By Bradford Smith
Missions Pastor, The Way, Clarksville
Until recently, I’d never heard a sermon on adoption. A great multitude languishes right in our very midst, devoid of hope, desperate in affliction, and ignorant of the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. Who will be the one to deliver the words of life to the orphan, even by proxy? This is a great gospel issue.
Here is the logic. Pastors desire to reach the lost with the gospel. Many (most) of the lost are unchurched and statistically unlikely to repent as an adult. Yet, every year, we “graduate” thousands of unchurched children into adulthood via the foster system, swelling the ranks of those least likely to repent.
Adoption, physical adoption, serves to reach these people as children when they are much more receptive to hearing about Christ. This is a gospel issue – a great and tragic gospel issue. Pastors preach against sin and its ill effects, as they should. But tracing the problem as close to the source as possible, an increasing number of children have no parents to teach them about Christ.
Orphans suffer physical affliction far greater than you may imagine. Every year, thousands of children turn 18 years old and enter a life of affliction, incarceration, addiction, pregnancy, homelessness, etc. The outlook is decidedly bleak. Statistically, most of them will fail at life. Yet, that is not even the real issue. The real issue is that most of them do not know Jesus Christ.
It is a fact that children inherit the faith, or lack thereof, of their parents. That is why God commands us so vehemently to teach our children about Christ, to bring them up in the way of the Lord. Yet, have you considered those who have no parents? Who will teach them about Christ?
Yet, pastors seem largely silent on the issue. I was saved in 2005 and have attended church at least weekly since and until our church preached through the issue last year, had never once heard a sermon on the need, on the mandate, to adopt.
I’d heard a variety of sermons on countless other topics, but never one on adoption. I fail to understand why, especially when the answer is so obvious.
What if God’s undershepherds exhorted God’s people to adopt, to raise these children in godly homes, to teach them about Christ? What if pastors exhorted the church to repent of this oversight and to see adoption as the desperate gospel issue that it is.
Maybe then, the church would not stand idly by as this multitude languishes in despair, desperate for what they cannot possibly fathom. Will you be the one to tell them?