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The Gift Of Sonship Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
July 10, 2023 1:00 am

The Gift Of Sonship Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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July 10, 2023 1:00 am

From before the foundation of the Earth, God chose to adopt us as His sons and daughters. We have no idea all that God has prepared for us. In this message, Pastor Lutzer highlights the status all Christians have. When we believe in Christ, we enter into all the benefits of our adoption.

This month’s special offer is available for a donation of any amount. Get yours at rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. 

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Believers in Jesus have been adopted as sons and daughters of God.

This mind-expanding fact is made clear in Ephesians chapter 1. Today, another gift God gives to all those who have put their faith in Christ. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, why is being considered an adopted son or daughter of God so important? Dave, in our busy world, if we were to actually take out time and contemplate the fact that we are sons and daughters of God, what an encouragement that would be. We would gain strength. We would be so blessed. As a matter of fact, I'm just thinking now of Romans chapter 8, where the Bible says that we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. What that means is whatever Christ receives, we receive.

Let me ask you a question. Are you blessed as a result of the ministry of Running to Win? Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts.

I'll give you a phone number quickly, 1-888-218-9337 to find out more info, or go to rtwoffer.com, click on the endurance partner button. Our desire is to magnify Christ, to focus on him, and to help believers in their spiritual walk. This is the fourth in a series of messages entitled, The Inheritance of the Redeemed. Blessings that are given and belong to all those who put their faith in Jesus Christ. If you missed the first three messages, I encourage you to listen to them, Predestination, the Righteousness of God, the Ministry of the Holy Spirit.

And today, we come to a topic that is so mind-boggling that near the end of this message, you may be saying, I can scarcely believe this. A couple of words by way of introduction. First of all, the topic is sonship. But even though I'm going to be using that word, and the Bible uses it, I want all of the women to know that they are included in this with all the rights, privileges, and opportunities that are available to you in Jesus Christ.

The Bible uses that kind of terminology, but of course, women are included, children are included. It's the inheritance of all those who have put their faith in Christ. Second, if you're the kind of Christian who says, well, you know, I'm not a very good Christian. I hope I can just kind of sneak into heaven. I'll sit in the back row. And for some of you, that's the way in which you do it here at the church, so you'll be used to it. If I sit in the back row and just make it, I want to be anonymous in heaven. Boy, are you ever in for a surprise. Front, center, sitting with Jesus on the throne, and you're going to be anonymous? You have no idea what God has prepared for you.

None of us really does apart from the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Now here's what we're going to do. Because the word adoption as sons occurs in a number of different passages, we're going to turn to three of them. Each passage, we're going to learn something. The first two, we're going to try to do very quickly so that we grasp the main point, and then we're going to move to the third.

And that's where your mind is going to be so stretched that when we're finished, you're going to say, can this really be true about me? And the answer is yes, if you are among the redeemed. The first passage is Ephesians chapter one. It's in Ephesians chapter one that we learn very quickly that adoption as sons is actually a part of God's eternal program, and that was his intention to save you.

We're going to jump right in in verse four. Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless, he didn't choose us because we were holy and blameless, but that we would become holy and blameless before him. And now notice this in love, and it must have been done in love because once you understand this, your heart is going to be so stretched. In love, he predestined us for adoption 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.

Wow. So that's why God saved us. And we think to ourselves, well, you know, the real reason that God saved us is just to take away our sins so that we could be in heaven and not hell. His intention in eternity past, the reason that he chose you is because his intention is that you would be adopted into the family of God. Now let me say that obviously God took the initiative, and in adoption procedures, parents always take the initiative. The child never gets to choose his parents. We know someone who was in an orphanage, and this was a very mean way to do it, but the kids lined up because parents were looking for a child, and this one was always neglected, and somebody else was chosen. Well, none of these children said, well, you know, I don't like these parents.

I want to wait until there's some better ones coming along. God made the choice. And as a result of that, why did he do all this? You'll notice, to the praise of the honor of his grace, so that throughout heaven we would be exhibit A of God's matchless, unbelievable grace toward sinners.

Unbelievable. God is going to say, I'm going to take the people who are of lowest and the deepest sin, and I am going to exalt them in ways that perhaps have never entered into the human mind. Throughout all of eternity, we are going to be exhibits of God's grace and to his praise. Well, that's the first passage. It was all rooted in God's eternal plan and was the end result of our redemption. Next, Galatians, and in my Bible you only have to turn it one page back. Now you know that some of you don't bring Bibles and some of you have telephones and, oh, yeah. Yeah, welcome.

And you know, look at them. Galatians chapter 4, I have to summarize this also. What Paul is going to argue here in Galatians chapter 4, I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. You could be born into a family where there were hundreds of millions of dollars, but you as a child can't really benefit from it. You can't write any checks. You can't buy a car.

