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The Spirit-Empowered Life of Christ (Romans 8:12-13)
The Work and Ministry of the Holy Spirit
The Spirit-Empowered Life of Christ
Romans 8:12-13
 
I've been anxious for us to get back to our study of Romans 8 and the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit.  So far we've covered the first eleven verses of the chapter and in those first three studies, already we've seen some amazing aspects of what the Holy Spirit does.
 
For instance, right off the bat in the first three verses we discover the security that we are provided by having our standing before God to a no-condemnation status.  He makes un eternal secure.
 
Then verses 4-5 tell us that through the Holy Spirit living in us, we are able to fulfill the demands of God's law.  He does that by changing our nature.  The Holy Spirit frees us from sin and death, gives us life, then enables us to fulfill the law by changing our nature here and now.  And beyond that, the Holy Spirit will raise us one day to immortality.  In the meantime, the Holy Spirit empowers us for victory over sin. 
 
Then the next section, Paul walks his readers through the entire gamut of salvation, including regeneration, sanctification and glorification and points out how the Spirit is involved in every aspect.
 
And I will tell you, just from the study of these first eleven verses, it is difficult to understand how anyone could overlook just how essential is the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit.
 
And yet, I don't suppose there is anything in the church today that is more misunderstood and misapplied than the work of the Holy Spirit. 
 
And as I was thinking about a way that we can kind of come to grips with the full ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives, I was drawn to the fact that the best way to understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is to understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus Christ. 
 
And we're going to end up tonight in the next little section in Romans 8 at verses 12 and 13, but it's going to take us a while to get there.
 
The Holy Spirit was Christ’s inseparable companion – inseparable companion.  All the activities in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ from His birth through His death, through His resurrection, until His ascension and return to heaven's throne occurred in the full presence and by the full power of the Holy Spirit.
 
We often talk about the fact that Christ is our model.  He is the one that is our example.  In fact, Paul says, “Be followers of me as I am of Christ" but very seldom, if ever, do we hear that discussed in the light of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Lord Jesus Christ. 
 
But the best way to understand the Christian life is to understand that Christ lived the life that He lived because of the ministry of the Spirit of God in and through Him and then to understand that each of us have the same Spirit in us so we can follow the pattern that is demonstrated in Christ. 
 
He’s the model of the Christian life, but more to the point, He is the model for the Spirit-controlled life.  He’s the model of the Spirit-filled life.  He’s the model of the Spirit-empowered life.  He shows us what that is in its perfection. 
 
Let me show you what I mean by taking a walk through the New Testament, and we'll just begin at the beginning of His earthly life.
 
Luke 1:26 and 27 tells us that in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel comes to earth from the presence of God in heaven and arrives in Galilee at a town called Nazareth.  He has come to make contact with a young virgin, probably around 12 or 13 years of age who is named Mary.  She is engaged to a man named Joseph.  They are both descendants of David.
 
Luke 1;28
 
Obviously, nothing like this has ever happened to her or anyone else, for that matter, and she is shocked.    She’s trying to figure out what’s going on.  Notice how the angel continues:
 
verses 30-33
 
In short, you’re going to be the mother of the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of the world.
 
Now, this whole thing is staggering beyond comprehension!  And the first problem that hits her, she immediately voices back tot he angel:
 
verse 34
 
Now Mary is a practical, common sense kind of girl.  This all sounds thrilling and wonderful but “I’m a virgin.” 
 
The angel responds:  "No problem"
 
verse 35
 
Now those are synonymous statements.  "The Holy Spirit" and "the power of the Most High" are the same thing.  The Holy Spirit is the means and the power of the Most High is the force.  So when the Holy Spirit comes on you, it is in His person the arrival of the power of the Most High.  It will overshadow you.  It will hover over you. 
 
Does that sound like a familiar scene?  If you go back to the creation, you have the Holy Spirit hovering over the formless void of the material elements that God was going to create from, and the Holy Spirit hovers and moves over the face of the waters and brings it into specific creation as identified in the six actual days of divine creation.
 
In the same way, in the same kind of a creative act and expression of supernatural power, the Holy Spirit will come, and the Divine Power that wrought creation will hover over you. 
 
And the result of this hovering power will be a child who is the Son of God.
 
And among all the other things worthy of our attention in that scene, I just want to point out that the very incarnation, the initial creation of the incarnate Son of God is a work of the Holy Spirit. 
The conception and birth of Jesus Christ was an act of the Holy Spirit.  And from that moment, the Holy Spirit never left the presence of that life.  Through nine months in the womb and through the rest of his life to the ascension, the Holy Spirit is the constant, inseparable companion to the incarnate One, the Son of God. 
 
