Your eternity and daily living are on Jesus, not you. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Memorial Day was established after the Civil War. All these men served in the War Between the States. All these families sacrificed as the husband was gone, the father was gone. Families were torn apart. What was it like for the soldier? What was it like for the leaders? I wonder if they ever felt the weight of the war was on them?

What about Lincoln? How did he make it through the war? How did he make it through the day? I am sure he felt like the weight of the war was on him. I am sure he felt like the future of the United States was on him.

What was it like for other soldiers and families in other wars? I listened to a “Backstory” program about the history of World War I. At first America was not going in. Funny as it may sound; at first, we even had songs about not going to war. There was a song that had lyrics something like this:

Verse 1

Ten million soldiers to the war have gone,

Who may never return again.

Ten million mother’s hearts must break

For the ones who died in vain.

Head bowed down in sorrow

In her lonely years,

I heard a mother murmur thru’ her tears:


I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier,

I brought him up to be my pride and joy.

Who dares to place a musket on his shoulder,

To shoot some other mother’s darling boy?

Let nations arbitrate their future troubles,

It’s time to lay the sword and gun away.

There’d be no war today,

If mothers all would say,

“I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier.”

Verse 2

What victory can cheer a mother’s heart,

When she looks at her blighted home?

What victory can bring her back

All she cared to call her own?

Let each mother answer

In the years to be,

Remember that my boy belongs to me![1]

Within a few years we went to war and the songs changed: Over there:

Johnny,[8] get your gun, get your gun, get your gun.

Take it on the run, on the run, on the run.

Hear them calling you and me,

Every Sons of Liberty.

Hurry right away, no delay, go today.

Make your Daddy glad to have had such a lad.

Tell your sweetheart not to pine,

To be proud her boy’s in line.

Verse 2

Johnny, get your gun, get your gun, get your gun.

Johnny, show the “Hun[9] you’re a son-of-a-gun.

Hoist the flag and let her fly

Yankee Doodle[10] do or die.

Pack your little kit, show your grit, do your bit.

Yankee[11] to the ranks from the towns and the tanks.[12]

Make your Mother proud of you

And the old red-white-and-blue[13]


Over there, over there,

Send the word, send the word over there

That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming

The drums rum-tumming everywhere.

So prepare, say a prayer,

Send the word, send the word to beware –

We’ll be over, we’re coming over,

And we won’t come back till it’s over, over there.[2]

I wonder the burden our soldiers felt?

Do you ever feel burdened? Do you ever feel that the weight of the world is on you?

We can look at this topic two ways. Is our living all about us? Are all the pressures of daily living all on us? We may feel that way? What about salvation? What about our faith in Christ? Is our spiritual condition all on us?

I would say no to both of those statements.

A year ago, I preached on lies we believe versus Biblical Truth. Today, I want to focus on another lie we believe versus Biblical Truth. As we look at these lies we believe some of you may think, “duh, I know that!” But can you justify what you know based off of the Bible. Be schooled by the Bible.

Theme: Your eternity and daily living are on Jesus, not you.

Application: Surrender continually to Jesus. Pray continually.

Let’s read Matthew 11:28-30:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

  1. Our Salvation is not all on us.
    • This passage is about salvation, not about daily living. Now, we can make the case that our daily living is not all on us and I’ll come to that in a minute.
    • The people were burdened with the Jewish law. This law did not all come from Scripture. Jesus was saying that He fulfills the law for them. We can’t keep the law, but Jesus did it for us. Jesus died in our place.
    • What is a yoke: ESV Study Note: The wooden frame joining two animals (usually oxen) for pulling heavy loads was a metaphor for one person’s subjection to another, and a common metaphor in Judaism for the law. The Pharisaic interpretation of the law, with its extensive list of proscriptions, had become a crushing burden (cf. 23:4) but was believed by the people to be of divine origin. Jesus’ yoke of discipleship, on the other hand, brings rest through simple commitment to him (cf. 1 John 5:3).
    • It is not about religion, but about Jesus.
    • It is not about religiously following rules but following Jesus.
    • We will follow one or the other. You will either follow Jesus or a list of moral rules. Are you committing to the church because you are supposed to or because you are committed to Jesus and the church is the bride of Christ?
    • Lean in on Jesus. Christianity is NOT a religion. Christianity is about Jesus. Religion is NOT about earning your way to Heaven, but Christianity is about what Jesus has done to give us eternal life.
  2. We have daily help.
    • John 14:16-17: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
    • We talk about the Holy Spirit a lot, but the point is that you can always place your burden on Jesus. Your eternal life is on Jesus and your life now is on Jesus. It is not all on you.
    • How do you give it to Jesus? First, surrender your eternal life to Jesus; second, keep a constant connection with Jesus.
  3. The weight of the future is on God, not us.
    • So, let me go back to the Civil War, or World War I, or World War II, each soldier made a difference. Was the weight of the war on one soldier or another? No, all the soldiers came together and made a difference. But more than that each soldier had daily help.
    • Memorial Day was originally honoring fallen soldiers. How do families go through pain and loss? We can only go through difficulty with God’s help.
    • God gives us help through prayer.
    • More than that, God is in charge. Amen.
    • God is in charge, right? Do we believe that?
      • NOW, this is where it gets difficult. Was God on America’s side? I think it was Lincoln who said: “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”[3]
      • So, we can pray during anything and pray, “Jesus, I hope I am doing the right thing, please help.” We can always ask God for help.
      • We can give our burden to God.
      • I really do not wish to get in the politics of war, but I will say that looking at Scripture God would absolutely NOT be happy with slavery. I can say that God absolutely was NOT happy with the concentration camps.
      • I have recently been studying Winston Churchill more. It is almost as if God setup him as a leader for World War II. I am not saying he was a Christian, maybe he was. I am simply saying that God used him. It would have been easy for Churchill to think the weight of Britain was on him. The man was stubborn and strong willed to begin with. I am listening to an audio book about his younger years, and I watched a documentary about him during World War I. It was like he was happy with war. He would walk right out into the “no-man’s land” in between the trenches. It was like God used him.
      • Here is a strong and true statement. God is in charge. God is available to help us. We can turn our burden over to God. The weight is on God and not us.
      • God is in charge. Your eternity and daily living are on Jesus, not you.
  4. Pray like a child.
    • We are taught to pray continually in 1 Thess. 5:17.
    • Jesus talks about the faith of a child (Matthew 18:3).
    • How do children talk to their parents?
    • When children are talking to their parents, they don’t formulate words, no, they just talk. You know they don’t think about their vocabulary. They just talk. They beg and will repeatedly ask us questions. They don’t try to formulate their words carefully, they just ask. Many times, while they are asking for something they are not making sense, but they ask.
    • My children will ask for help, there is no hesitancy in a young child asking her parents for help. They just ask.
    • Abigail does not hesitate to ask for help. Several years ago, she was once trying to get her coat on at childcare and she turned around and asked a state inspector, “will you help me?”
    • I believe we need to talk to God like a child. Keep an ongoing conversation with God going.
    • Pray specifics to God. You are not alone.

