From Slaves to Heirs

From Slaves to Heirs

Scripture: Galatians 4:7, Romans 6:1-11, Hebrews 2:14-18
Date: 08/19/2017  Lesson: 8
"What is it about human beings that makes them so afraid of the idea of grace, of salvation by faith alone? Why is it that many people would rather try to work their way to salvation, if that were possible?"

365 Amazing Answers to Big Bible Questions Devotional by Doug Batchelor

365 Amazing Answers to Big Bible Questions Devotional by Doug Batchelor
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Welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour. We're so glad that you are tuning in wherever you are from. We know we have an extended Sabbath school family around the world and each week we are so excited that we get to sing and study together with you, whether you are listening on the radio, watching live on our website, or on the various television networks. We are just glad you're joining with us and we have another study with you today. And, of course, before we do that, we always sing ours - and your - favorite songs.

And so, we're going to start with #614 - sound the battle cry - and we're going to do all three stanzas - #614. Father in Heaven, we are your soldiers today, and I pray that you'll give us that zeal and that fire that we will take the message to the world and that, in our daily lives, we will be living examples to those around us - that we are truly yours. And I pray that you will just speak to us today, that you will be with our extended family around the world - each and every one of them - there are so many. Thank you for the opportunity that we have to study together, and for our speaker. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Our lesson study today is entitled, from slaves to heirs, and you find it in the adventist quarterly. If you don't have one of these, you can contact your local adventist church and get one of them. It's the Gospel in Galatians and we've been studying through this. And, today, it's lesson #8 and it's going to be brought to us by carissa mcsherry, who is the assistant director of afcoe - the Amazing Facts center of evangelism - so carissa's going to be bringing us our lesson study, and we know that you will be blessed. Good morning and Happy Sabbath.

Good morning. Is it a Happy Sabbath? Yes. Amen. Absolutely. You know, just this morning, as I was driving to church, I was thinking about how often I take this Sabbath blessing for granted.

It's what we do every single week, but what an incredible blessing it is, every single week, to gather together with like believers, to study the Word of God, and to grow in grace together. It's a blessing, amen? Amen. Amen. This week we have been studying the topic from slave to heir - looking at the latter portion of Galatians 3 and then diving into Galatians chapter 4, so that is what we're going to be looking at together this morning. But first, I just want to remind you of our free offer.

It is called, again, the high cost of the cross - it's an excEllent little booklet and I would encourage you to check it out. You can receive it by calling -study-more - 866-study-more - and just mention that it is offer #156. If you have your quarterly this morning, our memory text is found in Galatians chapter 4 and verse 7 - Galatians chapter 4 and verse 7. If you would just read that aloud with me. The Bible says, "so you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

" Those are beautiful words and truly, in essence, it expresses the Gospel. 'You are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.' You see, adoption, as we're going to be speaking of today, was actually a very common practice in rome during the time that Paul was writing this letter to the Galatians. It typically occurred upon the more wealthy class - those that are more well off. You see, it was very much a requirement in those days that you had an heir - a male heir. So, for those that did not have children or, perhaps you had far too many children and children were expensive to have - expensive to raise - and so, typically, that was frowned upon.

So if you had many children, someone who did not have a child, or maybe only had daughters, would adopt one of your children. Now, the child they adopted from you was not typically the last born - the oops - it was not the unwanted child. Often the one that was adopted was the eldest child - the one that had proven their character and their faithfulness. That child would then be adopted by someone in the upper class. That child would be paid for - there would be a sum of money that was exchanged for this adoption, and that child would then become a full heir of that new adopted family.

He would take on the name of that family as well. Now adoption was not considered to be a shameful thing or a secretive thing. It was very open and, in fact, very much encouraged in some situations. You may be familiar with some of the names of very famous individuals who were, in fact, adopted. Men such as nero, tiberius, and Augustus.

