Biographical Sketch of Dr. Stuart E. Lease / Bible Messages by Dr. Stuart E. Lease
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GOD: The Father
FATHER We never cease to be amazed at the privilege we have in calling Thee, Father. We thank You that the Lord Jesus Christ, Your Well-Beloved Son made this possible for us in the giving of Himself for us on the cross at Calvary, so that through Him we can have eternal life, have eternal access to Thee, and have eternal enjoyment in Thee. Bless now the study in Thy Word, we pray in Jesus precious Name. Amen.
You may open your Bible with me to Psalm 139, because Im going to be pointing out a few things from that chapter. But, before I go into the subject of GOD: THE FATHER, there are some things I must say to the attributes of God or those characteristics by which God had distinguished Himself to us. I have to do this because I want to, but also because of relating each member of the Trinity to each other it is essential to know what characteristics they all share. Now what I say in regard to these attributes applies to God, Corporately as the Three in One and applies to each member of the God-Head, individually; and what is said about the Totality can be said equally about each member of the God-Head, each Person.
Now, there are a number of ways, and I suppose there may be many ways as there are men who divide the attributes to divide them; and I dont blame anybody for the order that I give It is my own. It is taken from a number of others, and so I just share a sort-of-a-way structure with you, hopefully maybe to remember the major attributes of God; and when I say major attributes, I mean that. There are other things that derive from these attributes, and you can keep going almost into eternity defining all the attributes of God. Im dividing them into three sections. Number one, the Essential Attributes, and by that I mean those that constitute His Essence, and thats the word in essential, or we could call them His Existence Attributes. Number one, God is Eternal. He is the Eternal God, and we point out that the symbol of the circle, which has neither a beginning nor ending but simply continues on for ever. Second under the Essential Attributes or Existent Attributes is the attribute of Gods Immutability. Thats a great word which means its unchangeableness. Now let me emphasize that it does not refer to what God does, but to what He is. There are many who take this attribute of God, and they say, referring to Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, today, and for ever that He does the same thing. No, He doesnt! God can do different things at different times, but He will always be in nature what He has always been! And, thats what we mean by the Immutability of God.
Now the second grouping of attributes then are what I call the Extensive Attributes. Those are the omni-attributes; and those little ones you find here in Psalm 139, and if you mark your Bible, you may want to mark this Psalm dividing it up into the three parts; and then at the end there is a section that I believe refers to holiness. But in verses 1-6 of Psalm 139, O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off. All of these verses 1-6 are related to Gods Omniscience. Omni is a Latin preface that means a prefix that means all. It otherwords God is all knowing. Thats what we mean by Omniscient. God knows everything Psalm 139:1-6.
In verses 7-12 of Psalm 139, you have reference to Gods Omnipresence, that is, that God is everywhere present. Wither shall I go from Thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?
Then in verses 13-18 of Psalm 139, Omnipotence, that God is all powerful. For Thou hast possessed my reins: Thou has covered me in my mothers womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works...
Now the latter part Im not relating to these extensive attributes of God which cover Him in His availability and His extensiveness throughout all of the universe which He has made, throughout all of knowledge, throughout everywhere being present, and His power to do all things. Now may I very quickly again reiterate a concept that no one, including God, is absolutely free, that is, even God has bound Himself by what He is, by His nature, and He hath bound Himself by His Word. In fact, it is rather interesting over in Psalm 138 at the end of verse 2 where it say, ....for Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all Thy Name. And, so God hath bound Himself willingly. Now this illuminates some of the problems of the stupid questions that have been asked throughout the centuries, such as Can God make a rock so large H couldnt lift it? Well, God according to His nature and His purpose and desire is not in the business of making rocks so large He cant lift them. That doesnt fit within the province of His interest or His concern, and other such foolish questions; because God has limited Himself according to His will and according to His Word.
