An evangelist was sharing the gospel with a man he met on the street. He told the man that God is his father. The man interrupted and said “if God is like my father, I don’t want anything to do with him.”
Our fathers have a huge impact on our view of God.
Dr. Paul Vitz, a psychologist exploring the idea that our ideas of God are a projection of our experiences, developed a theory he called the attachment insecurity hypothesis. Vitz suspected that the atheism had a connection to father relationships. His survey of the great atheists of Western society strongly supported that hypothesis.
Friedrich Nietzsche, David Hume, Bertrand Russell, Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Arthur Schopenhauer – all of these men lost their fathers.
Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Sigmund Freud, HG Wells – these men had absent or weak fathers.
Vits wrote that “intense personal reasons lie behind the public rejection of God . . . many serious unbelievers are likely to have painful memories behind their rationalization of atheism.”
The summary of his work is this profound statement: “all children want is to love their fathers and have their fathers love them in return”.
Recently a man named Matt Cobrink flew into LAX on a return flight. A relative capture footage of Matt greeting his dad, Malcolm at the airport. Matt, who is 53, had Down syndrome. When he saw his 88 year old father after a 5 day absence, he ran and embraced him. It’s hard not to tear up at the sight of the free, uninhibited affection between father and son.
This morning I want to talk to you about a father’s delight in his children.
The word delight means a high degree of gratification or pleasure, extreme satisfaction.
What we are going to see this morning is that that word, delight, is a perfect summary of how your heavenly father feels when he sees you.
Our text this morning is Ephesians 1:4-6.
It’s God’s nature to be pleased.
Ephesians 1 summarizes the blessings of salvation. In that summary, Paul gives us a window into the motives of God in salvation. Verse 5 tells us that it is God’s pleasure to adopt sons and daughters into his family.
It is God’s nature to be pleased.
And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (who gives me great joy NLT)
Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp. For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.
The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
The basis of God’s delight in me is his character, not mine.
The work of salvation is initiated in God’s pleasure and his will. It is not a response to something in us. It is an overflow of who he is. God delights in me because it is in His nature to be delighted.
God delights to bring sinners home to his kids.
God is not grudging in his grace.
The word translated purpose in Ephesians 1 is eudokia. One writer summarized the meaning like this – eudokia is “not simply the purpose of God but also the delight that he takes in his plans. It has warm and personal connotations, and draws attention to God’s willingness and joy”.
The great parables of Luke 15 give us a picture of that kind of joy. The parable of the prodigal son tells us of a father whose young son has shamed him, taken his inheritance early and gone off to live a life of sin. That son hit rock bottom and decided as a last resort to come home begging for mercy. As he trudged home he prepared a speech to convince his Dad to accept him. Before he could say a word, the father saw him approaching at the end of the lane and ran to embrace his long lost son. I imagine the scene Jesus envisioned looked a lot like the one in LAX between Matt and Malcolm Cobrink.
God doesn’t delight in an ideal version of me, he delights in the real me.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
When God looks at me he sees me as pure and perfect.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation
When God looks at me, His expectations are fully satisfied.
3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
Does this mean that I can do anything I want and God doesn’t care? Is he indifferent to my behavior?
The Scripture are clear that God isn’t always pleased with the behavior of his people.
But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.
2 Samuel 11:27
It is possible for God to be pleased with his children and displeased with their behavior. God is pleased with us because of our position in Christ as his children. At times he may displeased with us because of our practices.
The important thing to remember is that God’s pleasure begins with our position, not in our practice.
Another way of saying this is that the baseline for a Christian is the pleasure of God. You can’t go below that line.
The goal of God’s pleasure in me is his glory, not yours.
to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
The result of God’s delight in unworthy sinners is praise. The greater the sinner, the greater the awe and wonder at God’s acceptance.
The end of God’s delight in you is his glory, it is praise.
The more unworthy you feel of God’s pleasure, the more you should rejoice and praise him with a heart full of wonder. That’s his aim.
God wants you to feel his pleasure.
God doesn’t just want you to be loved. He doesn’t just want to delight in you. He wants you to feel his love. He wants you to feel his delight.
15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
God gives His Spirit to his children to fill their hearts with love and to give them an experience of that love.
It’s not enough to know the concept of God’s love. We need to experience it. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit.
Not all of us had great fathers. Many of us keep our hearts locked up and protected because of the disappointment and hurt we have experienced.
God is not like us.
God is always there.
God is up close and personal.
God is fully pleased.
God is in complete control
God is completely safe.
He’s the perfect father.
When you come to God in Jesus you gain a father who delights in you
The central figure in your reality is an engaged father who is
is always there.
up close and personal.
is in complete control
is completely safe.
Will you open your heart to his delight this morning? Will you receive his pleasure?
Tom Brown is the planting pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Wichita. Tom and his wife, Mandy, have worked together in ministry for 18 years and have four children. More about Pastor Tom Brown