Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.

– 1 Peter 5:6-7 NAS

I hope that all of you had a wonderful time at Christmas and New Years as we start a new year again. We had the great privilege to have our daughter with us for Christmas through New Year’s Day and then she jetted back to the homeland. It was an adjustment to not have our son with us. I want to thank our worship teams, children’s ministry and all those connected to our special service and regular Sunday ministries for all the hard work they put in for those ministries; their efforts were outstanding. This last Sunday was outstanding with our teams, except for one thing…

My first step into the New Year was a bit of a train wreck but a great reminder of how much everything depends on the Lord and what humility feels like. To start I owe our whole Body a couple of apologies – this last Sunday was one of those times that I think I completely forgot how to communicate for about a solid hour.

First I apologize for miscommunicating the idea that there was no second hour for this last Sunday. What I had in mind was that only the class I was teaching (Getting to Know Oak Grove Church) was officially not starting until next week. The other classes were meeting and I found out after it sounded like I was saying there was no Grove U during the second hour. I was not intending to undermine some great opportunities for people.

Second, I apologize for the reckless onslaught of information on Sunday.There are times that detailed information is helpful when it integrated meaningfully within a message but not as a separate barrage of endless details that are mostly extraneous. I would love to say that I had a mid-life brain freeze but that was just a really bad peaching. It is a good thing that the church is dependent on the Lord and the work of His Spirit because that random display of information could have sunk an aircraft carrier. So thank you for your patience and graciousness to deal with human blunders, I will be working to make a little more sense in the weeks to come.

Since Sunday’s message was so convoluted I will offer a simple correction here to help smooth the process. Hopefully this may clarify the clutter a little:

Theme: God is absolutely faithful to His promise to make those who exercise faith in Him to be heirs to His blessing.

1. God’s Promise is to Abraham and his seed

God’s promise is ultimately fulfilled in Christ. He is the descendant or seed that will make all the promises come to pass. Since Abraham and many others all died without receiving the promises, their confidence was that they would need to fully trust God to honor His Word. God honors that promise in the seed of Abraham. Christ Himself.

Because Christ is the seed of Abraham and David, those who place their faith and trust in Christ are grafted in as Abraham’s offspring. Since there is only one “seed” the only right we have to be heirs is if we are part of the family.

2. God’s Promise to Abraham is appropriated on the principle of faith.

The language of being an heirpulls in the idea of inheritance. God will provide an inheritance that is, as Peter tells us, imperishable, undefiled, will not fade away, reserved in heaven for us (1 Pet. 1:4). It is only by the principle of faith, not a law of works that we can participate and secure this inheritance. Only through faith in Christ do we have the right to be called children of God. If you don’t belong to the family, you are not entitled to the inheritance.

3. God’s promise is according to grace.

Grace is the key to God’s declaring that we are righteous. Regardless if we look in the Old Testament or the New, we are ungodly and sinners. Only by the generosity of God and His profound grace are we saved, declared righteous, removed from His judgment, we are made children of God. 

4. God’s Promise makes us children of Abraham

Have you ever taken one of those Ancestry DNA tests? You might have used MyHeritage, CellMax DNA, 23 and Me DNA or something else. I have read and heard that some stories are quite amazing. People who find out they are related to some key person they never knew was part of their heritage… like Chassity…

Chassity, who is known on Twitter as Auntie Chass, had lived 31 years without knowing who her father was. Knowing little about that side of her family, Chassity became curious about her ancestry and decided to take a DNA test. While looking through the results, she noticed that one side of her family had a heavy European concentration, which surprised her, as her mother is Black and has always told her that her father was “deeply dark-skinned”. The European heritage was coming from her X chromosomes, so she began pressing her mother for more information about her father.

 After much argumentation, her mother finally told her the name of her father: a name Chassity had never heard before. This meant that multiple aspects of her identity had been based on a lie: her ethnic heritage, who her father was, and even the last name she had been using for 31 years.

With the name she was given, Chassity was able to track her father down on Facebook and messaged him. She described her apprehension to Buzzfeed: “I didn’t know if he even knew about me or [would] even accept I could possibly be his child.”  He then responded: “Wow I been looking for you forever.” Chassity’s fears were replaced by the excitement for a relationship with a father she never knew she had. She explained: “I never felt a feeling like this. A man that wants to be my father and there he is. My entire life he lived no further than 20 mins away from me… And he couldn’t find me because I have another man’s last name.” (Online miscellaneous source).

Discovering that someone is now part of your life that you never considered possible can have some exciting possibilities. Just think that if you were to run a spiritual DNA test on yourself you will discover that your heritage is linked to a great king like David, or to someone as significant as Abraham. But more importantly, your spiritual DNA will show that you are related to Jesus, God’s Son, and the one who died and rose on your behalf.

Humbled by His grace,

Pastor Brad