Freedom in Christ - 2010

Scripture: Romans 8:1-17
Date: 08/28/2010 
Lesson: 9
After struggling with sin in chapter 7, Paul now discusses the freedom believers have in Christ and their new relationship to God.
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Good morning and welcome to Sacramento central seventh-day adventist church here in Sacramento, California in the United States of America. We welcome you this morning, those of you who are international family who are tuning in, whether you're listening on the radio, watching live this morning on our website at, or on the various television networks. Wherever you're joining us from, we welcome you and so glad that you're going to sing along with us as we open up our hymnals this morning and sing some of the requests that have come in from all over the world. It's very exciting each week as we see the requests coming in. We know that many of you join us every week faithfully.

And you are part of our family. Even though we can't see you, we know that you're there. And so we are going to sing two favorites this morning. The first one, 166 in your hymnals. Pull them out, join with us, "Christ the Lord is risen today.

" This is a good one, 166. This is from arlene and owen in the bahamas. Jim, dianne, jamie, buffy and becky in florida, abel in puerto rico, and neil and veronica in trinidad and tobago, , 1st, 2nd and 4th stanza... I like that one. "Ours the cross, the grave, the skies.

" So no matter what you're going through in life, whether you're going through struggles, and you're--every day we're told to pick up our cross and follow Christ. And that's not always easy, whether you've lost someone, you have the assurance that one day you'll have the skies. And you're going to meet Jesus and your loved ones in the air. Hallelujah! If you have a favorite song that you'd like to sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath, go to our website at, click on the "contact us" link, and you can send in your favorite hymn request. And we will sing that with you.

Our next song, 499, "what a friend we have in Jesus," 499. And this comes as a request from sayamo in angola, John, noella, kenyan, felicia in australia, enue in bolivia, ismenia in brazil, alison in Canada, alvin, annie, asiri, joshio, kiran and prince in england, beneberu in Ethiopia, keryl in France, nedson in malawi, carmen, ben and jamie in North Carolina, mon eek in Oklahoma. This is a really hard one, someone that's watching in pakistan. What do you think about? Iftikhar. Iftikhar.

Wow, good job, jessica. Dan, hazel in the Philippines and alexander in the u.s. Minor outlying islands--i think that's our first request from there this morning--499. We're going to do all three stanzas. "What a friend we have in Jesus," 499.

.. Father in Heaven, we are so thankful this morning that we can call you our friend. And we thank you so much this morning for waking us up, for giving us life and health and strength. And I know that there's many people that are not as blessed as those of us who are here this morning. And I pray that you'll be with each one, that you will pour out your spirit on each of us as we open up Your Word and we study together this morning.

Be with our extended class around the world and we thank you so much for each and every one of them. And now we ask you to please bless our speaker as he brings us the lesson study this morning. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Morning, thank you very much.

Yes, Happy Sabbath. How is everybody? Hello to our friends who are watching on the internet and our friends, part of the extended class of Sacramento central study time. We're very glad that you have joined us. We are going through our lesson in Romans. But before we get to the lesson, we like to always share a couple things.

We have a special gift book that we like to make available, anyone that asks for it. It just provides some additional study resources. And this is called, "can a saved man choose to be lost?" Offer number 112, call. It's a free phone call. And that's 866-study-more.

That translates to -788-3966. We'll send it to you just for asking. Also before we get into the lesson, I want to remind our friends, please be praying for the upcoming special series of revival, evangelistic programs that we'll be having for teenagers around North America and the world. It's a special program called, "miq: the most important questions." It's "amazing faqs for teens." You spell that f-a-qs, "amazing faqs for teens." And so I hope you'll be praying for that event. It's going to be running from October 8 through the 16th.

We're going to be having a live group of 250 teenagers and be recording that from Michigan. We hope that your academy, your Christian high school, will participate. And that will also be on the inspiration channel which reaches about 80 million homes in North America, so--as well as 3abn and we're hoping some other networks. So please pray for the miq meetings coming up, and we hope that your size--oh by the way, if you're interested in more information, it's simply Are you still required to say, "w-w-w?" People pretty much know that.

Whenever you say, "dot-anything," you know you got to put the w-w-w in there somewhere. And so it's And you'll see information for that there. Alright our lesson today is lesson number 9, dealing with the subject about freedom in Christ. And it's based on verses, Romans 8:1-17.

