“LIVING AND SHARING THE GOSPEL”
August 9, 2020
Call To Worship
“I STAND IN AWE”
“LEAD ME TO THE ROCK”
“HE WILL COME AND SAVE”
Prayers of Intercession
Sermon: Don Auxier
“CHANGE MY HEART”
Worship God in Spirit and Truth
Grow in His Grace and Knowledge
Share the Love and Hope we have in Jesus
Grace Communion International – We are an international Christian fellowship, on mission with the Father, Son and Spirit, living and sharing the gospel in ways that birth all kinds of churches, for all kinds of people, in all kinds of places. As an international Christian fellowship, we have about 50,000 members formed into 900 churches spread across 100 countries.
by Phil Ware (08/05/2020) | The Jesus Window
When I came home from work as a young father, our daughter, Megan, would hear me open the door and then run to meet me. She would scream with delight, “Dadeeeee!” Her little bare feet ran as fast as they could, patting across the floor. Then, she would plop down at my feet, grab my shoelaces, and start untying them. As she did, she would say, “Shoose, daddy, choose.”
I would bend down and untie my shoes. As I stood back up, I would slide the shoes off my feet, and Megan would raise her hands to me so that I would sweep her up in my arms. As I picked her up and hugged her, she would slide her arms around my neck and give me a big return hug. I would kiss her, and she would kiss me in return. What a welcome home!
Every time I hear the words, “Abba Father,” used to refer to God the Father, my heart returns to that image of Megan welcoming me home. She was glad to be with her daddy. She was delighted when the shoes came off because she knew that I was home with her for the evening and was fully present to be with her. Plus, her joy at my coming home changed a hard day into a joyous homecoming. There were no pretenses, just joy. Here was a precious moment of pure intimacy, dependency, love, and delight! This daily welcome was a little girl rejoicing in her daddy and her daddy in her.
Jesus prayed to God as his “Abba Father.” Abba is the Aramaic and Hebrew word that Jesus would have used for Joseph, his “step-daddy” when he was a small boy. (Matthew 1:18-25 — Remember the Spirit conceived Jesus of God in the womb of Mary; Joseph was Jesus earthly father.)
When Jesus prayed, calling God his Father, it was revolutionary and bordering on scandalous. Jesus addressed the almighty God — Creator of the universe, LORD of Israel, the God of salvation, deliverance, faithful lovingkindness, and rich mercy — with a child’s tender word for father, abba!
Jesus used this term of tender dependency, love, familiarity, and respect for God at every stage of his ministry. His prayers — whether short breath prayers (Matthew 11:25), prayers for his disciples’ unity (John 17:1,11,20-21), or agonizing prayer wrestling with his impending death in the garden (Mark 14:36) — were addressed to God as “Abba Father”!
Even more shocking, when Jesus gave his disciples — that’s us, dear friend — the words we should use to pray, he taught us to address God as, “our Father” — our Abba (Matthew 6:6,9; Luke 11:2). Because of Jesus, we can pray boldly, yet tenderly, to the LORD God Almighty as our “Abba Father” (Hebrews 4:16).
When we were baptized into Christ, he poured out the Holy Spirit into our hearts (Titus 3:3-7; Galatians 3:26-4:8) to live in us, dwell in us, and lead us as God’s children (Romans 8:9-14). Because of the Holy Spirit, we approach God as our “Abba Father,” our spirit joining with the Holy Spirit to speak to our Father in heaven (Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 4:6).
God must still be reverenced in our prayers as LORD. Jesus made certain we remembered the importance of recognizing that the very name of God is reverenced and known as holy. Jesus reminded us that we are to pray, “[H]allowed be your name.” We are to seek first God’s way, his kingdom, and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33) as we pray, “[Y]our kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10).
As we pray these words, we are recognizing the greatness, majesty, and might of God. We own in our hearts our dependence upon him and our commitment to live for him. We hold the very name of God as sacred, a treasure, and something to be guarded and prized as holy. Recognizing the greatness of God and the importance of our call to live for him with our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:29-30), only adds to the wonder of being able to address God as our “Abba Father”!
The creator of the universe welcomes each of us as his beloved, little child! We can approach our times of prayer with the same glee that Megan demonstrated as she welcomed me home at the end of the day. We bow at his feet in adoration that he would meet us. Our heavenly Father stoops and bends low to sweep us up in his arms to show his affection and delight at our joy in being with him.
He hugs and hears us. We don’t have to have fancy words to say because he knows our hearts and inclines his ears to hear what our words cannot even verbalize. God is our “Abba Father,” and he welcomes us with open arms and a ready heart so we can find our home, our security, and our future in him.