Derek speaks on four important results that come from knowing God as Father, the first three of which are covered today. First, it will give you a sense of personal identity—you know who you really are. Next, you will know that you have a home in heaven. The third result is having total security. When you’re in the Father’s hand there is nothing that can snatch you away.
Now I want to speak briefly about four important results that come from knowing the Father. Number one—it gives you a sense of personal identity. You know who you really are. You see, all through the Bible every person is identified by his father or her father. You read the genealogies, the father the son of so and so, the son of so and so. What gives a person identity is knowing, having a father. And even in our English language today, though much has changed, many people’s sir names are the names of their fathers, like Williamson, or Johnson, of Thompson. All they are saying is the son of William, the son of John, the son of Thomas. And we have basically, all around us, an identity-less generation. A generation that has no sense of identity. They’re sometimes called the X Generation. What does X stand for? The unknown quantity. They don’t know who they are.
I believe, myself, if we could transmit them, transmit this to them, there would be a tremendous response. I believe there are millions of young people just milling around, lost, confused, perplexed because they don’t know the Father. I don’t believe anything will really ever change them sufficiently until they come to know the Father.
So, if you’re here this evening and you don’t really know who you are, you’re a kind of faceless person, a rootless person. You’re not counted anywhere. You don’t have a real identity. You may have an identity that you put on, you can go to the mirror and put it one with makeup, or in other ways, but it’s not a genuine identity. It comes through the Father.
The second thing you have when you know the Father is a home in heaven. From the day I was saved I always believed that if I continued in the faith, faithful, I would end up in heaven. Heaven was my destination. But I never thought about heaven as my home until I came to know the Father. You see, what makes a home a home is a father. After I had this experience I said to Ruth, “Ruth, I don’t care whether you put up a tombstone over me after I die or not, but if you do put up a tombstone I just want you to put two words “GONE HOME.”
I think of a precious Hawaiian sister that we knew that was there this time when we were in Hawaii. She’d served the Lord faithfully many years. She was dying of cancer and the fellowship she belonged to made sure there was always a sister by her bed every hour of every day. And she said to people quite often, “You know I’ve never seen an angel. I’d love to see an angel.” And then as she was about to die she sat up in the bed, stretched out her hands, and said “I see them. I see the angels.” And the next moment she was gone. The angels had come to take her home. How do you expect to go home?
There was a beggar outside a rich man’s door in the time of Jesus. He was called Lazarus. And he was there sick, full of sores. But he was a believer. The dogs came licked his sores in compassion. Then it says, “It came to pass that the beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.” What impressed me was it was not just an angel it was the angels. I think one strong angel could have easily have transported that emaciate frame, but God sent an escort of angels to that poor beggar lying in the street.
It says of the rich man, “He died and being in hell he lifted up his eyes…” What a different destiny. I am persuaded that God really wants to send angels to His believing sons and daughters. Why should we go home lonely? Why shouldn’t we have an escort? God has got enough angels. I think it’s important the way a person dies.
As a young preacher I was so impressed by the journals of John Wesley. And one day a report was brought to him that a certain Methodist sister whom he knew had died. And his comment was this, “Did she go in glory or only in peace?” Which way are you going to go? Only in peace? Or do you think you’re going to have a glorious entry into the Father’s mansion carried there by an escort of angels. See it makes a difference when God is your Father. You have a home. You’re not a stray. You’re not a wanderer. You’re on a pathway that’s leading home.
The third thing that comes through knowing the Father is total security. In Matthew 10:29,
“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.”
You know that it says two sparrows are sold for one copper coin. Five sparrows are sold for two. So if you buy five you get one extra. You understand? It’s not just four, it’s five. They were so little value that you could five for two copper coins, like two pennies. And Jesus said, “Not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s will.” And Jesus says, “Do not fear. Therefore you are of more value than any sparrow.”
Every now and then you will see a little boy or a little girl held in the father’s arms, lifted up, cheek pressed against the father’s lapel, and there may be chaos all around, things may seem to be falling apart, but that little child is not the least bit disturbed, because he or she is in the father’s arms. And that’s how God wants us to be--safe in the Father’s arms. No matter what storms rage, no matter what evil forces assail us, I’m in my Father’s arms. I’m content to be a little child. I’m over 80, but I like to think of myself as still held in my Father’s arms.
John 10:29, Jesus says this,
“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”
So when you are in the Father’s hand there’s nothing that can snatch you away. And we’re living in times where it’s pretty important to be in the Father’s hand. And things are not going to get better in the world, believe me. They’re going to get darker and fiercer. If time permits and we live I’ll probably bring a last message on that theme. But life isn’t going to get easier. Life isn’t going to get less dangerous. It’s going to be more dangerous. And it’s very, very important that you know you’re in the Father’s hand. Jesus said, “My Father is greater than all. There’s no one that can snatch you from the Father’s hand.”