Now last week we had a big order. We had a tall order in that we were talking about Romans 7, one of the most controversial passages, if not the most controversial passage written by the apostle Paul. And so many people read Romans 7, and they kind of grapple with--matter of fact, for a little review, it'd probably be a good idea. I'm going to read Romans 8, but I think it'd be good for us to go to Romans 7. And for instance, you can look in verse--oh verse 14, "for we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

" "I'm in this slavery, this bondage to sin." "For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I don't do." "Then if I do that which I don't want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But it's no longer that I do it, but sin that's in me." "Can't help myself." "For I know that in me, in my flesh, nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I don't find." Now is that the Christian condition, the ongoing Christian condition? We got this flesh that wants to do evil and the Spirit wants to do good, but we can't do what we want to do. We don't find it. When you read the beginning of the chapter, Paul is talking to jews in rome who are trying to find righteousness through the law.

And he commiserates with them all of the sudden. He says, "I know exactly how you feel. Matter of fact, I know how much you feel. Let me describe how you feel." And he goes back into this soliloquy and he--he reminisces what it was like having a desire to do the law, and confessing the law is good, but still not having the Spirit to overcome the flesh. He is not describing the ongoing experience of the Christian as one of continual defeat.

"Just resign yourself that you are condemned to ongoing defeat." That's the way it sounds when they read it. And say, "well, you know, we're forgiven. We're justified. But don't ever expect to be sanctified." And that is a very popular and dangerous interpretation of this verse. In wanting to prepare for this study, I periodically-- you know, you can listen to a lot of different preachers now online.

You can not only read their material and commentaries, you can listen to 'em. So I downloaded some of the popular ministers, many I respect. And I popped it in. And these poor guys, they were talking out of both sides of their mouths. Because in one hand they're saying, you know, "we've got this flesh, and we're just going to continue sinning and you won't be able to do what you want to do.

" And then they'd get to Romans 8, and they'd say, "we don't have to be controlled by the flesh. We can be controlled by the Spirit." And they kept waffling back and forth. I said, "well, which is it?" Is it--or should we anticipate a life of defeat and bondage to the flesh, or do we look forward to a life of victory and being new creatures? Now I'm pretty simple. Things have to be simple for me to understand. I used drugs when I was younger, so my brain is not as sharp as some of you out there.

And so you've got to make it real simple for me. You got wilbur. Wilbur lives in Sacramento. Wilbur's got a problem with gambling. He rides up to reno every week for the gambling and the girls and the grog and the drugs.

Grog is a drink, if some of you don't know that. That's what pirates call--how many of you knew what grog was? Okay. That's why you come to class, so you can learn. And so he goes up there because he's this controlled wilbur, controlled by the flesh. I hope nobody here is named wilbur, sorry.

But he learns about Jesus. He hears the preacher talk about Jesus dying for his sin, to set him free from sin, to save him from sin. Wilbur says, "that's what I need, 'cause I'm miserable right now. I'm controlled by the flesh every week. I got to go to reno, and it's just--i come back feeling empty.

" And by the way, I'm telling a true story. His name's not wilbur. And I know this man that got so addicted to gambling that he mortgaged his home, credit cards were at $60,000, lost his family, mortgaged his retirement. He's addicted. He'd come home Sunday after a weekend of drinking, miserable, saying, "why do I keep doing it?" And all week long he'd say, "I'm never going to do it again.

" Then he'd go back up. So now he comes to church, he hears about Jesus, and the preacher says, "you can have eternal life. You can be forgiven. But since you're in the flesh, don't worry about what you're doing during the weekends." Is that what he wants to hear? Is that what he needs to hear? Or does he need to hear, "I've got good news for you. Not only will you be forgiven for the past, God is gonna give you powers for the future.

You no longer need to walk after the flesh, after the grog and the gambling and the girls. But now you can walk after the Spirit." Or does he want to go to a church where he's gonna say, "well with your mind you're going to serve Christ, but with your flesh you're going to reno." That's what some pastors are saying. And it's just--it is the most schizophrenic, convoluted, double talk coming from the pulpits when they go through Romans. Is it just me, or do you find a conflict there? Do we, can we be overcomers, or not? Can we be transformed, or not? Well we're going to look at that today. Now, so, in chapter 6 of Romans, victory, dead to sin.

