The Assurance of our Adoption Part 3 (An Excursion)

The Assurance of our Adoption Part 3 (An Excursion)

Text: Romans 8:12-13; (Romans 12; 1 Cor 13)

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  • Have you ever planned a trip and decided to take an excursion?
    • In Norway, we took a road less traveled (discouraged by a “knowing” person) that allowed us to discover unexpected & astonishing beauty.
    • Imagine a Jewish family in Galilee, 2000 years ago seeing a crowd gathered around a hill going to find out what was happening: Jesus teaching and healing!
  • Taking an excursion to help us see how what we are discovering in God’s word about the Spirit & a New Life with Jesus is more than information: it is an invitation to a new way to live in the Kingdom of God now.
    • These are big, essential truths that we must not ignore.
    • These core teachings of Scripture can change your life and change the way you deal with the tough realities of life.
    • These are essential aspects of what Jesus & his followers believed, proclaimed and taught, and invited listeners & readers to discover by putting into practice. It is the Great News of God’s Kingdom that can transform your life into an abundant life with God.

 Explore the Text: As New People in Christ, we are to have the mind of the Spirit formed in us and to put to death the remnants of the controlling flesh in our life.

Many call themselves Christians but fail to pursue maturity as God’s children.

  • We must pay attention to the witness & work of the Spirit as he brings us closer to Jesus not only as our savior but as our brilliant mentor for life.
    • Jesus and the Spirit work together to create new men and women in the world as apprentices of Jesus—a revolutionary new humanity.
  • In 1 Cor 1-4 Paul describes immature Christians hiding behind a mask of spiritual pride. In 1 Cor 13, Paul describes impressive spiritual gifts that are really nothing without love!
    • If I am immature, then when a crisis comes, my responses will not be examples of the wise life built on the practice of what Jesus taught (Mt. 7:24-27).
  • My failures and immaturity over the years: For years I served in churches in leadership roles, but I had not grasped the depth & beauty of what Jesus had invited me to enjoy. I have asked God as well as some of the people hurt by my spiritual immaturity to forgive me.

A Case Study of the Dynamics of Christian Immaturity that Splits Churches.

  • Questions as we begin thinking together: Am I maturing as a child of my Father? Have I prepared my heart & mind for the severe storms that will come?
    • Answer honestly! If you deceive yourself about the reality of your heart and mind, when the storms come, they will reveal what you have been denying about yourself and perhaps how you have wasted precious time.
  • Once upon a time, not so very long ago, I was in a small group of Christians when a misunderstanding quickly spiraled into conflict.
    • Anger Brewing: Some members were disappointed in & angry with two leaders who failed to run a meeting as they expected. Nothing was said to those leaders during or immediately after the meeting!
      • Now that is not a major surprise: misunderstandings arise & we can get emotionally triggered. As our emotions flood our minds with intense feelings, they shape what we hear & see, and how we make sense of things.
    • Anger Intensifying. After the meeting, some people talked to each other about what they thought had happened, about the motives of people leading, & speculated about what things really meant.
      • By mid-morning the next day a lot of strong feelings had been shared.
      • Angry feelings were not been soothed, assumptions and thoughts fueling the bad feelings were not questioned, & language used to describe things and people became increasingly polarized.
    • Anger Escalating. None of the angry Christians reached out to the “offending leaders” to see if there was something missing in their understanding or a way to reconcile the group.
      • An angry group text was sent to everyone who had been in the meeting. It expressed much of what the angry group felt and thought. The strong, divisive language used made an impression!
      • Are you surprised to learn that text did not solve the problem but created hurt feelings in those who were first hearing the news?
    • During the days after the meeting, work was done to reconcile people.
      • Failure, in the beginning, to act in love and with a commitment to unify and strengthen our lives together as followers of Jesus and members of a group with a shared mission made things more complicated for all of us.
        • If during the meeting or immediately after the meeting, someone had asked a few questions to clarify motives and intentions, then resolving the misunderstandings would have been easier.
      • Once things escalated, there were Christians who told me that you cannot expect people to do what Jesus asks in Mt. 18 and Mt. 5.
        • I understand that people who do not follow Jesus would make that claim, but how can the followers of Jesus say that he was wrong in what he taught?
        • What he asks us to do is hard. It is a form of dying to self, taking the cross daily and following him wherever he leads  so that we become more like him. It is an essential teaching he expected his followers to practice.
      • A Personal Confession: Although I was committed to restoring unity to the group, I often found myself struggling.
        • Dealing with such situations is risky & you cannot control the outcomes.
        • In the work of reconciliation, you often discover your own immaturity and have to confess when you are wrong or act immaturely.
        • There were moments when I was triggered and responded in ways that were not spiritually mature. I had to confess and ask forgiveness.
        • A benefit of obeying Jesus: you learn about your spiritual condition.
          • I learned a lot about myself!! I have more growing up to do at 68!!

 A Microcosm: What Happened in that Small Group Often Splits Churches.

  • In a Church, the Stakes are Higher! When things are not resolved and unity restored, then factions harden, people demand their will be done or else, and often leave in anger and become bitter.
  • We are studying a new approach to life in the Spirit’s power as we follow Jesus who mentors us in that life of the Kingdom of God now.
    • There is a profound possibility of inner transformation in this invitation to share life with Jesus.
    • His Way Prepares Us for Such Challenges.
    • The teaching of scripture does little good unless our hearts & minds turn around & change so that increasingly we embody our new life in every relationship.
  • During all of this, I thought of people like Don Finto and Rubel Shelley, two men that I know personally and admire for their courageous leadership in emphasizing things that had too often remained unseen in Scripture.
    • People insulted, persecuted, & falsely said all kinds of evil against them.
    • I never witnessed bitterness expressed in them.
  • In passages like Romans 12 and 1 Cor. 13, Paul elaborates the contours of this new life of agape love that is expected as the normal life of Christians.
    • What would have happened in that small group if all of us for years had immersed ourselves in the gospels or memorized, meditated on, and practiced passages like Rom. 12 or 1 Cor. 13.
    • Dallas Willard’s concept of VIM: The Bible gives us a beautiful Vision of a possible life, when we Intend to pursue that life with Jesus and the Spirit, we will find the appropriate Means available to become increasingly that kind of man or woman.


  • Jesus warns us: the storms are coming, so build your life wisely with him.
    • Are You Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit?
    • Do you ask that the Spirit fill you with himself and cause his fruit to ripen in you as you cling to/abide in Jesus as your wise mentor?
    • Are you willing to put into practice whatever Jesus asks you to do?

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