Living by the Spirit

Romans 8.1-17

In the war against sin, we have been given an Ally who is truly OP (over-powered), as my son would say. The Spirit who is life and peace, puts to death the deeds of our body when we rely on Him. The Spirit also testifies to our spirit that we belong to God. That we have been adopted into His family. That we are sons and daughters of the King.

If you have trusted in Jesus, choose to live your identity in Him. So much is true about you…Forgiven. Justified. Righteous. Alive (eternal life). Reconciled. At peace with God. Free from the rule of sin. New heart. Spirit living within. Adopted into God’s family. Co-heir with Jesus. What would it look like to live your life based on those truths? How would it change your outlook on things? Your day-to-day interactions (social media)? What if every morning you reminded yourself of who you are…before your first cup of coffee, or checking your social media accounts, or catching up on the latest news…before you interact with your spouse or your kids (or your parents) or with folks at work or school? What if you reminded yourself of you are before you post or comment or forward…how might that change things for you and those around you? How might your life and your relationships look different? How might it impact the choices you make?

But you have to make the conscious choice. You have to choose to live out the reality of being “in Jesus”. You have to train yourself…discipline yourself…to say “yes” to Jesus and “no” to sin. The good news is…you are not alone. You have the best Partner ever…the Spirit. Why not try it today?

pro rege

This post is based on a sermon from our Romans series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster

Who Shall Be King?

Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

The people of Israel, aware of Samuel’s advanced age and of the wickedness of his sons, demanded of the prophet that he select a king to rule over them.

Samuel was old and his sons were dishonest judges, accepting bribes and perverting justice.

But when the people asked Samuel to provide a “king to judge us”, Samuel the Judge and Prophet was hurt.  But God tells Samuel that the people have not rejected him they have rejected God as their King.

The request for a human king was not in itself improper, for God had promised a king back in Genesis and Deuteronomy.

But the refusal to wait for God’s timing was clearly displeasing to the Lord and to His prophet.

In the face of impending conflict with the Ammonites the people wanted a king “such as all the other nations have”.

Even after witnessing the leadership of the Lord in stunning victory over the Philistines at Ebenezer, Israel demanded a fallible, human leader.

God would permit them to have a king, but they would live to regret their hasty impulse.

And so we read the heart-breaking story of Saul, Israel’s first king.  His jealousy of David tore apart his family, his country and his relationship with both Samuel and God.

Two of Saul’s own children – Jonathan and Michal protected David against their father, to Saul’s dismay and bitterness.

We feel for Jonathan, torn between his love for David as God’s anointed King and his loyalty to his father.  Jonathan would die in battle with his father at Mount Gilboa.

There is one touching story at the end of 1 Samuel 31.

Back in 1 Samuel 11, the Ammonite army had surrounded and laid siege to the city of Jabesh-gilead.  The people cried out to Saul for help.  Saul defeated the Ammonites and rescued the citizens of Jabesh-gilead.  It was a joyous time for Israel in the new monarchy.

Many years later, in Chapter 31, Saul and his three sons are defeated and killed in battle against the Philistines.  The Philistines cut off Saul’s head and hang his body along with his three sons on the wall of Beth-shan.

When the citizens of Jabesh-gilead, the people Saul rescued many years before, learn about the desecration of the bodies, they send warriors out at night to rescue the bodies of Saul and his sons and bring them back to Jabesh for burial under a tamerisk tree and mourn his death, fasting for seven days.

And so ends the story of Saul, Israel’s first king.

Saul was more worried about himself and what the people thought then what God thought.  Jesus warned us about the same things in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).

When we read the story of Saul, we are reminded that when we seek safety and security in anything other than God – be it governments, bank accounts, relationships, or anything else, they will never deliver.

True security can only be found in Jesus – our reigning King.

We are called to resist conforming with worldly thinking. Through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we are called to be transformed in our thinking and in how we live.

The Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 8:6-7, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 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.” Amen.

Until next time – Keep reading.

Jim