Summary: What a marvelous family Jesus was born to bring us into! What a blessing to know God as our Father! A) Rejoice in your Father's plan B) Call out by your Father's Spirit C) Anticipate your Father's inheritance.

Text: Galatians 4:5-7

Theme: Redeemed by the Son to Be Sons

A. Rejoice in your Father's plan

B. Call out by your Father's Spirit

C. Anticipate your Father's inheritance

Season: Christmas 1a

Date: December 26, 2010

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit brings us our Savior is Galatians 4.

"When the fullness of the time had come, God sent out his Son, made from a woman, made under law, to redeem those under law, in order that we might receive sonship. Now since you are sons, God has sent out the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba, Father." So you are no longer a slave but a son. And if a son, then also an heir of God through Christ." (Galatians 4:5-7)

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

"My stomach hurts," Manuel thought as he shivered under the dark sky. He had not had a regular meal since the earthquake took his parents on January 12. At first scrounging in the rubble then wandering through the tent cities, he ate what he could find. So alone, so helpless. Would cholera, hunger, or neglect take him first?

How much better do you think his life would be if he were adopted -- if an good American family brought him into their home, fed him, clothed him, loved him, cared for him? How would that change his outlook and hope for the future? He'd be an entirely new person, wouldn't he?

You've been adopted, dear friends, by One much greater than a good American family. This adoption brought us out of a far, far worse condition than even a Haitian orphan endures. And as difficult and expensive as an international adoption is, your adoption cost much, much more. For you were redeemed, purchased by the Son of God giving himself as the ransom price for your adoption. That's why he came to this earth, born of a woman, born under law. He came to redeem you, so that whether you are male or female, whether a man, woman, or child, you've been redeemed by the Son to be sons. That's the theme.

And as we imagine little Manuel enjoying a warm meal, a soft bed, and a loving home with his new adoptive family, enjoy the blessings you have as sons of God. Rejoice in your Father's plan. Call out by your Father's Spirit. Anticipate your Father's inheritance. Those are the three parts to ponder as we kneel at the manger of our Redeemer.

A. Rejoice in your Father's plan

"[W]hen the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law" (Galatians 4:4, 5 NIV). The Father had a plan. After Adam and Eve sinned, he began revealing his plan. You heard in Genesis 3 that the Offspring of the woman would crush Satan's head.

But thousands of years passed. God was working his plan, making more detail known, preparing the world for his Son. The Serpent-crusher would come from Abraham's family. Like a star he would rise out of Jacob, from the tribe Judah from the house and lineage of King David. He would be the mighty God, the Prince of peace. He would be born of the virgin in the town of Bethlehem. And how many prophecies of his suffering, death, resurrection, and glory couldn't we list?

God was preparing the world, so that the heathen Roman emperor Caesar Augustus issued a decree at the exact time God wanted, and a newly married couple from Nazareth journeyed to Bethlehem. The prophecies were fulfilled.

Why did God put his plan into action? Why did the Father send his Son? To redeem you, dear friend. Yes, to redeem sinners like and me. Enslaved by our own sin, neither you nor I could free ourselves or any others. Sin blinded our will so that we loved the short-term pleasures of ours sins. And the cost of our redemption was far greater than we could ever pay, even if we had wanted to.

So the Father's plan sent his Son to redeem you and me. At what price? Not with gold or silver, but with the holy, precious blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, the eternal Son of the Father. So he came to be one of us, born of a woman, flesh and blood, born of the virgin. We talked about that last Sunday as we looked at the name Immanuel.

He ransomed us by taking our place under the law. As creatures of God we are by nature under his law. But we have broken it. We were law-breakers, sinners, rebels trying to do things our own way rather than God's way. The law condemns you and me. It condemns us to death and hell, for we have disobeyed. But God's Son was born under the law to redeem those under the law. That's you and me. He willingly had all the sins of the world, including all of yours and mine, counted against him. So when he died, his death counts as your punishment. We talked about that on Christmas Eve as we saw Christ's cross in the Christmas tree, remembering him who is our Life and our Light.

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