They were all adopted. So, as Paul is addressing this letter to the Galatians, he's, again, looking at this context of what adoption means and reminding us that that is the experience that God wants every single one of us to have today. We are going to be considering, in our lesson, three questions: how do we become clothed with Christ and heirs of his kingdom? Secondarily, how might we, who have been God's children, slide back into the slavery of works? And, lastly, how do we daily clothe ourselves in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? But, before we dive into this topic much deeper, would you just bow your heads with me as we pray? Heavenly Father, God, Lord, we just thank you for this beautiful Sabbath day. Lord, I just thank you that we can open Your Word and that we can worship you as our Lord and as our God. Heavenly Father, we pray for your Holy Spirit and, Lord, today, as we open your word, may you open our hearts.

We thank you, father and we pray, trusting in the name of Jesus Christ, your son, amen. We are going to begin our study with Sunday's lesson entitled our condition in Christ. Turn, with me, in your Bibles to Galatians chapter 3, verses 26 to 27. Actually, we have a volunteer who will be reading that for us. We are in Galatians chapter , verses 26 and 27.

"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Okay. So we are all sons through what? Through - Christ. Through Christ, but what through Christ? Sons of God. We are all sons of God through faith in Christ.

Is that correct? We must have that faith in Christ in order to be those sons. "For as many of you as were baptized" have put on Jesus Christ. So we are seeing here that there is a connection. When you are baptized, you are putting on Jesus Christ. What does it mean to put on Jesus Christ? Turn with me in your Bibles, as we further illustrate this, to Romans - in Romans chapter 6 and we'll be looking at verses 3 through 6 - Romans chapter 6 - again, the same author here, Paul, is speaking.

We are in Romans chapter 6, verses 3 through 6. The Bible tells us this morning, "or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his" - what? His death. Into his death - "therefore we were buried with him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of The Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." I'm going to pause there for a just a moment. Notice, do we die so that we may remain dead? No, why do we die? So that we can be raised with him. So that we can be raised to life through Jesus Christ.

You see, again, that's the beauty of the Gospel. He doesn't want you to merely remain dead. He is saying you are dead. You have been crucified. Why? So that you can rise again - so that you can experience that beautiful, abundant life.

Continuing in verse 5, "for if we have been united together in the likeness of his death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of his resurrection," - notice, if we are not united in his death, we cannot be united in his - resurrection. Resurrection. Before we can experience the resurrection, we must experience the death. Verse 6, "knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin." The Bible says, here, that sin is a slave master. Sin keeps us in bondage.

But here, Jesus is saying, 'you don't have to be in bondage, I want you to experience the power of the resurrection.' It speaks of our old man being what? Dead. Crucified - being dead and being crucified. Now, was crucifixion a beautiful process? No. Was that something you would desire to experience? No. Crucifixions were painful, were they not? And, sometimes in that surrender process, we might feel as though we want to come down from that cross.

'Lord, this crucifixion, I don't know about that.' But God is saying, 'no, come to me in your entirety. The depths of that surrender and, as you are crucified with me, as you give all to me, then you will experience the beauty of that resurrected life.' Further illustrating this, we are going to turn to Colossians chapter 3, verses 9 through - Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians - Colossians chapter , looking at verses 9 and 10. The Bible says, "do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of him who created him." Notice, what are we putting off? The old man. The old man. And in its place, what do we put on? Christ.

The new man, Jesus Christ, in his image. We are renewed in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. What does it mean to be renewed? New - re-newed - right? To be made new once again. And Jesus is saying, the way that you can be made new once again - the way that you can experience that new birth is through what? The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does the work - we are renewed in him through a - knowledge.

Knowledge. Through a knowledge of what? The knowledge of Jesus Christ - the knowledge of his crucifixion - the knowledge of his life. It is through the character of Jesus Christ - it is through looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith, that we can come to that renewed experience. You see, if I just look at myself all day long and say, 'wow, I'm so selfish. Wow, I'm so proud.

Wow, I'm so this - I'm so that.' I am turning my looks and I am becoming even more selfish. And I find no victory looking in myself. And here we are reminded, looking unto Jesus, renewed in the knowledge of him. John chapter 17 and verse 3 tells us, "and this is eternal life, that they may" - what? Know you. "That they may know you.

" Eternal life is all about knowing Jesus - about having that personal relationship with him. 2 Corinthians 3:18 is another text to consider. As we look at Jesus we become transformed into his image. But as we are considering what it means to put off and put on, I want to consider verses 11 to 13. We are in Colossians , verses 11 to 13.

