S-1370-5SAP/C 6/23/2013 Hymns: (O) #299; (S) #594 LSB; L.S. #377; #354(C) #648
Texts: Isaiah 65:1-9; Galatians 3:23-4:7; Luke 8:26-39
Theme: “I AM God’s Son!” (Galatians 3:25-27)
Question: “Do you know anyone who is adopted?” Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text is from the Epistle lesson: “But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:25-27).
INTRODUCTION: In Nomine Iesu.
He grew up in a very loving home with an older brother and sister. But situations forced the hands of his parents to give him up. They tried to keep him but couldn’t. Finally at 3 months old they gave him up for adoption. He was adopted by a very wealthy woman and became her son. He had the finest money could buy, servants to wait on him hand and foot and he grew up to be someone special. When he talked people listened. When he walked by people turned their heads. He became prominent and had a good future ahead of him and would have been the next leader of his country. But something stirred within his heart and he gave it all up. You know him well, he is the son of Hebrew parents and his name is Moses.
Even though Moses was adopted by Pharos’ daughter and had the world’s power and prestige at his disposal; yet, he chose to let go of all that he had to be an adopted son of a greater person—God Himself.
Paul speaks of another group of people who have been adopted like Moses had been. He was talking about the Christians in Galatia. They were once slaves under a master. But this Master was not the Pharoah. This Master was the Law. It held them captive as a Pedagogue until faith came. Once Jesus who is faith in the Flesh came, these Galatians were set free! They became heirs of God in the adoptive act of Holy Baptism.
Paul teaches us about the culture of his day. At a certain age the status of the child changed from that of a minor to an adult. From being nobody to becoming somebody; all because in the Roman world the father had discretion in setting the date of his son’s coming of age. This usually took place between the ages of fifteen and eighteen.
As Paul states in the text, “a child is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father” (4:2). At this event (among the Romans it occurred during the spring festival of Liberalia) the child was officially adopted by the father and was formally recognized as the son and received full inheritance rights to the family’s estate.
In like measure, this status has changed for the Christian as well. The loving heavenly Father has set a date for the coming of age of His people, and “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” Indeed in the fullness of time, this took place through the incarnation, (active obedience), redeeming death, and resurrection of His preeminent Son, Jesus Christ (4:4–5).
The result of this wonderful act of love and mercy is that we receive adoption as God’s sons and become heirs of His kingdom (4:5–7). We should also remember that when we say sons, it refers to legal status and not gender. Similarly, when Scripture speaks of “Sons of Israel” this includes the whole nation of Israel. We have all become sons through the waters of Baptism.
On that day, you were no longer under the guardian or manager (The Law/Torah) but under grace. When faith came, that is when Jesus came our lot in life has been transformed to being sons of God and heirs of His grace. PAUSE.
Beloved in the Lord, today, happens to be my Baptismal birthday. 57 years ago Khairiah and Subhi Nour brought me to the Font at the Latin Parish in Haifa, Israel; and the priest spoke these words over me, “Nabil (‘Gabriel’ my baptismal name) I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” On that day I was given the robe of Christ’s righteousness that covered all of my sins. On that day, I was claimed by the heavenly Father as His very own child for time and for eternity.
You may not have been baptized today, but that doesn’t take away the joy that fills your heart as being God’s son. The text states: “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” You, too, have become sons of God with all of its blessings and joys.
Now, a word to the ladies of this congregation: Don’t be slighted about being called sons of God. To the contrary—cherish this wording big time. In our Western culture, we want to be identified as an individual. Some women want liberation. We don’t want to be like men. But to be called a “son of God” means God doesn’t make any difference between you and the men. You will be blessed just as every man is. You will receive the blessings of God on account of Christ. Oh, and by the way, you ladies are “sons of God” and we men are “the Bride of Christ.” Our gracious God honors who we are, and at the same time, goes beyond the male/female distinction as He says in Galatians 3:28, “neither male nor female, but one in Christ Jesus!”
As God’s Sons, you and I are privileged to receive a glorious inheritance that will not fade away or spoil but reserved in heaven for us because of the most excellent of Sons, the True Son of the Father, Jesus’ death and resurrection. We are heirs of our Father and His gracious fullness!
It is absolutely true, because of Christ (4:4–5), and “in Christ” (3:26–28), those who trust Christ’s saving work and are baptized, experience new freedom and the status of being heirs of God’s kingdom. “So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (4:7). This is what it truly means to be “Abraham’s offspring” (3:29).
What marvelous news we receive today. By God’s grace we have all become sons of God. We are all recipients of His grace and mercy. We are all blessed beyond our expectations. Sin no longer clings to us, the Law no longer damns us, and death no longer holds us. PAUSE.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, Moses understood what it means to be a child of God and left his adopted family with all of its wealth and power. But today, you and I who were strangers, slaves of sin and held captives under the prison of the Law until Christ came, have received the freedom to call our heavenly Father “Abba!” that is Hebrew for “Daddy”, and because He is your Father, you all have become His sons. And one day, you will leave this poor tent you live in and live with Him in the Palace of heaven which He has prepared for you.
All of this is yours on account of Christ who called you in the waters of baptism to be His very own. Amen and Amen.
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA