Summary: The need to be faithful witnesses
“Faith Comes By Hearing”
Intro: What a powerful reminder that song is. Each one of us has someone in our lives that we owe a great debt of gratitude to. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reflect upon our lives and those who have impacted us. Who is it that made a difference in your life spiritually? Why not offer a prayer of thanks for them this week. Better than that, let them know--write them a card, give them a call, or if they’re no longer alive, tell someone else about them.
We remember that God uses individuals to impact our lives. That’s what we want to think about this morning; not just that God uses others in our lives, but that he can use us in the lives of others. Turn with me if you would to Romans 8. We’ll work our way through a few places in Romans, but we’ll start here in chapter 8.
What is it that really makes a difference in whether or not we make an impact on the lives of others? I would suggest to you this morning it is “desire!” We all have opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others, but it is only those with a great desire who actually make it happen.
This morning we think about a group of Christians who lived 350 years ago with a great passion and desire to worship God, free from any control of their state government. They came to America, this new country, and built a settlement where they could live out their passion for following God.
Now, having said that, let’s look what Romans 8 has to say about desire.
Read 8:1-4 - We love these verses - no condemnation - sometimes though we don’t interpret them correctly. We think we can do anything we want, because there is no condemnation. Our society has this view - whatever you think is right is okay - it might not be right for me, but it’s okay for you. But that’s not the idea here. Rather the idea is that when we trust in Christ we are no longer condemned by the curse of sin, but live under the grace of God.
Now let’s look at verses 5-9. Read 8:5-9.
We see here that there are two different desires: first, those who seek their natural, sinful desires.
It is natural for us to seek pleasure, comfort, gratification, recognition, it is natural, but not right
The second type of person is the one who seeks spiritual fulfillment.
The person who lives by the Spirit will seek the things that God spirit desires.
Where is the problem in our lives? DESIRE! We don’t allow ourselves to desire the things that please God.
The good news is found in verse 9. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.
We are not controlled by our sinful natures. There is something we can do. We have a choice.
The other week I went to the Marathon station on Washington Center road. As I was filling up the car, I heard music blaring out. There was nothing I could do to stop it. It was out of my control. But when I go home and the TV is blaring, I have a lot of control. I can turn it off or turn the volume down any time I want to.
We are not controlled by our sinful desires. Do we still have those desires? YES! It’s called temptation. We will be faced with wrong desire all of our life. But we don’t have to give in. We face desire, but we are not controlled by desire. Far too many people give in to desire. That’s why we have scandals in the Oval office, alcoholics and drug addicts on the street, and people spending every paycheck playing the lottery.
Because we are not controlled by our desires, be we choose to control or indulge them, we see that choosing wrong is always a matter of our own hearts.
It no longer is a question of “The Devil made me do it.”
Read 8:12-14. We have an obligation - to be led by the Spirit of God.
So, how does all this tie in with making an impact on the lives of others? Once again, the key word desire comes up. Do we desire to reach others for the Lord?
I blew it this week. We were having some problems with our printer, and I saw a laser printer in the paper a few weeks ago for $50. I called and they still had it. As I walked into the house, I saw a new IMAC, the new apple computer, and I started talking about all types of things about the computer. Later that night, I realized I had blown it. My desire led me astray. I was so excited about talking about the computer, but I had failed to be excited about the opportunity to talk about the Lord.