We Believe in God the Father Almighty

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, July 22, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Now that my previous series on the heroes of our faith is behind us, I feel it’s necessary for us to take a closer look at our faith. I’m not talking about “faith” as defined by the dictionary or Hebrews 11:1. When I refer to OUR faith, I’m talking about Christianity as a whole. It’s not about individual denominations or faith traditions but the overall belief system that ought to dictate our every move. I say “ought to," but we know the reality is that many who call themselves “Christians” either don’t know or don’t care that their actions aren’t matching up with their stated beliefs. So, I think it’s time to go back to the roots of our Christian faith.

Obviously, we all know that the true root of our faith is Christ Jesus himself. Throughout this series, we will look at the Bible’s recordings of the words of Jesus and others. But to look at something that may be a little more direct and applicable to our lives and what we say we believe, I’m going to use the Apostles’ Creed as the base for this series. If you’re interested in going back to see where it originated, you can read about that here. Since some of you memorized the Creed when you were a child and since it is widely accepted in the Christian faith, I’m going to use my posts to discuss how each individual line in the Creed can be more than just a core root of our faith. Jesus tells us in John 15:1-8 that our purpose is to bring the Father glory by “bearing much fruit," and that we are “cut off” if we do not bear fruit. I once preached a sermon series called “From Roots to Fruits," and that will be the focus of this series as well. What we truly believe is shown not just by what we say, but also by what we DO. So, each root that we have must lead to fruit in our lives. We must consider how we might go from simply saying “I believe” something to living those words out in our lives.

The word “creed” comes from the Greek credo which means “I believe." When we say those words, we are saying that we have those faith roots. But how do others know those roots exist? It’s only by seeing the fruit! Think about the roots that are around your home that you may not see. However, you know they are there because you see the trees, the bushes, and the grass. Jesus directly tells us in Matthew 7:21 that not everyone who calls him “Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who actually do the Father’s will. It sounds to me like we ought to take this responsibility to live out what we say we believe pretty seriously, since our eternity depends on it. We don’t like to hear about there being conditions to our salvation because we’re told it’s a free gift and that’s true. But I heard an analogy once and I can’t remember the source, but it’s worth sharing. Suppose someone offers to send you $100 if you first send them a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Simply believing you’ll receive the money won’t put it in your hand. Choosing to rebel against the rule and intentionally not sending the envelope will cause you to miss out. But if you comply with what was required and you send the envelope, you’ll receive the money. Did you earn it? No. It’s still a free gift and you merely met the conditions required to receive it. God’s love for you is unconditional and always will be, but salvation is not.

So let me talk about how we can live out our belief in God the Father Almighty. When you pray, how do you usually start it? You may not have thought much about it, but I think many of us address God as Father. It’s normal for us, but had we done that in the Old Testament or even the first few centuries in the Jewish culture and religion of Judaism, we’d be considered blasphemers. You won’t find a single reference in the Old Testament that I’m aware of where a human being addressed God as “Father." And that’s because they considered it blasphemous to even utter his name. God’s name in Hebrew is translated as YHWH, which becomes Yahweh when vowels are added. Yet, when Jews come across that name in their Hebrew Old Testament, they simply say “Adonai" (meaning Lord or Master). This allows them to hold God’s name with reverence and avoid speaking it blasphemously. They held the name of God in such a high regard that we can’t even fathom in our culture today.

So, where did we get the idea of God being our “Father”? Jesus told us the only way to the Father was through him, but even before that he taught us to begin our prayers by saying, “Our Father who art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9). The Jews considered Jesus a blasphemer, but he came to show us that we could have an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father. Look at Romans 8:14-16 to see what that means for our lives. If he is our Father, then we are his adopted children. We’re no longer slaves to sin and fear, but we cry out to him as we need him the same way a child cries out for their daddy. We don’t have to fear saying his name. Because of Jesus, we can have a close relationship with God our Father. And the relationship between a father and his child is unique. I’ve spoken to several mothers recently who probably do 75% of the work in caring for their children, if not more. Yet, when their children were finally able to speak, who did they call on first? You guess it - DADA!

The last part of this root is that we believe God is “almighty." You may think this is an easy one, but I learned something new as I dug into this phrase. The word comes from Genesis 17:1 when God appears to Abram to talk about his covenant promise and says, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless." Now, I always saw God the way I saw my earthly father - a very mighty and powerful being who could take me out anytime he wanted! But as I did the research, I found that “God Almighty” is the Hebrew El-Shaddai. El is the shortened version of Elohim which is the name for the trinitarian God, but Shaddai comes from a place I never knew. It actually originates from another Hebrew word that means “breast," which implies that Shaddai signifies the One who nourished, supplies, and satisfies. While I always associated might with my dad and I’m sure many of you did too, which parent would be the one who most often “nourishes, supplies, or satisfies” a child? The answer is obvious.

We can’t make this stuff up. When we as Christians say that we believe in God the Father Almighty, we are saying, to put it much more simply and applicable to daily life, that he is both the dad AND mom that we so desperately need. He is mighty when that is what he knows we need, but can also be nourishing when we’re struggling to find strength. This is why God is beyond gender, beyond human comprehension, and beyond our human parents. Even if you had good parents like me, they still lacked something. They weren’t perfect. They didn’t give you EVERY single thing you needed, because they couldn’t. But this revelation about God the Father Almighty impacts our daily lives when we understand that living this core belief means we are living as children of the One who can satisfy ALL our needs. Through Christ’s sacrifice, you are able to enter into that relationship of intimacy and you no longer need to chase after other people, things, or ideas to try to fill the voids in your life. When you know you’re struggling and know you desperately need something, you go running to your Father Almighty like a child who needs their parents and you let God fill you up. Walk in this relationship today and let it be more than just a statement of belief for you.

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