Theme: Your eternity and daily living is on Jesus, not you.

Application: Surrender continually to Jesus. Pray continually.

Here is an idea for application: this week try to pray about everything, seriously everything. Talk to God as your good and loving Father and pray. At the end of the week record in a prayer journal how you have done.




Assurance of Hope (Romans 8:18-25)

Assurance of Hope (Romans 8:18-25)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church on Saturday, May 22 and Sunday, May 23, 2021

In his book The Divine Commodity, Skye Jethani shares a story from a trip he took to India with his father. While walking the streets of New Delhi, a little boy approached them. He was “skinny as a rail, and naked but for tattered blue shorts. His legs were stiff and contorted, like a wire hanger twisted upon itself.” Because of his condition, the little boy could only waddle along on his calloused knees. He made his way toward Skye and his father and cried out, “One rupee, please! One rupee!” Skye describes what happened when his father eventually responded to the boy’s persistent begging:

“What do you want?” [my father asked].

“One rupee, sir,” the boy said while motioning his hand to his mouth and bowing his head in deference. My father laughed.

“How about I give you five rupees?” he said. The boy’s submissive countenance suddenly became defiant. He retracted his hand and sneered at us. He thought my father was joking, having a laugh at his expense. After all, no one would willingly give up five rupees. The boy started shuffling away, mumbling curses under his breath.

My father reached into his pocket. Hearing the coins jingle, the boy stopped and looked back over his shoulder. My father was holding out a five-rupee coin. He approached the stunned boy and placed the coin into his hand. The boy didn’t move or say a word. He just stared at the coin in his hand. We passed him and proceeded to cross the street.

A moment later the shouting resumed, except this time the boy was yelling, “Thank you! Thank you, sir! Bless you!” He raced after us once again—but not for more money but to touch my father’s feet. …

This, I imagine, is how our God sees us—as miserable creatures in desperate need of his help. But rather than asking for what we truly need, rather than desiring what he is able and willing to give, we settle for lesser things.[1]

Do you realize that? God loves us and He sees us with our real needs. God sees our needs. God wants to save us. God gives us the Holy Spirit as a pledge of our salvation (Eph. 1:14). We do settle for lesser things but we have hope.

Today, we will look at Romans 8:18-25.

My theme:

The Assurance of Hope

The believer has a new hope, the final redemption of all things.

