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His Many Relatives – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
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December 18, 2023 1:00 am

His Many Relatives – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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December 18, 2023 1:00 am

Adoption reflects God’s heart. Jesus Himself belonged to His earthly family of four brothers and some sisters. In this message, Pastor Lutzer reflects on how adopted families are a picture of the body of Christ. We who believe have been adopted into Christ’s spiritual family.

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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. Jesus spent his early years in a family with four brothers and also some sisters. We can only imagine the conversations that went on in that home. Today, more about the many relatives of Jesus, including you and I who believe, having been adopted into his spiritual family.

Stay with us. 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, it's amazing to see in the family of Jesus a picture of the much larger family of God, all of whom are adopted into that family. Exactly as a matter of fact, in Mark chapter 3, Jesus asked the question, who is my mother and my brothers and my sisters, but he who does the will of God? You know, Dave, I've often thought about that because people want to ask this question, will my relatives in heaven still be my relatives?

Well, we will know them as our relatives, but take the intimacy of a family and then expand that to the whole family of God. What an opportunity we have even as we open the Scriptures to realize the blessedness of the future. And you and I know it's all because of Jesus, of course, and we are making available to you a resource that we think will be of great help as you approach the new year. Specifically, it is a daily devotional entitled, God's Best for My Life, by Lloyd John Ogilvy.

Now, after this message, I'm going to be giving you some contact info. But for now, let us turn to the Scriptures and remind ourselves of the family of Jesus. You say, well, Pastor Lutzer, how does this relate to Christmas? How does this relate to us? And why should our lives be different? Because we've heard this message.

First of all, a couple of lessons. Spiritual adoption, spiritual adoption is much more important than physical lineage. Spiritual adoption is much more important than physical lineage. The heavenly is more important than the earthly. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is absolutely important and necessary if you are to belong to the family of God. Think of his brothers. You know what the Bible says in John, chapter seven, verse five?

Jesus is on his way to the feast. And it says not even his brothers believed on him. Can you believe that? I mean, they grew up in the same home as Jesus. They saw his perfection.

They saw that he did not fall into moral temptation. They recognize that our brother is very unique, but they never even got the full import of his Messiah ship or mission. They needed to come to grips with their own brother, that he was their savior too. Did they?

The answer is yes. Acts chapter one, when Jesus asked the 120 to gather in the upper room to receive the Holy Spirit, it says that Mary was there and his brothers. And by the way, in a context like that, the word brothers could mean siblings. It's possible that his sisters were there too.

We trust that they were. So Jesus here is saying in no, in very clear terms, that your relationship with me is paramount. You can be my mother. I'm not making it up.

I read the text. You can be my brother. You can be my sister. If you do the will of God, I will adopt you into God's family. But your lineage, your physical lineage doesn't give you any advantage. You can't say, well, you know, my great grandfather was a Methodist circuit rider in Kentucky or my great great grandfather was and God's will say in heaven, well, you know, you come from a very spiritually inclined family. I remember talking to a man about his eternal salvation and he said, well, he said, my wife is a Christian and so that should give me some pull, shouldn't it?

And the answer at that point is you take off your glasses and you say no. Billy Sunday, whose funeral was here at the Moody Church, said that just like if you think that you can become a Christian by attending church, he said that is the same as saying that a wheelbarrow will become a car if it's put in a garage. And you can't become a Christian because of your heritage. God has no grandchildren. God doesn't say, well, I saved your parents and so you kind of get factored in because you happen to have such wonderful Christian parents.

No, the relationship is always personal. It is always direct and the spiritual relationship ultimately is more important. Now my heart goes out to adopted children because they oftentimes struggle with their past and who their parents were and all that. But if they've been adopted into God's family and become the brothers and the sisters and the mother of all things, of Jesus, that has eternal significance and it gives you a stature that no family, even a royal family, could never give you. The primacy here clearly of the spiritual adoption more than physical lineage. Second lesson is that spiritual adoption has greater privileges.

It has greater privileges. You know, it's interesting that the apostle Paul nowhere refers to the virgin birth. He nowhere refers to Mary directly.

Well, yes, he does. He doesn't call her Mary, but he says in Galatians that Jesus was born of a woman. That's the closest he comes to Mary and the virgin birth. Because what Paul is really interested in is the whole concept of adoption. And if you read the book of Galatians where he says that, what he says is that when we give ourselves to God, when we become God's children, he says, we cry up and we say Abba Father, Abba Father.

It's been translated and you don't want to be irreverent here, but it's been translated daddy. To be able to say that God is your father, that you walk with God and that you belong to the spiritual family. There's something within us that cries up by the power of the Holy Spirit and says, yes, Abba Father. And of course, if Jesus is the son of God and we are also now sons of God in a different sense, but a very profound sense, we share the same father. That's why, as I mentioned in the book of Hebrews chapter two, it says that Jesus is not ashamed to call you his brother. Fact, if you were to read the story that I referred to here in the third chapter of Mark, if you were to get the Matthew version, it's very interesting it's telling the very same story, but it adds a detail that Mark left out.

