September 9, 2009
I’m back at the Fox taking some time to read and write this morning. I’ve been reading a great book called, Adopted For Life, by Russell D. Moore. About half of the content of the book recjoices in the gospel of Jesus Christ that enables us to be adopted into God’s family. The other half helps a person or couple considering adoption to work through the issues that the choice to adopt brings. I just read a paragraph that perfectly summarizes my goal in an upcoming project that Julie and I are doing for our church. Here is the charge from Russell D. Moore.
The unbelievers in your community–or in the mission fields you serve around the world–are hungering for belonging. You know this. Show them, then, the beauty of what the Scripture says about adoption in Christ. Whether in your one-on-one witnessing or in your pulpit proclamation, unpack the glory of this cosmic adoption and show how this adoption is pictured in flesh-and-blood adopting situations in your own congregation. Plead with sinners to embrace their Father, to find a new family.
Julie and I are hoping to allow our story about adopting our daughter Maria to help people see and understand the Father’s heart to adopt us. I’m going to begin working on a script that will be dispersed within our short video where I will speak directly to the people watching the video, asking them, no pleading with them to embrace their Father, to find a new family. I want to do this in a very personal, warm and encouraging way, trusting that it is the Father who is seeking to save those who are lost, leading those who view this video toward faith in Jesus. Our role is to plant seeds of faith or water the seed that is already planted. God causes growth. Paul says it this way:
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.” (1 Corinthians 3:6-9 NIV)
As about 150 friends & family gathered at Maria’s adoption party, I was struck with a profound thought. God feels the same way we all felt about every child that he has created. He pursues them with the same intensity and rejoices in the same way when us orphans are adopted into his family. Really, our collective experience as a big family pursuing Maria, paralleled the way God wants us to go after people whom do not know the Almighty God as Father. And that knowledge of the Father comes through knowing his Son, Jesus who was the payment for our adoption and the way into his family. Here are some Scriptures I would like to include:
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13 NIV)
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:6-9 NIV)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment–to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:3-14 NIV)
I’d like to use some of the powerful phrasing in the Ephesians passage above. I love the truth about God the Father who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. I love it that he chose us in him before the creation of the world! I love it that he predestined us to be adopted according to his pleasure and will. I love the purpose of our adoption: to the praise of his glorious grace in Christ. And then what follows is a beautiful telling of the gospel, namely:
- Redemption through his blood
- The forgiveness of sins (through grace that he lavished on us!)
- We were chosen, predestined according to the purpose of his will
- Having believed, we were marked in him with a seal, the Holy Spirit
- We are guaranteed an inheritance
- We are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory!
Wow! It doesn’t get any better than that!
I want to go back and listen to Gary’s sermon on this from his series from Ephesians. I remember that he referred to Jim and Jan Miller’s adoption of Lindy, and that my desire to adopt was fueled that morning
as I wept through the sermon.
When I think about the charge from Russell D. Moore to, “unpack the glory of this cosmic adoption,” the passage from Ephesians is how I intend to do it. God, help me to deeply internalize these truths and give me the words to clearly and passionately communicate your Word to those who will be viewing the project. Thanks for adopting me for the purpose of “praising your glorious grace in Christ.” It is for your glory alone that we attempt this project. To borrow the prayer of Moses:
“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us–yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Psalms 90:17 NIV)