Oh, God! You have done this for me? That's what lies ahead? From a child of the devil to a co-heir with Christ?
You must be kidding! Last time, Don helped us fully appreciate the reality of adoption into God's family. Before we knew Christ, we had been part of Satan's clan, bound for judgment and hell. Now that we've been adopted, we should be aware of certain results, which our teacher will highlight for us on today's broadcast.
So have your Bible open to Ephesians chapter 1, as we join Don Green now, teaching God's people God's Word from the truth of all things. Let's look at this a little further with our second point. What are the results of adoption? The results of adoption. We've seen the reality of adoption. What are the results of adoption? The reality of adoption was our former father, the devil, now our present father, God in heaven, secured at the cost of Christ.
That's the reality of it. Our former relations severed a new eternal relationship in the family of God, established. What are the results of adoption then? Point number two. I want to give you three headings to help you with your thinking on this.
I want to preface it by saying this. If we're adopted, then God is our father. And for some of us, the idea of father has rich and warm connotations. You had a good father who was kind and provided and faithful.
Maybe for more of you, the reality in your earthly father was something different. What is the results of being adopted? What does it mean to have God as our father? Well, there's an aspect, first of all, of present trust. Present trust. Adoption established you in a loving, trusting relationship with God the father. You have assurance of his eternal care. God adopted you in part to care for you, to provide for you, to watch over you, to protect you. Turn over to Galatians chapter four.
One of the results of adoption is a present trust. Look at Galatians chapter four, verse four. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, so that he might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Now watch this. Because you are sons, verse six. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of his son into our hearts, crying, Abba, father. Verse seven. Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son. And if a son, then an heir through God. Verse six says that he sent his spirit into our hearts, crying, Abba, father. Abba was a term of endearment for a child to call his father. That sense of dad is what's being expressed in the spirit of adoption in your relationship with God. Present trust.
You most assuredly belong to him, and you have access to his loving care. Watch this as we go to Matthew chapter six, verse six. The word father is sprinkled liberally throughout Matthew six.
We're picking it up halfway through. It says, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door, and pray to your father who is in secret. Okay? You know why you can pray like that? It's because you've been adopted into his family. God really is your father because he adopted you and established that relationship with you. And so you can speak to him in that way. Now, there is a spirit that Jesus teaches us to pray as we're addressing God as our father.
Verse seven, when you're praying to your father, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. You would never speak to an earthly father that you loved and respected with monotone repetition. Dad, thank you for being good to me. Dad, thank you for being good to me.
Dad, please help me. You would never speak to your father that way. That would be a complete insult to the relationship. That's an affront to a loving, affectionate father to go to him and without thinking just say the same things over and over again. That's a complete insult.
And while in the religious sphere that may have the appearance of something spiritual, when you understand the nature of adoption, you can see why it is detestable in the sight of God. You think you're relating to me as on the basis of a father, but you're talking to me in a way that you would never want any of your friends to speak to you at. Hi Janet, how are you? Nice day today. Next day you see her. Hi Janet, how are you?
Nice day today. Sooner or later Janet's going to say, what's wrong with you? This is what Jesus is saying to cast aside, to repent of. He says don't pray that way. Don't use that meaningless repetition.
So what's it mean? What does the present trust? How does an adopted son speak to God? Verse 8.
Don't be like them. Your father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then in this way.
Our father who's in heaven, hallowed be your name. There's this relationship of trust in which you understand based on the revealed authoritative word of Jesus, and by the very character of God revealed from Genesis throughout Revelation, that God is omniscient, that he is your loving gracious father, and therefore he totally knows what you need before you say a word. Before the word comes off your tongue, God already knows.
He is engaged as it were with your life. He knows your strengths and weaknesses. He knows your joys and sorrows. He knows your trials and temptations. He knows what those situations require. He knows. And so when you go to him, you're not pulling on the cape of someone who's walking away in indifference. You're speaking to someone who is engaging you with the full attention of his face to your face, saying speak to me.
I know. Come to me and declare your need to me, and I will receive you. Adoption means that you can speak to God like that and trust him to know and to care. And yet it means something beyond that too.
It's not just a subjective sense like that. You can trust God for how he responds to your prayer. Look at Matthew chapter 7 verse 9. Matthew 7 verse 9. We're talking about what it means to have God as your father.
