Romans 8:12-17 reminds us of how deeply we are loved as adopted children of the Father. Paige told of the experience Russell Moore and his wife had of adopting children from an overseas orphanage. They wondered why it was so quiet, contrasting it to the church nursery. The silence is because the babies realize no one will come when they cry, so they have given up. Below is a poignant excerpt from Moore’s article in Christianity Today.
Why Every Christian Is Called to Support Adoption
Abba changes everything.
The creepiest sound I have ever heard was nothing at all. My wife, Maria, and I stood in the hallway of an orphanage somewhere in the former Soviet Union, on the first of two trips required for our petition to adopt. Orphanage staff led us down a hallway to greet the two 1-year-olds we hoped would become our sons. The horror wasn’t the squalor and the stench, although we at times stifled the urge to vomit and weep. The horror was the quiet of it all. The place was more silent than a funeral home by night.
I stopped and pulled on Maria’s elbow. “Why is it so quiet? The place is filled with babies.” Both of us compared the stillness with the buzz and punctuated squeals that came from our church nursery back home. Here, if we listened carefully enough, we could hear babies rocking themselves back and forth, the crib slats gently bumping against the walls. These children did not cry, because infants eventually learn to stop crying if no one ever responds to their calls for food, for comfort, for love. No one ever responded to these children. So they stopped.
The silence continued as we entered the boys’ room. Little Sergei (now Timothy) smiled at us, dancing up and down while holding the side of his crib. Little Maxim (now Benjamin) stood straight at attention, regal and czar-like. But neither boy made a sound. We read them books filled with words they couldn’t understand, about saying goodnight to the moon and cows jumping over the same. But there were no cries, no squeals, no groans. Every day we left at the appointed time in the same way we had entered: in silence.
On the last day of the trip, Maria and I arrived at the moment we had dreaded since the minute we received our adoption referral. We had to tell the boys goodbye, as by law we had to return to the United States and wait for the legal paperwork to be completed before returning to pick them up for good. After hugging and kissing them, we walked out into the quiet hallway as Maria shook with tears.
And that’s when we heard the scream.
Little Maxim fell back in his crib and let out a guttural yell. It seemed he knew, maybe for the first time, that he would be heard. On some primal level, he knew he had a father and mother now. I will never forget how the hairs on my arms stood up as I heard the yell. I was struck, maybe for the first time, by the force of the Abba cry passages in the New Testament, ones I had memorized in Vacation Bible School. And I was surprised by how little I had gotten it until now.
Many of you know how God led us to adopt our Beth. When Steve and I were praying about adopting again, he heard a little girl crying. A few days later our social worker sent us a picture of a little girl in an orphanage in Thailand — Steve looked at her and said, “This is her.” Somehow God allowed Steve to hear Beth’s heart cry. Though we said “Yes!” when she was 9, her adoption was delayed repeatedly until she was 12. When we finally went to get her, we walked through the orphanage for handicapped older children and our hearts broke. Many children sat silently — completely unresponsive. They no longer hoped for love. Beth was one of 12 out of the 500 children our agency thought might make it, calling her a “survivor.” They thought she might make it with enough patient love, which is exactly what God had given Steve. Beth tells about this love in the clip below at Steve’s funeral. Here Beth is at 12, after we brought her home.
She had Steve for ten years before he died. All my children shared at his funeral, but Beth nearly gave up for tears, until Sally brought her back up, fearing she would regret it if she didn’t share. With Beth’s gracious permission, here is a 59 second clip.http://
Today Beth is a wife and mother of three, much more than a survivor, but a godly woman of whom I am so proud. I know it was the love of her earthly father and her heavenly father that brought the healing she so needed, healing that affects generations.
Paige talked about what “Abba” really means, saying, as I have heard Greek scholars say, that it doesn’t really mean “Da Da” or “Daddy” as is often said, but is an endearing yet respectful word an adult would use toward his or her father. It is a word that shows confidence in His love, the confidence we often lack, so we run to our idols.
This is the video for next week and the following week. This week’s video has been taken down. As Paige is not teaching next week, she is leaving this up for two weeks and we are dividing the lesson into two weeks. It will be a bit of breather for you! Again, it was wonderful.
Questions in Purple are for those simulataneously reviewing Revelation 1-11.
Questions preceded by a * are Paige’s.
Sunday: Getting Started
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
- Share one thing that particularly stood out to you from Paige’s teaching and why?
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” – A.W. Tozer
*3. In other words, our most formative and determinative force is what, deep in our hearts, we conceive God to be like. What do you honestly believe to be most determinative about you? Your family of origin? Your spouse? Your education? Your career? Your appearance? Your social standing? Your kids’ schools? Your enneagram number? Your _____? Actually what God thinks about us is THE most important thing about us. What DOES He think? Read Zephaniah 3:17.
