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  • Aug28Tue

    The Father 'Abba' Heart of God

    August 28, 2018

    This summer I was able to be part of Frontline Ministries BBQ’s in the park at Holmesway in Acton.  It was honestly a real joy for me to be there and become a human jungle gym to the children who showed up every week.  What I discovered early on is that many of these children come from single parent homes and they literally latched on to me.  I had so much swinging them around, throwing them in the air and basically everything I do as Captain Canada without the mask.  They always wanted to help with the BBQ and ran to greet me when I arrived.  It reminded me of the Father heart of God and how He lavishes His love on us and takes incredible joy in His children experiencing His unfailing love.

    In Galatians 4, we learn some great truths about our Abba, Daddy, Father, a very intimate and personal relationship that He wants for us to experience with Him.

    Abba has bought you out of slavery and taken you into His family!

    What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world.

    Paul is first referring to the law here that the God fearing Jews lived their life by.  The law’s main focus was to make you aware of your need for a Savior and that in your own ability you will always fall miserably short of His righteousness.

    The only righteousness we can have confidence in the righteousness that we receive by the Spirit through faith. 

    Abba takes us in and we who were once slaves are now free.

    He sent His Son to buy us out of the slave market.  What slave market were we in?  We were caught in a slave market dominated by sinful and selfish desires.  Jesus came for our complete freedom!

    John Newton, the man who wrote the most popular and famous hymn, Amazing Grace, knew how to remember this. He was an only child whose mother died when he was only seven years old. He became a sailor and went out to sea at eleven years old. As he grew up, he became the captain of a slave ship and had an active hand in the horrible degradation and inhumanity of the slave trade. But when he was twenty-three, on March 10, 1748, when his ship was in imminent danger of sinking off the coast of Newfoundland, he cried to God for mercy, and he found it. He never forgot how amazing it was that God had received him, as bad as he was. To keep it fresh in his memory, he fastened across the wall over the fireplace mantel of his study the words of Deuteronomy 15:15: You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you. If we keep fresh in our mind what we once were, and what we are now in Jesus Christ, we will do well.   The Enduring Word Commentary

    We are in constant danger of false assurances. Satan is continuously at work tempting us to think and feel that because we use God-talk, and come to church, and pray at meal times and avoid gross sins, we are therefore under God's blessing. But the book of Galatians is about a group of people (called Judaizers) who do all those things and are under God's curse. None of us should sit comfortably under the teaching going on here.  Divine blessing and divine curse are the issue. And the continental divide between the two is not between church people and non-church people. It is between those, on the one hand, who have been crucified with Christ and now in poverty live in continuing reliance on the living Christ, and those, on the other hand, who have never really died to self-reliance and whose religious activity, though "moral" and intense, is all an exercise in self-reformation. The one group glories only in the cross of Christ by which they died to all but God. But the other group extols the powers and potentials of the self and diminishes the grace of God (2:21) and the cross of Christ (5:11).

     

    Abba always has perfect timing!

    4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship

    The “fullness of the time” or “when the set time had fully come”  has a historical context. The hope and expectation of the coming of Messiah was at it’s greatest height during the time when Jesus was born: there were those like Simeon and Anna, living in the Temple awaiting the fulfillment of the promise.   Even among those who were not Jews,  there was a sense of anticipation: people like the wise men from the East.  The lay of the land included the conquests of Alexander the Great  and to that end it had brought about a common culture, and a common language, koine Greek that the New Testament would be written.  The armies of Caesar had secured the Pax Romana, the Peace of Rome,  and it extended over most of the civilized earth and when travel and commerce were therefore possible in a way that had formerly been impossible. Great roads linked the empire of the Caesars to cross borders and gain access into the known world at that time.  There was a hunger after knowledge, and a growing sensed of  dissatisfaction with the old “gods” of Greece and Rome.

    Have you ever found yourself in the “right place at the right time”? 

    I will also never forget how God providentially allowed me to take on a summer student intern position at Bethel Baptist Church in Fergus, ON in the summer of 1988.  It was through that opportunity that God would bring Sharon into my life and change the course of direction of our lives forever together!  I can remember so well the day I showed up on the steps of her high school to speak at the ISCF meeting! She was wearing a black t-shirt and blue jeans and a friendship would blossom.  She always like to tell everyone that she dated her youth pastor!  lol

    Some people say well, that was just coincidence when it comes to moments like this but I want to stress the incredible providence of our Abba Father.

    Reflect on when the Father in His mercy drew you to Himself.  What were the factors that led you to putting your trust in Him?  Who were the people that were instrumental in your journey of faith?

    There are 2 important words for redemption

    Lutroo 1 Peter 1:18 redemption as it relates to its price – the blood of Christ.

    Agorazo 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 –as it relates to the possession in our body of redemption

    And then here in v5, the purpose of redemption is to deliver us out of bondage never to go back to enslaving habits again

    Abba longs for you to live like an heir!

    6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

    You did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. (Romans 8:15-16)

    God does not leave us in the condition of aliens when he adopts us. He does not leave us with no feelings of acceptance and love. Rather, he pours his Spirit into our hearts to give us the experience of being embraced in the family.   John Piper

    Are you wired to receive or to achieve or as we are going to discover today, are you more inclined to live a life under the law, that you have to earn everything you get or will you live under promise?

    Are you ready to live like an heir?

     We will be better enabled to know the answer to that questions when we discover what messages you are listening to.

    Who makes it through your junk filters and into your Inbox?   Have you ever opened up an email and it turns out to be a virus?   It can be especially tough if that virus is a spiritual one and it has entered your mind and completely affected your life.  We need anti-virus protection, we need a firewall and throughout the ages, Christianity has always had to deal with false teaching.  One teaching that we are most susceptible to is we can achieve faith by human effort.  Paul is our AVG virus free here and the fact is that there is no room for anything in Christianity that diminishes the grace of Christ and cultivates our own pride.  So, today we are going to explore what system we are really living on.

    We live in a performance-based society.  Everything from our children’s tests in school to people in sales who have to meet budgets, it is all about crunching the numbers and getting the job done.  You want to do well, then, make the grade.  So, when it comes to the receiving system of the Bible, we get bent all out of shape.  Achieving comes more naturally to us spiritually because it does in every other aspect of life. 

    Even as Christians, even after experiencing walking in the Spirit, we can fall back into this mode of measuring our spirituality by what we don’t do instead of what the Spirit is doing in us.  Let me repeat that, because it is crucial to the understanding of our faith.

     

    Please understand that subjecting yourself to fasting, Bible reading,  may be a "work of law" or a free act of love which comes from faith. Volunteering your time in a given ministry, giving to those in need--all these may be "works of law" which we do in our strength, to move God's favor our way, or they may be done in humble reliance on the strength which God freely supplies that in everything he may get the glory.

    As heirs, we don’t work for God’s favor, but from a place of favor.

    The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:16-17) 

    Also, check out Ephesians 2:8-10

    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    The testimony of Scripture speaks to the progressive nature of our sanctification – the process of becoming more like Jesus, more like heirs to the throne!!   It is as we focus on hearts and minds on things above, as we walk in the Spirit that we will in turn not be distracted or enticed by the temptations below or gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  Continue to accept the righteousness that God so longs to clothe you in.  It is like the simple SS song that says, be careful little eyes what you see…for the Father up above is looking down in love.  Realize that He is not the type of Father who is looking down ready to whack you for looking at the wrong things… but that in love, He is longing for you to look to Him to satisfy you deepest longings. 

    Psalm 147:10,11  His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.

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