Chapter 7, he's saying if you're trying to do it with your mind, in your mind you're going to fail. You need to do it through the Spirit. You become a new creature through the Spirit. But he says, "I know how you feel." Chapter 7 at the end, he says, "let me tell you what it was like." And he then, as in the first person, recites his defeated, wretched condition of being controlled by the flesh, but wanting with his mind to serve God. Then he gets to chapter 8, and it is the most glorious chapter in Romans.

If Romans was a jewel, chapter 8 is the sparkle. By the way, in chapter 8 you find the Spirit--well, in all of Paul's writings he talks about the Spirit about 46 times, either spirit or spiritual; 22 of those times are in Romans 8. So verily half of all Paul's references to the Spirit-filled life are in this chapter. That's really something to think about. So what is the emphasis? Spirit.

But do you know what else? Fifteen times he talks about the flesh in the first verses. By the way, we're not doing all of chapter 8 today. We're doing verses 1-17. So can I just read through them? Because knowing me, I'll get preoccupied talking about some aspect of it and won't get through every verse. I like to at least read through it so the word can speak for itself.

So is that okay with you? Romans 8. We're going to just read verses through 17. I'm going to try not to stop and comment along the way. Verse 1, Romans 8:1, "there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus--" oh, by the way, the phrase--i said I wasn't going to comment, but I can't help myself. "In Christ Jesus," is another one of favorite statements of Paul, 46 times Paul says, "in Christ Jesus.

" Of all the people in the Bible, it's mentioned 47 times in the Bible; 46 times by Paul, one time by Peter. So it is the favorite saying of Paul that we are "in Christ." Alright back--i didn't get very far. "Who are in Christ Jesus," I'm in verse 1, "who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." It's the walk. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: he condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

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, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you who are in the flesh--" I'm sorry, "but you who are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.

Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give to your mortal bodies through his spirit who dwells in you--" "give life to your mortal bodies through his spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die.

" Wilbur cannot just keep going to reno on the weekend. You'll die. "But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit, these are The Sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'abba, father.

'" We become like our father. "the Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together." Now to me, if you just read that the way it is written, he is making the strongest case in the strongest language that when we are spirit-filled, we are no longer bound to the desires of the flesh. We walk differently. The word "walk" in the Bible means behavior. It means your actions.

It is a different walk. The Bible says that Christ has come, and are to walk in the way that he walked. It's a different life. By the way, this person I'm calling wilbur, he found the Lord, and he gave up reno. He never went back.

He got victory and he started to recover and rebuild his life and his finances, because he was no longer controlled by the flesh, but controlled by the Spirit. That's what he needed Jesus to do for him. The alcoholic does not want to hear about Jesus just painting over his miserable life, his wretched life with a label that says, "you're not justified, but you're going to keep on drinking, 'cause you're controlled by the flesh." That doesn't mean that Christian doesn't occasionally trip and stumble. That is no longer to be the pattern for the Spirit-filled Christian. The pattern is that sin does not any longer have dominion over you.

It's not controlling you anymore. You're now controlled predominately by the Spirit. Isn't that right? So one of the central emphasis here in this lesson is a spirit-filled life. And this is what Paul is talking so much about. It's the Spirit is one of the central themes of the Bible, but he is probably one of the least understood of the Godhead.

God the Spirit is not just the medium, some kind of electricity that God uses. He has all the characteristics of a person. But you know what makes it confusing, he doesn't have the body that we do. That's what throws us off. So we think he's just some kind of nebulous force.

But look at some of the definitions in the Bible. We want to go by the Bible, right, of who the Spirit is. By the way, in the beginning when God said, "let us make man in our image," in the beginning when God first creates, first chapter of the Bible, "and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Revelation 22, last chapter of the Bible, "and the Spirit and the bride say, 'come.'" Why doesn't he say, "and The Father says, 'come.' And The Son says, 'come.'" It says, "the Spirit says, 'come.'" And spirit has just the highest recognition in the Bible that could be given. We're thrown because he doesn't have a body. Does he have feelings? Thessalonians 5:17, "do not quench the Spirit.

" Ephesians 4:30, "do not grieve the Holy Spirit." You don't grieve electricity, right? And again, it says in acts 7:51, "do not resist the Holy Spirit." It says that the, "Holy Spirit speaks," in acts 13:2. "The Holy Spirit intercedes," Romans 8:26. That's our chapter we're studying. "The Holy Spirit testifies," John 15:26, Jesus said. "He guides," Jesus said in John 16:13.

