Romans 8 – How To Die and Live with Christ 如何與主同死同復活
Friday, 9th June 2023
Sister Joanna Liu
Section One V1-11 Live by the Spirit NOT by the Flesh 靠聖靈而活
V1-4 ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.’
We have been talking about the law and the spirit; God gave us the law, the Bible, the Torah, not to bind us, but to set us free from the bondage of the world and of our sins. Jesus has died and resurrected for us, therefore we can also say no to our old life, and have the hope to live a renewed life. The Bible has given us everything we need to know to live our everyday life and according to the Will of God. But we might ask, there are 66 Books in the Bible, how do we know which verse is for us right now right here? That is why God also give us the Holy Spirit, Who will guide us to read the Bible, this living Word, and we will know how to use the Word of God in application to our everyday life.
V5-8 ‘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, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.’
Here Paul taught us to live according to the Spirit, it doesn’t mean to always just speaking in tongues, seeking the vision, feeling the ‘good vibe’ while soaking in some spiritual music. This is different to the so-call ‘meditation’ that comes up in our mind, but it’s about always alert of our surrounding, and seek God’s Will in every situation. In June 2009, a week after Queen’s Birthday, I have had my first vision from God. It was the end of my very first 3-day full fast, and God showed me a vision while I was praying in tongues. This is still the clearest vision I have ever had from God. Not until many years later I receive the revelation from this vision, and I know there are still unknown aspect of this vision, which God will reveal to me later in life. But for many years, I focus so much on seeking God’s vision and supernatural encounter with God, I fail to see God’s Word for me in my everyday life, and I also fail to see those, who needed my help around me.
V9-11 ‘But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
The Spirit of Christ is the Holy Spirit, and we all know that the Holy Spirit lives within us as Christians. Think about before and after we become Christians, do we feel different? I come to know that it’s not about different in our social status, our finance, our family situation, our work, etc. but different in our heart. When I was in university, I attended church and cell group every week, but at the same time, I also attended this Buddhist social club. Because I liked what this club was doing as a charity, and I thought as long as I told them I am a Christian, I am still glorifying God in a different way. I even had greater ambition that I want to share the Gospel to all my friends and all the people I get to reach out while participating in this club. But after a few years, I felt drained, I felt torn, I was accepted by my church, and I was accepted by the Buddhist club but I felt alone. I had so many friends and so many connections, but I had no influence on anyone, I wanted to please everyone but I couldn’t. I was confused and my spirit was disturbed.
I still remember the day I made up my mind to leave the club, a few people were against my decision and made me feel bad about leaving, but I can still remember the lightness when I told people and told myself that I choose God’s side. Having the Spirit of Christ is indeed different to living by our flesh, as Christians, if we have not yet experienced it, if we still cannot be 100% sure that we have the Holy Spirit within us, then we must pray until we receive it!
Section Two V12-30 Be the Child of God NOT of the World 成為神兒女
V12-17 ‘Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 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. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.’
Paul taught us that if we live with the spirit of bondage then we will fear, but if we live in the Holy Spirit then we can cry out “Abba, Father.” It’s human nature to always seek the authority, the person-in-charge, in a group. There is always someone in the family, who has the ‘final say’. It’s the same in a classroom, there might be 3 or 4 teachers in a classroom, but the children all know which teacher is the ‘boss’. We must know that we are not orphans, we have a Father, Who covers us, provides for us, heals us, helps us, delivers us, and loves us.
V18-21 ‘For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.’
Everyone has childhood hurts, no matter how well our parents look after us, there will always be something that they have done or that they have not done, which hurt us. It might be due to negligence, it might be something they said, it might be something they did or they did not do… it’s because we all seeking a perfect Father, Who created us in the very beginning. When we try to seek this Father on the earth, we will not find it, because nobody is perfect. Whereas when we find our perfect Father and call out His Name, then this empty void in our hearts can be filled.
V22-25 ‘For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.’
Interesting messages Paul wrote here: it basically says that if we can see hope then that’s not hope. Hope is always something that we cannot see. On the other hand, we always want something that we don’t have, we like to compare, because when we see others, we see what we don’t have. That’s why Pastor and Shimu always remind us to give thanks for what we have, because we often cannot see that what we have is actually something others hope for.
V26-27 ‘Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.’
However, it doesn’t mean that we should just be satisfied with everything we have, because there is a heavenly hope that we ought to have, this is the hope that worth our wait. As Christians and the ones being called, we all know that we are waiting for Jesus’ second coming, and we all are waiting for the enteral glory. But there is also individual plan God has given to each one of us, the life lessons that each one of us must learn, and we must be patient to wait for God’s promises for our lives to come true.
If you ask me what we are waiting for, then I cannot give you an answer, because what I am waiting for might not be what you are wating for. I can tell you that having a husband and having children are something that I am waiting for, but I’m sure this is not what some of you are waiting for. Then again, that’s when the Holy Spirit comes in, He will pray for us with groanings which cannot be uttered, sometimes even we don’t know it but when the time comes, God will reveal it to us, just like how He revealed to me my vision. We all know how to pray, and we have all tasted the goodness of God while praying, but what is the most difficult thing to do is to preserve: to continue waiting and to continue seeking.
V28-30 ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.’
Verse 28 is my verse, God showed me this verse when I was unsure of where to go and what to do, and this has become my lifesaver. Is there also a verse that you can hold tightly in this path of faith? Pastor has his own one, Shimu has her own one, and this is mine. Our verse carried us through difficult times and allowed us to continue this path of faith. If you don’t have one, ask God to reveal it to you, say this prayer with me today, ‘Lord, I need Your Word, reveal it to me, Your Will for me, so that I can run this race until the end of my life. I am weak and I may fall away, but Your Word can guide me through all the difficulties, please reveal to me. Amen.’
Section Three V31-39 Victory Over Victory 得勝再得勝
V31-35 ‘What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?’
Yesterday when I met up with the gust pastors from Taiwan, they were sharing how their trip to NZ this time is a trip of ‘favours.’ One pastor and his wife found money on the ground the first thing they landed in NZ. Do we see God’s favour is also with us? Do we really believe that if God is for us then no one can be against us? I can boldly say that Zion Bread of Life Christian Church is full of favours, I witnessed it during our trip to HK this time. If we call ourselves brothers and sisters of Zion Bread of Life Christian Church, then we can be sure that this favour is also for us and for our families.
Emily shared with me that when she was having dinner with a sister in Christ from another church, she realised how blessed we are able to receive discipline and teaching from our authority, because many churches are not in the habit of speaking truth into the lives of people. Of course, we must speak the words of love and encouragement, but it’s often more difficult to say the truth about people who we are prompt to. This is a lesson that we will all have to lean, and I give thanks for our Pastor and Shimu, who are not afraid to speak the truth into our lives so we can grow.
V36-39 ‘As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’
It says in verse 36 that ‘we are killed all day long’, it sounds scary and not a pleasant life we want to live in. But the spiritual world does not work like the physical world, in the physical world, we want to avoid wars and be in peace. Whereas in the spirit world, we can never avoid wars, we must fight the spiritual wars, and we can always receive victory when we chose God’s side. We determine which side wins the battle, if we are on God’s side, then God’s side will win, if we are on the devil’s side, then the devil’s side will win. Today is the day we must make the decision.