Fairmeadow Community Church of The Nazarene
May 30, 2021
  • Come Holy Spirit I Need Thee
  • Holy Spirit
  • Romans 8:12–17 NRSV
    12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

    Life in the Flesh

    Paul is writing his magnum opus to a church with a chance to have great influence.
    He’s writing to Christians, so it’s important to keep that in mind. Actively worshipping followers of Jesus. He’s telling them that life according to the flesh is not where it’s at.
    He’s telling them it’s an option to go on in the Christian life to experience another level.
    To get to that next level they had to go through the door of opening their lives to the deeper work of the Spirit.
    He’s been talking about this in chapter 7-8 and it’s clear there is a life of defeat and depression and there is a life filled with new life.
    The life of defeat and depression would be the life of anyone before coming to Jesus. But, if Paul had to write this letter to believers, then it can be something believers experience also. But here in chapter 8 he makes it clear they don’t have to keep living this way. They have a choice.

    The Law of Sin and Death

    The law of sin and death. This is basic natural law. Every living thing and everyone dies. Everyone sins. Sin becomes embedded in culture, too. Because people start to benefit from taking advantage and that can get handed down. So there can be actual pressure to sin, to compromise that gets applied to people down the line. The law of sin. Sin leads to death. Spiritual death, emptiness, sadness that can feel hopeless. Devastating stuff. Sin comes with delicious looking frosting but it’s a death cake that can’t wait to get inside your life and take over. The law of sin and death. We’ve seen it, we know it.
    But we tend to think of it as affecting only people who are far from God. It certainly does affect people far from God, that’s not incorrect. But Paul isn’t writing to people far from God. It’s people like you and me who can still be living under the full affects of the law of sin and death.
    But Paul says Jesus isn’t just a nice little bedtime story to help ease the pain of sin and death. No, his death and resurrection and ascension paved the way for something so much better! We can be filled with the Holy Spirit, or as Paul would also write to the Christians in Ephesus: “be filled with all the fullness of God.”

    Life in the Spirit

    Paul invites the Christians living in Rome and anyone else who would ever read this letter to experience something more.
    So we can have this experience of being filled with God. But here in these verses Paul seems to be homing in on a very important way of looking at this. It’s not just about a one time experience. I’ve seen people who were saved, sanctified and petrified. Hadn’t grown much in the last 30 years. You’d need a chisel instead of an axe to look at their growth rings. Well maybe the problem is they forgot that after you are sanctified that’s when things really get going and you can get to growing.
    If you look at all of Paul’s writings you will see that being saved happens in three domains. He says if we’ve confessed our sins and asked forgiveness, if we’ve professed that Jesus is Lord and in our hearts believe that he was raised from the dead, we are saved!
    But he also makes it clear that we are “being saved”, a continual process of being healed and restored, made holy, made to be like Jesus. That’s sanctification. It begins in a holy moment of surrender and fullness, but it continues. It continues as we learn to live in step with the Spirit. As we learn to live life according to the Spirit. Or as I’ve said before life KATA PNEUMA. Life in the Spirit.
    And then Paul writes that we will be saved: fully and finally on that day when Jesus appears to set up his kingdom in full. That’s a great hope.
    Romans 8:14–16 NRSV
    14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
    But what connects those dots from here to there is life in the Spirit.

    Debtors

    So Paul began today’s passage saying we are all debtors. To have a debt means to owe something. But it also kind of means to rely on something.
    Now hopefully we all know that relying on credit cards is no long term solution in life. It’s a lot like the law of sin and death. You get further and further behind and it can begin to swallow you up.
    Relying on God means waiting and trusting. Kind of like what we are doing with the HVAC system. We didn’t panic when it went out. We believe that when God’s timing arrives for fixing it God’s provision for fixing it will be complete. But it’s not magical, it requires commitment and effort from us also. God will provide for that need through human beings, through us.
    The law of the Spirit of life means relying on the Holy Spirit to guide us and lead us daily, but also to transform us and continually fill us with the fullness of God. If we don’t seek to live life in the Spirit, if we always live in the flesh it doesn’t matter if we were sanctified at some point or not, because we would be living below our experience with God. Down there, the same grace isn’t available to us to continue the work.
    So what are you relying on each day? Do you begin the day looking to God? His mercies are new each morning. The devil will try to fill your mind with doubts and fears and even if the devil takes a day off your own fallen subconscious mind will dredge up things. But I have come to believe that God allows this so we will become aware of things to give to Him for healing and growth. The enemy may try to destroy and discourage, but he’s just God’s errand boy, really. God doesn’t condemn us for areas where we need healing, where we aren’t perfect. God offers to heal and restore.
    But whether your dreams are sweet or your nightmares are terrifying, God is the one to surrender them to. Whether you’re in debt up to your eyeballs or finally free and more able to enjoy life, God is your provider. Whether you are still haunted by patterns of sin and defeat or can celebrate wonderful recent victories of overcoming temptation and helping others do the same, God is still the only one who can make it so. Don’t get overcome by sinful patterns, don’t settle for them. But on the side of victory, don’t get cocky and think you don’t need to be seeking more of God in your life. Sin is always lurking and the offer always looks sweet. But only Jesus, only life in the spirit truly gets sweeter as the years go by.
    Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Rely on the Spirit. Live life according to the Spirit. That’s the law of the Spirit of life that sets us free from the law of sin and death. Let’s pray.
      • Romans 8:12–17NRSV

      • Romans 8:14–16NRSV

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