AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH September 10, 2006

A CONTINUATION OF THE THRUST AND BASE OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
OF
AUSTRALIA ON BIBLICAL LINES 

VICTORIOUS LIVING IN CHRIST

Romans 8:5-17

THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE LIFE OF PERSONS BY THE HOLY SPIRIT,
NOT FOR SPIRITUAL AUTOMATA BUT LIVING CHILDREN OF GOD.
NOT FOR THE PAGEANTRY OF PENTECOSTAL EXCESSES
BUT FOR THE SIMPLICITY OF FAITH,
NOT FOR PARADES OF PSEUDO-PERFECTION BUT IN PEACE

This is the third in the series on Living in the Lord:
for the first and second,  see those of the last two Sundays.

 

Victory ? Of course it is in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is not in one's own name, or in the name of some psychic or allegedly religious culture which, like bacteria in cultures, joins the throng of spiritual disease pathogens (Matthew 24:24, John 14:6, II Cor.  11).

It is in the name of grace of Jesus Christ who sends the Spirit from the Father (John 15:26).

It is as His word that He operates (I Peter 1:10-11, I Cor. 2:9-13, John 15-16), the word which created the earth (John 1:1,  Colossians 1:15). As the very word of God (Hebrews 1:2,3,8, John 1:1, 8:58), He can have man re-created in His divine image (Colossian 3:10), through His Spirit (John 3, Titus 3:5).

Not only as sent by the Father,  does Christ initiate the re-birth through the pardon in the Cross in the love of God (Matthew 11:27), but the Spirit of God continues to mould the life committed in Christ towards His holy nature (II Cor. 3:18), thus granting both liberty (II Cor. 3:17) and peace (Philippians 4:4ff.).

It is a matter of the demonstrably living and inveterately victorious God (Romans 1:17ff., Isaiah 14:27), as seen in The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, which incidentally has its own serving of biblical exposition in its Ch. 7. His life becomes active in peace and strength in your own.

In particular, this victory presented to the children of God in Christ, for life, it is as shown in Romans 7-8. In our last sermon, we began on that base, to expound what the word of God has to say, seeking to transmit it faithfully.

Today, having last time paid attention to the problem as presented in Romans 7, and to the major thrust of the answer in terms of the key verse 8:13, with some of its surrounds, we are to ponder Romans 8:5-12 further, in the lead-up to 8:13 and on towards 8:17.

 

I   SETTING: SETTING MINDS ON SPIRITUAL THINGS   Romans 8:5

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1) Having surrendered to Christ, and been begotten again
(Romans 3, 5; John 6:50ff., I John 4:9, 5:12), now you are moved, led, loved into liberty.
Drawn, solaced (II Cor. 1:3-4), shown significance (Ephesians 1:18-19),
you are transferred into His kingdom (Colossians 1:13), that of the "Son of His love"
and there you live, have your being.
 

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2) Thus you set your mind on these things, just as you set your radio
to gain your favoured station. You grow accustomed to them, to Him whose they are,
to their ways, to His will. As to that, while it is diversified in practice,
in many ways and things as events open (cf. Acts 13, 16),
it is immutable in principle. God changes not at all
(Psalm 102, 90-91, Malachi 3:6, Habakkuk 3:6).

In this way, you live in that milieu, whose 'speaker' is more personal
than any announcer, sympathetic than any doctor, knowledgeable than any savant,
more reliable than any rock. You become imbued with His presence, policies, desire.
 

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3) Just as you set your radio, then a lively tune anoints your ear,
so here as you set your mind on the things of the Spirit, a life-giving reality enables,
ennobles, sends a breeze of comfort and breathes a sense of peace into life,
giving quietness, liveliness and secure depths (Romans 8:5-6, Isaiah 33:6).
 

An author in New York, recently declared that Schubert's music set the tone,
atmosphere for one of his novels, and he could not have written it without it, playing it frequently.
How much more than this, does settling on the things of God permeate the being
and enhance the appetite as well as influence decisions and support thought;
for He is more than music, and infinitely more, but not less through the incarnation, than human!

