Monthly Archives: February 2019

Romans 8.9-11

Title: Alive by the Spirit!

Text: Romans 8.9-11(pg 888)

There is a King who lived long enough to see his great-grandmother serve as Queen of England and, his niece, the current reigning Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth. The King? King Edward VIII. He was born during his great-grandmother’s reign in 1894. In 1952, he watched his niece at her coronation. What a link! He saw both Queens, the two longest reigning monarchs in British History, in their two subsequent centuries. Queen Victoria began serving as England’s Queen in 1837 and ruled for 64 years, surrendering her throne in 1901. Today’s Queen, Queen Elizabeth has been on the throne since 1952. So, as of February 6th, she has been reigning for 67 years. So, I suppose it isn’t too unusual that a man would see these two women serve as Queen. But, it is pretty unique that a King would see two reigning queens. You see, for a woman to become queen, the King would have to die.

You might be familiar with the story… King Edward VII reigned from 1901-1910 when Queen Victoria died. His Son, George V, reigned from 1910-1936. When George the V died, his son King Edward VIII became King. But he didn’t really want to be king all the time. He had a real problem.

He was told that there were two people in him. There was Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David who was the Prince of Wales. The other man was King Edward VIII. He couldn’t be both. One would rule over him and the choice was his. The truth was he couldn’t be both. And, for one to reign, the other had to die. The problem was this man wanted to be able to let the passions of the playboy prince reign. He only wanted King Edward VIII to rule sometimes. But the other man he was – the playboy, the man who was mixing it up with a married woman – that man like to drink and party and pursue his passions. And, that’s the man who won out. So, after 11 months of faking it, he gave up his throne and was given a new Title: The Duke of Windsor. He lived out the rest of his life as the Duke of Windsor. That is why he was able to see these two Queens.

Transition: He has the dubious distinction of being the only King in British History to abdicate his throne. And he did so because he couldn’t give up his passions.

In a similar fashion, that’s what Paul is writing to the Romans in our text: You cannot walk according to the flesh and walk according to the Spirit at the same time. You have to surrender one and let the other reign. There is only room for one to sit on the throne of your heart. And Jesus doesn’t storm the gates of your life and take the throne by force. It is something you have to abdicate. Either you’ll be Prince of your passion chasing the lusts and desires of the flesh or Jesus will be King and you will live your life according to the Spirit.

As we come to our text this morning, you might note there is a change in the grammar. Maybe you noticed it when it was read earlier. To be specific, the pronouns change. See v5, for those… He identifies two groups: those who live life according to the flesh and those who live life according to the Spirit.

But now, He turns from teaching to dialogue. He is speaking to them directly.

I’d like to speak with you directly. I feel like I know you… most of you fairly well. Paul cites 5 Truths about these Roman Christians and I’d like to share them as directly with you as Paul did to them.

Truth #1: You, however, are in the Spirit.

He is speaking to Christians. At least there seems to be an assumption that his readers are indeed, believers. Rd v9a; You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the spirit. To get where he is coming from, you’ll really have to go back to v 7 and read through the first part of v9. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit…

So, his audience is the Church at Rome: Christians. You can see their names listed in Romans 16. Turn a few pages to the end of this letter. Read Romans 16.1-15; His terminology identifies that many he believe to be saved, or, at least, there are those who are saved in that household. I count 27 people. The mother of Rufus is mentioned, but not her name. Still, I counted her. Paul doesn’t do anything near this in any of his other letters. I think it is safe to assume that he believes many of the people in the church at Rome to be Christians. Or, more specifically, those who are ‘in the Spirit’.

But, Paul is clear not to assume that all are believers. rd 9b; if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. That’s a big ‘if’. I’m sure there were some in the Roman Church who were not believers. Do you see in our text here the word ‘if’? It is a different word for ‘if’ than the usual word in Greek. This word shows emphasis. He doesn’t use it very often; only three times in this letter and 6 times in all 13 of his letters. We’ll see it again next week when we talk about adoption into the family of Christ by the Spirit. Look to v 17; rd v17; provided… ESV uses a word that is more intense to clarify its meaning. And so in our text today, the translators of the NASB add the word indeed. The ESV adds in fact. The NIV doesn’t really do anything to add emphasis. But here’s the point: you are in the Spirit, if, in fact (and that’s a big if) the Spirit of God dwells in you.

Transition: and this is the 2nd truth Paul presents…

Truth #2: The Spirit is alive in you.

