May 30, 2021

Father Son And Holy Spirit At Work In Us

Passage: Romans 8:14-17

There is the story of a girl who was asked to write an essay on “birth.”  She went home and asked her mother how she had been born.  Her mother, who was busy at the time said, “The stork brought you honey, and left you at the doorstep.”  Continuing her research she asked her dad how he had been born.  Being in the middle of something, her father similarly deflected the question by saying, “I was found at the bottom of the garden.  The fairies brought me.”  Then the girl went and asked her grandmother how she'd arrived.  She answered, “My dear, I was picked from a gooseberry bush.”  With all the birth information of her family, the girl wrote her essay.  When the teacher asked her to read it in front of the class, she stood up and began, “There hasn't been a natural birth in our family for three generations...”  As I mentioned today is Trinity Sunday and we are contemplating the unnatural birth we all underwent when we became God's children.  The apostle John wrote in his Gospel – “...children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.”  John 1: 13.  We think of the mystery that the God of heaven and earth functioned in three Persons to bring us to the status we have as heirs of His kingdom.  The Father before the foundation of the world planned us and brought it to realization when we were born.  When our birthright was ruined because of sin, God loved us so much that His Son became one of us.  He lived among us, He comforted us and in the end, He died for us.  And then, there is the third Person in the Godly Trinity – God, the Holy Spirit.  He lives in us after we had received a second birth through Him.  This birth can be referred to as the “unnatural birth.”  How do we explain the “unnatural birth” to someone who wants proof for every concept in life?  Almost like Nicodemus who was confused when Jesus told him about the condition that if someone isn't born again he will not see the kingdom of heaven.  “How can a man be born when he is old?”  Nicodemus asked.  “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time to be born?”  John 3: 4.  Like Nicodemus there are many who don't grasp that we are born again through God's Spirit.  But you know, there's a doctrine that's far more difficult to explain.  It's a doctrine that brought many scholars and theologians to the honest realization – “I cannot explain God.  He is far above my human comprehension.”  St. Augustine was meditating and writing on the Trinity of God and he felt frustrated that his comprehension of God was so limited.  He went to a beach and saw a boy running back and forth from the shore pouring water into a hole he dug.  “What are you trying to do young man?”, Augustine asked.  The boy responded, “I'm trying to put the ocean in this hole.”  And then it hit Augustine.  That's what he was trying to do with God – trying to put Him in a few volumes of books.  For that God is far too superior, He is far above everything He created.  No one will ever comprehend God in His nature and eminence.  But you know my friends, God made Himself known to us for as much as He would allow us to know Him.  It's not just what He said to Moses that we have to think of – “I am Who I am.”  There is also the wonderful thoughts from John 14: 10 Jesus spoke to Philip,  “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?  The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority.  Rather, it is the Father, living in me, Who is doing His work.”  Jesus was trying Philip to get a comprehension of how God functions in people's lives in different Persons.

From Romans 8: 14-17 we identify three wonderful realities of how the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are at work in us.  First 1 We Are Guaranteed By The Spirit As Children Of God.  Paul wrote to believers in Rome to inspire them in their walk with the Lord in a secular environment.  Rome was a big metropolitan city and there were many other things to do on the day of worship.  There were a lot of “eat, drink and be merry” attitudes in that city.  Jesus' followers had been bombarded by others – “Why do you waste your time on spiritual things?  You should live for the moment.  You should take out of life while you are in life.”  Doesn't that sound familiar?  In a secular world it feels like we are sucked in by the trend of our time.  More and more we hear, “Stories of old that you find in the Bible won't get you anywhere.  How can you live with a movement that happened 2000 years ago?”  A man I met in public responded as follow when he learned that I'm a minister – “I don't get it why there are still churches.  They have become irrelevant.”  In Rome Christians in the workplace had been accused of their fellowship of Jesus that they were “no friends of Caesar.”  There is a wonderful comfort St. Paul gave the believers in Rome and it's a wonderful comfort for us in the year 2021 with all the secular messages we hear on a daily basis.  In verse 16 we read, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”  That's a very strong guarantee Paul gave the Christians in Rome and Christians word-wide today.  When there are those who ridicule us for our stand as followers of Jesus and try to bring doubts in our hearts, the reality is, God the Holy Spirit speaks for us.  He is our Witness, no more than that He is the One Who will always advocate for us.  You know, so often the question was asked, “How could the apostles like Peter and Paul and their co-workers have had the courage to have gone before hostile authorities in the name of Jesus?”  The answer is that they had the Holy Spirit Who first gave them the affirmation that they belonged to God...and then The Holy Spirit enabled them.  You know my friends, there is one guarantee I can share with you...and that is that we are God's children.  Not because we have decided to become followers of Jesus, but because the Holy Spirit claimed us as God's children.

Paul tells us secondly in Romans 8 that 2 We Are Loved By Our Father.  He describes in verse 15 the love God the Father has for His children – “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.”  The believers in Rome must have had a good comprehension of what Paul wanted to bring across to them.  There were many slaves in their time that had been taken into a family when they were adopted by the father of the family.  And then the father of the family became their father too.   All they knew before they were taken into a family was fear – fear of those who forced them into slavery and punished them and fear of not belonging anywhere.  To the Christians in Rome Paul brought the wonderful message – “God loved you so much that He made you His children by adopting you from all the people in the world.”  That my friends, is the same love our Heavenly Father demonstrated when He made us a part of His family.  Just think of it – in love God decided that He would adopt us.  We never have to be excluded or isolated; we never have to live with the thought, “I don't belong anywhere.”  No, with the apostle John we can rejoice in what he wrote in his first letter chapter 3: 1, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!”  You know, I always think of what a wonderful blessing it is when there is a father that loves his children.  It gives security to His children and they feel they can trust their father.  But think about it – so much more is the love and security our Heavenly Father gives us.  He will never fail like an earthly father.

From Romans 8 we learn that 3 We Are Heirs With Christ.  In the Old Testament there were people who stole the birthrights of others.  It was an obsession among siblings to be the first one in line.  If you weren't the firstborn, you didn't get much.  The firstborn received half of everything.  The famous tale of brothers, who did everything in their power to earn a birthright, was the tale of Jacob and Esau.  Even though Jacob deceived his father Isaac and stole the birthright of his brother, he also received the inheritance, even though he didn't deserve it.  And as you know, over the ages the obsession of a birthright continued.  There were people who went as far as murder to secure that.  But we all know my friends, there is the reality that every earthly inheritance will come to an end.  I will never forget a visit a had with a farming family in South Africa when they were forced to sell their farm.  Financially they couldn't make it anymore.  With tears in his eyes the father said, “This farm had been in the family for 4 generations and now we have to let it go.”  The truth is – everything you and I have, we at some point, have to let go.  But there is a wonderful word from St. Paul – with Jesus we are co-heirs.  We read in verse 17, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”  How did Jesus secure for us the blessings of being co-heirs?  By sealing it in His precious blood.  He bought our place in heaven when He died on the cross.  And as the firstborn from the dead He decided to share the inheritance with all of His brothers and sisters.  All the blessings of God's heavenly realms; the whole inheritance became ours.  Let's think about it – some inheritances had been overturned in a court of law when it was contested.  But, our inheritance of heaven will never be overturned.  It has the seal in Jesus' blood over it.

Friends in Christ, we are so blessed to belong to Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that on Trinity Sunday we can think of how God in three Persons has operated from the beginning of time.  We praise and worship Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Amen.