He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

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Monday, October 05, 2009 

Adoption is the World Mission

My sister stated on her adoption blog, "I also feel like there is something missional about international adoption. I don’t know how to put my finger on it." It reminded me of another blog post I had read last week from Jeremy Hasinks, associate pastor at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, KY:

Where does adoption fit in your local church’s mission to reach the world with the gospel?

The task of rescuing orphans is often relegated to a small minority of folks in the church usually made up of those who have adopted or those who are in the process of adopting. These folks are embraced and encouraged for doing a ‘good thing,’ but no one knows to see what they are doing as a part of fulfilling the church’s commitment to the Great Commission.

One reason for this is that we fail to see adoption as God’s mission in the world. God’s mission in the world is to form a family for Himself called the church. The church is made up of people from every tribe, language, nation, and people. (Revelation 5:9) This family is created not according to the flesh, but through adoption.

In Ephesians 3, Paul refers to this plan or mission as a mystery once hidden in God but now being revealed in the world. We join God in His mission of adoption by delivering the good news to the nations that they can be adopted through faith in Jesus. As they hear and believe our message, God’s mystery is unveiled to the cosmos. As this happens Paul declares, “the manifold wisdom of God is made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 3:10)

God’s mission is to declare His wisdom by adopting the nations. We join God in this mission as we preach the gospel and gather His church from the ends of the earth.

So what’s the connection between world mission work and rescuing orphans?

If God’s wisdom is made known through world missions, it is the same wisdom that reverberates when our churches take part in rescuing orphans. When a church helps bring to a family a new son not according to the flesh but according to adoption there is a reflection of the same manifold wisdom that is displayed in through our participation in the world mission.

Let me be clear, preaching the gospel brings about eternal salvation to those who hear and believe. The only hope for the over 6,000 unreached people groups around the world is that churches would be planted and reproduced through the proclamation that salvation is in no other name but the name of Jesus. God’s mission will not be completed primarily through families adopting orphans from around the world, but through world mission efforts. And yet, a commitment to join God on mission should cause us to be like God on mission.

Our mission work declares that we believe the gospel transcends our culture. Adoption declares that we believe the gospel transcends our flesh and blood. As former Gentiles, we work to see the nations represented in our congregation. As former orphans, we work together to see former rescued orphans in our families. This is the wisdom of God displayed in missions. It is the same wisdom displayed through adoption.

Every time you see a family standing at the front of your church ready to give their life to the cause of Christ around the world, there you see a church’s commitment to the wisdom of God. Every time you see a couple standing in front of your congregation holding the hand of a child who was once abandoned but now has a father, there again you see a church’s commitment to the wisdom of God.

The local church that embraces the wisdom revealed in the world mission will seek to echo such wisdom by making adoption and orphan care central to their mission strategy. Why? Because it is not their plan or programs to which they are committed. It is the wisdom of God revealed in the gospel to which they are committed. They seek to proclaim this wisdom in every way possible including the most vivid declaration of rescuing orphans.

A church with a heart for the nations should be able to see the faces of the nations each Sunday morning as they gather for worship. They will be able to look around and identify not only former Gentiles from all over the globe, but also former orphans, spiritually and even physically. In doing so, they are saying to the heavenly hosts, Satan’s legions, and all the forces of darkness arrayed against them, ” Mission accomplished!” (At least, in an already not yet sense)

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