That means, he communicates and acts in you. When you don’t feel right about something. When you feel guilty about an action or decision. When you feel the need to go talk to someone or pray for them in that moment. In those moments, you’re under the direction of the Holy Spirit who is alive in you. Oh, brother and sister in Christ – don’t squelch that! So many times, we, who possess the Spirit of God in us, we’re directed by the Holy Spirit to act in some fashion. That’s because the Spirit of God is alive in you!

Now, perhaps you sitting here today and you don’t feel that. Perhaps you’re thinking that it has been so many years now since last you felt the Spirit’s leading in a matter or in a circumstance. Maybe it has been so long, you can’t even remember when the last time was. Oh, dear friend, be afraid of that. That should strike fear in your soul. It might be that the Spirit moved in you so many times, but you said no so many times in return, that the Spirit stopped prompting you. That is cause for great concern.

Look at this verse in our text; rd v 9a-b: You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.

Paul sounds definitive about them but then adds this subordinating conditional clause – if, the Spirit of God is housed in you. (v1, 4). To clarify, he means anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ… there is a very real possibility that there are some in the presence of the church at Rome who do not know Christ as Savior. Their sins have not been atoned for and they walk according to the flesh and the World.

But, for those who are Christians, they have God living in them. To be clear, Paul uses all three persons of the Trinity to clarify this teaching. He says, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, i.e., the Holy Spirit is housed in you. That’s the term he uses.

Ill.: οἶκος is the word for house. It is a noun. You’ve probably noticed it on a container of Oikos Greek Yogurt. I don’t know why they named the Yogurt “house”, but nevertheless, you’ve probably seen it. That is the word here in our text, only it is in verb form. Here is the Truth Paul is teaching: When you become a believer, the Holy Spirit of God takes up residence in your soul.

This really shouldn’t surprise us. Jesus promised this in John 14. He has gone to prepare a place for us and one day he will return to take us home to be with him. This is really some pretty deep theology but bear with me. Until that time when he returns again, he says beginning in v 16:

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

Transition: which brings me to the 3rd truth this morning…

Truth #3: You now belong to Christ.

Now I belong to Jesus, Jesus belongs to me. Not for the years of time alone, but for eternity.

You are not your own. This is derived from the opposite of what is stated in the rest of v9: anyone who doesn’t have the spirit of Christ, does not belong to Christ. But you, when you came to your senses and realized your desperate need for Christ, you surrendered all of what you know about yourself to him. Now you belong to him.

But, maybe you haven’t. That was the problem King Andrew VIII had. He had been in a long-term relationship, out of wedlock, with a woman and he abandoned her to pursue a married woman. This was his practice throughout the 1920s and ’30s. To become king, he had to give up his old, wicked, philandering lifestyle and begin living like the King he was born to be. But he couldn’t. It wasn’t that he didn’t try. At least it looks like he tried. He became King upon his father’s death. He held the throne for 11 months, but couldn’t quit his old ways. His passions and lusts overwhelmed him to the point that he abandoned any thought of being king and abdicated his throne to his little brother, Albert, Elizabeth’s father.

Let me ask you today: Do you belong to Jesus? Is he the King who sits on your heart’s throne? Have you surrendered all that you know of yourself to him? Or, are you just trying to fake it: saying the right words, but the actions of your life really scream, “liar!”

Let me implore you now to surrender your life totally to Christ. If you never have, I want to talk with you about it. Would you come to talk to me? After the service, please come talk with me. You’ll find me back near the Cornerstone area. Just come up and say: Can we talk?

Transition: Truth #3: if you are in the Spirit, you now belong to Christ.

Truth: #4: And if Christ is in you, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Rd v 10; I think Paul is referencing v 4 above; (cf.: v4; righteous requirement); although, the body is (still) dead because of sin, your spirit is alive because Christ fulfilled the righteous requirement of the law. Did you catch that? You’re both dead and alive at the same time. A living contradiction, you are!

So, the Spirit gives life to your spirit while you’re in a dying body. If you’re younger, you probably don’t feel like you’re dying. As you get older, you come to realize that this life is rather temporary and the body is giving up on itself.

Something that happens to you as you get older is your sight gives way. Looking around you see dark figures move across your eyes. At first, since you don’t understand it, you might think you’re seeing things. As you get older, these dark figures get more pronounced. You have to stop and ask yourself if you just saw a mouse run across the floor or are your eyes betraying you!