  1. Present grief versus future glory (verse 18).
    • Verse 18 reads: For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
    • Paul had been writing how we are adopted. Paul had been writing about how we are fellow heirs with Christ. Paul had been writing about how the Spirit testifies that we are children of God. Now, Paul begins to write about how our present suffering does not compare with our future glory. Paul writes about our hope.
    • I notice that Paul acknowledges suffering, do you notice that?
    • For I consider that the sufferings of this present time… Paul mentions “sufferings,” but also “present time.”
    • We all suffer in this present time. We are all going through struggles. We all go through sicknesses, if not ourselves, our friends and family face sicknesses. We all go through mental illness, if not ourselves, our friends and family face mental illness. We all go through spiritual attacks, temptations, and even spiritual warfare (Eph 6:10-12). This is true whether we realize it or not. We suffer.
    • Paul here is acknowledging that we suffer.
    • Paul does not say, “the suffering is not real…” Paul does not say, “toughen up…” No, Paul is comparing the suffering with our future with Jesus.
    • Paul says the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
    • Paul is contrasting the two.
    • Paul is referring to the resurrection of the body.
    • We are to make our present pain seem small in comparison to what is coming.[2]
    • 2 Co 4:17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison
    • 1 Pe 4:13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
    • Some day God will make all things new. That is in Revelation 21:1-4.
    • A few weeks ago someone died an untimely death. But the person was a believer in Christ. I was told the person was looking forward to playing cards with family again after COVID. As I prayed I thought, “This person is much happier in heaven.” No matter when we die, if we are in Christ, we will be happier in Heaven. We are always asking the Lord, “Why did You take them so soon?” They are in Heaven asking the opposite. They are in heaven asking the Lord when He will restore all things (Revelation 6:9-11).
    • What is coming? Let’s look at the next few verses.
  2. Paul’s metaphor of creation (verses 19-23).
    • Verse 19 reads: For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
    • Paul now broadens the subject matter.
    • In verse 18 Paul used “I” and “us.” These are both personal pronouns. Now, Paul looks at this from a broader view. Now, he looks at this not from an individual perspective, but rather from a broader perspective. Now, Paul writes about all of creation suffering. All of creation is waiting with “eager” longing… or, literally, “eager expectations.” All of creation is waiting expectantly and how are they waiting “eagerly.” All of creation is earnestly waiting. As one writes: He personified it as leaning forward eagerly in anticipation of the great day in which God will fully redeem it too (cf. Gal. 5:5; Phil. 3:20; Heb. 9:28).[3]
    • What is all of creation waiting for? Creation is waiting for the revealing of the sons of God.
    • Who are the sons of God? That is us, actually we are sons and daughters of God and that is powerful. Remember verse 16 about this, the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
    • Creation is waiting for the sons of God to be revealed and this would mean glorifying the sons of God when all is made new and right.
    • What is wrong with creation? Sin. Everything is fallen, all creation is depraved and needs redeemed. “all creation” means all animals, insects, stars, asteroids, rivers, oceans, cells, everything is marred by sin.
    • Look at verses 20-21: For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
    • Everything, all creation was subjected to futility. One source says: This refers to the inability to achieve a goal or purpose. Because of man’s sin, God cursed the physical universe (Ge 3:17–19), and now, no part of creation entirely fulfills God’s original purpose.[4]
    • Bobby Murphy wrote about this in a blog article, he wrote: Those verses reveal when Adam and Eve “fell” in the garden, so did the rest of creation, also called “nature.”  There is a spiritual link between humans and nature so defined that nature’s destiny, from the beginning in Genesis 1:1, was tied up with the destiny of humans, and still is.  When humans sinned and were cursed, so was nature.  As beautiful and joy producing as nature is, therefore, there’s something wrong with it.  It’s futile and corrupt.
    • This futility and corruption are evident in non-living things and the Second Law of Thermodynamics, that is, the Law of Increased Entropy.  Left to itself, our sun, for instance, will eventually “grow cold and die.”
    • As sociologist Tony Campolo points out though, it’s most evident in animals and two obvious characteristics God never intended but they routinely display.  One is their brutality.  So, hawks swoop down and rip open the necks of mice and squirrels or adorable lion cubs with bloody faces chew at the carcass of a Zebra their mother killed. The other characteristic is their fear: the rabbit frozen in its tracks, the wildcat hunching its back, the rattlesnake poised to strike, or dogs slinking to the ground.  Those are without doubt postures of alarm.[5]
    • One source shares: Verses 19–21 are Paul’s commentary on Gn 3. When Jesus returns to earth with His people, the curse will be lifted from the world. Inanimate creation is personified in this passage as looking forward to the restoration of creation.[6]
    • Creation was subjected to futility, but not willingly… how? Who is the “him” who subjected it? This happened at the fall. God ultimately subjected it, but this happened because of sin entering the world, but there is a goal. Verse 21 shows that creation is waiting to be set free.
    • Look at verses 22-23: For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
    • All of creation is waiting for redemption. Look at the language Paul is using. All of creation is going through labor pangs. All of creation is going through childbirth. In verse 23 Paul comes back to us. All of creation is groaning in childbirth and so are we. We, Christians, have the firstfruits of the Spirit. That means that we have the firstfruits, that is a pledge that more is to come.
    • What is the firstfruits? I think the firstfruits would be the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts (Romans 8:9; Galatians 5:22-23).
    • We are first groaning and waiting eagerly for adoption as sons, but we are ultimately waiting on the redemption of our bodies.
    • I think right here Paul means resurrection. We are eagerly waiting until when God makes all things new. Paul will come back to this in verses 29-30.
    • Also, as one source shares: First fruits may have OT offering connotations (cf. Lv 23). The first fruits offering was to show one’s trust in the Lord, that if He has provided early aspects of the harvest, He could be trusted for good provision later. God has given the Spirit to believers at the present time, establishing an unbreakable connection between the initial experience of salvation and its end in eternity. The Spirit is both the first installment of our salvation and the down payment of the pledge that guarantees the remaining stages of the work of God in our salvation.[7]
  3. We wait patiently and confidently (verses 24-25).
    • Look now at verses 24-25: For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
    • Paul talks about our hope. We were saved with the hope of when God will make all things new.
    • We hope, not for what we see, but what we do not see.
    • This is why we wait with patience.
    • Think of this way.
    • Until the last 30 or so years women did not see their babies until they were born, right? For many of you, you did not know if you were going to have a baby boy or a baby girl until the baby came. You know what that was like. You had hope. You had hope for the baby to come. You knew that you had a baby coming, but you had not seen the baby yet. The birth pangs came and eventually the baby comes. You waited patiently and then your baby came. But you had to go through labor first.
    • Paul wrote about our creation in birth pangs in verse 22, and like a pregnant mother, creation is waiting for the baby to come. The birth is when God will restore all things and make all things new.
    • We do not see our hope, but we trust in the promises of God.
    • Our salvation is secure as long as we persevere in the faith, but our salvation is as of yet unseen so it is a matter of hope. We wait in faith and patience.
  4. Applications:
    • Our suffering does not compare to our eternal life (verse 18). We must remember this. We must always remember that this world is the only hell we will experience. We must always remember to keep it in perspective.
    • We must always remember that people in heaven are not thinking that they wished they lived longer.
    • We must remember that God has a better plan, all of creation is fallen (verses 20-23).
    • We must know that we have the firstfruits, we have the Holy Spirit as a pledge of our inheritance (verse 23).
    • We must remember that we have hope. In Christ we always have hope.
    • We must patiently wait for when God restores all things (verses 24-25).  
    • We must share the good news of Jesus with others.

The doctor said, “If you are a believer in miracles, this would be one.”

The doctor was talking about Alcides Moreno. By every law of physics and medicine, Moreno should have died. Moreno was a window washer in Manhattan. He rode platforms with his brother Edgar high into the sky to wash skyscrapers. From there he could look down to see the pavement far below where the people looked like ants. On December 7, 2007, catastrophe struck the Moreno family. As the brothers worked on the 47th story of a high rise, their platform collapsed, and Alcides and Edgar fell from the sky.

If you are a believer in miracles, this would be one.

No, Alcides Moreno didn’t land on a passing airplane or catch his shirt on a flagpole or have anything else amazing happen like you see in the movies; he fell the entire 47 stories to the pavement below. As would be expected, his brother Edgar died from the fall, but somehow Alcides did not. He lived. For two weeks he hung on to life by a thread. Then, on Christmas Day, he spoke and reached out to touch his nurse’s face. One month later, the doctors were saying that he would probably walk again some day.

