Summary: The Holy Spirit knows who we are, where we are and assures us that we are children of God.
Title: God Has Your Number
Text: Romans 8:12-17
Thesis: The Holy Spirit knows who we are, how we are and how to help us.
Not so long ago in Ireland, if you sent a letter to Patrick Murphy at the village of Ballybucklebo in County Londonderry in Northern Ireland… your letter would arrive at the post office. The postmaster knew everyone in Ballybucklebo, but there was a problem in that there might be 3 Patrick Murphys living in the village. So he would deliver the letter to the oldest Patrick Murphy who would read the letter and realizing it was not to him would return it to the postman who would redeliver it to the second oldest Patrick Murphy who would read the letter and decide it was not to him and return it to the postman who would then “reredeliver” the letter to the only other Patrick Murphy living in the village. Quite the system.
Today in Ireland every home is assigned a specific number so every Patrick Murphy has his very own house number so every Patrick Murphy gets his very own mail. What a great idea. We should try it.
It is reminiscent of the telephone line we had when we lived on our farm in Madison County Iowa. It was a party line which meant all of our neighbors shared the same line. So if anyone received a call all of the neighbors could listen in if they wanted. Every family had a specific ring so while everyone heard the ring, that ring was specific to one household. In that everyone knew everyone’s ring everyone knew who was being rung.
For example one ring might be 3 shorts and 1 long…. Ring. Ring. Ring. Riiiiiiiing. Another might have 1 short and 2 longs. You get the idea. Eventually the phone company installed a private line system which meant everyone had their very own phone number where they could be reached.
All this folksy stuff about having one’s very own private line phone number and having one’s very own house number is to say, “God has your number.” That is, God knows who you are and where you are and you are not to be confused with another neighbor on your party line or another Patrick Murphy living in your village.
This morning I am saying God’s Holy Spirit is actively engaged with each of us right where we are.
Where we are is not necessarily an address… where we are may be a state of mind. Many people live in a state of emotional insecurity or even spiritual insecurity.
I. The Holy Spirit give us assurance that we are children of God, Romans 8:15-17
God’s Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 8:16 (I John 5:11-13)
God wants his children to be secure in their relationship with him. I John 5:11-13 reminds us that God has given us eternal life and that his life is in his Son… the person who has the Son has life and the person who does not have the Son does not have life. And then the text specifically states, “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.” I John 5:11-13
There may be a good reason for feeling spiritually insecure. As we look more closely at this portion of our Romans text we immediately feel a tension. Verses 12-14 speak to life before Jesus or our pre-Jesus situation. Verses 15-17 speak to our life after Jesus or our Post-Jesus situation.
My first thought is that the Holy Spirit speaks to our insecurity by helping us understand our Pre-Jesus Situation and our Post-Jesus Situation
Many of us are insecure about our appearance. Joan Rivers was known for her love affair with cosmetic procedures… she said she didn’t care what people thought about the preposterous 739 procedures she was alleged to have had done.
The most popular procedures addressing our insecurities with our appearance are: Liposuction. Rhinoplasty. Breast augmentation. Eyelid. Tummy tucks. Face lift. Dermabrasion. Lips. Chin… and so on.
I recently watched a television program called “Botched.” It is about people who have had botched plastic surgeries who go to some Hollywood surgeons to get things fixed. Viewers can watch the initial interviews and witness the procedures and then see the outcome. It’s a classic before and after scenario.
It our text today we need to see ourselves as initially botched by our old life.
Before Jesus we had a lived with a certain situation… we call it the old life.
A. Our Old Pre-Jesus Life, 8:12-14
You have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates you will die. 8:12