A friend shared this discovery with me and declared: I’m watching myself die from the inside out! That is so true. This body is dying. The truth is, none of us gets out of this thing called life alive.

Let me show you a picture: show picture of the women and children on the front steps at the Old Calvary.

Some will live longer in their bodies than others. But, unless Christ returns before your time runs out – your body will give up on you and you will be left to be remembered in Photographs. But this verse reminds us of something very important: even though the body is dying because of sin, the Spirit is alive in us!

Transition: which brings me to Truth #5

Truth: #5: The Spirit will also give life to our bodies when we die and we will be raised, just as Jesus was.

Let me ‘splain: rd v 11; When I was a teenager, Russ Taff, singing with the Imperials, said: the Bible says that same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, also made us alive in him. I think his statement came from this verse. While that is true, I don’t think that is what Paul is saying here. He has been saying it, yes. But this verse, this verse is a continuation of the Spirit’s activity in our lives:

  • When we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, he comes to live in us by way of his Holy Spirit.
  • The Spirit takes up residence in us. He lives, he dwells, he is housed in our spirit.
  • He communes with us. He guides us in paths of righteousness. He convicts us in regard to sin. He illumines our hearts and minds to give us an understanding of his truth. We are now under his sway and leadership.
  • And when this body gives out and dies, the Spirit won’t die. And, in reality, neither will we. The body, which lies dead in a grave, will be resurrected just as Jesus’ body was raised.

Turn to 1 Cor 15.1 (pg. 903) think our area code: 903. Rd 1 Cor 15.

Application: So, what do we do in light of this information: 1 Cor 15.58: 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

  1. Steadfast: remain firm in your faith!
  2. Immovable: don’t chase after the passions of the world which flow in and out of your life. Plant your feet and remain immovable!
  3. Abound in the work of the Lord always: consider the work God has called us to as a body and let us not stop.
  4. Remember: our work is not in vain. It might appear that way at times, but it is accomplishing things we can only imagine. God is using us. We are seeing people saved overseas. We are seeing people saved here in Tyler. We will continue to see these things.

In a moment we’ll be dismissed. There will be coffee, donuts, and cookies in the Cornerstone area following a benedictory prayer. I invite you to join us. Come visit with us. And, if there is something you want to discuss, please, let’s talk. If you want to know more about faith in Christ or membership at Calvary – come talk to us.

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Filed under Romans, Romans 8, Scripture, Sermon

Romans 8.5-8

Title: The Spirit-Filled Life brings Focus!

Text: Romans 8.4-9 (pg. 887)

Introduction: The Spirit-Filled Life brings Focus! Last week we began to dig into Romans chapter 8 as we took a look at The Spirit-Filled Life brings Freedom! This week: We look at the 2nd part of the Spirit-Filled life for the new believer: Focus. Romans 8. If you’re using a pew Bible, I’m on page 887-888. By the way, if you’re sitting near someone who doesn’t have a Bible, help them find one near you.

IN the 2018 News of the Year Edition of World Magazine, a lady in Duquesne, PA was reported as driving on the train tracks. It was last November 21st, and local police were summoned and when they tracked her down they did, in fact, find that she was driving on the train tracks. The police reported that she was sober. No alcohol or drugs in her system. She seemed perfectly fine. Why then was she on the train tracks? She was simply following her GPS, which had told her to go that way. And she did! She was so focused in on following the directions from her GPS that she followed directions down the wrong track… pardon the pun.

BTW: she got a ticket!

I think that’s a good way to describe the difference between living your life according to the flesh and according to the spirit. The Spirit of God will never steer you wrong!

But to be fair: this doctrine of the Holy Spirit living in us is a hard concept for us all. Isn’t it? Consider the man in John 3, Nicodemus – who comes to Jesus by night. John calls him a ruler of the Jews. Jesus calls him the teacher of Israel. And yet, when Jesus tries to explain spiritual matters to him, he still thinks in earthly terms.

Jesus told Nicodemus: flesh gives birth to flesh and spirit gives birth to spirit. Nicodemus struggles intellectually to grasp the concept that Jesus is laying out for him. He says: that which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. So consider: we are speaking of earthly, physical matters and heavenly, spiritual matters. The physical matters we get. The spiritual… they’re much more difficult to grasp. The difference can be like trusting your life to a human or a machine.

