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Fathers' Day: Access to the Father

1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? 4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday. 5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. Psalms 42:1-2.

The heartfelt cry of the Psalmist in this passage is one that all of us have experienced in our lives.  We want to know God, we want access to God, we want acceptance by God; and yet it seems like this access is a closed door, a brick wall.  We cannot get from here to there.

The Apostle Paul has painted a scene in Ephesians that vividly portrays the tragic position of a vast group of people, a group to which most of us belong.  It is a people held in bondage, people who live, think, love and dream like all the rest, but forbidden to partake of the joys of knowing God.

 11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Ephesians 2:11-12.

Walls and denied access. 

We have heard about actual, famous walls of the world. The Great Wall of China succeeded in isolating a people and a nation for thousands of years.  Over 5000 people tried to escape the Berlin Wall, resulting in nearly 200 killed.  The Bible tells us of the walls of Babylon, the walls of Jericho, and the temple walls. 

There was a wall, a wall that essentially denied everyone but the Jewish people access to God.  

This wall was most likely the wall that the Jews built in the temple to keep the Gentiles out of the actual worship area.  It separated between the outer court and the inner court.  It was built with good intentions—to keep the unholy and profane away from the chosen people of God.  But walls of isolation and barrier walls nearly always have unintended consequences.  Rather then keeping the Jewish people of that day holier and purer, it led to pride, haughtiness, disdain and hatred.  The wall served to emphasize their differences instead of celebrating their mutual desire to pursue a holy God. 

1.       The access to God was denied to the Gentiles by the Jews and their traditions. 

I do not have time in this message to explore the 613 laws, rules and regulations that were a part of the life of the Jew.  There were the moral laws, some of which are contained in the Ten Commandments, but that doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of the encumbrances of the laws imposed on them.  There were dietary laws, laws about making clothes, laws about how to farm, laws about marriage, laws about ceremonial washings, laws about feast days, and on and on. 

All of these laws that were fulfilled in the physical realm had a spiritual significance, and many of them were types and shadows of Jesus Christ, the church and salvation.  But the Jewish leaders did not stop with the Bible laws; they manufactured many more rules in addition to the Law of Moses.  Jesus said:  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” Matthew 23:27.

As a result of these laws—and more to the point—the attitude of the Jewish race, there was a huge wall of separation between them and the Gentiles.  The Non-Jewish world was denied access to Jehovah, the one, true and living God.  This wall was considered enmity between the two races.  It led to a society filled with tension and conflict, no doubt worse than the racial tensions that have long dogged this nation, or the South African culture of apartheid.   

The error of the Jews regarding their view of the Gentiles:

          They knew there was only one God and they denied the Gentiles access to him.

Denial of access meant denial of privilege, blessing and significance to the Gentiles.

Denial of access limited the magnificence and reach of God’s grace.

They believed that God created all men but still believed themselves to be superior.

They were controlling the eternal destiny of an entire race.

Their extreme prejudice fostered hatred, disdain and even criminal behavior. 

This problem was addressed by the cross and the blood. 

Ephesians 2:13-18 (KJV)
13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

This is the amazing grace of Jesus Christ that we sing about.  The blood of Jesus enveloped the wall of separation, obliterated it, and Jesus reached out to both Jew and Gentile and pulled them together.  He broke down the middle wall of partition between us, reconciled both unto God, and granted access to the Father. 

“Access Denied” is a familiar term to computer users. 

It comes up when you want to open and delete or modify a folder but it says “Access is denied”.

In Windows Vista, for example, you may encounter this in opening “UserName” folder > My Documents, My Videos, My Pictures and My Music folder. These are maintained by Windows in a technical setup or structure that makes sense to the programmer.  But the fix for an “access denied” problem has a spiritual significance that is worth noting.  The solution is taking the ownership of system files or folders that you want to open or modify. 

Many people, in the spirit, come to this point where they encounter an “access denied” problem.  The enemy of the soul puts up a roadblock and says, “You don’t belong here.”  “You have no business here, God is out of range for you to touch.”  “You don’t have the right password; you don’t qualify; you don’t have the right pedigree.”  That’s when it’s time to point to the cross and say, “You’re wrong!  I’m taking ownership of this situation. “ 

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16.

Father’s Day 

Today, Father’s Day, 2011, is happiness for many, but not all.  Many custody battles are raging right now because of denied access of father’s to their children, or children to their fathers.  In many cases, there are legitimate concerns and issues that need to be resolved before access is granted. 

Parents Denied Access to their Children

When a relationship breaks down one of the most tragic victims is often the relationship between the children and the absent parent.

Most men are very well intentioned when it comes to maintaining a relationship with their children once they are living away from the family home. But it comes as no big surprise that a worrying number of fathers lose contact with their children within the first couple of years after separation.

This happens for a number of reasons. Sometimes new relationships make it difficult for the father to balance his old life and his new life, sometimes distance plays a part and sometimes the father simply doesn’t put in the effort required to make the relationship with his children work.

But in many instances, Fathers who sincerely want to nurture their relationships with children from a previous relationship are prevented from doing so by ex’s who have an axe to grind. Unfortunately it is all too common that the partner who has been left behind directly or indirectly influences the children’s feelings against their absent parent.

