Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Romans 8:5 – 15
The Spirit of Bondage and of Adoption

[Based on Wesley sermon #9]

Introduction:

1. Paul speaks to those who are the children of God through faith.

2. Those influenced by fear are not the children of God.

3. The bulk of the “Christian” world does not have either a fear of God or a love of God.

4. Three states to be in:

a. “natural” –> no fear or love of God.

b. “legal” –> under bondage of sin; fear of the wrath of God.

c. “grace” –> Spirit of love.

I. The “natural” state.

A. The person is spiritually asleep.

1. There is no desire to know spiritual things.

2. They are ignorant of God and do not have a concept of holiness.

B. The person is at rest.

1. They do not see the danger. Therefore, they do not have fear.

2. They define things outwardly but do not see the heart issue.

3. They may think Christ came to save people IN sin, not FROM sin. The result is the idea that God wants to bring them to heaven WITHOUT holiness.

C. The person has a false sense of security.

1. This is because they are “utterly ignorant” of themselves.

2. They live in a state of “self-deception” and think there is some level of understanding if they know a couple of facts.

D. The effects of the natural state:

1. There is an illusion of happiness, wisdom, and goodness.

a. Sin has its pleasure, but it is for a season.

b. Some think it is ok if the “do no harm.”

2. The “opiate of sin” creates an illusion of liberty.

a. The person is free from enthusiasm, superstition, and bigotry... so they think.

b. The person is free from holiness, “religion of the heart,” and from the mind of Christ.

3. The reality is slavery.

a. The person is not troubled by sin, feels no condemnation, and thinks sin is inescapable.

b. The person remains a willing servant of sin, content with the bondage of corruption, and inward and outwardly unholy.

4. This person may be a “scandalous transgressor” or a “reputable and decent sinner.”

a. They may have a form of godliness (but deny its power).

b. But they have never had a conviction of sin or felt a need to repent.

II. The “legal” state (“under the law”).

***** Caution: This is a TEMPORARY state. A person cannot remain here.

A. They are “awakened.”

1. They are awakened, perhaps slowly, maybe suddenly.

2. They understand the true danger and there is fear.

3. They see God as loving and merciful BUT also a “consuming fire.”

B. The meaning of the law of God shows itself.

1. They understand its also about the things they cannot see.

2. For instance, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus noted:

a. Hate was murder.

b. Lust was adultery.

C. They see self-effort as inadequate and frustrating.

1. When humans first sinned, we tried to cover our shame with leaves.

a. The exercise of religion is a poor pretense for forgiveness.

b. The excuses for sinning are miserable and wretched.

2. There is a painful awareness of sin.

a. The person knows that they deserve to be cast into the unquenchable fire of hell.

b. The things that drugged them into spiritual sleep become misery and there is remorse as fear sets into the person.

D. The desire to break loose from sin is important.

1. The person “struggles with sin, yet sins on.”

a. The freedom of the will is free only to sin.

b. The more they struggle the more the weight of guilt.

1.) There is outward sin, because we are disposed to it through our nature, customs, or circumstances.

2.) The is always some inward sin, such as an “evil temper” or “unholy affection.”

2. The person cycles.

a. They cycle between repentance and sinning.

b. This is the struggle of one under “the spirit of fear and bondage.”

***** Unfortunately, when people turn back at this point, this is the impression they get of Christianity. *****

III. The state of “grace” which includes love for God.

A. They cry out to God for deliverance.

1. They need to be FORGIVEN and FREED.

2. They find in Christ the glorious love of God.

B. The power of sin is broken at the cross.

1. Galatians 2:20.

2. The person not only fights but conquers because they do not yield as instruments of unrighteousness.

C. Controlled by the Holy Spirit.

1. They love God.

2. They are at peace with God.
Summary:

1. The “natural:”

a. neither fears nor loves God.

b. no light, no conviction, no pain of sin.

c. false peace.

d. sins willingly.

e. neither fights nor conquers sin.

2. The “legal:”

a. fears God.

b. lives in the painful light of the fires of hell.

c. no peace.

d. sins unwillingly.

e. fights with sin but cannot permanently conquer.

3. Under “grace:”

a. loves God. (It is not about what I have to do or not do; its about what I WANT TO do.)

b. lives in the joyous light of heaven.

c. true peace.

d. does not PRACTICE sin.

e. fights and conquers sin because they are yielded to God.

IV. Conclusion:

A. Sincerity is not relevant!

1. You can be sincere in sin or in fear.

2. The Bible says, “Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith.”

a. What is the principle ruling your life? Is it the love of God? Is it the fear of God? Is it neither?

b. Do you commit sin willingly? Unwillingly? The Bible says “He that committeth (continues to practice) sin is of the devil.”

B. Reality check... there is a frequent mixing of states.

1. The natural mixed with the legal:

a. Few are so fast asleep that they sometimes are more or less awakened.

b. People can be shocked out of sleep, but not for long.

c. However, conviction is seldom allowed to sink deep into their souls because it does hurt.

2. The state of grace with the legal (in essence this is the battle ground).

a. Few who truly reach the state of fear and bondage always remain without hope.

b. God responds to those who desire to break away from sin. We cry out and God answers.

c. Either we will drop back to being asleep or we will find peace in submitting to Go.

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