Summary: Every true believer in Christ is a Spirit-led heir of eternal life and blessings we cannot imagine. This is all from the hand of a loving Father.
1. “You may have heard the term “laughing heir” used by an estate planning lawyer, the media, or by courts. The legal definition of a “laughing heir” is a distant relative with inheritance rights without a close degree of kinship to the decedent. At common law, laughing heirs described relatives who didn’t bereave a decedent’s death like closer relatives. Many states enacted laughing heir statutes that limit the rights that distant relatives have when a decedent dies intestate or without a will.” [Germanlawgroup.com]
2. Many of us have hoped to inherit a fortune from a long-lost relative we never knew we had. That would make us laughing heirs. But sometimes people with no connection inherit.
3. What could be more random than having your name chosen out of a phone book? Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral da Camara, a Portuguese aristocrat, selected random people from a Lisbon telephone directory to be his heirs. He picked them in the presence of two witnesses 13 years before his death.
The aristocrat was a childless bachelor at the time of his demise, at age 42. Some of his beneficiaries were so shocked at their good fortune that they initially believed they were being scammed, the BBC reported. [source: https://www.moneytalksnews.com/].
4. We are going to inherit much one day. The Bible tells us we are going to be joint heirs with Jesus Christ. He will share with us. The idea of inheritance is wrapped up in the word “son.”
Main Idea: Every true believer in Christ is a Spirit-led heir of eternal life and blessings we cannot imagine. This is all from the hand of a loving Father.
I. God’s SONS Are Led by the Spirit (12-14).
A. We are indebted to God, not our sinful NATURES (12).
B. The Holy Spirit helps us to MORTIFY the deeds of the flesh (13).
1. We cannot eradicate our sin nature, but we can check sin.
2. We try to keep ourselves from situations that nurture temptation; saying no to sin takes energy.
3. It is not a sin to be tempted, nor should we be surprised when our sinful nature generates a wicked thought. Add to that Satan and his kingdom, and the battle is sometimes significant.
4. We can choose not to follow where our sin nature wants to lead us with the Spirit’s help.
5. We can experience victory over much sin in this life, but we will have our failings. This is not a perfect science, and we are complex beings.
C. The Spirit ESCORTS us in a godly direction (14).
1. Being led by the Spirit of God is the reason why we can put to death the deeds of the flesh. Not about information, but strength and encouragement and endurance.
2. We think of being Spirit-led as God giving us direction; it can include that; here the emphasis is upon the Spirit leading us to do what God says is right, shunning what God says is wrong.
3. Example: walking on a narrow path along ledges at McCormick’s Creek State Park; they twist, turn, and narrow. If someone leads the way we can see how we can keep walking. We know the path we have to be on, but we need a guide to embolden us to stay on that path.
II. Although we are God’s Servants, We Relate as FAMILY (15-17).
A. We are ADOPTED sons, meaning we will inherit (15).
1. The different relationships we have with the Father….
• Offspring of God (Acts 17:29)
• children by new birth (John 1:2)
• sons of God by adoption
2. We no longer need to fear, but fear what? Falling short. Death, the Coronavirus…
3. Fear is a spectrum: Most of the people I know are reasonably cautious, and caution is the wise part of the fear spectrum.
4. I am not afraid of what will happen to me after I die, but I am afraid of the pain of dying, and leaving behind a wife, children, grandchildren, and the dear people of HPC. Cautious.
B. We relate to the Father as “Abba,” a FAMILY term (16).
1. There is a reason Paul brings a foreign (Aramaic) term into the equation, a term Jewish people still use.
2. My experience at Holiday Park
3. There must be a shade of difference between pater (father) and abba.
4. Abba is more like “my own father.”
I love the way J.B. Phillips paraphrases this entire section:
“All who follow the leading of God’s Spirit are God’s own sons. Nor are you meant to relapse into the old slavish attitude of fear—you have been adopted into the very family circle of God and you can say with a full heart, “Father, my Father”.
Many children rarely converse with their Father. But our Father talks to us by His Word and through His Spirit, and we talk to Him in prayer. How often do we converse with our Abba?