From Orphan to Adopted

October 3, 2021

David Sorn

Is your spiritual mindset more like an orphan or an adopted child of the King?

From Orphan to Adopted

October 3, 2021

David Sorn

Is your spiritual mindset more like an orphan or an adopted child of the King?

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | Romans 8: 12-17


(God Never Fails Series Slide)

How’s everybody doing this morning?

My name is David Sorn, I’m the Lead Pastor here.

This morning, we’re going to be talking about “Adoption”

Not earthly adoption, but God’s spiritual adoption of us, as His children

Although…there are a lot of interesting parallels between the two

Years ago, on a missions trip in Haiti, I served in an orphanage for a week.

Some of you in this room, were there on that trip.

And it’s the only time I’ve ever done missions work in an orphanage

And it was really hard

I vividly remember them opening the gates for us and there were 30 kids standing there and none of them even smiled.

It took almost two full days for them to start to lower their guard around us

And in 7 whole days, I only heard 1 child cry because they had learned crying accomplished nothing…because there was no one there to comfort them.

They had incredibly difficult lives

For most of these kids, their only hope was adoption.

That they would be completely plucked out of their situation.

Given a new home, a new family, a new name, a new environment, a new everything.

And for the human being, our condition, spiritually, is the same…we need to be spiritually adopted.

We are in the middle of a 6-week teaching series called, “God Never Fails”

And in this series, we are teaching verse-by-verse through Romans chapter 8 in the Bible.

Romans is a letter written by a man named Paul to the first Christians in Rome.

It was written only about 25 years or so after Jesus’ death & resurrection

So, as we continue in chapter 8 today, let’s open up our Bibles together.

There is a Bible under the chair in front of you:

(page 772)

If you don’t have a Bible, and you’d like to read for yourself what it actually says, please take this one with you today…that’s our gift to you

There’s a reading plan taped in the front that will show you where to start!

When you get to page 772, you’ll want to find the big number 8 (for chapter 8), and then the little number 15 (for the verse), which is down near the bottom of the page

We’re going to do verses 12-17 today, but I want to start in 15 as it’s kind of the central point for our passage

(Romans 8:15) – NIV

15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

This is the core of what we’re going to talk about today.

We learned last week, that when you invite Jesus in to be your Savior, the Holy Spirit (who is also God), comes into your life.

And when the Holy Spirit comes in, He brings adoption papers with Him.

You are adopted into God’s family.

This is incredible.

I’ll say a lot more on this verse in a little bit, but we have to start here.

Because, what we’re going to see as we study this next section in Romans 8 is 3 ways that understanding the fact that Christians are adopted by God should absolutely change our lives.


Okay, now that you know what’s in store, let’s go back to the beginning of today’s passage (starting at verse 12)

(Romans 8:12-13) – NIV

12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

This is a bit of a continuation from last week’s thought about the flesh and the spirit.

The flesh is our sinful nature, that always puts the self first.

Our self will, self glory, self gratification, self righteousness, our self sufficiency.

And living that way, we said, leads to nowhere good.

Paul says again, right here in verse 13, that it leads to death.

And he reminds you, in verse 12, that you have no obligation to the flesh…living out your selfish desires

What do you owe “the flesh?”

What has it given you?

Your whole life it’s just over-promised and under-delivered

It promises you happiness, and joy, and life, but just gives you death instead

No, our obligation is to the Spirit, to God, who set us free from the condemnation we deserved

And our obligation to God is to trust Him and live for Him

But you actually can’t do that by just trying harder

You cannot conquer your flesh by relying on…your flesh.

What does verse 13 say?

It says put to death the misdeeds of the body (sin)…

See, You want to be killing sin, or it will be killing you.

But how do you do that?

By the Spirit!

With God’s help!

Think about addiction and recovery

Every recovery program in America is based on the 12 steps…which start with:

We admitted we were powerless….

And came to believe that a power greater than us could restore us

That’s what we just read in Romans 8 so far

And don’t just think that’s true for the addict…

It’s just as true for everyone else

In our own flesh, we are powerless to conquer anything.

But God, has the power, and so we surrender to Him and let His Spirit put to death the misdeeds we are craving

And if you recognize that God is your Father who adopted you…you remember that He has given you Himself (the Spirit) to help fight your battles

This is the first principle I want you to remember today

If I understand that I’ve been adopted, then:

I won’t fight in my own strength

If you are a Christian, you’re not just in an orphanage on your own, trying to hopelessly solve your problems.

You’ve BEEN adopted now!

You have a Father who will fight for you!

If a good father adopts a child from an orphanage and brings them into his home.

But that child continues to try and steal their own food from the neighbors, and find their own clothes in someone else’s garbage, and solve all of their problems.

