Sermon for 3/1/2009
A. Some other friends of ours, Matt and Jenny Moser, who have adopted 3 children. They were not able to have children of their own so they got involved in foster care. Through foster care, they have adopted Zi, Luke and Abbey. Luke is the most normal of the group. Zi is the oldest but he has problems with anger management. Abbey is the most challenged. She has to go to therapy 3 times a week. She was a crack baby. They had just adopted Abbey when Jenny was diagnosed with breast cancer. Many people from their church and community helped out with the 3 children while Jenny had surgery and many weeks of chemotherapy. These friends of ours have chosen to adopt children.
B. I wanted to get far away from home when I went to college. The Lord was directing my steps. The Christmas of my freshman year, my parents filed for divorce. I left home and never came back. Went to visit but home for me was no more. My college was my home. After graduation, I went to a church and ministered there. I was adopted by the Webb family.
A. We would probably be surprised if we knew how many people in the local congregation or at the office have family members by adoption. Some of us have brothers and sisters through adoption. Some of us have adopted children. Some of us are adopted children.
B. The only way to come into God’s family is by adoption. 3 times in the NT it talks about the subject of adoption into God’s family. All three times it is in the writings of Paul. Ephesians 1:5
C. Every Christian has God as Father. We have been adopted. We are now God’s sons and daughters. I think that one of the greatest challenges in life is to come to grips with this fact and let it work itself out in our lives.
D. Adoption into God’s f family defines the greatest of all spiritual blessings offered to mankind.
Thesis: This morning let’s talk about adoption into God’s family
I. Adoption: It’s Meaning
A. In Ephesians 1:5 Paul uses the word adoption. Paul was drawing on something his readers understood from their world. Adoption proceedings were impressive events. The elaborate details of the ceremony taught the seriousness of the action.
B. In the early church it was a common practice to adopt children. In that society if a child was unwanted, they would just abandon the baby. Many babies died, others were raised by slave traders to be slaves. The church saw this and many times Christians would raise them and adopt them into their home.
C. William Barclay says, “When the adoption was complete it was complete indeed. The person who had been adopted had all the rights of a legitimate son in his new family and completely lost all rights in his old family. In the eyes of the law he was a new person. So new was he that even all debts and obligations connected with his previous family were abolished as if they had never existed.”
D. Before adoption we were nothing but spiritual slaves. We were horribly in debt- sold to sin, doomed to die, without hope and without God in the world. God loves us enough to free us, to save us, and to adopt us!
E. God did this for us through His Son. (John 1:12) Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--
F. (Gal 4:4 NIV) But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, (Gal 4:5 NIV) to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
G. Adoption is deliverance from the past. Adoption is being claimed by God to be His child. Adoption is something that God does for us.
H. Abraham Lincoln once passed a slave block and saw a young girl being sold. His heart melted. He put up a bid, and eventually she belonged to him. After he paid the money, he told her, “You are now free.” “What does that mean?” she asked. “It means that you’re free,” Lincoln answered. “Does that mean I can be anything I want to be?” “Yes, you can be anything you want to be.” “Does that mean I can go anywhere I want to go?” “Yes, you can go anywhere you want to go.” With tears in her eyes, the young girl looked up at Lincoln and said, “Then I’ll go with you.” God did that you. He set us free. More than that, God adopted us and made us His own child.
II. Adoption: It’s Privileges (Ephesians 1:5- In love)
Privilege One: Fatherly Love
• The NT gives us two yardsticks to measure God’s wonderful love.
A. (Rom 5:8 NIV) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The Cross
B. (1 John 3:1 NIV) 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! Through adoption, we experience his love. He had no reason to save us, to forgive us, or to adopt us. God did all three because of His love.
Privilege Two: Sustaining Hope
A. In God’s family the best is always yet to come. Keep your fork!
B. Ephesians 1:14
C. (1 John 3:2 NIV) Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
D. As God’s children we hope for the greatest family reunion of all, in a place called heaven. We will be with the Lord and with God’s family there forever.
E. My Grandfather’s funeral- What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see, And I look upon His face, The One who saved me by His grace; When He takes me by the hand And leads me through the Promised Land, What a day, glorious day that will be. There’ll be no sorrow there, no more burdens to bear, No more sickness, no pain, no more parting over there; And forever I will be with the One who died for me, What a day, glorious day that will be.
III. Adoption: It’s Responsibilities
Jesus lived as He lived because He knew who He was- the Son of God. The knowledge that God is our Father and that we are His children should shape the way we live our lives. Jesus emphasized this in the Sermon on the Mount.
A. We should live as children of God.
1. (Mat 5:43 NIV) "You have heard that it was said, ’Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’(Mat 5:44 NIV) But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Mat 5:45 NIV) that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
2. (Mat 5:16 NIV) In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
3. (Mat 6:1 NIV) "Be careful not to do your ’acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
B. We should pray as children of God.
1. As adopted children we pray to God as “Our Father who art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9)
2. We can pray freely and boldly: (Mat 7:7 NIV) Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
3. Have a problem with my children. Stop asking me this!!! Yes, God will let us know when the answer is no, but he doesn’t get mad if we ask Him!
C. We should trust as children of God.
1. Mat 6:33 NIV) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
2. How does it feel- Then how does it feel to know you’re a child of the King? Your Heavenly Father owns everything, How does it feel to know you are loved? By the one who created the stars up above, How does it feel to know you’re alright? When you lay your head on your pillow at night, And know that it’s real, ain’t it good, tell me Do you know how it feels?
With privileges come responsibilities. Remember when you got that car at 16. The privilege of being adopted into God’s family carries the responsibility of living as members of God’s family. (Eph 5:8) For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (Eph 5:10) and find out what pleases the Lord.
Conclusion and invitation:
(Rom 8:15 NIV) For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." Focus on concept of "ABBA"
My children are gone this week. They will be back in a few days. I know what Zane will do. When he comes home, he will find me and tackle me and put his arms around me and say, "Daddy!" This should be our attitude toward God our Father. And one day, very soon, we will come through those pearly gates, rush up to the throne and put our hands up and say, "Daddy!"