Title: Adopted by the Spirit!
Text: Romans 8.12-17
Introduction: We are a peculiar people. That is, we Christians are a peculiar people.
Vernon McGee tells the story about the peculiar man who thought he wasn’t peculiar. A preacher was trying to describe this idea of peculiarity to another man who was insistent that he himself was not peculiar in any way. The pastor said that everyone is peculiar to some extent. Everyone. But the man demanded that the pastor was wrong about him – he was perfectly normal and had no peculiarities. The pastor said, “I can prove you are peculiar.” The man said, “Go ahead” as if to accept the challenge.
How do you stir your coffee…with your right hand or with your left hand? Without hesitation the man replied. “I stir my coffee with my right hand.” The pastor quickly responded: You see there, you are peculiar. Most people use a spoon.
Peculiar means: 1) strange or unusual; or 2) particular or special. When I say we’re a ‘Peculiar’ people, I mean special, we are particular; we’re special.
This is what Paul is communicating to us in Romans 8.12-17 – the passage that Henry read for us earlier.
Paul began in v 1 by declaring that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. How that has come about is because the Spirit has set you free from the law of sin and death. And he did that through Christ Jesus. In v5-8 Paul expanded on this freedom in the Spirit to the idea that living life in the Spirit gives the new believer focus: a focus he or she has never had before.
When the Holy Spirit comes to live in the believer, the Spirit brings Freedom and Focus. Then, Last week we looked at the first of a two-part sermon:
- Alive by the Spirit! And today,
- Adopted by the Spirit!
AIM: This second message really builds upon last week’s. First, we’ve been made alive by the Spirit of God. But, he doesn’t just quicken our spirits – he moves in and takes up residence. And then, to add to the beauty of it all, he adopts us, and makes us his Children. Paul will build upon this doctrine in chapter 9. Let me show you quickly. Turn over to the next chapter and look at v 22-23; So, don’t take any of this out of context. You need to understand the Romans 9 is all about the Sovereignty of God. It asks: who are we to question the way God does what he does to accomplish his purposes. It is all for his glory. He knows best how to glorify himself, even if we don’t get it. He doesn’t do what he does with our permission or even within the realm of our understanding. But this is what he does make clear: he quotes from Hosea 1.10 & 2.23. rd Rom 9.25-26; 25 As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ ” 26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ”
So, Paul’s aim here is to declare that God is going to adopt his children and make them his own. How? How will God fulfill his promise to his people? And, how will it include those who aren’t even Jews? Answer: Adoption. When we become Christians, we become children of the living God!
Ok, now, let’s look at our text in Romans 8.12-17 (p. 888). In this passage, Paul says of those of us who are being filled with the Spirit of God…
- We are obligated to the Holy Spirit (12-13)
- We are sons of God, our Father (14-15).
- We’re heirs with Jesus (16-17).
So, let’s take these one at a time…
For those of us who are being filled with the Spirit of God…
I. We are obligated to the Spirit.
exp.: You see that in v 12. Now, this sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? In v2, he said we have been set free. And here, it says we are debtors? Well, think about it for a moment. What it says in v 2 is that we’ve been set free from the law of sin and death. We’re no longer enslaved to sin and death. 2ndly, this word debtors means we’re obligated. Our obligation now lies with the Spirit of God, not our own sinful passions and desires of the flesh. We’re obligated to the Holy Spirit to live our lives now according to his purpose and plan.
ill.: Truth is, we’ve all tried it our way and we failed. That is usually what brings us to God. We live our lives in pursuit of our passions and we make so many mistakes. These poor decisions usually lead to pain and anguish. It is in this despair that we reach out to God.
exp.: he tells us how we fulfill this ‘obligation’ in v 13; you see, when we pursue the flesh, we live life the way we want and that destroys our lives. When we surrender our lives to Christ, his Holy Spirit comes and lives in us. Then, as we live out our lives in Christ, he begins to show us things that don’t fit into our new lives with him. We come under conviction for our actions and behaviors. As that happens, we must by the aid of the Holy Spirit… well, read v13… by the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body.
ill.: I’m often reminded of my sweet friend who I told you about that went to the doctor routine check-up. She was asked how her treatments were going. She asked what treatments? The doctor said your treatments for cancer. She said, “I don’t have cancer.” The doctor said ‘oh, no’. You see, at that point, it was too late. Fourteen months of inaction left her cancer to spread. Of course, you know now that she has since gone to be with the Lord.
I wish that was the only story I’d ever heard like that. I heard a story recently of a man who heard that his PSA number was high, but he was told that it was nothing to worry about. By the next checkup, it was too late, cancer has spread to other significant parts of the body. He died a few months later. You hear stories about women, too. Its probably only a spot, I wouldn’t worry about it. The lady takes that to mean – don’t worry about it. She doesn’t follow up because she doesn’t think she’s supposed to worry about it. And that inactivity of the person leads to hyperactivity of cancer and soon… death follows.
App.: I’m here to tell you that you have a type of cancer called sin. You need to worry about it. You need to deal with it. It will kill you! Satan lies to you and tells you that your sin is small. It’s only a spot. Those numbers are small compared to others. But, listen dear friend: You cannot let it run unchecked in your spirit or it will destroy you.
