Sermon June 19, 2022: Children of God, Adopted (Pentecost 3)

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If you prefer to worship at home at this time or simply wish to listen to the service or sermon again, please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/721801292

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/c31F3TV3dWW

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: The Prayer of St Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen

HYMN Faith of Our Fathers
Faith of Our Fathers | Fountainview Academy 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSHzrlGoelQ

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer − The Centering Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help. I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life. Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not. Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature. Help me to serve you as I am gifted. Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood. I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN Children of the Heavenly Father
Children of the Heavenly Father
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1Le7-y9xVI

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: Children of God, Adopted
John 14:23-24, Romans 8:14-17, Galatians 4:4-7, Psalm 27:10
Series: “The Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles.”

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Saturday Video AudioWesley Sermon Audio

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SERMON NOTES

John 14:23 Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Galatians 4:4 But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir.

Psalm 27:10 10 Amplified Although my father and my mother have abandoned me, Yet the LORD will take me up [adopt me as His child].

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.   – Howard Thurman

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HYMN This Is My Father’s World
The Collingsworth Family This Is My Father’s World
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blTGqv6hCYo

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

BENEDICTION

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

We are working Sunday by Sunday through the season of Pentecost, looking at how the Holy Spirit touches our lives and touches the lives of others through us. And on this Father’s Day, we’re going to talk about the relationship that the Holy Spirit allows us to have with our heavenly Father. I’d like to tell you two stories, and they’re kind of emotional stories for me. Just want to warn you in advance, you may need a Kleenex!

Many, many years ago, Ernest Hemingway wrote a story called The Capital of the World, and it was about a teenage boy by the name of Paco. Now, the name Paco in Spain in those days was the most common first name. And Paco’s father was a little bit dominating, a little bit controlling, and did not at all understand his son’s desire to become a matador. The conflict grew so great that the teenage boy ran away from home to seek his fortune.

Two years went by, and finally, the father traveled to the capital city, Madrid, put an ad in the newspaper that ran for a week. The ad was simple. It said this, “Dear Paco, meet me in front of the Madrid Cathedral this Sunday at noon. All is forgiven. I love you, your Father.”

The publisher of the newspaper was attending late mass that Sunday morning and was quite surprised to come out on the front steps of the church, and there, arranged on the sidewalk and street, as Hemingway said, were 800 Pacos.

There’s a very famous teacher of preaching by the name of Fred Craddock who told a story of something that happened when he was vacationing in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. He came into a restaurant for breakfast with his wife, and there was this elderly gentleman that was going around and visiting with everybody at all the different tables. And being on vacation, Craddock said to himself, “I sure hope that old man doesn’t bother us.”

Sure enough, the old man comes up to the table, sits down and says, “Where are you folks from?”
“Oklahoma.”
“Oh, that’s a great state. What do you do for a living?”
“Oh, I’m a seminary professor.”
And the old man says, “Well, let me tell you a story.”
And the seminary professor groans and thinks, “One more pastor’s story that I’ve probably heard a hundred times before.”

But the old man pointed out the window at a mountain in the distance and he said, “On the other side of that mountain, a woman gave birth out of wedlock. And I want to tell you a story about that little boy. He grew up without a father and children are cruel. They would come up to him at school and on the playground. And they’d look him in the eye, and they’d say, “Who’s your daddy?” Adults in a small town, well, they came up to him, too, in the grocery store and the public library. They’d look him in the eye and they’d say, “Boy, who’s your daddy?” And the little boy got to where he would avoid other people and basically hide.

But he would go to church. And there was a Sunday, the new preacher was there, and the new preacher gave the benediction before he could get out of the church. So he was trapped in the crowd of people headed for the door.

And he came up to the preacher, and the new preacher put his hand on his shoulder, looked him in the eye, and said, “Boy, who’s your daddy?” Now, of course, he had no idea, but all of a sudden, the whole church just got real quiet. And the way the story is told, the Holy Spirit must have helped the preacher that day, because he knew that something was wrong. But the preacher looked the boy in the eye and calmly said, “I know who your father is. I can see the resemblance in your face. Boy, you’re a child of God. And I see a striking resemblance.” Then he patted me on the shoulder and said, “Now you go and claim your inheritance.” And the little boy said that from that moment on, his entire life changed.