You can't go and have lunch in a wonderful restaurant. Because you can't enter into it, you're a child. And Paul will say that these kinds of children, they are under tutors, and they are under instructors, and they're under rules.

And of course they are. Our children had rules when they were very, very young. You know, you don't play with the outlets, the electrical things. You don't have a knife in your hand.

You don't touch a hot stove. But after they get old, you don't need those rules anymore. What Paul is going to say here is that the rules represent Israel under the law. Under the law, they were like children. They were given the law.

They were supposed to order their life according to the law. But now that Jesus Christ has come, all that has changed, and they are being adopted as sons. So here we get to a definition of adoption. Adoption really, and this of course was true also in Roman adoption. Adoption means that God puts you into his family as an adult son or daughter, and therefore you have all the rights and all the privileges, and all of your inheritance comes along with that adoption. And you can begin to enjoy it right away on earth, though of course its eventual enjoyment will be heaven.

What I mean to say is this. Let's suppose that you have been saved for 40 years. You've walked with God all these years, and some of you have. But among us there may be those who are brand new Christians. Maybe you received Christ as Savior last Sunday because you prayed that prayer in sincerity, and you were born again. And of course, your state is quite different from someone sitting next to you who's been saved so many years.

Your state is different, but your status as a son or daughter is exactly the same. You see, it's one thing for you to have a condition. Your condition might be a baby, but your position is an adopted son or daughter of God and all that it entails, and it's all because of the coming of Jesus making this available. Now all that to set us up for the real passage. The real passage that I want you to turn to is the eighth chapter of Romans. Everyone looking at Romans chapter 8, please. You know, if the Bible were a ring, I think that the diamond would be the book of Romans, and then the very tip of the diamond would be the eighth chapter.

What a marvelous chapter. Let's read it, and then we're going to see this. Not only was adoption in eternity past in God's mind, not only is it because of grace, that's what the Apostle Paul is saying, not under law, it's under grace, because you see, grace doesn't take into account any of the ideas of merit. It is totally independent. That's why it is that great sinners can be saved and lesser ones can be saved, because grace doesn't pay attention to merit.

It's unrelated to it. Now with that background, let's look at Romans chapter 8 in verse 12. So, brothers, we are debtors not to the flesh to live according to the flesh, 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. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. Let's stop there before we get to this entire Trinity that you're going to be involved with. You know, sometimes we think, well, you know, we're led of the Spirit because we make this decision and that decision, and it'll keep me from bad decisions.

Not necessarily. What he's talking about here is being led of the Spirit in being free from the impulses and the tyranny of the flesh and being able to walk in the Spirit. That's really what the Spirit helps us do. He says, for you have not received a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Now, if you don't know Christ as Savior, I suggest that you ought to live in fear. You ought to live in fear when you go down the streets of Chicago, and with all of the crime that is happening, you ought to live in fear because of what is happening on our expressways.

And you should lay down and put your head down and know that you could die during the night. You ought to live in fear. That's not true of the inheritance of the redeemed, because we have not received the Spirit of bondage to fear. There is fear and there is bondage to sin.

That's not the Spirit that we've received. And now what I want you to do is to open your mind and your heart to understand what Paul is actually saying. What he is going to say here is that when it comes to the matter of adoption and becoming the sons of God, the entire Trinity is involved in this. Let's look at the text. For you have received not the spirit of fear or slavery, but you have received the spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry, Abba, Father.

Just that much. The first thing we receive when we believe on Jesus and are adopted into His family, we receive a welcome from our Father, Abba, Father. Abba, as you know, is a term of endearment. Some people want to translate it daddy, something like that.

It's maybe not quite that informal because adult children sometimes used it, and Jesus used it in the Garden of Gethsemane. Someone has suggested maybe the best way to translate it is dearest Father. Now you see, obviously the reason why this happens is because we're adopted sons. Let us suppose that you were up for adoption and to choose a name randomly. Let's suppose that you were adopted by the Smith family. You wouldn't after your adoption say now Mr. Smith, Mrs. Smith.

Of course not. It's dad and mom. You've received the spirit of adoption now. You have this family relationship. And what that means is is that you have access to your Father at any time in the dead of night, during the day, when you're in trouble, when things are going well. You have access to the Father because he's never too busy to be able to handle you.

He's got a lot going on, but he has time for you. Many of us are young enough to remember that there was a picture circulated, I guess in the 60s, obviously, when President Kennedy was president of the United States, and he's sitting behind his desk in the Oval Office. And little John John, as he was called at that time, the little two-year-old boy, was playing under the desk of the president.

Lovely picture. How in the world did the kid get there? I mean, supposedly there are Secret Service agents guarding the Oval Office.