The Bible says, "where there is neither Greek nor jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do." Amen. Now notice, when it looks at the description of what a Christian should be 'putting on', who does that remind you of? Jesus. Jesus Christ, does it not? You look at that beautiful example and you look at your own heart - I don't know if you're like me, I say, 'woe is me for I am undone'. But when we look at Jesus we see that example perfectly lived out in his life and we know, by faith, that if Jesus lived that life, he, too, can live it through us today.

God is calling us to put on these things to the power of God. Now just as a small side note here, please do pay special attention to verse 11, where it speaks about there being neither Greek nor jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised. We are going to find a similar verse in Galatians 3, verse 28, that has been the center of much controversy. So it's important to keep this text in mind in order so that we can have an accurate understanding. Notice, again, it says, ".

..Christ is all and in all." So the context there, again, is not this group, that group, this group, that group - it doesn't matter your background, it doesn't matter your ethnicity, it doesn't matter your economic status, Christ is all in all. Amen. We are going to continue with this thought in Zechariah chapter 3. I love this story of Joshua the high priest. I encourage you to read it later in Zechariah chapter 3.

The Bible tells that Joshua the high priest was standing before the angel of the Lord and the devil came and began to accuse him. We know that the devil is the accuser of the brethren. He loves to come in, find our faults, and criticize and say, 'oh, you'll never be good enough. Look at your faults.' And there, as Joshua stood before the Lord, his garments, were they clean? No. No, they were filthy, filthy rags.

And he stands before him in his impurity and the devil points out every flaw. And then Jesus, the Lord, looks upon Joshua and he says, 'remove those garments.' Notice, it's not Joshua that does the removing. God removes those filthy garments and does he leave him naked? No. No, what does he then do? He clothed him then with that robe of righteousness. So, also, in our experience, who took off the robe? God did, right? It was the Holy Spirit's work for that robe to be removed.

And who put on the new robe? God. God did. You see, both justification and sanctification are the work of God. Amen. Sometimes we think that we began this good work and we can complete it.

Or maybe we think that, you know, 'I was converted, I gave my life to Jesus Christ, he forgave me, I was baptized, I was cleansed, now the rest of my life I'm going to make it work. The rest of my life I'm going to handle it so I can be approved of God.' Is that the case? No, the same one who began this good work in you is the same one who will be faithful to complete it. And he will, by his grace, complete it. Amen. Philippians chapter 2 and verse 12 tells us to work out our own salvation with what? Fear and trembling.

Fear and trembling. You see, some people leave - they stop at that verse. Does that sound like an enjoyable Christian experience? No. 'Work out your own salvation. It is up to you.

You work your way to heaven.' However, verse 13 puts it in its proper context: "for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for his good pleasure." You see, that fear and trembling is merely us coming to God and surrendering our lives and saying, 'God, I have these filthy rags. Please take them off of me and put on your robe. God, I don't have the power to even take them off, but I am surrendering to you because I know you have the power.' Fear and trembling is coming to God and seeking that surrender with all of our heart. And it is God who not only creates the desire within us, but who is able to complete it. The same God that began that good work in us will be faithful to complete it today.

Let's dive back to Galatians - back to Galatians chapter 3 and we are now going to be considering verses 28 and 29 - Galatians chapter 3:28 and 29 - if you would read that for us, please. Thank you. "There is neither jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Thank you very much. This text, as I mentioned earlier, has been the center of much controversy.

But if we look at it in the context in which Paul is speaking it, I believe that the context makes it quite clear. He is saying here, 'it does not matter if you are jew or if you are Greek; it doesn't matter if you are American or if you are any other nationality; it doesn't matter what your background is; it doesn't matter if you are a lawyer, a doctor, a mechanic, a construction worker, a teacher, or a pastor; you are of equal value before Jesus Christ. Amen. Do you believe that, today? Amen. Regardless of your background, regardless of your economic status, you are of equal value before Jesus Christ.