If you are a believer in miracles, this would be one.

In the beginning of the human race, Adam also fell from a great height. From sinless glory in the image of God, Adam rebelled against God and fell into sin and death and judgment, and in this terrible fall he brought with him the whole human race. But “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God the Son left the heights of heaven and descended to the earth to become a man. He lived a sinless life and then willingly went to the cross to die for the sins of Adam’s fallen race. On the third day he rose again, and in his resurrection he made it possible for all to rise again and live forever.

If you are a believer in miracles, this would be one.[8]

[1] Source: Skye Jethani, The Divine Commodity (Zondervan, 2009), pp. 113-114

[2] Paraphrased from Piper, Desiring God, pages 283–284

[3] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ro 8:19.

[4] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 8:20.


[6] Michael G. Vanlaningham, “Romans,” in The Moody Bible Commentary, ed. Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 1757.

OT Old Testament

cf. compare or consult

[7] Michael G. Vanlaningham, “Romans,” in The Moody Bible Commentary, ed. Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 1757–1758.

[8] Source: “It Wasn’t All Bad,” The Week (1-18-08), p. 4

Life in the Spirit Continued (Romans 8:12-17)

Life in the Spirit Continued (Romans 8:12-17)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, May 15 and Sunday, May 16, 2021

In 1904 William Borden graduated from high school. He was the heir to the great Borden milk fortune. For his graduation gift, his parents sent him on a trip around the world, hoping it would stimulate his global business interests. Instead, for the first time he realized how many had never heard the good news of Jesus Christ, and he committed himself to becoming a missionary. When one of his closest friends heard this news he was outraged and confronted William Borden telling him that he was throwing his life away. Borden made a note of the date and wrote these two words in his bible: No Reserves.

He then went to Yale University and was a top student, the President of the honor society, Phi Beta Kappa. Upon graduation he was offered several high paying, influential jobs. He turned them all down, saying he was committed to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. He made a note of the date in his Bible and wrote the two words: No Retreat.

He eventually set off for China to work with Muslims there. He decided it would be best to learn Arabic before he arrived, so he stopped in Cairo, Egypt, to do language study. It was while he was in Egypt that he contracted spinal meningitis and within a month he was dead, still in his twenties, never having even arrived in China. The news of his tragic death was carried by newspapers across the country. Eventually his belongings were shipped back to the US and his parents opened his Bible to find a date written just weeks before he died with two words: No Regrets.[1]

Today,I wish to continue our trek through Romans as we look at a passage encouraging us with our close relationship with God and challenging us to walk by the Spirit putting to death the deeds of the body. This passage is about perseverance in the Christian life, but not on our own, no the Holy Spirit is within us.  

My theme is:

The Christian life is a life of living by the Spirit persevering to conquer sin and make Jesus Lord of our lives.

  • Live by the Spirit (verses 12-14).
    • Let’s read verse 12: So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
    • Paul begins with “so then…”
    • There is a double connective here that cannot be easily preserved in English: “consequently therefore,” emphasizing the conclusion of what he has been arguing.[2]
    • Let’s put this in context. In the previous verses Paul wrote about our life in the Spirit. The Spirit who raised Christ from the dead dwells in us. Wow! He will also give us life through His Spirit. That is a powerful section. This is a powerful chapter.
    • This brings us to these verses.
    • We are debtors…
    • Debtors to what? Paul will answer this.
    • We are not debtors to the flesh; Paul even clarifies more. We are not debtors to live according to the flesh.
    • In the New Testament “flesh” usually means the sinful state, the fallen state, the depraved state that we are in without Christ.
    • In Greek Paul is using the word σάρξ transliterated sárx literally it means Flesh of a living creature in distinction from that of a dead one, which is kréas (2907), meat.[3]
    • Metonymically meaning flesh as used for the body, the corpus, the material nature as distinguished from the spiritual and intangible (pneúma [4151], the spirit). This usage of sárx is far more frequent in the NT than in classical writers.[4]
    • Paul had been writing about how the flesh can’t get us to Heaven. The way of the flesh leads to death (Romans 6:16). The way of the flesh leads to sin now and eternal death later on. Remember in Romans 7:13-24 how Paul wrote about not being able to do the right things. I said that I think he was writing about his fleshly state. Living as a non-believer he just could not do the right thing. He might have also been writing as an objective non-believer, not as himself. Either way, the flesh cannot help us do the right thing. The flesh cannot take care of our sin problem. Paul is saying that we are not debtors to this way. 
    • In verse 13 he continues his thought: For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
    • If you live according to the flesh you will die. This is consistent to what he has already written. Again, this is because “flesh” represents our sinful state.
    • For if you live according to the flesh you will die…Paul is about to show contrast, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
    • Now, this is interesting. So, someone is saved, they are a Christian, they have the Holy Spirit (verse 9 of this chapter), but they still need to make a conscious effort to NOT “in the flesh,” BUT “by the Spirit” put to death the deeds of the body. Then they will live.
    • Listen, as Christians we must walk by the Spirit.
    • As Christians we must put to death the deeds of the body.
    • C. H. Spurgeon said, “The believer, like a man on shipboard, may fall again and again on the deck, but he will never fall overboard,” quoted in A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology (Philadelphia: Judson, 1907), 885.[5] We must persevere.
    • The Greek verb (translated “put to death”) suggests continuing action.
    • Being a Christian is NOT simply saying a prayer and then living however you want. No, that would be living by the flesh. We still must live John 15, that is “abide” in Jesus (John 15:4).
    • I like what Piper writes:

When Paul says to put to death the deeds of the body “by the Spirit” (Romans 8:13), I take him to mean that we should use the one weapon in the Spirit’s armor that is used to kill; namely, the sword, “which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).

So, when the body is about to be led into a sinful action by some fear or craving, we are to take the sword of the Spirit and kill that fear and that craving. In my experience, that means mainly severing the root of sin’s promise by the power of a superior promise.

