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I’m a Christian—Now What?
Romans 8:12-17
Skip Heitzig

Romans 8 (NKJV™)
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
13 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.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15 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."
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
17 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.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly

Once you decide to repent from your past, say yes to Jesus Christ, and invite Him into your heart, you begin a lifelong relationship with Him. Nothing stays the same. Paul wrote, “Those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT). Conversion is the gateway to transformation. Let’s consider four clear experiences that happen in the life of everyone who believes.

Over 175 million people in the United States need some sort of vision correction. From glasses to contacts and corneal reshaping to corrective surgery, there's no question that seeing clearly improves people's quality of life. But what about our spiritual vision? With so many religious, philosophical, and ideological lenses to look through, how do we find the right lens? In this series, Skip Heitzig brings the core doctrines of Christian faith into clear focus. These are the truths that define who God is, who we are, and the choices that every person has to make.

Outline

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  1. Position: Adopted into a Family (vv. 14-16)

  2. Progress: Victory Over the Flesh (vv. 12-13)

  3. Proof: Increase of Fruit (v. 16)

  4. Promise: Glory in the Future (v. 17)

Study Guide

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Connect Group Recap Notes: November 22, 2020
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "I'm a Christian—Now What?"
Text: Romans 8:12-17

Path

Once you decide to repent from your past, say yes to Jesus Christ, and invite Him into your heart, you begin a lifelong relationship with Him. Nothing stays the same. Paul wrote, "Those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!" (2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT). Conversion is the gateway to transformation. Pastor Skip considers four clear experiences that happen in the life of everyone who believes.
  1. Position: Adopted into a Family (vv. 14-16)
  2. Progress: Victory Over the Flesh (vv. 12-13)
  3. Proof: Increase of Fruit (v. 16)
  4. Promise: Glory in the Future (v. 17)
Points

Position: Adopted into a Family (vv. 14-16)
  • Romans 8 is the crown jewel of the New Testament. If Scripture was a ring and Romans the diamond, then Romans 8 is the sparkle on the diamond.
  • In the last teaching, we saw a panoramic view of our salvation: we were once dead but are now alive in Christ (see Ephesians 2:1-7).
  • In Romans 8, Paul listed the stages of our salvation.The first is our position: we are adopted into a family.
  • Adoption is an act of God whereby He makes us members of His family.
  • Before we were saved, our relationship with God was detached and distant. But in Christ, we are delivered from our fallen humanity and made new; we have a new position of relationship.
  • All people are God's children by creation (natural birth), but only Christians are His via adoption (second birth, born from above).
  • As with natural-born children, adopted children are coheirs of an estate, appointed to receive God's promises according to His will from the foundations of the world (see Ephesians 1:4-5).
  • Once adopted, we have the right to call God AbbaDaddy.
Progress: Victory Over the Flesh (vv. 12-13)
  • Once saved, we begin conquering the old patterns of our life.
  • This second stage is sanctification, a progressive work of God and humans that makes us freer of sin and more like Jesus.
  • It doesn't mean we're sinless, but that we sin less—sin's grip on us lessens.
  • Here are the general stages of the Christian life:
    • Regeneration: God awakens you to your need.
    • Justification: God declares you're right before Him.
    • Adoption: God places you in His family.
    • Sanctification: God cleans you up; you become more Christlike and mature.
  • We're not passive in sanctification. We actively cooperate with the Holy Spirit for victory over sin and evil (see Romans 6:11-14).
Proof: Increase of Fruit (v. 16)
  • The fruit of our faith demonstrates that God is at work in us and we're living a Spirit-directed life.
  • As Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit will lead us in truth and comfort (see John 16:7-15).
  • The Holy Spirit validates our sonship; He witnessed our regeneration and is leading us in our renewal.
  • How do we know He is working in us? The fruit of the Spirit, the benchmarks that we're His (see Galatians 5:16-25).
  • Jesus said that "every tree is known by its own fruit" (Luke 6:44).
  • John Stott said, "The Christian should resemble a fruit tree, not a Christmas tree! For the gaudy decorations of a Christmas tree are only tied on, whereas fruit grows on a fruit tree."
  • The Holy Spirit is like a conductor, leading His orchestra in beautiful music. Do we let Him lead us?
Promise: Glory in the Future (v. 17)
  • We have an amazing promise: eternity with God, where we are "joint heirs with Christ."
  • Everything that Jesus receives by divine right, we receive by divine grace.
  • John Stott said, "The sufferings and the glory belong together…. They are welded; they cannot be broken apart."
  • Stott said this partnership characterizes the two ages: this age and the age to come (see 2 Corinthians 4:17).
  • We have no right to expect better treatment from the world than Jesus did. In fact, suffering is a mark of our Christian walk (see 1 Peter 4:12-14).
  • We may suffer here, but glory awaits—eternity with Christ.
  • Here's a summary of the Christian life: God saved you, adopted you, and is working in you via the Holy Spirit, directing and producing fruit in you until the day He takes you to glory.
Practice

Connect Up: Discuss the outline of salvation as presented by Pastor Skip.
  • Regeneration: When were you awakened to your need for God?
  • Justification: When did you come to Christ?
  • Adoption: How has God's family—His church—played a role in your life?
  • Sanctification: How has God cleaned you up over the years? What sinful habits have been left behind?
Connect In: Christians are called to be producers of spiritual fruit. Beginning with love (see 1 Corinthians 13), discuss the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23). How is this fruit cultivated in your life? What keeps the Spirit from producing this fruit in your life?