We pick up in v 5 of Romans 8, but I’d like to start in v1. That’s on Page 887-8 in your Pew Bible.

Let’s read that together. If you’re knees work well and you’re physically able, would you mind standing? Let’s begin in v.1 of Chapter 8:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Let’s pray.

The big idea behind Paul’s teaching is pretty simple: there is a contrast between those who are in Christ Jesus and those who are not. That contrast? It is their focus. You see, those who live their lives according to the flesh have their minds set on the flesh. Those who live their lives according to the Spirit have their minds set on the Spirit.

Let’s discuss this latter group first: For those who are in Christ Jesus, verse 1 tells us that we are no longer under condemnation. Why? Verse 2 tells us that we’ve been set free from the law of sin and death. How is that even possible: see v 4 – because God sent his own Son to die for us in the likeness of sinful flesh. That means that God became a man in order to fulfill the requirement of the law. When sin was condemned the punishment was death. Jesus died in our place. He satisfied that requirement. But Paul doesn’t just stop there. Even though that is where we stopped last week. Let’s continue from here… rd v 4; in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. So, it is fulfilled in us – not by us. And then, who is us? Answer: Those who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

You might just be asking yourself at this moment if you are one of those people. How can you know? Paul is going to tell us in v 5&6; So, there are two types of people with two different results in their lives.

1st, to set the mind on the flesh is death. But, it isn’t that way for the believer. For that person, their mind is set on the Spirit – and that brings life. You have two opposites here: death and life. He gives us two others, as well: notice the end of that sentence – and peace. Keep reading and you see its opposite; rd v 7; For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot. So, those in Christ have peace and live their lives with a sense of peace that lost people just can’t have and just don’t understand.

Philippians 4.7 says: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. How is that? How does that work? Well, the whole passage says:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4.4-7

Does it say: Rejoice in the Lord sometimes? When times are good? When you have money? When you’re healthy! No. Always.

Reasonableness: or gentleness. The idea is when you respond to life and the hits you take from life – respond in a gentle – reasonable way that communicates to everyone your peace. Do you believe God’s got this? Then respond that way. We usually respond out of selfishness, don’t we?

The Lord is at hand. Instead of responding in selfish anger, TRUST the Lord – he knows what he’s doing. Pray about your situation. Don’t be anxious about anything, but in everything Pray. And then…rd v7.

Transition: You see that is how the person who lives their life with their mind set on the Spirit responds.

Those in the flesh live in hostility toward God. And, the reason is (rd v 7) that they cannot submit to the law.

Two interesting facts here I want you to note about v6-7.

1st, note the chiastic structure Paul is using in this passage. A chiasm is a form of writing used in Hebrew teaching. You have:

  • death
    • life
    • peace
  • hostility

The emphasis and point here is life and peace.

2nd, note that’s the 2nd time we’ve seen the law in this text. The first one was in v4 where Paul told us that Jesus died for our sins in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us. Those who walk according to the flesh live a life hostile to God and (see v7) they cannot submit to God’s law. It isn’t in them to do so. Back up in v2 Paul told us the law was sin and death.

Verse 4 tells us that Jesus fulfilled that righteous requirement. Jesus is the only one who could ever fulfill the righteous requirement of the law. When he comes to live in you by his Spirit, he writes his law upon your heart. That was the promise of the OT. One day he would write his law upon our hearts. BTW: that comes from Jeremiah 31.33: 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

This prophecy, of course, is fulfilled in Jesus. But, the one without the Spirit of Jesus coming into his life – he is filled with hostility toward God. And note these two results now: v7 he cannot submit to the law and v8, he cannot please God.

In reading this I’m reminded of another verse that mentions an inability to please God. It is found in Hebrews 11.6: And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

So let’s review these steps:

  1. We now stand no longer condemned.
  2. Why? Because the law of the Spirit of life has set us free from the law of sin and death. That Spirit of life is what has come to live in us when we believe, and, he has set us free.
  3. How? Because God did for us what we could never do on our own. He fulfilled the righteous requirement of the law through the sending of his Son. And so now we see two types of people:
    1. Those who live life according to the Spirit.
    2. Those who live life according to the flesh.
  4. These two types of people show themselves to be who they are by the way they live and think. The Gk uses the terms be and
    1. Those who find their being in the flesh will experience death and hostility. They cannot submit to God’s law and they cannot please God.
    2. Those who find their being in the Spirit will experience life and peace. The righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in them because of Christ’s work and his presence in their lives. God’s Spirit moves into our lives and God writes his law upon our hearts.