"He commands," acts 16:6-7. "He communes," Corinthians 13:14. "He appoints," acts 20:28. "He leads," Romans 8:14. That's in our passage.

"He reproves and convicts of sin," John 16:8. "He seals the promise in the believer's hearts," Ephesians 1:13-14. "He shapes the individual's life into the life of Christ," Romans 8:1-17. That's the whole passage we're studying. "the Spirit knows the deep things of God," Corinthians 2:10.

"Shares the love of God," Romans 5:5. I could go on. Tell you what, let me have one of you read this one, John 14:26. "But the comforter, which is the holy ghost, whom The Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." Now who's speaking these words? If you have red-letter edition, what color is the print? Red. What does that mean? Jesus.

So is it Jesus talking about himself when he said, "he," speaking of the Holy Spirit? Does Jesus know the name of The Father? Does Jesus often say, "The Father?" But he doesn't say "The Father" here, does he? He says, "the Holy Spirit," and he refers to him as "he." And then he tells us that he's also a comforter as well. The Holy Spirit is God. Matthew 12:32. Notice the most dangerous sin is called blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. "Anyone who speaks a word against The Son of man, it will be forgiven him.

But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit--" he could have said The Father. Jesus doesn't. He says the Holy Spirit-- "it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come." Is that because the Holy Spirit is more important than God The Son or God The Father? No. It's just that the Holy Spirit is the primary person of the Godhead, through whom he speaks to our mind. And if we reject God the Spirit speaking to us, you've cut off the channel of conversion and communication.

What more can you do? That's a sin that can't be forgiven because you've cut off the means of repentance. And without repentance there's no forgiveness. You see how that works? It's not just that you're shaking your fist at the Holy Spirit. God is not insulted that easily. He's more humble than that.

It's that we're cutting off the way that God speaks to us. John 3:6, "whosoever abideth in him sinneth not. Whoever sineth has not seen him or known him." Now why does it say there's no condemnation? First of all, did Jesus come into the world to condemn the world? Or was the world already condemned? The whole world is lost. God so loved the world he sent his son to save us from the condemnation. And the condemnation, when you condemn a person, you're consigning them to a penalty.

What is the penalty for sin? Death. And so when we accept Jesus, are we any longer under the death penalty of the law? No. So when you say not under the law--i got so upset, I was in my car listening to a live radio interview this week where someone was calling in Bible questions. And they were specifically talking about the Sabbath. And the preacher was saying, "we are no longer under the law; we don't need to keep the Sabbath.

" And of course that just made me tighten up, "oh!" 'Cause it's a lie and all these people listening are being deceived. And then this lady calls in, and she says, "no, we're supposed to keep the Sabbath because it's part of the Ten Commandments." And he says, "do you believe we are under the law?" And this dear sister is just a layman. And he said, "do you believe we're under the law or not under the law?" And she said, "well, yeah, we're under the law." And he said, "well," then he quoted the verses that says we're not under the law. And she didn't know what to say. And I was wishing that I could suddenly possess her mind and speak for her.

And what I would have said is: no, praise God we are not under the law. And that means we're not under the penalty of the law, because of Christ. He has saved us from the condemnation of the law. Now because we love him, we do not walk after the flesh, but we walk after the Spirit and live lives of obedience to the law, because we're not under the penalty of the law. Not being under the penalty does not mean you're now free to break it.

And you know, that same pastor, if you had said to him, "oh yeah, you're saying not under the law means you don't keep the Sabbath, pastor, does that mean now that I can kill, I can murder? I can commit adultery? I can lie because I'm not under the law?" He'd say, "no, no, it doesn't mean you can break the law." Well, that's all that she was saying. It's a double talk. It's--it's why it's called Babylon. It's confusing. Anyway, so we are no longer under the law, meaning the penalty of the law.

Now we receive the Spirit of adoption. We're forgiven and God says, "you no longer have to walk after the flesh. You can walk after the Spirit. And when you walk after the Spirit, do you walk in disobedience to the law? Talking about the Ten Commandments. When people say, "I am now walking after the Spirit," are they going to be breaking the law deliberately? No, of course not.

No, you don't have to be bashful about answering that. Will the Holy Spirit fill a person to break the law? Of course not. Okay, Philip, I rushed past you. Now you're going to read for us John 3:24. "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him.

