Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Bethany Bullet - November 9, 2010

What did you do on your 18th birthday? For some, it involved a lottery ticket or a cigar, for others it was a draft notice and kiss goodbye from your mother. At 18 our society sees you as an adult. You have the right to make your own decisions, and be held accountable for them. You are able to fight for our country, to scratch a lotto ticket, to vote. But are you really all grown up? You might have been driving for a few years, but you can’t go to the bar. It is an interesting time. Some who are 18 still go to school, while others work full time. Some live at home with mom and dad, while others have struck out on their own. So, what is it? At 18 are you a child or an adult? The fact remains that before you are 18 you are not your own.

Ask an 18 year old and they will tell you, they are an adult. They can do anything they want, until they hear their father say, “As long as you are living under my roof, you will follow my rules!” The fact remains that until you are an adult you are under the legal supervision of someone else. Children desperately want to grow up. Last week many children dressed up in costume and pretended to be what they want to become, a fireman, a doctor, a race car driver, a professional athlete. Many children are in a hurry to grow up to be on their own and often times it ends poorly. An interest in alcohol turns into substance abuse. Struggles in school leads to drop outs, a desire for relationships and intimacy leads to unwanted pregnancy, and the list goes on.

From 1 John 3: 1, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

God calls believers by various new names: we are His servants, a nation, His royal subjects, priests, soldiers. But the dearest term of all is that He calls us His children. And that is not just an honorary title—He has literally adopted us into His family, making us brothers and sister of His Son, Jesus, through Baptism.

He calls us His children, we belong to Him, we are not our own; but it was not always so. When we first entered this world, it was as God’s enemies. God had other adjectives to describe our first status—foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved. The dominant emotions that govern the lives of sinful rebels are malice, envy, and hatred (Titus 3:3).

The truth is, we desire to live our spiritual lives if we are our own. We want to decide when we pray, how often we worship, how much we give in the offering plate, and when to volunteer; but He calls us His children.

What wonderful news, we ARE God’s children. This is not a patronizing term—the point is not to make us feel like babies. The point is to make us feel loved, important, and secure. God the Father has solemnly obligated Himself to do for us what all good fathers do for their children—provide for our daily needs, protection, and guidance. He provides us with a sense of being worth something, of being precious. He is there for us in emergencies just as good fathers bail their children out of trouble.

When we need help, when we pray, we don’t have to feel as though we are approaching a stranger. We are talking to our Father! We can call on a relationship that He initiated—it was His idea, His doing, and His adoption, not ours. He stooped down to us since we couldn’t climb up to Him.

A group of young adults were enjoying a party, and someone suggested that they go to club to continue the fun. “I’d rather you took me home,” one girl said to her date. “My parents don’t approve of that place.” “Afraid your father will hurt you?” one of her friends asked sarcastically. “No,” she replied, “I’m not afraid my father will hurt me, but I am afraid I might hurt him.”

She understood the principle that a true child of God, who has experienced the love of God, has no desire to sin against that love.

It was the generous life of Jesus that even makes this conversation possible. It is because of what Jesus did on the cross and through the open tomb that we can even be called children of God. Once we were enemies of the Father, but through Jesus we are His children. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

Because we are now wearing Christ’s holiness, we have everlasting life in us already. We don’t know exactly what life in heaven will be like, but we do know that Jesus is there preparing a place for us. One day we will be welcomed by the Father into the place prepared for us from the foundations of the world. It will be a grand and wonderful day. We will then fully experience the great love the Father has lavished upon us.

For now, that Father-child relationship is not visible to the rest of the world. To our earthly eyes, we don’t look like heavenly royalty; but we are assured that the saints who have gone before us are experiencing that relationship fully today.

In our reading from Revelation we hear these fantastic words from John as he witnessed the multitude of saints in heaven,
“they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
will shelter them with his presence.
‘Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev. 7:15-17)

Not only does God wipe the tears away from the eyes of the saints, but from our eyes too. As we can’t help but remember the shepherd of this flock who was called heavenward this week, our Savior wipes away our tears and reminds us of the great reward of the saints. We know that today Pastor Loesch is singing at the top of his lungs in heavens choir.

In reality, the saints in heaven are not their own. They have been washed in the blood of Christ. They worship at this throne. Their actions are for Him. This is the lavish love of the Father, the overabundance of His grace and mercy poured out in Christ for all. It is not a trickle, not a sprinkle, not a smidge or a smattering, this is LAVISH love. As Paul writes in his 1st letter to the Corinthians, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20)

We may desire to be our own, we may want to grow up, but God reminds us that we are His children, washed in His Son’s blood, possessing the gift given to the saints. One day we will not be wearing a costume, looking forward to the future but will be clothed with Christ and singing loud in His presence for eternity. As we remember the saints who have gone before us, let us remember that we are not our own, we live a generous life, gifted by our loving Father and as we have been called to faith in Christ, moved by the love of God the Father and empowered by the Holy Spirit in this life we are committed to:
• Worshiping Faithfully
• Forming Spiritually
• Serving Passionately
• Giving Proportionately
• Sharing Intentionally
It is OK to be called a child, His child, His holy one. Let’s not be so quick to grow up.

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)

-Pastor Seth Moorman


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counter