Monday, August 11, 2014

Emmaus City Liturgy | Sunday, August 3, 2014 – Facets of the Gospel IV: Adoption

Emmaus City Facets of the Gospel Adoption Sermon Series 2014 Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 Network of Missional Communities Christian Reformed Church


Emmaus City Liturgy – Facets of the Gospel IV: Adoption

Adoption Sermon Audio:

For previous sermon series notes, click on the links below:

This post will feature themes, verses, hymns and songs (audio and lyrics), and prayers that complement the sermon text. Key notes from the sermons will also be included.

Curious to know more? Want to spend some time with us? Don't hesitate. Contact us and come join us. In the meantime, enjoy the readings and listening to the songs below.


"Sing to God, sing praises to His name; 
lift up a song to Him who rides through the deserts;
 His name is the Lord;
 exult before Him! Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; 
He leads out the prisoners to prosperity …" Psalm 68:4-6a 

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you … (Jesus first words as a resurrected man … included a message to Mary to) go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God'" John 14:18; 20:17

"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are."  1 John 3:1a

 Welcome and Shared Moments of Celebration
  Prayer of Thanksgiving and The Lord’s Prayer
From Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father in heaven, may Your name be kept holy.
May Your Kingdom come, may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need, and 
Forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from evil.
(For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever. Amen.) 


Be still, my soul, the Lord is on your side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to your God to order and provide.
In every change He will remain.

Be still, my soul, your God will undertake.
To guide the future as in ages past.
Your hope, your mind, your will let nothing shake.
All now mysterious shall be bright.

Be still, my soul, the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone
Sorrow forgot, love’s joy restored.

Be still my soul
And praise Him. 

Come, ye sinners,
Poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus, ready, stands to save you,
Full of pity, joined with power!

He is able, He is able;
He is willing; doubt no more!

Come ye needy,
Come, and welcome,
God's free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh!
Without money, without money
Come to Jesus Christ and buy!

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and broken by the fall;
If you tarry 'til you're better,
You will never come at all.
Not the righteous,
Not the righteous;
Sinners Jesus came to call.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requires
Is to feel your need of Him.
This He gives you,
This He gives you,
'Tis the Spirit's rising beam.

Lo! The Incarnate God, ascended;
Pleads the merit of His blood.
Venture on Him; venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.
None but Jesus,
None but Jesus
Can do helpless sinners good!


Facets of the Gospel IV // Adoption

Scripture Reading 


It would have been extraordinary enough for God simply to redeem us, to justify us, to declare us righteous in Jesus. But His love is bigger. In fact, it’s big enough to call us sons and daughters. 

God Calls His People His Children // Exodus 4:22-23a; Galatians 4:4-7

Then you shall say to Pharaoh, "Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son," and I say to you, "Let my son go that he may serve me." Yahweh

But 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. 

With this in mind, the all powerful Creator and King of the universe comes down to our level and shows us we were made in His image. God the Father has adopted you through Jesus substitution and vindication to be His son or daughter. God’s love for you is personal, particular, and passionate!

1) Grasping Our Adoption | For You Individually Do you know how much you are loved?

Story about "Door of Hope" in Johannesburg, South Africa 

Jesus’ first words about our Father after His resurrection // John 20:17

Jesus first words as a resurrected man … included a message to Mary to go ‘to my brothers and say to them, "I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."

Remember – the first men he called ‘brothers’ were are that very moment cowards at best and a betrayer at worst. They’d walked away from Christ and his crucified. They were ashamed of the gospel. But he wasn’t ashamed of them. … these unfaithful and fearful disciples, quick to go back to the fisherman’s nets they had when he found them, had no reason to approach a holy Creator, no reason to call him ‘our God.’ But they – and we – are Jesus’ brothers and sisters, and so the Father is our God. He is not ashamed. ... When we were still orphans, Christ became a substitute orphan for us. Though he was a son, he took on the humiliation of a slave and the horror of death. Jesus walked to that far country with us, even to the depths of the hog pen that we’d made our home, and hung on a tree abandoned by his Father in our place." – Russell Moore

Without Jesus' Father as our father, who do we turn to? // John 8:42-47
Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God."

  • Do you know your father?
  • Why is it hard to think of God as such a loving Father?
  • How does Jesus reveal more about our Father's love?

2) Grasping Our Adoption | For Jesus' Church Do you know how much the Holy Spirit groans for the lost children of God? 
Jesus Promises Not to Leave Us as Orphans // John 14:16-18
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

The Spirit Groans for the Lost Children of God as Creation Groans for Their Redemption // Romans 8:19, 22-29 
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. ... For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. 

