January 7th, 2018         Romans 8:1 – 14          Nature of the New Year

Romans 8:1-14 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.  For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death.  The law of Moses could not save us, because of our sinful nature. But God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours, except that ours are sinful. God destroyed sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.  He did this so that the requirement of the law would be fully accomplished for us who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.  Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. [what are YOU thinking about?  What is feeding your thoughts?]  If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace.  For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.  That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them are not Christians at all.) Since Christ lives within you, even though your body will die because of sin, your spirit is alive because you have been made right with God.  The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as he raised Christ from the dead, he will give life to your mortal body by this same Spirit living within you.  So, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.  For if you keep on following it, you will perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”    

We all enter 2018 with a struggle, well, at least one struggle.

The Battle between the flesh and the Holy Spirit.  The fight for controlling authority in our lives.  The battle between good and evil.

You are not alone in this.

Romans 7:21-25 “It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart.  But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.  Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin?   Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”

Paul understood…LIVED…the same struggle we have.  Sometimes He won – obviously; yet sometimes he failed, as we do.

We can fail less.

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

One wolf is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

The other wolf is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”

  1. The struggles of the past year
    1. Sin
    2. Self
    3. Gossip, backbiting, bullying
    4. Financial
    5. Condemnation
  2. A promise for the new year
    1. There is NO CONDEMNATION
      1. FOR those who belong to Christ
    2. You Christian are living under a DIFFERENT PLAN than the children of the world
      1. Jesus Christ – our Savior
      2. God sent His only Son TO SAVE US
        1. He came as a human – A baby in a manger
      3. He lives a sinless life
        1. Yet died on a CROSS for our failures, sins and crimes
  • Christian, Jesus DESTROYED sins control over you
  1. You Christian live with a DIFFERENT NATURE than the children of the world
    1. They are dominated by the sinFULL nature of the World
    2. YOU, Christian, are dominated by the HOLY SPIRIT, the very NATURE of Godliness
      1. EMBRACE the Spirit of God
      2. REJECT the sinful nature of the world
    3. Here is the reality of the nature of Christians:
      1. The Holy Spirit lives within you
      2. Jesus Christ lives within you
      3. God lives within you
        1. Even in physical death you will live eternally
        2. Even in a sin-filled, painful world you can live in PEACE and LIFE and the FREEDOM of NO CONDEMNATION
      4. The nature of your new year depends on which nature you choose to follow
        1. The sinful nature will lead to more hurt, disappointment, pain and loss
        2. The Holy Spirit of God will lead you to a better, more abundant life.
          1. Do you want to just EXIST for another year?
          2. Do you want to LIVE LIFE in 2018?
  • Watch what you take into your mind and heart!
    1. FEED THE GOOD WOLF – Godliness
    2. STARVE THE BAD WOLF – Flesh

An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship.  Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t bring you down unless you allow it to get inside of you!.