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ADOPTION!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, November 3, 2013

“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6).


The doctrine of the Trinity is basic. True Christians reject all teachings that deny it. The doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of Christianity. And here, in our text, we have all three Persons of the Trinity in one verse. We are told that God the Father is the author of salvation. We are told that He sends the Holy Spirit of His Son into our hearts when we are converted. We may not fully understand the Triune Godhead. But we see Him revealed in the Scriptures. So we accept the Trinity by faith.

The text shows that all three Persons are God. Twice God the Father is mentioned in the text – once as “God” and again as “Father.” The text implies that Christ is God. He was born physically of a woman. But He is described as “sent forth” – and therefore He existed before He was born. Also He is called “the Son” – which in the Scriptures means He has the same life (or essence) as the Father. This proves Christ’s deity. Then, the Holy Spirit does something only God can do. He lives in the hearts of His children. So we have the names of all three Persons of the Trinity – “God the Father,” “the Spirit,” and “his Son.”

True Christians know that all three Persons are necessary for our salvation. We love the Father because He chose us to be His children. We love the Son because He shed His Blood on the Cross to cleanse our sin. We love the Holy Spirit because He convicted us of sin, and drew us to Christ. That is why we sing two short songs in every service. First, we sing the Doxology, which was written by Thomas Ken in the 17th century.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
   (“The Doxology” by Thomas Ken, 1637-1711).

And we also sing the “Gloria Patri,” which was written by an anonymous author early in the 2nd century.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
   And to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now
   And ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, Amen.
   (“Gloria Patri,” source unknown, early 2nd century).

These two brief hymns are sung by us in every service on Sunday – because they praise, exalt and glorify the Holy Trinity, for He is our God!

The Mormons say there are three separate gods. But they are wrong. There is only one God, in three Persons. The Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the deity of Jesus. But they are wrong. Jesus is God, the Second Person of the Trinity. The Muslims deny that the Son and the Spirit are God. But they are wrong. There are three Persons in the Godhead. Theologically liberal Protestants, in effect, deny all three Persons, as do modern Unitarians – making those two groups agnostics at best, and often out and out atheists. Theological liberalism, whether the softer Fuller Seminary variety, or the more obdurate Claremont Graduate School variety, treats the Trinity either as a relic of the past, or a theological falsehood. This, of course, has meant that such liberal views of God have always led down the slippery slope to Unitarianism – and, at last, to atheism, where God is rejected outright.

But the Bible itself teaches that God is a Trinity – and we must bow before the one God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We must be true to our Baptist and Protestant heritage. The vast majority of those who call themselves “Christians,” including the Catholics and the Orthodox, have taught that God is a Trinity. Historically Baptists and evangelicals have held the doctrine of the Trinity.

“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6).

We have seen the Trinity in the text. Now we will see what that has to say to us. It is a beautiful text, and one that has deep, rich meaning.

I. First, the text speaks of the doctrine of adoption.

The verse says, “ye are sons.” And this refers back to the previous verse, which says, “...that we might receive the adoption of sons.” It is necessary to be adopted by God because we are not His natural children. The Bible says that we are “the offspring of God” (Acts 17:29). But that only refers to our physical bodies, which were created by God. But that is very different from “the adoption of sons” spoken of in Galatians 4:5. Regeneration, known as the new birth, gives us the nature of God’s children. But adoption, which occurs when we are born again, gives us the rights of God’s children.

My father left when I was two years old. When I was thirteen I couldn’t stay with my mother because there was no room. So I went to live with other relatives when I was 13. But there was so much drinking and fighting there that I would go out the back door late in the afternoon, walk across the lawn, climb over an old, broken down fence, and go to Dr. and Mrs. McGowan’s house. Then I would play or watch TV with their son and daughter.

I would always knock on the back door of their house, and wait for someone to let me in. But one day Mrs. McGowan said to me, “Robert, you don’t need to knock any more. Just come in when you get here.” From then on I walked in, like one of the family. And several nights a week Mrs. McGowan would ask me to come into the kitchen and have dinner with them. That made me feel very happy, almost like I was one of their children. I said “almost” like one of their children. For about four years, from the time I was 13 until I was about 17, they even took me with them when they went on vacation. I was very grateful to them, and I often told them so. I always sent her a Mother’s Day card, and him a Father’s Day card – as long as they lived. I always sent them Christmas presents. When he was very old, I gave Dr. McGowan an expensive pair of glasses to correct his macular degeneration. He had those glasses on in the coffin when I spoke at his funeral. He often told me that I was like a son to him. I think he knew that was important to me, because his own father died when he was small, and he had a stepfather who was very mean to him. Yes, I was almost like one of their children – almost – but not completely.

That’s the way it is with some of you. You came into the church. You almost feel that you belong to the church family – almost. But something is missing. You sense that you don’t quite belong. Adoption is what’s missing! You must be adopted by God as one of His children, or you will never truly be part of our church. Even if you were born and raised in this church, you will never be completely satisfied until you are adopted into the family of God. Spurgeon said that a person who is unconverted “stands in the condition of a criminal, not as a child...a rebel against [God], and not a child enjoying his Father’s love.” You must be converted to be a child of God by adoption, and enjoy the privilege of sonship. An anonymous hymn written in 1777 said,

Sons we are through God’s election,
   Who in Jesus Christ believe;
By eternal destination,
   Sovereign grace we here receive.
(Number 221 in “Our Own Hymn Book,”
   compiled by C. H. Spurgeon, 1834-1892).