Connect Out: As Christians, we want all people to experience the promise of glory. Talk about how this message can act as a template for outreach and evangelism:
  • Position: explain how people are separated from God and in need of a Savior.
  • Progress: share the gospel and live a Christlike life.
  • Proof: talk about the proofs of the Christian faith, focusing on the existence of God and the historicity and resurrection of Jesus.
  • Promise: Jesus promises that the person who receives Him will be with Him forever.

Additional Messages in this Series

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Date Title   Watch Listen Notes Share Save Buy
6/14/2020
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Seeing Truth Clearly
2 Timothy 4:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Hiram Johnson said, "The first casualty in war is truth." God’s people have been in a cosmic battle since the fall. Satan’s first allegation against truth was in Genesis 3:1: "Has God indeed said...?" Deception regarding truth is Satan's primary occupation. We now live in what might be dubbed a post-truth culture wherein the very idea of absolute truth is considered archaic and even offensive. In this series, we will look to the "Scripture of Truth" (Daniel 10:21) to reinforce our foundation and engender biblical literacy. Here at the end of Paul's life, he could foresee the abandonment of truth, and he gave Timothy this antidote: "Preach the Word!"
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6/21/2020
completed
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Seeing God as Father
Luke 11:2
Skip Heitzig
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God is presented in Scripture by a variety of images. He is called our Rock, our Refuge, our Warrior, our Shepherd, our Shield, our Hiding Place, our Redeemer, our Fountain, our Husband, and our Vinedresser. But no motif is as powerful and personal as seeing God as our Father. With this title, the invisible God becomes the intimate God. Today, on Father’s Day, we consider the singular phrase "Our Father in heaven" as an introduction to the doctrine of God. Let’s turn over each word and mine the depths of the riches contained in this great verse.
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6/28/2020
completed
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How Can I Relate to God?
Exodus 32-34
Skip Heitzig
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The subject of God is the loftiest of all themes and the pinnacle of all pursuits. For some people, the idea of God is absurd because He is not readily perceived by the senses, like a flower or another person. But as we learn who God is and how perceptible He is to us, I think we’ll be both lifted up and humbled all at the same time. Today we trace the journey that every person must take who wants to relate to the God of the universe. Let’s examine five stages of this relationship.
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7/5/2020
completed
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Biblical History: Fact or Fancy?
Dr. Steven Collins
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Dr. Steven Collins serves as the dean of the College of Archaeology at Veritas International University and a consulting research professor at Trinity Southwest University. He is also the director of the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project in Jordan, which is believed to be the location of Sodom.
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7/12/2020
completed
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Hello, I’m God!
Exodus 34:5-9
Skip Heitzig
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People have written and spoken about God for millennia. It’s what I have done for nearly four decades. But today we get to hear from God Himself as He gives to Moses His own autobiography. Here He introduces Himself by stating His name and His occupation as God. He states His primary character traits, thus framing what our relationship with Him is going to be like. This is a primary passage of Scripture, meaning other biblical authors make reference to it later on in their writings. Let’s find out what God says about Himself.
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7/19/2020
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Knowing the God Who Knows You
Psalm 139:1-6, 23-24
Skip Heitzig
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A person with knowledge can be intimidating. They spew facts and figures and can dizzy us with information and understanding. But rightly seen, a study of God’s comprehensive knowledge can be a source of great comfort to us. In this series, 20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly, we come to grips with the fact that God sees everything most clearly. His knowledge is vast, infinite, comprehensive, specific, and personal. But let’s observe how God’s omniscience can become inspiring rather than intimidating.
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7/26/2020
completed
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Here, There, and Everywhere
Psalm 139:7-12
Skip Heitzig
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One of the Beatles’ most melodic hits expressed a couple’s romantic desire to be together at all times and in all places and was simply titled, “Here, There and Everywhere.” This title also expresses a unique attribute of God (what theologians call an incommunicable attribute). He is everywhere present in the totality of His being! This may be one of the hardest-to-understand characteristics of God, but one that brings great comfort to us.
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8/2/2020
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The Unrivaled Power of God
Psalm 139:13-18
Skip Heitzig
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God is called Almighty fifty-seven times in Scripture. It means that the resources of His power are boundless. He is unlimited in His ability and unconstrained in His capacity. God’s attribute of omnipotence is helpful for us to remember when we are feeling overwhelmed with threatening circumstances. Just as we feel confident when our mobile devices have plenty of battery power to spare, we can live confidently knowing that our great God has power for any of our problems.
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8/9/2020
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Holy, Holy, Holy!
Isaiah 6:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Holiness sounds scary. Thoughts of dusty, cloistered halls of a monastery fill our minds when we hear the word. We might think of chants and long prayers rather than anthems and short prayers. It hardly seems like an appropriate word for the twenty-first century! But according to one theologian, God’s holiness is the one attribute that binds all His other attributes together. This is the characteristic that most uniquely describes God. Let’s consider it today.
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8/16/2020
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One Plus One Plus One Equals One?
John 14:1-18
Skip Heitzig