Your role in the body - your role in the church - is crucial. Amen. We are all a part of that body of Christ and sometimes we think that the pastor is the one who is the most important part of that body. But the Bible says, 'no, that's not it. Corinthians 12 - we are all a part of that body of Christ.

We have equal importance before God. Amen. Secondarily, the point that is being brought out here: there is no advantage to you being born a jew; no advantage to you being born a Seventh-day Adventist - if you think that that is what will give you salvation. There is no salvation in you being a pastor; no salvation in you being whatever Christian it may be. The salvation is found in Jesus Christ.

Amen. We cannot work our way into heaven. Now, again, granted, as we come closer to Jesus Christ, we come closer into a desire to be in harmony with His Word. But it is through that relationship that we are saved. It is through grace by faith that we experience salvation, not by works lest any man should boast.

Is that clear from the writings of Paul, today? Yes. Amen. That is a crucial, crucial point. Corinthians chapter 12 and verse 13 further illustrates it - further reinforces this fact, where Paul says, "for by one spirit we were all baptized into one body-whether jews or Greeks, wether slaves or free-and have all been made to drink into one spirit." You see, again, regardless of our background, we are one in Jesus Christ. Now, for us, as we're reading this, we think, 'well, of course.

' For us it may not be that difficult to swallow but, again, remember the time period that Paul was writing here. Remember, again, that the jews, historically, during this time, would pass the other way, rather than to come in contact with a gentile. You don't want their shadow to come upon you because then you're going to be unclean. And the view of women, of course, was also put down in many instances. So here, as Paul is writing these words, for some people they were a little hard to swallow.

And he is saying, 'don't allow those prejudices to hold you away from Jesus Christ. We are one and we are all in Jesus Christ. There is no distinction. Now we are going to move into Monday's lesson. The concept is, enslaved to elementary principles.

We're going to dive into Galatians chapter 4, verses 1 through 3 - Galatians chapter 4, verses 1 to 3. "Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world." Thank you. Thank you, vicky, I appreciate it. I'm going to now continue with verse 9, just a comparison to what was just read.

"But now after you have known God or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain." The Sabbath school quarterly brought out a very interesting point on page 66 and I want to just read it to you here briefly. They mentioned "Paul is referring, here, to the rudimentary principles of religious life. If so, Paul is saying that the old testament period, with its laws and its sacrifices, was merely a Gospel primer that outlined the basics of salvation. Thus, as important and instructional as the ceremonial laws were to Israel, they were only shadows of what was to come.

They never were intended to take the place of Christ. So, for the Galatians to return to those basic elements after Christ had already come would be like the adult son, in Paul's analogy, wanting to be a minor again." So here they are clinging to the ceremonial laws when Christ was there in the very presence. As a way of illustrating this, imagine, with me, that a son goes off to war. The mother is worried about her son. She misses her son.

She longs to embrace her son again. She fears the dangers that he will face. There on the mantle, there, she has a beautiful picture of her son. And, occasionally, especially when she's feeling lonely, she takes down that picture and she sits on the couch and she just looks at that picture so lovingly. And she looks into his eyes - those eyes that she can't wait to see again, and she looks at the picture and maybe cries a tear or two and maybe kind of rubs her finger along the picture as she's sitting there admiring it.

The months pass by and the war is over and, one day, her son comes home, throws open the front door, and says, 'surprise! I'm here! I'm home!' And he hears silence. He goes into the living room and sees his mother sitting there on the couch looking at this picture, adoring it, holding it close to her. And The Son says, 'mom, I'm home!' 'Mom, I'm here!' 'Mom, I'm alive!' And the mother ignores him as she continues to stare at the picture. Can you imagine this scene taking place? Hopefully not, right? It sounds absurd, because what would any mother do? She's gonna throw that picture to the side - doesn't care if it breaks in the process - she is jumping up to grab her son. And, you see, that is exactly what, unfortunately, did not happen to the Jewish nation at large.