Friends, there is a famine in the land. There is a horrible starvation and hunger all around us. In a 2014 article – that’s the year I arrived to be your pastor – entitled Fathering, Fatherless America, Dr. Scott J. Larson reported one in two children now grow up without a father in the United States. And in our inner cities, only one in five children live with their father. A whole new mission field has developed in America: fathering fatherless kids.

I would like to tell you that I understand this because in 1998, as a result of divorce, my time with my children was cut to one weeknight evening and every other weekend. And you do the best you can, but you’re not able to be present the way you want to be. I have many regrets in my life, and one of the greatest is that I wish I could have been a better father to my three sons. One of my second greatest regrets is that I wish I could have been a better son to my father.

The apostle, Paul, however, has the cure for this famine. The answer to this problem, here’s what he wrote, in 1 Corinthians 4:14: “I do not write this to make you feel ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ–“ and by the way, one of the reasons why you need to check the Greek is the Greek word isn’t countless. The Greek word actually says 10,000. “For although you have 10,000 guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. And I urge you, then, be imitators of me.”

Now, if we take that seriously, what Paul is saying, it’s a wonderful thing for a child to have a guide, but what a child needs is a father. And that’s why Paul said this to the whole church, I became your father. It is a higher calling. It is a larger responsibility to say I will take on the responsibility of a father. And then Paul looks at them and says, “I urge you then, be imitators of me.”

There is a famine in the land, and people are hungry for their fathers. So in the section of Scripture where Jesus talks about what the Holy Spirit is going to do within us and through us, going to be inside of us and connect us with Jesus, we find these words: Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words, obey my teachings, follow my commands, and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me.” And you remember how I’ve said multiple times on Easter Sunday, Jesus looked at the disciples and said, “As the Father sent me, so I send you.” And we’ve talked about how the Holy Spirit connects us with Jesus so that as we go, Jesus helps us to understand what to do, and the Holy Spirit provides the power to do it. But what this verse says is, due to the power of the Holy Spirit, you and I will be able to have a relationship with our Heavenly Father like Jesus had.

What if we took these words literally? My Father, our Heavenly Father, will love that person, and we will come to him or her and make our home with him or her. I have wrestled with these words this week because I have the sense that God is not only big, God is so big that it is hard for me to understand that bigness. And one of the things that’s difficult to comprehend seriously is what would it be like for my Heavenly Father to love me and come to me and make his home with me. Because I’m not talking about God as a concept that we believe, not talking about God as a force for good within our world, because I can get that, but the idea that this great God would become a part of my daily life and show love to me, to be honest, just kind of overwhelms me.

But it’s not uncommon. If you take a look at Galatians 4 and other places, in Romans, “when the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons and daughters, children of God. And because you’re sons, because you are children of God, God has sent the spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father.” Now, that word abba, you know what that means? That’s papa. That’s daddy. When I talk to God the Father, I talk in very formal tones as if I’m in court. But adoption makes it possible for us to say, “Papa, Daddy.”

Verse seven, “So through God, you are no longer a slave, no longer a servant, but a son. And if a son, then an heir.” Because, friends, you see, God’s plan is adoption. That’s the relationship that God wants to have with you and I. God’s plan is adoption.

We mentioned this next verse back on Mother’s Day. Psalm 27:10, comes out of the Amplified Bible (where they add comments to explain the nuances of the Greek and the Hebrew): “Although my father and mother have abandoned me, yet the Lord will take me up.” And what that literally means in the understanding of the Hebrew is that when my mother and father can no longer do what parents do, when my mother and father leave me, when my mother and father pass away, the Lord will take me up … God will step into that vacant place and adopt me as his child.

And friends, you know how it is. When we’re little children, children, we have a belief that our parents are almost like God. They’re so powerful.

