Monday, November 21, 2016

The Heart of Romans Chapter 8

When a United flight out of Denver was cancelled, many travelers naturally were irritated at the inconvenience. One man pushed his way through the crowd to the front, slapped his ticket on the counter, and insisted, "I have to be on this next flight and it has to be first class!" The agent politely said, "I will do what I can, sir, but first I need to take care of those who were here before you." The man's face turn red. He pointed his finger in the agent's face and said, "Do you have any idea who I am?" The agent paused for a moment, took a closer look at the man, then reached for the public address microphone and said, "Your attention please. We have a passenger at Gate 22 who does not know who he is. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to the counter."

Over the past couple of months we’ve tried to establish who we are—our spiritual identity. We are either a child of God, granted that privilege by the payment Jesus made on the cross, accepted when we believed in what He offered and realized when we called out to Him for salvation, or we are not. Hopefully, if you are not, you are on the way.

Once that identity is set, we then are to discover the freedom that salvation gives us, having had the power of Sin’s ownership over us broken. We also learned that that freedom must be appropriated by refusing the influence of our old self and responding to the promptings of the Spirit of God within us to live a godly life.

The question from our last study was: from which direction we going to accept input that affects how we live—the flesh or the spirit?

Today, we ask a simple question: where do you live? That’s a simple question but the answer depends on perspective: where you are at the moment and who’s asking.

If I’m in Dubai – America
In Massachusetts – Texas
In Amarillo – near Houston
In Houston – Montgomery (Lake Conroe)
In Conroe – April Sound
In April Sound – April Wind South

With familiarity, your answer can get more specific.

If God asks, where do you live? He’s not asking for an address. He’s wanting to know—spirit or flesh, old man or new man, old nature or new nature, in your own strength or by the power of His Spirit.

God knows our tendency is to try and ride the fence so He wants us to choose which side of the fence we intend to live on?

Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people did not answer him a word. (1 Kings 18:21)

They were caught in indecision.

Vs. 1-2 – Condemnation isn’t an issue. We can’t go back and belong to the condemned side. We have been justified. But we can live on the condemned side and if we do we will feel the same condemnation of those who are permanent residents.
Vs. 3-4 – Requirements of the Law

The Law originally was the 10 Commandments. To better manage life, God gave Moses additional laws to govern worship, social life, diet and hygiene issues. Later, when asked what God meant by certain commands, the priests expanded the laws to 613 by Jesus’ day.

You can understand the question by the Young Lawyer who asked: what is the greatest commandment? Jesus took all the commands and put them into two – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and body – and love your neighbor as yourself.

By loving the Lord – I want what He wants, I do what He wants, I’ll be what He wants.
By loving others – I live responsibly and appropriately with everyone around me.

These commands express who we are and how we have chosen to live. When I am living as a Child of God, this is what my life looks like. This is how a child of God lives.

Vs. 5 – Walk – live – Deportment – Behavior

Where do you stay? Depends on where I am at the moment. He meant: Where is your
How do you walk? Not stride, gate, foot placement, but how do you live?

Vs. 6 – Mind set –Focused on, under the influence of flesh or Spirit – Our will has chosen the influence it will follow.

            The mind set on the flesh is living in the past, living the dead life of the old self.
            The mind set on the spirit is living in the power of the new person God has made
him to be.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. (Gal 5:16-17)
            Things that please me don’t necessarily please God.

Vs. 7-8 – What pleases God? Living by faith.
            And without faith it is impossible to please Him. (Heb 11:6)

Can’t be two places at the same time – flesh and spirit are opposing directions
            Two-headed turtle – Which head decides which way to go, do, nap, eat?
            Double-minded means hesitating between two opinions – stuck on the fence

Vs. 9 – However! Cf. vs. 16.
      Distinction:  Then Moses said to Him, "If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?" (Ex 33:15-16)

Vs. 10-11 – By living through the influence of the Spirit within us, our whole life is affected.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Cor 6:19-20)  Don’t desecrate the temple.

Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. (1 Cor 9:26-27)

After all I’ve said about living faithfully before God, to walk by His spirit and not by the flesh, even telling them to watch me and follow my example…I can’t afford to let my own life slip.

We don’t arrive at some state of perfection. It is a daily commitment to choose which side of the fence we choose to live on.

Vs. 12-16

In the very first verse of Romans, Paul introduced himself as a bond-servant or bond-slave. It was a common practice when a servant had served his time with his master and had built such a relationship with him that he didn’t want to leave, he could become a bond-servant. He could literally give himself to his master. He became part of his master’s family.

Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; my ears You have opened; burnt offering and sin offering You have not required. Then I said, "Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart. (Ps 40:6-8)

It shall come about if he says to you, 'I will not go out from you,' because he loves you and your household, since he fares well with you; then you shall take an awl and pierce it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever. (Deut 15:16-17)

I belong to my master and the benefit of my life rests in him.
I belong to my Master and the benefit of my life rests in Him.

Vs. 28

Picture a used car salesman. Picture a librarian. Picture a sumo wrestler. What did you see when you pictured each one? Now picture a spiritual person. What does a spiritual person look like? Billy Graham? Mother Teresa? Your grandmother? How many of you pictured yourself?

You are a spiritual person. Made so by the power of God when He brought you into relationship with Himself. So look at yourself and ask: Where do I choose to live?

1.       From the beginning, God’s intentions were to get Heaven into us.
2.      Jesus said He came to give us abundant life.
3.      If we seem to be missing out on that life, realize it is found when we choose God over all other influences.
4.      Those who walk with Him enjoy fellowship with Him and experience all the favor that goes with that kind of relationship.
5.      May God make that privilege real in our lives today!

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