The Great Privilege of Adoption
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
In John’s prologue he introduces us to the “Word” (Vs 1)
Who was in the beginning with God
Who was God and was the very source of life He is called “true light” Vs 9
Most astoundingly this “true light” entered into His creation (Vs 9)
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
= This is what John is pointing us to......the Creator has entered His Creation! (Astounding)
There should be no doubt that John is saying that the Creator of the Universe, the Pre-existent one is none other than Jesus Christ who entered into His Creation
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
= This is Jesus Christ!
This is not some later development of the church
The church later grappled with how to put all this together (i.e. Nicea and Chalcedon)
First century Christology was expressed by Thomas to Jesus (John 20:28) “My Lord and my God”
= The first century church in Jesus own day worshipped Him as God...the Word, the Creator!
A. The historical reception of the Word is recorded:
He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
We can see this from the gospels where most of the Jews rejected Jesus
This of course culminated with the crucifixion of the “Word”
= I can’t think of a greater sin......than to reject your Creator!
B. But what about those who do receive the Word?
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
= Those who receive the word are given a "right" to be "Children of God"
The Word’s ability to give this right is proof of his exclusive and unique relationship with God
This is proof of the “Word’s” unique position:
Is the Word God Is the Word the Creator Is the Word the one who gives life to all men
= The Word and only this Word has the authority to grant the “right” to be a “child of God!” (Doctrine - Adoption)
(To receive the Son (or to be in the Son) is to be received by the Father as a son)
Point - It is only through this “Word” (I.e. - Jesus Christ) that we can become “Children of God”
People are not naturally “Children of God”
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
It is only through coming to “know” this Word that we are ushered into the Family of God As (Vs 18) says “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known” (esv)
= It is only through receiving this Word......that we enter into the blessed status of “Child of God”
Application: Do you know Christ? Does He know you? If you do not.....then the rest of the sermon will not pertain to you.....You are not a “child of God”
= I urge you to consider your reception of Jesus Christ.
Why is “Adoption” such a great blessing? (JI Packer wrote)
"You sum up the whole of New Testament teaching in a single phrase, if you speak of it as a revelation of the Fatherhood of the holy Creator. In the same way, you sum up the whole of New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father. If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. “Father” is the Christian name for God. ( Evangelical Magazine 7, pp. 19-20)"
In the OT the emphasis was on God’s holiness:
The whole of the OT was determined by this concept of Holiness Only a priest could enter into the presence of God Even then there was elaborate washings and rituals Very few people experienced a “nearness” to God (Moses, David) No individual ever had God as their “Father”
= God’s was known by His covenant name of Yahwey
In the New Covenant:
God has not changed, He is still holy He acts to bring a people into a new relationship with Himself
Through Christ’s work He opens access to Himself (I.e. Hebrews)
There is a nearness, the veil is torn
= To these people His covenant name is “Father”
(The stress of the NT is not on the distance, between believers and God - but the nearness)
Point - John is saying in Vs 12 that this Word - Jesus Christ has entered into Creation to bring us into this wonderful relationship of knowing God as “Father”
1. Adoption is a distinct act of God to graciously bestow a particular right to the believer.
1. Adoption is a distinct act of God to graciously bestow a particular right to the believer.
We are born as sinners and enemies of God - children of wrath
In regeneration we receive the new nature - we are made alive, we are new
In justification we are declared just with God (i.e. court of law)
In adoption we receive all the rights and privileges of a child of God!
*Adoption should not be conflated with justification...although it is always connected
= Sovereign love is underneath all of our salvation, but there are beautiful differences in what they bring to us. ( i.e. - Just as you can see a painting from many angles so it is with salvation)
Justification - God declares us just before His law
Adoption - God makes us children and we are instructed to call Him - “Father”
It is one thing to stand before the judge and receive a sentence It is another to be brought into the home of the judge as a son or daughter
Justification - Is forensic, it takes place in the justice of God
Adoption - Is experiential, the Holy Spirit is poured into our hearts and we cry “Abba Father”
We are meant to experience our “sonship” as sons and daughters We are to be changed by our adoption in how we relate to God and others
Point - In Adoption we experience something far more “relational” than a legal declaration......both are important, justification* clears the way for a relationship with God as “Father”
(Adoption is the highest gift of God’s grace)
A. Adoption into the family of God is the *goal/pinnacle of God’s saving activity.
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.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 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.
Election - Predestination - Calling - Justification = All of these are necessary steps to accomplish God’s supreme purpose of making us “Sons”
God cannot have sinful Children God cannot have rebellious Children Our sinfulness need to be dealt with
= So He sets out to Regenerate, Justify so that He can “Adopt” us as His own!
(Adoption is the highest gift of Grace!)