Doesn't mean that the accounts are contradictory, it just means that you have two writers talking about the same event and Matthew adds the detail. When his mother and brothers wanted to get through to them, Jesus said, who is my brother and my sister? But the Bible says, stretching out his hands to those who were present, he said, who is my mother and my brother and my sisters, but the person who does the will of God. Wouldn't you like to have been sitting there, by the way, those of you in the front seat, you know, God bless you. I have a special relationship with you and there's no doubt that front seat on earth is front seat in heaven.

So thank you. Which says something about those in the back row. But wouldn't it be wonderful to be in the front row with Jesus speaking? And then to have Jesus go like this and say, who is my mother and my brothers but those who do the will of God?

Namely you. I can adopt you into my family. And furthermore, adoption means that you inherit all the same privileges as the son. That's why the Apostle Paul says we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. When the title deed of the universe is opened and when the inheritance of Jesus is laid out, you and I share and we are joint heirs. It's not that we get the crumbs, we get the real deal because of God's incredible grace.

Yeah, you can clap at that point if you want. As I was thinking of the matter of adoption, it dawned on me that adoption always takes place because of the brokenness of sin. It would be wonderful and it would be the case in a real world where parents would always want their children and love their children and be able to care for them.

But that's not the real world. We have some parents who maybe don't want their children, others would like to have them but can't care for them. And so because of sin, all of these relationships get entangled and the pain of a mother giving up her child for adoption, by the way, I've often thought about that. Even though obviously I'm not a mother, I thought of the pain that must be in her heart to give up that little one knowing that she will never see him or her again. But the pain that she goes through is the joy of someone else, some other couple that delights in receiving the child.

I've often thought about that. And you know the reason that God has to adopt us into his family is for the same reason, the brokenness of sin. Our parents can give us physical life, what they cannot give us is spiritual life. Our parents can give us a good home and a good upbringing, but they cannot make us members of the family of God.

My parents made me a lutzer but they could not make me a child of God. And that's why I need to be adopted. So I look at Christmas as Jesus coming to this big place called the earth and it is an orphanage. It's an orphanage because of the brokenness of sin with all of the pain, with all of the misunderstandings, with all of the hurt and the crushed hopes and dreams of a very broken sin filled world. And Jesus comes to the orphanage and says I choose you as mine.

I'm going to make you a member of the heavenly family. And at that point your lineage is not relevant. Now of course it's relevant in the long term, it's much better to be brought up in a good home.

It gives you a sense of security. But in the long term, the heavenly relationship and the heavenly family so supersedes the earthly that Jesus is saying at Bethlehem I'm coming on a rescue effort so that you can be my brothers, my sisters, and even my mother. That is the heart of the gospel. So obviously the privilege of saying that we are spiritually adopted has marvelous privileges. Third, an adopted family. Now I'm here I'm talking about the physical family. An adopted family is a much better picture of the body of Christ than a family that is biologically whole.

I hope that that came out right. An adopted family. Let me introduce you to an adopted family. At a Bible conference I met Tim and Melissa Gleson. If you remember their name it's like the tree tops that glisten. That's the way they help me remember their name. Tim and Melissa have no biological children but they have adopted 15 children. Yes you heard me correctly 15 children. Because I keep in contact with them and I've had the opportunity of meeting especially with Tim on a number of occasions.

I called them yesterday to ask them some questions. By the way they had just come home from the emergency ward because their little two-year-old had been sliding down a hill with his brothers and sisters in a sled and got some cuts and so he had some stitches. Welcome to the world of raising children. But I said Tim how many do you have and he said we have 15 ages 2 to 19 from seven different mothers and 11 different fathers. They have various family backgrounds various colors various ways in which they have begun to do that. When I got to know them they only had 11 adopted children just 11 that's all and and recently they adopted four children four brothers and sisters a family unit and so now they have 15. He says our hope and prayers he says you have no idea I just love this he said you have no idea what God is planning for all these kids. By the way I spoke to Tim and an earlier occasion when we sat down and talked for a couple of hours he takes a particular interest in each child. He can tell you where each child is spiritually what it is they're going through and he tries to meet the needs of each child individually and take care of their needs and to help them to understand that they are loved and they're having some wonderful breakthroughs spiritually and so forth. He said our goal is that someday when all of their brothers and sisters get together and if they can locate all their brothers and sisters he said I think we'll have a celebration of about 50 people with all of their siblings.