Now the third grouping of His attributes, as I like to present them, is what I would call, the Enlightening Attributes. Weve had the Essential Attributes, the Extensive Attributes, and the Enlightening Attributes. I would put these in three groupings under that: the first relating to what we would call Veracity, the second (I kept this central, because I think it is) His Holiness and then last is Love. Now out of each of those, out of His Veracity comes His Truthfulness and Faithfulness. Its been a little bit in short supply in some circles recently to have truthfulness and faithfulness, but you have it eternally in God. Out of His Holiness, comes Righteousness and Justice. H. Strong and other systematic theologians relate that Righteousness is holiness and Justice is enforcing holiness; and so I believe it derives out of Holiness. But finally, and not least, is Love. Out of this is His Mercy, His Goodness , and His Grace. Now Im sure that you can pick up some other attributes here and there, but at this time Ive given you the major attributes of God; and others could be maybe assumed under one of these headings, bringing in such ones as Long-suffering, and so on.
These I think give you a tremendous picture of our great God. I say by way of testimony, one of the things that stirred my own heart when I was a student studying theology was to study in some degree of depth these attributes of God to realize that our God is greater than anything we can see or conceive of. Later on when I studied liberal arts and science and those sort of things (and I had a geology professor say to us one day, Now if this room was representing the universe, how large do you expect that our earth would be in this classroom, and it was a room I suppose was 25 X 40? Well, he said, You think the earth might represent something the size of a basketball or a softball or a baseball or a golf ball? You know what he told us? He said, If this represented what we could conceive of as the universe, our earth within this would be the size of a speck of dust!). Now, were on that thing. Its pretty big when you try to get around this earth. But to realize our God is greater than all of this; and yet in His love and mercy, he is concerned for you and me; and the very hairs of our head are numbered (even if theyre decreasing). He knows how many there are and Hes concerned about us. I tell you this, this moves my heart to abject devotion to Him Who loved me and gave His Son to die for me and sent His Holy Spirit to indwell me.
Now secondly, I must say something about the Names of God. Weve talked about the Nature of God and His Attributes. Something now about the Names of God. In the Old Testament there are primarily three Names used of God. Theres the one that occurs in Genesis 1:1 Elohim, and sometimes this is used just with El (that is just the first part of it with other things added to it, either before or after it) Israel (Prince with God). And this is simply their word, the Hebrew word for God, is the Great Eternal One.
Now theres another word the Hebrews had which was so holy and sacred to them that they would not even pronounce it Were left therefore with the problem today of not knowing how to pronounce it. In the Hebrew (YHWH), all that you had were the consonants. They didnt have vowels; and we try to bring it across with Yahweh or Jehovah or something like that to try to transliterate the Hebrew word. Its a word that was revealed to Moses, for example in Exodus 3:14 in regard to God when God sent Moses to represent Him and to bring out His people from bondage, the Israelites. In Exodus 3:13, When Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say unto me, What is His Name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. So, the concept of Lord Jehovah, and usually in the King James is translated LORD with all capital letters. That refers to this great Hebrew word which in the revisions is translated usually JEHOVAH. Now I dont have time this evening to go into the great Names Of Jehovah. If you have a Scofield Bible, in the Old Scofield you will find them set forth on page 7. If you have a New Scofield, youll find them set forth on page 117. Youll find seven great combinations with this term Jehovah: Jehovah-jireh, Jehovah-rapha, Jehovah-nissi, Jehovah-shalom, Jehovah-tsidkenu and references to other Names of Deity.
Now there is a third word and thats the Hebrew word, which brought over into the English, is best said, Adoni just simply transliterating it, A-D-O-N-I; and this is a word which is translated, Lord, in the King James Capital L, and in the lower case, o-r-d. Now if you want to see all of these together with one more that compounds the whole problem, turn to Psalm 140 and in verses 6 and 7 you have in your King James these words for Lord and God in different meaning. Notice in verse 6, I said unto the LORD [Now thats the word for Jehovah], Thou art my God [Thats the Hebrew for Elohim]; hear the voice of my supplications, O LORD [There again, thats Jehovah.]. Then, O God [Now that compounds the problem because here is one of the few places in the Old Testament where the term, Jehovah, is translated with the word GOD, but notice the King James writers do translate it with all capitals, which means that it is the same as when you have LORD with all capitals so that what you have in verse 6, twice as LORD, here is translated GOD and its all the same Hebrew word for Jehovah. And then here the next expression in verse 7, O GOD, the Lord [Thats the Hebrew word, Adoni], the strength of my salvation, Thou hast covered my head in the day of battle. Now you say, Why do you bother with going into these Hebrew words and so forth? Well, they do come over into the Greek of the New Testament, and usually the word for Elohim is translated by the Greeks, Theios, and we translate that as GOD. Well be doing a little bit with that when we deal with Jehovahs Witnesses. So you have to have some idea of that. Now the Greeks have only one word that was used for both, the word Jehovah and Adoni, and thats the Greek word, Kurios, which we translate Lord.