As we grow up, we have a more human understanding of our parents. And there finally comes a time where our parents are not powerful. Our parents are not almighty and omnipotent, but they are now very fragile human beings. And it changes gears to where now the children take care of the parents, as it should be. And I think the point of this verse is when your parents can no longer seem like God, that’s when you should allow God to take that place and allow God to be in that role. When your parents are too weak and fragile now to be a parent to you as they once were, God’s plan for you and I is adoption.

And so you’ve heard me also say this is my understanding of the purpose of a church. We are a functional family of God. And what you see in a functional family is Jesus is Lord, and people grow. And now I get to the point to where I want to add that little word, up, because what God needs is for baby Christians to grow up. And they do that best in a family. And I think we’ve come to understand that the church is supposed to function like a family. I think we now get that in this century.

But you know something that I’m not so sure we get? Even though the church can potentially function as a family because of the Holy Spirit, because of the presence of God, because Jesus said, “If you obey my command, my father and I will come and will live with you,” that the potential is not only for the church to be a family but for you and I to have a genuine emotional relationship with God that is like the ideal relationship that one could have with a father.

In the restaurant in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the old man finished his story, looked at Fred Craddock and said, “Isn’t that a great story?” They agreed that it was. And he went off and visited with other people. And Fred Craddock said to the waitress, “Who was that man?” And she said, “Why, that’s Ben Hooper. He’s the former governor of the state of Tennessee.”

One of the things that Ben Hooper said was that these words changed his life because he saw himself differently from that day forward. Because he did, after all, have a Daddy. And Ben Hooper said “if the preacher had not said those words to me that day, I probably would not have amounted to anything in this life.”

Friend, somebody you know today needs a reminder that they’re one of God’s children. Because in the human heart there’s a hunger and a yearning because there’s a famine in the land. And it’s not just about fathers, but it’s a hunger for family.

I have to tell you, one of the myths that we should confront whenever we hear it is the idea that the only thing a child needs is one dad and one mom. And because of that, people have felt that they can move all the way across the country, but as long as there’s one dad and one mom, everything will be just fine. And you know something? It is … until something goes wrong. Somebody gets sick, somebody dies, somebody loses their job, or a marriage gets broken.

It’s not just fathers we hunger for, but we hunger for family. Because what was normal for human beings until just a century ago was for you not only to have a father but also a grandfather who lived down the road, and uncles and aunts. And if your father couldn’t teach you to fish, well, you had uncles for that. And you had cousins and you had nieces and nephews. Friends, we’re supposed to grow up surrounded by family.

And it’s quite a wonderful thing for us to understand that the church is a family that adopts people. And we don’t want to miss the reality that the adoption that brings the greatest blessing in a person’s life is adoption into the family of God. Because God the Father is willing to be in your life in every way as a father.

In Hemingway’s story, there were 800 Pacos. We’re a small town here. There might not be 800 Pacos, but I can guarantee you in the countryside and in the townships around us, there are more than 800 people who yearn for family. 800 boys who yearn for fathers. And when I think of that crowd in front of the church that Sunday morning in the story, I think to myself there probably were a few teenagers, but there were probably a lot of men in their 20s who missed their fathers and in their 30s and in their 40s, maybe even some who were 67 years old like myself. Because we’re born with a yearning in our heart to connect and surround ourselves with people who love us.

Let’s pray. Lord Jesus, on this Father’s Day, we thank you for all the fathering we receive. Sometimes, Lord, it’s that coach. Sometimes, Lord, it’s a schoolteacher. Sometimes it’s a scout leader. Sometimes, Lord, it’s a pastor. But there are fathers in addition to our biological father that influence us, Lord. Sometimes those coaches and teachers are women, but they still provide that guidance. They still provide that confidence, that belief that you can do it. Lord, I thank you for the way this nurture comes into the lives of children. Well, Lord, into the lives of people of all ages, because no matter how old we are, we still need it. But I’m so thankful, Lord, that no matter how old I am, you Eternal God will always be my Father and help me to understand what it means to be a father. And perhaps from time to time, I will be allowed to have a moment to bless the life of someone around me. Lord Jesus, I ask that you would bless us on this Father’s Day. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources

Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Road, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.

(If you wish, you can listen to the Prayer of St. Francis being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )
 

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