Speaking of adoption…
Joel’s message on Sunday:
What would you think if I told you Krista, my wife, was pregnant?
OK, but then what if you found out it was NOT my baby?
This is what happened in the Bible to Joseph and a young pregnant teenager named Mary. We have heard the story of Mary and Joseph so many times I think we forget how raw and difficult this was for Joseph.
Mankind has been trying to destroy that little baby even before Jesus was born. Ever since God predicted the coming Messiah through the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, kings and rulers have shed innocent blood to protect their private empires. Genesis 15 tells us that God will bless Abraham by making his children and grandchildren as many as the stars in the sky but Pharaoh saw this as a threat. He did not want the Hebrew nation taking over his powerful kingdom, so he enslaved all the Jews and began to kill all the boy babies. But remember little baby Moses? He is miraculously saved and later grows up and rescues God’s people from captivity.
It is from this nation, hundreds of years later, that a young man is born in the family line of King David and falls crazy in love with a beautiful Jewish girl named Mary. But he finds out that she is pregnant and it’s not his DNA. The Bible hints at the fact that Mary could not convince Joseph she was telling the truth about where this baby came from so it took an angel to change his mind. Joseph marries her and adopts the future Messiah as his own son. I think if it were me and I dreamed that my wife was pregnant with someone else’s baby and I was supposed to keep it, I’m not sure I would believe my dream. But Joseph acted in faith and obeyed the Word of the Lord. King Herod was ruling the land at that time and so Joseph had a big problem; the news of his now-wife who gave birth to the prophesied King of the Jews doesn’t sit well with Herod’s jealousy. He doesn’t like the idea of another King coming and taking over his empire. So, he passed a law to kill every boy baby.
Sound familiar? Selfish men have never liked the idea of having to give up their lives to the Son of God.
Sound familiar? It is no different today. The point I am trying to make is that Joseph’s adoption of the baby Jesus was not just charity work. It was all-out war against the forces of hell. Joseph’s obedient faith for his God and his selfless love for his wife changed the whole course of history.
Satan hates the day the baby Jesus was born because he knows that was the day he was defeated for all eternity. Revelation 12:1-5 gives us a glimpse of the battle that was going on behind the scene the day Jesus was born:
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne….
Satan may have been thwarted that day but he is not going down without a fight and will take as many others with him as he can. The Bible tells us because we were ALL born as spiritual orphans we only know how to live for our own desires. Without God as our Father we do not know Him or want to worship Him. Romans 3:11-12 says, “No one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless.”
God looks at adoption as spiritual warfare because it is all about the Gospel of His son Jesus Christ and rescuing us from our hopeless condition. Christmas time is one of the greatest days in all of history and I can’t help but think of Joseph’s faith acting in selfless love towards his fiancé who was pregnant with someone else’s baby. This is also a miracle. It is called the miracle of Christ centered love. You see Joseph did not choose to marry that Jewish girl because it was good for his life. In that culture he would have lost his job, his reputation and maybe even all his family and friends. Joseph acted in Christ centered faith even though the Messiah was not even born yet. This was true love for God. He was willing to sacrifice everything, even his own life to obey the voice of God. This is true worship.
Contrary to popular opinion we are NOT all God’s children. We ARE all God’s creation but only those who turn from their illegitimate father the Devil and trust and obey the Heavenly Father will live and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Many people who claim to be a Christian continue to live like Satan wants them to. If we have truly been adopted into God’s family than we should be able to know the difference in the lives of those who call themselves Christians (Luke 6:45). So how can we know if God has adopted us?
Jesus himself said in John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, IF you have love for one another” and then the next chapter he says again, “IF you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). I don’t need to tell you what those commandments are because you already know them. But the real question is are you keeping them? Do we really love one another? I am not talking about the person down the street or at the super market. But do we have faithful love for our brothers and sisters in Christ the way Joseph had for Mary or the way Christ has for us?
This kind of love is impossible on our own. But true love is supernatural. The Heavenly Father gave up His only Son in order to make away to adopt us. All other forms of love are only illegitimate, self-centered acts leading to death.
In 1 John 3:13-14 it says, “Do not be surprised, brothers that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.” In other words, Satan wins if we do not love with the Father’s love. Death reigns everywhere Christ’s love is not shown, even in our homes and in our church but especially in our hearts. This is why we so desperately need the love of God our Father to rescue us. But this is also why Satan tries so violently to get God’s children to fight for our own “rights”. He wants us to look as ugly as humanly possible.
James the brother of Jesus watched his Dad love others and heard about how his Dad loved their mom. Joseph did not abandon Mary when everything got ugly and even when life didn’t make sense because he loved God. Later in James’ life he wrote one of my favorite books in the whole Bible. He said, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27). WOW! That is exactly what his Dad, Joseph did and that is exactly what God does for sinners. James not only saw true love in his Heavenly father, but he saw it in his earthly father but most vividly in his own brother Jesus when He was innocently nailed to the cross. James knew all to well how Satan tried to stop his older brother Jesus from being born. All through history Satan has been trying to destroy the work of Jesus through the self-centered love of man. We always want to protect ourselves but Jesus died to protect us so that we could love one another.
James understood that the ugliness of man’s selfishness was caused by our own evil desires that waged war inside of us when we choose to love ourselves instead of loving God. He wrote, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on you passions” (James 4:1-3). This is how the enemy will win the fight in our lives daily if we do not choose to love God by loving others more than our own desires. For those who have never been adopted by the Heavenly Father this is impossible for you because the Bible says, you still belong to your father the Devil. But if you have turned away from your selfishness and repented from your sin, crying out to God’s Son to save you than you have supernatural power.
John 14:15-18 says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 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.” Praise the Lord! We are not alone. We are not abandoned. We are not orphans because of the powerful love of the Heavenly Father giving us His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not parish but have eternal life. This is the story of adoption. This is the story of Christmas, God saving man from his own selfish desires.
But if you do not know the Word of God you will not be able to stop the forces of hell from attacking you. The enemy prowls around like a lion searching for someone to devour (1 Pt. 5:8). He wants to cause war between the children of God so that God looks like a liar and than no one else will want to turn to God to be rescued. If we do not give up our personal rights for the glory of God to protect us we will devour others to get our way. This is exactly what Joseph faced over 2000 years ago when his whole life depended on his reputation. He did not know at the time that his faith in God was going to enable him to love and protect the King of the Universe. Imagine what God will do through you and me if we lay down our lives and love one another with the love of the Father. You see, God’s gift of eternally life is not just Christmas charity, the doctrine of God’s adoption through His Son Jesus is war against the forces of hell that want us to live selfish lives. This Christmas lets truly worship God by laying down our lives for one another and carrying one another’s burdens. 1 John 3:18, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” True worship is the fruit of obedience. If your whole LIFE is not in passionate obedience to God’s Word then your whole HEART cannot be worshiping God. This is why the Word of God is so vital to trulylove as son and daughters of our Heavenly Father?
Maybe you are not sure if God the Father has adopted you. Please don’t leave today with out knowing for sure. We would love to talk to you more about how you can be rescued by God’s love through His Son Jesus.