Now theres another word, and I havent brought it in, but its the word that occurs in the oldest book of the Bible, in Job 6:10. Job refers to God, as the Holy One. At the end of the verse, ...I have not concealed the words of the Holy One. Similar references are in Isaiah 57:15, For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, Whose name is Holy... But in Psalm 16:10 it is referred to One Who later appeared as the Messiah, Thou wilt not...suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.
Now the emphasis I want to make here is that all four of these terms, used in the Old Testament, can be related to each Person of the Trinity. I dont have time to develop that tonight, but I could defend that, that the term Elohim for God and the term Jehovah and the term Adoni and the term Holy One all of them [You have no problem with the Holy Spirit, because He is the Holy Spirit] but these Names are great apologetic evidence for the fact that all three Persons of the God-Head are GOD Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I had to bring that in tonight. I feel that it is essential to all the rest of our study. Now if I had a class, I would love to have you ask questions at this point, but we have to keep moving.
Now, I want to go into the study of God, the Father. I want to say, immediately, that no Hebrew prior to the time of Christ would have felt free to come into the presence of God and call Him Father. Did you ever realize that? In fact, there is no reference to God as Father by the Jews, except on that one occasion in John 8 when the Pharisees were almost driven to distraction and they said, We have One Father, even God; and thats the only reference that you will find in regard to this; and they almost did this out of desperation; and I think they realized that their defence, even for that, was a little bit weak as Jesus Himself exploded in their midst.
I want to do three things with the concept of God, the Father. Number one, I want to relate it to the Trinity. Second, I want to relate the concept of God, the Father to Man and the Universe; and then third, to Believers. Now obviously, were not going to develop this in great detail, but I want to give you some suggestions in regard to it.
In relation to the Trinity, number one, God, the Father is the First Person of the Trinity; and we say that without apology because that relates to His position in the Trinity. Now I know that there are some Christians that have a little bit of trouble with this, and they feel that by making God the Father the First Person that thereby you derogate the Second and Third Persons. Not at all! They are all equal in power and glory and majesty that there is authority in the Trinity, there is order in the Trinity, there is consistency in the Trinity, and there is enjoyment in the Trinity.
God, the Father is the First Person in rank and authority within the Trinity. Jesus, Himself, throughout His earthly sojourn, indicated that everything that He did was by the authority of the Father. He indicated in Johns Gospel that the words that He spoke were from the Father. He indicated that He would lay down His life and take it up again (John 10:17-18), ...I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to take it again. This commandment [the ability to do this] have I received of my Father. In Matthew 28:18 He said, All power [authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth. That authority given unto Him, meant that Somebody had it to give it unto Him; and that meant that the Father had the authority to give to the Son which He did. Now I meet some Christians that try to argue that Jesus Christ only had this position while He was here on earth; and when you come to John 10:29 when Jesus said, My Father which gave them me is greater than all that they say, That means that that was true while He was here on earth. But, in I Corinthians 15:28 it indicates that even after the millennium, in eternity future, the Son (the Lord Jesus) is going to be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God [and that relates to God the Father] may be all in all.
Now whats the principle here then? that from eternity past into eternity future, while Jesus was in heaven, while He was on earth, and when He returns to heaven the Father has been and always will be the One in charge in the Trinity. Now dont lose sight of that truth. It is a genuine, Biblical truth!
