Adoption as a gift of the Gospel

March 31, 2013

Resurrection Sunday, Adoption as a Gift of the Gospel

First, there will be no guilt trip to get you to adopt children.

Second, there is an astounding lack of adoption theologically and, as a consequence, practically by the church.

In nearly 2,000 years of church history and thousands of creeds (some 150 creeds after the Reformation) only 6 have been found to contain a theology of adoption.

This lack of emphasis on the theology adoption, that is at the heart of the Gospel, has resulted in a lack of the practice of adoption on the part of the church as a missionally strategic practice.

Third, the primary mission of this morning is to revel in the “vertical” reality of adoption as a glorious work of the Gospel completed in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

Fourth, the long-term mission of this morning is that the vertical truth of Father’s adoption of his people would lead to a culture of adoption where we have adopters and facilitators with none doing nothing.

1. The Gospel

A. Creation

B. Fall

C. Redemption

1. Coming

2. Living

3. Dying

4. Rising

5. Ascending

D. Restoration

2. Our adoption was costly for the Father

Galatians 4:4-5; Galatians 3:13

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent 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 an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:4-7)

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us – for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’ – so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles.” (Galatians 3:13)

3. Our adoption involves our status change from “not children” to “children”

Galatians 4:4-6

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!””

A. Because of Jesus’ work we are, by faith, children of God

1. Creator of us

2. Lover of us

3. Caring for us

4. Always doing good to us

5. Always providing for us

4. Our adoption involves the reception of  the Spirit of sonship

Galatians 4:6

“And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!””

A. Adoption is not less than biological succession. Adoption is equal to biological succession.

(Father does not look at Gentiles included in the Kingdom as less than, rather, he hardened Israel until a full number of Gentiles would be adopted into the Kingdom, then all Israel will be saved….see Romans 11:25ff)

B. In Christ we are adopted as children.

5. Our adoption involves the transformation of our behaviors so that they begin to match the behaviors of the Father (Do you ever just get sick of how you act and would do anything to stop acting like that…?)

Romans 8:12-15

“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit (who is kind of like your new birth certificate)

 of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’

A. The Spirit of adoption helps us put to death all the things that are contrary to the family of God

6. Our adoption involves becoming an heir of the Father

Galatians 4:6-7

“And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

7. Our adoption was planned

Ephesians 1:4-6

“…even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”

“Adoption was not Plan B in God’s mind. There was no Plan A with lots of children who never sin and never need to be redeemed. God predestined us for adoption before the creation of the world. Plan A was creation, fall, redemption, adoption so that the full range of God’s glory and mercy and grace could be known by his adopted children. Adoption was not second best. It was planned from the beginning.

A. The fall has affected all men

B. God, being rich in mercy, chose us to redeem us from the fall to show us the immeasurable riches of his kindness to rescue us from a deserved and eternal hell.

C. So, our adoption is not least rather it is a lavish gift

8. Our adoption comes with short-term suffering in overcoming the rubble of the fall but it also comes with long-term glory

Romans 8:22-23

“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

This passage says we are waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons.

Are we not, upon belief in the Gospel, adopted already? Yes.

When we believe the Gospel we are legally and permanently in the family of God. But God’s work in adoption is not to leave any of us who believe in a state of suffering from the fall.

Father raised Jesus from the dead with a new body and he promises us that part of our adoption will be a new body in the resurrection with no more disabilities and no more groaning.

So, we wait for the full experience of our adoption…..the full blown resurrection of our bodies with all the brokeness from the fall removed!

A. Death is not our enemy, rather death is our ally, through the resurrection of Jesus, to bring our full experience of adoption to us.

9. Our adoption was from a terrible state

Ephesians 2:3

“…among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

A. Father adopted us from a path that ended in eternal punishment for the rebellion

B. Because of our adoption we….

1. Love Father, Son and Spirit

2. Submit to Father, Son and Spirit in joy

3. Follow Father, Son and Spirit

4. Worship Father, Son and Spirit

5. Serve fellow adopted children by Father, Son and Spirit

6. Invite as many as will come and receive adoption to come by the help of Father, Son

and Spirit


The Responsibility in Fellowship: Humble Oneself

The responsibility in fellowship: Humble Oneself

Luke 9:46-48; Luke 18:9-14

Today, as we talk about “The Responsibility in Fellowship: Humble Oneself” we come to two passages of Scripture that speak to a responsibility we have to God and to one another.

In Luke 9:46-48 and Luke 18:9-14 the Lord addresses, perhaps, our root sin from the fall and that is self-exaltation.

Two key words are found in Luke 9:46:

1. Argument

2. Greatest

Jesus identifies the source of this problem among his disciples:

1. The heart

Jesus identifies the solution to the fallen heart exalting itself to be the greatest and thus creating division and arguments:

1. Each person should make it their aim to be the least, to humble themselves

In Luke 18:9-14 the Lord again addresses the issue of self-exaltation.

Two men are found in Luke 18:9-14:

1. The Pharisee who exalted himself by comparing himself to other men and then trumpeting how much greater he was compared to other men.

