Rev. Sean Lester
Nov. 9, 2003
Text: Romans 8:1-8
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,  in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;  the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
A. God wants you to live life liberated from the law of sin and death. Some laws of sin and death are:
1. Grow up and learn as much as you can so that you may make a positive contribution to the world.
2. Obey those who have your interests and the interests of the world at heart.
3. Work hard and earn as much as possible, also, spend as much as possible.
4. Those who do well earn the right to enjoy life.
5. Die with dignity.
B. The law of sin and death does not give life to anybody because:
1. In the end, you die. This makes everything you achieve or possess meaningless.
2. The world is not just. You can only learn what people are willing to teach. Some people have more opportunities to lean and mature because of where they live, or because of their nationality.
3. Some people have more stuff not because they contribute to society, but because they tear it down. Why do pornographers have the right to a better lifestyle than police officers? Why does a prostitute make more than a teacher? Is any athlete worth a million dollars?
4. Your success in life depends on the willingness of others to promote you, recognize you, and care about you. That doesn’t always happen.
C. God wanted to liberate people from the law of sin and death so much that he sent his son Jesus Christ to condemn it.
1. The law of sin and death only applies to people who are in sin. This meant all peoples since all people are born into sin. But Jesus Christ was not born into sin, thus the law of sin had no authority over Him.
2. So, when the world condemned Jesus Christ, it broke the law of God. In so doing, Jesus condemned sin and death. Jesus Christ was thus raised from the dead and has the power to raise people from the dead.
D. By condemning the law of sin and death, Jesus provided liberty for anyone who chose to live by the Spirit of Jesus Christ. That is, those who…
1. Confess and repent of their sins and,
2. Live according to what Jesus taught.
Proposition: Freedom from sin and death is available to all people who set their minds on the things of the Holy Spirit.
Transition: Anyone who comes to Jesus Christ is given the gift of the Holy Spirit so that you may live according to the Spirit that brings:
I. Freedom to Live
A. Remember that your life is limited by your own abilities and by what the world will allow. You essentially live your life in a box, trapped by your own circumstances. But when you live according to the Spirit, you allow God to open the lid of the box and to lift you out. Your life takes on a heavenly dimension that transcends what you could do for yourself and what the world is willing to do for you.
B. When the flames of Pentecost re-kindled at the beginning of the last century, only white people were allowed to hear the message of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Black people were not allowed into the meetings where the Holy Spirit was being taught. One man, a black preacher, was forced to sit outside of a church, on the steps, to listen through the door in order to hear the message. He believed what he heard, and was subsequently filled with the Holy Spirit. Rev. Seymour was in the box, but the Holy Spirit lifted him out because he believed the Bible and set his mind on the things of the Spirit.
The irony is that his church, the Asuza Street Mission was the most prominent point of revival that ushered in the modern Pentecostal movement.
C. Christians ought to roll their eyes in frustration whenever a believer complains that the world is unfair. Of course it is! But what is that to a believer in Jesus Christ? The Lord guides our steps! Is God unjust? Of course not!
My heart is set on living according to what Jesus taught. Will the world try to stop me? Sure. Will it prevail? No! A
Am I qualified to represent God? No. Did God choose me, anyway? Yes!
My mind is set on the things of the Spirit, and so I am free from the law of sin and death. I will live because the Holy Spirit gives me the power to do so.
Transition: Not only do I have freedom from the world, but I am free from the limits I put on myself.
II. Freedom to Feel and Think.
A. Quite often, you are your own worst enemy. Your emotions get in the way of true freedom to live for Jesus. You have fears. You have hatreds. You have interpreted experiences and have formed opinions based on what you have perceived to be the truth. Often those perceptions are wrong. Even when negative feelings are justified, they don’t need to keep your spirit in bondage.
B. An old and dear friend had been boarded out to a farm when he was a young boy. He spent his childhood working like a man, and did not earn anything from his labor except his room and board. Over the years, he learned to channel his resentment over the way he had to live into a deep hatred of black people. His prejudice had nothing to do with anything that had been done to him by an African-American. It was a purely arbitrary hatred. How could God use him? Instead of witnessing to them about God’s love, he would yell curses at him. He had allowed his pain and hatred to affect his life.
At our Harvest party, I noticed the fear and hatred that many parents had toward the church. I stood outside for awhile to greet people as they come. Often, the children wanted to come in, but their parents would stop them. Even after I assured them it was alright, the parents didn’t want their children to go inside a church.
I wonder what those people were thinking. Did they have bad experiences as a child? Was a preacher too boring, too mean, too zany, or whatever? When Barb asked if any of the children wanted to receive Jesus into their heart, one parent pulled her child’s’ hand back down.
C. The fears and bad experiences must be rejected so that you can enjoy the life and peace Jesus offers. How do you set your mind on the Spirit so that you will have life and peace?
1. Forgive people.
2. Re-interpret your experiences with grace.
3. Trust that God guides your steps, now.
4. Trust God’s forgiveness.
Transition: Because of the freedom you have, because you set your mind on the Spirit, you can truly live for God.
III. Freedom to Please God.
A. You are by nature a rebel. That is why your parents needed to discipline you when you were a child. That is why society needs laws. People who live according to the law of sin and death do so to please themselves. God is a threat because He can take away everything they want for themselves.
1. They avoid churches.
2. They ridicule believers.
In face, without your mind being set on the Holy Spirit, you can’t please God because everything that you do is meant to please yourself.
1. When you give, you will do so to feel good about yourself.
2. You will do a good deed to please yourself, to feel good about yourself.
3. When you go to church, you will do so to justify yourself.
But, when your mind is set on the Spirit, you will please God because:
1. You will do things because the Bible says to, despite how you feel about it.
2. You will give because you believe in the work of the kingdom.
3. You will do good deeds because you are compassionate, and you will love everybody with equal selflessness.
B. Who are the ones who please God?
1. A good Samaritan.
2. A woman who gave all she had.
3. A faithful servant.
C. The Holy Spirit replaces your selfish wants with godly conviction. You no longer think in terms of what is best for you. Rather, you think in terms of what is good for the church, the kingdom of God.
How do you set your mind on the Spirit to please God? It is done in your decision making process.
1. What does Scripture say about my life?
2. Who am I pleasing?
3. Am I doing my duty or giving my all?
4. Do I get upset if people aren’t as dedicated as I am?
A.You aren’t meant to live a life confirmed by the world, your own mind, or your own will. You were meant to live, and to live the life to the full.
B. It is so important to God, that He sent His son Jesus Christ, to win your freedom from sin and death.
C. You are now left with a choice, to live by the rules of the world, or to live by the rules of the Lord Jesus Christ, being guided by the Holy Spirit. Which are you choosing?