Deeply Rooted: Assurance - Message 3 - Part 1

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Tune in to listen to Pastor Mike give his messages on Assurance in Tennessee at the Deeply Rooted Conference.  

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Deeply Rooted: Assurance - Message 3 - Part 2

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No Compromise Radio Ministry, Mike Abendroth, Duplex, Gratia Radio.
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We are playing My Assurance Messages. It's God's assurance that I was talking about when
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I was down in Tennessee, eastern Tennessee, quite a place. I'm trying to remember the place we went to for food.
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I know it was with Sean Morris and with Presbycast, old, what's his name,
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Brad. And I don't know. I'm trying to remember the name of the thing. Packies, Packs, Packaderms.
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It's a blue building. And they have, for breakfast, they had like, grits and bacon and gravy and then sausages, bacon, egg, gravy, grits.
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Cheese puffs, cheese curls, cheese curds. I don't know what it was. But I lived.
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I lived to tell the story. Anyway, today is another part to one of the messages
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I preached there. I hope you enjoy it. Welcome. I'm Jeremiah Reiner and this is the
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Deeply Rooted Podcast. Hey there.
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Welcome back to the Deeply Rooted Podcast. This is Jeremiah Reiner. Thanking you guys for tuning in again. Fortunately, we have another session of the
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Deeply Rooted Conference, which we held this past November there in Kingsport, Tennessee at Grace Point Fellowship.
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This will be session three for Brother Mike Abendroth. This was recorded on the Saturday morning edition of the conference.
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So we hope you enjoy as he continues his look at the doctrine of assurance. You know you're getting old when you have to watch every step when you're walking up to the platform.
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Josh, thanks for that message. I appreciate that. One of the highest compliments you can give a pastor is by telling them,
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I could listen to that every Sunday. I could listen to you every Sunday. In other words, sometimes pastors preach a great message, some not so well, but I could sit under the ministry of Christ -centered preaching like that every week.
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So thank you. Good smiling, by the way, too. You have such a nice smile.
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That is excellent. Also, thanks to Justin and the team for all the hospitality. I really appreciate that.
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I'll stick around for a little bit. Then I need to fly back to Massachusetts. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where even
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Republicans are Democrats. There's a man named
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Daniel Whittle, and he was born in the 1800s. And at 21, he was sent off to the
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Civil War. The night before he went, he married his sweetheart. And in the battle of the
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Civil War, he had his arm amputated and was in a POW camp. His mother had packed a little
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New Testament in his little knapsack, and she was hoping Daniel would read that since he wasn't a
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Christian. Laying there in the POW camp without an arm, he didn't know what else to do.
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So he began to read his New Testament. He said, I read it in three days. Well, one night a nurse woke him up and said there was a young man dying, and that would he,
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Daniel, go pray for this man, because he's obviously very religious if he read through the New Testament in a few days.
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He said, I'm a wicked man too, and I can't go pray with him. God won't hear me. She begged and begged and begged, would you please go talk to the boy?
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And here's what Major Daniel Whittle said. I dropped down on my knees and held the boy's hand in mine.
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In a few broken words, I confessed my sins and asked Christ to forgive me. I believe right there he did forgive me.
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I then prayed earnestly for the boy. He became quiet and pressed my hand as I prayed and pleaded
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God's promises. When I rose from my knees, he was dead. A look of peace came over his troubled face, and I cannot but believe that God used him to bring me to the
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Savior, used me to lead him to trust Christ's precious blood and find pardon. I hope to meet in heaven.
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Well, about 20 years later, he wrote a very famous hymn, Daniel Whittle did. I know not why
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God's wondrous grace to me he had made known, nor why unworthy Christ in love redeemed me for his own, but I know whom
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I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I've committed unto him against that day.
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I know not how the saving faith to me he did impart, nor how believing in his word brought peace within my heart.
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I know not how the Spirit moves convincing men of sin, revealing Jesus through his word, creating faith in him.
