Sure, it can be scary while they figure it out. You can try hard to keep them safe while they learn to walk. However, THEY have to learn how to walk. You cannot do it for them. They will fall. They will get bruises. They will have to decide that it is better to walk and run than to crawl around the rest of their lives. So must Christians discover how to walk and live the Christian life God designed for us. We have to decide that we do not want to crawl the rest of our Christian life.
It Is No Little Thing To Be A Christian.
Many people come to Christ and seem overwhelmed with ‘being a Christian”. If being a Christian seems too big for you, just say “That is very good” I would not have it if it were as small as I am. Being a Christian must be something really big if it is to get me anywhere!
The bigger being a Christian is, the mightier the dynamic force that is behind the Christian Life. The greater is the POWER to Walk the Christian Life!
Romans 1-7 is the Gateway into the Christian Life.
The word written across the portal of that gate is FAITH. On the Gate, is the Cross. Faith in the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ is the way in, and seven chapters are devoted to that way. In Chapter 8 you find what kind of life is on the other side of that gate, the other side of the cross.
Chapter 8 is the real nature of this Big Life into which we have come. In this chapter there is one word which stands out-it is the word SPIRIT. This whole chapter that describes this Big Christian Life springs from and centers on this matter of the Spirit!
This Big Christian Life begins there: The Law of the Spirit of Life IN Christ Jesus!
We are through the gate, we are through the Cross, and here we find what we call “The Life in the Spirit”. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the church, ushering in a new dispensation, the one we are living in now. It is the dispensation of the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament dispensation, the dispensation of God’s dealing with the Jews, is past. Now He is dealing with the church, the Body of Christ through the Holy Spirit. This is an entirely new and different age, marked by the coming of Jesus Christ, and concluded with His return.
The character and quality of this dispensation is entirely the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit has come; He has introduced a new order of things entirely; and, until we understand that order, we shall not make any progress in our Christian life. It is very necessary for us to understand that.
The effect of the Holy Spirit, simply but fundamentally, is that He joins us to Christ. He brings about a vital union with the Lord Jesus. “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” 1 Corinthians 6:17. To Live this Big Christian Life requires not our self-effort, but our walking after and relying upon the Holy Spirit.
So We must WALK…AFTER THE SPIRIT. That is what we will focus on in Romans 8 verses 5 – 15.
We found in the first four verses of Romans 8:
I. New Life in Christ – New Walk in the Holy Spirit
Romans 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Vs 2: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Vs 3: For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, Vs 4: so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
We are One with Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit
- In Jesus we are not condemned
- In Jesus we live by a new law – freee from the law of sin and death.
- We Walk Knowing what Jesus has done for us (vs 3)
- We walk knowing what the Holy Spirit will do IN us (vs 4)
The Christian Life Is a Life Lived In Not In Our Flesh, But In The Spirit! Verse 3 reveals that God did for us what we could not do in ourselves-he removed the fundamental ground of our weakness-he crucified our old man, so that we could be free to walk in the new man of the Holy Spirit. Verse 4 reveals that the Law is fulfilled in us by walking in the Holy Spirit who indwells us.
What Does It Mean To Walk After The Holy Spirit?
1. Not a Work, but a Walk.
For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me. Colossians 1:29
D.L Moody said, “I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and everything that is contrary to God’s law, the Holy Spirit will fill every corner of our hearts. But if we are full of pride and conceit and ambition and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God. We must be emptied before we can be filled.” J. Kuhatschek, Taking the Guesswork Out of Applying the Bible, IVP, p. 153ff.
Paul contrasts the WORKS of the flesh with the FRUIT of the Spirit (Gal 5:19, 22)
- Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Galatians 5:19
- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Galatians 5:22
The Christian walk is not up to us, to our works, just as Salvation is not up to our works. Salvation is entirely of Grace, so the Christian Walk is to be entirely of Grace. The Spirit produces the fruit. We are merely the instrument.
2. To Walk After Implies Subjection/Submission
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:16-18
- No matter what the cost, or what the imposition.
When we follow after our flesh the Holy Spirit will shrink back.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30
3. Walking After the Spirit Requires a Mind Set upon Him!
“to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” Rom 8:6
While on the faculty at MIT he once gave a colloquium lecture at Penn State. Several colleagues from Boston schools decided to attend the talk and they took the train to Pennsylvania for the lecture. Afterward, as usual, they went to dinner had a nice discussion, then all boarded the train and returned to Boston. Hurewicz could not find his car at the train station. So he reported it stolen. A few days later, the police called and said that they had located his car. It was in a parking garage in ………….. Philadelphia.
In 1956 while attending the International Symposium on Algebraic Topology in Uxmal, Mexico he climbed to the top of a Mayan pyramid. The story is that he forgot where he was. He stepped nonchalantly and fell off to his death.
Jesus made it clear that what we set our mind on is critical to the advancement of His Kingdom:
Mt 16:23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
We are to have the mind of Christ, who set this self-less and flesh-less example for us:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8
4. Minding the Flesh Produces Conflict With God
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:5-8
Walking after the flesh means I yield to the authority and dictates of the flesh. Romans 8:5-8 shows where fleshly walking leads me. It brings me into conflict with God. The word used by the King James is “enmity”. It means “the extreme ill will or hatred that exists between enemies.”