Jesus Christ, secondly, referred to the Father as the God and Father of Jesus Christ; and He is referred to in II Corinthians 1:3 where Paul says, Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort. Boy, thats a tremendous verse! There are four things said about God there. Number one, He is Sovereign God. Second, He is the Saving God. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Third, He is the Sustaining God. He is the Father of mercies. And fourthly, He is the Sympathizing God, the God of all comfort. Let me emphasize that Christ came from the Father. In John 16:28, I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father; and in John 20:17 [Heres a verse that has caused Christians considerable difficulty, especially with Jehovahs Witnesses] where Jesus said to Mary, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. And, invariably they say, How can He be God if He had a God? And, thats a real problem. [Now the only thing Ill say on that right now, is to come out on Thursday morning, when we will be dealing with Jehovahs Witnesses. Well deal with it there.] This does not rule out Christs Deity, and we can prove it.
Now the Father is not only the One from Whom the Lord Jesus proceeded, but He is also the One from Whom the Holy Spirit proceeded. In John 14 beginning at verse 16 the Lord Jesus speaking of the Holy Spirit says, I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever, Even the Spirit of truth; Whom the world cannot receive... and then also in verse 26, But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things... and then in John 15:26, But when the Comforter is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me...
Now one thing I want to say here Dont allow anybody to confuse you in regard to confusing the Persons of the Trinity. There is such a teaching known as the Modal Trinity, in which they say that God is only one Person, but He demonstrates Himself as Father, as Son, and Holy Spirit just as I am a father to my children, I am a son to my parents, and I am an influence for some good or other in regard to my organization. Dont you buy or believe that!
There are three distinct Persons! Not one Person manifesting Himself in three titles. There is the Father, there is the Son, there is the Holy Spirit but They have a working relationship in which the Father is in charge, and the Son executes the will of the Father, and the Holy Spirit takes the things of the Lord Jesus and reveals them to us having proceeded from the Father.
Now secondly in regard to God the Father, in relation to Man and the Universe: First, God planned and provided the entire Universe including man. Paul in speaking on Mars Hill in Athens said this in regard to God in Acts 17 beginning in verses 24, you find this statement of Paul, God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with mens hands, as though He needed any thing, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things. And then He relates that men have been created by God and that it is in Him that we live in Him and move and have our being. Now He commissions His Son, the Lord Jesus to create all things, and indeed He did. It was the plan and provision of the Father, God that made it possible.
Secondly, God planned redemption for man in Christ. In His infinite wisdom, God knew that man would fall and sin and be separated from Him, and so all the way back in eternity past He planned mens redemption. In the book of Ephesians chapter one beginning in verse three, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ [By the way, thats from eternity past into eternity future]; According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children... [I remember we did exegesis on this passage here, a rather intensive exegesis a question whether there should be an in love to begin in verse five and maybe thats true ...in love: having predestinated us unto the [son placing] of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will [God planned it], To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved [By the way, that Beloved ought to have a capital B because it refers to the Beloved One, the Lord Jesus. I Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence. Now we could go on, and really you should read that whole passage to get the concept here But God planned redemption for man in Christ; and then out of that plan He sent His Son to provide mans redemption. Its here where John 3:16 comes in, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
And then enlarging on that truth, I John 4:9 and 10, In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God [and thats God the Father] sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation [thats the substitutionary satisfactory sacrifice] for our sins. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, sent forth from God to provide mans redemption! So, the only way that man could be restored is in and through redemption that God has provided through His Son.
