Summary: Part 2 of 5 in a series on our identity in Christ based on the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 8.
INTRODUCTION: In life there are times that each of us desires to do the right thing, make the right decisions, but we feel powerless to do so. Our determination only takes us so far, our focus only keeps us centered for so long, and then we fail, which causes us to wonder why we continue to do what we do not want to do and do not do that which we want to do… man what a dilemma!
BACKGROUND: Here in our passage this morning (Romans 8:9-13) Paul addresses a church that has many of the same concerns we have today. 2,000 years doesn’t really change the core issues that we deal with. Paul focuses on the fact when we belong to Christ are no longer slaves to sin, (Freed) and have One within us to aid in overcoming the sinful desires (Empowered) of life that all too often derail us from where we would like/need to be.
WHO IS THE SPIRIT
• Here a few years back I co-led a week of Church Camp entitled “Forgotten God” The “Father,” “Son,” and “That other Guy” – We’ve sent Him to the corner with a dunce cap on his head telling Him “you don’t fit Here” and we (the Church) suffer greatly for it
• One of my first sermons was entitled “Our Friend the Holy Spirit” – There was an elderly lady who was visibly disturbed, because I said “Holy Spirit” apparently she was afraid I was going to get all “Pentecostal” on her
• Many go their entire Christian lives and never understand the necessity and work of the Holy Spirit
• The Holy Spirit is a “Person” – It may be strange to think about the Holy Spirit as a person, because we have unwittingly reduced him from a person into a force, like electricity, that has no personality
• From Scripture we know that He “grieves,” “loves,” “speaks,” He can be “lied to” “tested,” and “resisted.”
• The Holy Spirit is “God” – we often treat the Holy Spirit like an accessory, somewhat like the sunroof we weren’t expecting when we bought our car, only to realize as we drove off that we had it. Yeah, it’s kind of cool and we’re happy, but He’s just an unexpected bonus
• He is far more than a bonus or fringe benefit, He is God, and scripture clearly makes that point, He is all-powerful, all-present, and knows all things (The “Trinity” Object Lesson)
WHY DO I NEED THE SPIRIT
• We need the Spirit simply “to live” – becoming a Christian isn’t about “bad” and “good” it’s about “dead” and “alive” – the Spirit makes us alive!
• Scripture teaches that we are all sinners, I hesitate to use the term “sinful nature” (1) because it’s “bad Greek” the word (sarx) means "flesh" not "sinful nature" and (2) It implies that we are sinners from birth, which is a concept which is foreign to scripture – but we still sin, and being sinners we’re “predisposed” to sin more, it’s a habit!
• Christians lose spiritual life in proportion as they indulge in the desires of the flesh
• If we indulge in anger, malice, greed, lust (inset sin here) we not only violate the Word of the Lord, but we weaken our spiritual self; remember the work of the Spirit can be resisted (Acts 7:51)
• If we give our flesh, more power than the Spirit, the flesh will dominate – remember if we give Satan and inch, he’ll take a mile…
• No matter what the devil tries to convince us of, we are no longer obligated to his nature anymore
• There is a huge difference between “duty” and “obligation” (8:12) Duty is imposed from an “outside” source, while obligation is a debt imposed from within – who set’s your obligation?
• Even those who try to avoid the issue by making no choice at all unknowingly opt for domination by the “flesh”
HOW DO I LIVE IN THE SPIRIT
• One cannot live a life like Jesus without living as Jesus lived—by the power of the Holy Spirit
• Living the Christian life is not about following a series of laborious religious rituals (the Law) to make you a better person it’s about joyfully pursuing Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, and helping others to do the same
• To be a Christian without the Holy Spirit is like being alive without breathing; a complete impossibility
• But before we ask “how do I live” we must ask “how do I know I have” Consider these 4 Characteristics of a Spirit “empowered” life