Conclusion: So, why don’t we always live like it?

I think that is because we confuse the doctrines of Justification and Sanctification. Justification declares we’re saved. Sanctification is that process in which we must choose to what’s right. When the Spirit of God comes to live in you, you feel guilty when you do wrong. That’s called conviction.

I think Satan does a great job of deceiving us and he makes us think that because we’re justified we can live however we want. And through that deception, we make wrong decisions and suffer dire consequences. Aren’t you thankful for God’s grace?

This week I came across a video that is 18 years, almost 19 years old now. It is from Passion 2000 and the speaker is John Piper. His now famous speech is entitled: Don’t waste your life. That 7 minutes or so section from his Passion sermon spurred the book in 2003, Don’t waste your life and became a best seller.

I mention this video because I think you should YouTube it. Watch it. But, I also mention it because Satan wants you to do just that – Waste your life! He makes you think that you can never be the person God wanted you to be. You’ve messed up too bad, for too long. You’ve chased the wrong dream for too long. You’ve climbed the ladder up the wrong wall for too long. But it is never too late as long as we are here this side of Glory. The lie is: You’ve already messed up… why don’t you just keep doing what you’re doing!

While researching more information on this video, I came across a blog by a Scottish pastor. I couldn’t find his name anywhere on his site, but, he quoted a story by Octavius Winslow, who lived from 1808 to 1878. This story was used to add emphasis to the idea of Don’t waste your life. The story goes:

A young man, whom he had known as a boy, came to an aged professor of a distinguished continental university, with a face beaming with delight, and informed him that the long and fondly-cherished desire of his heart was at length fulfilled – his parents having given their consent to his studying the profession of the law. As the university presided over by his friend was a distinguished one, he had repaired to its law school, and was resolved to spare no labor or expense in getting through his studies as quickly and ably as possible. In this strain he continued for some time; and when he paused, the old man, who had been listening to him with great patience and kindness, gently said, “Well! And when you have finished your career of study, what do you mean to do then?” “Then I shall take my degree,” answered the young man. “And then?” asked his venerable friend. “And then,” continued the youth, “I shall have a number of difficult and knotty cases to manage: shall attract notice by my eloquence, and wit, and acuteness, and win a great reputation.” “And then?” repeated the holy man. “And then!” replied the youth, “why then there cannot be a question- I shall be promoted to some high office in the state, and I shall become rich.” “And then?” “And then,” pursued the young lawyer, “then I shall live comfortably and honorably in wealth and respect, and look forward to a quiet and happy old age.” “And then?” repeated the old man. “And then,” said the youth, “And then- and then- and then I shall die.” Here his venerable listener lifted up his voice, and again asked, with solemnity and emphasis- “And then?” Whereupon the aspiring student made no answer, but cast down his head, and in silence and thoughtfulness retired. This last “And then?” had pierced his heart like a sword- had darted like a flash of lightning into his soul and he could not dislodge the impression. The result was, the entire change of his mind and course of his life. Abandoning the study of law, he entered upon that of divinity, and expended the remainder of his days in the labors of a minister of Christ.

Now, I’m not in any way suggesting that you’re wasting your life if you don’t pursue the ministry. But, I am suggesting that you’re wasting your life if you’re not following Jesus. Truth is, you can pursue just about any vocation and be an ardent follower of Christ. How you ask? By living according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. Too many people will live out their lives in fleshly pursuits and never find true peace and life. I hope and pray you’re not one of them.

Application: So, what would I like for you to take home with you today?

  1. Your walk is reflective of the way you think – i.e., your mindset. What you think comes out in the way you live. You cannot live according to the flesh and according to the Spirit at the same time. These two appear to me to be mutually exclusive. You are one or you are the other. But, you cannot have both. With that in mind, you know if you’re saved or not. If you aren’t, would you come to talk to me about it?
  2. I’d like to go back to verse 8: Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. I am by nature a people pleaser. I’ve had to work hard to get to a place where I don’t do what I do to please people. I hope people are pleased because I’ve pleased God with my life. I’m hoping I find God’s pleasure in my life. These verses in Romans 8, about God being pleased or not pleased, strike a chord with me. I see the Father say of the Son, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” I like that. When I hear verses quoted like, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I am moved. I think a wasted life would be a life lived that did not find the Master saying to that person, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” As you think about your life as it has been lived out to date, would you consider you’ve lived a good and faithful life? Would God declare his pleasure? Maybe there are some changes needed in your life, in your habits, in your routine. Let’s talk about that.
  3. Maybe there is another decision on your heart: joining the church, maybe you just need prayer. Maybe you’re considering a call to the ministry or the mission field.

