Sermons

Summary: Many people live every moment completely oblivious to their rightful divine inheritance.

“Clearing the Heir”

Gal. 4:1-7

You might just be the long-lost heir to someone’s fortune. Because unclaimed money from estates reverts to the state after a period of time the government is not really eager to spend a lot of time or money looking for deserving heirs. But the government does have a legal obligation to answer all inquiries. So there is a website – www.unclaimed.org – run by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. You can go there to see if your name occurs on any unclaimed riches anywhere in the United States. Obviously thousands of people live every moment of every day oblivious to their rightful inheritance. There’s a cavernous gap between what they have and what they’re entitled to, a canyon between who they are and who they could be. How unfortunate and how sad!

Yet even more unfortunate and sad is the untold mass of people who live every moment of every day oblivious to their rightful divine inheritance. They, too, live with a gap. So the Apostle Paul wanted to set the record straight – to clear the heirs. Through his letter to the Galatian Church he RECALLS WHAT WE WERE. To do so he begins with AN ANALOGY ABOUT MINOR CHILDREN. “What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father.” On paper the entire estate belongs to the son. In reality, the son cannot touch it or use it until his father says the time is right. In the meantime he, like the slaves, is subject to his father. So, implies Paul, were all of us – rightful heirs but unable to obtain our inheritance.

So Paul quickly moves to A PICTURE OF CHILDREN IN SLAVERY. “So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world.” While humankind was created in the image of God, sin destroyed that image. So people lived under the principles and powers of the sinful world rather than under the principles and power of God.

But Paul reminds us of WHAT WE HAVE AND WHO WE TRULY ARE. According to Paul, there are three significant aspects of our inheritance which, when claimed, help us live in possession of those rights. First, He wrote that Jesus was sent on a mission: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law…” He came into the slave market of our world to redeem us; WE HAVE BEEN REDEEMED. He purchased us and freed us. That’s why Jesus healed all who came to Him; His healing acts were signs that He alone could free us! We do not need to be enslaved to the principles and powers of the sinful world – we are free. Jesus closed the gap between what we’re entitled to and what we have; He has bridged the canyon between who we are and who we can be. As Wesley wrote, in the great Christmas hymn “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”, Jesus was “born that we no more may die!”

Second, Paul claims WE HAVE BEEN RAISED. “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law that we might receive the full rights of sons.” Wesley penned that Jesus was “born to raise us from the earth…” We have an IDENTITY THROUGH POSITION. We have been given the full rights of a natural born, mature heir. The Roman father had the discretion to determine when a son was “of age” to become the legal heir to his estate. So Paul says God chose the time when Jesus came to gave us our inheritance. Through no merit of our own, WE HAVE THE FULL RIGHTS of natural born sons. As John wrote (1Jn. 3:1), “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

Perhaps you can recall the thrill and honor of being chosen for that starring role, or making the team, or being elected to that key position, or receiving that honor or recognition, or getting that job you so desperately desired; it only pales in comparison with the thrill, honor, and privilege of being chosen by God, of being granted full status, equal with his Son, Jesus. That’s right - equal to the status of Jesus. We are His brothers and sisters!

Think about that. WHATEVER BELONGS TO CHRIST BELONGS TO US! We have the same name, the same inheritance, the same position, the same rights as Jesus! When people all around us are having identity crises, trying to find out who they are, trying to discover their inner selves, searching for their roots, trying to build their sense of self-worth on their achievements - we can be secure in the knowledge that we are children of God the Father, in equal standing with Jesus! It doesn’t get any better than this! As the Living Bible paraphrases verse 7, we have access to “everything God has.” Whatever belongs to Christ belongs to us. We don’t need to earn it, buy it, deserve it - it’s ours!

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