For example, when I begin to crave some illicit sexual pleasure, the sword-swing that has often severed the root of this promised pleasure is, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). I recall the pleasures I have tasted of seeing God more clearly from an undefiled conscience; and I recall the brevity and superficiality and oppressive aftertaste of sin’s pleasures, and with that, God has killed the conquering power of sin.

Having promises at hand that suit the temptation of the hour is one key to successful warfare against sin.

But there are times when we don’t have a perfectly suited word from God in our minds. And there is no time to look through the Bible for a tailor-made promise. So, we all need to have a small arsenal of general promises ready to use whenever fear or craving threaten to lead us astray.

Here are four of my most oft-used promises in fighting against sin:

Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

And the promise implicit in Philippians 3:8, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”

And, of course, Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Be constantly adding to your arsenal of promises. But never lose sight of the chosen few that God has blessed in your life. Do both. Be ever-ready with the old. And every morning look for a new one to take with you through the day.[6]

  1. Paul concludes this thought in verse 14: For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
    • One writes: This may be the most succinct and specific answer in Scripture to the question, Who is a child of God? While doctrinal correctness is important, no amount of theological acuity can substitute for the guiding presence of the Spirit.[7]
    • Are you led by the Spirit of God? That brings us to the next section:
  2. Adopted into God’s family (verses 15-17).
    • Verse 15: For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
    • We see that we have intimacy with the Father (verses 15-16).
    • You did not receive the spirit of slavery, No, that was the old way. Paul is now contrasting the way of a non-adopted son in the Greco-Roman world versus the way of an adopted son. A non-adopted son in the Greco-Roman world was just like a slave.
    • The spirit of slavery would give us more fear.
    • No, we have the Spirit of adoption. We have the Holy Spirit Who seals us as children of the Most High God (Eph. 1:13; 4:30).
    • One writes: The Holy Spirit is not an agent of bondage but is instead the means of our adoption into God’s family. By the Spirit we have a consciousness that God is our Father.[8]
    • One source: Roman adoption—which could take place at any age—canceled all previous debts and relationships, defining the new son wholly in terms of his new relationship to his father, whose heir he thus became.[9]
    • This means that we can cry “Abba! Father!”
    • “Abba” means “father” and is transliterated from the Aramaic. Paul writes it in Greek but it is an Aramaic word. To transliterate means to take the word and put it in the corresponding letters of another alphabet, in this case the Aramaic to the Greek.
    • Paul put two words for father next to each other in order to add emphasis.
    • “Abba” means “father.” Then, the second word is “pater.” Pater can mean father, or grandfather, or forefather.
    • ἀββᾶ abbá; In the NT, it is always used to address God and is followed immediately by the translation (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6). This double expression was common in the early church.[10]
    • Paul seems to be conveying the intimacy that we can have with God being adopted into His family.
    • In Mark 14:36 during Jesus’ prayer at Gethsemane He addressed God as Abba Father. We can pray to God the same way that Jesus prayed to His Father!
    • Paul builds on this in verse 16: The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God…
    • The Holy Spirit bears witness with our internal spirit, that would be spirit with a lower case “s.” The Holy Spirit tells us that we are children of God.
    • MacArthur: In Roman culture, for an adoption to be legally binding, 7 reputable witnesses had to be present, attesting to its validity. God’s Holy Spirit confirms the validity of our adoption, not by some inner, mystical voice, but by the fruit He produces in us (Gal 5:22, 23) and the power He provides for spiritual service (Ac 1:8).[11]
    • This is powerful, how important this is that we are grafted into God’s family.
    • We have an inheritance from the Father (verses 17).
    • Verse 17 wraps this up: and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
    • We are fellow heirs with Christ!
    • God has appointed His Son to be heir of all things (Heb 1:2). Every adopted child will receive by divine grace the full inheritance Christ receives by divine right (cf. Mt 25:21; Jn 17:22; 2Co 8:9).[12]
    • However, we do have to suffer in this Christian life, but we will also be glorified with Him.
  3. Applications:
    • We need to allow the Word of God to do the Work of God to put to death things of the flesh (verse 13).
    • We need to use the Word of God to put to death deeds of the body. We need to use the Word of God to put to death: lust, envy, greed, idols, lies, pride, and so much more.
    • We must be encouraged of the close relationship we have with God as Christians (verses 15-16).
    • We must remember that the Christian life will include suffering (verse 17).

John newton illustration from John Piper:

I’m going to close with a story from John Newton. I come back to it over and over to convict myself of my murmuring. Paul said in Philippians 2:14, “Do all things without murmuring.” Is there any more condemning verse in the Bible? All things without murmuring?

This is John Newton, writing in the eighteenth century. There are no cars; there are only carriages. So, picture a horse-drawn carriage. A man is on the way to New York to get his inheritance. Here’s what happens:

Suppose a man was going to New York to take possession of a large estate [let’s just say it’s worth $5 million], and his [carriage] should break down a mile before he got to the city, which obliged him to walk the rest of the way [this is where we are in our walkway toward heaven]; what a fool we should think him, if we saw him wringing his hands, and blubbering out all the remaining mile, “My [carriage] is broken! My [carriage] is broken!”

He’s on the way to an inheritance worth millions of dollars. He can fix the carriage.[13]

We as Christian have an inheritance in Heaven that is more than we can ever imagine. Part of that inheritance we have received, we have received the Holy Spirit and life with Him. We will have bumps along the way of this life. We will have struggles with sin and persecution and suffering, but after persevering through this life, by the power of the Holy Spirit persevering through this life, we will be in glory in Heaven.

Let’s pray.


[2] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ro 8:12.

[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

NT (New Testament)

[4] Ibid.

[5] Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995).


[7] Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 181–182.

[8] Paige Patterson, “Salvation in the Old Testament,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 1793.

[9] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ro 8:15.

NT (New Testament)

[10] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[11] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 8:16.

[12] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 8:17.