In a moment we’ll be dismissed. We’ll have a moment of silence and then someone will lead us in a closing prayer. If you’ve never given your life to Christ, won’t you do that this morning? Maybe there is another decision on your heart: church membership, surrendering to ministry. Whatever it might be, I’d love to visit with you about that. Maybe you’re visiting with us this morning. Please, come introduce yourself. I’d love to visit with you some. We’ll have coffee, donuts, and cookies back in the back. Let’s fellowship together for a while.

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Filed under Christian Living, Philippians, Romans, Romans 8, Scripture, Sermon, Spiritual Formations

Romans 8.1-4

Sermon Series: The Spirit-Filled Life

Title: The Spirit of Life Brings Freedom!

Text: Romans 8.1-4

Big Idea: We no longer stand condemned, because have been set free by the Spirit of God.

 

Introduction: The Focus of Romans 8 is on the believer’s Spirit-filled life. For the next few months, as we push toward Easter, I would like to focus on this chapter. I will present a series of sermons in repeated ‘two parts’. Let me show you what I mean:

# Sermon Series: The Spirit-filled Life Text:
1. Introduction: No Condemnation Romans 8.1
2. The Spirit-filled Life brings Freedom! Romans 8.1-4
3. The Spirit-filled Life brings Focus! Romans 8.5-8
4. Alive by the Spirit! Romans 8.9-11
5. Adopted by the Spirit! Romans 8.12-17
6. The Temporary State of Suffering Romans 8.18-21
7. This Permanent State of Hope Romans 8.22-25
8. The Work of the Spirit in the Spirit-filled Life Romans 8.26-27
9. The Work of the Spirit Step by Step Romans 8.28-30
10. Who can stand against us? Romans 8.31-32
11. Case dismissed! Romans 8.33-36
12. Conclusion: Nothing Can Separate Us! Romans 8.37-39

There is the intro, which I brought to you a couple of weeks ago. You see #10 and #11 have a ‘trial’ feel to them. I’m still working on a title to go with those two messages. And of course, #12, is our Conclusion.

Romans 8 isn’t how on ‘how’ to be saved – that really is all presented in Romans 1-7, as we covered Introduction. Romans 8 is about your life in Christ Jesus. You’ll see it as the top and the tail to the chapter; rd 8.1-2; 39.

In chapters 1-7 we find the Gospel: God is Holy; Mankind is sinful; Our Sin separates us from God and brings about God’s Just Wrath toward us; In our helpless estate, Christ paid that penalty for us; That payment was totally sufficient to cover every sin of every person who ever lived; There is the Personal Response of the individual by faith in Christ; That individual is then immediately justified and continually being sanctified. And then we come to Romans 8: the Spirit-filled life of the believer. Romans 9-11 deal with The Freedom of Man and the Sovereignty of God. Romans 12-16 will be all about the practical side of the New Believer’s Life in Christ (i.e., loving your brother, serving each other, how we are to now perceive the governmental authorities over us, etc.). But Romans 8, this all about this Christian Life now lived out by the Spirit of God in Christ.

Let me show you the overwhelming emphasis on the Spirit in chapter 8: 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 23, 26, 27 (Romans 7, starting in v 7 has an overwhelming emphasis on I, me, my!).

When you are saved you ask Jesus to come into your life, forgive you of your sin and to take up residence in your heart. Have you ever heard that before? There have been so many foolish debates about this: do you ask Jesus into your heart or do you ask God to live in you or do you ask for the Holy Spirit? The answer is basically yes. The Holy Spirit then comes and takes up residence there – in you.

