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Living by the Spirit (Romans 8:5-17)

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

“Living By The Spirit” (Romans 8:5-17) by Richard Jones – 9/29/19

Real love is when you genuinely care about the best interests of others, loving them with a heart informed from God’s own heart – from His word and led by His Spirit.  Then you become useable and make eternal differences!

Romans 8 shows both why and how to live by the Spirit and to let peace rule in our hearts.  The Holy Spirit within us continually testifies to us that we are children of God.  He re-assures us of our relationship with God to convince us that nothing will ever separate us from His love.  This is a passage of hope because we know our future is bright in Christ.

In Romans 7, Paul gave us a transparent view of what his out-of-control life looks like when he tries to be righteous on his own, apart from the Holy Spirit’s leading.  He is not telling us who he is – he’s telling us who he was – it is not his present condition!  He’s not giving us excuses; he’s exposing the problem, and, as he’ll show us in Romans 8, he’s giving us the solution.  Look with me at his before picture in:

Romans 7:19-25 – 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21 So I find this law at work:  Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Romans 7 describes our life before we submit to the Holy Spirit’s control.  It’s about the power struggle we all have in that un-surrendered way of life, before we are truly led by the Holy Spirit.  It’s a life of ups & downs because it’s a life reluctant to risk intimacy with God.  It’s directed more by our feelings, by our impulses, and by the untamed desires of our flesh (that God did make us with).  But until the desires of our flesh are tamed by the Holy Spirit and His love, they still need the cage of the Law to keep you from hurting yourself and others.

Romans 8 is the rest of the story, after we submit our Romans 7 existence to the Holy Spirit’s leading in our life – the life, the peace, and victory we can have only after we submit to His leading.

In John 16:13 Jesus said, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth.

With only God’s Word, but not submitting to the Holy Spirit, you’ll live a Romans 7 life because you are not being guided or controlled by the Holy Spirit’s desires, but you still have your own.  With only the Holy Spirit, but neglecting God’s Word, you might live a Romans 7 life because you have no point of reference – you won’t live by faith because, as Romans 10:17 tells us, faith comes from hearing and receiving God’s Word about Jesus.  Therefore, you might not be able to tell the difference between the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit. (3x’s Proverbs warns – there’s a way that seems right to us, but leads to death.)

● The Flesh is all our God-given appetites and cravings:  Hungers for food, for relationship, for feelings, for experiences, for control – all these are God-given.  But sin is having our own plans for our life apart from God’s plans for our life, which will greatly affect what kind of desires you allow yourself to act on.

But when you love God, it changes everything!  Here’s why – look with me please, beginning in Romans 8:5:

V5-8- Those who live according to [or who allow themselves to be dominated by] the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires [as in Romans 7]; but those who live in accordance with [you might  could equate this with “in friendship with”] the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God [you like what you’re dabbling in – you don’t even want to think about if God says “No”]; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm [or “sphere”, or who are under the control] of the flesh cannot please God.

Think on the process of dog training for a moment:  If you’re walking a dog down a path with doggie toys, treats, or other dogs, something in the dog will draw it away to the toys, treats, or other dogs.  But a stern “No” from the master will make it thru – as long as the dog listens and looks up to follow the master.  If the dog has never been trained to live according to this other directive, it will be…a dog and chase after those other things.  It needs training in the new discipline to curb its nature, it’s natural bent.  The Spirit says “No” to sin, and calls for us to look up and live.  People who refuse to live by this new directive often complain, that’s just who they are, and they’re therefore not responsible for their sin.  But that’s spiritual blindness.  Believers need to submit to learning to walk out their trust in the Spirit over our flesh-driven bent.

V9 – You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.  And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.

● Either you have the Holy Spirit, or you don’t.  When you receive Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes inside you.  The more you get to know, understand, and recognize the Holy Spirit’s nudges, the easier it becomes to do as He says.  You don’t get more of Him, He gets more of you!