Jesus takes Care of His Mother (John 19:26-27) Mother’s Day Message

Allow me to begin this sermon by saying “Happy Mother’s Day!” I am grateful for all the mothers and all the maternal influences out there. Thank you for your constant work.

Something I read in the past few weeks said the following:

What is a Mother?

Somewhere between the youthful energy of a teenager and the golden years of a woman’s life, there lives a marvelous and loving person known as “Mother.”

A mother is a curious mixture of patience, kindness, understanding, discipline, industriousness, purity and love.

A mother can be at one and the same time, both “lovelorn counselor” to a heartsick daughter and “head football coach” to an athletic son.

A mother can sew the tiniest stitch in the material for that dainty prom dress and she is equally experienced in threading through the heaviest traffic in a station wagon.

A mother is the only creature on earth who can cry when she’s happy, laugh when she’s heartbroken, and work when she’s feeling ill.

A mother is as gentle as a lamb and as strong as a giant. Only a mother can appear so weak and helpless and yet be the same one who puts the fruit cover on so tightly even dad can’t get it off.

A mother is a picture of helplessness when Dad is near, and a marvel of resourcefulness when she’s all alone.

A mother has the angelic voice of a member in the celestial choir as she sings Brahms lullaby to a babe held tight in her arms; yet this same voice can dwarf the sounds of an amplifier when she calls her boys in for supper.

A mother has the fascinating ability to be almost everywhere at once and she alone can somehow squeeze an enormous amount of living into an average day.

A mother is “old fashioned” to her teenager; just “Mom” to her third-grader; and simply “Mama” to little two-year old sister.

But there is no greater thrill in life, than to point to that wonderful woman and be able to say to all the world, “That’s my mother!”[1]

There is always something about mothers, really there is. There has always, even as we study history, we see there is a special place for mothers. Times can change and times do change, but people always need a mother and love their mother. A sad expression of this is when people cry out for their mother on the battlefield. A mother’s voice is the one you long to hear.

As an example, several years ago, when Mercedes was only about 18 months old Meagan and I went together to pick up Mercedes from the babysitter. We went to the babysitter walked in the door and Mercedes ran and gave Meagan a big hug. I waited and Mercedes didn’t give me a hug. Mercedes loved and loves her mom. There is a special place for mothers. Let me also say that there is a special place for those that serve in a maternal role. There are many who never have biological children but mother other children all the same.

In the Bible we do see the idea of taking care of our mothers. Certainly, in the Old Testament we see the commandment to honor our father and our mother in Exodus 20:12. But then we also see the passage which we will look at today. Let me read John 19:26-27

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

  1. The passage:
    • In context Jesus is on the cross. He has been beaten beyond recognition and now He is dying on the cross.
    • Jesus is probably gasping for air and struggling to breathe, yet he makes this statement.
    • I wonder what it was like for His mother to watch her son on the cross. This fulfilled Simeon’s prophesy in Luke 2:35: …(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
    • Here He is naked, beaten and dying. This is the boy she raised.
    • Jesus looks down on her. I wonder what it was like for Him to see His mother. Was she grieving? Was she crying? How did that make Him feel?
    • Jesus did feel the need to provide for her.
    • He saw the disciple whom He loved, likely John, and gave a command.
    • Verse 27 says that this disciple did take her in. There was no arguing. This disciple took care of Jesus’ mother.
    • Notice that there are four women at the foot of the cross and one of them is likely the beloved disciple’s mother and the beloved disciple is likely Jesus’ cousin. It says, “his mother’s sister,” possibly Salome, who was the Mother of James and John, Then, it says, “the wife of Cleophas,” “Mary the wife of Cleophas;” and this was possibly Mary’s sister‑in‑law so that you have a family there. Then you have one outsider, Mary Magdalene, Mary from Magdala. Christ had cast seven demons from her (This comes from verse 25).
    • Notice that the beloved disciple is the only disciple who was there. The rest fled. Know that men have no market on courage. In this case the women are way more courageous.
  2. Now let’s apply this idea of taking care of your mother:
    • Taking care of your mother. Jesus makes sure that His mother’s needs are provided for. We also must provide for the needs of others. Today we focus on mothers and those who fill a maternal role in our lives.   
    • When I was a child, we spent many, many, many weekends as my father took care of his mother’s needs. My dad’s father died when I was very young, and my dad’s brother and sisters lived a distance away. So, my dad took care of his mother’s needs. I remember many weekends cutting grass or watching my dad cut grass at her house. My dad repeatedly replaced plumbing and repaired electrical work at her house. He was always fixing her car. He fixed the flooring over there. He helped her with decision making as well. Then when she had to have a hip replacement, she moved in with us for a while. She didn’t want to impose, but my parents, both of them actually, prepared a room for her and she stayed with us. This was all the more important to me because my dad was physically, verbally, and emotionally abused as a child, yet he still took care of her needs. After she recovered from the hip replacement, she still lived with us off and on throughout the year. Later on my grandmother died when I was in tenth grade of high school and that was the only time I saw my dad cry. He was taking me to work and he told me that her death had been hard on him. He further said that over the last few years he realized how much his mother regretted the pain of his upbringing.  
    • I think the Bible affirms, and this statement by Jesus affirms, the need to take care of other maternal influences. We have other maternal influences in our lives. These could be our mother-in-law or a scout leader. They could be pastors or youth pastors. These could be Sunday school teachers or childcare workers.  These could be older sisters or many others. Jesus told John to care for His mother. I wonder if Jesus’ mother could have been like a mother to John or some of the other disciples.
    • I am sure that you have similar stories. We do this because of our love for them.
    • In like manner, many of you have been or are care givers for your elderly parents. You do this because they have meant so much to you.
  3. I believe that Jesus making sure that His mother was taken care of is also showing us that it is important to take care of the needs of others, even if they are not our mother or maternal influence. In Jesus’ dying moment He cares for His mother.
    • My mother was one, and is one, who is also caring for others. She now works in a childcare center at a church. Growing up she always babysat for children in our home. She would make an excellent caregiver because she has a huge heart of compassion. I talk about my dad’s care for his mother, and I have to say it is matched by mom’s care for all people.
      • I remember not having a book properly covered in school. I was in the seventh grade and the teacher called my mom from school. I thought I would be so punished. But really I got home and my mom was ready to help me cover the book properly.
      • I remember having a headache as I forgot my glasses when I was in first grade. I never called my mom but somehow she realized that my glasses were at home and soon she showed up with my glasses.
      • I remember forgetting gym clothes and having to write sentences. I actually didn’t forget them, they were taken from my locker, but regardless I had to write sentences. My mom watched me write sentences and I could tell how bad she felt as I wrote sentence after sentence about remembering gym clothes. Yet, she did not call the teacher and complain about discipline.
      • I remember getting stitches countless times and my mom and my dad took me to the hospital.
      • I remember the sadness when I went away to college. I was the first to go eight hours from home to college and my mom was so very sad.