The Holy Spirit has different terms or names here in chapter 8: Mostly, he is called The Spirit; rd v 9; The Spirit of God; The Spirit of Jesus;

Now, at this point, in my sermon preparation, I paused. You might have already hit the pause button yourself. All of this is – is theology. Teaching, Teaching, Teaching. Doctrine, Doctrine, Doctrine. You might find yourself drifting away… doctrine, doctrine, doctrine, snooze…

But this doctrine is so important. It is vital to the Christian Life. Here’s the way this text breaks down:

  • Declaration: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
  • Why? Because… (NIV: Because, for; HCSB: Because, and then just explains in v 4) the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Answer: You’ve been set free! But then he answers another question that arises.
  • How? Because… For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. In other words, Obedience to the Law was not possible. Indeed, it is insufficient. He continues: By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. So, where the Law was lacking, Christ fulfilled that righteous requirement as set by God. And, so now will live differently. We live by the Spirit, not by the flesh.

That difference can sometimes look the same. What I mean is this: Some folks actually think that the Christian life is following rules and regulations. These same people, well-meaning as they are, say to the new believer, you can’t do this and you must do that. But what happens to the new believer is that they begin to feel pretty good about their ‘doing’. They’re acting like their mentor tells them to act. They’re behaving like their mentor tells them to behave. And so they begin to think that by ‘doing’ they’re demonstrating their salvation. The problem with this is that no one can live that out perfect. Failure comes eventually, and when it does, so do doubts about their salvation. They think, if I were saved I wouldn’t behave this way. Go back to chapter 7: the things I want to do, I don’t. The things I don’t want to do, I do. That’s legalism gone amuck.

Paul says, huh-uh. That’s not how it works. Legalism is a vicious cycle. Go back a few verses to 7.24 and read through. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. And then he makes this declaration:

Declaration: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Transition: Paul then explains the process…

Why is that? And how can it be? Let’s answer that first question: why?

Why? The Spirit of Life has set us free from the Law and from its curse of death (2)

exp.: V 1 is a declaration of Justification. Boom! Immediately, your sins are forgiven. But, v2 then explains why this happens. It happens because (rd v 2) …the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. This is the principle being taught: the law brings sin and death. But, the Spirit brings life.

Paul is giving us some facts about the Law here.

  1. The Law defines Sin for us. It communicates to us what it means to be sinners. Perfection is the outline. You can’t be perfect, so you sin. You and I would have no idea what sin is if the Law had never said: Thou Shalt not covet. And, once we learn what sin is, something interesting happens. And that is #2
  2. The Law produces sin in us. It communicates the boundaries and we automatically want to cross those boundaries. You hear “don’t covet” and you learn what it means to desire the things of other people. What do you do? You start wanting what other people have. Your neighbor gets a new truck and what do you want? A new truck! And more than that – you want his new truck!
  3. The Law brings death. It can never bring life. Here is the Law. One infraction against it and you’re done. The penalty for breaking this one time? Death. Therefore, the law brings death.

app.: Why? By accomplishing all three as it processes itself through the life of people. We learn what sin is and it produces in us this desire from which we cannot break free on our own. The Law then kills us; it destroys us. But then we come to Jesus. And for those who are in Christ Jesus, there is now no condemnation. We’ve been set free from the Law. The Law loses its power over us and we’ve been given new life in Christ.

t.s.: So here is the review: We come to Christ confessing our sin. Immediately, we’re justified. There is therefore now no condemnation. Why? Because God has given us his Spirit of Life, setting us free from the law of sin and death. But that brings up another question: How? How does all of this happen? How is it put into motion? And that’s our next question: How? The answer is in v.3; rd v 3; Answer:

How:

  • God did for us what the Law could never do. (3a)

exp.: The Law is perfect, but we can’t live out that perfection. And one infraction against the Law condemns us. The Law is holy, but it can’t make us holy because we can never live it out perfectly. Instead, it produces sin in us. The Law shows us, teaches us what holiness is and demonstrates for us our great failure and our great need. There is a recognition at this point that we can never ‘do’ the law in such a way as to save ourselves. Never. We are helpless and left to die because we justly deserve that punishment of death as required by the law because we are lawbreakers!

app.: And since we were helpless, God acted on our behalf.

t.s.: which brings us to more explaining in that answer:

  • God did for us what we could never do for ourselves. (3b)

exp.: rd 3b; God sent His Son in the flesh. There is more theology here, more doctrine. Two very important teachings for us! God sent his own son in the flesh. Here’s the principle: God’s Son equates to his perfection. Alistair Begg says it this way: Paul is safeguarding for us two important truths: His Divinity and His Humanity. His Divinity demonstrates for us his perfection and sinlessness and, his humanity demonstrates for us that he became flesh.