And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us." Is that clear that when he gives you his spirit, you keep his commandments? Is that being under the bondage of the law? But that's the way that some are preaching it. Really what they're saying, it's a doctrine of devils to tell people that when you're forgiven by Jesus and you're filled with the Spirit, and you're adopted by Christ, he does it so you can break the Ten Commandments. That's really what they're saying. If you want to talk to people--and you know, the ones who spot this the quickest are children. They say, "well, what are you trying to tell me? Now that I accept Jesus, and I'm not under the law, does God want me to obey the Ten Commandments or not?" I think I've told you this more than once, but I was doing an evangelistic meeting in micronesia on an island.

And some missionaries came to our meetings from another denomination. And when I preached about the Sabbath truth, afterward I meant to answer questions for people, the missionaries came over. And they started, there was a cluster of people that gathered around them, and they said, "this preacher is putting you under bondage." And they said, "what do you mean?" He said, "he's preaching the law. He's putting you under the bondage of the law." And they said, "well, he's just preaching the Ten Commandments." And they said, "oh, he's putting you under the bondage of the law." And they said, you know just like innocent children, they said, "well, are we supposed to keep the Ten Commandments or not?" And they didn't know how to answer it, which tells me there's something wrong. They said, "well yes, no.

" And they looked at him like, "well just give us a straight answer. Ten Commandments all one place, you know. Written by God's finger, spoken by his voice. He put 'em on stone. It's a package deal.

Does he want us to keep 'em?" "Well, all except one." And they said, "you mean the one that starts out, 'remember?'" I mean even children see the inconsistency of this. Anyway, so alright, so the spirit is given so that we can now walk after the Spirit and not the flesh. Alright, 1 Peter 2:21, "for to this you were called, because Christ has also suffered, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps." Christ gave us an example. Did Jesus walk after the Spirit or the flesh? He walked after the Spirit. Did he keep the commandments? He says, "I have kept my father's commandments and abide in his love.

" "If you love me, keep my commandments." Alright, now 1 John 2:6, read that for us, andrew. "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." So what is a Christian? If someone was to say, "what's a Christian?" A Christian is someone who gets their membership inducted into a denomination. Is that a Christian? A Christian is somebody who wears a cross, or they at least have one put on their grave after they're buried. Is that a Christian? A lot of people in the military have dog tags that say, "Christian." But they may not be Christian. They might even have dog tags that say, "jew," little star on it.

What makes you a Christian? You follow the teachings and example of Christ. It doesn't mean you follow Christians. Christians are not a follower of Christians, but a lot of times we compare ourselves among ourselves and by ourselves to find out what a Christian is. You ought to live a life that people can follow. You hear that? You ought to live a life that people could follow.

But don't follow anybody but Christ. People look at people, you can't help it. So be a good example. But your example is not people. Your example is Christ.

Did Christ live a spirit-filled life, or did he follow the flesh? Spirit-filled. Now when it says he didn't follow the flesh, did he sin? "In whom there was no sin," "who did no sin." The Bible is clear. So God wants us to be saved from our sins. If this is making sense, can you say "amen," please? Alright, so we need to pray that we can have spirit-filled lives. Now as we're going along with this theme, there's another section in the lesson, "what the law could not do.

" Now in chapter 7, it begins by talking about those who trust in the law. The jews who, they thought by owning the law and by reading the law and by having the law and in their mind it said it's good and just and holy, that would give them the power to do the law. I won't ask if any of you have struggled with your weight before. And, you know, I'm-- praise God--I'm about where I want to be. But there was a time where my habits had changed and I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life and my clothes stopped fitting.

And when I tried to put on my old clothes, I was very uncomfortable. And I needed to go buy some new suits. And I said, "boy, I got to do something about this." So I went and I stood on the scale. And it said, "sure enough, you're 15 pounds heavier than you were when you got married." And so I figured, "praise the Lord for the scale. Here's my answer.

If I just stay on the scale, or if I adjust the scale, then my suits will fit." Isn't that how it works? Is the function of the scale to take off the pounds? No. We'd make a lot of money if we could design a scale that did that, wouldn't we? The function of the scale is to simply show you where you are. It is to give you that information. It has absolutely no power to either help you gain or lose weight. The function of the law, it's like the mirror, it's like the scale.

It tells you, "here is where you are." It's okay to look into the law. We are not saved by it. You should never look to the law for salvation. The jews were looking to the law for salvation. So Paul goes to great lengths to say, "you've got to look to Christ for salvation.