The Father would say to that adopted child, “My child. I will do this for you now. I can handle it far better. Don’t fight in your own strength anymore”

As a Christian you must begin to move your mindset from orphan to adopted.

If you can remember you’ve been adopted, you’ll live as a child of the king.

But if you don’t, you’re going to keep trying to fix everything yourself…like an orphan.

The way you conquer your sin is by asking God to help you.

I know you’re used to it, but you don’t have to fight alone anymore!

And you have no power to win over sin.

It reminds me of one of my favorite Matt Chandler quotes

“Fighting sin without the Spirit is like open-hand slapping a bear; it isn’t going to go well for you.”

Rely on God instead.


Okay, let’s keep reading and we’ll see the next point

(Romans 8:14-15) – NIV

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Okay, Paul is contrasting living in fear….versus…living as an adopted child

If I understand that I’ve been adopted, then:

I won’t fight in my own strength

I will see God as my Father

That’s a game changer

A lot, I mean A LOT, of people (even Christians) live in fear (as Paul says) because they are not living out this Biblical truth of adoption from Romans 8

If you are a believer and a follower of Jesus, you are God’s adopted child.

This truth of adoption, that God would bring you into His family, I believe is more revolutionary and amazing than you may think it is

In pagan religions (think like ancient Egyptians or the Aztecs)…

People served false gods out of fear.

Fear that the gods would decide not to send rain or would forget to make the sun rise one day.

In every religion, there was absolutely no concept that a “god” would even consider elevating humans to being a part of his divine family.

But the real God, the God of the Bible, says, “I love you so much, I want to adopt you into my family…and treat you like my child”

See, it’s not even that God has purchased your freedom from slavery ( from that evil task master…the flesh) and now allowed you to be a servant in his house.

The true teaching of Scripture is richer than that.

And this is important, because many of you live as if that’s the only metaphor (a servant & a master).

The Bible doesn’t JUST teach that by your faith in Jesus, you are positionally forgiven…that your status has changed…

And now you serve God instead of yourself.

That’s true.

And if that were the only part of the news, I’d still take it

You’re not just a servant.

God actually took it further than that.

It says He ADOPTED you into his family!

And it’s not just that you’re in his family now, so He feels kind of positive vibes towards you

It says that when you understand His real love for you, you’ll want to cry out ABBA…

Which is Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke on earth), it’s Aramaic for: “Papa, Daddy”

No slave or servant, calls the master, “Daddy”

Only a child who has a deep, and fond, and trusting relationship with their Father can say that word.

That word (abba) is used only 2 other times in the Bible.

Once when Paul uses it in Galatians

And once when Jesus, God’s son, says it while he’s in the Garden of Gethsemane, crying out to His ABBA Father about his impending death.

You can relate to your Father in Heaven, like Jesus did.

But do you?

On a continuum, is your Christian walk closer to living like a slave in fear…or an adopted child who can say, “Daddy, Father.”

I read a story recently of a family who adopted an older child from an unspeakably horrific orphanage in another country.

When they brought her home one of the things they told her was that, as a member of the family, she was expected to clean her room every day.

When she heard about that responsibility, she fixated on it and saw it as a way she would earn her family’s love.

That was her framework for life she had picked up from the orphanage

Used to living in fear, she thought, I will earn love, acceptance by obeying this one thing.

And so every morning when her parents came in her room, her room was immaculate (spotless), and she would sit on the bed and would say

“My room is clean. Can I stay? Do you still love me?”

And as you can imagine, her words broke her new parents’ hearts.

But eventually, in time, the girl learned that even when she wasn’t perfect that her parents loved her, and that they would never stop loving her.

She was now in their family…she was their child…and nothing could change that.

My friend, if you remember you’ve been adopted, you will live in joy like a child of the King

Knowing that nothing can separate you from his love

Don’t slide back into orphan thinking…into fear

This may take a long time in your walk with God

But I pray that every week, and every year, you grow deeper in your understanding of God, not as your task-master that you must please in fear

But as your Father, your Abba Father

And this isn’t to write off holy living…

Don’t think I’m preaching some sort of Gospel that just says, “God just loves you live however you want”

And we JUST read, “Put to death the misdeeds of the body”

This is what I’m saying: Holy and Godly living has to flow out of a heart that is already delighted with the Father’s love; it can’t flow from a heart that is fearful and hoping to earn His love


Okay, the news here gets even better.

(The Bible’s description of God’s love is SO beautiful when you really take the time to walk through the Bible like this )

Let’s keep reading

(Romans 8:16-17) – NIV

16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

So Paul says that if we are God’ adopted children, we’ve been brought into His family by faith…

Then (look at verse 17), if we are children, then we are heirs.

If I understand that I’ve been adopted, then:

I won’t fight in my own strength

I will see God as my Father

I will look forward to my inheritance with my Father

This is incredible.

As a Christian, you have an inheritance.

And your inheritance is part present, part future

As a follower of Jesus, you are heirs to God’s life, and love, and power, right now.

And even more so, you are heirs to inherit an incredible future of everlasting life and joy with God in eternity.

So much so that the highest experience of joy you’ve ever felt on this earth, is not even 1 one millionth of the joy you will feel with God in heaven

And believers, you’re an heir to that…your Father’s house…your Father’s joy.

And you’re not an heir because of your natural descent.

You weren’t born into this inheritance…it’s not because of your family tree

Although there are still many people in this country that think that way

They say “I was baptized Catholic, or confirmed Lutheran, or my mom always brought me to the Baptist church”

But you don’t become an heir that way

And you’re not an heir because you were some servant that earned the right to become an heir because of their good deeds

Although many think that as well.

How are you an heir?

By God’s grace.

Through nothing you’ve done…but to receive Him in by faith.

And by His grace, not your works, He has adopted you into His family

And so while the rest of the world experiences such deep fear over the state of our world, our future, and the many problems all around us…

The Christian does not need to walk in fear of the future

No, rather, they can rest in the deep truth that they are heirs of all that God has, as adopted children, heirs of more than anyone could imagine.

And that is good news.

God never fails…what have I to fear?

If you’re a follower of Christ, you’re not an orphan.

As orphans become teenagers, their fear increases exponentially.

Soon they won’t even have the orphanage to live at and protect them…how will they live on their own.

There is no inheritance, no future for them.

But the Christian has spiritually moved from orphaned to adopted.

What have you to fear?

Lift your eyes up off all of these horizontal issues in your life.

Look at your Father.

Look at your inheritance He has promised you.

What have you to fear?

What’s the worst case scenario?

As my hero Spurgeon used to say, “even if I should fall and die…sudden death is sudden glory!”

What have I to fear??

And as we speak of these glorious promises, for some of you in this room, the most pressing question is: Have you actually been adopted into God’s family?

Because many have not.

Even many who have grown up in the church or have been around the church

They’re still living like servants, trying to please the master, and earn his love.

Or living in rebellion to him

But God loves you so much that He sent His Son Jesus to bring you into his family

But not everyone is adopted into His family.

Our sin gets in the way.

God is a just judge…and our sin has consequences…it’s deserving of His justice…His wrath.

But God sent Jesus to pay the price for your sins…He died on the cross…in your place.

And when you make the decision to say, “I believe Jesus died for me, I’m going to leave my old life of sin behind, and follow Him as my Lord”

God, in his grace, in his love for you, adopts you into His family…

And treats you as His own daughter, his own son

One that he will never stop loving, that He will never leave nor forsake, and that He has made an heir.

And so that’s the offer that sits in front of you.

Will you accept it?

And to not accept it, is to try and do it on your own.

It’s to stay in the orphanage…and try and find salvation your own way.

But I assure you, it won’t work.

And you definitely won’t find forgiveness that way

You’ll be left to pay for your own sins in the afterlife…

The offer of life, of adoption, of love, of forgiveness, or belonging… is in front of you now.

You might never desire it like this again.

If it’s there, my friend, receive it

And if you’ve never made that decision before, I want to give you a chance to do so right now.

Let’s just have everyone bow their head and close their eyes.

If you want to accept His offer to leave your old life behind, to accept His forgiveness, and come into His family…

You can do that today.

God will send His Spirit into your life and change you from the inside out.

And He will save you from your sins.

If you need to make that decision today, as a way to symbolically receive Him in, I want you to raise your hand up to Him.

For those of you with your hands raise, we want to pray with you.

Repeat this out loud after me…whether you’re a brand-new believer or have been one for quite some time.

Repeat after me

Dear God

I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.

But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place

And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.

And now I commit, to following you, with my life.

As everyone still has their eyes closed, for those of you with your hands raised, you just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe that requires some more information…

So here’s what we’re going to do to get you that…as everyone has their eyes closed, I want you, in just a second, to walk back out to the lobby where it will be quiet.

You won’t walk out there alone.

There are others standing with you, and our follow-up team is going to walk out at the same time with you, and they will meet you immediately as you walk out the door

Then myself and our team are going to get you some extremely important resources & next steps to get you started on the most important journey of your life.

If you’re part of this church, and your friend or family member has their hand up, PLEASE come out there with them.

All right, you can all go now.

As they’re walking, I’m going to thank God in prayer.

Let’s pray

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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