Life in the Spirit

An exposition of Romans 8:1-17. This message by Pastor Rod Harris wasromans brought to the fellowship of Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, February 7, 2010.

If you go to Mardels or any number of Christian Bookstores you will find entire sections dedicated to the work of the Holy Spirit.  You will find books on the filling of the Holy Spirit, on how to walk victoriously in the Spirit, how to be led by the Spirit and a number of books on the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Now when you are there and you see someone on that aisle wearing a trench coat and dark glasses…they are probably a Baptist!  Because we’re just not into that sort of thing.  That’s what those other folks do.  And you know they are really “off track” doctrinally.  It seems too often we, as Baptists, are like those disciples of John found in Acts 19:2.  When asked if they had received the Holy Spirit they replied, “We have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”  Talk of the Holy Spirit “frightens” us because there is such abuse.  I’m not deny there is great abuse in this area.  But we have nothing to fear from the 3rd Person of the Trinity.  The work of the Spirit is essential.  Apart from the working of the Spirit of God there would be no salvation.  It is the Spirit that quickens us making us alive and enabling us to see the beauty of Christ and the wonder of the Gospel causing us to flee to Christ for life.  It is the Spirit of God who indwells every believer conforming us to the image and likeness of Christ, teaching us to observe all that He commanded us, and moving us toward sanctification and glorification.  The work of the Holy Spirit is essential to your growth and maturity as a Christian.  Apart from the presence and power of the Holy Spirit you cannot be what God has called you to be.  This morning we are going to consider “life in the Spirit.”

Now we hear that phrase and because of our context we think of tongues, healing crusades, prophetic utterances and let’s go ahead and acknowledge it  – nonsense! If you are God’s child you have been called to live and walk in the Holy Spirit.  It is not an option.  It’s not an elective – something you can choose to do or not do – it is required.  But you can do it without ever “jumping a pew” or speaking in an “unknown tongue.”  I want to show you what life in the Spirit is all about and we find it in Romans chapter 8.

Text: Romans 8:1-17

In Romans 7 Paul speaks openly and honestly about his on-going struggle with sin.
There we discover the tension in salvation present and not yet.
We are saved but we are also being saved.
We are declared righteous in the sight of God because of Christ but we are not yet perfected.
In our journey toward holiness we struggle.
We often slip and fall.
At times we yield to sin and thus fall victim to its passions and desires.

Paul ends chapter 7 with a cry, “Wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?”  But this is not a cry of despair.  This is not a hopeless surrender.  It is a shout of affirmation because he goes on to say, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”  Victory is not secured by means of our heroic struggle with sin but rather by God’s gracious provision in Christ.

Romans 8 is then marked off by two great statements.
One at the beginning and the other at the end.
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…”
“…nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

No condemnation at the beginning.
No separation at the end.
And no defeat in between!

Paul makes reference to the Spirit some 20 times in this chapter.
This morning I want to focus our attention on the first 17 verses.
It is here that we discover…

Thesis: Genuine saving faith rejoices in the life altering work of the Holy Spirit.
There are two things I want to point out from our text.

  1. Paul, with a prophetic voice, boldly declares our freedom and deliverance through the work of the Holy Spirit.  (8:1-4)
  2. Paul, with pastoral concern, outlines the Spirit’s work on our behalf.  (8:5-17)

There are 4 things attributed to the work of the Spirit.

  • Through the Spirit we’ve been granted a new mind – (8:5-8)
  • Through the Spirit we’ve been given new life – (8:9-11)
  • Through the work of the Spirit we are driven by a new dynamic – (8:12-13)
  • Through the work of the Spirit we are made heirs of a glorious new family – (8:14-17)
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