By sending his own Son (His Divinity) in the likeness of sinful flesh (His Humanity) and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us,

  1. The Reality of Christ’s Humanity. Jesus is real. He isn’t a legend. He isn’t some fable. His story isn’t told to teach us how we should live – you know, be like him. He was loving. He was kind. Be like him! Yes, but that isn’t the point. The point is that God sent his son in Human form – taking on flesh and bone. And then, there is this 2nd Truth:
  2. The Fact of Christ’s Sinlessness. Jesus, by living a perfect life, became the only one who could do for us what we could never do for ourselves. Listen to 2 Corinthians 5.21: 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

ill.: This is why we sang this morning:

Jesus Paid It All

I hear the Savior say, Thy strength indeed is small

Child of weakness watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all

Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe

Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow

Lord now indeed I find, Thy pow’r and Thine alone

Can change the leper’s spots, And melt the heart of stone

Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe

Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow

And when before the throne, I stand in Him complete

Jesus died my soul to save, My lips shall still repeat

Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe

Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow

Oh praise the One Who paid my debt

And raised this life up from the dead

exp.: the rest of that verse reads: he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. If you make your way back to Romans 3.21ff, you’ll find that God put Jesus forth as a propitiation for our sin.

app.: When I hear the word propitiation, I think of God’s Wrath. The Wrath of God was satisfied in the death of Christ on the Cross. Jesus was that righteous requirement of the law.

Conclusion: So, how does this apply in the world?

There is a recent story posted by FoxNews:

It reads:

A young Manhattan dietitian hanged herself in her West Village apartment after posting a suicide note online in which she apologized to her mom and said she “felt absolutely nothing during what should have been the happiest and darkest times in my life,” police sources said Thursday.

San Francisco native Tara Condell, 27, was found dead with a cloth around her neck inside the bedroom of her home on West 10th Street around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday after police were called to the residence for a wellness check, sources said.

Worried co-workers called the cops after Condell did not show up for work at the Midtown office of Top Balance Nutrition on Wednesday — and saw that Condell posted the note to her website, according to sources.

One of Condell’s co-workers was waiting outside the woman’s home by the time cops arrived.

In addition to the note left on her website, Condell left another suicide note in a folder in her living room, sources said.

Condell — who, according to her website, is a registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in general nutrition, weight management, gastrointestinal disease and diabetes care — apologized to her mother at the end of the note posted to her site, saying, “I’m really sorry mama.”

The young woman began the note — which was titled, “I Hate The Word ‘Bye,’ But See You Later Maybe?” — writing, “I have written this note several times in my head for over a decade, and this one finally feels right. No edits, no overthinking. I have accepted hope is nothing more than delayed disappointment, and I am just plain old-fashioned tired of feeling tired.”

“I realize I am undeserving of thinking this way because I truly have a great life on paper. I’m fortunate to eat meals most only imagine. I often travel freely without restriction. I live alone in the second greatest American city (San Francisco, you’ll always have my heart). However, all these facets seem trivial to me,” Condell wrote.

She continued: “It’s the ultimate first world problem, I get it. I often felt detached while in a room full of my favorite people; I also felt absolutely nothing during what should have been the happiest and darkest times in my life. No single conversation or situation has led me to make this decision, so at what point do you metaphorically pull the trigger?”

 

You see her picture there: A beautiful young woman who just missed this message. I have accepted hope is nothing more than delayed disappointment. Can I tell you that is true if you do all you can to find your happiness here on this earth? You will be disappointed.

But please, hear the message Paul is giving us. We’re sinful people. Our sin separates us from God. There is nothing on this earth that will satisfy the longing you have inside. Nothing. If you search this young woman’s blog posts, you’ll see she had an incredible life. She was gifted. Beautiful. Intelligent. She loved science. She had many friends. But she couldn’t find happiness here in what earth offers.

And neither will you. Hope can only be found in Christ. As our text here says, he alone can set you free. And if the Son sets you free, you are truly free indeed.

 

In a moment we’ll be dismissed. We’ll have a moment of silence and then someone will lead us in a closing prayer. If you’ve never given your life to Christ, won’t you do that this morning? Maybe there is another decision on your heart: church membership, surrendering to ministry. Whatever it might be, I’d love to visit with you about that. Maybe you’re visiting with us this morning. Please, come introduce yourself. I’d love to visit with you some. We’ll have coffee, donuts, and cookies back in the back. Let’s fellowship together for a while.

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