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One of the most fundamental yet challenging truths in Scripture is the doctrine of the Trinity. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Try to explain it and you might lose your mind, but try to explain it away and you might lose your soul. The Bible openly teaches the plurality within the Godhead—three persons who are distinct from one another yet perfectly One in essence. How are we to think about this? And how should it affect us personally?
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8/23/2020
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Pain: God’s Biggest Problem
John 9:1-7
Skip Heitzig
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Perhaps the biggest impediment to believing in God (as stated by those who don’t) is the presence of pain and suffering in the world. How can there be a God who is benevolent and omnipotent with the sheer volume of grief, misery, travail, and torment at any given moment? Today we explore the theme of a loving God in a universe pockmarked by pain. As Jesus was in Jerusalem with His disciples, they came across a blind man. I’d like to show you four features of this most common and universal of human experiences.
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8/30/2020
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Christ Jesus Our Lord
Philippians 2:5-11
Skip Heitzig
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At the very center of history’s stage stands Jesus Christ. He has no peers. The Father in heaven sent Him on the mission of redemption and He humbly surrendered. When it was accomplished, He conquered death itself by resurrection and returned to glory. In what is considered by many to be the greatest single statement about Jesus Christ in the New Testament, Paul succinctly framed His humiliation, His exaltation, and His example to us.
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9/6/2020
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The Atonement: His Death, Our Life
John 12:20-33
Skip Heitzig
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Wasn’t there any other way for God to save human beings than by sending His Son to die? The very idea of a bloody crucifixion sounds brutal and barbarous to some, yet it is the centerpiece of our faith. What is the big deal about the atonement? Why the cross? Why had it been the plan of God through the ages? Today we examine the death of Christ for us and, in His own words, His own estimation of its necessity and consequence.
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9/13/2020
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He’s Alive! Proofs of the Resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:3-8
Skip Heitzig
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Just as your own heart is the pump that brings life-giving blood to your entire body, so is the resurrection of Jesus that gives life to the gospel message. Without it, our faith would be totally useless; our message would be utterly powerless. The resurrection is also what separates Jesus Christ from every other spiritual leader and would-be messiah. It validates His teaching. It authenticates His claims. It substantiates His promises. And it corroborates our confidence in Him as our Savior and Lord.
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9/20/2020
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The Holy Spirit in the World
John 16:5-11
Skip Heitzig
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We are not alone in the universe! That’s the premise of most sci-fi documentaries, but I’m not referring to alien life from another galaxy, rather to the living God Himself. In particular, I am referring to the Holy Spirit. He has a particular role when it comes to working in this world, and that is to awaken people to their great need for Christ. In our series 20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly, we will turn in the next few weeks to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. What is His role in the life of the unbeliever and the life of the believer?
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10/11/2020
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Who Is the Holy Spirit?
John 16
Nate Heitzig
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There can be a lot of mystery and misinformation surrounding the Holy Spirit. When we look to Scripture, however, the third person of the Godhead comes into clear focus. In this teaching, Nate Heitzig describes the person of the Holy Spirit, His work both at scale in the world and individually in the hearts of believers, and how He helps you gain a deeper understanding of God's Word.
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10/18/2020
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Help Has Arrived!
John 14:15-18
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Someone said to me this past week, “Life is hard, but God is good!” We all know it’s true. To live for God in an ungodly world is challenging, sometimes daunting. But God never intended for us to try it alone! He has provided for us a Helper, the Holy Spirit, who is not only at work in the world around us but is very busy working inside of us. Let’s drill down into the promise Jesus gave to His disciples in the upper room about the coming Spirit.
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10/25/2020
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God’s Purpose for People
Genesis 1-3
Skip Heitzig
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After spending several weeks considering God’s nature and character, we now turn to mankind. What is the purpose of the people inhabiting this planet? How can we fulfill the God-given destiny that He originally had in mind when He placed us here? Someone once said that the two most significant days in one’s life are first, the day we were born, and second, the day we discovered what we were born for. Let’s go back to the beginning.
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11/1/2020
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The Dark Side
Romans 3:10-26
Nate Heitzig
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God created humans in His own image. But even with God's imprint in humanity, people have a dark side—a sin nature—because of Adam and Eve's rebellion. One consequence of our rebellion against God is guilt, but in today's society, many people try to minimize both sin and guilt by casting them in a deceptively benign light. In this teaching, Nate Heitzig looks at what the book of Romans has to say about our true condition and its only remedy.
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11/15/2020
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Once Dead, Now Alive!
Ephesians 2:1-7
Skip Heitzig
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Of all the doctrines that adorn the New Testament, salvation is the most personal and the most transformative. Below are the various stages that every saved person goes through in coming to Christ. Today, try to remember what it was like for you when Jesus became real to you and you realized your need for Him to save you, then answer this fundamental question: How has your conversion changed your contentment?
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There are 20 additional messages in this series.
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