Summary: Part 2 in the series Power for Living. This message looks at the important question: "What controls you?" Is it our sinful nature or the Spirit of God.
The Daily Christian Life II
Power for Living, part 2
Wildwind Community Church
David K. Flowers
August 5, 2007
Text – Romans 8:9-17
Do you know what I think is the number one problem with Christians today? I think it is they do not grasp what Christ has done for them, and how he has done it. This leads to an improper understanding of salvation, which necessarily leads to Christians who are uninformed and immature. I think of the main questions I deal with. How come I still struggle with sin, even though I am a Christian? What does it mean for me to grow in my faith? Why do I feel myself pulled in so many directions? How come I still feel so UNChristian at times? If God is living in me, why am I still drawn toward things that don’t please him, or how come I don’t automatically know what God would have me do in every situation? The answers to all of these questions, and more, are right here in the first 17 verses of Romans 8. And again, I’m not seeking to convince you of anything. As I preach through the message today, I’m simply going to ask you to be looking into your own heart and life, checking your own experience, to see if what I say is true. If this does not resonate with your own experience, disregard it. God will not have me bludgeon you into his kingdom. When it’s your time, you will see the truth of this for yourself.
Last week we covered verses 1-8 of Romans 8. This week we’ll look at verses 9-17. Let’s get busy and start by looking at our text. We left off last week dealing with what Paul called the “sinful nature,” or the “law of sin and death,” and how it keeps people under its control.
Romans 8:9-17 (NIV)
9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.
13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,
14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Now don’t be overwhelmed by these large portions of scripture – remember, we’ll just be going verse by verse!
Verse 9 contains the word “however.”
Romans 8:9-17 (NIV)
9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature…
Any time we see a “however” in scripture, we should look carefully at what has come before. And in this case, what comes immediately before is:
Romans 8:8 (NIV)
8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. “You, however, are not controlled by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.” Now whether we’re talking about the sinful nature or about the Spirit of God, we’re talking about control here, aren’t we? The question is what controls you!
So let me just ask that question for a moment. What controls you? Lust for power, for money, for sex, for admiration, for success? Your circumstances? Your appetite? What controls you? Desire to know God, to follow a purpose for your life, to grow in virtue all your life? Something controls you.
Now when we think of being controlled by something, we often think of not having any choice! After all, if I’m under the control of alcohol, alcohol is making me do things, right? Certainly that is true. But do you know what else is true? In the case of alcohol, there was a time when I had a choice to make – a choice about whether or not to go to the party, whether or not to drink when I got there, whether to drink in moderation or to excess. Those are all choices, aren’t they? If I choose to go to the party, to drink when I get there, and to drink to excess, THAT is the point where I am now under the control of alcohol. I have placed myself under its control.