Monday: Adoption Precedes Justification
Last week we learned why justification (saved from the penalty of sin) precedes sanctification (being saved from the power of sin). There was a good discussion among you on how to implement that. Just as we are justified by faith, we are sanctified by faith. It takes faith to say no to sin, no to our idols, and trust God to meet us. But with every death comes a resurrection.
4. Now Paige says that adoption precedes justification. What did she mean?
5. Some teach the universal fatherhood of God. How does this go against Scripture? (See Romans 8:9 and John 1:12)
6. Adoption is a legal act. How did God make our adoption legal in court?
7. Adopton is not just a legal reality but a living reality. How will you spend your “bank account” today?
*8. Read Galatians 4:4-6.
A. How is this passage like our passage this week? How is it different?
B. Who is doing the crying in each passage?
C. How closely does the Spirit testify with our spirit? And what is His testimony?
D. Can you think of something else you would rather Him testify to you? Something stronger or bigger or better?
Tuesday: Living as Adopted
Two years ago, when playing pickleball, I was paired with a very competitive male who was deeply disappointed in how many balls I was missing or hitting too high, and was communicating his anger rudely and repeatedly to me. Here’s a picture for those unfamiliar with pickleball! It can be very competitive!
I started crying out to God silently: Please Father, help me do better, help me not miss, help me hit the ball lower, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!
Then, in my spirit, I heard a voice that was not mine — so gentle, so loving. Honey. That’s all. Suddenly it didn’t matter how my partner acted toward me! I was loved, cherished, despite my sin, by the God who made the universe. I stood still for a moment, stunned, thinking, God called me “Honey!” My approval idol was punctured by the love of my Abba.
9. Can you identify in any way with the above story?
10. Paige says we often live as if we were justified, but not as if we are adopted. How might you live differently if you lived, not as an orphan, but as a beloved child of God?
11. Do you remember Paige’s story of living on an oil well? What was her point?
12. Paige also told a story of parents who adopted not 3 but 4 boys because one wouldn’t leave the orphanage without his friend. What did God do that showed the depth of His love for you according to Revelation 5:9? What might you say to the enemy the next time he whispers God couldn’t love you?
Wednesday: Three Aspects of Persuasion:
Led by Spirit, Freedom from Fear, and Fullness of Fatherhood
13. Read Romans 8:12-17 and share what stands out to you and why.
14. What proof in our lives, according to verse 14, shows we are sons of God?
15. Paige said being led by the Spirit is not so much talking about decision making, but following in the footsteps of Jesus in obedience so we begin to have a family resemblance, which is one aspect that should persuade us we are His children. Share one example of this from your life of how, because you have obeyed the Spirit you look more like Jesus.
16. She gave an illustration from the true story of the movie Blindside. Do you remember it? What was her point?
17. According to verse 15, what is another aspect or trait of one who realizes he is a child of God? Do you obey out of fear or out of love?
*18. If you are a parent, how do you motivate your children to obey? Do you use fear? How does God motivate His children to obey? Re-read 8:9-17. What is the relationship of adoption to sanctification? What is the role of fear?
19. Why, according to Revelation 7:3, should we not fear, even when hard things happen?
20. What nickname does 2 Corin. 1:3 give for our Father? Do you have a story of how the Lord comforted you?
Thursday: Privileges of Adoption
Inheritance, Access, Discipline, Acceptance, and Enjoyment
21. Read Romans 8:12-17 again and share anything new that pops out for you today!
22. This passage keeps addressing sons. Why should women want to be called sons and not want the translation changed?
23. Read Romans 8:15
A. How does verse 15 show our access?
B. Ponder this privilege of adoption. Why is it that everyone does not have this? See Isaiah 59:2. (Though it is true God can do whatever He pleases.)
C. What are your most frequent topics of prayer? Could you be wiser? If so, how?
D. What does Hebrews 12:5-6 tell us? Do you think of this as a privilege? Why is it?
E. God pours out judgments on the earth in Revelation. Unbelievers are hardened and believers are refined. How do you respond to suffering in your life? What does it reveal about your view of God?
F. The Lord accepts us and enjoys us simply because we are His. Did you experience this from a parent? Do you believe this is how God sees you?
Friday: Love List and Take-A-Way
(Since we have two weeks to do the homework for next week, I am going to repeat the below assignment as it deserves good attention!)
*24. Often we will make a love-list for someone precious in our lives to celebrate a milestone or occasion. Make your own “Things I Love About You” list for the Father. And then make another one: “Things I Love About the Way You Love Me.”
25. What is your take-a-way this week and why?