Romans - Part 30From series Romans.
In this sermon by Simon Ponsonby from St Aldates Church, Oxford, Simon continues his series on the book of Romans and imparticular talks about holiness and living a life led by the Holy Spirit.
The following are notes made from the talk. Please feel free to add your own by leaving a comment.
God by the work of the Holy Spirit is in the business of making people holy as He is holy.
For many it is a sad observation and statistic that there is not much difference between moral behaviour of non-christians and christians. We are called to live distinct lives that impact the community around us, but the reality is they are not. The apostle Paul has been saying up to this point that the new life in Christ must be followed by a new lifestyle. Those who are positionally righteous and justified must practically live as sanctified.
Romans 8 outline 2 ways to live: 1. Either we live according to flesh or 2. We live according to the spirit. We must decide which one will allow to be the language and CEO of our life and existence - the flesh or the spirit - you can't serve two masters. You cannot live a double life - pretending to be good but being wicked all the time -it is easy to be one thing and practice something else - a veneer of spiritually and evangelical morality but practice something opposite. How many people sing on a Sunday but sin on a Monday - drop the "G"? Can the people around you see the difference? Can they see God in you?
How do we live according to the Spirit?:
A Spirit-led walk.A life as a pilgrimage. We have the option of who will accompany us on this walk.Who will be our tour guide? Sin and flesh or the Spirit? It's possible to be in Christ and justified but still work this through. A walk led by the Spirit implies that we have a leader/guide - the Spirit does not walk according to us but we to the Spirit - He leads the way and marks the pace.
The flesh often wants to pull its owner around like a dog on a leash. The spiritual person is led by the spirit not dragged around by the flesh. To walk in the spirit implies a direction - his goal is to take us along the high-way of holiness.
A walk with the Spirit demands an intimate partnership with a life lived in the book that He wrote - you cannot walk with the Spirit from a distance; we must keep in-step, up-close and personal. We must cultivate the intimacy with a daily devotion.
The Spirit does not carry us to holiness, it is not monergistic (the work of One), sanctification is synergistic - we need to walk with Him.
If it seems like you are distant from Him it is not because He has left you it is because you have not followed closely with Him - you have not kept up with Him.
The journey will be completed when we ultimately arrive at the throne room.
Holiness is a spirit-taught view. v5-7 - a mind set on the spirit. How can you be holy? Holiness is a mind-set. The secret of holiness is about establishing a stronghold of a biblical, evangelical world-view.
You are what you think - manners do not make the man - the mind makes the man. It is the framework in which we understand the world and life and our place in it. The spiritual man needs to have a world view formatted according to the bible and we believe the bible is our authority.
The Apostle Paul often wrote - "to the saints in-christ, in the city you live in" - there are two spheres of influence being written to - which sphere are you influenced by and which sphere are you influencing?
We are called to go against the tide- Romans 12:2 - not transformed by the world by the renewing of the mind.
We must put to death the misdeeds of the flesh by the Spirit and you will live - its fighting talk. You cannot be a Spiritual pacifist - you are called to war against the flesh which is at war against the Spirit.
Christ was put to death for them, now you need to put them to death in your own life.
You cannot win if you don't fight. Sin will not simply go away if you ignore it - it will spread. We need to search our souls by the Spirit and put to death the things of the flesh. Do not let the enemy come and plunder your soul. This is a constant battle - be ever vigilant.
We fight by the Spirit - v.11 - the power of the resurrection at work in your life, now.
The Spirit transforms us from one degree of glory into another degree of glory, and ultimately more into the likeness of Christ.