● The Holy Spirit doesn’t want to hurt our pride, He wants to kill it!  He didn’t come to be agreed with, He came to take over!  So don’t try harder; surrender more!  He wants control in your life because He, in your life, gives glory to Jesus, and He wants to shine that light on Jesus thru you!  Where He does not have control is where we keep the spotlight off Jesus and on who we are comfortable being.  We believers might risk feeling uncomfortable turning peoples’ attention to Jesus, but they risk eternity separated from God!

● In John 14, Jesus said that whoever believes in Him will do the works He’s been doing, and they will do even greater things!  He says He came to seek and save the lost, to destroy the lies of the devil, and to destroy the works of the devil.  We destroy the works of the devil by cornering the lies of the devil with so much Truth and in so much love that they just can’t exist anymore in peoples’ minds and hearts.

10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you.

If you are in Christ, the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you!

● The things that we let conquer and defeat us (lust, jealousy, ungodly desires) are not bigger than death!  And Jesus conquered death!!!  This is good news!

V12 – 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation – but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it.

This is BIG from an identity perspective, and has implications on a political and global scale:  You are not your feelings!  Being true to yourself does not mean being true to your feelings, but to who God says you are!

V13 – 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

● When you yield control to the Spirit, you put to death the misdeeds of the body.  Do what you know from His Word – He’ll empower that with life-giving life.  It costs to follow Jesus; but it costs a lot more not to!

● Faith is trust plus action, not just knowledge.  Our sin and our pride keep us from trusting the goodness of God so that we never act on it.

● Jesus says our love for Him is measure-able – John 14:21 – Whoever has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me…

● Satan knows he can’t take Jesus off the throne of Heaven, so he and his demons work to take Jesus off the throne of our heart!

● The only thing God is asking you to give up is whatever you were never created to be in the first place!

● He’s asking that on your job you represent Him and not you.  He’s asking of you that when you stand in line with complainers, you don’t become one; in that situation, our silence only makes us one of them.

● As we come into agreement with God and His Word, taking in as much of His Word as we can and trusting His Spirit to guide us every step of the way, our thinking will become more like His, and we’ll become more like who God says we really are!  We’ll look more and more like Him, and we’ll see more like He sees!  And as you see as He sees, it becomes easier to do as He says!

Q: Do you read God’s Word religiously…or faithfully?  The test of faith is faithfulness!

V14-16 – 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.  And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

● Stand up for yourself as the son or daughter of God you are because of Jesus!  God has dominion over everything and everyone.  Accept His opinion of you over anyone else’s.

V17 – 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.

● God created you to be a son or daughter, a full heir of all He has, and to have everything that Jesus relied fully and completely upon to further His Kingdom in every way!  Everything Jesus relied upon is yours!  He doesn’t hold anything back from you!

● He did everything in faith and in anticipation of God getting *the attention, *the credit, *the praise, *the glory, and *the heart and soul of everyone around!  He lived for, and ran after this consistently!

● When you see who you are in Christ – a child of God made alive with power – and yield control to the Holy Spirit, He works to make everything you do a testimony to what Jesus looks like in the flesh.  We represent, or re-present Jesus!

We’re a people drawing closer to God, who are reaching out to people far from God.

Don’t just go to church, be the church!

It’s about more than just bringing people to church; it’s about pointing people to Jesus and removing all the hurdles and roadblocks we can.

We’re about growing in deeper friendship with God and bringing everyone else we can with us.


1. If you have not, accept Jesus now.  Bow your life to Him now.  You get to be led by the Holy Spirit! GOSPEL

2. Take in as much of God’s Word as you can!  Like a dot-to-dot picture, as you keep going, you’ll see the bigger story about Jesus getting clearer and clearer.

3. Live surrendered to and led by the Holy Spirit – an empowered life that trusts the Holy Spirit to guide you every step of the way!

Real faith takes knowledge and emotion about God and then acts upon it!