" But there's nothing wrong with the law. Does this--you understand what he's saying here? Okay, so what the law could not do--why couldn't it do it? 'Cause it was weak in the flesh. So what's the answer? Our carnal nature must be crucified with Christ. When the flesh is dead, you can then no longer live for the flesh, but live for the Spirit. That means that through faith we not only participate in Jesus' new life, we participate in Jesus' crucifixion.

How many of you know that's true? We always talk about the new life in Christ, but Jesus said if any man would live, he must take up what? His cross. He didn't say take up my cross, he said, "take up your cross. I'll take my cross to my crucifixion. You take your cross to your crucifixion." That means you're death. We are buried with Christ.

You say I am no longer going to live for myself. I am now going to live a life, not of selfishness, but one of love through the Spirit. What is the first fruit of the Spirit? Love. What's the first fruit of the flesh? Selfishness. There's no verse that says that.

It's just the principle I'm giving you. The first evidence that you are living in the flesh is the first thing that you always think about is yourself. When you are spirit-filled, you're now going to be controlled by love for God, love for your fellow man. Love for yourself comes in last. And so that's what it means to be crucified and you live a new life.

And so that's crucifying the flesh. Okay, so now we're getting into the flesh versus the Spirit. Romans 8:5, now we read this already, but I want someone to read it again. Someone hold up your hand and volunteer real quick. Romans 8, you shouldn't take long to find it, we're in Romans.

Romans 8:5, got a hand back here. "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit" if any of you are from the south, you know what it means when your parents say, "you better mind me." What does mind me? "You're not minding me. If you don't mind me." It means obey. And so Paul was from southern Israel. He knew--so when it says, "minding the things of the flesh," that's exactly what that meant was to obey the things of the flesh.

And he said you can't be doing that when you're born of the Spirit. They mind the things of the flesh. That means that's what they're thinking about. But when we're born again-- Peter 4:1-2, "therefore," Peter 4:1, "since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same mind, for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, in that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God." You no longer live in the flesh. Is that clear? Say "amen.

" And so this idea that Paul, in Romans 7, is describing the ongoing Christian experience that you're just going to live in the flesh is really blasphemy. Can you see that? Everything else in the Bible says Jesus came to save us from the bondage to obeying and minding the flesh. The flesh is dead. You now live for the Spirit. Is it any wonder that there's the behavior in the church is not much different than the world if we're preaching that.

There ought to be lives of overcoming and victory that is being seen. People ought to be giving testimonies how they are now new creatures. They've been transformed, not conformed any longer to the world, but transformed. We're new creatures. We got to get tired of surrendering to that old mentality.

Romans 8:5-6, "for to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Now there's something in particular I want to bring out here. And in Romans 8:3, "for what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh--" we've all felt that. And we got, you know, our mind, we want to obey, but through the flesh it's weak. We're not denying that's there, but that's not to remain your experience. God did it, by "sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh.

" Now you might underline that. When the Bible says Christ was tempted in all points as we are, and when it says that God came in the likeness of what kind of flesh? The reason the genealogy of Jesus is given in Luke and Matthew is 'cause it's telling you he did verily have some of the same genes and dna as David, who sinned with bathsheba, as Ruth the moabitess, as rahab, the harlot. David--rather, Jesus had the sinful flesh. Now he never sinned; don't misunderstand me. But he had the same kind of struggles that we have.

And he said, "I will set an example for you how to overcome. So in the flesh of Jesus, God condemned sin. You get that? Because Christ came like us, and he lived a Godly life. He condemned sin in the flesh. He said, "by the power of God, through the Spirit of God, I have lived a holy life.

" And you can too. If you will be crucified to yourselves, Christ from the beginning, he resigned his life to live a life for God. Twelve years old, if you want to call that the age of accountability, he said, "I must be about my father's business. I am not going to live for myself." And that's a time of life when so many--you know, we're preparing for these team meetings, and I'm really studying, you know, the relevancy of what the teens are struggling with. Of course we got two exhibit as at home right now.

Nathan is 14, and stephen is 17. But you're preoccupied kind of with yourself during that age. What should I do? And why do I feel these things? And just everything is about me. And for Jesus at 12 years old to say, "I am going to be about my father's business." He said, "I am not going to live for myself; I'm going to live for my father." Everything was about seeking first God and his kingdom. And so in his life, for those .

