September 19 – Adoption


This week we’re going to talk about an aspect of salvation that often gets overlooked: adoption. Ephesians 1:4b-5a introduces us to the idea, “In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ.” Getting saved doesn’t just make you a follower of Jesus—that term, for all its benefits, describes a slightly distant relationship. You’re not just an adherent to a religion, a nameless “believer.” You’re God’s child. And we toss around that terminology every once and a while too, but we should really stop and think about the implications of being made a member of God’s family. God isn’t just an all-powerful, all-knowing Cosmic Ruler, though he is that. He’s also your daddy. Picture a toddler crawling into her father’s lap to read—that’s an excellent way to envision the relationship with that Cosmic Ruler that is opened to you by Jesus.

But there’s more. Being adopted into God’s family means Jesus isn’t just your Lord, though he is that. He’s your brother too. And it means we aren’t just fellow Christians who go to the same church. We’re family—Ephesians 2:19 says just as much. And that’s not wishful thinking, like Olive Garden’s “When you’re here, you’re family.” That’s like legitimate, blood-relative family. If you’re in Christ, you and I don’t just have shared beliefs, though we certainly do. More than that: you and I have the same dad.

And that should change everything about how we interact and deal with one another! The way Christians handle conflict with one another, share each others burdens, and walk through life alongside one another should all clearly reveal a profound, spiritual reality, that our standard human relationships have been superseded by a new reality in Christ. And because of what our elder brother Jesus has accomplished in us, our innate modes of operating like competition, self-service, and posturing give way to humble, loving service, both to God’s interests in the world and to one another in love. And certainly, we haven’t arrived or perfected that. Actually, appearing perfect would negate our message, since God only adopts wretched sinners! Instead, we live by constantly returning to the gospel, reminding ourselves that God sent Jesus into the world to save sinners and admitting that we’re both desperate sinners and beloved children.

As you can tell, this is all bread and butter community group stuff. We’ll start out our discussion in Ephesians 2:11-22, which we turn to in New CG Leader Training to get an idea for how the gospel doesn’t just save individuals but forms a community. That’s pretty easy for Americans to miss since we typically think of salvation only as an individual experience. But that ignores the way that the gospel radically redefines our identity. We don’t come to the cross as mere individuals and leave as mere individuals. According to 2:19, we come as strangers, exiled due to our sin and alienated from God, and leave as family, both with God and with one another. Simply put: God has no only children. You simply can’t become God’s child and not end up with a boatload of brothers and sisters too.

Then, in our discussion, we’ll turn to Ephesians 4:11-16 to get a bit more about what it means to belong to God’s family. Since we’re adopted in we have a whole new family culture to learn. And part of that family culture, what we might think of healthy family relations, has to do with building up one another in love for the sake of ministry. Don’t miss 4:12—all saints, meaning all believers, have ministry work to do! That’s because Jesus’ family also has a mission in this world—we could irreverently call it the family business. God saves us, but he doesn’t take us out of the world when he does. Instead, he leaves us in the world because he intends to accomplish his objectives in the world through us. So we’ll consider, what does it mean to belong to this family with a mission? That should leave us prayerfully considering our workplaces, neighborhoods, and friends, asking God to work though us in those circles and asking one another to support us as he does.
Questions for Discussion
• Would someone read Ephesians 2:11-22 for us? (FYI that’s different than the text used on Sunday)

• How does this passage compare life before salvation versus life after salvation?

• How do you personally connect with verse 19?

• How does this passage help us understand life in God’s family?

• Would someone read Ephesians 4:11-16 for us?

• How does this passage help us understand life in God’s family?

• Look at verse 12. What’s a group of people, or specific person, in your life that you think God has equipped you to minister to?

• What could it look like for us to support one another as God uses us with those specific groups/people?

• Let’s close and pray for God to empower and guide our shared life as a church family.