Sermon on Romans 8:11-19
Text: 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.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation — but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 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.
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. 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.
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.
Different things give people a sense of security. For a child, it may be a favorite blanket or a stuffed animal. For some a large bank account makes them feel secure. There are security measures that we employ to make sure our homes and possessions are safe. A feeling of security is almost essential for us. No one likes to feel insecure about anything. This morning, we are going to look at our soul’s security. How can we feel secure about our soul, indeed our eternal life? On the basis of our text, we see that THE HOLY SPIRIT MAKES OUR SPIRIT SECURE. 1. He Convinces Us That We Are God’s Children. 2. He Convinces Us That We Are Heirs Of Glory.
A number of times our text speaks of the fact that Christians are the sons or children of God. Such was not always the case. By nature, we are born enemies of God. As we were reminded last Sunday, “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” (Romans 8:11) We are born outside of the family of God. Our sins separated us from God.
However, God, in his great love for us, sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to live and die in our place. His righteous life and innocent suffering and death happened to pay for our sins. The reason Jesus did this was in keeping with God’s plan to make us his children. The apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 1:5, “In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” First of all, we have God’s motivation in doing this: “In love.” Because of God’s undeserved love we have been saved, not because of any worthiness on our part. Paul writes that God “predestined us,” that is to say, he chose us before the creation of the world to be adopted as his sons. When a child is adopted, he belongs to that family. He is part of that family, with all of the rights and privileges that go with it.
This adoption takes place in the life of the Christian when they are brought to faith by the Holy Spirit. At that time, they became a part of God’s family and also can enjoy the blessings and privileges that go with belonging to that family. Paul speaks of one of those privileges in verse 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.” We don’t have to be afraid of God. If we were still in our sins, if we weren’t forgiven, we would have every right to be afraid of God. That is because God doesn’t look the other way when it comes to sin. We do not need to fear, because of what Jesus did. As a matter of fact, Paul continues, “By him (the Holy Spirit) we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Verse 15) Because we have been brought to faith, we can call the Almighty God, the Creator of the heaven and the earth, Father. As a matter of fact, Paul uses the word “Abba,” which is the Aramaic word for a dear father. This shows the closeness that we have with God.
Because of this closeness, we know that he will provide for all that we need. Out of love for us, he will take care of us and give us what is best for us. It also means that we can approach God in prayer with anything on our minds or in our hearts. A little child, normally, is not afraid to ask for things. So also, we can go to our dear loving Father with all things and know that he hears and will answer our prayers. This privilege is ours because we are the children of God.
Because we are children of God, we will want to live in such a way that brings glory and praise to our Father. It is our natural response to all that God has done for us. Paul writes in verses 12&13, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation — but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 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.” We are indebted to God for all that he has done for us. We want to live for him.
Natural man wants to live for, to satisfy the desires of the sinful nature. We have been set free from that obligation. Here in these verses, Paul gives a warning to all people, even Christians. If a Christian allows himself to be dragged back into the service of the sinful nature, he will die. There are no “maybe’s” about it. “You will die.” You will again become “dead in your transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) and lose your salvation. So many people think that they can live however they want to live, because they can always go back to God for forgiveness. Such people need to be warned that they are playing with fire and will be burnt.
Let us, with the Spirit’s help, “put to death the misdeeds of the body” (Verse 13) and live. Live for God now, making your whole life one that says “Thank you” to God. We receive strength to do so from our faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” Let us remain firmly grafted in the Vine, Jesus Christ, and live lives pleasing to our Father in heaven.
There is another benefit of being a child of God. We read in verse 17, “If we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.” As God’s children, we are his heirs. We will receive something from him. Paul says that we are “co-heirs with Christ.” We will receive what Christ already has. Paul gives a hint of this, when he says that “we may also share in his glory.” (Verse 17) Paul is speaking of the inheritance that we will receive as the children of God, namely heaven. Paul elaborates on this further in verse 18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” What a comforting verse this is for Christians. What Paul is saying here is that you can take all of the bad things that happen to us in this world and put them on one side of a scale. You can take all of the pain, the troubles, the heartaches, the sorrows, the worries, the loneliness and whatever else you can think of and they wouldn’t even begin to compare with the glory and happiness of heaven.
Just listen to some of the verses in the Bible that describe the joy we will experience in heaven. We turn to Psalm 16:11, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Hebrews 4:9&10 says, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.” We read in Revelation 7:15-17, “They are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Finally Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” When you read these verses and others like them in the Bible, it is no wonder that Paul wrote, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Verse 18)
This all waits for us as God’s children. How can we be sure that it is ours? The Holy Spirit points to the cross and the empty tomb and reminds us, ‘He did this for you. He suffered, died and rose again, so that you would be saved.’
Does this mean that we will never have any doubt? Unfortunately, no. At times, the spirit plagued by Satan and weakened by sin has doubts. Even the strongest Christian may, at times, wonder and even express this uncertainty. How wonderful it is, then, that our salvation doesn’t depend on us. It isn’t a matter of feeling close to God or far from God that makes a person a member of God’s family or an outcast. We are children of God, because the Holy Spirit created the faith in our hearts that makes us part of his family. It is because of Jesus’ work that we are the children of God. If anyone has doubts about his faith, let him return to God’s Word where the Holy Spirit will make him secure.
We began our sermon by listing several things that make a person feel secure. However, all of these methods can fail you. The child’s blanket or stuffed animal gets lost. Something may happen and that bank account we had set aside disappears. Even the best security systems will not keep a determined burglar from entering the premises. That’s the problem with man-made security. How thankful we are that we can be secure in the fact that we are God’s children and that heaven is waiting for us. May we enjoy this sense of security in an uncertain world and may God help us to share this sense of security with those who are so desperately seeking it. “God is our Refuge and strength; an ever-present help in times of trouble.” Amen.
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