Summary: An Expository Sermon from Romans 8:5-9 concerning the certainity of God’s approval and acceptance for the Christian. Romans Series #34

Romans Series # 34 April 17,2002

Welcome to New life in Christ. We are currently going through the book of Romans verse by verse. I believe all of us have found this book of the Bible to be challenging to understand at times but also very instructive and encouraging. Tonight we continue with my second message out of Chapter Eight. I did an overview of this chapter last week and I explained that the primary purpose of this chapter is to give assurances to the Christian about life’s most important issues. In fact I believe we can see five assurances or certainties for the believer in this section of Romans. We discussed the first assurance last week.

I. When you trusting Christ you can be certain that you are truly forgiven. Romans 1:1-4

Tonight I will teach from verses 5-9 which tell us why we can be certain that we are pleasing to God.

Read Romans 8:5-9

Opening Prayer

"How can I be pleasing to God?" That is an important question and one for which people have sought the answer for many years. It is an important question because when we are pleasing to God it means that we are in a healthy relationship with Him. If we are pleasing to Him we are accepted and have His approval.

People have long recognized that their lives are not pleasing to God and so they have sought answers on how to have God’s acceptance and approval. Many people have devised many ways to try and do this: Animal Sacrifices, Religious Acts (Pilgrimages, Self-Inflicted Suffering, Fasting, Long Prayers, Sacrificial Giving, etc.), Good Works (Feeding the Poor, Helping the Elderly, or Saving the Rain Forests, etc.), and others have sought God’s approval by Keeping the Law (Pharisees, Many Jews, Legalist, etc.)

Throughout history, people have tried all kinds of things to make God happy. Many devout people from all religions have tried to get on God’s good side by killing off those they considered to be His enemies. Before his conversion, the Apostle Paul killed Christians because he thought it would make God happy. To a lesser extreme, some people wear their hair a certain way, or dress a certain way, or follow certain dietary customs to make God happy.

In the 16th century, a monk named Martin Luther did everything he could think of to make God happy: he spent hours in the confessional, he beat himself with a whip, he wore shirts made out of human hair-all in an effort to make God happy.

Source: “How To Make God Happy” by Steve May

Despite all these extravagant efforts the Bible tells us there is only one group of people who are really accepted and approved by God and can be pleasing to Him. That group of people is composed of all genuine Christians. All Christians are accepted and approved by God because the Holy Spirit works and to develop desires and a life that finds His approval and acceptance.

You may struggle and slip in your Christian walk and as a result wonder if God accepts you and if you could ever live a life pleasing to God. On the basis of our text I can say that this is an uncertainty you do not need to have. You can be very confident that you are accepted and approved by God and your life is being directed by the Holy Spirit to be more and more pleasing.

II. When you trust in Christ you can be certain that you are accepted and approved by God.

This is not to say that God is satisfied with every single thing in our life.

Illustration: In many ways God relates to us in the same way we as earthly parents relate to our children. We approve of and are pleased when our child begins to talk despite his or her lack of clarity. We approve of and are pleased when they begin learn to walk despite their many stumbles. We are really pleased when they are potty trained despite the occasional accident. We approve of and are pleased with all these things despite their failings but we are not satisfied for we always desire to see more progress.

II. When you trust in Christ you can be certain that you are accepted and approved by God.

Why can we Christians alone have this certainty? Why aren’t others who may try hard, be religious, or do good deeds acceptable or pleasing to God? These are the questions Paul answers for us in our text.

Read Verse 5

First Paul begins by identifying those whose lives can never be acceptable or pleasing to God. This is "those who live according to the sinful nature...” This phrase is nearly synonymous with other phrases such as “being in the flesh” or “being controlled by the sinful nature” Whom is this phrase referring too? What does this phrase mean? Is Paul referring to Christians who are struggling with fleshly desires? Does this phrase apply exclusively to non-Christians?

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