Paul uses a noun not an adjective for the word ‘enmity’. The reason is that walking after the flesh does not taint us, it shows WE are tainted!
- It is not that we can be opposed to God, but that we ourself is opposed to Him!
- We not at enmity, but enmity itself!
- We are not black, but blackness!
- We are not corrupt, but corruption!
- We are not rebellious, we are rebellion!
- We are not wicked, we are wickedness itself!
- We are not just deceitful, we are deceit!
The fleshly walk does not submit to the Holy Spirit. The fleshly walk does not and cannot please God.
II. Walking After The Spirit Brings Me Into The Law Of The Spirit Of Life.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 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. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 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!” Romans 8:9-15
The Spirit must LEAD us. Not only Setting our Minds on Him, but also Following Him. (Not enough to only think about Him, you must obey). My kids usually minded me, but I don’t think their heart was in it all the time!
Much more than minding. It requires that you submit to His leading. You cannot be independent of Him. You must be subject to the Holy Spirit. Only as we yield ourselves to obey Him shall we find the law of the Spirit of Life in full operation and the “ordinance of the law” being fulfilled.
- Everything we have been trying to do to please God is now reality simply by our submitting to the Holy Spirit.
- As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the Sons of God. (Rom 8:14)
Why is it so important to be led by the Holy Spirit? Understand God’s design:
- The Love of God is the source of all spiritual blessing
- The grace of the Lord Jesus has made it possible for that spiritual wealth to be ours.
- The communion of the Holy Spirit is the means whereby it is imparted to us.
What the Father has devised, the Son has accomplished, and the Holy Spirit communicates directly to us. If we are not walking after the Holy Spirit, we are missing out on all the Father hand the Son have for us!
III. We Walk as His Son
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!”
- 2 John 1:6 “And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.”
- 1 John 2:6 “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
- Ephesians 5:8, 9 “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)”
- Romans 8:4 “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after theSpirit.”
Walking in the Spirit is not an option for the Christian – it is a command of God: “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
But, how do we walk as His Son?
A Son Believes His Father. A Son Trusts His Father.
- See the Contrast
David vs. Saul and the Army of Israel
We see this in the contrast between the way the army of Israel approached the giant named Goliath and the way David did in 1 Samuel 17. The soldiers allowed did not believe in the power of their Jehovah God, for they did not see Him as their all-powerful Father. They all “ran away in great fear” while David, who knew the power of His God, and knew his special relationship with God, “ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him” in verse 48.
Your relationship determines your walk!
Joshua and Caleb vs. the Children in the Wilderness
This is the choice the Children in the Wilderness faced: Do we believe God or do we trust what we see? When the 10 spies told of the giants, the Israelites had no thoughts of their relationship with Jehovah God. They had no thoughts of His power, so they became afraid and disobeyed.
Joshua and Caleb knew the power of God, knew of their beloved relationship with Him, and knew they could go in and defeat the giants. Do you approach the giant fears of your life as a helpless orphan, or do you approach the giants as God’s beloved son?
A. We are a Son of God by the Holy Spirit
Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
- Not the works of the spirit! – Not the influences of the spirit, or the general character which comes form the indwelling spirit,…but the Spirit Himself!
- “The difference between the regenerate & the unregenerate is not of degree, but of kind!” (Spurgeon at His Best; Rom.8:9)
The question you must ask yourself:
Does the Spirit of Christ live in me? What evidences of the Holy Spirit do I see in my life?
- Do I constantly worry?
- Do I get upset at even the tiniest of things.
- Do I have sins that you can’t seem to control.
- Do I read the Word of God and know that God speaks to me as I read it?
- Do I have times when you just need to talk to your Father?
- Do I constantly think about Jesus, do I praise Him, do I ask Him for advice?
If you truly are born again, you will walk in the Spirit of Christ. If you do not, then you need to do a Spirit Check.
B. Enemy of Sonship: The Phony Christian Walk
Evidence of phonies are:
1. Cliché Christianity. A cliché is a phrase that is said too many times in a certain situation. Take sports for example. We hear: Take it one game at a time. Records are made to be broken. This team has overcome a lot of adversity. They control their own destiny.
Christians resort to clichés as well, and in many ways those cliché’s define the way they live. Some have sarcastically referred to this practice as “Jesus jargon”. These overused phrases convey little meaning because we hear them way too often. Unfortunately, many of us just repeat the expected vocabulary without really thinking about what the words mean. As a result, they lose their impact. Here are some that come to mind: Just have faith. God touched me. Let go and let God. God told me. I’ll pray for you.
Here is the danger. You and I can say the right sayings and yet our hearts can be far from God. And, since most Christians use these common clichés, it is easy to fall into a superficial spirituality. On top of that, we can fool others and even ourselves simply by saying the right words.
