Summary: At Pentecost, God not only unites us through His Holy Spirit, but God also provides for our growth and fellowship. God sent Jesus and Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to us and Jesus sends us in the the Church---the Spirit filled, and the Holy Spirit sealed back into the world to make disciples.
THE OBLIGATION AND THE EVIDENCE
Text: Romans 8:12-17
Rom 8:12-17 So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— (13) for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (14) For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. (15) For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" (16) it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (17) and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
"Frederick II ruled the Holy Roman Empire in the thirteenth century. He was curious to know if the original language was Hebrew, Greek or Latin. In his innocence, he decided to take several infants and isolate them from any sound of human voices. The nurses who attended the children were sworn to absolute silence, and the children were reared without ever hearing the sound of a human voice. Within several months, they all died, even with the best of human care." (Jim and Doris Morentz. ed. Minster's Annual. D. Timothy Robinson. "Void If Detatched." Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989, p. 69). The problem was that even the best of care is incomplete if it cuts off the social and spiritual aspects. here are people who can feel lonely even in a crowd, just as those babies felt estranged from the interaction that they both desired and needed.
At Pentecost, God not only unites us through His Holy Spirit, but God also provides for our growth and fellowship. God sent Jesus and Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to us and Jesus sends us in the the Church---the Spirit filled, and the Holy Spirit sealed back into the world to make disciples.
Today we want to explore the obligation, the evidence and assurance of what it means to be led by God’s Holy Spirit.
What does it mean to be obligated to live in the nature of the Holy Spirit? If we look at Romans 6, 7 and 8 as a whole, then we can get a better picture of what Paul is talking about in today’s text.
1) Baptism: In Romans 6 Paul talks about what it mean to be baptized into Christ meaning that we who have been baptized in the Name of the Father, the Name of the Son and the Name of the Holy Spirit and become new creatures in Christ. Paul says that we have been united with Jesus in a death like His and will be united with Him in a resurrection like His (Romans 6:5).
2) Civil war: So since Jesus died for our sins, we must not let sin reign in our mortal bodies (Romans 6:12). In Romans 7 Paul talks about how we are like walking civil wars because we are at war with our flesh. Rom 7:17-18 But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. (18) For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. The only way we can win that “civil war” is by the help of the Spirit who can help us with our blind spots. We are therefore obligated to stay in step with God’s Holy Spirit.
What does it mean to be “an obligated debtor”?
1) Debtors: (Paraphrasing Auteur G. de Koning) “It means that we have become a debtor to live in accordance with the new place that God has given us through His life giving Spirit because the flesh’s nature has been put to death”. (paraphrased from: KingComments. (Nederlands). © 2021. Used by permission. E-Sword Download translated by Googletarnslate). I like the way Koning explains what “debtor” means.
2) Being born again: Nicodemus struggled with the concept of being “born again” when he met with Jesus (John 3: 7 -10). Our first birth came by a natural means. We did not decide that we wanted to be born. We did (and do) have a decision concerning our second birth which is to be born of God’s Spirit.
“Perhaps the most ferocious animal in creation is the “hamster rat.” When it takes a grip, rather than yield it will allow itself to be beaten in pieces with a stick. If it seizes a man’s hand, it must be killed before it will quit its hold. How like this “hamster rat” is our own proud, unyielding, sinful self. That selfish spirit would cling to and suck the life out of the new heaven-born creature, will not quit its hold until it has been put to death.” (James Smith. Handfuls On Purpose. Volume VIII. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1947, 1997 reprint, pp. 310-311). “So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”, the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven” (I Corinthians 15:45-47 NIV). “Flesh gives birth to flesh but Spirit gives birth to Spirit” (John 3:6 NIV).