Morning. David Sorn. I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
You know…one of the things that I love about the Bible is its use of every day examples…
This summer, we’ve been studying one of the harder books of the Bible…and have been camping out in its most difficult chapter (Galatians chapter 3)
And yet even there…it’s full of examples from everyday life.
And today…the writer of Galatians, the Apostle Paul, is going to use a pretty powerful example from life to bring home his point of how God loves you.
And my prayer is that you are moved by Paul’s example today.
Paul is writing to these people in Galatia because they’ve forgotten WHY God loves them.
They’ve turned God’s love into a trophy that they earn…like some sort of reward.
Rather than a gift.
HEIRS OF THE PROMISE (vv.26-29)
Let’s dive into our text in Galatians today.
I’d love for you to follow along in case you have questions or want to study it more on your own as I teach.
Page 944 or YouVersion.
(Galatians 3:26-29) - NIV
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
So our friend Paul starts by saying that every believer is a child of God through faith.
Something he’s really going to expound on today.
Then he says that EVERY ONE…ALL believers are in Christ just the same.
It doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish, not Jewish, black, white, Asian, slave, not a slave, man or woman…
If you’re a believer in Jesus, you are forgiven in Him…you are a child in Him…just the same.
And this is super important in Paul’s context, because a lot of the Jews believed in special privileges.
In fact, Paul’s writing is kind of a play on words over a prayer that some Jewish Pharisees used to actually pray.
They would pray, “Thank you God that I’m a Jew, and not a Gentile. That I’m Free, and not a slave. And that I’m a man, and not a woman.”
And Paul’s saying…”Listen, to God,…that’s a worthless prayer.
Because you being a man…or a Jew…doesn’t’ make you any more special or forgiven than being non-Jewish female slave in God’s eyes.
All can be just as forgiven by Christ…everybody’s been clothed in Christ just the same, and thus ALL can be privileged children of the King.
And thus…anyone can receive this promised blessing of Abraham that he’s been talking about all of Chapter 3.
If you’ve been in and out this summer, Paul has told us that to those who believe in Christ, they are going to receive, as Children of Abraham, the blessing of his promise.
Unless you’ve been studying Galatians 3, that probably sounds a tad bit confusing.
It means that, God, way back in the book of Genesis promised Abraham that through one of his descendants the whole world would be blessed.
Well, that descendent of Abraham was Jesus.
And verse 29 tells us that WE (You and I…thousands of years later)…can be heirs to that blessing that was promised to Abraham…if we believe in Jesus.
And now Paul’s going to set-up a powerful illustration on what it means to be an heir
THE LAW & THE UNDERAGE (vv. 1-2)
But if we’re talking about heirs, let’s admit that I don’t think we really have a great understanding of what it means to be an heir nowadays.
Like name someone who collected an inheritance as an heir?
We mostly can only think of lazy celebrities that are swimming in money because their parents earned it.
But back in the ancient world, this was a serious thing.
Being able to keep your land…your business…your money in your family meant everything back then.
And that was transmitted by an inheritance.
Typically from a father to a son…
When that son came of age and was ready.
Whether that was 20…or 22…etc.
By the way, when we read some of this passage…try not to be bothered too much if a few of the words say “his” instead of “her” or “son” instead of “daughter.”
A lot of the language of in our translations today do in fact say “brothers and sisters” now instead of just “brothers”
But this is a good instance of where it should stay masculine (and I would even argue that this chapter doesn’t stay in the masculine enough in this translation)
And it’s not because God wants you to have male-sonlike qualities.
He’s not saying you all oughta run around with toy guns more and pull girls’ hair
No, it’s simply in the masculine because in history at that time, the inheritance went to the son…and that’s why Paul writes it that way…and if we’re going to keep it in its place…in history…then we shouldn’t change it.
So let’s take a look at this example Paul is talking about
(Galatians 4:1-2) – NIV
What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate.2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father.
And just like last week, there’s another example of rich people having guardian slaves look after their sons.
Making sure they didn’t sneak off to see the gladiators or something
So, Paul’s saying, you could be 12 years old, and your dad could be the “Bill Gates of Rome,” but you aren’t getting old Bill’s money until you came of age.
