a while ago. Stood with him and prayed for many people. The one common denominator was painful hurts. There were teenage hurts and adult hurts. There was one person that came for prayer that was hurt spiritually. As we prayed for him Henry held that man and he began to weep. He wept so hard and he let years of hurts out of his person. The only thing that can dissolve the pain and if hurt is the love of God. Any disease can be healed by the love of God. God is your heavenly Father. He has adopted you. He has grafted you back into the family through Christ. We are children joint heirs with Christ. Want a tremendous relief to know this.
Turn to the second Corinthians, chapter 5 verse 17. "Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [The first step to a healing is to recognize that you have been forgiven. There is a song that was written that has the words, "I can love because someone loved me first." Let it go deep into your heart today, if you have asked Christ to become your Lord and Savior, you are forgiven forever. Forever you are forgiven and forever you are a child of God. For years I carried a key with me. It was to my parents home in Sweden. I used it whenever I would visit my parents in Sweden. It brought me great joy to know that when I visited their home I could always use the key. It was a point of connection to my parents. Eventually they sold their home and moved here to America. They gave me a picture of their home and I framed it with that key. Every time I look at the picture I remember my childhood. I remember the security I had. If something went wrong I could always go home. Mom and Dad were always there to give that comfort. Now transfer that to your Father in heaven. He said, "You are my child. I love you with an ever lasting love." God the Father will never throw you out. He will discipline us. If you and I can understand that our heavenly Father loves us with an ever-lasting love. His goal is to bring us to maturity. Someday He will bring us into heaven and we will be able to go into the very thrown room. In Hebrews it says come boldly. You'll be able to embrace God and here Him say, "I love you." That is our heavenly Father. We can have that same fellowship now through the Holy Spirit. He loves us and He wants us to be secure in that love.]
I am so blessed. I was not very nice to my parents when I was in my youth. My parents did not have a car until 1955. They saved and were able to buy a small car. They told me I was not to touch the car. I decided to show off to my friends. I found the key to start the car, backed it out of the garage. I smashed a fender and then I smashed another fender. I knew I was in trouble. With the help of about 20 of my friends we carried the car back into the garage. I wanted to die because I knew I was in trouble. I had no place to go so I decided to go hide in the attic. I told my brother not to tell anyone where I was. I took some food and water with me. I hid under some boxes afraid to come out. I heard my parents come home and they asked where I was. They discovered the damage to the car and they asked my brother again, " Where is John?" There were two emotions going through me. One was, I wanted them to find me. The other was, I didn't want them to find me. I was just like Adam and Eve. I wanted to see them and I did not want to see them. They searched the whole house and finally they came up to the attic. They found me hiding. I expected my dad to whip the tar out of me. All he said was, "Son get yourself up and go to bed." I asked, "Can you forgive me. I am sorry." They forgave me. They said, "You are going to have to pay for this. It took all of my savings and I paid for the repairs for that car. I was more than happy to do that. I remember that night. The car was smashed but I was forgiven. I remember lying in my bed being thankful that I had been restored and that I did not have to run away. I was not thrown out of my home. I was forgiven. That feeling made me feel, new. If you and I can understand that our heavenly Father sees all of the messes that we get into and He still loves us. I cannot pay for my sins. Jesus paid for them. He paid for it all on Calvary. The blood of Jesus washes us. We are forgiven. Your heavenly Father loves you. You are forgiven. We are redeemed and restored.
I never touch that car again until I had a driver's license. I recognized what I had done and was obedient to my parents. This is how we are to walk with God. It is to be in total love.
Verse18 And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; [Can you understand the forgiveness?] 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
We, in turn, can go out and tell people that God has forgiven them. Our heavenly Father has created a nice place for us to grow love in.
Turn to Genesis, chapter 2 verse 8. "And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. 11 The name of the first [is] Pison: that [is] it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where [there is] gold; 12 And the gold of that land [is] good: there [is] bdellium and the onyx stone. 13 And the name of the second river [is] Gihon: the same [is] it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. 14 And the name of the third river [is] Hiddekel: that [is] it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river [is] Euphrates. 15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. [As you read this we see that God created the most fabulous place to live. He said, "I'm going to put my children there." Everything was beautiful. Until man messed it up.] 18 And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him. 19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought [them] unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that [was] the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him."
Turn to Galatians, chapter 3 verse 13. "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
We lost Eden. The garden is gone but God has destroyed every curse around us. When you excepted Christ, you were born again. Every curse was destroyed. The blessing of Abraham is available for you and I. God will create a personal Garden of Eden for every one of us. Receive it. He will make it pleasant and supply all of our needs according to his riches in glory. God tells us that He will save us. You are forgiven. As he says in Matthew, "Seek you first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you." Thank God today for all the things He has given you. Thank Him for your salvation and His forgiveness. Thank him for the place where you live, your automobile, the clothes on your back and the food that you eat. Whatever it is, that you have, give Him thanks. Praise him and say, "Father God, never again will I complain because you have created a Garden of Eden for me." Our heavenly Father is looking after each and every one of us. He is constantly seeking ways to bless us. Are you willing today to receive the love of God and once and for all break the curse of the devil? You may have felt not forgiven but you are forgiven and loved by the Father.
God is your heavenly Father.