This is utterly defining for the Christian life. In verse 9, Jesus again speaking about prayer says, What man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? And he's speaking to fathers who respect their position and love their children and want to do what's right. Not the perverse exceptions.
He's talking about the general order of orderly human life. Fathers should address their children and be this way to their children. Son says, Can I have bread?
Here, have a rock. Ha ha ha! Isn't that funny? Dad, can I have a fish?
Here, take this copperhead. Ha ha! The wickedness of that. And Jesus takes it and applies it and says, Verse 11, All of us realize that that's wicked. No father should ever do anything like that. And Jesus says, If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask him? He says, You can trust your father to respond to your prayers in a way that promotes your benefit.
You can trust him to be good. He knows, he cares, he responds in good ways. That's what it means to be adopted into the family of God. The God of the universe now relates to you in that kind of way so that you can respond to him in trust.
Now, there's more to it than that. Turn over to Hebrews chapter 12 and we'll see a second aspect of it. There is an element of trust and affection that's defining here, but there is also an aspect of present respect for a father.
Present respect for the father. As our father, God will train us in holiness so that we can please him. Hebrews chapter 12. Hebrews chapter 12, verse 5.
We're going to go through this kind of quickly. Hebrews 12, verse 5. You have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons. My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by him. For those whom the Lord loves, he disciplines, and he scourges every son whom he receives.
Verse 7. It is for discipline that you endure. God deals with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? And so God deals with us as sons, not only in this trusting, providing way, but in this realm of corrective discipline to promote our godly character. Discipline may sting for a moment, but it produces maturity, which is the goal that a father has for his son.
Ultimately, that's what a father wants from his son, is maturity. Verse 8. But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Verse 9. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them.
There it is. We respected them. Shall we not much rather be subject to the father of spirits and live? Shouldn't we respect God the Father all the more like we accord to our imperfect earthly fathers? Verse 10. They, our earthly fathers, disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them. But he disciplines us for our good so that we may share his holiness.
Verse 11. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful but sorrowful, yet to those who have been trained by it afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. You see, beloved, a father trains his son, disciplines his son, sometimes with stinging discipline, so that there will be a longer-term benefit produced, and that son will produce the proper character at which his father aims. That's a healthy earthly relationship. Scripture says you have that kind of relationship with God the Father as a Christian, that God will discipline us. He will bring trials and sorrows into our lives at times, not to punish us, not in a sense of retribution because you missed your quiet time on Tuesday, but because he has this overarching purpose to reproduce in your life his own holy character. And the only way that you're going to get that is through experiencing those times of discipline that humble you and make you rely on him more.
Here's the thing. A son should receive discipline from his father gladly, submissively, for the sake of the overall relationship and trusting that his father has his best interests at heart. That's the principle underlying this passage in Hebrews 12. And what the passage is saying here is we are to think about God that way. We are to respect him. We are to honor him as our father. And so the term father teaches us to trust and to respect God.
Simple, huh? The clarity of Scripture on something so foundational. You know, I remember, I may have alluded to this last week, if I did forgive me. I remember as a new Christian, I went with a group of Christians and they started to pray together and I heard someone, I don't even know who it was, don't remember their name at this late date. But they just started praying, our father, we just pray that just started pouring their heart out. And I hadn't been a Christian long at all.
I said, there's something different about that. There was the echo of reality, the echo of truth in the familiar, trusting, respectful way in which this person prayed. Well, their prayer was reflecting the spirit of adoption. It's born into our hearts, placed there by the spirit that we think about God and speak to him that way. Let me ask you, do you know God that way? Or is your praying, if you pray at all, distant? Dear God.
And there's a sense of distance and remoteness to it. Maybe you don't know God is your father. Maybe you haven't been born into his family. Because it's the most natural thing for a Christian to speak to God and say, oh my father.
That is part of the fruit. That is one of the marks of a true Christian, is that we speak to God that way on those familiar, respectful, trusting terms. Do you know God like that?
If not, I invite you to the Lord Jesus Christ who alone can reconcile you to him. One final aspect of it. We've seen present trust, present respect. You know, the other aspect that we haven't emphasized much is that when a son is adopted, he becomes an heir of all of his father's resources. Galatians alluded to that. We've become heirs of God. We have an inheritance.
