Monday Matters, 12/08/08

This weekend was a CJ double-header.  Yesterday's message on adoption was one of the most amazing messages I've ever heard: that we might be freshly convinced of God's personal, particular, and passionate love for you.  From Galatians 4:1-7, CJ explained:

  1. The Preparation for Adoption (vv. 1-3)
  2. The Basis for Adoption (vv. 4-5)
  3. The Experience of Adoption (v. 6-7)

CJ gave us some great quotes:

"The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to him, is to not believe that he loves you." John Owen

"The question can be answered in many ways, but the richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God as Father... Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption...  The truth of our adoption gives us the deepest insights the New Testament affords into the greatness of God's love.  Were I asked to focus the New Testament message in three words, my proposal would be — adoption through propitiation."  J. I. Packer

"That justification—by which we mean God's forgiveness of the past together with his acceptance for the future—is the primary and fundamental blessing of the gospel is not in question.  Justification is the primary blessing, because it meets our primary spiritual need.  We all stand by nature under God's judgment; his law condemns us; guilt gnaws at us, making us restless, miserable and in our lucid moments afraid; we have no peace in ourselves because we have no peace with our Maker.  So we need the forgiveness of our sins, and assurance of a restored relationship with God, more than we need anything else in the world; and this the gospel offers before it offers us anything else... But contrast this, now, with adoption.  Adoption is a family idea, conceived in terms of love, and viewing God as father.  In adoption, God takes is into his family and fellowship—he establishes us as his children and heirs.  Closeness, affection, and generosity are at the heart of the relationship.  To be right with God the judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is greater."  J. I. Packer

"I once knew a good woman who was the subject of many doubts, and when I got to the bottom of her doubt, it was this: she knew she loved Christ, but she was afraid he did not love her. 'Oh!' I said, 'that is a doubt that will never trouble me; never, by any possibility, because I am sure of this, that the heart is so corrupt, naturally, that love to God never did get there without God putting it there.' You may rest quite certain, that if you love God, it is a fruit, and not a root.  It is the fruit of God's love to you, and did not get there by the force of any goodness in you.  You may conclude, with absolute certainty, that God loves you if you love God."  Charles Spurgeon

Here are some discussion questions for parents and teens:

  1. Explain the phrase "adoption through propitiation."  What is the connection between justification and adoption?
  2. Do you think of salvation more in terms of justification or adoption?  In other words, is God to you more like a judge or more like a Father? 
  3. Describe your experience of prayer.  Do you find it hard to pray?  Why?  How does knowing that God is a Father to his children help you to pray?
  4. Are you confident that God loves you?  Why or why not?  What causes you to doubt God's love to you? 

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