Summary: Are you controlled by the sinful nature or the Spirit of God. There are great blessings for those controlled by the Spirit.
Who Controls You? Rom. 8:5-11
INTRO.:The story of Moses in Egypt illustrates the choice we have to live according to the flesh or the spirit. Heb. 11:24ff
Who is in control of your life?
I. Are you controlled by your sinful nature? What are the signs?
A. Where is the focus of your mind? Rom. 8:5
1. Are your thoughts centered on the things that would satisfy you materially? How to get and keep money? What you could do with it? Etc.
2. Are your thoughts centered on how you can have more pleasure?
3. When decisions are made do you make them without prayer or consideration for God?
B. How do you feel about God? The sinful mind is hostile to God.
1. Do you see Him as a judge or a Father? V. 16
2. ILLUS.:I was riding with a friend in Mexico and a police car signaled us to pull over. We weren’t doing anything wrong and instant hostility and fear filled our minds. As it turned out, a policeman wanted to tell us the licence plate was about to come off our truck. One police officer came to my side of the truck and extended his hand. I thought he wanted to see my ID. Instant hostility and fear filled my mind. Instead, he shook my hand. "I met you at a Church service," he said.
3. Is God a policeman who instantly causes fear and hostility in you? He shouldn’t be. He wants to be seen as a loving Father.
C. Whom do you seek to please? 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
1. Peter and John provide a stirring example. Acts 4:19 Relate the story.
2. They stood before the most powerful men in their nation. The same men who had sentenced Jesus to death.
3. I remember the presidential campaign of 1960 when John Kennedy, a Catholic, ran against Richard Nixon, a Quaker. Both men said they would not allow their religious beliefs to "interfere" with their decisions as president if elected. A commentator suggested they both had just the kind of religion a politician needs. Their intent was to please men, not God.
II. Are you controlled by the Spirit?
A. There are two possible meanings for spirit:
1. The spirit that lives within you, or the Holy Spirit of God.
2. Unnecessary to choose. Both need the same attention.
3. Both will work for our good if allowed.
4. Spiritual things are not limited to Church and Bible. Caring for your family is a spiritual obligation. So is good citizenship, child rearing, meeting the needs of those who suffer, etc.
B. The signs of the Spirit’s control:
1. Mind on things of the Spirit. Phil. 4:8
2. Love for God, the Father.
3. Willing obedience to God.
C. Let me ask:
1. Do you ever think about Heaven or about God when you are not in Church? Col. 3:1
2. Do you read and think about God’s Word once in a while?
3. In making decisions, do you put your pleasure or God’s will first?
4. In fact, most of us are controlled neither by the Spirit nor by the flesh. We are somewhere in between. The Christian life is a process of growth. The important factor is which way we are headed.
III. Benefits of the Spirit controlled life: 9-11
A. You may belong to Christ: v. 9
1. We use this word in two senses. One is ownership: "The car belongs to me." The other is participation: "I belong to this Church."
2. The latter is meant here. I belong to Christ because I have been baptized into Christ. I am a member of His body, the Church.
3. As one who belongs to Christ, I have His Spirit within. Eph. 1:13, 14. That is His promise.
B. Your spirit is alive, 10
1. To God, your body is dead because of sin. It’s only a matter of time before it stops moving and begins to decay in a grave. Physically, we are all dying.
2. However, your spirit is alive because of the righteousness of Christ imparted to you.
3. If you are sincere, when you become a Christian, a whole different part of you comes alive. Life takes on a spiritual aspect.
C. God’s indwelling Spirit will raise you to eternal life in His Presence. 11
1. Life in the Spirit is eternal life. The Spirit in you can never die.
2. This is Christ’s greatest promise: resurrection and eternal life.
3. The Bible teaches a bodily resurrection. According to I Cor. 15, our bodies will be changed, but they will be our bodies.
CONC.: As a rudder controls a ship, something will control your life. Some rudder will determine which way you go, it will move you toward your goals and it away from danger. Will it be your sinful nature or the Spirit of God?