A 2nd Word on death to the deeds: I’m reminded of what Jesus said in Luke 9, as we talk about putting to death the deeds of the flesh: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. When we become believers, it isn’t as if all of the troubles go away. In this life, you will find struggle, toil and difficulty. There may be suffering involved. That doesn’t just go away. It won’t go away this side of heaven – not as long as we live in these bodies. That is why we must make a conscientious decision every single day to die to ourselves. That is why Jesus said daily.
app.: Your spirit lives in this tent called a body. Inside this body you have thoughts. You talk to yourself. That’s why, when you become a Christian, two things take place. One is internal. The other is external. Romans 10.9-10 says, 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. You make that decision inside, but you manifest what’s inside of you through expression. Your life is always a manifestation of what’s inside you. And when you confess, “Jesus is Lord” with your mouth, it is an external expression of an internal experience.
t.s.: The Spirit takes over our lives, from the inside out. Then, when that happens, the next verse says we become sons and daughters of God. For those of us who are being filled with the Spirit of God…
II. We are sons and daughters of God.
exp.: rd v 14: 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. So, you confess your sin and invite Jesus into your heart. You see that – when we give our lives to Jesus and His Holy Spirit moves into our hearts and lives, God adopts us into His family. We become children of God. 1 Jn 3.1-3: See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
So, you give your life to him and he purifies your life. Really, in two ways: 1. When you get saved. He washes you clean as freshly fallen snow. That covers every sin you ever committed and every sin you’ll ever commit. All washed away through his forgiveness. 2. As you walk with him. You’re now his child and he will guide you in his path of righteousness for his name’s sake. He shows you what he doesn’t like and as his child, you surrender those things, whatever they are, to him.
Rd v 15; 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!” So now, as a child of God, because we’ve been adopted, we can call him ‘Abba, Father’; it is interesting that up until the time of Jesus, the Jews would never call God, “Father.” Even though he has referred to himself that way with them. God was too big. It seemed to irreverent. How could anyone approach the creator of the Universe and use such an intimate title? Abba is like saying, “Daddy”. Jennifer and Christopher call me Daddy. Still today. Stephen calls Lisa – Mama. Still.
I don’t know about you, but that is just Amazing to me. God, who created the Universe, who spoke the worlds into order, who is powerful and awesome and will judge the nations – this same God, loves me so much that he adopts me and then creates this intimate relationship with him where I can approach his throne and call him, Daddy!
ill.: there is a scene in Anna and the King where the king’s little girl has a problem. She runs away from the chaos of the classroom and runs to her father. He is on his throne and there are dozens of people surrounding him, all bowed down to the ground. But, the little girl isn’t fazed. She has a relationship with her dad that is so different than those people. She runs right up to him with her problem.
app.: If you’re a believer, if you’ve surrendered your life to Christ – that’s your new life! The Spirit-Filled Life now makes it possible for you to enter into the Throne Room of Heaven and sit on your Daddy’s lap and converse with him.
t.s.: Your Heavenly Father has made that possible! But there is so much more than just this moment in life that God has blessed us with…
For those of us who are being filled with the Spirit of God…
III. We’re heirs with Jesus. You see that v 16-17.
exp.: rd v 16-17; heirs w/ Christ! That means we have the promise of heaven. I think Heaven is a wonderful promise – and I know someday that will be mine. I suppose for many, thinking of heaven gets them through the tough times of suffering on earth. Next week, we’ll talk more about suffering. I’ve got that on the radar for the next sermon pair:
- The Temporary State of Suffering
- The Permanent State of Hope
For now, I want you to think deeply about this gift of the Holy Spirit that allows you to access to God. It’s as simple as bowing your heart before him and lifting up your requests to him. And that is possible because:
- The Holy Spirit has moved into your life and has taken up residence. He has been leading you to follow him and you have been, daily, putting to death the deeds of the flesh, in order that you might walk closer to him.
- This presence of the Holy Spirit has made you a child of God. You’re his child – a child of the King and that grants you exclusive rights in the Kingdom of Heaven. You have his ear and his heart.
- We’re now, Co-heirs with Jesus…
- This access that you now have is only needed for this moment. Because one day you will be in presence in such a way that you will see him face to face. And you’ll be change – for you will be like him.
And all of this is what I think makes us Peculiar. Special.
- My guess is that there are some here who have never surrendered their hearts to God. You don’t have the kind of access I’ve been talking about because you’re not his. Let me offer you an opportunity to respond to this invitation. Come to Christ!
- Maybe there is another decision on your heart and you’re ready to share that with someone. You’re ready for them to begin praying for you. Maybe you desire to join Calvary, roll up your sleeves and get involved in the ministry here.
- I have a challenge for our members. It’s called Whose your 1? Here’s how it works: you pray for your someone, once a day, for one minute, at one o’clock.
- Pick someone. No more than one. Who is your one?
- Set your timer or alarm or notifications to alert you at 1 PM every day.
- When your alarm or alert goes off.. quietly intercede with all the gusto you can muster for that one person to get saved.
- And do so for one minute.
Some of you are like: I’m going to pray for 10 people for 10 minutes… Listen, this is hard enough. Don’t even pick two people. Just focus on one person to pray for every day at 1pm for one minute. And see if God doesn’t open up doors…
ill.: imagine with me for just a moment. What if Jesus came to you in this moment? What if he said to you: I’m going to answer every prayer request you’ve brought to me this past week. What would that be like? Would anyone get saved? What transformations for the Kingdom would take place?