Introduction: One of the greatest blessings of my life was to have a
loving father. It was my father who taught me that fear and love are
not inconsistent. I had no doubt that my father loved me absolutely.
On the other hand, I understood what judgment meant! It was a
wonderful combination that shapes my understanding of our great
Father in heaven. Our understanding of our Father in Heaven is even
better informed by what Jesus had to say about Him. That is our study
this week. Let’s plunge into our Bible and see what we can learn
about our loving heavenly Father!

  1. Our Attitude Towards Others

    1. Read Matthew 7:1-2. What is the rule about how we should
      treat each other? (We get what we give. If we show mercy,
      then mercy is shown to us.)

    2. Read Matthew 7:3-5. How do we normally treat each other?
      (Generally, we are more critical of others than we are of

    3. Read Matthew 7:6. How does this fit with the prior verses?
      This seems like a counterpoint to the instruction so far.
      Is it? (In our mercy and help we need to make mature,
      commonsense judgments.)

  2. God’s Attitude Towards Us

    1. Read Matthew 7:7-8. Jesus turns a corner here. He has gone
      from how we treat each other to what other new topic? (How
      God treats us.)

      1. Do you think the prior verses about how we should
        treat each other inform us about how God treats us?
        ( Matthew 7:1 seems to say that God considers how we
        treat others when dealing with us, but it seems to me
        that God is more generous to us than we are to each

      2. What is God’s standard? (If we ask, God will give.)

        1. Is this your experience in life? Be honest.

    2. Read Matthew 7:9-11. What point of reference does Jesus
      suggest for measuring God’s attitude towards us? (How we
      treat our own children.)

      1. Why would Jesus compare His Father in Heaven to us?
        (I know my father wanted to give me good gifts. I
        know I want to give good things to my children. This
        is just a fabulous encouragement to me. Every time I
        wonder, “What God has in mind for me,”I need to just
        ask, “What would I do for my child?” “What would my
        father have done for me?”)

      2. Now let’s revisit Matthew 7:7-8. If you said to
        yourself, “God does not grant my requests,” did you
        grant all the requests of your children? (Matthew
        7:11 refers to God giving us “good gifts.” In our
        study last quarter, we learned that trusting God is
        central to our relationship with Him. God knows
        everything. He gives us good gifts. If the gifts seem
        wrong to us, we need to just trust Him to know what
        is best for us.)

    3. Read Matthew 7:12. Why does Jesus go back to discussing
      how we should treat each other? (How God treats us is
      related to how we should treat others. God is generous to
      us. He is looking out for our best interests. Therefore,
      we should look out for the best interests of others.)

      1. Re-read the last part of Matthew 7:2: “With the
        measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Who is
        doing the measuring when it comes to you? (God
        measures. How we treat others is a measure God uses
        in treating us.)

  3. Jesus’ Picture of the Father

    1. Read John 14:1-3. What is God asking of us? (Not to be
      worried here on earth. Trust God for He will ultimately
      take us home to live with Him.)

    2. Read John 14:4-5. Thomas hears that he supposedly knows
      the directions to this great place Jesus has prepared for
      him to live. What is his concern? (Jesus is making some
      false assumptions. Thomas does not know the way to go, and
      this is a very important matter to get straightened out!
      Thomas wants to go.)

    3. Read John 14:6-7. Is Jesus talking about directions? Is He
      referring to a map? (Jesus is speaking about salvation.
      The only way to heaven is through Jesus.)

    4. Read John 14:8. What do you think Philip is really saying?
      (The great question of the ages is “Who is Jesus?” Philip
      says we can have confidence in who you are, Jesus, if you
      will just show us the Father in heaven.)

    5. Read John 14:9. Is Jesus disappointed in Philip? (Yes.)

      1. Are Jesus and Philip on the same page? (Philip is a
        long way behind Jesus. Philip wants to confirm that
        Jesus is God. Jesus tells Philip that if he wants to
        know God, Philip need only consider Jesus.)

    6. Read John 14:10-11. Let’s say that you are way ahead of
      Philip. What do you learn about God through Jesus? (Jesus
      did miracles to take away human suffering. Jesus gave His
      life for us. The picture Jesus gives us is of a Father who
      loves us supremely.)

  4. The Creation’s Picture of God

    1. Read Matthew 6:25-26. What is Jesus suggestion about
      having the right priorities? (He says that having our life
      and health are more important than food or clothes.)

      1. Why do you think Jesus said this in the context of
        God looking out for us? (We need to be grateful for
        the basics. People who eat expensive food and wear
        great clothes, but are not healthy, understand these

      2. What do birds teach us about the love of the Father
        in Heaven? (God makes sure they are fed. He will make
        sure we have enough to eat.)

    2. Read Matthew 6:27. What practical point does Jesus add?
      (Worrying does not make you taller, better looking or
      extend your life. What good is it?)

    3. Read Matthew 6:28-30. The earlier verse told us to have
      our priorities straight. Here, Jesus is saying something
      different. Will God give us only the basics? (No! You want
      your children to have great things. God has the same
      desire for you.)

    4. Read Matthew 6:31-33. Instead of worry, what should we do?
      (Put God first. Promote the Kingdom of God. Pursue

  5. Prodigal Son and a Picture of God

    1. Read Luke 15:11-12. What would you say if your son asked
      this of you? (I’m not dead yet!)

      1. What does this say about the father?

      2. Re-read Matthew 7:6. Was the father making a mistake?

        1. If you say, “yes,” we will learn that in this
          parable the father represents God the Father.
          Would God make this same mistake?

    2. Luke 15:13-16. How are things working out for the son?
      Are his dreams being fulfilled?

    3. Read Luke 15:17-19. What motivates the son to go back?

    4. Read Luke 15:20. Put yourself in the father’s place. Would
      you have the same reaction? What if you knew the son’s
      motivation for returning was food?

    5. Read Luke 15:21-24. My father taught me the wonderful
      blend of love and judgment. Is there any judgment here?
      (No. None.)

      1. How do we treat those who are turning to God?

    6. Read Luke 15:25-28. Who does the older brother represent?
      (Us – those who faithfully obey God.)

    7. Read Luke 15:29-30. What do you think about the attitude
      of the older brother towards his father?

      1. Have you ever thought, “I’d like to be like the thief
        on the cross: do what I want and at the very last
        minute repent and be saved?”

      2. What is the problem with this kind of attitude? (Last
        quarter we learned that God gives us His law because
        He loves us and wants to keep us out of trouble. We
        need to trust God. The older son envied the younger
        son. He did not think his life with his father was
        anything but “slaving.”)

    8. How are the younger and older sons alike? (Both seemed
      motivated by what they can get from their father.)

      1. What does this teach us about our Father in heaven?
        (He loves us even if our motives are not yet right!)

    9. Friend, have you ever seen such great love? We are far
      from perfect. Like Philip, we don’t understand. Like the
      brothers, we have the wrong motives. Jesus says that our
      love for our children is just the starting point for
      understanding the love of God the Father towards us. Will
      you respond to that love today? Will you accept Jesus’
      sacrifice on your behalf, and trust God with your life?

  6. Next week: The Son.