Friday, June 01, 2007

Banner of Truth 2007 -- Session #9

Mark Johnson
Romans 8:5-17

We will end the conference reflecting on the believers walking in the Spirit. Ending with life in the Spirit is an appropriate way to end. Both we and the congregations we serve struggle with this question, "How do we live the Christian life?"

These verses spell out suscintly the Spirits role in living christian life.

A. The Spirit enables us for the life of faith by giving us the ability to do so (v5-11).

1. What is noticable in these verses is the contrast between those living or controled by the flesh and those controlled by the Spirit. Those controlled by the flesh or sinful nature cannot please God. They are incapable of it at all. Those who have the Spirit in them are different. They can now live in a way that is pleasing to God. Outside of the Spirit people are dead in sin, therefore can cannot respond to God. It is this regeneration of new birth by the work of the Spirit that makes a person able to aprehend and desire God. But, there is also the on going work of renewal. The regeration in the sense that Calvin uses it. Gives new ability to please God. No matter how skilled, gifted or capable an unbeliever is, that person cannot please God. Only those the Spirit lives in are capable of pleasing God. It is now possible for them to not sin because the Spirit is in them.

2. This is an ability possessed by every believer.
This is not something for the spiritual elite only. If a person belongs to Christ, they have the Spirit. And, if you have the Spirit you have the things the Spirit blesses those in whom he lives such as life instead of the death in sin and possibility of now pleasing God. Believers now live the life of the Spirit in us.

B. Enables us to live this way because of the responsibiilty he lays upon us. We have an obligation. This is not let go and let God. It is live by the Spirit in us. We are to exercise this in dependance on him. See this illustrated in that we receive Spirit of adoption or sonship, but we cry our "Abba, Father." It is not the Spirit who crys out, we do; but we do it because of the Spirit of sonship. In the gift of the Spirit we have been given amazing resources by God, but we have not used them even close to their capacity. Why? Because of our sinful laziness. Because of our sloth. The reason we are not seeing conversions is because we are not willing in faith to testify to our neighbors trusting that by the Spirit God will bring people to faith. God expects us to use the gift he gives.

Our free will in our own nature is one that is at emnity to God. It will always go the wrong way. But God has dealt with it. He has given the Spirit through the Son that we can now walk in righteousness which we could not do before.

The call is to set our minds on what the Spirit desires. This is to be done consciously, intentionally, and diligently. This means looking to the word of God. This means using our minds so they get remolded by the truth. We are to transform our minds.

That leads to mortifying the deeds of the body. Moving our actions into comformity to Jesus Christ.

C. The Spirit provides the encouragement we need in the Christian life.

It is amazing how relationships change a person's life. Think of the changes from a single man to a married man to a father. How much more true is that in the relationship with God through his Son as we are indwelt by the HOly Spirit. As we grow and explore this relationship we will change. The Spirit does this with us as the Spirit of adoption or sonship. He is the one who moves us to cry, "Abba, Father." This is the instinctive cry of a child in their need. Where do you cry in your need? If you cry out to heaven, "Father" is that not evidence of your state before God.

The Spirit gives real life. It is by him that we have life and peace.

D. The Spirit reminds us where we re going. If the Spirit is in us, is the Spirt who raised Christ. He will likewise raise us to a new life in the world to come. The Spirit is working in us in all our weakness to make us new. While he is working we may not, in fact generally don't look good, but that is because we are works in progress. He is remolding and remaking the people of Christ that Christ may be glorified and through him God may be glorified.


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