5 years, he condemned sin in the flesh, the same flesh that you and I struggle with. He came in the likeness of sinful flesh. Does that make sense? He never sinned. Was he different than us? Yes, why? Well, 'cause he was conceived by the Holy Spirit. So there's obviously something different.

And you know, when we start talking about how was Jesus different and how was he the same? We're dealing with holy ground when we talk about that. You kind of have to kick off your shoes. And you say his ways are far above our ways. The incarnation is called the mystery. And I'm content to let some things stay a mystery, 'cause only God understands all mysteries, right? There is the mystery of iniquity.

Why the devil would all the sudden decide to sin, you say, "did God mess up the transistors in him?" It's a mystery how a perfect creature could turn into a devil. And why God would become a man. And how that happens, that's a mystery of Godliness. There are mysteries that we don't understand. But was he like us? The Bible is clear enough.

You got the mouth of two or three witnesses that say he came like us and he overcame the way we can overcome. He's our example, right? And so that's what he's saying there in Romans 3. He condemned sin in the flesh. Why? Verse 4, "that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us." Okay, let's stop. When Jesus said to John the baptist that, "thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness.

" John the baptist said, "what are you doing here?" He says, "I need to be baptized by you, and you're coming for baptism for me." Jesus said, "suffer it to be so now for thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness." Christ in his life, and through his ministry fulfilled all righteousness. And so we got to keep that in mind now when you're reading here in Romans 8:4, "that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us." Because now we're Christians. We model our lives after Christ, "who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." Wouldn't you love to have that experience, where you no longer are controlled by the things of the flesh? It doesn't mean that you're not going to have battles or temptation. We know we do. But it doesn't have dominion anymore.

You're now controlled by the Spirit. You can have that experience by faith. If you believe that Jesus, the second adam, lived a holy life, just as truly you believe the first adam fell. How many of you know the first adam fell? It's in our flesh, isn't it? Do you believe the second adam overcame? Then you are adopted into the second adam. You followed him.

You were crucified with him. You repent of your sins. He then gives you his spirit. You live a new life. It's a miracle.

It really does happen. How does it happen? You know, I just--i really think it's important we're talking about the Spirit here, right? I may not get done with the lesson. I was talking with the pastors this week when we met together for prayer. And I said, "I need to illustrate this." And I never did bring in what I was thinking of. I was going to bring in this big convoluted tubes and hoses and bottles.

And I was going to show you something. But I want you to use your imagination, because I didn't get all my exhibits here. You got a 5-gallon glass jar here. You know the old sparkletts bottles that you put at a water cooler? You dump 'em over real carefully and they're full of fresh water. You got one here.

It's full of mud, muddy water. Not only is it muddy water, it's bitter water. And it's here on a pedestal. You can all see it. There's 5-gallon jug, it's glass, so you can see it, full of muddy water.

That represents our sinful lives. It's toxic, tastes bad, it's bitter. See little things swimming around in it. And you then come to Christ as you are through faith. You repent of your sins.

You ask him to come into your life. He then drops a hose in the bottle that's running from an unlimited cataract of artesian water. And he begins, he turns it on, it begins to run in this bottle, where all the other stuff you can only have so much in a bottle. Something's going out. And it's irrigating, it's flushing all of that out.

And all of the sudden, you know what you see? The water in the bottle starts getting clearer. Right? And clearer. But, and you say, praise the Lord!" It's clearer, it's refreshed. It's revitalized, it's alive. It's safe to drink.

Eventually it's safe to drink. It's kind of a crude illustration, but you flush a toilet often enough, it's safe to drink. That's the whole idea, how they're built, right, to keep the house a little sanitary. All the sewage is washed out. And so you say, "alright, you can turn that water off now, 'cause it's clean.

" But you know what happens when you set a bottle in the sunlight for a while, if it doesn't have fresh water running in? Algae or algae, it depends on if you're from england or not, begins to grow inside. And it starts turning green or brown, right? If it doesn't have a constant flow in, it will become Lukewarm and Jesus spits it out. It starts reverting back. We are in this world, and without a constant flow of God's Spirit coming in through prayer, through reading his word, through fellowship--you know in the first sanctuary of the temple, in the first holy place, there were the three disciplines to remaining spirit-filled. There was a candlestick, there was the bread, there was the altar of incense.

