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socialmedia@cityrise.org May 17, 2021 sermons, adoption, Crosspoint Church - Bellaire, Good News, Roger Patterson, romans,

The following is a manuscript of the sermon presented by Roger Patterson on Sunday May 9, at our West U Baptist Church campus. To view the sermon in full, please visit our YouTubpage.

Isn’t that an incredible story?

We are in Romans 8 today and we have been talking about the walking in the Spirit. And Romans 8 is a contrast to Romans 6 that speaks of the way of license, where anything goes and Romans 7 that speaks of legalism, where you have to follow all of these rules so that you can be Christian-enough.

Romans 8 is the way of Liberty. It’s the way of walking with the Spirit.

And when you walk with the Spirit, you grow to understand a number of things about God.

  1. The Spirit has set you Free – (vs. 2)
  2. The way of the Spirit is life and peace – (vs. 6)

And what we are going to see today is that the Spirit of God leads us and identifies us as the Children of God.

You see, we are going to see that we are given a spirit of adoption.

Let’s read Romans 8:12-17.

Romans 8:12-17

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Connect to last week: Now, in verse 12 & 13, Paul is wrapping up his thoughts that we examined more in-depth last week—walking in the flesh versus walking in the Spirit.

And he says here in verse 12 that we are debtors…not to live according to the flesh.  The principle here is simple yet profound.

Paul’s argument is that since Christ is your justification and your propitiation – He is the means by which you have been declared “NOT GUILTY” before the Father, and He himself is the sacrifice that satisfies the wrath of God, your response ought to be:

“Though I could never repay you, I am going to live for you.”

It’s not a legalistic obligatory command.  It’s Paul logically saying…

“Because His Goodness is So Good and His Good News So, So Good, then your natural response should be, I am going to live my life for his glory and renown.”

Remember, the way of the flesh is death, but the way of the Spirit is life and peace!

But look at this amazing statement that Paul makes in verse 14.

Romans 8:14

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 

What is Paul saying here?  We, who are led by the Spirit of God are the Children of God.  WE ARE HIS CHILDREN!

Now, to be clear, all human beings are God’s “offspring” by creation, but we become his reconciled “children” only by adoption or new birth (see Jn. 1:12, Gal. 3:26, 1 Jn. 3:1, 10).[1]

And here is what I want us to really dwell upon today.

Because we are his children…

  1. Our past fears are relieved (v. 15)
  2. Our present identity is secure (v. 16)
  3. Our future is already provided for (v. 17)

It’s that simple.

Let’s examine this together.

Because we are his children…

I. Our Past Fears are Relieved (v. 15)

Look at verse 15.

Romans 8:15

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 

Many adopted children aren’t adopted right at birth.  Instead, many come into their new families with all kinds of past trauma. As a result, they are motivated by fear…in other words, they seek to avoid fear and trauma at all cost.  And this gets played out through their behavior.

The spirit that we received when we came to Jesus Christ was not one that leads to fear and bondage.  It’s not a spirit of slavery that rules us by fear.

No, our Good News, our Gospel, proclaims that God has chosen us, adopted us, and now that we have an ABBA FATHER who loves us, we can begin to live in the light of the present, not the darkness or the past.  The past no longer rules over us. It’s no longer has a say upon our lives.

To fully understand the concept of adoption that Paul had in mind here, we must consider what adoption looked like in Paul’s day. In the Roman world at that time, an adopted son was deliberately chosen by his adoptive father to perpetuate his name and inherit his estate. The adopted son was not a single bit inferior in status to a natural born, biological son, and in fact he might enjoy the father’s affection more fully and reproduce his character more worthily.[2]

And something more that we can see here is that the Holy Spirit leads us to call God our Father.

Joachim Jeremias says…

“The Spirit prompts us in our prayers to call God “Father.” That the Aramaic (abba) and Greek (pater), words for father, are side by side.  This could by a symbol for the inclusion of Jews and Gentiles in God’s family, or it could be meant to remind us of Jesus praying “Abba, Father” in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus then, and Paul here, are encouraging and empowering believers to speak to their Heavenly Father literally as the small child speaks to his father, in the same confident and childlike manner.”[3]

This would be revolutionary to the Gentile hearing these words. Remember, the entire religious sacrificial system was built on the idea of appeasing the gods by your sacrifice.  The sacrificial system was a spirit of slavery unto itself.

Paul is saying…

“No, no…you don’t have to bring a sacrifice any longer.  Jesus is the once for all sacrifice. More than that, you don’t have to be afraid of the gods. No, I’ve got good news. You have been given a new spirit.  It’s not a spirit of fear or slavery. It’s a spirit of sonship. You have been Adopted.  You even get to call God – Daddy!”

Now, listen. Here is where the rubber meets the road for us.  We are not to allow fear to rule our lives.

We are not to allow fear to drive us.  We aren’t to be bound up by fear.

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold
of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

2 Timothy 1:7

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

How many decisions have we made lately based on fear?  I would argue that I have made too many decisions based on fear. Or I have delayed decisions based on fear.

And one of my fears…do you know what it is?  I want y’all to like me. I want you to agree with me. I want you to agree with my decisions.

And it’s easy to fall into the trap of leading out of fear.  And this is where the enemy wants us.

