Summary: Purpose, direction, the world vs. spirit


Romans 8: 5-8 (p 800) January 20, 2013


I started thinking about this sermon when I was at lunch Monday…and I couldn’t wait to get back to the office and ask some of the staff this question….Ready…”Who controls your thoughts?”

Now we have a great mixture of youth and age…energy, zeal and wisdom in our staff…some said, God does, or the Devil does.” Others answered, “I do, but sometimes I don’t have complete control of the thoughts that enter my head.”

I also had the comment made that “People sometimes influence how I think and the thoughts I have.”

I knew exactly what they mean….”After contact with certain people...or people with certain attitudes I have thoughts…some of them not great…and if I let those thoughts run recklessly on their own like the rabbit down the hole…I feel…”angry, frustrated, guilty, hurt…or usually a combination of those emotions…

I also firmly believe Satan can influence our thoughts…whether its lust or hatred or self-loathing, or worry….He can influence our thoughts and does so on a daily….maybe hourly basis.

The temptation to sin…to choose that selfish way ( to feed the wolf the Twinkie) always begins as James says…”Each one is tempted when by his own evil desire he is dragged away and enticed then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full grown, gives birth to sin”. (James 1: 14, 15)

Temptation isn’t a sin…”Jesus was tempted in every way as we are, but never sinned.) (Heb 4:15)

But sin always begins with temptation…and that temptation begins in our thoughts, in our mind.

Here’s an important question…


God’s word says in our text: “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires.”

[My father-in-law, Ken has this metal detector that’s really cool…I mean its high tech and expensive…you can set it to identify the metal you want to find…you can get really specific with it…He’s found gold chains and coins because he can ignore all the beer bottle caps]

The human heart…because of Adam & Eve’s fall in the garden is set on “Sin”…my natural desire because of my disobedient grandparents is…Seek the things that make me happy…that feel good, that I want…my thoughts work that way…I can begin to formulate a plan and a scheme…and the beeper starts going off stronger and stronger the closer I get to what I passionately desire…

Yes I might know the law…yes I might know what’s right and what’s wrong…but my nature says “forget that…do what you want…” One of the most popular songs in our culture today says “f—you” that’s really its title…and the theme is…. I’m here for me….F-you. If you can’t see that (Cee-lo Green)

For the individual who has not been set free from the law of Sin and death by the Spirit of Life sin is the driving force for your decision making…selfishness is the filter for your direction…and it leads to one destination…Death

“The mind of Sinful man is death”

Listen…”The sinful mind is hostel to God…It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

Here is one of the most damning sentences in the Bible…”THOSE CONTROLLED BY THE SINFUL NATURE CANNOT PLEASE GOD”

The two words that Jump out at me are in verse 5 “Minds Set”

For any of you that have ever worked in concrete…or ladies if you’ve glued something and you’ve waited for it to dry…you get what Paul is trying to communicate in the creek…”Minds Set….Phroneo”

Like concrete or set glue…someone who lives according to the sinful nature has a thoroughly hardened, predicted set way of thinking…Sin is approached, accepted and persuaded in the same pattern of thinking over and over and over again…[It’s easy for the truck tires to fall into the rut they’ve made in the road over time.]

Do circumstances influence my thinking…absolutely!!!? Do people influence my thinking…you bet ya!!!...Are we prone to let our thoughts run down the dark rabbit hole when we’re depressed, stressed, or grieving…yes we’s our nature.

Here is the radical difference for those who are living there lives according to the spirit and not according to that nature….


“The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace” Our thoughts can clearly be influenced by Satan…temptations, dark thoughts, hatred, evil movies, greed, coveting,…lies…and on and on and on…

That’s true whether you are a Christian or not. My definition of a Christian is someone who has been born again through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit…It’s a person, male or female who has surrendered themselves to Jesus, repented, confessed his lordship, been buried with him in baptism and risen to walk in newness of life through the gift of the “spirit of life” referred to in verse 2. God’s Spirit.

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