페이지 정보작성자 최고관리자 작성일15-11-27 16:58 조회1,156회 댓글0건
There are three unanswered questions that have riddled and continue to vex human beings ever since the advent of man on this earth. “Who are we?” “Where did we come from?” “Where are we destined to?” These three questions can be construed as philosophical even perhaps religious in nature since the ever-elusive answers to these questions are basically and fundamentally linked to the reason for man’s existence. Every religion and philosophy of the East and the West spanning the history of man, from ancient to the present have attempted to answer these questions. Today, we will look at and think about the most basic question of the three: “Who are we?”
The architect of the ancient Persian Empire, Cyrus (? – 529 BC) was born sometime in 6th Century BC. At the time of his birth, his grandfather stood at the apex of power in Persia. Paranoid of the ominous specter that his grandson would eventually pose a threat to his power and kingdom, he ordered his servants to kill young Cyrus. But the servant charged with this gruesome task took pity on the young infant and spared his life, surreptitiously giving the infant to a peasant shepherd couple. The couple raised Cyrus as their son; likewise, Cyrus grew up completely unaware of his royal heritage. Only when he matured into an adult, did Cyrus learn the secret of his heritage and the events surrounding his birth. He learned the identity of his true parents and realized that he was to be the successor of the throne of the Persian Empire. The country boy Cyrus transformed into the Emperor Cyrus of the Persian Empire.
Knowing one’s own identity is paramount. Only when we know who we truly are can our fate and fortunes change. Today, I hope that each one of us truly learn of our true identity.
Then who are we?
We are all children of God.
Verse 14 of today’s scripture states that “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” All of us became Christians after following God’s spiritual guidance. And all of us came to this worship service this morning because of God’s guidance. All of us are God’s sons and daughters His children. We are the family of God.
When we visit someone and get treated with warmest hospitality, we often say, “we were treated like family.” It means that our host treated us like a family with open hearts, without pretensions. There is certain closeness, kinship, between family members that afford us a sense of comfort and familiarity with other members of our families. Although we, as sinners, do not deserve to be children of God, we became His children through Jesus Christ. Because we are His children, we do not fear Him; rather, we converse and relate with Him in a comfortable, affectionate manner. Like a family.
Then what does becoming children of God specifically signify? In today’s scripture, Paul outlines three special characteristics of children of God.
First, we can call God our “Abba, Father” since we received the Spirit of adoption by God. In verse 15, Paul proclaims that belief in Christ has given us not the spirit of bondage and fear, but the “Spirit of adoption.” Therefore, we can call God “Abba, Father.”
In this passage, Paul makes a sharp distinction between the “spirit of bondage” and “Spirit of adoption.” Servants in bondage have no freedom, since their master’s authority constantly oppresses them. No matter how close a master and a servant may seem, there is always a line that cannot be crossed. In the ancient societies, servants were considered a property of their masters; hence, they enjoyed absolutely no rights. Only path to existence for servants was obedience. Because of Jesus Christ, we were liberated from the chains and the shackles of the old commandments that had bound us like slaves and became the adopted children of God.
Two important factors contribute to a proper understanding of the term “adopted children.” When a child is adopted, that child exercises absolutely no initiative meaning the child does not choose his adoptive parents. The foster parents exercise the right and the choice to choose which child to adopt.
Likewise, we did not become children of God because of our own abilities or our choosing. Despite our numerous flaws and faults, God made us his adoptive children. We must never forget the fact that absolute blessing and love of God transformed us into His children. As Paul states in Romans 5: 8, “but God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He unequivocally states in John 15: 16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you.” We must remember that God’s love and blessings are the only reasons for our adoption by God.
Similar to the laws of today, the ancient Roman laws did not differentiate the rights of biological and adopted sons. Once adopted, the adopted son enjoyed the very same rights as the biological son. Adopted sons were treated in the same manner as the biological sons when the parents were alive; once the parents passed away, adopted sons were entitled to same inheritance as biological sons.
When we became adopted children of God, we began to enjoy the same entitlements as His biological children. The fact that we get same entitlements as any of His other children is clearly illustrated in latter part of verse 15. We no longer fear Him; rather, we can approach Him as “Abba, Father.” The word “Abba” is an Aramaic word that translates into “daddy.” In Mark 14: 36, when Jesus prays at Gethsemane, He uses the term “Abba, Father.” The extreme closeness of the father-son relationship between God and Jesus that nothing comes between them is clearly illustrated by that term in Jesus’ prayer. In Galatians 4: 6, Paul states “and because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”” Just as young children call their father “daddy” and fall into his embrace with great affection, we can call God “daddy” and approach Him.