 

II   SIGNALLING: DYNAMISING SPIRITS
AND DEADENING THE WAYS OF EVIL     
Romans 8:6-10

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1) There are red and green lights as for traffic (8:6), and just as in a school when young,
you quickly can adjust and learn who the bullies are, and how to avoid these
and progress in peace, so here.
 

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2) Indeed (8:7-8), there is a rag-tag army of error and evil to be avoided,
in order to fulfil the vitality of God and the role of life on an earth.  Quite frankly cursed,
as well as magnificent in its creation, its inhabitants may now be released in Christ,
and in Him alone (Romans 8:3, John 14:6). Many are the internal and external enemies,
the carnal elements and minds; and one finds that death is the outcome of that,
but life and peace of abiding in Christ.
 

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3) In fact, you find there is even a personal presence and a dynamic which reads
the death notice over your former way of life and moves in you aligning your will and mind -
Romans 8:9-10, and that this is inseparable from Christian living,
as air from physical life for man on this earth!
 

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4) What ruled you in whatever species of autonomy, self-will, mutable insecurity is now
a dead renegade, the source of spiritual liabilities (8:10). Mercifully, He who paid,
procured, is alive within by His Spirit, and this life is immiscible with any other.
Even a Volkswagen does not have parts like a Boeing 737,
and they are both manufactured by engineers. ALL life is what it is,
and ours is either His and by Him inhabited, or defaced, defiled, confused,
dispersed in meaning, a monument at best to folly,
set by a surging sea of misplacement and displacement.

Thus the former things are as condemned terrorists, whose deeds have gone far enough! (8:6-7,10). As we move through 8:10-11, we find that the new things are like Spring after snow. Now there is the fascinating  flurry of life with its colour and liveliness, and you are as one alive from the dead (8:11b). Indeed, new life works in you as in one who having faced death, finds One, Jesus Christ, who having outfaced it for you, draws you to seek His face (cf. Psalm 27:8).

It is personal, practical, with an energising peace. It is not as a doctor healing a wound, but rather the work of the Prince of Life, blessing and making whole your entire person in the presence of His splendour (cf. Psalm 86:11-13, Matthew 17:2, Psalm 45, Hebrews 1).

 

III TRANSFORMING: TRANSFORMING ERROR INTO TRUTH
BY OVERWHELMING VITALITY FROM THE RESURRECTED CHRIST  
Romans 8:11-12

Thus there is a debt paid, and our lives are lost in love to Him who commands our hearts (Luke 6:46). While the payment for sin is past in the Cross of Christ, yet the longing for the Saviour is present. He lives, and so do we who are His (John 14:19).

The key is the resurrection, for these are not dealings with a defeated corpse savaged in this earth, but with One who enduring that, broke death with energy (Acts 2:24). Thrusting life in this physical world into the very face of condemnation, He triumphed, being pure and acceptable as a sin-sacrifice, and powerful as God in His endurance and victory. It is this which is transferred to His children from the liveliness of His own life, pending our own resurrection (Romans 8:11-12 cf. Romans 8:30). In this delightful peak of life, you are both dealing and being dealt with by God Himself, who as man, broke death and as God grants everlasting life. This is what man is for (Romans 8:14-17), and what is His, has the foretaste already, as when one sips tea, before completing the drink.

The image is trivial, but the life is not. What you sip is not insipid, but the very water of immortality.

How beautiful is the Trinity: the Father so loves and sends, the Son so loving comes, pays, prevails and provides, the Spirit so intimate applies and secures (Ephesians 1), seals, enables, empowers, works in or through you, according as the gifts are appointed.

Thus provided, the children of God walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), as a ship moves with a prevailing wind. It is refreshing and vitalising as the winds in the face of passenger on a ship, leaving the lounge and coming to see the elements, the ocean spray and the constant forging ahead of the helm (Romans 8:14-16).