The following is a list of “I owe you’s” which apply to mothers all over the country, all of which are long overdue. Stop after each one and consider the priceless value of the one who made your life possible—your mother.

Dear Mom:

As I walk through my museum of memories,

I owe you– for your time. Day and night.

I owe you—for your example. Consistent and dependable.

I owe you—for your support. Stimulating and challenging.

I owe you– for your humor. Sparky and quick.

I owe you—for your counsel. Wise and quiet.

I owe you—for your humility. Genuine and gracious.

I owe you—for your hospitality. Smiling and warm.  

I owe you—for your insight. Keen and honest.

I owe you– for your flexibility. Patient and joyful.

I owe you—for your sacrifices. Numerous and quickly forgotten.

I owe you—for your faith. Solid and sure.

I owe you—for your hope. ­Ceaseless and indestructible.

I owe you—for your love. Devoted and deep. [2] 

A cartoon shows a three-year-old, freckle-faced boy in a hallway. His pajamas are unsnapped, his diaper’s bagging, and he’s got a little teddy bear, dangling in his hand. He’s standing in front of his mother and father’s bedroom door, which is shut. On the door is a little sign written by a weary mother: “Closed for business. Motherhood Out of Order.[3]

I have heard a mother’s work is never done and Jesus instructs us to take care of our mother. We have this instruction in the idea that Jesus made sure His mother was taken care of. So, I hope today you are being thanked for your maternal role. I hope today you are able to recognize a mother or someone else for their role in your life.

Jesus made sure his mother was taken care of. This mother’s day take care of your mother. Take care of your children’s mother and encourage others to take care of their mother.

I do realize that this may be a sad mother’s day for you, for your mother has gone to be with the Lord. I encourage you to reflect and maybe even write in a journal about all your mother passed on to you.

Also, you may have had other maternal roles in your life—a grandmother, an aunt, a family friend or teacher. God uses many more people to pass on faith to children and young adults as they grow up. If you can thank them as well and thank God for mothers.

[1] Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Page 395. He references Fred Kruse.

[2] Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Page 396. (From his book: Strong Family)

[3] Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Page 397. (From his book: Laugh Again.

Life in the Spirit (Romans 8:1-11)

Life in the Spirit (Romans 8:1-11)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2, 2021

I read the following:

One of the more humorous quirks of scientific history is the debate over who should get the

credit for discovering oxygen. Joseph Priestley, an English scientist and clergyman, is often

given that honor because he was the first to publish his findings, doing so in 1774. Interestingly,

Priestley originally called the gas, “dephlogisticated [de-phlo-gis-ti-cat-ed] air.”

However, in 1772, two years prior to Priestly’s find, a Swedish chemist named Carl Scheele

independently discovered the gas that is so crucial to human existence. Strangely enough, the

term oxygen didn’t actually come into use until 1775, when yet another chemist, Frenchman

Antoine Lavoisier (La voi ze), discovered and named the gas we breathe. Lavoisier was also the

first to recognize oxygen as one of our natural elements.

Regardless of who gets the credit, it’s odd to think of a human being “discovering” oxygen. What

did we breathe before this important discovery? Does a fish discover water? The truth is that

oxygen literally surrounds us every day, and even if we choose to call it “dephlogisticated air,”

we can’t live without it.

Well, friends in Christ, the same is true of the Holy Spirit.

As Christians we have new life, we have life in the Holy Spirit. That is our focus today.

My theme and application today is:

We are NOT under condemnation if we are in Christ Jesus, we must set our minds on the things of the Spirit.

We are going to walk through Romans 8:1-11:

The New American Commentary shares the following:

With chap. 8 we arrive at what may be called the inspirational highlight of the Book of Romans. Here the apostle is swept along in a wave of spiritual exaltation that begins with God’s provision of the Spirit for victory over the old nature, breaks through the sufferings that mark our present existence, and crests with a doxology of praise to the unfathomable love of God revealed in Christ Jesus. Nowhere in the annals of sacred literature do we find anything to match the power and beauty of this remarkable paean of praise. Although the pinnacle of this exalted prose awaits our arrival at vv. 28–39, the earlier sections provide the setting against which the culminating truths will break forth with an even greater brilliance. We are not dealing here with mere theology. As Paul wrote, his pen gave evidence that he was caught up in an experience of profound worship and spiritual adoration.[1]

