Summary: In this section of Romans, Paul reminds us that the Holy Spirit plays an important role in sealing us and confirming us as God's children. And as God's children, we have so many wonderful blessings.
A. Today, I want to let you in on a secret, and I assure you what I am about to reveal is true.
1. This secret is not science fiction, although it may sound like something from The X-Files.
2. And even though this secret is not classified information and has been to available to the discerning for centuries, the great majority of people still are unaware of it.
B. Have I piqued your curiosity? Are you wondering what this secret might be?
1. Here is the secret: there is a race of aliens living on earth, in plain view.
2. There is a species of people called the pneumatikoi (new-mat-tee–koy).
3. This group of people do not actually belong to this world, and among themselves they refer to the people of this earth as the “worldlings.”
4. The pneumatikoi look just like other ordinary human beings in their physical appearance.
5. But in reality these aliens are tuned into the frequency of a powerful being from another dimension.
6. When these individuals desert the ranks of the “worldlings” and give their allegiance to this extra-terrestrial being, an invisible life-force from outside this universe is implanted in their heart.
C. Here’s an even more startling fact: the goal of these aliens is to multiply their number.
1. When one of the worldlings joins the pneumatikoi, he or she is infected with this same unseen life-force as well.
2. And when this life-force enters these new recruits, they begin to undergo a metamorphosis: this invisible internal force begins to slowly, but perceptibly, transform them into a new kind of creature.
3. Thanks to the power of this life-force they are no longer a worldling – instead, they are being transformed into the image of their leader, molded into the nature of his dimension, stamped with the mark of their new home.
D. By now I’m sure you have recognized the identity of these aliens that I am talking about.
1. I am talking about the children of God; I am talking about the followers of Jesus Christ.
2. When any man or woman becomes a Christian, they no longer belong to this world because they have been “born again (or anew) of water and the Spirit” (John 3:3,5,9).
3. Pneuma is the Greek word for “Spirit,” and pneumatikoi are the “Spirit people.”
4. They are those who Paul describes here in Romans and elsewhere as those who “live according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:4).
5. Jesus himself said of his followers that “they are not of the world, even as I am not of it” (John 17:16).
6. And one of his closest friends and most important leaders described the followers of Christ as being “aliens and strangers in the world” (1 Peter 2:11).
7. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives that sets us apart from the world and marks us as belonging to heaven.
E. I hope that all of us followers of Christ understand that we are no longer worldlings, rather, we are a new race of Spirit-people.
1. When we became Christians, we were given the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38) and that Holy Spirit lives in us as we learned in our last sermon from Romans 8:9-10: You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him. Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.
2. Many Christians struggle to experience transformation and growth as a Christian because they don’t realize that becoming a Christian brought about an initial real change in their identity that also needed to experience ongoing change under the power of the Holy Spirit.
3. Once we comprehend that God the Holy Spirit dwells in us to mark us as a citizen of another dimension, of a heavenly kingdom, then we will be better equipped to understand His work.
4. Many times the presence and purpose of the Holy Spirit is presented as though it were something mysterious and mystical, which causes some people to be confused and cautious about the Holy Spirit.
5. While I admit that there is much I do not understand about the Holy Spirit, I can tell you that what I do know is that the Spirit lives in us and is given to us to help us in a number of ways.
F. Before we look at our passage today from Romans, I want us first to spend a few minutes with a passage that Paul wrote to the Christians at Ephesus.
1. In Ephesians 1:13-14, Paul wrote: 13 In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. 14 The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.