We only have one instance in the next thirty hears of His life to consider and it occurred when He was 12 years of age when He travelled with His parents to the temple. 
 
But although it is only one incident, if you look at what is said, it actually describes an entire period of His life.
 
Luke 2:40
 
Then a few verses later,
 
Luke 2:49
 
His theology is now clear in His mind and He has to be in His Father’s house, doing His Father’s business. 
 
verse 52
 
Although that is one occasion in His life at the age of 12, it describes His entire life, the entire period of His development and His growth.  And just mark the words:  He becomes strong, increasing in wisdom, grace is upon Him, knowledge increases as He becomes aware of His Father’s business and gives Himself to it.  He increases in wisdom, stature, favor with God and man.
 
What is the power that is producing that?  If you go back into the Old Testament, you find the answer to that question.  In the 11th chapter of Isaiah, there is a wonderful prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. 
 
Isaiah writes in chapter 11 verse 1 that a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, Jesse being the father of David, and eventually, the son of David, the Messiah, would come out of the line of Jesse, a branch from his roots will bear fruit. 
 
And this is a messianic prophecy.  And notice what it says.  Without regard to some period of time or some events in the life of Jesus, this is a definitive statement about Him.
 
Isaiah 11:2
 
That means the growth of Jesus, His development, His strength, His wisdom, His knowledge, the grace of God being upon Him is a direct result of the fact that from the beginning of His conception on through all the years of His life, the Spirit of the Lord was resting on Him. 
 
Now before we go any farther, let me make a connection between Jesus and us.  If the growth of Jesus in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man was due to the direct involvement of the Spirit of God, how much more do we need that involvement?  Any kind of spiritual growth in any of us is the product of the work of the Holy Spirit. 
 
 
 
 
Now come all the way awake and think about what we're learning.  If all that we see in the life of Jesus was the direct result of the Holy Spirit's involvement then that means Jesus had to set aside everything that made Him God and allow the Spirit to be in control.
 
I'll give you a moment to process that because it takes a while to absorb that thought.  Jesus laid aside the the independent exercise of His own attributes and instead of doing things Himself or what He thought best or right, instead fully submits Himself to God, becomes a slave of God, empties Himself of all those prerogatives and comes all the way down to being a servant and does what He does in a human body through the power of the Spirit.
 
That means that everything that happens in His life is a product of the working of the Spirit in the God-man.  His increase in wisdom and knowledge, the increase in grace, the increase in comprehension of the Father’s plan, all of that is the work of the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge and strength and power that rests on Him.
 
So at the point of His conception, through His birth, through His life, the Spirit of God is the resource that develops Him into the one that God has ordained that He would be. 
 
Or you could say it this way:  The Spirit is shaping Him because He is obedient to the Spirit’s power in setting aside His own attributes and allowing the Spirit to mold Him and make Him according to the plan of the Father.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit that produces in Him the spiritual development and maturity that we read of in Luke 2.
Then, after those years of preparation are complete,  He enters a public ministry and the first event that we need to take note of is recorded in the first chapter of Mark. 
 
Mark 1:9-10
 
Now understand, the Spirit is not a dove.  There was no dove there.  That is simply a metaphor.  The Spirit came down and rested on Jesus in some visible form, the way a dove might come down and gently settle on a man’s shoulder.  And what Mark and the others was the Spirit of God descending upon Him.
 
Now the Spirit has already been with Him.  The Spirit has been there since His conception.  He goes on in His life in progress because of the shaping work of the Holy Spirit in Him.  And yet here, the Holy Spirit comes down. 
 
SO what does this signify?  First of all, it signifies the approval of heaven. 
 
Verse 11
 
This is the official announcement that this man Jesus is the Son of God.  He is the Son of God.
 
Another official announcement comes in
 
verse 15
 
“The time is fulfilled.”  The long time of waiting for the arrival of the Messiah has come to pass.  “The kingdom of God is at hand” because the King is here.  “Repent and believe in the gospel.” 
 
So what you have here, then, is the Holy Spirit affirming His deity.  The Father declaring His deity, He is identified as the long-awaited Messiah.  He is the Son of God.  He is the suffering servant.  And He is anointed in a special way for specific service.  He is the anointed one. 
 
Again, notice, Jesus says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel.”  “The Spirit is on Me, He’s anointed Me to preach the gospel,” that’s Isaiah 61.  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,” Isaiah 42.  “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me” – Isaiah 61 – “to preach the gospel.”
 
So He has the Holy Spirit as a constant companion, an inseparable companion, and yet in addition to that, there is an official declaration, affirmation, visible indication that He is being granted a ministry and a special anointing. 
 
So the Holy Spirit there hovering over the body of Mary and by a divine miracle creates an embryo in her womb and He follows the development of that embryo with His presence in the womb and at the birth and through His life and becomes the one who shapes Jesus into the perfect Messiah, the perfect Savior, the perfect servant of God. 
 
And then there is this anointing as the Holy Spirit sets Him apart in addition to His work on the inside for a particular ministry that He needs to do on behalf of the world.
 
The next event in the ministry of our Lord comes in the next verse, verse 12 of Mark 1. 
 
Mark 1:12
Now this is very important.  Immediately after His baptism and after the Father had declared Him His beloved Son, the Spirit drove Him – the verb is to drive – drove Him into the wilderness.  And when He went into the wilderness for 40 days, there He was tempted by Satan. 
 
So the Holy Spirit is there in His temptation.  Not only is the Holy Spirit there in His temptation, the Holy Spirit is the one who drove Him into the conflict.  Don't miss the fact that everything Jesus did in His life was driven by the Holy Spirit.
 
After that temptation, He began His ministry.  How did He begin His ministry?  He began His ministry, Luke tells us, the same way everything else had occurred in His life. 
 
Luke 4:14-15
 
His whole ministry was in the power of the Spirit.  That power was demonstrated in His ability to do miracles, cast out demons, dismiss disease, overcome death, do physical miracles.  It was all the power of the Holy Spirit – all the power of the Holy Spirit.
 
The testimony to that is given by Peter.  Peter was there for all those three years.  Listen to what Peter says in
 
Acts 10:38
 
In other words, everything He did was because God was at work in Him through the power of the Holy Spirit!
That is why when the Jews said, “You do what You do by the power of Satan,” in Matthew 12, He said, “You blaspheme not Me, but You blaspheme the Holy Spirit.” 
 
He is the sinless one.  He is the holy one.  He is the incarnation of holiness.  He walks perfectly in the Spirit.  He displays all the fruit of the Spirit.  He uses all the gifting of the Spirit.  It is all the power of the Spirit coming through Him.  This is His life.  This is His ministry.
 
Even when He comes to His death and He faces the cross, it is the Holy Spirit that is at work.
 
Hebrews 9:14
 
Even the power that took Him through the Garden and caused Him to endure the cross was the power of the Holy Spirit.  That means it was was the Holy Spirit that gave Him the power to say, “Not My will be Yours be done.”  It was the Holy Spirit who gave Him power to say, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they do.”  It was the power of the Holy Spirit that allowed Him to stay there until He could say it is finished.  It was in the power of the Holy Spirit that He said, “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.”
 
What about His resurrection? 
 
Please notice
 
Romans 1:4
 
Who raised Him?  The Holy Spirit raised Him!
 
What about after His resurrection?  Did He say, "That’s good enough, Holy Spirit, You’ve certainly done Your share.  I can handle it from here?” 
 
You know what happened!  After His resurrection, 40 days went by and then He ascended into heaven.  So what happened during those 40 days?
 
Acts 1:3
 
So for 40 days, He was preaching and teaching.  But back up to
 
verse 2
 
So during those 40 days, by what power was He teaching and preaching?  The Holy Spirit. 
 
I don’t know if you ever looked at the ministry of Christ and life of Christ in this way, but as I did this week, I was blown away by the never failing presence of the Holy Spirit!
 
Now the reason I spent the tonight surveying the New Testament and showing you the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of Christ is so that you can understand Jesus is our model for Spirit-filled living.
 
What the Spirit of God did in His life is the very same things the Spirit does in your life.  Let me show you what I mean:
 
At the very beginning, in the Incarnation, The Holy Spirit gave life to Jesus and He does the same thing for you and me.
 
As we saw just a couple of weeks ago, Jesus said to Nicodemus, "You must be born again".
 
It is the Holy Spirit Who gives us life.  He’s the one who regenerates. 
 
It was the Holy Spirit who grew Jesus in wisdom and knowledge and it is the Holy Spirit who grows us.  Second Corinthians 3:18:  As we gaze at the glory of the Lord, as we gaze at the glory of Christ, we’re moved from one level of glory to the next “by the Lord who is the Spirit.” 
 
The Spirit is the one growing you up.  The Spirit is the one teaching you, He’s the anointing from God.  The Spirit is the one who grows you in grace and wisdom and knowledge.  Not only does He give you the resource in the Word, but He’s the internal teacher that illuminates you.  He’s the force of growth in your life.
 
It was the Spirit who came down at Jesus’ baptism, and it is, according to 1 Corinthians 12, the Holy Spirit who is the means by which Christ places us into the body of Christ.  We’re baptized by the Holy Spirit at the moment of conversion into the body of Christ.
 