Altar of incense is prayer. How many of you know that? Amen? The bread represents the word of God and Christ of course. And then the light represents sharing your faith, being a witness, letting your light shine. If you're not engaged in those three things, the bottle will start to cloud up again. If you want to maintain a spirit-filled life, a life where you're not being controlled by the flesh, a life of victory, a life of purity, you must continue to have that spigot turned on so the artesian water is running into your bottle.

Otherwise you're going to stagnate. You can't just accept Jesus once and say, "okay, well I'm saved now. I got this label." And then just live in this sewage of the world." You need to continually be receiving of God in order to have that spirit-filled life. Amen? Romans 8:5-6, "to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." By the way, you can't be just watching the typical programs of the world and listening to the typical music of the world, and reading the typical lovesick books of the world and take all that sewage in and expect to be spirit-filled. That is carnal.

That is flesh. By the way, in Romans 8, when I counted out the number of times you find the word, "flesh," the word "carnal" in spanish: carne. What is carne mean in spanish? Flesh, meat, it's the same thing. And so I added those in. You cannot take in just the worldly, low stuff that's going on in the world in your mind all the time and expect to be a clear sparkletts bottle.

You've got to be displacing all of that and doing what you can humanly do to avoid it. Now just being in the world we're surrounded by worldly things, right? I like going to the health club. I play racquetball. I don't keep score, unless I'm winning, because competition's not good. But you know, it pains me--when you're in the court, it's all sealed off and it's loud.

But when I step out, they've always got this rock music going. People like to exercise to just this awful music. I mean it's just--and it just pains me to even get from the car to the court. So we live in this world. Going to the supermarket.

You know what I'm talking about? Sometimes i--i like eating at chipotle. You can get some good mexican food and I can say leave off the sour cream and the cheese. And they always look at me like, "well, that's--" and it's wonderful. But the music that they play. And sometimes someone will call me while I'm sitting there.

And I think I can't answer the phone. Where are they going to think I am? And it's just so we're in this world that is surrounded by these worldly things. And so you've already got enough that you can't control. Why would you add to it by feeding on it? If you're feeding on the world, then how can you live a spirit-filled life? How can you walk in the Spirit? God promises to compensate. "Where sin abounds, his grace will abound.

" You can't help it. But if you're deliberately feeding on it, then you're going to start to cloud up again. You're bottle's going to get toxic. So we need to feed on the Spirit. I'm running out of time, and I have a lot left here.

Well, you know, this is probably some of the most important stuff talking about the Spirit and the flesh. John 1:14, "the word became flesh and dwelt among us." So when it says God condemned sin in the flesh, who is it that became flesh and dwelt among us? Jesus. He condemned sin in his flesh. Alright, read for me please, what did I say? James 4:1. James 4:1, "where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war is in your members?" Now thank you.

And that word "members" mean that it's in your flesh. Typically when there's disputes and problems in the church, where is it coming from? Fleshly minded. It's from our--usually our pride and our carnal desires at war in our members. Paul is saying, "if you're spirit-filled, you won't have half those problems. Oh, 1 Peter 2:11, "dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, that war against the soul.

" Was already enough in the world he'll give you grace for, you can't control. Abstain by his grace from the regular lusts at war against the soul. And if you want to know what the flesh and what the Spirit is, Galatians 5, read verses 19 to 25. I'm going to read this and probably should close at that point. "Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousy, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresy, envy, murder, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, as I told you in time past, they that practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

" Pause, who wrote that? Paul. Is that the same Paul who in Romans 7 said, "well, with my flesh I'm going to serve sin?" What? Is Paul schizophrenic? Paul said those that follow after the flesh will not inherit the Kingdom of God. That's why you've got to understand in Romans 7, he's talking about the preconverted condition that the jews were wrestling with. "But," verse 22, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

" See he's talking about the battle between the law and what can it save? If we are living in the Spirit, will we have a problem with any law? "Against such there is no law." If you're living the spirit-filled life of love and goodness and patience, there's no law against that. You have no problem. Right? "And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Still reading Galatians 5:25, "if we live in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit." It's not just talking about it. It's walking in the Spirit, not in the flesh or the deeds of the flesh. If this lesson is clear, please say "amen.

" Okay. For our friends that are watching, I want to remind you, we do have a study guide that we'll send you for free. It's actually this book right here, "can a saved man choose to be lost?" And we'll send that to you for free. Ask for offer number 112 please when you call in. That number one more time is 866-788-3966.

God bless you 'til next Sabbath.

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