The Assurance of our Adoption Part 4

The Assurance of our Adoption Part 4

Text: Romans 8:16-18

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  • I was mentored for by a well-respected & often honored Christian leader.
    • I discovered the hidden reality of a heart seeking its own kingdom.
    • Is this the way a Christian leader must live to be successful?
  • Jesus enters this messy world of humans striving to see their kingdom come and their will be done. He preaches the kingdom of God.
    • The life of Jesus & his transformed followers astonishes us.
    • He invited real people to live in the power of a life from above.
    • The writers of the NT help us understand this new life.
    • As I experience this new life, changes must be made to become a person who loves others as I receive & live in my Father’s love.

Explore the Text

Romans 8 and the Spirit and the reality of a Transformed Life

  • Jesus trained & empowered people to share in a life-with-the-Father.
  • Paul thoughtfully & theologically describes the reality of this new life.
    • He once had opposed this way of life as dangerous, but his life was changed by the risen Jesus. He knew that others were also changed through the power of the Spirit (see his prayers in Eph 1 and 3).
    • Paul invites us to understand & experience the reality of a new life.
  • A life immersed in a relationship with the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.
    • We are now the children of our good Father who loves us.
    • We can daily live in the presence of our wonderful brother.
    • The Spirit of the Father and the Son empowers all that we are asked to do as Jesus is formed in us.

A Realistic Assessment of and Decision about two Paths (Ways or Roads)

  • Pay close attention to Paul’s realism: “If indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we also share in his glory.”
    • Wait a minute! Suffering? Why would I want that?
    • This seems like a strange way to promote a vision!
  • PS. 1 describes two paths people pursue to find the good life.
    • Other OT writers talk about this.
    • Jesus taught about this (see Mt. 7)
    • Paul uses the language of flesh and Spirit, old man vs. new man.
  • Jesus told his listeners to count the cost & decide.
    • Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
    • Parables of the treasure in the field & the pearl of great price. Mt. 13:44-46
    • Parable of tower building & going to war: count the cost and plan accordingly. Lk. 14:28-33
  • Jesus, Paul, and the NT writers knew that this narrow road, this new life, would be costly and they refused to pretend otherwise.
    • They also knew that not changing our minds and our wills in pursuit of the foolish way would cost us everything, even our soul.
    • Paul often describes a life lived apart from God.
  • But there is Hope! 18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
    • In the following verses, he elaborates vs. 17 on our future hope and our present suffering.
    • The created order was changed by our rebellion against God and will be remade in the final revelation of what God is doing.
    • The Spirit helps us in our weakness.
    • Jesus intercedes for us.
    • We are conformed to the image of Jesus as his brothers and sisters.

Sharing in the sufferings of Christ and the hope of glory.

  • Suffering is part of living in a fallen world.
    • Jesus knew suffering and saw it in the world around him. He felt compassion for people suffering and often acted on their behalf.
      • He did not remove all suffering from the world.
      • As he suffered, people witnessed a new way to face it.
    • For some, the problem of evil is greater than the promise of a new life designed to deal with the personal & relational dynamics of evil.
    • After spending many years in hospitals with sick patients, in the presence of people grieving the loss of someone precious to them, and in the shadow of natural disasters and accidents, I have seen the contrast between people who know and trust Jesus and lean on him through the suffering (a Ps. 23 life) and those who, with great anger and bitterness, abandon him for not preventing this.
  • Suffering as I deny myself and take up my cross: “Put to death!”
    • Many pursue personal happiness & demand that things go ‘my way’
    • Initially giving up, putting to death my way of doing things feels like great suffering because I am so attached to the old way of life.
    • As we enjoy the intimate relationships of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we begin to realize that we must change in order to be filled to overflowing. Otherwise, we close ourselves to what God gives.
    • A Pattern: Sacrificing Something to Have Something Greater
      • If you choose to be a great athlete, dancer, or musician, you realize that things must change over a long period of time.
      • As you change, you discover that what initially was so hard and full of suffering, has now been integrated into your body and your inner person in such a way that you now rely on what you have achieved to take on new challenges.
      • Spiritual transformation is more important than lesser goals.
  • Suffering as I grow in Christ-likeness because people respond towards me in the ways they responded to him:
    • The radiant life of Jesus drew hostile opposition.
      • Most likely, this is primarily what Paul means in Rom. 8.
    • Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad.
      • Paul reflects on suffering in 2 Cor. 4:16-18.
    • Conversation with Don Finto about his maintaining such joy in Christ when many criticized and rejected him for following Jesus.

 God’s unshakable power and unconditional love sustain us in our suffering.

  • He works all things together for the good of those who love him and have been called to pursue his purpose, his will.
  • Nothing outside of us can separate us from the love of Christ.

Conclusion: For those of you who call yourself a Christian, I have a question that I daily refect on:

Do I resist the work of the Spirit and the invitation of Jesus to live in the yoke with him?

  • There are consequences of such resistance.
  • I cannot receive all that Jesus gives if I try to limit and control God’s kingdom for the good of my little kingdom.
  • Look at Phil 3 as an example of someone who intends to pursue the vision

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