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Romans 8:18-27

THE DILIGENCE OF THE SPIRIT LIFE

Intro: Verse 18 of our text reminds us of on of the most fundamental truths of the Christian life. That truth is this: we are not home yet! While we wait to be delivered from this world, we need to remember that we are living in a world that is under a curse. As a result of that curse, there is a lot of groaning and turmoil taking place. In the midst of all that, it is easy to become discouraged and it is easy to want to give up.

However, if there is one thing this passage teaches us, it is that the Spirit life is one of diligence. The word diligence means, "to be characterized by steady, earnest and energetic activity." It is the opposite of giving up! In fact, the Spirit of God is able to give us hope during the troubled times of our lives.

This passage concerns the struggle that is going on in and around all of us this evening. Paul shares with us three arenas of life where there is diligence in the midst of a devastated world. Let's look at these together.

I. V. 19-22 THE CREATION GROANS

(Ill. The word "groaneth" in verse 22 means "to sigh". It has the idea of one groaning under a burden. This is the image used to describe creation.)

A. V. 20 Creation's Experience - Creation came under the curse, not by its own doing, but because of the sin of Adam, Gen. 3:17-19. Because Adam chose to walk in rebellion to the clear command of God, all of creation was thrown under a curse.

B. V. 22 Creation's Expression - This verse depicts creation as sighing and writhing like a woman in the throes of childbirth. The results of that curse are plain to see! (Ill. Earthquakes, thorns, deadly animals, poisonous snakes, poisoned plants, death and violence.)

(Ill. Even in the midst of creation's pain, it still lifts it voice to God in praise for His majesty and glory. If you don't believe me, let's just look at Psalm 148 and Psalm 19:1-6.)

C. V. 19, 21 Creation's Expectation - These verses tell us that creation itself expects to be delivered from the curse that has been placed upon it. The word "expectation" in verse 19 brings to mind the image of "a person standing on their tiptoes in order to see something." So, too, creation yearns for that time when it will in fact be "delivered" (v. 22) from the ravages of the curse of sin.

(Ill. While the world and all of creation resides under a curse this evening, there is still great beauty in this world. Just call to mind many of the great vistas and views that are to be found all around us. Look at the beauty of flowers and the wonderful variety to be found in the plant and animal kingdoms. Now, try to imagine the most beautiful natural sight you have ever seen. With that image in mind, remember that what you saw was a sight marred by sin. Now, try to imagine how glorious that same sight will be when the curse of sin is forever removed! Creation longs to be free and God longs to free it! He shall some day, for when Jesus died on the cross for the redemption of sinners, He also redeemed this sin cursed world. One day, the shackles will fall off and all creation will rejoice!)

I. The Creation Groans

II. V. 23-25 THE CHRISTIAN GROANS

A. V. 23 The Christian's Agony - Along with creation, the child of God groans this evening. Primarily, Paul is speaking of our desire to be free from these mortal, sinful bodies. He mentions the "first fruits of the Spirit." This refers to the indwelling ministry of the Spirit of God in the believer's life. When we got saved, the Spirit of God moved into our spirit, 1 Cor. 12:13; Rom. 8:9.

When He came, He worked in us in such a way that we began the process of seeing sin like God sees sin. In simple terms, the Spirit of God "sensitized" us to sin. We became sensitive to sin around us and in us.

As a result, we are afflicted by the sins we commit and that we see others commit. If sin doesn't bother you, you have a serious spiritual problem! If you can witness sin and it not affect you, something is amiss in your heart!

All of this serves to produce within the believer a sense of longing. We want to be delivered from the sinful, mortal bodies. Regardless of what anyone tells you, your flesh did not get saved! It is a depraved and as wicked as it has ever been, Ill. Paul - Romans 7:18-25.

(Ill. Aren't there times when you would do anything just to be free from your flesh? Wouldn't it be a blessing if you never again had a wicked thought? A wicked deed? A sinful attraction or lust?)