And in that sense…you didn’t really have any more money to your name than a slave.
And to Paul, that is like the age of the “law” in the BIble
The age from Moses to Jesus. From 1400BC to about 30AD
Where the 600+ laws were there…to serve as a guardian…to keep the people directed and restrained as they followed God through faith until Jesus
But the people hadn’t come to fulfillment yet.
The promise was coming…and they were in line to receive it…
But their full rights (freedom from the law…the blessing of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them)…that wouldn’t come until Jesus died.
So they believed in God…but they were just like kids with out the privileges…heirs who hadn’t received their inheritance yet.
Kind of a cool example.
SLAVE-CHILDREN TO SPIRITUAL FORCES
He takes it even a step further and applies it a little bit more broadly in verse 3
(Galatians 4:3) – NIV
So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world.
So…now he’s going to take it a step further. He broadens the scope.
Not only does the “when we were children” refer to the Jewish people in the days they were under the law before Christ…it most likely refers to the Gentiles when they were under the “elemental spiritual forces of the world”
An easier way to say that is basic spiritual ideas of the world.
As in…not from God.
And the Galatians, (because they were not Jews) before they met Jesus…just were under the basic worldly spiritual beliefs of their culture
Idols, paganism, you name it.
And Paul’s saying, “Hey…before you accepted Christ…gave your life to Him…you were like a child slave under a pagan religion.”
In a moment…he takes a step further and says…you were like an Orphaned Child Slave.
Can you imagine that?!?
You’re 8 years old. And your parents have died. And the only reason you can eat and survive is because you’re a slave. An 8 year old, orphaned, slave.
It’s a dire, dire life.
But the analogy applies to us as well.
I think one of the questions we have to ask here is “what are the basic worldly spiritual beliefs of our culture?”
What do Americans in 2013 think if they’re half-heartedly religious, but don’t have a relationship with Jesus?
And I think for most people it’s this: They just feel like, “You know what…just be a good boy…be a good girl…and don’t tick off that ‘cop in the sky’ God mad…and hopefully make it through judgment day”
But Paul’s saying in Galatians…that’s really no different than living like an orphaned slave-child.
That’s living like God is just some some overbearing slave master telling you to obey all his rules…and if you do…maybe…MAYBE…you’ll get a reward at the end.
And even though that’s what a lot of people in Galatia were starting to believe, that is NOT how it works!
Paul’s saying…that’s what some of you used to be…but everything’s changed now. EVERYTHING’s CHANGED!
Check out these next 3 very powerful verses.
ADOPTION (vv. 4:4-6)
(Galatians 4:4-6) - NIV
4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”
So Paul writes, “When the time had fully come”…
So just as there was a time set aside for boys to collect their inheritance as men, there was a time set aside for Jesus to come into the world and change everything!
And when he came…he did exactly that!
Because now the Bible tells us that YOU...can now be a son…a daughter of God…not just a slave-child trying to be good enough to please the master.
And it’s crazy good news!
Because when Jesus came…now all of us…even us non-Jews…could be redeemed.
We could be “bought back”…purchased from the slavery of our own sin…
And the illustration Paul uses is even richer than just that.
See, God didn’t just buy you as a slave…to be a slave in his house.
To work for Him now.
Although…sadly…that’s how a lot of Christians look at it.
Maybe that’s even how you look at it.
Maybe you’re looking at it as…well, I guess I believe in God now, so I better be good and live for Him so I can please Him.
But it’s so much more than that.
God didn’t just buy you so you could be a handmaiden in the kitchen of the Lord.
He didn’t just die for you you so could you be a slave in the fields for Him.
No, no, no…it says, he redeemed us…and ADOPTED us.
He adopted us.
Through adoption…you are now HIS son. His daughter!
And it’s adoption because Jesus is God’s one and only true son…his inherent son.
So we are made an adopted son…an adopted daughter through faith in Christ.
And this oughta revolutionize the way you look at your faith.
Because so many of us get caught in a “rewards system” type of faith like the Galatians.
We kind of live in this world where God is more like our slave master than our Father
We live in this world where God is more like our boss that’s always thinking about firing us for our poor performance…not a Daddy that just loves us.
