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. 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. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 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: 9 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.
- Steadfast: remain firm in your faith!
- Immovable: don’t chase after the passions of the world which flow in and out of your life. Plant your feet and remain immovable!
- Abound in the work of the Lord always: consider the work God has called us to as a body and let us not stop.
- 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.