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Author:Rev. George van Popta
 send email...
 www.vanpopta.ca
 
Congregation:Jubilee Canadian Reformed Church
 Ottawa, Ontario
 jubileechurch.ca
 
Preached At:Ancaster Canadian Reformed Church
 Ancaster, Ontario
 www.ancasterchurch.on.ca
 
Title:Foundlings
Text:LD 13 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Unclassified
 
Preached:2003-03-02
Added:2004-02-28
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Songs: Psalm 27:1,2; Hymn 1A; Psalm 33:1,2; Hymn 36:4; Hymn 37:3,4

Reading: John 1:1-18; 1 Cor. 6:9-20

Text: Lord's Day 13
* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. George van Popta, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Beloved congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ:

In the past it would at times happen that poor people would abandon a baby on the doorstep of a wealthy family. Perhaps the child had been born out of wedlock. Perhaps the family could not feed one more child. They would leave the child on the doorstep of a wealthy family in the hope that the family would take the child in. Such a child was called "a foundling." Found on the doorstep.

If the family would not take the child in, it would be brought to the orphanage. (If you read Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens you'll get a taste of what this was like.-"The sum and substance of it was, that Oliver was a foundling, born of low and vicious parents.")

Such a foundling, abandoned by his parents and rejected by the wealthy family was at the bottom of the social scale. His only hope as he lived in the orphanage was that someone would come along and adopt him.

We are foundlings. We were abandoned by our first parents, Adam and Eve.

But the good news is that we have been adopted. No longer abandoned foundlings, consigned to the orphanage, but adopted into a family-the family of God. We are his children. This miracle-the miracle of our adoption-was brought about by the only-begotten Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. The three main things I want to speak about this afternoon are contained in that last sentence. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only-begotten Son of God. Through him we are the adopted children of God. He, the only-begotten Son, is our Lord.

I proclaim to you

JESUS CHRIST, GOD'S ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON, OUR LORD

1. His majesty; 2. His grace; 3. His claim.

1. The majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ is that he is the only-begotten Son of God the Father. We read about that in John 1. John called him the Word of God. The Word of God is eternal. He was there in the beginning with God. Together with the Father he, too, is God.

God created all things through him. He is the agent of God's creation. That's why John called him the Word of God. It is through him, through his only-begotten Son, that God the Father created all things. It is through him that God speaks. We can think of how it is put in Hebrews 1:1,2-In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son....

We confess our faith in Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God. We need to understand what that expression "only-begotten Son" means. It does not mean that he came into existence at some point in time. One might be inclined to think that's what it means. After all, we have all been "begotten." Begotten by our parents and so we all have a birthday. A specific day in the past on which we were born.

But that's not what the expression "only-begotten Son" means. What it means is explained well in the Nicene Creed. There we say that we believe "...in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father..." The words "begotten, not made" are crucial. The point is not that our Lord Jesus Christ came into existence before we did. The point, rather, is that he was not made, created or born (as far as his being Son of God is concerned). He has his existence from eternity. God the Father is the source of his existence, but he has that from eternity. As the Athanasian Creed puts it: "The Son is from the Father alone, not made nor created but begotten.... He is God from the Father's substance, begotten before time."

V. 18 of John 1 speaks of the closeness and the intimacy of the relationship between the Father the Son. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known. The expression "God the One and Only" is a rather strange and somewhat clumsy expression. The Greek is not so easy to translate into English. But the point is clear. "God the One and Only" is the only-begotten Son of God the Father. He is at the Father's side, or, in the Father's bosom. You know the expression: Bosom friend. Someone who is very close to you-your closest friend. No one is closer to the Father than his only-begotten Son. No one has ever seen God the Father except his only-begotten Son. That is the glory and the majesty of the Son. He is greater than Moses.

V. 17 says that the law was given through Moses. Moses is the greatest man in the OT. He is the Mediator of the old covenant. God gave his law through him. But even he, as great as he was, was not allowed to see God. When he asked to see the glory of God, God said: No man can see me and live. God then hid Moses in the cleft of a rock and made his glory pass by Moses. Moses was allowed to catch a glimpse of God's glory. He was not allowed to gaze upon the glory of God.

But the Son can, and he has. He is Son of God's bosom.

Do you see the glory of the only-begotten Son of God, beloved? He is God's agent, the Word of God. God created all things through Him. He, the eternal, natural Son of God, has seen the glory of the Father. The gospel is that he, the only-begotten Son of God, has made the Father known to us. V. 18-He has made him known. The Greek word means something like that he has exegeted the Father. Moses, through the law, was able to tell us many things about the Father. But Christ, much greater-and through grace-has made the Father known to us. It is through him, through his grace, that we have come to know God the Father of Jesus Christ as our Father. Through Christ we foundlings are adopted into the family of God.

2. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God.

The only-begotten Son of God came into the world (the world God had made through him). But the world did not recognize him. He came to his own people, but they did not receive him. They crucified him instead. Yes, as v. 12 says, to all who did receive him, to those who did believe in him, he gave the right to become children of God. Children so completely and truly adopted into God's family that John can say in v. 13-children born of God. Reborn by the Word and Spirit of God.

It is only those who receive Christ and who believe in him who can know themselves to be the children of God. Do you receive Him? Do you believe in Him?

God takes the initiative. He sent his Son to make himself known to us. But you need to receive the Son and believe in him. Don't be like the world that did not recognize him. Don't be like his own people who did not receive him.

The work of adoption began when you were baptized. When a child is baptized the Word of God is spoken over that child's head. That powerful Word of God. That is why we ought not to delay the baptisms of our children for all sort of practical and family reasons. We want to bring our children here into the assembly of God's people as soon as we can for God to speak his life-giving Word to our children. That is too important a thing to delay for practical reasons. We do not present our children out of custom, but because God wants to begin working with that child through his Word. And it begins when God personally speaks his Word to the child. When he, through baptism, says: "Child, you are my child. For the sake of my only-begotten Son, you are my child." And the parents and the church have the task to teach the child to receive the only-begotten Son of God as his/her Saviour and Lord. And so the child, through faith, maintains a place in the family of God.

As children of the family of God we are fed by God. Through the Word but also by way of the other sacrament, the holy supper. Next week, Lord willing, we will celebrate holy supper. We eat bread and wine to be reminded of what our Lord Jesus Christ did for us, how he died on the cross for us. And as God the Father sees us eating the bread and the wine, he remembers what his only-begotten Son did for us, his adopted foundlings.

The Apostle Paul instructs us to examine ourselves before we eat and drink. Do so this week. Examine yourself. Do you hate the sins that grieve your heavenly Father? Do you repent of them? Do you love the only-begotten Son through whose grace we have been adopted into God's family? Do you love the other adopted children of God, your brothers and sisters in Christ?

We have spoken about the majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son; we have spoken about his grace.

3. We speak, finally, of his claim over us.

The only-begotten Son is our Lord. He has ransomed us with his blood. We belong to him body and soul. He has freed us from the devil's power and made us his own possession. We are children of God the Father and servants of the Lord.

The first proof text given to answer 34 is 1 Cor. 6:20. You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. Paul made that statement of fact and that command in the context of strong warnings against sexual immorality. He warns against fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and using a prostitute. He says that we are to flee sexual immorality. In that context he said: You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Paul and the other NT writers did not tire of warning against sexual immorality. Counting conservatively, there are some 20 warnings against sexual immorality in the NT. And many more in the OT. Probably no sin is so strongly warned against as immorality. That says something about the power of sexuality, doesn't it? When the good gift that God has given to husband and wife is taken outside the context of marriage, it becomes something ugly, destructive, and worthy of condemnation. It seems that almost everyone who brings himself under church discipline does so for sin against the seventh commandment. (Then the fourth is applied as well because they quit coming to church. Of course, they can't stand hearing the seventh commandment-You shall not commit adultery-every Sunday morning.)

In 1 Cor. 5 Paul commanded the church to expel, excommunicate, the immoral man. In 1 Cor. 10 he brings the matter of immorality into connection with the holy supper (which we will celebrate next Sunday). If you read 1 Cor. 10 you see that Paul warns that those who commit sexual immorality had better stay away from the holy supper. You cannot do both lest you eat and drink judgment upon yourself.

Let us examine ourselves this coming week. Do we live pure lives? Do we acknowledge the Lordship of Christ?

The Lordship of Christ extends beyond our sexuality, of course. It includes our sexuality. We need to bring our sexuality under the Lordship of Christ. As Paul said in 1 Cor. 6:20 (in the context of warning against immorality), You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. But of course it extends beyond that one sphere of life, to all of life. Do you acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son, as your Lord?

If you are guilty of a specific sin-immorality or other-then you need to repent. To seek forgiveness. It is available. No matter what sin you have committed. There is forgiveness.

You go once again to the cross. Repent of your sin. It will be washed away by the blood of Christ.

Repent of your sin and turn away from your sin. Bow before the Lordship of Christ. Believe in him. Receive him. You will be confirmed as a child of God.

A foundling who has a home. A servant who has a Lord. AMEN



* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. George van Popta, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
The source for this sermon was: http://www.ancasterchurch.on.ca/sermons/mar0203pm.html

(c) Copyright 2003, Rev. George van Popta

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