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Welcome to the Family

Romans 8:14, 15



There is a Commandment about honoring our mothers and fathers, so why isn’t there one about brothers and sisters? We had children and found out that there is: “Thou shalt not kill.”


We love our family, and have a great time together.  We love our church family as well.  We're brothers and sisters, and we share the same father!


Adoption is big in our church, and it's amazing how God uses it to bless both the little ones and the parents too!  Just think where some of these kids would be if they weren't lovingly brought into a new home.  Many of you don't know that I too was adopted by my dad.  I can't imagine how my life would be different if I were not adopted.


“Adoption”:    It is often misunderstood in scripture.


The doctrine of adoption has a twin truth…they go together:  the twin truth of adoption is regeneration (the experience of the new birth).


You know about the new birth:  Jesus said in Jn. 3 “you must be born again”.

        When a person gets saved, they are born again / experience the new birth / regeneration / become God’s child LITERALLY!  (Not a metaphor / not figurative)  We are in all actuality, literally, children of God…He’s our Father…this is a family, the family of God.  Welcome to the family!


Jn. 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.

I Jn. 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be…

        Right now, in the present!


That is the truth of regeneration—the new birth…and its twin truth is the doctrine of “adoption.”

Ephesians 1:5

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will...


Regeneration means that you are literally a child of God.

        Welcome to the family!

Adoption means that you are legally a child of God.

        Welcome to the family!


In Bible times, the word adoption was used differently than we use it today.

        When we talk about adoption today, we’re talking about taking a child that is not our own flesh and blood, and legally making them our own…that’s not the Biblical meaning of adoption.


Understand that the Romans and the Greeks had a ceremony they went thru w/ their own flesh and blood children, and that ceremony was called adoption, which literally means “the placing of a son.”

        As long as a child was under the legal age of inheritance, they were not really considered to be a full-fledged member of the family.  They did not enjoy all the rights and privileges of family membership.

        When they became an adult, the legal age of inheritance, they went thru a ceremony called the “toga virilis”.  They would take the toga off of the back of the adult, place it on the back of the child, and pronounce them to be a full-fledged member of the family, w/ all the rights and privileges.  Welcome to the family!


It becomes very clear in Gal. 4…

1 Now I say, That the heir (someday he’ll inherit it all), as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant (until the toga virilis, he’s no different than a servant), though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. (then the toga virilis) 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.


After the ceremony took place, he became an official member of the family.  Welcome to the family!


Here’s the significance:

Regeneration (born again)—you became a child of God literally

Adoption—you became a child of God legally

…these both happen at the same time!

        There’s no process to go thru, no ceremony to dread for years…but immediately instated w/ all rights and privileges.  Not just a child being fed, but an heir receiving daddy’s riches from the very start!  Welcome to the family!


        When you got saved, in the mind of God, this toga virilis had already taken place…it’s as though God immediately put your name on His checking acct. the moment you were saved, and gave you the authority to start signing checks!


No wonder Rom. 8:17 says what it does…

Romans 8:17
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;


This means that you can begin drawing on the spiritual wealth of your Heavenly Father from the very moment you get saved!  You’re a child of the King!!  Welcome to the family!


And there are some wonderful privileges which go along w/ being the heir…Paul outlines them for us in the next few verses:



v. 14—“led”

        We have someone to guide us thru this confusing, chaotic world.  We have a holy compass residing w/in us that will show us the way! 

G.W. Truett said, “To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge…to do the will of God is the greatest achievement.”



v. 15—the spirit of adoption (acceptance)  “He wants me!”

        Fact #1—God loves all people

                (Some don’t believe that!)

That’s what allows us to cry Abba (daddy) is the spirit of adoption…a close fellowship (more than relationship)

        Not just, “we’re related”, but “we’re elated!”

Ill.—close fellowship / when things are ok at home w/ spouse / no thick cloud in the air / more than just a relationship, but fellowship!


        Even when the fellowship is cut, the relationship still exists…but how do you know that the relationship exists?



v. 16—The Holy Spirit assures us (if we can hear Him!)

        How can you hear Him if fellowship is broken?

Good question!  (close fellowship is a privilege of being a literal, legal, born again, blood related, adopted, child of God…and so, close fellowship is only a prayer away today!)  Welcome to the family!



v. 17—joint heirs w/ Christ?  Wow!  I’m no god, but I’m as much of a son as the Son of God?!  Incredible!!  I stand to inherit the same as He?  Awesome!


        And our God Who created all that is in 6 literal days has been preparing a place for us for the last 700,000+ days!

        And He that is eternally, infinitely wise has for some reason chosen me to be a son, an heir, and says, Welcome to the family?  I can’t take it all in!  It’s like a dream…but it comes true!


And the southerner, Paul, says in v. 18… “I reckon that...”

Ill.—Some years ago Columbia University had a great football coach by the name of Lou Little. One day Lou had a boy try out for the varsity team who wasn't really very good. But Lou noticed that there was something unique about him--while he wasn't nearly good enough to make the team, he had such irrepressible spirit and contagious enthusiasm that Lou thought, This boy would be a great inspiration on the bench. He'll never be able to play, but I'll leave him on the team to encourage the others.

As the season went on, Lou began to develop a tremendous admiration and love for this boy. One of the things that especially impressed him was the manner with which the boy obviously cared for his father. Whenever the father would come for a visit to the campus the boy and his father would always be seen walking together, arm in arm, an obvious indication of an exceptional bond of love between them. They could always be seen on Sunday going to and from the university chapel. It was obvious that theirs was a deep and mutually shared Christian faith.

Then, one day, a telephone call came to Coach Little. He was informed that the boy's father had just died--would he be the one to tell the boy? With a heavy heart Lou informed the boy of his father's death, and he immediately left to go home for the funeral.

A few days later the boy returned to the campus, only two days before the biggest game of the season. Lou went to him and said, "Is there anything I can do for you? Anything at all?" And to the coach's astonishment the boy said, "Let me start the game on Saturday!" Lou was taken aback. He thought, I can't let him start--he's not good enough. But he remembered his promise to help and said, "All right--you can start the game," but he thought to himself, I'll leave him in for a few plays and then take him out.

The day of the big game arrived. To everyone's surprise the coach started this boy who had never played in a game all season. But imagine even the coach's surprise when, on the very first play from scrimmage, that boy was the one who single-handedly made a tackle that threw the opposing team for a loss. The boy went on to play inspired football play after play. In fact, he played so exceptionally that Lou left him in for the entire game; the boy led his team to victory and he was voted the outstanding player of the game.
When the game was finally over Lou approached the boy and said, "Son, what got into you today?" And the boy replied, "You remember when my father would visit me here at school and we would spend a lot of time together walking arm in arm around the campus? My father and I shared a secret that nobody around here knew anything about. You see, my father was blind--and today was the first time he ever saw me play!"

It is because of resurrection vision that we are able to "play above our heads" in the game of life and "see" the purposes and power and love of God.

You may have one looking down on you today, but you are going on the field as a family w/ a prize to win and a Father to please.

And as a benefit of being God’s child, He gives us guidance along the way / acceptance at all times, unconditionally / assurance…no fear or doubt / and that inheritance which we already have access to, and more that awaits us!  Let’s thank the Lord right now!

        Welcome to the Family!


FBC is a family.  We are proud to be members of this family.  We view this as a marriage / for better or for worse!  And you’ve got a family here too…Welcome to the family!  

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