June Affleck - Second Convention, Williams, Western Australia - November 2005

Hymn 134

I will tell of a visit yesterday I had with someone I had never met and it was the story of adoption. I love thinking about this because it’s one way we can think of the gospel; it’s like the story of adoption. Sometimes there are little children who have no one to care for them: so they have no home, no parents, and their future doesn’t look very good. But it’s a wonderful thing when someone can give them a little home: be a father and mother, give them love and a future.

We sing, “Speak, speak the message that makes me His child.” That’s what the gospel is all about and one way we can become a child of God; thinking of it spiritually is by being adopted.

Ephesians 1:4-6, it tells in the word of God before the world ever began – “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” So God had a plan of adoption and this plan included Jesus, the one that could make us holy and without blame and help us to be accepted by the Father. So Jesus was a very important part of this plan of adoption.

It tells us in Psalm 14:2, “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there were any that did understand and seek God.” I love this picture; and we know God is still looking down from heaven upon all the children of men, looking to see if there’s anyone who wants to understand and are seeking for God. Is there anyone that wants to have God as their Father? Is there anyone that’s feeling like an orphan – that they really don’t know what love is and what a family is? I am glad God is looking down on this earth. This world is really like an orphanage and throughout the world there are lost people looking after natural things of life, but really that’s all they have. But God is wanting to give us more than natural life: spiritual life. He’s wanting to make us one of His spiritual children so we can be His child now and throughout eternity.

Then 1 John 4:9-10, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” It’s a story of adoption and the love of God. He loved the world so much, He was willing to send Jesus His Son to live, to show us how to live and to die so we could be made accepted. So we could live not just naturally but spiritually.

Psalm 68:6, “God setteth the solitary in families:  He bringeth out those which are bound with chains.” I just had a message from one our workers back home telling me about some visits they were making with people in their field; where a woman admitted to the sisters, “I am so lonely, I have lots of people all around me but I’m so lonely.” Well, she was solitary and feeling alone. Maybe there were lots of things this woman had but she was still lonely. What would she be lonely for? I believe it’s something for God. So God sees these people that are lonely and wants to have them in His spiritual family. Maybe the majority of people in this tent tonight don’t feel lonely. We have heard lots of testimonies how thankful people are to have a Father and be part of the spiritual family of God. Even though there are lots of people here that feel, “I am so lonely and don’t have a family,” but we would like to remind you God would like you to be His child.

Galatians 4:4, “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law.” I think we all understand that when we listen to the gospel and the words of Jesus. There’s a verse that tells us when we obey God gives us the spirit, and it appears it’s the spirit of His Son, Jesus. And that’s what makes us His child, when we have the same spirit of God’s beloved Son.

Then 1 John 3:1, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.” I noticed the difference between the verse I read from Psalm 14 that God is looking down on the children of men, human and naturally. And then behold what manner of love……… That’s what happens when you are adopted of God; we are a child of God, not just children of men.

Some memories come back to me of little adoption stories that teach me about the heart of God. There was a young couple in my field and they wanted to adopt some children and they looked in various places and enquired around the world. Finally they were told there were some little children that were orphans and they were found in the country of Russia. So they did what was needed to do: they made lots of preparations, expenses, lots of time and they put so much into this because they really wanted those children. Then all the time they were away, they realised there were things that could happen and things could change and, “We might have to come home without children.” Finally the day came when we went to the airport and there was quite a feeling as we were watching and waiting. First Trevor came and his wife followed and in the arms of both of them they had a little boy. And those little boys weren’t orphans any more and so they gave them a home. They have a Father and Mother: their future is so different for those little boys because now someone loves them. Never have we heard those parents speaking about the cost, the journey it took them or how much care it takes. That’s because they loved them and they adopted them and they are their children and it makes me understand a little more the heart of God.

We know it cost God so much to give us the opportunity to be a child of the family of God. Like our natural parents; but we don’t hear of the cost, the time and the care – that’s because they want us and love us. Then there’s another man in his 70s. One time we had a gathering, mostly younger people, and there was this man looking outside the circle and it occurred to me I was going to ask him a question. “Marvin, how long is it that you had the opportunity to tell the story of your adoption?” And his face lit up as he told of a wonderful thought that came to his mother. So she got on the train and went into the city and the main thing in her heart was she was going to visit the hospital to see if there were any children that needed a home. It’s not done quite like that now but she was taken to a place where there were little babies that were left at the mercy of others. She was able to look at some that were pretty, healthy, and strong; but then she came to this little boy who was sick: had something wrong with his skin and he was quite thin. But when she looked into his eyes, his little arms came up and that woman made her choice, that that little boy was the one she wanted to be her son. Someone asked her why did she pick him, and she said it was because he needed her the most. God doesn’t despise people what ever condition they are in but it’s our need, our reaching out to God that moves Him to want us to be His child.

If you have ever looked at the Workers’ list in British Columbia there’s a name, Leanne Lewis. You would think she’s a Canadian by her name, but this little woman is from Korea, and she is a story of adoption. I knew her when she was small but when she grew up she had a desire she wanted to go back to Korea and go back right to the orphanage where she had been taken from. So she went back at 18 or 19 years of age and the workers went with her. She just looked at the little babies lying there and this is the comment she made to me about how she felt. “I just looked into their faces and I saw myself and realised if someone hadn’t loved me I wouldn’t have been where I am. I wouldn’t have had a Father, Mother and a home, their love and the hope.” I am sure there are many in this meeting tonight who can think on their own experience to where God found you and you are thankful that you weren’t left there. And you have come to find a home, a Father and love. Maybe there are still some who are reaching out and longing, and you are hoping that God will reach out and find you. But God knows: God saw Elijah, God saw Zachariah. God sees everyone amongst the multitude in this great big orphanage of this world; and all of us can be so thankful that God is our Father. And if he isn’t our Father yet, I hope you will reach out to Him.