“ADOPTED BY GOD”                                       By Pastor YAU

Text: Titus 3:4-7                                                   July 26, 2009.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)     An ancient tradition: In the ancient Roman Empire adoption was occasionally used by some emperors to pass on succession of the throne to some more competent heirs. Augustus Caesar was adopted by his great-uncle Julius Caesar. Other notable adoptees included the emperors Tiberius, Trajan and Hadrian. Each of them was adopted because of his unique qualities that measured up to the expectation of the adopter father.

2)     A biblical doctrine: In the Bible, God revealed His adoption plans through Paul and others. Passages like Romans 4:13-16, 8:14-17, Galatians 4:1-7, Ephesians 3:1-7, Titus 3:4-8, the text of this message, and others explained God’s plan. God adopted people not because of their special qualities but because of God’s mercy and grace. He gave the adopted children not thrones of empires but seats in the Heavenly Kingdom. No one has to measure up with God’s expectation or requirements to be adopted. All they need to do is just believe and accept the gift.

 

GOD’S PLANS OF ADOPTION:

1)      The need of adoption: “Because no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” (Romans 3:20) It is because no one can do anything or everything of the law to be qualified to be a child of God, so God designed a new way, a new path so men and women, boys and girls may enter His Kingdome for eternity. With all the religions in the world and all the teaching of self-reliance in doing good, the sinful nature of man has sealed the fate of eternal loss. If there were no adoption, there is no hope of salvation for anyone.

2)      The basis of adoption: “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) It is because of God’s eternal love He came to the world in the body of Jesus Christ to die on the cross so our sins may be forgiven. The love of God compels Him to reach out to us, sinners, so we may be reconciled with Him through spiritual adoption.

3)      The price of adoption: “But now in Jesus Christ you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13)As in many adoptions, the adopter has to pay a price for the adoption. God also had paid a steep price to adopt us into His family. The high price God had paid to adopt us is the life of His Son, Jesus. The death of Jesus on the cross has demolished the dividing walls that had separated sinners from God. No man may pay any other price to earn his right to be adopted by God. God has paid it all for us.

4)      The results of adoption: “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and member of God’s household.” (Ephesians 2:19)This is the result of being adopted by God. In Romans 8:16-17, Paul went a step further, saying, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are God’s children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.” God has given us as His adopted children all the riches, glory, honor and everything in eternity both on earth and in His kingdom.

 

THE PROCESS OF ADOPTION: (Titus 3:4-7)

1)   It all begins with God’s love: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared.” (3:4) It is very important for all of us to recognize that the starting point of our being adopted (saved) into the family of God is because of God’s love and nothing else. This is the most important fundamental Christian doctrine. Our God is a God of love. With all the attributes God has, love is the crown jewel of all. From the creation of the world to the giving of the laws, from the coming of Christ to his death on the cross, from the giving of the Great Commission to the founding of the church, all were done because God loves the world. Because of God’s love, He sent His Son to the world so everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but will have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

2)   It’s not the good things we do: “He saves us, not because of righteous things we have done but because of his mercy.” (3:5) We may have done something right and good in our life time. But none of the things we may have done amounts to pay for the price of the adoption (salvation). Paul said that our best righteous works are like a piece of filthy rag, not worthy of anything. No one may claim any credit in God’s adoption.

3)   The new birth of the Spirit: “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and the renewal by the Holy Spirit whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior. (3:5-6) This is about the new life God gives to each and every adopted child, you and me. We are not just adopt into God’s family on the outside, we are given a new life on the inside, the new life of God’s spirit who will stay with us, lead us and protects us from all harms way. Salvation is not a repair job. It is a replacement job, a new heart and a new life.

4)   We are justified as heirs: “So that, having been justified by his grace, we might be heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (3:7) Justified means certified with just causes and proofs. This was a legal process in ancient Roman Empire when an adoption was executed. Our adopted status was justified by God’s grace, not our own merits, to be heirs of God and inherit His gift of eternal life. This eternal life shall live with God to eternity.

 

THE PRIVILEGES OF ADOPTION: (1 Peter 2:9) Just as in all adoptions, the adopted child enjoys all the riches and privileges of the adopter father, we also enjoy many superior privileges as God’s adopted children.

1)   We are chosen people: “But you are a chosen people.” (1 Peter 2:9a) In all adoption processes, many children are available to a prospective adopter. It is a sure privilege to be chosen by the adopter father. God has chosen each one of us because of His love, not because of our qualities. Jesus told His disciple that, “You have not choose me but I chose you and appoint you to bear fruits.” (John 15:16) The initiation and the right of the adoption all come from God and not us. It is never we choose God to be our heavenly Father but God has chosen us to be His spiritual heirs.

2)   We are a royal priesthood: “A royal priesthood.” (2:9b)In the ancient history, priesthood was given to the most inner circle of the royal family. Those who were given the privilege were like extension of the royal family to the common people. In God’s Kingdom, priests were called by God and were given the rights and privileges to be mediators between God and His people. As members of the royal priesthood of God, we have the privilege of bring God to the people and people to God.

3)   We are a holy nation: “A holy nation.” (2:9c)In Greek language, being holy is both being clean without blemish and being separated for special use. God doesn’t choose people without a purpose. He chosen us for the purpose of special mission: to bring the world and all the lost people back to Him. In order to fulfill that purpose, we need to be kept clean and be channels of the new life God has prepared for all the sinners of the world.

4)   We are people of God: “A people belonging to God.” (2:9d)In the process of adoption, the adopted child will receive a new ID, a new name and a new status. He/she will renounce his/her former ID, status, name and all other ties with his/her former family and his old nature. It is the same for us. We need to change our nature, habits, routines and life style to fit the new identity, new purpose: we belong to God. We are God’s people. We live for God and His purpose.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)    Treasure that new status: To be adopted by rich, famous and power people, like kings and queens, is a rare opportunity and is the envy of countless others. But that still is a short and temporary glory on earth. To be adopted by God, the King of all kings, for eternity is a far better status nothing may come close.

2)    Lift up to the status: Every title comes with honor and duties. We don’t want just to stay in enjoying the honor. We also want to lift our life, goals, dreams and values to match that new title. Realign our purpose, our priority list, the focus of life that will match our new status and honor our Father. Jesus said that we are the light of the world and we need to fulfill that expectation in our everyday life.

3)    You are always invited: Since God’s adoption doesn’t depend on our merit or personal worth, everyone is qualified to come to God and ask for the privilege to become His son or daughter. If you desire a life that is higher than your daily routines, more meaningful than material possessions, you can come to God through your faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus promised never to turn anyone away. (John 6:37)