November 13, 2016
“The call to care for orphans, like some many things in Scripture, is a call to walk in faith.” – Russell Moore
This is because there is no manual or conference or counselor with systematized advice and practice that can address the myriad of challenges that will come with caring for the fatherless.
We have the challenge we have because of the curse. It has affected everything.
Updated statistics: Rome/Floyd County DFCS statistics
391 Children in care
156 New cases reported in October
29 Foster homes in Floyd County
If we are going to care for the fatherless, we must have a doctrinal framework that will dictate our actions.
What is that framework?
A. Believe God (The Best Father) cares for the orphan
A “word coming from a Hebrew root meaning “to be alone” or “bereaved,” often rendered as “fatherless.” The idea describes any person who is without legal standing in the covenant community of Israel, who is unprotected or needy, and who is especially exposed to oppression, as well as one bereft of one or both earthly parents (cf. Lam 5:3). Since God has a special concern for the fatherless (Ex 22:22–24; Dt 10:18; Pss 10:14, 18; 27:10; 68:5; 146:9; Is 1:17; Hos 14:3), OT legislation made special provision for them by protecting their rights of inheritance (Nm 27:7–11; Dt 24:17; Prv 23:10); ensuring their freedom to glean the fields and vineyards (Dt 24:19–21); allowing their participation in the great annual feasts (Dt 16:11, 14); and allotting them a portion of the tithe crops collected every three years (Dt 14:29; 26:12). Strong condemnation awaits those who oppress them (Dt 24:17; 27:19; Mal 3:5). While the orphans of Israel were sometimes aided by friends and relatives (Jb 29:12; 31:17), there was general failure to meet the requirements of the Law as is witnessed by the accusations of the inspired writers (Jb 6:27; 22:9; 24:3, 9; Ps 94:6; Is 1:23; 10:2; Jer 5:28; Ez 22:7). Consequently, the prophets never tire of pleading the orphan’s cause (Jer 7:6; 22:3; Zec 7:10). The word is used only twice in the NT; once in a general sense to describe those who are “desolate” or “comfortless” (Jn 14:18), and once in the specific sense to describe the “fatherless” (Jas 1:27). In the spirit of an OT prophet, James declares that true religion involves the care of orphans.”
- Exodus 22:21-24
21 You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. 22 You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. 23 If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, 24 and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.
- Deuteronomy 10:18
18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.
B. Grow into a more complete understanding of the gospel: Adoption as a facet of the gospel message.
- We never leave the bible’s teaching of “justification”, but we also never leave the bible’s teaching on adoption.
Salvation in the bible is like a diamond. It has facets that we are to enjoy and are to determine our enjoyment of God as we experience them.
Adoption is a facet (one side of something many-sided) of our salvation.
Justification reminds us we are made right. Adoption reminds us we are made children.
- Romans 8:12-17, 23
12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
C. Know that caring for the fatherless is a call to suffer: We get to identify with Jesus as we take on the suffering of others
- Suffering is not only the worst case scenario for missionaries.
Suffering is any difficulty incurred because one has obeyed Jesus. Suffering is not to be judged by severity, but by presence of difficulty due to obeying God and living by the values of God’s kingdom.
Suffering can’t be avoided. Suffering is part of the curse. The difference for the Christian is that in Christ suffering is redeemed AND a means of receiving the grace of God in special ways as we set right what the curse set crooked.
- Philippians 3:8-11
8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
D. Know that caring for the fatherless requires the whole church to do its individual part
- This means that we all have a role.
You may not be a foster parent or an adoptive parent, but if you are in community you have a role.
James 1:27 applies to the whole church. Just as we have to make sense of the Great Commission for every disciple, we have to make sense of James 1:27 for every disciple.
Your role will be determined by your relationships, your gifting by the Spirit in community, and a general desire to love each other as Jesus taught us.
- There is no “one” way to address it our challenge. It’s a “yes” / “and” type of work.
This work is multi-faceted. This work requires multiple solutions to a complex problem from legislation, to infrastructure, to organizational change, to boots on the ground taking kids and so on.
This is why every disciple in every domain can have a role.
If your domain is law, your services can be helpful. Serve the legal needs of children who need advocates in court.
If your domain is education, your services can be helpful. Serve the educational needs of kids who are behind due to upheaval by tutoring etc.
If your domain is medicine, your services can be helpful. Help provide care for kids who have extended needs as a service.
If your domain is business, your services can be helpful. What about young men and women who age out of the system? Where will they get training or an opportunity?
- This means that the work is not optional.
The whole church of Jesus must make sense of the Scripture’s clear teaching on this issue.
What is TRC doing?
We started Global Impact for working overseas and doing local engagement as well. Restoration Rome is a work of Global Impact.
By working with the city of Rome and the incredibly hard work of Jeff and Mary Margaret Mauer, we have a central location for addressing many facets of the challenge of our town.
- Restoration Rome Q & A
- What is the vision of Restoration Rome?
- How will RR, when up and running, affect the foster care/adoption crisis in Rome/Floyd County?
- What is the current status of the facility and what “ministries” are going into the space?
- What other ministries/services will be going into the building?
- How can people receive information and updates so they can know what is happening?
- How can TRC people come and serve?
 Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 1595–1596.