We share an inheritance. We are co-heirs with Christ himself. Look at Romans chapter 8. To be a son means that you receive an inheritance from your father's riches.
It is part of the prerogative of the status of belonging to that particular father. Romans 8 verse 15. Romans 8 verse 15.
We're almost done. You have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, Abba, Father. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.
Here it is. And if children, heirs also. Heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with him so that we may be glorified with him. We have an inheritance, Peter says, reserved for us in heaven that we will most certainly receive.
It is more certain than your next breath. That inheritance is guaranteed, and it is guaranteed to us by the principle of adoption. We are a son of God, and therefore we have the right and the status and the privilege and position that we will receive what he has to give to us. We don't have it all now.
We've just got a little portion. The whole treasure house, the doors of the fortune are going to be opened in heaven, and we're going to walk in and there is going to be a glory and a splendor that belongs to us because God adopted us for that very purpose. It's wonderful to be a Christian today in this fallen world. It is unspeakably magnificent to address you as God my Father. You belong to me and I belong to you.
But as wonderful as that is, it's just the down payment. The full inheritance is yet to be displayed to us, and it's hard to wait. You want it now. Oh God, that's going to be so magnificent. I just can't wait to see it.
But if you want me to wait a little longer, I will. Look at Romans 8 23. Not only this, but also we ourselves. Romans 8 23. We ourselves having the first fruits of the Spirit. We have this first fruit of the present trust and the present respect and the full assurance of our privileged status in the family of God. And yet we ourselves groan within ourselves. Because we're waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
There's more to come. We know that. We implicitly sense it. We haven't fully reached home yet here on earth, even in Christ, because we're appointed for that future inheritance when our bodies are redeemed. We are perfectly glorified. We are without sin. There are no sinners there to disrupt it. There is just the fullness of the glory of God and we belong there and we're at home. And finally we've reached the destination. That's what it means to be an heir of God. That is the future reward for which we were adopted into the family of God.
For that great moment that will last for all of eternity. That's where we're headed. And I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see what that's like.
And with me I'm sure that your heart is filled with gratitude right now. Oh God, you have done this for me? Oh God, that's what lies ahead? From a child of the devil to a co-heir with Christ?
You must be kidding. And then the Word of God comes to you. It says, no joke.
This isn't trick or treat. I'm not going to pull the rug out from you, God says. I have bestowed this upon you now and this full reward will close the deal. And my child, he says to us through his word, you will most certainly receive it. I will not fail you. I will not let you down. I will not leave you. I will not forsake you. You are my child in Christ.
I am your father. Scripture says he's not ashamed to call us sons. We will be heirs with Christ himself. Theologian Bruce Milne says it this way. And I quote, when we recall what we were in our sins, the thought of adoption speaks most powerfully of the magnitude of God's mercy to us. That we should be pardoned all our sin is wonder enough. But that the pardoned rebels should become God's very sons and daughters, installed within the intimacy of his own family circle is surely wonder beyond wonder.
End quote. We as Christians are secure in the family of God. Praise God. Because we have been adopted into God's family, we enjoy present trust, respect, and assurance. But not only have we been adopted, we've been redeemed. And Pastor Don Green will talk about the implications of that truth next time here on The Truth Pulpit as we continue the series Secure in Christ Forever. Don't miss a moment.
Right now, though, Don's back here in studio with some closing words. Well, you know, my friend, I feel very blessed by God to be able to do what I do. I have a church that is loving and supportive of me, that love to hear God's word. I have this radio broadcast. I have the opportunity to speak to you in a personal manner like this.
What a wonderful gift that is. You know, I would just encourage you, if the Lord ever brings us to your mind, pray for us. We're like all men in ministry.
We feel our inadequacy. We realize that we need the power of the Holy Spirit to attend the work that we do so that there would be eternal fruit for your good and for the glory of Christ. So pray for us as the Lord brings us to mind. Pray for those that support The Truth Pulpit with the labor of their hands. We have a wonderful team, and we're just so grateful for you as you listen to us day by day on The Truth Pulpit. Thanks, Don. And friend, don't forget to visit us at thetruthpulpit.com to learn more about our ministry. You can also learn more about podcasts and free CDs of Don's teaching. That's all at thetruthpulpit.com. Now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you again next time as our teacher again teaches God's people God's Word from The Truth Pulpit.
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