Part 3 of a 4-week series on the identity of Christ. (See the rest of the series.)
Last week we continued our new feature in which we’ll recap the sermons at Oasis Church. We’re now in the third week of a series titled He Will Be Called… Every week, which we focus on a different aspect of Christ’s identity as revealed in Isaiah 9:6:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
This week we focus on the third dimension of Christ’s being, that of everlasting father.
Fathers are important. And although our nation currently faces what some call a “fatherless crisis“, there is reason to not despair. I’ll get to that, but first let’s look at some evidence that illustrates just how important a father is (based on findings by the U.S. Department of Health, CDC, and others):
- 68% of teens who commit suicide live in a home without a father
- 90% of runaways are fatherless, as are…
- 71% of high school dropouts
- 75% of underage patients of chemical abuse treatment facilities
- 85% of imprisoned youth, and
- 80% of adult men convicted of rape
In the U.S. today, 25 million children are fatherless. Our culture is characterized by father figures who come and go both physically and emotionally. More tragic than the absence (or harmful presence) of an earthly father, though, is the absence of the Heavenly Father. While I don’t have hard numbers to back this up, anecdotal evidence abounds among the ranks of both believers and doubters. I’ve known plenty of friends and family (and heard stories of many more) who grew up either fatherless or in fear of their fathers’ abuse, but who went on to lead joyful, impactful lives after finding solace and healing in God. I also deal with people every day (and I’ll bet you do, too) whose lives seem to be self-destructing in spite of a perfectly comfortable, “normal” upbringing with both parents in the house. What this latter group lacks is a relationship with Christ, without which they cannot know freedom, peace, or joy.
Do you need a father? Were you hurt by yours? Then there are two things you need to know about God the Everlasting Father:
- He won’t leave you. Ever. It’s not that the world won’t try to separate you from God once you’ve found him. It will. (And sometimes you’ll be tempted to run from or ignore him.) But as Paul wrote, “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8: 38-39).
- He’s going to take you home one day. One of the most liberating truths a Christian can learn is that this world is not their home. We (Christians) are described in the Bible as “travelers”, “sojourners”, and “visitors” on this earth – the implication being that our real home is somewhere else: in Heaven with our everlasting father. This life and world are imperfect, unfair, and full of sin. But one day “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven… [and we will] be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). We’re going home, in other words, and God has already prepared a place for us in his house. And in case that sounds a little scary, the writer of those words (the apostle Paul) ends that little bit of scripture in this way: “comfort one another with these words”. In other words, we should be comforted – not made afraid – to know that our everlasting father will one day call us home.
A lot of people don’t get what they need from their fathers. Actually, I don’t think any of us do. It’s not that there aren’t good fathers out there; there are. But no one and nothing on this earth can meet our every need. As a father, to try is to put yourself above God. As a child, to expect your earthly father to do so is to both hold him to unreal expectations and set yourself up for disappointment. But Christ the wonderful counselor, mighty God, and everlasting father can. He’s father to the fatherless. He’ll never leave you alone. And if you’ll go with him, one day he’ll take you to your real and perfect home.