Summary: The third message in this series reveals all the ways God has undertaken to relate us back to Himself: We are God's beloved children, with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and blessed to be in Christ, and with Christ in us.
Inheritance Sermon #3: Our Glorious Connection to God:
Key Verses: 1 Peter 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you.”
Back in my youth ministry days I taught the teen-agers a simple song that packed a theological wallop. The chorus repeated these lines:
I’m just wrapped up, tied up, tangled all up in Jesus.
I’m just wrapped up, tied up, tangled all up in God
(Danny Lee, 1972, Manna Music).
It was fun to sing along with the actions, and the faster the better. The words are simple, but the message is deep. In fact this little song has everything to do with our inheritance. Our multi-faceted connection to God is the very essence of our glorious inheritance in Christ.
We humans tend to be insecure about our spiritual connection with God. But God has taken great pains to address this spiritual insecurity. The Bible is full of metaphors describing how completely and irrevocably we are wrapped, tied, and tangled all up in God. Consider these examples:
• We are God’s possession, purchased with Christ’s blood (Ephesians 1:14).
• We are God’s adopted children (Romans 8:15).
• We are God’s spirit-born children. He made us his natural-born children, sharing his spiritual DNA by planting within us the “incorruptible seed” of his Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:23).
• We are betrothed to Christ, chosen to be the Bride of Christ (Revelation 22:17).
• We are living stones in a building whose foundation is Christ (1 Peter 2:5).
• We are the sheep of our good shepherd (John 10:11-16).
• We are soldiers in the army of Christ (2 Timothy 2:3-4).
• We are branches connected to Jesus, the true vine (John 15:1-8).
• We are the body whose head is Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:22, 5:30).
• We are disciples who follow Christ (Matthew 28:18-20).
When I visited Russia in 1996 I purchased a matrioshka or “nesting” doll, which is perhaps one of the most commonly purchased Russian souvenirs. The nesting doll provides a good visual image of the ways we have been wrapped up in Christ and in God. The common nesting doll contains seven dolls starting with a large doll that comes apart in the middle revealing a smaller doll inside, and each doll comes apart to reveal a yet smaller doll until you discover the smallest doll, about the size of a pea. As you put them back together you understand that the smallest doll is covered up and protected six times over.
When I brought my nesting doll souvenir home, I had no idea how popular this toy would be with my grandchildren. They played with the dolls so often, and so enthusiastically, that some of the dolls are now cracked or broken, and held together by scotch tape. But the toy still sits on our shelf, full and complete. Each doll is hidden securely within the whole.
This offers a visual of the security we have in Christ. Inevitably we get cracked or broken. We often fear we might fall apart entirely. But regardless of our condition, we are always hidden securely in Christ. Colossians 3:2-3 reminds us, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”
We have inherited a condition of supreme safety. We have been covered twice over, hidden in Christ who is in God. Let us set our minds on things above by examining some of the ways we are wrapped up, tied up, tangled all up in God.
1. We are God’s Children
Years ago, some friends of ours decided to adopt an infant son while they were serving as missionaries in Chile. They had tried, unsuccessfully, to have a baby for several years, so we were very happy when the adoption announcement arrived in the mail with a picture of their new son. We were astounded to see that they had enclosed with it the birth announcement for their biological son. As it turned out, the son they adopted, and the son they had unexpectedly conceived, arrived only a couple of months apart.
This double blessing is similar to our twofold connection to God as our father. Through Christ, we inherit the status of God’s adopted and spiritually begotten children. Both of these processes make us God’s sons and daughters, but there is a shade of difference between them that we don’t want to miss.