And that’s what verse 6 means.
It means…when the Holy Spirit comes and dwells within us when we believe…we cry out to God “Abba”
Which means, crazyily enough…it means “Daddy!”
How cool is that?”
What a great passage in Scripture.
And that’s how we oughta look at this God…as our Daddy…who adopted us out of slavery.
Maybe that’s a tough illustration for you. Maybe you didn’t have a good dad.
But, trust me, God is best father you could ever ask for.
He’s trustworthy. He’s respectful. He’s faithful. He’s reliable. He’s honest. He’s a great example. He picks you up when you fall down.
When you screw up, he forgives you…not just rages at you
He brings you close, hugs you tight, and tells you it’s all going to be okay.
He’s your dad! He’s daddy!
But the Galatians have lost sight of that image…and Paul’s trying to bring them back to the loving Father.
Ever watched a little child just really enjoy being with their dad??
Maybe a kind father throwing a ball for his son to hit…and when his son hits it with his bat…he picks him up, and carries him around the yard like he just hit a home run in game 7 of the world series.
Or a father wrestling with his 2 sons…and their giggles filling up a whole room.
Or a gentle father…squeezing into a tiny chair to have a tea party with his daughter and her 5 dolls.
What a good daddy.
But the Galatians…it’s like…it’s like they’re too serious.
They’ve got God pegged as this “big brother” type who’s watching their every move from behind some doubled sided mirror…
To them…he’s some boss that’s going to show up announced, and hand them some performance review saying that they’re not measuring up
And Paul’s trying to get them back…saying, “It’s not about being good enough for the boss…”
“You couldn’t be further form the truth actually.”
It’s about…through faith…falling in love with your daddy…who would do anything for you.
Including sending his one and only begotten son
He’s so in love with you.
(step out) Did you know that??
Your father is so in love with you!
He just wants to spend time with you.
Like a good dad who would spend all weekend just hanging out with his kids…doing whatever they want to do…because…he just wants to be with them
I’m telling you…if you can let these words of Scripture today hit your heart…if you can let them bend your view of who God really is.
This will revolutionize your relationship with God.
And it’s not just that he’s your daddy…he was willing to adopt us.
Despite our rebellion…despite the fact that we were just orphaned, child slaves…he wanted us…
He looked at us in all our sin…with nothing to offer…dirty and alone…and He said…(look out)… “I want you! Her…right there! Him.. I want her to be my daughter. Him to be my son.”
I want to adopt them out of their hurt…their pain…their loneliness…and be their daddy…and love them.
Let me paint this picture for you in a different way.
Some of you know that Bjork and Lindsay Ostrom from our church served the last 12 months at the Children’s Shelter of Cebu…an orphanage in the Philippines.
My good friend, and former employee, Michelle Peterson from Constance Free Church served their for a year as well.
And while it’s truly a phenomenal children’s shelter for orphaned children who often have absolutely nothing…the kids’ biggest dreams are still to be adopted…into a “forever family”
And while Bjork and Lindsay were serving over there…they had an opportunity to sit in on watching two children being told that they are getting adopted…
What they do is they gather the siblings in a room…
The room is filled with loving adults from the shelter, teachers, and other adults who care for them and have looked after them sometimes for years.
As the children sit there nervously…wondering why they’ve been called in in front of all of these important adults…
The adults gleefully tell them, “We have some exciting news for you. There are two very loving people who want to be your mommy and daddy!”
AdoptionPhoto3 (Leave up for a little bit)
As you look at the photos, let me read your what my friend Michelle Peterson said about being at the experience:
“Sometimes the kids have an idea once they walk in, but when these 3 brothers came in, our director did a good job of trying to fool them for a bit! Once they were told, it was great to see huge smiles on two of the boys’ faces, and even to see the oldest brother’s quiet tears as he took it all in, trying to understand that his biggest dream had come true. The boys looked at the pictures from their new family and home in America as the huge news sank in.”
And it’s a powerful moment. So powerful.
Everything has changed now. Even though they’ve been in a loving shelter…They’ll no longer have to think of themselves as an orphan.
They’d no longer have to wonder about their future…would they have a mom?
Would they have a dad to play catch with?
