Summary: This is the sixth message in a series over Romans 6-11. The series examines how we now live under God's grace. This message looks at what a life live in the Spirit looks like.
A little girl who, on the way home from church, turned to her mother and said, "Mommy, the Preacher’s sermon this morning confused me." The mother said, "Oh! Why is that?” The girl replied, "Well, he said that God is bigger than we are. Is that true?" "Yes, that’s true," the mother replied. "He also said that God lives within us. Is that true too?" Again the mother replied, "Yes." "Well," said the girl. "If God is bigger than us and He lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?" The majority of us believe that through the Holy Spirit God lives in the believer. The problem is that we are not quite sure exactly how that works. Because we still feel the tension between the competing natures. This tension is what frustrates us because there are still times when the sinful nature wins out. We need to remember becoming a Christian does not flip a switch disabling the sinful nature; it’s still there craving to be satisfied. Even though the Christian has died to sin, the possibility of giving in to temptation and sinning is still very real. Why? Accepting Jesus Christ does not destroy the fallen creation, it restores our relationship with the Creator. So what good is it to have the Spirit? The Spirit is what empowers us to be able to resist temptation and avoid falling to sin’s trap. The Spirit also serves as a reminder of God’s promise that one day we will be free from this struggle when the redemption of His creation is completed. Today we are going to unpack the second section of Romans chapter 8 and discover what the signs are that the Spirit is in control of our lives.
I. Understanding our role in God’s process.
A. Christ has freed us from the obligation to the sinful nature.
1. Jesus Christ not only makes forgiveness of sin possible His sacrifice on the cross makes it possible for us to be restored to the right relationship with God.
2. No longer are we under any obligation to please the sinful nature, however the problem is that the sinful nature will fight to regain control.
3. Paul issues a stern warning, making it clear that continuing to live according to the sinful nature will result in misery and death.
4. The implications are quite clear, we can remove ourselves from that saving relationship with Jesus Christ by choosing to live according to the sinful nature.
5. The Holy Spirit enables us to be able to continually put to death the sinful nature. The phrase “put to death” is in present tense showing that it is a continual action.
B. Our new life is obligated to the Spiritual nature.
1. Even though we have been given this new Spiritual nature, it does not mean that everything that feels natural is right.
2. The Spiritual nature changes our position with God by moving us from being people in rebellion to dearly loved children.
3. 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. (Galatians 5:16-17—NIV 2011)
4. The key to success in this battle with the sinful nature is to rely daily on the reality of the Spirit’s presence in our lives.
5. Our role in God’s process is to personally commit to cooperating with the Spirit’s work in our lives.
II. Signs that the Spirit has begun to take control.
A. The Spirit provides us with guidance in our daily life.
1. Paul speaks of us being led by the Spirit. In the Greek this word implies surrendering to the will of another.
2. When we surrender our lives to the authority of Christ the Spirit works to guide us in a way that pleases Him.
3. The Spirit will never lead us in ways that will contradict Scripture or that places outside of God’s will.
4. The Spirit will help us be able to determine what God’s will is in a particular situation to enable us to make the right choice.
5. We grow in Christ only by submitting to the Spirit and following His guidance for our lives.
B. The Spirit enables us to have an entirely new relationship with God.
1. The truth is that the sinful nature desires to make us slaves but the Spirit desires to set us free so we can be a child of the King.
2. Paul uses the Greek word huiothesia which is the word for legal adoption in the Greco-Roman world.
a. The practice of adoption was not common in the Jewish culture.
b. In adoption all previous relationships are severed and the individual receives full rights and privileges as a son of their new father.