  1. The Believers’ relationship to the Holy Spirit (verses 1-4).
    • No condemnation (verse 1): There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
    • Remember the context, remember chapter 7.
    • In chapter 7 Paul wrote about how we cannot keep the Law. In verse 6 Paul wrote about how the Law exposes our sin. In chapter 7 Paul wrote about how there is a war between the two natures. There is a war between the flesh and the Spirit. I made the case that Paul was writing about either his pre-saved self or writing as a Jewish non-believer.
    • This verse now says there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. The verdict is delivered, and we are NOT condemned. That is the past, the trial is over. “On the sole basis of Christ’s righteousness imputed, then a reversal of the court’s verdict is impossible.”[2]
    • The next few verses build on this idea.
    • Verse 2 gives the contrast between the Law of the Spirit and the Old Testament Law. The Law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Verse 2 reads: For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
    • This is why there is no condemnation. Jesus took our condemnation on the cross.
    • God never intended us to go it on our own. Did not Jesus say, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5)?[3]
    • Verse 3 builds on this idea.
    • Verses 3-4: God did what the Law could not do. Verses 3-4 reads: For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
    • One could restate the logic this way: Christ accomplished for us the condemnation that the law demands so that he might accomplish in us the sanctification that the law commands. The key phrase for our purpose is the phrase “so that,” or “in order that.” When God put Christ in our condemned place, he did this not only to secure heaven, but to secure holiness. Or even more precisely, not only to secure our life in paradise, but also to secure our love for people.[4]
    • The Spirit is mentioned only in 1:4; 2:29; 5:5, and 7:6, but is mentioned 19 times in chap. 8.[5]
    • He frees us from sin and death (vv. 2, 3); enables us to fulfill God’s law (v. 4); changes our nature and grants us strength for victory over our unredeemed flesh (vv. 5–13); confirms our adoption as God’s children (vv. 14–16); and guarantees our ultimate glory (vv. 17–30).[6]
  2. The Holy Spirit dwells in you (verses 5-11).
    • In verses 5-8 we see the contrast of those according to the flesh versus those according to the Spirit. Verse 5 reads: 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 set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
    • According to the flesh means the fallen, sinful nature. If we are not in Christ, if we do not know Christ, we set our minds on the things of the world.
    • However, if we know Christ, if we live with Him (John 15), if we live according to the Spirit, we set our minds on the things of God.
    • Verse 6 continues the contrast: For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
    • We are to “set our minds” on the things of the Holy Spirit. This is partnering with the Holy Spirit to let Him work within us (Phil 2:12-13). To set the mind on the flesh means to think continually about and constantly desire the things characteristic of fallen, sinful human nature, that is, to think just the way the unbelieving world thinks, emphasizing what it thinks important, pursuing what it pursues, in disregard of God’s will.[7]
    • We receive life and peace by being regenerated by the Holy Spirit. This means peace with God, reconciliation with God.
    • How is the mind set on the flesh death? Verses 7-8 answer this.
    • Then verses 7-8 shows that the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God. The mind set on the flesh does not submit to God’s law AND IT CANNOT. Verses 7-8 reads: For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
    • This is because the mind set on the flesh is focusing on the fallen, depraved things. One could go further that we have eternal death without being regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
    • Notice when in the flesh we CANNOT please God. We must be born-again. We must be regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
    • Verses 9-11 are all about how the Holy Spirit dwells in us. Verses 9-11 reads: You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
    • Notice the pointedness of verse 9: YOU, however, are NOT in the flesh…
    • You are in the Spirit.
    • That is, if the Spirit of God dwells in you.
    • This means that if we are saved, the Holy Spirit dwells in us.
    • If you do not have the Spirit of Christ, you do not belong to Him.
    • Notice how Spirit of God and Spirit of Christ are used interchangeably. ESV Study Bible: By definition, Christians are not in the flesh, for all who believe in Christ are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Paul alternates between the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ here, showing that Christ and God share the same status.[8]
    • Verse 10: But if Christ is in you the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is alive because of righteousness.
    • Verse 11 is powerful, “if…” this is assuming you are saved. If the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He, who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies. How? Through His Spirit who dwells in you.
    • The Holy Spirit Who raised Jesus is in you. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you. Powerful!
    • The Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead and He will also raise us.
    • Who raised Jesus from the dead: All three members of the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were involved in the resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection is individually ascribed to each one of them.[9]
  3. Applications:
    • We must be encouraged that we do not live under condemnation (verse 1).
    • We must be encouraged that Jesus did what we could not do on our own (verses 2-3).
    • We must give thanks to the Lord and worship the Lord and serve the Lord for His awesome free gift.
    • We must set our minds on the things of the Spirit (verse 5; also Galatians 5:22-23).
    • We must understand that when our mind is set on the Spirit we have life, real life, abundant life, eternal life, and peace, that is, peace with God (verse 6).
    • We must understand that the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God (verses 7-8).
    • We must understand the dichotomy between God’s ways and the ways of the flesh (verses 7-8 and James 4:4).
    • We must understand that if we are in Christ we have the Spirit of God in us (verse 9). We must worship God for this awesome truth and walk by the Spirit.
    • Praise God that the Holy Spirit Who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in me! He will also resurrect my body.   

On the night of March 29, 1848, Niagara Falls completely and mysteriously stopped flowing. The estimated 500,000 gallons of water that customarily rushed over the falls stalled to a trickle. James Francis Macklem, a village justice of the peace in the Niagara area, wrote that he had witnessed the subsidence of the waters and the phenomenon of the Niagara running dry “caused great excitement in the neighborhood at the time.” 
To some, the mystery of this sudden “turning off” of the river seemed to be an ominous portent, and nightfall found most of the churches packed with people praying or talking in frightened voices about the end of the world. Fear grew into the proportions of panic. 
The cause of this unusual event began along the shores of Lake Erie near Buffalo. For several days, the wind had been blowing to the east over Lake Erie, driving much of its ice flow down river. Then the winds suddenly shifted to the west, driving the lake water west and causing the lake’s ice to break up and dam the river. The Niagara River ceased to flow for almost 30 hours until the ice shifted and the dam broke up. 

When we become cold towards Christ and do not let the Holy Spirit flow through our lives it can become disastrous. Has your love for Christ grown cold? Today in prayer, confess any sin to Christ and remember the love you had for Him when you first became a Christian. Walk with Him and do not let your love grow cold.


[1] Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 173–174.

[2] Dr Michael Horton in “ For Calvinism”

[3] Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 175.

[4] Piper, John. Providence (p. 590). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

chap. chapter

[5] Michael G. Vanlaningham, “Romans,” in The Moody Bible Commentary, ed. Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 1756.

[6] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 8:2–30.

[7] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2170.

[8] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2170.