Planned visits will be cancelled at the last moment, access to the children made as difficult as possible. Often the ex will choose times when she knows that the father will not be able to make the visit due to work or other commitments and will then blame him for not ‘caring enough’. It is not a pretty story but sadly it is one that is played out all over the world time and again and often leads to a permanent breakdown in relations between children and their fathers, with resentment and hurt on both sides.

So if this is happening to you here are a few things to bear in mind.

  1. Do not take personally anything hurtful the children may say to you
  2. Do not get involved in criticizing your ex in front of the children - even if you know she is doing that to you

Article Source: 

In my opinion, however, it is equally tragic for children and fathers that live in the same home under the same roof and yet have a strained relationship.  And the tragedy is that children largely develop their attitude towards their Heavenly Father as a result of their relationship with their earthly father.                   

The Father’s Day message I have for you today is that children need access to their fathers, and fathers need to tear down any walls that exist to grant them that access.  It’s the father, not the child, who can do this. 

Yesterday, I performed the wedding ceremony for Chris and Chelsea Condon.  Let me reiterate my admonition to them:  “ 

And so, Chris and Chelsea, my admonition to you is this:  You both excel at planning and organization.  That is evident in the way you have brought all of this about—the engagement, the wedding, and all of the preparations for your place to live.  You know that these things didn’t just happen by themselves.  Even so, plan to give God the central place in your home and your lives.  It will not just happen—it only becomes a reality through deliberate and intentional planning.  Build church, service, ministry, prayer and the Word of God into your daily and weekly routines.  The end result will be a strong, healthy marriage.” 

The same principle holds true for homes and families.  It won’t just happen.  You have to make it happen. 

Fathers, give your children access to your time.  (Your personal pleasure, recreation and hobbies do not take priority over your children.)

Give your children access to your affection.  (Provoke not your children to wrath)  (Be quick to praise, give hugs, show appreciation.)

Give your children access to your wisdom.  (Talk about issues.  Explain why you did or didn’t do certain things.)

Give your children access to your heart.  (Make sure your children have a part in your life.)  (Share your faith with them.) 

Why children don’t exercise their access to their Fathers:

          He doesn’t care about me.

          I’ve heard too many stories about what he is really like.

          He is mean.

          He is lazy, _______ (fill in the blank.)

          I don’t like him.

          He hates me.

          I’m afraid of him.

          I feel uncomfortable and awkward around him. 

So, why do so many children have access denied?  It is the kid’s fault?  “They don’t come around me.  We don’t have much in common.  Their mother handles all the touchy-feeling stuff.  I just bring home the bacon!”  

No.  If there is a wall of separation, if there is a denial of access, it is because too many fathers build the wall that keeps them out!  Listen to a man who is concerned about the children of his congregation:

“So, how do we keep our children without compromising? We must win their hearts!!! If we discipline in anger, we wound their spirit (Proverbs 18:14), build a wall between our children and us. When they are young our anger will be interpreted as authority and may cause fear and guilt, but when they reach adolescence they say in their hearts, “dad is wrong, I don’t have to put up with this, I have my rights”, and a strong wall is being built. Proverbs 18:19 warns, “a brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle”. Let’s put the word “child” in there. A child offended is harder to be won than a strong city.

Strong cities in Bible days had high, impenetrable walls such as Jericho. Mighty men of war were easily struck down if they approached to closely to the wall. The story of a woman who dropped a piece of millstone upon Abimelech from the tower wall in Thebez (Judges 9:53) was a constant reminder to military strategists to stay clear of the wall (II Samuel 11:21). The strong city walls were unapproachable! Our offended teenage children become unapproachable! Not hard to be won but “harder” to be won than a strong city! Picture a big strong burly father laying defeated with skull crushed by a piece of millstone dropped from the wall by a little teenage girl. But parents, isn’t that what is happening with our children? We cannot penetrate that wall! We are defeated, and they are lost! It would certainly take a Jericho miracle to bring down the wall.”

Tearing Down the Wall 

So, how do you take down a wall that you built up?  It’s not easy, but there is a starting point.  The starting point is the recognition that the wall is not a good thing.  

The wall is not a solution to the problem of relationships.  It is why relationship have problems.  

Determine that you are going to do something about it.

Get the right tools. (Word of God, prayer, counseling.)

Get started, if only one brick at a time.

Realize that an entire wall will not come down with one blow.  Be patient. 

Your Heavenly Father 

If there is a wall today between you and your Heavenly Father, I must ask you, Who built that wall?  Jesus Christ is in the business of tearing down walls, not building them up. 

You do have access to your Father.  Why don’t you exercise that access? 

          He doesn’t care about me.

          I’ve heard too many stories about what he is really like.

          He is mean.

          He is lazy, _______ (fill in the blank.)

          I don’t like him.

          He hates me.

          I’m afraid of him.

          I feel uncomfortable and awkward around him. 

There are no physical walls that keep us away from God; there are only mental, imaginary, and emotional walls that destroy that relationship.  Let’s go back to the Psalm where we began today.

 1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

When can you come?  You can come today. 




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