We are the body of Christ in the world.  He’s our head.  We’re His body.  In a manner of speaking, we are the second incarnation of Christ.  We’ve been set apart for special service in the world as Christ to the world by the baptizing of Christ through the means of the Holy Spirit.
 
 
It is the Holy Spirit who provides victory in conflict with Satan.  It is the Holy Spirit who gives us power.  We defeat all of the wiles of the devil, all of the tactics of the enemy by the sword of the Spirit.  Not only by the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, but by the power of the Spirit within us.  He gives us the victory in our temptation.  He is the one who helps us overcome.  The promise of Scripture is this:  “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”
 
When Jesus went to the cross, it was the Holy Spirit who gave Him power over the pain, power over the suffering, to endure the cross.  And He is the same Spirit who gives us power in our suffering for the sake of the cross. 
 
That’s why Peter said in 1 Peter that if you suffer for the sake of Christ – listen – the Spirit of grace and glory rests on you.  The reason you can endure suffering and pain, all the difficulties of life that come, is because the Holy Spirit gives you strength. 
He is the Spirit of grace and glory that rests on you. 
 
And when Christ came out of the grave, it was the Holy Spirit that raised Him from the grave, and so it is with us, and that gets us to our text in Romans 8.
I've said all that I've said tonight to lead us up to what we read in
 
Romans 8:11
 
Hear what he's saying?  In the same way the Spirit was at work in Jesus, He's at work in you!
 
 
It is "through His Spirit who dwells in you.”  He gave you life, He grows you into Christ’s likeness, He baptizes you, He provides victory in the face of temptation, power to defeat Satan, He gives you power to go through suffering, and one day He will raise you immortal from the grave.
 
In the meantime, there’s one other thing that He does and that’s Acts 1:8:  “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses.” 
 
Just as He empowered Christ to preach and proclaim the gospel, He does also with us.  And if you question that, look at Acts chapter 2 and following see what happens.  This is kind of the end product we should expect when the Spirit is at work. 
 
What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit giving us life?  What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit growing us into Christ’s likeness?  Placing us into the body?  Providing victory over sin and Satan?  What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit in making us mature through sufferings, through victory and suffering?  What is His purpose in all of that? 
 
His purpose is to make us effective witnesses so that the great commission can be fulfilled.  When Jesus said, “Go into the world and preach the gospel to everyone” that was to fulfill an Old Testament promise that He would be a light to the Gentiles and that God, according to Psalm 2, would give Him the nations as His inheritance. 
 
 
 
And what the Holy Spirit wants to do in and through us is to make us a powerful witness to the glory of Christ and the transforming power of the gospel.
 
And Acts 2 and the experience at Pentecost is nothing other than a preview of what He wants to do through us.
 
The Spirit comes down and what happened?  People from all over the world heard the gospel and many of them were saved.  All that happened there with the sound of wind and the tongues and all of that was just a picture of what the Spirit wants to do in the church through the ages until the return of Christ.
 
Talk about important.  You just happen to be the greatest force in the world for the fulfillment of the plan of the Creator and Redeemer of men.  What does the Holy Spirit want to do in your life? 
 
He wants to shape you into the very image of Christ.  Now, He’s got a whole lot less to work with than He had with Jesus.  When you were born, no one said, “Oh, another holy one.” 
 
But what He desires to do, is to take you from one level of glory to the next, to the next, increasing in the image of Christ until one day He will raise you and make you exactly like Christ.  In the meantime, He’s working on it.
 
Now, lest you think you can just relax and enjoy the ride and God will take care of all the details, I want you to take a look at Romans 8, and notice in particular,
 
verse 12
With all this incredible work the Holy Spirit is doing with us, we’re under obligation.  You have an obligation. a debt.  So what do we owe. 
 
First of all, negatively, not to live according to the flesh.  You don’t owe the flesh anything.  What did the flesh ever do for you?  If you’re living according to the flesh, you’re going to die. 
 
Now understand, that is describing a non-believer.  But you don’t have any obligation to your flesh.  What that means is there are no excuses now because the power of the flesh has been broken.  It is not a dominating force.  There are no excuses.
 
Instead, on the positive side, you live by the Spirit.  And if you live by the Spirit, you are putting to death the deeds of the body and you will live. 
 
Another way to say it is "you have life".  What do believers do?  They kill the deeds of the body.  All those things in your life and mine that we know are not like Christ, we are to put to death.
 
The Holy Spirit is at work in this mighty way, and your responsibility is to use all the powers that you have in His strength to kill remaining sin in your life.  That’s what people who live do.  That’s what people in the power of the Spirit do.
 
Let's pray.  
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