Messages from Pastor Raddatz

Mount Olive Lutheran, Houston TX, CHRISTMAS 1, DECEMBER 27, 2020 OTHER LESSONS: ISAIAH 61:10-62:3 AND LUKE 2:22-40

Wonderful, Holy Adoption, Galatians 4:4–7

Introduction: A young couple had for some time been trying to have a child, but with no success. They decided to adopt a child from another country. When they went to tell their parents, they got a kind but clear rebuff. “Wouldn’t it be better to have one of your own?” After gathering their thoughts, the couple quickly responded, “This child will be our own, just as if he or she had been born to us. This child will be a part of our family in every way.” -Gary Piepkorn

As we read the word adoption according to our human way of thinking, we understand the future grandparents’ thoughts. At the same time, we see the wonder and the excitement of the future parents. Similarly, this passage shows us the miraculous mystery of God adopting us.  

We often think “our timing” is the right timing

When we go to God with our requests, we often assume that God will grant our request according to our timing.  We think we know what we need when we need it.  That is similar to a couple I knew who wanted children, but they could not conceive children.  They finally adopted a girl, then they conceived the wife became pregnant.  This is not how they thought their first child would happen.  In fact, their adopted daughter was born in a high school washroom to a high school girl.   Some “possible” adoptive parents shunned this little baby since she was born in a bathroom, but for this couple where this child was born did not matter.

In a similar way, where we are born does not matter to God.  We are born in sin and God is sinless.  To be adopted by God cannot happen on our terms or even our timing.  God had to make it happen.  To conquer sin God had to send his son Jesus who was crucified in our place on the cross.   God’s son Jesus had a strange birth too.   I can imagine being born in a barn was not the way the children of Israel thought their Messiah and King would come.

God’s timing is the best timing

There was no world wide web when Christ was born, but there was a web of roads that were very passable due to Rome’s rule.  

  1. There was a peace in that part of the world so that the message of God making us his through Jesus could freely travel.  The Greek language had become international so that the Good News could be widely broadcast.
  2. The Roman Empire had spread so far that travel and communication had become much easier.
  3. The Jewish people had the sense that the time was right for the Messiah to come. Indeed, some historians claim that it was rather popular to name one’s son Joshua, the Hebrew form of the name Jesus, which, of course, means “Savior.” Notice, as you read the Gospels, how quickly the people thought that Jesus was the Messiah. -G. Piepkorn

 All people were still in bondage to sin.  The Law always condemns but the Gospel always makes innocent.

Verse "Born under the Law" shows the humanity of Jesus. These words lead us right into the vicarious atonement.

Luther: The Law did everything to Jesus that it did to us. It accused us and terrified us. It subjected us to sin, death, and the wrath of God; and it condemned us with its judgment . . .. It accused Him of blasphemy and sedition; it found Him guilty in the sight of God of all the sins of the entire world; finally it so saddened and frightened Him that He sweat blood, Luke 22:44; and eventually it sentenced Him to death, even death on a cross, Philippians 2:8. 

By His suffering we are made Sons and daughters of God!

In reality, it is only God’s timing of sending forth his son that he accomplishes what right, adopting us as his children

The Law cannot save. It can only condemn. 

The Gospel saves. It never condemns. 

The Gospel says: "Done." The Law says: "Do." -Bul’s Notes

Did you have a special name for your Mom or your Dad?  Was there a nickname that was frequently used?  I wonder how many different variations exist.  I know of Mee-maw and Papaw. . . I know of Pop’s and poppa. . . I know of Mutti and Vater, but I bet you had a special name for an adult you appreciated.  Sometimes they had a special name for you.  

Because we are adopted by God, we get to call him a special name, which is “Abba”.  Abba is not just a name of a Swedish pop group from the 70’s. defines abba as:

  1. a title of reverence for bishops and patriarchs in the Coptic, Ethiopian Christian, and Syriac churches.
  2. New Testament. an Aramaic word for father, used by Jesus and Paul to address God in a relation of personal intimacy.

“Crying out” to God as our adoptive father is giving thanks for him who adopted us sinners and made us sinless through Christ.  V. 7, "you are no longer under the bondage and condemnation of the Law, but you are free from sin, death, and the devil because Christ, your Substitute, suffered in your stead."  True prayer proves that there is saving faith. Saving faith proves that the individual is a son of God, a free man, and an heir of God and of Christ. -Bul’s notes

Conclusion: The young couple who I first mentioned at the beginning of the sermon were a bit taken aback by their parents’ remarks, but they did go forward and adopt a little girl from Korea. As time went on, it became exceedingly obvious that the girl was indeed as much a part of the family as their biological children born later. In fact, she has now married and given three great-grandchildren to those grandparents who were so hesitant. -Gary Piepkorn

It’s the same in God’s family. As we are adopted into his holy forever family, we have the high privilege, as God the Holy Spirit leads us, to be used by God to bring more children into his family. How incredible that through faith in Jesus, we have received holy adoption! All praise be to God!

Pastor John Raddatz

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