Summary: If you are in Christ, if you have repented and accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour then the Bible says you are a child of God. Your relationship with God has been restored, you are reconciled to our Heavenly Father.

Do you want other people to like you?

I think the answer for all of us is yes. In our heart, we all have a desire to be approved – to be liked. Often we allow our sense of self-esteem to be based on the opinions others have of us.

Why is it that we so often feel or think badly about ourselves?

Is it because deep down we have a sense that we have failed in some way – failed either to please those around us, ourselves – or our God?

If you have read the book of Romans, The Apostle Paul in the first seven chapters, seems almost to strengthen our notions of failure, especially when we realize whatever shred of self-reliance, self-sufficiency, or self-justification we have created is useless in the quest for acceptance.

Paul tells us In our flesh, that is in our old nature, dwells no good thing. In fact, Paul tells us when we try to do good we do bad, and when good needs to be done, we do not do it.

Paul sums it up at the end of Romans chapter 7 by saying: in verse 24 “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” Then, he answers his own question in the same breath: Romans 7:25 “ Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. ”

As we continue in our series, dare to be different, this month across our group of churches our theme is 'different family'. If you are in Christ, if you have repented and accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour then the Bible says you are a child of God. Your relationship with God has been restored, you are reconciled to our Heavenly Father.

Your acceptance by God is not through your own efforts, not through your family line, not through your associations or deeds. You are accepted, adopted if you will, by God the Father because of your acceptance of Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour.

The message of Romans chapter 8, which is what I want us to focus on this morning is in Christ we are rescued, cleansed, loved, then empowered and changed.

There are three points to the sermon this morning, Different Freedom, Different Father and Different Faith.

First point: Different Freedom

Romans 8:1, So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

Trusting Jesus brings us freedom from condemnation. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, how you’ve acted,

who you are, how much you think you have failed, if you are in Christ, you are NOT condemned anymore. If you belong to Christ Jesus, you won’t be punished.

Paul then tells us why this is a reality. Verses 2-4,

2 And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent His own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

So in Christ we are not condemned, we are not punished because we have been set free – but set free from what? Verse 5-8,

5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

How much control do you allow the Holy Spirit to have in your life?

Maybe it seems a little odd to talk about control when I’m speaking about Freedom. But the truth is God has given us free will, He has given us the choice to choose between our own sinful nature or allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us in God’s ways. Paul is telling us here that we have been empowered and set free so we can now choose which mind will control us.

Jesus said, “You cannot serve two masters.” Before I was a Christian my sinful nature controlled my mind. As a Christian, I chose to allow the Holy Spirit to take control.

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