WALKING IN THE SPIRIT by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson
Romans 8:1-5 1There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
Overall Background: The passage we just read marks the destination of the Christian life. Romans 8 is like the harbor/port to which storm tossed, weary, hungry, thirsty sailors are trying to reach. What a joy it is to finally see the destination!
– Our Old Nature has been crucified with Christ.
– We have been buried and resurrected in Him.
– We are no longer under law but under grace.
– Sin no longer has any dominion over us.
– We have been set free through Jesus Christ our Lord.
How wonderful is all that! But there is a problem. We need help to make it to the shore without crashing. We need help to understand these truths, apply these truths, and remember these truths. We need help to live the Christian life. We cannot do this on our own. We can know Romans 5, 6, and 7 and still not be able to navigate the Christian life. We need a Master Sailor to give us directions to make it to shore. In fact, we need the Master Sailor to get into the boat with us and navigate us into the port.
I can do only so much to help you walk the Christian life and you can do only so much to help me. What you and I need is someone who understands the waters of life, someone who understands the storms of life, someone who loves us, someone who has helped others before, someone who even has power over the storm to help us make it to port.
God thought of everything. Remember—He never leaves a job half-done. He knows how hard it is for us to live the Christian life. He knows the power of indwelling sin. He not only sent His Son to bring us salvation but He also sent His own Holy Spirit to help us live the Christian life. Romans 8 mentions the Holy Spirit more than any other chapter in the whole Bible. He is referred to 19 times in this chapter. God has sent the Holy Spirit to bring us safely home. If you are truly saved, He is living in you right now and He is doing that as we speak!
Application: Let me ask you this morning – are you tired of trying to live the Christian life on your own? Do you know the truth but you lack the power to live the truth? Are you ready to let someone come along and help you live the Christian life? Then this message is for you.
Christianity is not just God showing you the port. Christianity is God getting in the boat with you and helping you make it to shore. That’s walking according to the Spirit. Isn’t that wonderful!? So how can you and I walk in the Spirit?
There are 3 things that this passage tells us about walking in the Spirit.
I. IT BRINGS ASSURANCE TO THE BELIEVER
1There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Background: In Romans 7 we heard the awful dilemma of the Christian. The more he tried to keep the Law, the more he broke the Law. Listen to Romans 7:8“But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire.” Instead of more victory and growth and holiness, the law only incited more sin. We begin to deal with issues that we were done with—no more bad temper, lust, lying, fear, etc. To the contrary, they are back and sometimes they are back with a vengeance. Listen to verse 9:“… but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.”
In utter frustration and desperation, we cry out with this person: 15For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do… 24O wretched man (woman) that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
At this stage, it is very easy to start doubting your salvation. In fact, many denominations are built on the premise that if you sin, you have lost your salvation. You need to get saved all over again. They only seem to make it as far as Romans 7 but they cannot go on to Romans 8.
Application: I am sure that there are people here this morning that are exactly in this predicament. I need to get saved because if I were saved, I would not be doing these things. Now keep in mind—if you never received the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for your sins, then you are lost. You do need to get saved. If you are unsure about your salvation, you better make sure this morning. “Eternity is too long to be wrong.” But if you can point back to a time when you definitely remember praying to receive Jesus as your Savior, then you are saved.
God is allowing you to go through the process of self-revelation to show you how awful indwelling sin is and how much you need His help to live the Christian life. But your salvation is still intact. There is no double jeopardy with God—He will not punish you for the same crime twice.
Listen again to Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” The flesh may tell you that you are condemned but we do not listen to the flesh but to the Spirit. Again in Romans 8:16 “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,”
Application: 2 questions this morning: 1. Are you truly saved? 2. Are you living in condemnation?
Walking in the Spirit—1. It Brings Assurance to the Believer;
II. IT COUNTERACTS SIN AND DEATH
2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
Background: This is a powerful statement of the work of the Holy Spirit in every believer’s life. There is the Law of Sin and Death. This is my indwelling sin—old nature, the flesh. All it does is bring death in my life. All it does is to condemn and destroy. All it does is pull me down.
When I am saved, the old nature is crucified but it is not eradicated. God will take care of that in the end. What God has done is that he has applied another law – the Law of the Spirit of life to counteract the Law of Sin and Death.
For e.g. George Goodman gives a great illustration in his book “I Live, Yet Not I”—“A father and his little son were walking in the garden in the springtime when the display of early beauty was at its best. ‘What is gravitation, father?’ asked the boy, ‘Gravitation, my son, is a law or principle of nature by which everything is attracted or drawn down to the earth. Thus, if you drop a stone or an apple, the earth draws it down, and so it falls as we say, to the earth.’ ‘Oh, but father,’ objects the child, ‘look at those beautiful tulips. They all go upwards. They are not drawn down.’ ‘True, my boy; but that is because in them there is another law at work. The law of life, which is stronger than the law of gravitation has made them free from it as long as they live. See, if I destroy the life by cutting one off, it falls at once to the ground.’”
Listen again to Verse 2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free (past tense) from the law of sin and death.” Meaning: If I am saved, I don’t have to wait for the Holy Spirit to do this for me. I don’t have to surrender more for the Holy Spirit to do this. I don’t need a special experience from the Holy Spirit for this to happen. I don’t have to speak in tongues for the Holy Spirit to do this for me. It is done! The Holy Spirit has already brought the life of Jesus Christ to us.
Some Christians think that the Holy Spirit is sitting all disappointed, dejected, and waiting for us to turn it all to Him before He can help us. Nothing could be further from the truth. He is working all along to help us. When we disobey, He simply turns from bearing fruit to convicting us and from convicting us to disciplining us.
What else? He not only brought life to us but He also works in us to fulfill the righteous requirement of the Law.
Listen to verse 3-4: 3For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Only the Lord Jesus can live His life through us. All we have to do is to reject our own resources and rely upon the Holy Spirit to live through us.
Application: Are you daily trusting in the Holy Spirit? Are you walking according to the flesh or are you walking according to the Spirit?
Walking in the Spirit—1. It Brings Assurance to the Believer; 2. It Counteracts Sin and Death
III. IT BRINGS A CHANGE IN DISPOSITION
5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
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