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
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
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
(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!