Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Paul states that the Christian life is more than just believing in Jesus and coming to worship. The Christian life is about having the Holy Spirit in you. For Paul, this an issue of salvation. “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not bel

Characteristics of Life in the Spirit

Romans 8:9-11

There was an Italian man who at the turn of the 20th century had to sell everything he had to immigrate to the United States. He barely had enough money to buy a ticket on a ship to the U.S. With what little he had left over, he bought some cheese and crackers to eat everyday, for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the journey. While he ate his cheese and crackers, everybody else was in the ship's dining hall. He could smell the aroma of lobster, filet mignon, and other delicious food. Getting sick and tired of eating just cheese and crackers, on the 6th day of the journey, he went to the captain and said, "I'll do anything you want. I'll do the dishes, clean the bathroom, sweep the floor. Anything! Just let me have one meal in the dining room." Then, the captain looking perplexed, said to him, "But sir, the meals are included with the ticket." Many Christians have settled for cheese and cracker lives without really knowing it. But God has provided us with so much more. God does not just forgive our sins, adopt us into his family, give us the Great Commission and say good luck. God has given us the Holy Spirit to provide wisdom, guidance, boldness, commitment and strength.

In our Scripture today, Paul states that the Christian life is more than just believing in Jesus and coming to worship. The Christian life is about having the Holy Spirit in you. For Paul, this an issue of salvation. “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” So knowing if the Spirit is in you is of critical importance. How do you do that? Today I want to share seven tests to discern if the Spirit is in you.

The first is the carbon copy test. It asks the question, “Are you becoming more and more like Jesus, in your thoughts, in your words, in your actions and in your relationships?” The call of God is to become an apprentice of Jesus. An apprentice is someone who is bound to another for a certain amount of time to learn an art or trade in which the master is an expert. The Master is Jesus himself. His art or trade is making disciples and doing the will of the Father for the sake of the Kingdom of God. And the apprenticeship lasts lifetime. We grow to become more like Jesus as the Holy Spirit writes God’s laws on our hearts and minds, helping us internalize God’s way of life and think like He does (Hebrews 8:10). It enables us to transform or change our minds as Paul calls us to in Romans 12:2 and but it also transforms our hearts as our sole desire becomes to please God (2:5). So how are you becoming more like Jesus?

The second is the GPS test. “Do you turn to the Holy Spirit to guide you in your life?” The New Testament contains many references to people who were guided by the Holy Spirit in the practical decisions they had to take in their lives. The Book of Acts shows how Paul and others in the church continually consulted with the Holy Spirit on major decisions of ministry as well. Now if first century followers of Jesus needed the guidance of the Holy Spirit for their lives, how much more do we? And yet it seems that so often, we only turn to God in moments of great crisis. It’s then that we fall on our knees and cry out to God to intervene. But after things settle down, we go back to taking charge of our lives and in effect say, “God, I got this. You can sit this one out.” Holy Spirit empowered disciples seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit continually, in the big decisions but also in their day to day decisions as well. So how about you? How often do you turn to the Holy Spirit to guide you your life?”

The third test is the butterfly test. It asks, “Are you growing and transforming in your faith?” A butterfly begins life as a caterpillar. This is the feeding and growth stage. As it grows, it sheds its skin four or more times. Then when the time comes, it builds a chrysalis or cacoon within which the caterpillar transforms. This is the transformation stage. When it emerges, the transformation is complete and it is a butterfly. Christians have a growth and transformation stage for Christians called sanctification. It’s the process of growing to become like Jesus, to live for Him and do His will in every aspect of your life. This not about attending worship and going to an occasional Sunday School class or a short term study. It’s an intense pursuit of greater knowledge of Jesus through the Bible, greater experience of Jesus by stepping out of your comfort zone to serve Him, developing your relationship with Jesus through prayer and fully yielding yourself to Him as he seeks to change you. This is a time when you become a voracious reader and servant for God. The beginning of this journey should be when our relationship to Jesus starts for is then that the work of the Holy Spirit begins to transform you into the disciple and servant he has created you to be.

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