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Summary: God's Great Rescue Plan is a sermon about adoption and foster care. The goal is for the church and individual Christians to assume their roles in providing care for orphans.

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God’s Great Rescue Plan

Ephesians 1:4, 5

Dr. Perry Hancock

Have you ever been rescued? Most of us this past week saw the rescue of the man who fell off the cruise ship… Have you ever been rescued? I mean truly rescued. You were in a hopeless situation, no way out, but someone came just in time and saved you. Have you ever been rescued?

Today we’re going to talk about children who need to be rescued – the 140 million orphans around the world, the 400,000 Foster Children in America, and Foster Children right here in your community who are modern-day orphans. And we begin in an unlikely place with an unlikely passage of Scripture – Ephesians 1:4, 5.

"For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He chose in advance for us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will" (Ephesians 1:4-5 HCSB)

If I had asked earlier how many of you are adopted perhaps a few would have raised your hands. But now, “How many of you are adopted? Raise your hands. Yes. This is where we begin today.

I. WE WHO BELIEVE ARE THE RESCUED, ADOPTED, CHILDREN OF GOD

Isn’t that incredible? This entire book (Bible) is about adoption. It’s about God loving us and adopting us as His own children.

You see, none of us are natural-born children of God. I remember several years ago traveling in Houston, TX and seeing a large billboard advertisement that read, “Sister Mary Palm Reader – Natural Born Christian”. Not according to the Bible. We are all adopted. We've been rescued.

Listen to Paul’s words in Colossians 1:13. “For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son”

Galatians 1:4 – “Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live.”

Galatians 4:4-6 - "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son to redeem those who were under the law so that He could adopt us as His very own children..."

Jesus, dear friends, paid the price for our adoption. The Gospel is all about adoption. We are the Rescued, Adopted Children of God.

II. THE CHURCH IS GOD’S PLAN FOR THE RESCUE OF THE WORLD’S ORPHANS

God wants the Rescued to become the Rescuers.

Over and over again, God tells us in His Word that we are to care for the orphans.

Isaiah 1:17 – “Learn to do what is good. Seek justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless...”

Listen to James. “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their trouble…”

Pure Religion – What does that mean? Religion is the way we live out our faith. It is how we practice what we believe. It is the evidence of our faith.

Over and over again God says, “Take care of the orphan.” To whom did He speak those commands? He spoke them to the people of God, His church.

God has a tremendous love for the orphan.

I want you to get this picture in your mind. Over here are the millions of orphans in the world. Over here is the heart of God. And in between there is a great gulf. How are the orphans going to get to the Heart of God? There must be a bridge. And that bridge is not the government. It is not just society. It is the church. The rescued become the rescuers. The adopted become the adopters.

In 2009 I was at the Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, KY. Several resolutions were being presented for our consideration. Soon a resolution was made that captured my attention. The resolution was about orphans.

RESOLVED, That we call on each Southern Baptist family to pray for guidance as to whether God is calling them to adopt or foster a child

RESOLVED, That we encourage our pastors and church leaders to preach and teach on God's concern for orphans;

RESOLVED, That we pray for an outpouring of God's Spirit on Southern Baptist congregations so that our churches will proclaim and picture, in word and in deed, that “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.”

Friends, there are churches all across America that are recapturing this vision from God. They are establishing Foster Care Ministries, Orphan Mission Trips, Adoption Ministries and Funds.

What does God want your church to do for these children?

Perhaps God would use your church like He has used the Bennett Chapel Baptist Church in Possum Trot, Texas. In 4 short years the families of that small church have fostered and adopted over 70 children.

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