The Hope of Adoption [VIDEO]
The Hope of Adoption [VIDEO]
In this powerful message, Dr. Clay Butler Jones, a Professor of Apologetics at BIOLA University, explores what it means to be a Christian and be adopted into the family of God. This is a must-listen for any Christian who desires to see the bigger picture of who they are in Christ and the amazing hope we have in Jesus as Christians, bearing the family name.
I was thinking how awesome it is to live in The United States of America. A few years ago I read an article about a Christian church that met under ground in China. It was a relatively large church considering the persecution that comes from being a Christian in nations like China. They were forced to meet in secret and on one particular Sunday morning 3-4 guys with black ski masks charged into the church service, each of them wielding guns. The church was about 200 seemingly strong believers, yet at the moment when the men with the guns yelled, "whoever doesn't want to get killed needs denounce Jesus and run out of here," the church lost roughly half of it's members. The people who ran out on Jesus were the people that at one point said they didn't care what the government would do to them, all they wanted to do was worship Jesus. Yet, when it came to life and death, they fell apart under the persecution and wouldn't stand up for the God who died for them.
I praise God that we live in a land where we are free to worship, for the most part, without having to worry about something like that happening. However, there is a flip side to that as well. I think that because of all the laws and safety that we have in America, it has made us soft. Our culture is constantly preaching "tolerance." The whole idea that "whatever you believe is ok, as long as it doesn't hurt me." We've become a "Christian nation" who is more concerned with living the American Dream then preaching the Gospel, no matter what the cost. Most of American Christianity preaches that we can be good worshipers, all the wile living an extremely easy and kick-back lifestyle. I have yet to find that example from Jesus anywhere in Scripture. In fact, the way that Jesus lived is the exact opposite of how most of us live.
For example, Jesus says in Matthew 16:24, that if any one of us desires to follow Him, we are going to have to deny ourselves and pick up our cross to follow Him. In Matthew 8:20 as Jesus talks to a rich young ruler, He tells Him that birds have their nests, and foxes have their holes yet Jesus had nowhere to lay His head.
Jesus lived His life with no concern for His own comfort.
Jesus also says in mark 10:45, that He didn't come to this world to be served, yet to serve and to die as a ransom for you and me! Jesus says that although He is the King and Creator of the universe, He came out of Heaven and glory to humbly live and ultimately die the most brutal death that anyone could die, all so that He could ransom us back to God.
Who lives like that?! Do any one of us have the mentality that "my whole life is surrendered to Jesus?" Meaning, that I am not here to live the easiest life possible, that i'm ready to die to myself everyday, and i'm willing to lay my life down for the name of Jesus. Do we ever stop to consider that we weren't put on this earth just so we could live an easy life and then make it into heaven?? Perhaps we were put on this earth to be servants to everybody in the hopes that some will meet and worship Jesus! Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:1, that people should regard us as servants!!! Servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Later in Philippians as Paul un-packs Jesus, he tells us in Philippians 2:7 that Jesus made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant. That being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross! Again, we see the picture of Jesus taking the posture of a humble servant and laying His life down for the sake of the Gospel and the advancement of God's kingdom, which pleased God and was worship to God.
This is ultimately how we should be living our Christian life. Not trying to make heaven on earth and live a life sheltered from pain, persecution, self-denial, and crucifying our flesh. To prove my point a little more, Paul says it like this in Galatians 2:20. Also Note the words that He uses to describe his Christian life: "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Here's another one, Philippians 3:10 "that I may KNOW Him and the power of His resurrection and may share in His SUFFERINGS, becoming like Him in His DEATH." Paul doesn't say, "I really want to know Christ, but only if it doesn't involve any suffering on my end." Instead he says, I want to know Jesus no matter what the cost! There is nothing that can keep me from knowing Him and experiencing more of Him!
Do we live like that?
If we want to experience Christianity the way that it is meant to be experienced there is going to have to be a shift in the our outlook towards suffering, pain, and death. I hope and pray for myself and you, that we get to the point in our walks with Jesus that there is nothing this world can do to keep us from getting to know Him better and sharing Him with others. This means we might have to get up earlier, stay up later, do more dying to ourselves, and live a lowly meek life so that Jesus gets the glory and we get more of Him. This could ultimately call some of us to literally die for Him.
There was an ending to that story I shared earlier. After the guys in masks barged in and made there threats to the people and half of them left, they took off their masks and said this: "we only want to worship with real Christians." Are you a real Christian? Ready to lay down your life everyday for the sake of the gospel? I hope we all can be like the people that stayed and didn't run because we counted our lives so dear! (cf. acts 21:13)