"The Spirit drives us to discontentedness with the status quo, and so we call out together for our Father’s attention. … The Abba cry is a scream (in Romans 8). … Hebrews 5:7 tells us ‘In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.’ Jesus in the Garden is crying out loudly to his Father for deliverance, to the point that the veins in his temples burst into drops of blood. That’s the Abba cry. Of all the disturbing aspects of the orphanage in which we found our boys, one stands out above all the others in its horror. It was quiet. The place was filled with an eerie silence despite the fact that there were cribs full of babies in every room. If you listened intently enough, you could hear the sound of gentle rocking – as babies rocked themselves back and forth in their beds. They didn’t cry because no one responded to their cries. So they stopped. That’s dehumanizing in its horror. The first moment I knew the boys received us was the moment the Moores walked out of the room for the last time on that first trip. One of the boys fell back and cried because he thought he’d be heard. He didn’t want to be alone in the dark. … This is where the Spirit of God is leading us – to see ourselves in enemy-occupied territory – and to groan against the death and alienation with His cry. It is in this kind of praying we know we have ‘received the the Spirit of adoption that bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God … We confess how we’ve played our part in the curse.” – Russell Moore
Jews and early Christians rarely prayed silently with heads bowed. They prayed noisily, with arms outstretched to the heavens. We know this from the Old Testament Scriptures as well as from early Christian catacomb art. … Does this not look like a child in any culture of any time lifting his or her hands out to their parents for attention or food or for someone to pick them up? And is it also not like Jesus on the cross? When Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?” it was like a child crying for his father. And when He later said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit,” we know He was received. If we see ourselves in His place, so will we. But do we cry out for our families and our neighbors and our friends in the same way?

  • Do you pray to God as Father often?
  • How do you ask Him to pursue your neighbors and friends as His lost children?
  • Are you willing to be filled with the Spirit to groan and cry out for the salvation of those you know and love?

3) Grasping Our Adoption | For Our Neighbors and City Do you believe that suffering with Christ to pursue others is your calling?

Are we content with the world we know, just a little adjusted for our identity as Christians? Are our prayers weak and dying, rarely reaching the level of ‘groanings too deep for words’ as it says in Romans 8:26? Are we too numbed to be as frustrated as the Spirit of God is with the way things are? This world without a King is a perpetual orphanage. It’s not home. It doesn’t look like the household of God. And the Spirit tells us to join the mission knowing like Paul says that 'For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us' (Romans 8:18)." – Russell Moore

Jesus in Suffering for Us // Hebrews 2:9-18
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers;
 in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.” Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Rejoicing in Suffering with Jesus for Others // 1 Peter 4:13-14, 17-19 
… rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. … For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And ‘If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’ Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.  
Jesus reconciles us to God and to each other. As we love our God, we love our neighbor; as we love our neighbor, we love our God. For some of us, I hope God does invite our households to include children who don't look like us or talk like us, but we knew God gave a deep desire in our hearts for. For all of us, I hope it changes the way we understand and mean “brother” and “sister” when we talk about the household of God and when we cry out “Father” on our knees for ourselves, for our families, for our neighbors, and for those we are being sent to.

  • What does a church look like that takes adoption seriously?
  • How do we begin to ask how we can support families who adopt?
  • What are we willing to sacrifice in order to seek God's heart of adoption?

 H Catechism Q&A 26 // 1563 A.D./C.E.

Q. What do you believe when you say, "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth”?

A. That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who out of nothing created heaven and earth and everything in them, who still upholds and rules them by His eternal counsel and providence, is my God and Father because of Christ the Son. I trust God so much that I do not doubt He will provide whatever I need 
for body and soul, and will turn to my good whatever adversity He sends upon me
 in this sad world. God is able to do this because He is almighty God and desires to do this because He is a faithful Father.
By King's Kaleidescope (original by Stuart Townend)
2005 A.D.

How deep the Father's love for us, 
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure?
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,

Bring many sons to glory!

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders.
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me life;

I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart –
His wounds have paid my ransom.

I belong to the land of the Rising Sun
Where the grave is no more,
The war has been won!
I belong to the land of the Rising Sun
I belong to You, I belong! (3x)

The dark is growing,
The tomb is reaching out.
Oh, but you can’t have me,
Oh, but you can’t have me!
The crows are circling,
The jackal waits in the dark.
Oh, but you can’t have me,
Oh, but you can’t have me!
 (Repeat Chorus) 

The world is in my bones,
It makes me wrestle with You.
Oh, but You have claimed me,
Oh, but You have claimed me!
No matter how far I’ve gone,
Even to the devil’s table.
Oh, my God, You’ve claimed me,
 Oh, my God, You’ve claimed me!
(Repeat Chorus 2x)

Through my wandering,
And my failing,
And my doubting,
I belong!
Through the fire,
And the darkness,
Through the sadness,
I belong!
I’m just a rebel
Who’s tired of fighting
So I’m laying down these arms!
The Son is rising! (3x)
(Repeat Chorus 2x)


Prayer of Mission 


"What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also along with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God the Father and is also interceding for us. Who can separate us from the love of Christ?" – Romans 8:31-35a


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