2. The tax-collector who rightly compared himself to God and found himself lacking and repenting of his lack.

Jesus identifies the solution to the issues of self-exaltation:

1. Each person should make it their aim to humble themselves

So we find that the key issue in these two accounts given by the Lord himself that brought arguments and division to people was that of self-exaltation and the solution to self-exaltation was to be the least or to humble oneself.

1. In fellowship a primary responsibility must be to humble ourselves

How are we to seek to humble ourselves?

A. We can humble ourselves by holding our tongue

“Often we combat our evil thoughts most effectively if we absolutely refuse to allow them to be expressed in words.” – Bonhoeffer

“Isolated thoughts of judgment (sinful judgment) can be curbed and smothered by never allowing them the right to be uttered, except in a confession of sin….He who holds his tongue in check controls both mind and body (James 3:2). Thus it must be a decisive rule of every Christian fellowship that each individual is prohibited from saying much that occurs to him.” – Bonhoeffer

“…to speak about a brother covertly is forbidden, even under the cloak of help and good will; for it is precisely in this guise that the spirit of hatred among brothers always creeps in when it is seeking to create mischief.” – Bonhoeffer

Ephesians 4:29-30

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

James 4:11-12

“Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor.”

1. Seek to build up not corrupt with the tongue

2. Other people’s walk with the Lord is affected by what we say (sin is atmospheric)

3. Corrupting talk grieves Holy Spirit / quenches Holy Spirit

4. Don’t speak evil and thus wrongly judge a brother/sister

a. This is not speaking of Matthew 7 accountability in rightly judging without

hypocrisy. This is speaking of projecting false things onto a brother and

thus speaking evil about them.

When tempted to crucify a brother with our tongue remember this:

“God did not make this person as I would have made him. He did not give him to me as a brother for me to dominate and control, but in order that I might find above him the Creator.” – Bonhoeffer

B. We can humble ourselves by seeking to be meek

Romans 12:3

Meekness – fearing God, righteous, humble, teachable, patient, controlled strength

“Only he who lives by the forgiveness of his sin in Jesus Christ will rightly think little of himself.” – Bonhoeffer

1. Recognize that we are all expendable

2. Use whatever gift you have been graced with in control for the better of others

3. Boast in your weaknesses

a. 2 Corinthians 11:30-12:10

b. Do a weaknesses assessment and then give God the glory that he can speak

even through donkeys!

C. We can humble ourselves by bearing with each other

Galatians 6:2

Having presented a lofty picture of the Christian life, Paul now addresses the very real possibility of sin (1). Although the principle of living by the Spirit is no mere idealism, the apostle knew perfectly well that believers will falter, and he may have feared that the Galatians would respond harshly to one of their own if he or she failed to meet the high standards just described. Accordingly, he points out that if they are spiritual (that is, having and being led by the Holy Spirit), they ought to respond gently (‘with a spirit of gentleness’), always conscious that each of us is susceptible to temptation.

In vs 2–3 Paul continues the thought but generalizes somewhat. Restoring a believer who has sinned is but an example of the broader obligation that we have to bear each other’s burdens. Anyone who balks at this obligation, thinking that he is above such weaknesses, only deceives himself. In a striking and ironic allusion to the Galatians’ concern with the Jewish laws, Paul describes burden-bearing as a fulfilment of the law of Christ. Most likely, this notion is to be related to 5:14, the love commandment. Clearly, the wonderful freedom for which Paul had fought during his ministry and especially in this letter does not entail an abandonment of moral obligations.

Paul’s concern that the Galatians should be conscious of the burdens and weaknesses of others, however, could lead to a sense of superiority and thus to sinful boasting. So in vs 4–5 he calls to mind the need and propriety of looking only at oneself for evaluation, i.e. one should look at the weakness of others only for purposes of compassion, not of comparison (2 Cor. 10:12–18). In that sense, each must bear his or her own burden.

We might paraphrase: ‘If you are intent on boasting just look at yourself; don’t be like the Pharisee who compares himself to the publican, but rather use God’s standard, and then you will find that boasting can only be in God’ (v 14; 1 Cor. 1:26–31).

D. We can humble ourselves by serving

Matthew 20:20-28

“…even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.”

This was Jesus’ response to James’ and John’s mom coming with the boys and asking Jesus to let them be on top.

Serving is, perhaps, the easiest activity to do and do it with the wrong attitude and the service be worse than if it was not done at all.

Not all service is good.

I’m not talking about serving in frustrated anger because you are obviously better than others and no one else is going to do it….Rather serving because serving makes one happy and it is a delight to serve….This kind of serving comes from a desire deep in a transformed heart to be like Jesus….The other kind of serving comes from the flesh and has a shelf life that will expire and that service becomes a bitter cancer done to goad at others rather than to give life….That kind of service, fleshly and self-exalting service, smells bad and infects with a virus of death…..Desire filled, Jesus imitating, joy prompted service for the good of others and infects with a virus of life.

1. Check your heart in service and repent if necessary

a. Stop serving if service can’t be in the Spirit

b. Start serving in the right attitude

2. Offer service to the Lord in worship this morning

a. The fruit of lips that bless his name

3. Offer service to the Lord’s people this morning

b. Outdo one another in showing honor