B. V. 24-25 The Christian's Anticipation - Paul tells us that we are saved by "hope". What does he mean? Hope in the Bible has a vastly different meaning than it does in our world today. When people use the word "hope" now, they are saying, "I wish", or "I want". When the Bible uses the word "hope" it means "an assurance based on a conviction." Instead of hope being a fond wish or desire, biblical hope is a deep settled knowledge grounded in the promises of God. We are saved by faith in the promise of God that tells us "that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." It is a conviction that salvation comes through faith in the shed blood and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the sure knowledge that one day our Lord will come for us and will take us to Heaven. It is the sure knowledge that we will be changed from these vile creatures that we are and that we will be made like Him, 1 Cor. 15:49-55; 1 John 3:1-3.

(Ill. We, who are saved, groan to be free from these bodies, Rom. 7:24. We long to be remade into the image of the Lord Jesus. Well, my friends, I am glad that I can report to you this evening that that day is coming! One day, whether it be by the undertaker or by the Uppertaker, this sinful flesh will breath its last and I will be remade in the image of my Savior! This was the heart of David, Psa. 17:15, and it is the heart of every born again saint of God!)

I. The Creation Groans

II. The Christian Groans

III. V. 26-27 THE COMFORTER GROANS

(Ill. These verses go on to tell us that it isn't just the creation and the Christian who are groaning in this present world. Our heavenly Comforter, the blessed Holy Ghost, also groans with us. I am glad this evening that we have One with us Who is able to experience our need, Heb. 4:15.)

A. V. 26a The Comforter Sustains Us - This verse teaches us that the Holy Spirit comes alongside of us as we travel through this harsh world and "Takes hold of our burden" (Ill. Same word "help" used in Luke 10:40. The believer needs the same down to earth, basic help every day) with us. What burden? The burden of living in the weak, sinful and morally deficient bodies! He knows our tendency toward evil and he helps us! He knows that we are prone to wander and He helps us. He knows that we often grow weary in well doing and He helps us!

So, it is only through the ministry of the Spirit of God working in us to help us that we are even able to do anything that could be called good. We are weak and we are sinners, but He strengthens us so that we are able, by His help, to carry on for the glory of God.

B. V. 26b -27 The Comforter Speaks For Us - To illustrate his point, Paul appeals to the arena of prayer. Because of our sins and our propensity for evil, we are not able to pray in a manner that is absolutely consistent with the perfect will of God. However, the Holy Spirit, Who is God, knows the will of God, and He knows what is in our redeemed spirit. He takes our prayers, which are often flawed and misguided and He straightens them out and tells the Father what is really in our hearts.

(Ill. That is a bigger blessing than you can know! After all, who among us knows the perfect will of God in every matter? Who among us knows how to pray about everything we hear about? Who knows the mind of God better than God? The Holy Spirit knows the mind of God, because He is God. Therefore, He is able to translate our prayers out of the flawed, selfish language we use, into the perfect will of God. This is genuine, biblical praying in the Spirit!)

(Ill. While creation groans to be free from the curse and while Christians groan to be free from these bodies, the Spirit of God groans to see the will of the Father done in the world and in our lives. That is why He takes such an active role in everything we do. It isn't just prayer. Prayer is merely the illustration Paul uses. The Holy Ghost is actively involved in the process of aiding us as we travel through this world. He is just Who Jesus said He would be. He is a Comforter - John 14:16! Therefore, let us not grow weary as we walk through this world! There will be times when it is hard to worship, pray and do the work of God, but we have a Helper! We have One within us Who always rises u to meet the challenge and He will enable us to walk in victory!)

Conc: Whoever said the walk of faith was an easy walk lied! However, I will say that even though it isn't always easy, it is never impossible! Will we suffer? Yes! Will we groan while we are here? Yes! Will there be times when we will fail and feel like quitting? Yes! In those times, remember that we have the Spirit of God within us and He enables us to remain diligent and committed as we travel toward a better country!



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