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I know not what of good or ill may be reserved for me, of weary ways or golden days before his face
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I see. I know not when my Lord may come at night or noonday fair, nor if I walk the veil with him or meet him in the air, but I know whom
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I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I've committed unto him against that day.
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And I hope, dear Christian, you can sing that song of blessed assurance with Daniel Whittle.
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This morning, I have been given the topic of assurance, the subjective side of assurance. My first message was on the introductory questions to kind of frame the conference, and the second message
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I had was on the objective nature of assurance. That is, as Pastor Josh had reminded us, it's outside of us.
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He is outside of us. Our faith is in the risen Savior, the Lord Jesus. But there's another aspect of assurance that I'd like to address today, and that's what we call the subjective side.
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And it's super simple. The subjective side is the Spirit of God bearing witness to our spirits that we are, in fact, children.
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That's the first one that we'll talk about. And then the evidence are the fruit of the
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Spirit of God working in our lives. Super simple. We have the objective first and foremost.
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When you struggle with assurance or you'd like to keep it, you focus on the Lord Jesus Christ. True or false, the just shall live by faith.
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True. I mean, you think Romans, the just shall live by faith. Habakkuk, the just shall live by faith. Hebrews, the just shall live by faith.
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Galatians, the just shall live by faith. And that's really theological shorthand by saying the justified shall live by faith in the risen
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Savior. Right? Faith has an object. It just doesn't say that in those passages, but it certainly means it.
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And so we have the objective look first outside of us, and then we can, in fact, look at the
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Spirit of God bearing witness to our spirits, and then the evidence of the Holy Spirit in the fruit.
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So to say it for one last time, when I look at myself, I don't know how I could be saved, but I wish the
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Lord Jesus Christ, I don't know how I can be lost. And by the way, after my message today, I'm going to change into some sweatpants for my flight, and I'm going to put on a salmon t -shirt and enjoy myself with you.
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Holy Spirit's inner witness and seeing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
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Before we look at those two, let me give you a few guardrails. I don't know if you have ever gone bowling with children, and they kind of put those little things in the alleys and the gutters so that you don't have a gutter ball all the time.
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Sometimes you should research candle pin bowling. Does anybody here ever candle pin? Finally, there's somebody that has a very unique thing to Massachusetts and New England.
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Look up candle pin bowling, but I will just tell you that the balls are about this big, and so children can easily bowl instead of having those big balls with your fingers stuck in them.
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I'm going to give you some guardrails before we get into the Spirit's witness to us and the Holy Spirit's fruit in our lives.
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Here's one guardrail. Be very careful not to look at your religious experience as your subjective assurance, that you had some experience, you had a feeling, you did something and walked an aisle or somehow you felt the
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Spirit's presence if you could. That is not something that you're going to want to base your assurance on.
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I want to make sure that you are keeping your assurance closely tethered to the Word of God.
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Was it not in fact Luther who just kept sensing and feeling the wrath of God, the horror of God, and he's an unsaved man, and he kept thinking about the justice of God and the righteousness of God, and his feelings on the inside were not helping him at all until he looked at that great passage, for I'm not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God of salvation for all who believe, first to the
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Jew and then the Gentile. Luther said, I greatly long to understand
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Paul's epistle to the Romans, and nothing stood in the way but that one expression, the righteousness of God, because I took it to mean that righteousness whereby
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God is righteous and deals righteously in punishing the unjust. Night and day
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I pondered until the connection between the righteousness of God and the statement tethered to the
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Word of God, the just shall live by faith. And he had a mentor named
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Staupitz, and Staupitz would tell him, stop looking to yourself, stop looking to your own feelings, make sure you're looking outside of your feelings to the
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Word of God. And the way I remember it all the time with Staupitz kids, Eden and Azariah, Eden and Azariah, if you look to yourself all the time,
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I just have two words, okay? So you don't keep looking at yourself. Staupitz, okay?
