His Plan, His Desire, His People, “in Christ”!
† In Jesus Name †
May our lives bless our Father in Heaven, as it is revealed to us that He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing! AMEN!
Too personal? Yeah… so what
It is one of those things that is hard to explain, but every time I preach on this epistle passage, I overlook the obvious connection I have to it. Perhaps it is because it is too personal, to talk about what it means to be adopted, or I find a way to gloss over it. Make the connection, and move on.
The emotional overload that comes, when discussing the challenges that face an adopted kid are immense – there are incredible joys, and yet incredible questions, In my case, having met my birth mom 6 years ago this week – there is knowing the incredible love of two mothers, both of whom were intimately involved in making me, you pastor. I am truly blessed, but even more so when I realize how different, more incredible God’s adoption of all us is…
Preaching on God adopting us is somewhat challenging then, as describing God making us His children opens levels of stuff I am not used to letting people see. So, I usually don’t. I come up with other ways to explain it, but a quick online comment of my high school coach made me change this sermon this morning….
But it is important to grasp the intimacy, the intentionality in God’s choice, in God wanting to make us His children, and in paying the price to process it – the price of Christ’s blood. For if we understand God’s choice,
So be aware, this sermon may be a little rougher than usual, as I re-wrote the sermon this morning, knowing I had to bring it up this way….
For we need to grasp what it means for God to choose us, to bring us into the Family that is the Trinity, to grasp this incredible blessing
Chose us in Him
On April 1st, 1965, when Thomas and Marie Parker went to Catholic Charities in Lawrence, Massachusetts, they weren’t sure what they were getting themselves into. They had been waiting to adopt a girl, but they had been called a few days before. The couple originally slated to get me had panicked, or maybe had a vision, and bailed on the process. Some have said that April 1st date was very appropriate…
My folks came and got me, adopted me as their own, and would eventually get the daughter a few years later. I used to joke with my friends that while their parents were stuck with them, mine chose me. But they didn’t choose me, they chose to adopt, if they had only known what they were getting themselves into…
God’s a bit different. He knows all about us, every moment of our lives… and chooses to adopt us. Paul tells us that the Father has “chose us in him before the foundation of the world.”
It is in choosing us, that we find every spiritual blessing coming upon us, it is there that that we realize that we aren’t just after thoughts in God’s plan, but indeed the focus of His will, and His desire. From before the foundation of the earth, He has chosen mankind to have a special relationship with Him, and demonstrated that choice by placing us in Christ.
There, we find out what He has chosen us for, to be His children, adopted because of Jesus Christ, for it is in Christ that we are found to be holy and blameless, set apart for something special, with nothing able to mar or change that choice. To share in the life and love of God, in what sounds amazing – to become part of that relationship that exists between the Father and the Son and the Spirit. To share in such a relationship, as one of my friends has described it in a song – to join in the Trinity’s dance.
This indeed Paul tells us is no accident, it was a choice made from before the foundation of the world. It is the very purpose of His will – or as another translation explains it – it is the plan to achieve God’s greatest desire. Peter phrases it this way,
3:9 The Lord is not being slow in carrying out his promises, as some people think he is; rather is he being patient with you, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (NJB)
The Lord’s choice, to choose you in Him, in Christ…knowing everything about you…
Riches of His gift, lavished upon us
When my parents adopted me, there was little idea of the costs, financial, emotional, the nights sitting with me in the hospital over the years, the shock of finding out I have Marfans and the complications it brings.. the challenges they faced because of the odd person I am, but they didn’t know the cost. That is where God the Father adopting us is so radically different. He did know the cost… the cost of adopting us, of making us holy and blameless was very high. Paul writes in verse 7.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
In Christ’s death, we have been paid for, our lives purchased at the price of His sacrifice on the cross. He did this that because of the great grace, the gift which he lavishes upon us, why? Even more incredibly, Hebrews tells us it was for joy that Christ embraced that payment – as He, loving each of us, embraced that cross.
Paul calls this the making known of the mystery of His will, this incredible grace lavished upon us, as God picks us up in our brokenness, and instead of throwing us away, carefully repairs and heals us, bringing us into Himself, that we might be one with Him. Imagine everything perfect, in His presence, a place where doors don’t creak and neither do our bodies, where our relationships are finally the way they should be, including our relationship with our Father, where we finally let God be God, and we rejoice in knowing we are His children, His people, His chosen people.
This is our lot for all eternity, that which God has planned for us! It is the life God has given to us, this great mystery of why He would choose us to be His children, that even as He makes this true now, we struggle to realize it, for we struggle to realize we are in Christ, we are in the Beloved son of God, and therefore share in the Father’s love.
How we got there?
We are the children of the king – waiting for that moment when we reach full maturity, when we share in His kingdom. It is true now, and yet like a child waiting to reach the age of inheritance, we struggle with it. Indeed, we need to be reminded of it often, and how and when this incredible thing happened.
Paul explains it in verse 13
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
It’s the same story throughout scripture – the way we become His children, according to His plan is when we hear the truth – the truth of His love for us, that is this gospel, this good news.
It is the message of His love that causes us to trust in Him, to believe in Him, to realize that our very lives are in His hands, and that this is a good thing!
That when we were baptized, God marked us, He sealed us as His children, the sign of the cross is what we were marked with, that even as we share in Christ’ death, we too share in His resurrection, for we live in Him.
That has been His plan all along, a plan we have only begun to realize. We are still children, waiting for our inheritance to become ours. Waiting to reach the maturity of Christ, when we visibly know we are in His kingdom.
Until that day, we have a guarantee, a down payment if you will. Something incredibly wonderful, something beyond our comprehension! The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, what Peter describes as the gift of God’s Spirit, which Paul will also describe as our being the temple – the living place of the Spirit of God, the one called the Comforter, the Lord and Giver of life…
Here, in us, even as we dwell in Him….even as we are, right now, His children. His heirs, as we live in the Beloved. Chosen by Him, chosen to be in Him, adopted as His. With all the knowledge of who we are, what we’ve done…..
He made us His.
So knowing this we can rejoice as Paul does and declare, 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… for we live in Christ. AMEN?