Someone sent me a message from a Catholic Priest. And it was really good. In this message, Pastor Jeffry Kirby said…

“If I were the devil and I wanted to weaken the children of God, I would use fear, fear. I would make sure it got all the way in there. Be afraid of your neighbor. Be afraid of your health. Be afraid of society.”

We have not been given a spirit of fear that is to rule over us.  We have been given the Spirit of life and peace. We have been given a spirit of adoption by which we cry out, Abba, Father. And we don’t have to live in or lead from fear!

What else do we see that comes from being His children?

Because we are his children…

  1. Our past fears are relieved (v. 15)
  2. Our present identity is secure (v. 16)
  3. Our future is already provided for (v. 17)

II. Our Present Identity is Secure (v. 16)

Look at verse 16.

Romans 8:16

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God

As we saw in Romans 5:5, the Holy Spirit has been given to us and He pours out His love into our hearts.

One writer says that the Holy Spirit is the first-fruits of our inheritance as children of God.

And one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit to our lives is to give us assurance that we are children of God.  His job is to bear witness with our spirit…to make it abundantly clear that we belong to the Father.

Did you know that you can have assurance of your salvation?

Did you know that it is the Holy Spirit’s job to provide you assurance of your salvation that is found in Jesus Christ?

John writes in 1 John 5…

1 John 5:13

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.

You see, the Holy Spirit within us bears witness that, “WE ARE RIGHT NOW the children of God.”

2 Timothy 1:12 declares…

2 Timothy 1:12b

… for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.

Are you convinced that you are, right now, a child of God?

Or, are you trying to still earn your place at the table?

It’s easy to fall into this trap as well. Not only is it easy to fall into the trap of fear, it’s also easy to fall into the trap of uncertainty.

Maybe we have walked away from the Lord.  Maybe we were raised in the faith but then we have wondered away and have lived the life of the prodigal or the life of an agnostic.  Maybe we have just been apathetic about faith.

And in this, we are now uncertain of our standing before God.

My friend, if you have the Spirit of Christ in you, if you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ for your salvation, the word of God declares to you that you are a son or daughter of the Most High God.  It calls you to live for Him and follow Him.

And if you are in a place where you don’t know, ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you.

Pray like this: Lord, am I your child?  Spirit of God, show me.

And if He affirms it, rest in that.

If he doesn’t affirm that, then today, receive the Son for your salvation. Place your faith in Jesus for your salvation.

When your faith is in Jesus, our present identity is secure.

What else do we see?

Because we are his children…

  1. Our past fears are relieved (v. 15)
  2. Our present identity is secure (v. 16)
  3. Our future is already provided for (v. 17)

III. Our Future is Already Provided For (v. 17)

Look at this amazing truth in verse 17.

Romans 8:17

and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

We are heirs…We have an inheritance.  We are in the will.

Think about all of the things that we do to provide for our children and their futures.

  • We save money for college.
  • We buy life insurance to make sure they are provided for in case anything happens to us.
  • We make out our wills and seek to make provision for them.

But we don’t necessarily share our wills with them, do we?  We don’t tell them who gets what item in the house.  It’s probably best that way.

Our Lord doesn’t tell us all of the details of our inheritance either. But he promises it is there and that it won’t perish, spoil or fade.

Paul says it this way in 1 Corinthians 2:9.

1 Corinthians 2:9

But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
    nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

It’s going to be glorious. And we are heirs with Jesus Christ.  We will receive a new kingdom that will be so amazing. And we will receive the inheritance that awaits those who have suffered and labored for our Lord.

I want to show you this and make sure we understand it.  It’s going to be so good…for some.  Others will get heaven. They will have everlasting life, but they will miss their reward that the Lord wants to give them.

1 Corinthians 3 speaks plainly of this.

1 Corinthians 3:10-15

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

Here, Paul uses the analogy of building upon a foundation and building materials.  And the wise builder will want his building to withstand fire.  To do that, the skilled builder builds with costly materials of gold, silver and precious stones.  These will last.

But there are some who will enjoy the foundation laid but they will decide to build with lesser materials.  The materials of wood, hay and straw.

Notice what he says here.

1 Corinthians 3:13-15

each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

Notice the word, “DAY.”  It’s with a capital “D”.  That’s the day of Judgement.  Rewards will be handed out.  Those who have suffered for Christ…those who have labored for Christ…those who have lived not for this age, but the age to come…they will be rewarded.  This amazing inheritance.  But those who have enjoyed the foundation of Jesus Christ, but have chosen to build with their own materials, this one will suffer loss.

He himself will be saved, but at the same time he will suffer loss.

My friends, you don’t want to suffer this loss. No, you want to be faithful. You want to build on the foundation of Jesus Christ by laying up treasure in Heaven.  You want to be one who walks in the way of liberty…walking with the Spirit…walking and keeping in step with the Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

In doing so, you can know that your future is already provided for. He has an inheritance for you!

Invitation:  Are you his child today?  Are you walking in the identity and security and provision because you are his child?

[1] John Stott, Romans, 231.

[2] F.F. Bruce, Romans, 167.

[3] Joachim Jeremias, Expository Times vol LXXI, 144.

 

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