Notice the motivating factor in:
even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
It is the great heart of God that overflowed to sinners There was nothing in us that prompted the bestowment of this wonderful right It was God’s overflowing Love to rebels (you/me) to make us His own children
= He didn’t purpose to adopt good people......but sinners!
When we contemplate that we went from “children of wrath” to “children of God, we can say with John:
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
B. Adoption is brought about by the indwelling of the Spirit.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
2 Things in this passage:
1. The Spirit is called the “Spirit of adoption” meaning when we are sealed with the Spirit He causes us to see God as our Father.
He assures us our sins are gone
He bears witness with our Spirit that we are the children of God
This removes (should remove) the “fear”
We find within ourselves a love for the Father (I.e. Abba Father)
We find a nearness to the Father
Access by the Spirit to the “throne* of grace” (!) (Not the Spirit of slavery and fear)
We no longer see God as a Judge but as Father
= This is the pinnacle of our salvation.....to know* God as Father!
Application: Do you actively think of God as your Father?
*There are some Christians who through lack of teaching or incomplete understanding see God as a judge....not as “Father”
ILL - One time a Christian lady told me “I like to think the Father as the judge and Jesus as the one who made the Father love me.
This is a distorted picture that will lead to a “distorted Christian life” Christ did not die to make God love us.....Christ died because God loved us
= In reality it was God who sent the Son into the world specifically so that we would receive the adoption as sons (Gal 4)
Point - It is vital to our Christian life that we learn to think of God as “Father”
2. Adoption makes us “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ”
and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
When Paul talks about “sonship” he always relates it to an inheritance. Here he makes the incredible statement that we are “heirs of God and “fellow heirs with Christ” (!) (?)
What is this inheritance?
It is all the OT blessings and promises given to Christ’s people (Romans 4:13-14)
It is eternal life (Titus 3:7)
It is renewed sin free bodies eventually (Romans 8:23)
It is inheriting the Kingdom (James 2:5)
It is to share in Christ’s glory (Vs 17) (!)
It is God Himself (Rev 21:3-4)
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
= As children of God through Jesus Christ we will inherit ALL that is our older brothers!
2. How should “adoption” affect our daily life now?
2. How should “adoption” affect our daily life now?
J.I Packer notes in “Knowing God’
“Sonship must be the controlling thought -the normative category, if you like - at every point”
In every area of our life we can/should think through the implications of “adoption” Just as Jesus operated as “thee Son” of His Father You and I as “children of God” must learn to do the same.
We will look at three areas: (Trust, Holiness and Prayer)
1. Trust - Our Lord taught that the knowledge of ourselves as sons should bring us to trust the Father in the entirety of our lives
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
= It’s clear (esp in the Sermon on the Mount - Matt 6) that a whole new outlook on life occurs when we see God as our Father.
Food & Drink
Fears about the future
All of life
= All of these are declared to be our Father’s personal concern “look at the birds of the air.......I feed them all”
* The reality of our adoption is to be the controlling factor in how we view our needs and our Father’s concern for these needs!
2. Holiness - adoption should control our understanding of our pursuit of holiness.
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
Note: If we think of holiness in terms of “Justification” all kinds of questions can be asked:
If I am declared righteous what difference does it make? If I am justified why should I confess my sin? How can my good works please God if God has already accepted me for Jesus sake?
= I have wrestled with these questions......maybe you have too!
But when we dwell on our “adoption:”
We had been a “Child of wrath”
God made us “Children of God”
God placed His name upon us!
Holiness is the family likeness We are moving towards a day when we will be in our older brother’s likeness
Our Father is genuinely pleased with our efforts (as feeble as they are)
Our Father is really grieved by our sin
= The pursuit of Holiness comes into focus! (See above)
3. Prayer - adoption is the controlling factor in our privilege to pray.
Listen to the first verse of the Lord’s prayer:
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
When we pray we are not:
Trying to persuade a distant Judge to consider our requests
We are not trying to twist God’s arm
We are coming as Christ came in prayer (!) to our Father
= The Father to whom we pray is the Father who loved us and did what it took to make us His children.
This was Jesus point in Matt 7:
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
= To be sure He intends that these requests are subject to our Father doing what is best for His children......But the point stands. We come to our Father in prayer!
There is a sense in which each of us must spend our lives exploring what we have explored this evening.
That God is my Father and I am His child
What are the ramifications of this?
Have I thought them through?
Do I really know* (in an experiential sense) God as my Father?
When Jesus arose Mary came to Him and this is what Jesus said:
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
Jesus called all of His disciples - “Brothers” (brethren)
His Father is our Father
His God is our God
= The Eternal Word has entered into Creation to bring us into the Family of God!
May our Father by the Spirit help us to really know these great truths!