Granted, there were individuals within the nation that did accept Christ but, at large, the Jewish nation held onto that picture and they continued to love it and to adore it and to become so focused on the ceremonial laws, that they missed the very one who was symbolized by those laws - the very one whose presence was there with them. They were so focused on sacrificing the lamb that they didn't realize that Messiah, the lamb - Jesus Christ - was before them. Is there a risk that we can do the same thing today? Yes. No, we do not keep the ceremonial laws. We believe in Jesus Christ - in his reality today - but could it be that sometimes we get caught up in the forms - in the ceremonies? Maybe in the duties? They may even be right.

Do you see the ceremonial laws were established for a purpose? Jesus, in fact, is the one who gave them. They were there to point to him. But, sometimes even in our Christian experience, even the things that have been given to us to point to Jesus, we can make an idol in and of themselves. For instance, do we sometimes become so focused on all the work we need to do at church or a Sabbath school program? Or 'got to be at church 9:30 on Sabbath morning because that's what I do'? 'That's my custom.' And we become so focused on the ceremonies that we forget the meaning behind them. Do you see this? Amen.

Now is it important to gather together in church on Sabbaths? Yes. Yes, 'not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together' that is crucial. But what I'm trying to illustrate is, if I am doing these things because I'm trying to work my way into favor with God, if I am doing these things as a way to earn my salvation, I've missed the Mark. Jesus is saying, 'no, the Sabbath is about a relationship with me - coming closer to me. That is what I want you to experience.

That is the blessing of the Sabbath.' Amen. Is that clear this morning? Amen. Are we experiencing the full blessing that God desires to give to us, or are we, sometimes, holding on to the ceremonies? Another important point that Paul is bringing out. He asks, 'why are you desiring to be in bondage yet again? God has made you free so why, then, are you desiring to return to bondage?' You see the Galatians, many of them had been worshipers of idols. These pagan practices - practices where you have to work your way into favor with the Gods - sacrificing under them to appease their wrath.

And they, then, took this mentality into their Christian experience. They are now embracing the ceremonies, yet again - the Jewish customs - as a way of, again, working themselves into favor with God. And Paul is saying, 'why are you doing that? You've already been set free from the bondage. Don't enter into it yet again. You cannot work your way into favor with God.

It is a free gift that I am offering to you today.' Amen. Turn with me in your Bibles to John chapter 8. How do we experience the freedom from bondage today? We are in John chapter 8 and we are going to begin in verse 31. The Bible says, in John chapter and verse 31, "then Jesus said to those jews who believed him, 'if you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall'" - do what? Make you free.

"Make you free." Notice, the truth shall make you free. Verse 33, "they answered him, 'we are Abraham's descendants,'" - in other words, 'who are you talking to? Don't you know that just by our heritage we are saved? We have never been in bondage to anyone.' - "How can you say, 'you will be made free'? Jesus answered them, 'most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.'" Have you felt that slavery from sin before? Sin is a cruel taskmaster. Verse 35, "and a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if The Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." How do we experience freedom today? Through Christ. It's through Christ.

If The Son shall make you free, you shall be partly free? You shall be mostly free? You will be free indeed. There is no exception here. If The Son is the one who makes you free, you shall be free completely indeed. I found it interesting, as I'm looking at this contrast, notice, again, in verse 32, it says, "and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." And then in verse 36 it says that "...The Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." So what are the two things here that bring freedom? Christ and the truth. Ah - are they two things or are they one? You mentioned Jesus is the truth.

That is correct. The truth makes you free - Jesus makes you free. Have you ever heard someone say before, 'you know, I believe in Jesus. I love Jesus, but forget talking about doctrine'? You've heard this, right? 'Just focus on Jesus.' But doctrine is merely teaching. It is an illustration.

It is the revealing of the character of God. And so, here, he's saying, 'Jesus and his truth, they both set you free because they are one and the same.' It is merely the character of Christ revealed. Therefore, if I want to experience freedom, what do I need to do? Come closer to God. Come closer to Jesus Christ. How do I come closer to him? His truth.

Through his truth. 'Thy word is truth.' So if I am praying today and I'm saying, 'Lord, I want a closer experience with you. I want to be renewed in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. I want to experience that freedom from the bondage of sin and that cruel taskmaster over me', the way that I experience this freedom and salvation today is by knowing him. Amen.