II. Second, the text speaks of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in those who are converted.

“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts...” (Galatians 4:6).

The Holy Spirit proceeds to us from the Father. And God sends the Holy Spirit into our hearts when we are saved.

Notice that the text says that God sends the Holy Spirit “into your hearts.” It does not say that He sends the Spirit into your brains. The Spirit comes into your heart. Your heart is the very center of your being. The Bible says, “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Romans 10:10).

When you become children of God you are sealed by the Holy Spirit, who brings peace and nearness to God, and fellowship with Him. Instead of standing outside, like the older son, you come into fellowship with God, like the prodigal son who was converted. There are those who profess to be Christians, but have never experienced this. Those who are not sons, know nothing of the indwelling Spirit. They wonder what we mean by that. Sometimes they even get angry with us, for saying we have something that they don’t have. I think that is one of the reasons Cain killed Abel. I think that is why the older son was angry when his prodigal brother enjoyed acceptance by his father at the feast he gave his son. “And he was angry, and would not go in” (Luke 15:28). So the father came out “and intreated him” – and pleaded with him (Luke 15:28). God is pleading with you to come in to Christ, and enjoy the privilege of being His adopted child! Listen to this old hymn,

“Give me thy heart,” says the Father above,
   No gift so precious to Him as our love;
Softly He whispers, wherever thou art,
   “Gratefully trust Me, and give me thy heart.”
“Give me thy heart, give me thy heart,”
   Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art:
From this dark world He would draw thee apart;
   Speaking so tenderly, “Give Me thy heart.”
(“Give Me Thy Heart” by Eliza E. Hewitt, 1851-1920).

When you surrender your heart to Jesus, you will be able to sing,

I’m a child of the King, a child of the King;
With Jesus my Saviour, I’m a child of the King.
   (“A Child of the King” by Harriet E. Buell, 1834-1910).

III. Third, the text speaks of a new closeness and love for God.

“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6).

Notice the last three words of the text, “crying, Abba, Father.” Notice that it is the Spirit that cries, “Abba, Father.” That is very interesting. The Apostle Paul also spoke of it in the Book of Romans. He said,

“Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15).

First the Spirit Himself cries, “Abba, Father.” Then we ourselves are able to cry, “Abba, Father.” The Holy Spirit cries out, and then we cry out – “Abba, Father.” The Holy Spirit inspires us to cry out like that when we become children of God at conversion!

“Abba” is a child’s word for “Father.” The word “Abba” is the diminutive of an Aramaic word for father. It is a term of endearment used by young children of their fathers. It could be translated “papa” or perhaps even “daddy.” Spurgeon said that Abba “is a warm, natural, loving word, fit for one who is a little child of God.” When Jesus was suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, He fell to the ground and cried out, “Abba, Father...take away this cup from me” (Mark 14:36). He was fearful that He would die there in the Garden before He could go to the Cross – so He cried out to His heavenly Father – “Abba, Father...take away this cup from me.” That cry shows how close Jesus the Son was to God the Father!

And when you are converted, as an adopted child of God, you will be able to pray, as Jesus did, “Abba, Father!”

Turn from your sin and trust Jesus. In that moment His Blood will cleanse your sin, and His resurrection power will open your heart, and you will be adopted by God! You will be His child forever! Then you will be able to sing “A Child of the King” –

I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
   A sinner by choice, and an alien by birth;
But I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down,
   An heir to a mansion, a robe and a crown.
I’m a child of the King, a child of the King:
   With Jesus my Saviour, I’m a child of the King.
(“A Child of the King” by Harriet E. Buell, 1834-1910).

And you will be enabled to sing with Charles Wesley,

My God is reconciled, His pardoning voice I hear;
   He owns me for His child, I can no longer fear;
With confidence I now draw nigh, and “Father, Abba, Father!” cry,
   And “Father, Abba, Father!” cry.
(“Arise! My Soul, Arise!” by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

Come to Jesus now, by faith. Trust Him and you will instantly become a child of God! Christ will cleanse your sin with His Blood and give you life through His resurrection. If you would like to speak with us about becoming a real Christian, please leave your seat now and walk to the back of this auditorium. Dr. Cagan will take you to another room where we can answer your questions and pray. Go now. Dr. Chan, please pray that someone will trust Jesus this morning. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Galatians 4:3-7.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“A Child of the King” (by Harriet E. Buell, 1834-1910).


THE OUTLINE OF

ADOPTION!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6).

I.   First, the text speaks of the doctrine of adoption, Acts 17:29;
Galatians 4:5.

II.  Second, the text speaks of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in
those who are converted, Romans 10:10; Luke 15:28.

III. Third, the text speaks of a new closeness and love for God,
Romans 8:15; Mark 14:36.