There are members of the military that are also at the ready. And this little boy snuck through them all, walked past all of them. Why? He's a son. When you become a believer in Christ as a son or daughter, you always have access to the Father. And you get right into the throne room—I can show that scripturally if I had the time—right into the citadel of where God is, we come because we're sons. And he says, I always have time for you.

Not only do we find that we have access, we have security. In Roman times, the adoption was irreversible. Once you're a child, you're a child. You're a son. You're a daughter. And it's your inheritance. Trevor Burke, who wrote a book on adoption, said, if adoption is about anything, it is about belonging, a belonging where God as Father occupies stage, centered stage, in the midst of his family. This is God's family.

He centers stage, and he adopted you with all the rights and privileges of sonship. How many of you remember that story in 1992? Derek Redmond, he was running in the Olympics in Barcelona, the 400-meter dash. Now, he had won that previously. He was basically a world champion. But as he was running, he broke a hamstring in his legs and he had searing pain.

But instead of falling down, he decided to continue to hobble to the finish line. And of course, everyone else went past him. And suddenly, out of the stands comes a man dressed in a white T-shirt. And he's going past security and he's shouting, that's my son.

That's my son. And they allow him to go onto the field. And it's interesting, the conversation they had, the father said, you don't have to do this. He said, I know I don't have to, but I have to make it to the finish line. And the father said, if you have to make it to the finish line, we have to make it to the finish line together. And he put his arm around his son and helped lift him. And together they went all the way to the finish line. My friend, you may feel today that you are in pain, that everybody else is running past you to the finish line.

You've been sidelined for a hundred different reasons. You have a father in heaven who is willing to come alongside of you, help pick you up and take you all the way to the finish line. I love the last words of Jesus before he died. The last words were, father, into thy hands. I commit my spirit. I don't know what my death will be like.

I hope it's still a long way off, but if I'm conscious enough, those would be my last words on my lips, into thy hands. I commit my spirit. So the father is involved. He is welcoming you. He is loving you and caring for you. The spirit is involved. The assurance of the spirit, the welcome of the father, the assurance of the spirit. Your Bibles are open.

We have the spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry, Abba, father, the spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. Just to think, my friend, all of those blessings, because we have put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, he who spared not his own son, but gave him up for us all, will he not also with him freely give us all things, sons and daughters of God. I want to thank the many of you who support the ministry of running to win. I have in my hands a letter from someone who said, we are blessed to be one of your endurance partners. We continue to be encouraged by the great work that you do carrying God's message of hope and redemption. And I might add, because of people just like you, through this ministry, the gospel is going to millions of people. But let me ask you something.

Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? You say, well, Pastor Lutzer, what is that? We need more info. Well, here you go. One of the things you can do right now is call 1-888-218-9337. Or if you prefer, you can go to RTWOffer.com. That's RTWOffer.com. And when you're there, you click on the endurance partner button. It'll give you the information. Let me repeat this because it is so important that we give you the opportunity to partner with us in sharing the good news of the gospel. Right now, we're in 20 different countries in four different languages, and we are expanding.

Go to RTWOffer.com, click on the endurance partner button, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. If you're a son or daughter of God, rejoice today in Jesus' name. It's time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Broken family relationships sometimes never get better. An anonymous listener needs advice.

Here is the story. I have a very toxic sister-in-law. I am attempting to greatly distance myself from her and her family while maintaining some contact with my brother. What do I do with the guilt I feel? Well, of course, you know, my quick answer is simply disregard the guilt. If you feel the need to have distance between you and your toxic sister-in-law, just understand the fact that there are some people with whom you can't reconcile.

There are impossible people, and at times I've actually preached about them, and so what you need to do is to respectfully withdraw from relationships that are toxic and not going anywhere. Meanwhile, I think that you need to encourage your brother. I think that you need to connect with him. I hope that he understands why it is that you're connecting with him and not his wife, and that may affect your relationship with him, but it is what it is. He needs to understand, and I'm sure that in the depths of his heart he does, as to why you can't have a good, satisfying relationship with his wife. Finally, why don't you give thanks to God for the fact that you don't have to live with this woman your brother does? Sometimes when we're dealing with family relationships, we have to understand that even though there are issues for which we cannot be reconciled at times, we can be thankful if the person that is difficult to reconcile with is not the one we are married to. From what you've written, I feel sorry for your brother. He's the one you have to pray for.

He's the one you have to encourage, and meanwhile you get on with your life and you remain emotionally and spiritually healthy, and who knows, someday that sister-in-law may come around. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Adoption confers the rights of sonship on all who believe, meaning they'll take part in an eternal inheritance. Next time, more on what adoption means. Thanks for listening, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-10 02:22:47 / 2023-07-10 02:31:20 / 9

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