It's by spending that time in His Word and allowing that creative word to recreate our hearts today. And that is the experience that God is not only calling us to, but God is also making provision for today. Whoever commits sin, he was illustrating again, is a slave of sin. But we don't have to be slaves of sin as we continue to look at Jesus and experience the freedom that he has offered to us. Imagine, with me, that there is a child born - the mother was a drug addict - the child was born addicted to drugs.

Maybe you've heard of these scenarios before where the child literally goes through withdrawals in the hospital as they are coming off this addiction to these drugs. Imagine a family comes in and adopts that child and they nurture that child and they care for that child, they provide for that child - that child is theirs. They love him. And when he becomes a teenager the parents sit him down and they say, 'you know, we love you so much that we want to offer you freedom - full freedom - so if you want to use drugs - we know you have an inclination towards it anyways, because of your mother's history, and so, if you want to use drugs, just know that we love you enough that you're free to do that.' Is that what the adopted family would say? No. No.

'We love you so much that we don't want you to do that. We see how destructive it is and we are going to do everything we can to keep you from that lifestyle - make every provision possible for you.' You see, sometimes people misunderstand the freedom that God is offering and they say, 'well, now that I'm free in Christ. I can do whatever I want. It doesn't matter what I do, I am free in Jesus Christ.' But, here, we are told that that freedom means I don't have to go back into that bondage. That freedom means that I can have victory in my life and that that victory is assured to us today.

Amen. 1 John chapter 1 and verse 9. A familiar text to us all, it says that "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to" - forgive. Forgive us our sins and to" - cleanse. "Cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

" You see, oftentimes I see this from many Christians - or I hear this - the first part of that passage is fully accepted. You confess your sins, Jesus will forgive you. But they forget or they fail to include that second portion. If we confess, he will forgive and cleanse us. You see, if I leave off the cleansing, I am not truly revealing the Gospel.

The Gospel has the power, not only to forgive, but also to do what? To cleanse. To cleanse. Not only to forgive but to empower us. Not only to give us the freedom that is being promised here in Galatians 4, but also to empower us to continue to maintain that freedom - to not enter back into that bondage of sin, but to continue to experience that freedom in Jesus Christ. Turn with me to Galatians chapter 4 - Galatians chapter 4 and we are in verse 16 now.

A counsel from Paul that we can possibly connect with today - Galatians chapter and verse 16. Paul is saying, "have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?" Here the Galatians loved Paul - they were willing to give their lives for Paul - and now Paul is giving them a bit of a hefty rebuke. And he says, 'am I now your enemy because I have revealed the truth to you?' You know the old adage 'don't shoot the messenger'? Don't shoot the messenger if that's the message that God has sent. Proverbs chapter 27 and verse tells us, "faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Are there times where we need to speak the word? Seasoned with grace - absolutely.

But Paul loved this group of people so much that he desired them to be set free. And he was willing to put himself on the line, even if it made some difficulties in their relationships, because he genuinely cared abut them. Speak the truth in love. Did Paul, in Galatians, call out another believer - in fact, publicly? Who was that individual? Peter. Peter.

In Galatians chapter 2, Paul publicly calls out Peter because he would no longer keep company with the gentiles when the jews were around. He was being a hypocrite. He was living a double life. And, because it was a public sin, Paul called it out publicly. But you know what I appreciate so much? Is the response that Peter gave.

It's not recorded in that passage, per se, but when you read Acts of the Apostles and other commentary, you see that Peter, then, after he received this rebuke - and help me out here, how many of us want to be publicly rebuked? (Laughter) does that sound enjoyable? No. Absolutely not. But Peter, after receiving this public rebuke, he could have been angry. He could have been mad. He could have called Paul all sorts of things, but instead, he took it humbly.

He accepted the rebuke. 'You know, you're right.' And we read in Acts of the Apostles that he went to the others and as far as was within his power, he sought to correct this mistake that had been made. He sought to make that change in his life. How do we respond when we're corrected? Are we willing to humble ourselves and say, 'you know what? You're right. You know what? I should not have done that.

