Friday, September 03, 2010


(notes for a sermon at IPC Ealing February 2001

Alexander the Great, 356-323 BC, King of Macedon Philip V, 238-179 BC, King of Macedonia ,Marcus Aurelius, 121-180, Emperor of Rome Three of the most powerful men of their times. What do they have in common? Each was adopted.

American adoption law, unlike most common law, is not derived from British common law, but rather from Roman law. The British steadfastly refused to recognise any dilution of inheritance rights established by family bloodlines. Adoption 1926 legal in England but 1958, inherit on intestacy. However, Romans practised both child and adult adoption to enable citizens to continue family lines and inheritance rights. This has become the basis of American adoption practices.

Adoption has been part of our human experience probably since our beginnings, but certainly part of our written law since the 18th century BC, during the reign of Babylonian King Hammurabi. While this is not the first evidence of written law, the Code of Hammurabi is the earliest to survive intact with clear definitions of adoption.

To our way of thinking adoption means status and privileges of being a family member being given to some-one not a blood relation but in the ancient world of Semitic society blood relationship not necessary to enjoy family privileges

Gen. 17:9-13 Then God said to Abraham, "As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner --those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. .

Hebrew father does not imply physical father hood so much as protector and nurturer. Ps. 68:5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. This explains what fatherhood meant.

Archeology reveals a childless couple could adopt a son, who served them while they lived, buried them when they died, and receive the inheritance, though a natural son would displace him.

Gen. 15:1-4 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir." Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir."

First adoption like text is Gen. 48:5 "Now then, your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine.

Exod. 2:10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, "I drew him out of the water."

Esth. 2:7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.

Israel is God's adopted son.

Exod. 4:22-23 Then say to Pharaoh, `This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, "Let my son go, so he may worship me." But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.'

A rebellious son

Isa. 1:2-3 Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: "I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner's manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand."

Jer. 3:19 "I myself said, "`How gladly would I treat you like sons and give you a desirable land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.' I thought you would call me `Father' and not turn away from following me.

Hosea 11:1-2 "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me.

The Davidic king is God's son by adoption

2Sam. 7:12-14 When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men.

1Chr. 28:6 He said to me: `Solomon your son is the one who will build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.

Ps. 2:6-7 "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill. I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father.

So, Rom. 9:4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons;

Eph. 1:5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will--

Gal. 4:1-7 What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

Rom. 8:14-17 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs --heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Rom. 8:23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Have his name put on them

Jer. 14:9 You are among us, O LORD, and we bear your name;

2Cor. 6:18 "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."

Receive the spirit of adoption Rom 8:15

Access to the throne of grace with boldness

Eph. 3:12 Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Can cry, Abba Father

Pitied Ps. 103:13-14 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

protected Prov. 14:26 He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.

Ps. 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?

provided for Matt. 6:30-32 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

1Pet. 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Pray and let God worry

disciplined Hebr. 12:5-12 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.

Never cast off Lam. 3:31-32 For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.

Hebr. 13:5 God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

sealed until the day of redemption Eph. 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Inherit the promises

Hebr. 6:12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

Heirs of everlasting salvation 1Pet. 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade --kept in heaven for you,

Hebr. 1:14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

1 comment:

bwsmith said...

Lots of work and summing up. And a blessing to be reminded Who's our Daddy!
I did not realize that in adoption Americans followed Roman law.