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Just Staupitz right now, all right? Okay, sorry, once in a while you just go into radio mode.
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It's not a Sunday morning we have freedom, right? Amen, all right. Everybody said amen except Brad and Sean, the two
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Presbyterians. Charles Hodge said, many sincere believers are too introspective.
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They look too exclusively within so that their hope is growing by the degree of evidence of regeneration that they find in their own experience.
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Listen, this, except in rare cases, can never lead to the assurance of hope.
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And then he goes on to critique religious affections a little bit by Edwards because it did that so often.
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Another guardrail before we get into the passage today in Romans 8, remember simul justus et peccator.
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Remember that you're simultaneously just in God's sight, we've learned a lot about justification, and also you sin.
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Those Latin words, simul justus, simultaneously just, are righteous and sinful.
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I remember one time I was at Ligonier and R .C. was still alive, R .C. Sproul, and I always wanted to see him write on a chalkboard some
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Latin letters because I felt that was really the reformed anointing. And I knew
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I would be a complete Christian if I could just see R .C. with a chalkboard and Latin. And so I did get to see that.
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I did get the anointing at St. Andrew's there, or as we say in Nebraska, the anointing.
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And I just want you to be reminded, dear Christian, it's a trustworthy statement deserving of full acceptance, 1
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Timothy 1 .5, that Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am, what did Paul say?
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The foremost. I am the foremost. And so remember, when you're looking on the inside, untethered to God's word,
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I don't know what you're going to see except a lot of things that Paul said I hate these things that I do, and I know that nothing good dwells within me.
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Last guardrail, not every Puritan is good when it comes to assurance. Sometimes we say
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Puritans, sometimes we talk about the reformers in England or in Europe. I just want you to be very careful.
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Just because someone says Puritan or says a Puritan paperback, they're not always good.
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I wouldn't read Baxter if I were you and you wanted to have assurance. I wouldn't read
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Joseph Alain if I were you and you wanted to have assurance. I especially would not read Matthew Mead's book called
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Almost Christian Discovered. He said there are two kinds of Christians, almost
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Christians and altogether Christians. Which one are you? You read that and you think,
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I'm not an altogether Christian. So just be very careful when it comes to not just Puritans, but spiritual discipline books.
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There are many authors that are right spiritual discipline books. And if you've got fasting and praying and this and that, there's nothing wrong with praying obviously, but be careful that you just don't buy into good marketing based on a book cover or even matter of fact, some publishing companies that 99 % of the things they publish are good, but once in a while they'll just publish something that's not good for your soul.
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So let's turn our Bibles please to Romans chapter eight. And let's think of the subjective side of assurance.
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A, after the objective looking to Christ is done. And now let's look at the
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Holy Spirit's inner witness. And then we'll look at the Spirit of God working in us, giving us corroborating evidence of our salvation.
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The Holy Spirit's testimony and inner witness and back to Romans we go. By the way,
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I hope if you have a regular Bible that's made out of paper, that when you open your
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Bible naturally and normally, I hope it just comes to Romans eight. It just should, good theologians have their
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Bibles just randomly open, just naturally open to Romans eight. When I heard that in seminary,
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I just made sure I got my Bible out and put a crease in it just so it would actually work for me. This is one of those chapters you just go back to over and over and over.
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And of course, Paul is talking about security in this chapter, right? The book ends chapter eight, verse one and chapter eight, verse 39.
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Nothing's going to separate us. There's no condemnation. And he's dealing with the Spirit of God here in Romans eight 14.
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I know you know the passage, but it's important to look at for all Romans eight 14, who are led by the
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Spirit of God are sons of God in this process of Holy living and sanctification.
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There's this leading here. Of course, we see what the
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Spirit of God does replacing fear with freedom in verse 15. You have not received the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry,
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Abba father. Just a quick note here, true or false. The fear of the
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Lord is beginning of wisdom. True. But I want you to realize your relationship to the
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Lord determines what that fear is. If you're an unbeliever, maybe there's an unbeliever here today.