Second, along with Christ, we became heirs to God. One of the greatest blessings we enjoy as God’s children is entitlements as His heirs. As His adopted children, we obtain the special privilege as heirs of the inheritance. As Paul states in verse 17, “and if children, then heirs heir of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” We enjoy same privileges and rights as Jesus Christ, His biological Son.
We became members of God family through Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus, we became God’s adopted children and are able to call Him “Abba, Father!” Since we are the children of God, we became family with Jesus Christ as His siblings. Therefore, Romans 8: 29 states that since we became members of God’s family, we became siblings with Jesus Christ. Naturally, Jesus became the firstborn within a large family. The important thing is that along with Jesus, we became heirs to God, entitled to the inheritance that only Jesus had previously been entitled to.
Have you ever heard of Heddy Green? Probably not. Heddy Green left a fortune of $1 million as she died. But she failed to leave behind a will that specified who was entitled to her fortune. To earn and save money, she had to eat cold oatmeal and wear tattered rags for clothes. To save money for fuel, she, along with her children, slept in a cold, unheated house in the middle of frigid winters. But because she failed to leave behind a will, the money that she had worked so hard to save did not go to anyone after she died. Ever an avaricious miser, she died with her fists clenched, refusing to give her money to anyone.
But our God is different. He left great treasures in Heaven as our inheritance. In His will, which bequeaths all the treasures of the Heaven to the heirs, God recorded our names next to the name of Jesus Christ. The heirs who are entitled to the same inheritance as God’s Son, Jesus Christ! What can be a greater glory and blessing? Do not forget, even for a minute, that we are all children of God, heirs to the riches of Heaven, alongside God’s biological Son Jesus Christ.
Third, our path and fate must coincide with Jesus since we are, along with Him, children of God. We became God’s children through Jesus Christ. The defining characteristic of family is solidarity. Happiness of one family member is happiness for rest of the family members; sadness of one is sadness for all. Nothing is stronger and more reassuring than familial bond. In Korea, during the Chosun Dynasty, if one was convicted of treason, three generations of his family were executed. If a father was convicted of treason, then the father, son, and grandson entire three generations of males were executed. Family members had to share in the punishment for the mere fact that they were related to a turncoat. Today, if a head of a household becomes unemployed, then the rest of the family has to share in the pain.
Family members, by the virtue of kinship, share in all happiness, pain, sorrow, and the rest of the gamut of human emotions and feelings. Think about the fact that we are family with God. Along with Jesus, we have entered the community of Heaven as it family members. If Jesus suffers, then we must suffer with Him. If Jesus is glorified, then we are glorified alongside Him. We share in His fate because we are His siblings, members of His family through our adoption by God. That is why the latter part of verse 17 states, “if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Since we are heirs to Heaven along with Jesus, we must rightfully share in His pain and glory.
I want to conclude my sermon with the following inspirational story. A wealthy man’s wife died while their only son was still a breast-feeding infant. The man hired a nanny to raise the child. Unfortunately, the young boy died when he was 10 years old. After several years, the man also died. Before he died, the man specified in his will that his vast wealth and estate was to be sold off in a public auction. The man also mandated that the picture of his son was to be the first item auctioned off. On the day of the auction, a crowd of people gathered at the man’s estate. The nanny, who had raised the young boy, was also in the crowd. She attended the auction not to buy something, but because of her yearning memory of the deceased man and his boy whom she had raised.
The people who were present at the auction had their eyes out for the countless number of jewelry, expensive furniture, and other assets in the mansion. But the auctioneer commenced with auction with the following statement: “The late owner of this estate had mandated in his will that the framed photograph of his late son is to be the first item of this auction. Do I have a taker for this photo and frame for $20?” A long silence passed. No one seemed interested in the photo. Then a man shouted, “Let’s get rid of that garbage and take a look at that Oriental rug!” The auctioneer replied, “No, we cannot do that. The will specifically states that we must auction this framed photograph before we auction anything else in this estate.”
Upon hearing the auctioneer, the nanny raised her hand. “I have $20. I’ll put my $20 on that photo.” Since no one else submitted a bid, the framed photograph of the late boy became the nanny’s photo. The nanny was overcome with joy, for the fact that she now had a reminder of the boy that she had deeply cared for. Just as the nanny bought the photo for $20, the auctioneer shouted the following provision from the wealthy man’s will. “I give and bequeath all my possessions to the person who cares enough for my son to cherish this photograph.” The nanny’s deep love of the man’s son resulted in her inheritance of vast wealth.
Just as the nanny became the heir of vast wealth through her love and care for the wealthy man and his son, we will inherit vast wealth of Heaven when we love God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Who are you? You are the children of God, heirs to the vast wealth in Heaven. Just as 1 Peter 2: 9 states, we are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people.” Do not forget this incredible fact, and live your lives befitting your status of children of God.
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