I think of them and I think that's what the body of Christ should be all about. When Jesus came at Bethlehem the whole deal was that he might redeem people from every tongue and people and nation and color under heaven and that's what an adopted family can look like because God says we're all adopted. Hey if you're a believer today you're adopted. Aren't you glad for adoption? Aren't you glad for adoption? Well if you're thinking at all and I know you are that's a requirement to visit Moody Church or to come to Moody Church we make that one of the requirements. What you are asking is this well Pastor Lutzer how do you get adopted? That's what some children are asking in an orphanage painful stories of parents going through I like that one no I don't like that one terrible terrible how do you make sure you're not rejected? How do you get adopted into God's heavenly family?

That should be a number one question. Notice what Jesus said I I have my finger here on the text. You'll notice it says in our text verse 35 whoever does the will of God that's our side whoever does the will of God the invitation is to everyone. Yes God elects but the invitation is to everyone because there's your side of the bargain and that is whoever does the will of God you say well I need to know what the will of God is. Well I'll tell you that the will of God begins with these words from the lips of Jesus this is the will of God that you believe on him whom he hath sent. That's the will of God.

That's where it begins. Let me tell you a story that the shepherds on the first Christmas could probably tell because if you've talked to shepherds you know that what I'm telling you often happens. Let's visualize that a mother lamb a mother sheep I should say a ewe let us suppose that she dies and she's nursing a little lamb. No other mother ewe will accept the lamb you just can't get those ewes to do that they refuse it and so the little one has to die unless there's some means of using a bottle to feed the lamb if not it just dies but what shepherds have discovered is this if that happens and at the same time at the very same time you have a little lamb that dies say of natural causes or a disease what they will do is they will take the skin from the dead lamb they'll skin it and they'll put the skin over the living lamb and then the mother of the dead lamb will accept this one as her own because of the smell because of the wool she's convinced that it's her lamb so she accepts it on the basis of the skin by which the lamb is covered. God does not adopt everybody clearly God does not adopt everyone what God does is say you accept my son Jesus and he will give you a covering he will give you his righteousness he will give you his forgiveness and that covering of his righteousness put on you that covering will save you and I'll accept you on the basis of his work and his sacrifice I'll accept you as if you were Jesus and that is the gospel. When you die you're welcomed into heaven as if you're Jesus you're a member of the family he is your brother you are his mother his sister the whole family of God gets together and God says you're an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ and finally you are a member of a very royal family because you've been adopted no shame to adoption our world is broken we're adopted thank God for adoption because it is that that makes us children of God forever and if you will let us pray. Our father we want to thank you so much for Jesus that he came on this great rescue effort thank you that he came to the orphanage thank you that he walked down the aisles and he chose us and we chose him thank you that the invitation is to whoever does the will of God whoever believes on him whoever has a personal relationship with him we thank you and we ask today father for those who feel alienated for those who feel left out for those who may be because of the breakup of their family feel that the sense of ruthlessness help them to know that they've been adopted into your family if they believe in Jesus and trust him as their savior thank you for the birth of Jesus that made it possible and now before I close this prayer if God has talked to you would you talk to God and if you've never received him as savior you could do that right now say Jesus I receive you as my savior I receive your righteousness as my covering for my sin that I might be adopted into your family father we stand amazed at the wonder of your grace and pray that we all may feel accepted in the beloved one thank you for Jesus who came and died so that we might live forever in his presence bless all those who are here those who have made decisions to receive you those who have not yet and they know who they are overcome their resistance and drag them to yourself in Jesus name amen amen well my friend this is Pastor Lutzer perhaps you're not acquainted with the phrase that I used drag them to yourself but you know when Jesus said no man can come to me except the father draw him that word draw is a very strong word so when we get saved it's because God overcame our resistance and showed us the beauty of the gospel well Christmas is just around the corner and after Christmas we begin to think about the new year of course and the question I want to ask you is have you made some spiritual provision and some ideas how you are going to serve God in the new year well we have a resource that we think will be of help it's a daily devotional entitled God's best for my life by Lloyd John Ogilvy every single day you'll be introduced to some truth of scripture some nuggets that you'll be able to take with you Rebecca and I not only have used this devotional but this Christmas we're going to be giving it to our children and our grandchildren now for a gift of any amount you can receive your copy hope that you have a pen or pencil handy because I'm going to be giving you some contact info but before I do that I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the many of you who support this ministry and you pray for us that means more to me than I can possibly tell you well here's what you do go to that's or call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's or call us at 1-888-218-9337 ask for the devotional God's best for my life it'll be a resource that will be of great blessing as we begin the new year you can write to us at running to win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 60614 running to win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life angels they played key roles in the Christmas story next time on running to win join us for the first of three messages on the angels of Christmas beginning with the angel of the Lord for Pastor Erwin Lutzer this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the moody church
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-18 02:09:37 / 2023-12-18 02:17:52 / 8

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