Will you forgive me?' Are we humble in the sight of God and willing to make that restitution where needed? We're going to look, now, at Tuesday's lesson, God sending forth his son. Galatians chapter 4, verses 4 through 7. Thank you. "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his son into your hearts, crying out, 'abba, father!' Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

" Amen. Thank you very much. I love the personal connection there. Notice, 'you are an heir' - you are a child of God and, because you are such, you cry out 'abba, father'. Notice that's a very affectionate phrase.

It would be like saying, 'daddy'. You are not a foster child. 'You are not in a group home where you say, 'mr. And mrs. Johnson', you are my adopted child.

You are a co-heir. You are a child of the King.' Abba father - that personal relationship that Christ wants to have with us. Notice, it states that Christ came in the fullness of time. Christ came exactly on time. We see, in Daniel chapter 9, that it was predicted - what year Jesus would be born - about 500 years earlier than the birth of Jesus Christ.

So yes, he came on time, prophetically speaking, but also culturally and politically speaking as well. Of course, we see that most of the countries, they were under that government - government ruling power - of rome. Greek was a common language at that time and, in fact, the Scriptures had been written in Greek for about the last 200 years - or at least been available in Greek - for about 200 years before the coming of Christ. So there was an increased interest in religion. Notice that the prophecy of a Messiah coming was first given about 4,000 years before Jesus actually came.

Can you imagine waiting 4,000 years for a promise to be fulfilled? The Jewish nation, you could imagine, might have thought that this would not be fulfilled after so many years of waiting. Have you ever waited a long time for God to fulfill a promise for you? And you hoped it would happen like yesterday, right? And, instead, you keep waiting and waiting and wondering, 'when will that fulfillment come?' Desire of Ages, p. 32 Tells us this: "like the stars in the vast circuit of their appointed path, God's purposes know no haste and no delay." Like the stars in their appointed path, God's purposes know no haste and no delay. Just as Jesus came right on time, so, also, you can be assured today that the promises he has assured you of will be fulfilled. He knows the best time.

He knows when. But believe that Christ will do it again today. Turn with me again to Matthew chapter 20 as we begin to wind this up. We are in Matthew chapter 20 and verse 28. Matthew chapter 20 and verse 28.

The Bible says, in Matthew 20, verse 28, "just as The Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many." The Son came to be what? Sin. A ransom. He came to pay that price. In fact, Isaiah 52, verse 3 says, "you have sold yourselves for nothing," - when we give ourselves to the world, we truly have sold ourselves for nothing - "you have sold yourselves for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money." We, too, were redeemed without money. We were redeemed by the very life - the very blood of Jesus Christ.

You see, here, again we are told that we are co-heirs with Jesus Christ. We are receiving that inheritance from God. What must occur before an inheritance is given? A death. A death. And Jesus died so that we could be ransomed.

Jesus died so that we could receive that inheritance. The story is told of a pastor who was once talking with a non-believing friend of his and he told him of a boy who had been in venezuela and was kidnapped - and The Father paid one million dollars to receive that child again - to ransom his child back. And he asked his non-believing friend, 'you know, was that worth it? A million dollars? I'm sure you could find a boy for cheaper than that. Was it worth a million dollars?' And the friend said, 'well, to The Father, it was.' And so, also, in our life today, if you ever question your value - if you ever question your worth, remember that your life was worth The Son of God - that you were worth that ransom of Jesus Christ that was paid so that we don't have to be under that bondage and continue to go back into that works-oriented religion, but, instead, we can experience the freedom that is found in Jesus Christ - the freedom that empowers us - the freedom that gives us that new life today. There's so much more in this lesson that I desire to cover, but, of course, time goes too fast.

But, in essence, I want to leave us with this thought as I close with a story. What is the primary difference between a slave and an heir? You see, when you are a slave, what you do pleases the master. But when you are an heir, who you are pleases the master. So today, who you are - the person Jesus created you to be - you please the master. The true story is told of a husband and wife - they had come out west in the late 1800s, settling in the countryside.

