Sermons

Summary: In this sermon we see that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because of the intercession of the Holy Spirit.

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Scripture

The first verse of the greatest chapter in the Bible—Romans 8:1—says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Everything else that follows in the rest of Romans 8 tells us why there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

The first reason why there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus is because there is no condemnation from the law. That is what the Apostle Paul teaches in Romans 8:1-4.

The second reason why there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus is because we have been delivered from the flesh (or “the sinful nature,” as some versions put it). That is what the Apostle Paul teaches in Romans 8:5-11.

The third reason why there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus is because we are now the children of God. That is what the Apostle Paul teaches in Romans 8:12-17.

The fourth reason why there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus is because we have the hope of future glory. This is what the Apostle Paul teaches in Romans 8:18-25.

Today, we see a fifth reason why there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and it is because of the intercession of the Holy Spirit. We see this in Romans 8:26-27.

Let’s read Romans 8:26-27:

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)

Introduction

Do you ever find yourself asking these questions when you pray?

• What should I pray for?

• How should I pray?

• Can I pray with confidence, “claiming” things by faith?

• Do I always have to add, “If it be your will” to my prayer?

• What happens if I pray wrongly?

• Can prayer do harm?

• Does prayer get God to change his mind?

• Can it change God’s plans?

• If not, does it even matter if I pray?

Prayer is one of the great struggles for Christians. But we have help in this area, the help of the Holy Spirit, which is a great help indeed.

Here is a marvelous truth: the Apostle Paul teaches us that the Third Person of the Trinity is interceding with the First Person of the Trinity on our behalf!

Lesson

In this sermon we see that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because of the intercession of the Holy Spirit. Let us see how the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.

I. The Problem of Prayer

First, let’s note the problem of prayer. Paul says in verse 26a: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.”

Prayer is a problem for us because of our weakness. When Paul speaks of our weakness, it is important to realize that he is not speaking of sin. Weakness is not sin.

It is true that as sinners we sin, and that sin is a barrier to communication with God. David said of his prayer life, “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18). Isaiah told the Israelites, “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).

But that is not what is being spoken of here. The problem Paul is concerned with is our weakness, and this is not sin but rather it is our frailty as human beings.

What kinds of weakness or frailty are there? Well, physical weakness is one kind. The story of the disciples who were left by Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane to pray provides an illustration. They kept falling asleep even though Jesus had instructed them to stay awake and pray.

But in Romans 8 the weakness Paul has in mind is ignorance or a lack of understanding. It is expressed in the next phrase that “we do not know what to pray for as we ought” (8:26b). This is not a question of how to pray but of what to pray. Paul means that we do not know what we should ask of God. What is God’s will for others or us? In our human frailty we often simply do not know, and therefore do not know how to pray rightly.

I also want you to notice that when Paul writes the word “weakness” he adds the word “our,” thereby putting himself in an identical position with us. In other words, the weakness that makes prayer difficult is not something that only new, baby, or immature Christians have. It is part of our common human condition.

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