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You should be afraid of God. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of living
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God. True. Yes. But now that we're Christians, do we still fear
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God like an unbeliever should fear God? And so instead of some servile fear, a fear of I'm afraid of punishment,
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God's the creator and judge and, and I'm not his friend through Christ Jesus.
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We as Christians still fear God, but it's not a servile fear. As Luther called it, it's a filial fear, a fear of a son or a daughter that says, my father is so great.
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My dad is so wonderful that I want to do things to honor him, to make him look good, to make his name known.
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That's what it means for Christians to fear God. And so we're not under slavery of fear to say cringing, you know, the dog that gets kicked too many times and it just walks around like I'm going to get hit again.
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That's not how we fear God. It is true that we still ought to fear God, but we don't fear with some cringing spirit of slavery fear that God is going to whack us.
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It says instead, verse 15, we've received the spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry,
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Abba father. That sounds just like Galatians chapter four, where it talks about Abba father and sons as well.
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And by the way, if you're ladies here, I don't want you to think automatically, well, sons and daughters, here's how
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I want you to think. One of the bad news about Bible translations, when they try to say sons and daughters, it's true.
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We're equal in Christ and Galatians chapter three, we're, we're, we're both male and female given the same
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Jesus justified the same way. But think like you would back in those days, if you were a son, what would you receive for the inheritance?
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If you were the firstborn son, what would you receive as inheritance? And I want you ladies to know, yes, you're daughters of God, but you have the privileges of the firstborn son.
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That's what we're after. We're not trying to change the text. Sons mean something. And so here we have the great passage about adoption of sons and we get to cry out
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Abba father. I don't know what you've been taught, but this doesn't mean
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I get to call God daddy has nothing to do with that. Be aware that you shouldn't say, well, somehow this is like daddy.
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No, this is an intimate relationship of a father and a son. Of course, for a lady's father and daughter, full privilege, full intimacy, an opportunity for access.
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Anytime I was doing premarital counseling this last Sunday, just before church service.
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And I was to meet a couple and they just walked in. They didn't knock. I said, I said,
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I thought you were my son or my daughter or my wife. Nobody just walks into my office unless they're my family. And the guy looked at me like, ha ha ha.
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I said, I'm not kidding. And then he goes, okay. Access anytime.
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We don't have to knock. We have access. Romans chapter five says, and we cry out Abba father. What in the world is going on there?
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You know what that word cry is? To shriek. It's like a lady giving birth.
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It's that kind of pain. This is not a little whimper. You know, you hold children and they're crying a little bit and they whimper some it's okay.
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This is a cry. Dear Christian, when you are hurting and nothing else will help you, the doctor's reports, the bank statement, but you on the inside say, father,
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I need help. God help me. I have nowhere to else. Lord, please.
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I have nowhere else to go. Please. Do you know what? That's one of the most important signs that you're really a
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Christian because you know that the God of the universe is powerful and caring and you cry out because you're shrieking in pain and turmoil.
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It doesn't mean you can't try to find help elsewhere, but if the essence of everything you cry out, God help me, please.
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Father. That's what this passage is talking about. Have you ever been there? Of course you have.
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You have no answers anywhere else and you cry out Abba father. And that is the spirit of God bearing witness to your spirit that in fact,
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God is real. And at the very essence of the trial, you say, God help me.
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Isn't that wonderful? You cry out, oh father, help rescue me. And what do good fathers do?
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They protect, they guide, they watch over and they care for their children.
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And if I do that as a sinful father, how much more does our father who art in heaven do that for us?
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That's the witness of the spirit of God. I think of the Lord Jesus crying Abba father, all things are possible for you.
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Remove this cup from me, yet not what I will, but you will. I don't know if you think about God as father, but J.
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Packer said that's the most important concept for a Christian in the Bible, that God is your father through the son's work and the spirit's application.