Now third and finally, in relation to Believers: God the Father becomes our Father only through the new birth by being born into the family of God. In Johns Gospel in the very first chapter, verse twelve, But as many as received Him [that is, the Lord Jesus], to them gave He the power to become the sons of God [Now here the King James translators werent always very accurate The Greek word here is teknon which means children, born ones of God, those who were born into the family of God], even to them that believe on His Name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Now this being born into the family of God is by faith. Galatians 3:26 [and here you have another switch-back in the King James], For ye are all the children [and here it should be sons, that is with the rights and privileges of maturity] of God by faith in Christ Jesus. The amazing truth is that when you are born into the family of God, youre full-born. Youre born full grown, as it were in a sense, positionally before God for youre children and sons, and its all by faith in Jesus Christ as set forth in the Word of God I Peter 1:23, Being born again [or literally, having been born again], not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God [thats by the truth set forth in this Book, the Bible, the Word of God], which liveth and abideth for ever. So we believe what God has said in His Word concerning His Son, Who died for us.
Now God the Father sustains and provides for us better than any earthly father could do. In Luke 10:21, In that hour Jesus rejoiced in Spirit, and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth... You see, God being Lord of heaven and earth has resources of heaven and earth. Now comparing with that then, Matthew 6:32 and 33, speaking of things we need for daily living, (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. And then in Matthew 7:11, If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him? You know, fathers love to give good things to their children. I do. I like to give good things to my children. They sort of realize that some times and take advantage of that, I guess.
I want to go on in the third point: God the Father is accessible to us through Christ. John 14:6, Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. I often tell people, If you were to come to our Campus, wed be delighted to have you come. The ordinary procedure whereby you would get to see me is that you would come to the Main Office and the switchboard and you would inquire, and they would then call on the intercom phone and they would say, So-and so is down here to see you. Are you free to see them? If Id be free, Id usually see you. If Im not, I say when I could see you or maybe Id just say, Im sorry, I cant see them at this time. And, once in a while, that happens. I regret it, but things do happen.
But you know, in the midst of almost any discussion or anything that is going on in my office, I may hear (knock, knock) I have taught him to knock and its my son. He doesnt bother with the switchboard. He doesnt bother with anybody anywhere. He just comes sailing right up. He used to come sailing right in.
You know there is something of truth there of the access that we have. Now we do have an Intermediary, the Lord Jesus Who provided the access. But we have the immediate access, and there are four things that you have access to when you come to the Throne: You have access to the Person of the Throne, the Power of the Throne [Thats the authority there], the Provision from the Throne [Sometimes when Tim comes to see me, he just wants to see me. When we left yesterday, he came over at noon from his job. I said, What do you want? Well, he said, I just want to see you, thats all.] You know it would be wonderful if we just go into the presence of God, just because He is, the Person that He is. Then the power [Sometimes he comes in and says, Dad, Id like to do this. Sometimes he comes in and says, Dad, I need a quarter. I want to get a soda He needs the provision.] And, fourthly, the Pleasure of the Throne. You know, I like what it says in Psalm 16:11, ...at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. and you can enjoy those pleasures now by access to the Throne of God! Hebrews 4:16 indicates that Christ our High Priest has made it possible for us to come boldly unto the throne of grace [at any time], that we may [receive] mercy...and grace to help in time of need. Thats the precious access we have to God as our Father.
Finally, one day we shall enter our Fathers heaven. In John 14 the Lord Jesus said, Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Fathers house are many mansions [dwelling places of the finest significance]: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. The precious privilege of being with the Lord Jesus, and with the Father, and with the Holy Spirit in eternity in my Fathers heaven. Well, you know, all this is only true if God is your Father; and you can only have Him as your Father if you have received His Son by faith. I you have believed on Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, then God becomes your Father, and you become a child of God.
Someone has said, The Son of God became the Son of man that sons of men might become the sons of God. And, what a glorious truth, and we will explore this more fully in the next message, as we study in regard to God the Son. But, Im glad that I have a heavenly Father Who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we [could] ask or think, according to the power that [is resident] in us, by the Holy Spirit and through the Son of God.
Our FATHER Were so deeply grateful that we belong to Thee by faith in Christ. Enable us Father to lay hold of the resources that are ours: to Your Person, Your Power, to Your Provision, to Your Pleasure, to the Joy that can be ours, because we are Yours. We give You thanks, in Jesus precious Name. Amen.
Dr. Stuart E. Lease
August 13, 1974 pm
Ocean City Baptist Church, Ocean City, NJ
Summer Bible Conference