Summary: In this message we explore how the Holy Spirit works in our lives as laid out in Romans 8:9-30.
Sanctifying Work of the Spirit in our Lives
It was nearing the end of Jesus’ life on earth. The disciples were still self-centered and timid. They had been with Him for three years in His ministry throughout Palestine. They had seen Him calm storms, drive out demons, heal lepers, and raise a dead man to life. It seemed to them that He truly was the promised Messiah—the One who take down the Roman Empire and establish Israel as the dominant kingdom on earth.
This is what He surely meant when He spoke of the Kingdom of God. Whenever Jesus would talk of the cross, they would put it out of their minds and focus on what their places would be in the new Kingdom. Who among them would sit at the right and left hands of Jesus?
This, however, is not what Jesus or the Father intended. In this age, the Kingdom of God would not be an earthly one. The crown Jesus was to take would not be one of gold, but a thorny one. He would be arrested and beaten. The skin would be torn from His flesh and He would be stripped naked to die a grizzly death by crucifixion—not only the most tortuous way of execution, but also the most humiliating one.
It was at His last dinner before the crucifixion that Jesus was trying to console the disciples on what was about to happen. He knew that they were going to face a crisis of faith. He knew that they were going to be confused and afraid and feel that the Father had abandoned them. He wanted them to know, however, that God would be there for them—He would send a Comforter. He knew that He would rise again and see His disciples again, but He also knew He would ascend into Heaven. He knew that the work He started would be left to these simple men. He knew they might feel abandoned. He knew they needed a word of encouragement for the dark hours that would come.
“And I pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”—John 14:16-18 (NKJV)
Many years later from that fateful night, the words of Jesus echoed in the heart of one who once scourged those who followed after His name—one now who counted himself among the scourged: the Apostle Paul. For the sake of the gospel, Paul had traveled to the ends of the empire. He had been scourged, stoned, naked, and imprisoned—all for the sake of the gospel. As Paul penned his letter to the Romans, he had his eyes fixed on Jerusalem. Perhaps he knew that this was his last season as a free man—even as a living man. As he reflected on his many journeys and years of ministry, Paul may have sensed that his journey was coming to an end. Would the Jewish leaders kill him if He went to Jerusalem?
In his letter to the Romans, he reflected on the many occasions that the Holy Spirit was there to provide comfort and aid in the fiercest storms of his life. It is this that we are going to discuss this morning. Turn if you would to Romans 8: