“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) Romans 8:14-17 — Spiritual Adoption (Harry Ozment)
2) 1John 3:1-3 (NASB)
3) “Swift to Hear, Slow to Speak” (R.J. Evans)
Romans 8:14-17 — Spiritual Adoption
In Romans 8:14-17, the apostle Paul had some words to say about spiritual adoption into the family of God: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; and heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” The apostle shows us two things about spiritual adoption: (1) the manner of adoption, and (2) the results and blessings of adoption.
(1) Paul tells us how a person is adopted into God’s family when he says in v. 14, “led by the Spirit of God.” Before one can be a member of God’s family, he must first follow the Holy Spirit. Now, what does this involve? Does this involve a personal indwelling of the Spirit? Does this involve a mysterious, indescribable feeling? No, not at all. The Holy Spirit operates upon the heart of an individual solely through the word of God. This is true because the gospel is the product of the inspiration, revelation, and confirmation of the Holy Spirit. What the gospel does, the Holy Spirit does (and vice versa) because the gospel came from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, then, leads us by means of the gospel, for the gospel does indeed lead us: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my way” (Psa. 119:105). If one is ever to be a child of God, he must follow (i.e., obey) the word of God. When a couple wishes to adopt a child, there are laws of the state in which they live that must be met and obeyed. If these laws are not obeyed, the couple will never be able to adopt a child. The same is true of spiritual adoption. One who is not willing to obey the gospel will not gain and does not deserve entrance into the kingdom of God. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
(2) Paul then lists three blessings of adoption into the family of God:
(a) Deliverance from fear (v. 15). This is one of the great blessings of being a Christian. The inspired writer said in Heb. 2:14-15, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Sin, which was the cause of fear, can be taken away by means of the atoning blood shed by Jesus in his death. Death, which was the object of fear, was taken away by the resurrection of Jesus because it gave us hope of our resurrection and the hope of living with God.
(b) Assurance that we are children of God (v. 16). It must be terrible to go through life without knowing where you will spend eternity, without knowing whether God is pleased with your life or whether you are in God’s family. For the Christian, however, this is not a problem. When one obeys the gospel, the Holy Spirit through the word assures that person that he is a child of God. This is the “gift of the Holy Spirit” of which Peter spoke in Acts 2:38. This is the “times of refreshing” of which Peter spoke in Acts 3:19. This is being “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” of which Paul spoke in Eph. 1:13. These descriptions show how glorious this blessing is.
(c) Heirs of promises (v. 17). When one is a child of God, he can look to an inheritance from the promises that God has made to His family. These promises are great and precious. The value of this blessing is seen in Peter ‘s words: “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Pet. 1:4).
— via Searching the Scriptures, January 1970, Volume XI, Number 1
1 John 3:1-3
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (NASB).
“Swift to Hear, Slow to Speak”
It should be obvious to us all that we learn more by listening than by speaking. Listening means we are willing to hear what is being said. The willingness to be a good listener or hearer is set forth in James 1:19: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” But so many of us are tempted to talk more than we are willing to listen. One way to be a good friend and be helpful to others is to let them talk and merely listen without interrupting. But this involves patience and not allowing our own egotism to take over.
The Book of Proverbs provides wise instructions concerning hearing and listening. In fact, Proverbs 12:15 (NIV) states: “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” We are also told by the wise man that “A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart” (Prov. 18:12).
In our relationship with God, we must be willing to obey Him in order to please Him. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15). The writer of Hebrews, speaking of Jesus, stated: “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Heb. 5:9). However, we must be willing to hear or listen, before we can obey what He commands us. Jesus gave a parable about building a house. The wise man, who built his house on the rock, is the one who “hears these sayings of Mine and does them” (Matt. 7:24). Whereas, the foolish man who built his house on the sand, failed to obey what he had heard from the Lord and his “house fell…And great was its fall” (Matt. 7:26-27).
Sadly, there are some who are willing to listen and hear, but stop when they don’t like what they are hearing. This keeps them from ever obeying and pleasing God. There are a number of biblical examples of this type of hearer that can be cited. The Jews heard Stephen up until the point where he told them they were “stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears… betrayers and murderers” (Acts 7:51-52). After being told this, they “cried with a loud voice, stopped their ears… and stoned him” (Acts 7:57-60). The Apostle Paul addressed the Jerusalem mob in Acts 22. But when he told them of how the Lord sent him to the “Gentiles,” notice carefully how they reacted–“And they listened to him until this word, and then raised their `voices and said, ‘Away with such a fellow from the earth for he is not fit to live!’” (Acts 22: 22). The Athenians listened to Paul in Acts 17. But “when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, ‘We will hear you again on this matter’” (Acts 7:32).
What about us? Are we good listeners? In our normal conversations with others, do we love to hear the sound of our own voice and can’t wait for the other person to stop talking so we can jump in and have our say? If so, we need to avoid this practice.
But most important of all, are we good listeners and hearers of God’s word so that we can know and do His will? Are we like the Bereans who received the word “with all readiness” (Acts 17:11)? Are we willing to listen to the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27)? Hopefully, the answer to these two questions is YES. May we all seek to be like Cornelius and his household. Their main objective was to hear the word of God so they could obey it and be saved. We close with the words of Cornelius to the Apostle Peter: “So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us” (Acts 10:33, NIV).
— via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ in Gonzales, Louisiana, November 24, 2019
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services:9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)