To invite to a tea party?
To be their example
To give their prom date the eye when he picks her up
To teach them how to drive…
They’ve been adopted. They have a loving father.
And THAT is the image that Paul calls us to see.
It’s not like the Galatians think. This isn’t some sort of slavery of trying to be good enough for the “cop in the sky”
We’re not left wondering anymore if we’re truly loved, if we’re good enough…if someone truly cares for us and will always look out for us…
NO…we’ve been adopted…by God himself…our loving father.
We were sitting in a room…and God said…I’ve got some exciting news for you today: “I want to be your Father. I want to be YOUR father!”
And sidenote…I believe God is probably calling some of you in this very room to return his favor of adopting you…to return that favor in this life
Adoption is a very Biblical thing. And there are so many children around the world…and here in the US that need good parents like you…a Godly, loving, mom and dad
THE GOSPEL (v. 7)
Paul closes this section by showing us that we aren’t just adopted…we also, as adopted sons & daughters of the King, will have the full legal standing of the normal heir…
And thus…you don’t just have a loving daddy…you also have an inheritance now!
(Galatians 4:7) – NIV
So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
As a believer in Jesus…God has not only adopted you into his family, but YOU…are due to receive His inheritance.
When we come of age to receive that full inheritance.
And that is actually…in our death…on earth anyway.
(Romans 8:23) – NLT
And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.
See God loves you so much…he wants to adopt you…
He not only wants to adopt you…and love you as His own…He loves you SO much…that He wants to forgive your sins…and give you his inheritance.
That you would live forever…in His place…in heaven for eternity.
It’s crazy love!
And I wonder this morning…have you accepted this offer?
Because God has given us free will. He won’t force any of us.
And just like those children half way around the world sit in that room and get offered adoption…you can refuse.
People every day refuse the offer of God being their father.
They’d rather do it on their own. They don’t really believe his offer
And I wonder…have you accepted the offer?
And not just accepted it? Are you following Jesus with your life?
Because the Bible says that every one of us imperfect. We fall short of God’s glory. We sin against him.
And on our own…we will never “Earn” that inheritance of forgiveness…of the Holy Spirit living in us…of life everlasting in heaven.
But forgiveness…being made right with God…being adopted…in relationship with the Father.
It comes through faith.
It comes through believing that God sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross to die in your place.
To die for your sins…and that’s how he purchased us back…from slavery…to become His adopted children.
And if you’ve never accepted that offer before…to become a child of God…a Christian (which means follower of Christ)…to become a person who really FOLLOWS Christ…I want to give you that opportunity.
In fact, let’s all bow our heads and close our eyes…as I want this to be a special moment between you and God.
If you want to believe in what Jesus did for you and commit your life to him (to make Him your leader) to be completely forgiven and adopted by God! If that’s you…and you’ve never done this before…in just a few moments, I’m going to ask to raise your hand
We’ll all have our eyes closed (no one’s looking), so this is just between you & God
But I believe today, it’s important for you to raise your hand today, as a symbol to say, “You died for me…for ME…I believe. I’ll follow now”
Not just “I want to be forgiven…” but I want to become a fully devoted follower of this loving Father…
So wherever you are, all across this room right now. If you’d like to become a follower of Christ, and accept his gift of forgiveness, I want you to raise your hand wherever you are.
If you have your hand raised, would you pray this prayer with me?
It’s not a magic prayer…but just a prayer to tell God where you’re at…again, the Bible says, we 1) believe in our hearts and 2) confess with our mouths.
So I want you to say it out loud with me. Repeat after me
IN fact, there are a lot of other believers already in the room, and this is what we believe.
So, let’s all say it together with these new believers.
EVERYONE repeat after me with these new believers.
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. Amen
AMEN!! Let’s just clap and praise God.
Let me thank Him and PRAY.
If you gave your life to Christ today, I need you to do just 1 thing for me
Right after the service today, I want you to go to the back of the room for just a moment.
In the back there’s a sign that says “FOLLOW-UP”
There will be some incredibly nice people there (they have lanyards on) who want to give you some extremely helpful tools to help you get started in your faith
Won’t take you very long. But absolutely go back there.
Let me just pray & thank God!
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.