But none of this fools God as Isaiah 29:13 reminds us: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me…”
2. Right Rules. Some of you are trying to live the Christian life by a set of rules: “Do this, don’t do that!” The problem of living by rules is that it can lead to legalism. It also is walking in the flesh. On top of that, according to Colossians 2:22-23, it does not work anyway: “These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”
God is not impressed either as the second part of Isaiah 29:13 says: “…Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.”
3. Formulaic Faith. Some of us are trying to live our faith by following formulas. These formulas are everywhere: Three Avenues to Answered Prayer, Four Steps to Spiritual Success and Five Ways to Walk in the Spirit. There are at least two problems with formulaic faith. First, it can lead to mechanical Christianity. Second, it doesn’t work very often.
4. Performance Posture. Way too many of us are trying to please God by our performance and some of us think that He will only accept us if we make ourselves acceptable. As the early chapters of the Book of Romans make clear, we will always fall short.
5. Extra Experiences. Some people try to live the Christian life by seeking deeply moving, life-changing, earth-shattering, emotional experiences with God. The problem is that experiences do not last because we must eventually come off the mountaintop and resume life in the valley. And, if you seek experiences, you will yo-yo in your faith, going up and down depending on the experiences you have. While God uses conferences, camps, mission trips, moving movies, and dynamic speakers, they alone cannot sustain our faith.
6. Coasting Christianity. Some of you have settled into a mediocre, lukewarm Christian life. You might be a coasting Christian because you think Christianity is too difficult. It is too hard to follow this unseen Holy Spirit.
Do any of these alternatives describe you? Let me say that there is some truth in each one. Most of the clichés we use represent real truth. Rules can be good. Formulas can be helpful. God is pleased when we obey Him. Ecstatic experiences with the Almighty can be life-changing. And finally, Christianity is too difficult – if you try to live it without the Holy Spirit’s power. The life of faith is impossible without the empowering and filling of the Holy Spirit. You cannot live the true Christian Life without following after the Holy Spirit. Anything less is PHONY!
WATCH FOR THE SIGNS OF PHONY WALK! Learn to talk tough to yourself. This may sound strange but it’s actually quite helpful to audibly attack error in your thinking.
- Sometimes I say out loud: “This thinking is wrong. It’s from the pit of hell. I refuse to entertain those thoughts.”
- This goes back to the word “set” in verse 5 as it refers to a “fixed mindset.”
- We see this in Colossians 3:2: “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” A mind set on the flesh is death but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.
- That’s exactly what Isaiah 26:3 in the New Living Translation proclaims: “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
- In other words, we must let the mind of the Master be the Master of our minds as Philippians 2:5 says: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
C. The Holy Spirit Is Alive Within Each Christian.
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!”
If you don’t have the Spirit, then you don’t have spiritual life. That means every believer is home to the Holy Spirit. This denotes a “settled permanent penetrative influence.” You don’t need to ask Him to come in because He enters at conversion, you don’t need a “second blessing” or worry that He’s ever going to leave.
Jesus in John 14:16-17: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”
Galatians 4:6 describes the intimate relationship between the Holy Spirit within us and God the Father: “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’”
The Holy Spirit desires to have control in each Christian’s life. Since the Holy Spirit lives within believers, you and I must give Him control of our lives. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”
The issue is not getting more of the Holy Spirit but allowing Him to have more of us. When we received Christ, we received all of God we will ever get. As born again believers, we don’t need to receive the Holy Spirit; we need to respond to the Holy Spirit whom we have already received.
When a toddler begins to walk he may revert back to crawling because it is still most natural to him. Walking is scary/risky. But there is some serious issues if your teenager keeps reverting back to crawling!!!
Is it more natural now in your walk with the Lord to walk in the flesh, or in the Spirit? Do you walk as His son, or as a phony?
D. Walking after the Spirit is a Life of Sonship
VS 14-15: For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:14-15
Well, the Holy Spirit works even better than those rumble strips when we start to do a mental lane change.
He ka-thump ka-thump ka-thumps upon our heart, warning us to get back in our Spirit lane, when we start crossing over into the flesh lane! We need to be reminde we are His son!
Galatians 5:16: “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Another translation puts it this way: “Keep in step with the Spirit…” The key is to keep in step with the Spirit, not lagging behind and not racing ahead.
BY walking after the Spirit, you are walking in the New Law and you experience the Righteousness of Jesus Christ and THROW OFF YOUR WRETCHEDNESS!
- So, go to bed tonight & say, “If I die before I wake, I cannot be condemned!”
- Should you wake the next morning go into the world & say, “I am not condemned!”
- When howls at you tell him, “you may accuse me, but I am not condemned!”
- If your sins arise say, “I know you, but you are all gone forever. I am not condemned!” [adapted from Spurgeon quote]
Un-Believers: [Re-read vs.1] – This also means “There still hangs a most weighty condemnation upon all those who are not IN Christ Jesus!”
And what did verse nine say, “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His”. Be His today!
Say “Yes” to the Spirit of God and you will live as His Son. The flesh will be of no power when you walk in the Law of the Life of the Spirit!