They were newlyweds, didn't have any children of their own, just a little plot of land - not too much to their name. But they had a desire to build up their land and their profits and so one day the husband goes to the wife and says, 'ella, I need to buy a horse.' And ella looks at him, adoringly, and says, 'well, sure, honey, but while you're in town, I need flour and sugar and cotton and' - you guys know the honey-do list, right? And so he said, 'well, yes, dear.' And the next morning he set off in his little buggy and he went to town. He goes to the general store and he tells the manager, 'hey, I'm looking to buy a horse. I need a nice, big, strong horse to work in my fields.' And the manager says, 'well, I have just the horse you're talking of.' He let him out back to pasture there and he looked at the horse that, indeed, was the horse of his dreams. And he began to barter back and forth, finally arriving at a price.

He said, 'I'll take it! Sold!' But the man replied, 'not so fast. If you want this horse, you get the boy.' If you want the horse, you get the boy. He pointed over to a bail of hay and a little boy, three or four years old sitting looking far too alone in this big old world. If you want the horse, you get the boy. Of course, what was this man going to do? You see, this boy's family had come across on a wagon train.

Something had happened to the family - it was lost in history - but all that was left was the boy and the horse. If you want the horse, you get the boy. He continued his shopping with a heavy heart - they didn't even have any children of their own, how could he come home that day with a horse and flour and cotton and a son? Tell me, gentlemen, how do you spring that on your wife? And, as he set off for home in his buggy, he finally got the courage to look behind him at the horse tied to the back of his buggy and the little boy sitting next to him. Of course, he couldn't leave that little boy behind. 'Boy, what's your name?' 'Harry.

' 'What's your last name?' 'Harry.' You see, the little boy didn't even know his last name. Now, nathan realized that he needed a plan and he needed a plan fast. 'Harry, when we get home, I want you to run up to ella and tell her, 'mommy, I'm home!' They began to practice back and forth - 'mommy, I'm home!' And it wasn't long before they, indeed, were pulling up that driveway for home. You can imagine the nerves that nathan was feeling as he sees ella standing there on his porch looking out. They pull up and stop in front of the house, but both nathan and harry are frozen to the seat.

With a little nudge from nathan, harry climbs down, runs up those stairs, grabs ella around the waist and says, 'mommy, I'm home!' (Laughter) without a second thought, ella reached down, picked him up, hugged him tight and said, 'yes, my son, you are home.' You see, this story is precious to me because ella and nathan were the first Seventh-day Adventists in my family. They went on to adopt many more children and to have many more children and this story has been passed along through the generations. But I love the beautiful spiritual picture that it gives us as well. Of the day when, by the grace of God, we will be in heaven before Jesus Christ - of Jesus bringing us before The Father. Imagine, on that day, looking into The Father's face and saying, 'father, I'm home!' Amen.

And hearing God tell you, 'yes, my son - yes, my daughter, you are home.' Amen. Do you look forward to that day, today? Amen. Amen. I look forward to the day when we will finally be home. I would encourage you, again, to call for this free offer.

I know that you will enjoy it and it will be a blessing as we continue our journey with Jesus Christ. Free offer #156 - call 866-study-more. May God bless and keep you until we meet again next week. Friends, one of the amazing things that you'll often find in the south pacific islands, like here on fiji, is the vaivai plant. Now, in North America, if you want to build a fence you've got to get fence posts and then you put the wooden fence posts in the ground and then after a few years they're going to rot and break off, unless they're specially treated.

But here, they've got these trees - the vaivai tree - they can cut them right out of the woods, they'll take a stick, they stick it in the ground, and because they have so much rain and precipitation, it begins to sprout and turns into a living fence post. It makes up its mind that it's going to flourish wherever you stick it, which is a good lesson for you and me. So you might wonder sometimes if you've got a purpose in life. You might feel like you're growing sort of sporadically in every direction, and then along comes this person who cuts you down and carries you off, he sticks you in the ground but you look back and say, 'there was a plan. There was a purpose.

' God knows how to teach us how to prosper where he plants us. You might wonder why the Lord has put you where he has in life, but you can put down roots and you can grow and you can serve a great purpose for God. You know, it's like God says in Jeremiah chapter 29, 'I know the plans that I've got for you to give you a future.' God has a purpose for your life, friends, and he can help you to prosper and grow wherever you're planted. For life-changing Christian resources, visit afbookstore.com or call 1-800-538-7275.

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