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Our Father in Heaven

Our Father in Heaven

Adam is the first son of God. This means all of mankind is children of God. God is our Father. By this token, by this truth in the Bible, all of us are the children of God. The following is a sermon transcription on Our Father in Heaven.

Our Father in Heaven

(adapted from a sermon by Pr Pr Huang Chih Chieh)

Everywhere, no matter what country or culture you are born in, filial piety is considered a virtue. The Chinese mention this in rather complete terms. They say we have to pursue our roots, and discover the source of our being. This is a good mentality. It tells us to have a heart of thanksgiving, to show gratitude to our parents and ancestors.

However, some people claim that Christians are not filial. And this statement is very curious. In what way are Christians not filial? Probe further and often, the answer would be: “You do not worship your ancestors, you don’t respect them, hence you are not filial.”

Respecting our Ancestors?

To the Christian, filial piety is needful. We direct our filial piety towards our elders and parents for they are the ones who brought us up. Thus, if we don’t know how to show gratitude, we are even worse off than animals. Hence this point about respecting our elders should be seen in this light.

When we go further to consider this, there is often the related question of respecting our ancestors. Many claim that respecting our elders means having to keep to traditions: to worship our ancestors. But what does respecting our ancestors really mean? And should we worship our elders?

Take this simple thought experiment: Can we name our grandfather? Sure, that seems simple enough. But what about your father’s grandfather? Or even your grandfather’s grandfather? Most people will not know the names. So, can we really be filial to show respect to someone without knowing the person’s name? All the more, we cannot claim to worship that someone without even knowing who he or she is. Thus, it is better not to conflate respect with worship.

Who is the One We Should Worship?

Who, then, should we worship? The simple answer is the one who is the greatest of our ancestors.

Consider the roots of our being: all of us were begotten through our father. Our own father has a father, our grandfather had his own father, and so on. But who is greater? Is it your father or your grandfather? We would consider the first in our genealogical line to be the greater. Hence, we should pursue this root until the very first ancestor, for that ancestor is the greatest of our lineage.

If we show filial piety to that ancestor, we make the rest of our elders and ancestors pleased, because that ancestor whom we worship is after all, the greatest.

As Christians, we know who this greatest ancestor is. When we pursue the true roots of our being, and search in the right places, we know His name, we know who He is, where He is, what He delights in, and also know that He delights in us. From the Holy Bible, we know who our true ancestor is; and in fact, we learn of mankind’s origin:

“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 being.” [Genesis 2:7]

Genesis tells us that the Lord God in Heaven made man out of the dust. Then He breathed the breath of life into the nostrils of man and created Adam, the first man. Hence it is clear that the Lord Jesus is our true ancestor, and we were created from the breath of God.

Our Noble Heritage

Further, in Luke 3, the Bible mentions of the genealogy of mankind at the very beginning. Here we see clearly that Adam is the first son of God. This means all of mankind is children of God. God is our Father. By this token, by this truth in the Bible, all of us are the children of God. This is regardless of whether we have believed in Jesus, regardless of your nationality, and regardless of whether I know you or whether you know me. The fact is that we are brothers and sisters in the Lord. We are meant to be kin, because all of us are descendants of Heaven.

Lost, but Found

How is it then that we do not know of this first ancestor? This is because Adam sinned against God.

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” [Gen 2:17]

This was the command given to Adam and Eve, which unfortunately, they did not heed. And because Adam ate the fruit, man sinned and was cast out from the Garden of Eden. The result of this is that our lives were disjointed from God.

Yet, it is clear that mankind knows that there is a God, and throughout history and across cultures, tribes, and nationalities, we know that the collective human race has been on a search for God. And this explains why every race has its own god or deities.

Nonetheless, our God wants us to know Him; and has revealed Himself through the Bible. He has shown us that He is the creator of the universe. And when we believe in Jesus, we acknowledge the roots of our being. Believing in Jesus also presents us with the grace and opportunity to be reunited, to no longer be lost to the world.

The Wonderful Grace of our Father

Even before we have believed in Jesus, this Father has already loved us. Even when we did not know Him, He has given us sunshine and rain. He even came down to earth as the Saviour, Jesus.

Why should He do that?

As we have said, Adam sinned, and our lives were separated from God. We became orphans. But that was not meant to be our destiny. The Bible tells us clearly that God desires that all man come to the knowledge of salvation, to be saved and reunited with Him. Hence, Jesus came into the world to live and die, ultimately shedding His precious blood for us; so that we no longer are distanced from our Father. Jesus is the way for us back to the Heavenly Father.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” [John 14:6]

Our Lord Jesus wants to allow us to pursue the our roots and return to our Father in Heaven; that we may call Him “Father’. Hence we see that it is only through Jesus that can we come before the Father, our true ancestor.

Becoming His Child Once Again

So that is the good news above. But how do we become His child? We need to worship Him as our true God and Heavenly Father.

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” [Romans 8:15]

Importantly, when we believe and worship our Heavenly Father, it is not with the spirit of a slave. Even though He is high and mighty, but He made Himself lowly, He wants us to call Him, “Abba, Father.” He wants us to call him Father, for we are His children, made free by His blood.

When we seek for Him, we will gain peace, and He would be our best support. Our Heavenly Father will love us and embrace us.

A Desire for All to Return to the Fold

Our God, our Heavenly Father desires this of us – to pursue God, the root of our beginning. This is a grace given to all of us by God. You were meant to be our brother or sister. You were meant to be part of us.

This message has to do with our lives and our ultimately end. If we wish to find eternal peace and eternal life, we should pursue the true roots of our being: our Heavenly Father.

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