I'm a Christian—Now What? - Romans 8:12-17 - Skip Heitzig
God isn't really something to worship.
He's just waiting to destroy all of us.
I guess there's a God out there somewhere.
I hope there is a God.
God isn't really something to worship.
God is everywhere.
Well, welcome to Calvary Church. We're glad you can join us. This is a little bit different for us because we were on lockdown. Then we reopened the church.
Then for this weekend and next weekend, we're told to stay at home and shelter in place once again. And then there's going to be a reopening, so we have been all over the map. We really wish you were with us in person.
We cannot wait for a couple weeks when you will be here in person. We want to invite you back. Until then, you're seeing this at home on your computer, your device, wherever you might be, different parts of the country, different parts of the world.
So once again, welcome. And we have a few people here in the sanctuary, what we are allowed to have, some of our staff and volunteers. So if you hear noise and people in the background, you're hearing them-- don't be alarmed.
But we can't wait till we get back together again. I know it's been crazy. I know it's been inconsistent. We feel the same way.
We feel that, in many ways, the government's approach has been inconsistent and has been haphazard and has been largely ineffective in many ways. And we have shown that we can gather safely together and proceed with caution, loving one another but definitely giving people an opportunity to gather together, pray together, hear the word together, worship together as the Bible commands us to do. So we can't wait for that.
We invite you to turn in your bibles this weekend to Romans, the 8th chapter. Romans chapter 8, we're doing a series we call 20/20-- Seeing Truth Clearly, and it's basically a doctrinal series. We've looked at the doctrine of God, the doctrine of Jesus, the Holy Spirit. Then we looked at the life of the believer, the fallen person, then salvation last week, and we continue ahead this week.
Romans chapter 8, we're going to be getting at verse 12 and going six verses down to verse 17. One of the most exciting things that you can ever see, ever witness, ever be a part of is a live birth. Now I say that as a spectator, obviously, an onlooker. Those women who have had babies who are viewing this and have been in labor, they have a very different perspective than that, but nonetheless, it is very, very exciting.
And I will say not only as a parent but especially as a grandparent because grandparents get all of the joy but none of the responsibility really. Somebody once said that the job of a grandparent is to fill their grandkid with sugar and give them back to their parents, which I have done on many occasions. There is a story, a legend of God having a conversation with our first parents, with Adam and Eve.
And it's like the first parent talking to his first two children, Adam and Eve. So after creating the heavens and the earth, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing he said to them was, don't. Don't what, Adam replied. Don't eat the forbidden fruit, God said.
Forbidden fruit? We got forbidden fruit? Hey, Eve, we got forbidden fruit. No way. Yes, way. Don't eat that fruit, God said. Well, why? Adam replied. Because I'm your creator, and I said so, God told them, wondering why he hadn't stopped after making elephants.
A few minutes later God saw them taking an apple break in the garden, and he was angry. Didn't I tell you not to eat that fruit? Uh-huh, Adam said. Then why'd you do it? I don't know, Eve said.
She started it, Adam insisted. Did not. Did so. Did not. Did so. Having had it with the two of them, God's punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own.
Now we expect children to grow up and to have a life, but until they do that, we give them lots of leeway. There's a lot of things that they do that we let them get away with. And let's face it, babies can do some things that are not attractive, but we excuse them. We humor them because they're babies.
Here's a list. They're demanding. They're unable to feed themselves. They love to be the center of attention. They're driven by impulses, like hunger and pain and sleep.
They're irritated when they're dirty even though they made the mess, and you've got to clean it up. They have no manners. Somebody once said, a baby is simply a digestive apparatus with a loud noise at one end and no responsibility at the other. But that's natural.
That's what babies do, and that's OK, but when you see an adult acting with those mannerisms, it's not so cute. It's not funny. In fact, it's tragic. Simply stated, a birth should lead to a walk. When you are born again, you should see spiritual growth.
You see it in the physical world. You expect it. You should see and expect it in the spiritual world as well.
That brings us to Romans chapter 8. This brings us to a section of scripture that could be called the crown jewel of the New Testament. Somebody once said that if the Bible is like a ring, then Romans chapter 8 is the diamond on the ring-- or the book of Romans is the diamond on the ring, and the eighth chapter of the book of Romans is the sparkle on the diamond.
Now last time we got together, we looked at salvation out of Ephesians chapter 2. We called it once dead, now alive. And we looked at the stages that every saved person goes through. In fact, every human goes through some of those phases, but a saved person goes through all of them. But once you're saved, now what? Or as I've called this message, I'm a Christian. Now what?
And the now what is that that birth, that salvation should lead to some distinct experiences. And we have outlines that are available online, and I've outlined this for you online. You can pull that down and see it, but the four experiences are position, progress, proof, and promise. And we're going to look at all four of those beginning in Romans chapter 8, the 12th verse.
We begin with position. We have a new position. God adopted us into his family, and we are now children of God. Verse 12 says, "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors-- not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh"-- that is, the fallen nature-- "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 also be glorified together."
There's some words in that six-verse paragraph that I want you to notice. A couple of little phrases. First, in verse 14 is the term "sons of God". We are sons of God.
In verse 15, he uses the word "adoption". That is the analogy that he's drawing off of. So we are sons of God. We have an adoption, or we are adopted. In verse 16, the word, "children" or the phrase, "children of God".
Now, adoption is an act of God whereby he places you into his family. He makes you members of his family. It is a relational term. Before you were a saved person, your relationship with God was not an intimate one. It was a distant relation. It was a separated relation.
Like it says in Isaiah 59, God said, my hand is not short that it cannot save. My ear is not heavy that it cannot hear. But your sins have separated you and your God. So yes, we had a relationship with God but not close, not intimate, not like the one described here. In fact, you could say it was like this-- God, human. That was the relationship.
Or better yet-- holy God, fallen human. You and I were at enmity with God, the Bible says. Or in the words of last week's text, we were by nature the children of wrath even as others. But now things have changed. Now we said yes to Jesus Christ, and we are saved. The relationship has changed.
Now it's not God and human. It's Father in heaven and child of God. That's a brand new position of relationship. Now this adoption is what John had in mind at the very beginning of the Gospel of John when he said, "As many who received him, to them he gave the right or the power or the privilege to become children of God to those who believe in his name."
Now I hear, from time to time, leaders or activists say things like, well, we're all God's children. Everybody in the world. We're all children of God. That's wrong.
It's right only in one sense. Creatively, we are children of God. We are children of a God by the fact that he made us all in his image, but that's where it ends.
Redemptively, we are either children of God or children of the devil. In the New Testament Book of John, John chapter 8, the enemies of Jesus Christ, those who rejected him, the Jews who wanted nothing to do with him claimed that God was their Father. And they had a relationship with God, and they had an argument with Jesus over this.
And they said to Jesus, "We have one Father, even God." To which Jesus replied, "If God were your Father, you would love me, but you are of your father, the devil." So the relationship was God and fallen human, holy God and fallen humanity.
Now the relationship has changed because of Jesus Christ. Now its Heavenly Father and child of God. We have been adopted into his family.
Paul liked that term. In fact, he uses it five times in the New Testament, adoption. It literally means to place as an adult son, to place in a family someone who is considered an adult son. It is not a natural birth. Once again, we were by nature the children of wrath. The Bible says, even as others.
But we have been adopted into his family. So when Paul uses the term Paul has in mind Roman adoption. He's writing to the Romans. He's using the background of their culture, and the apostle has in mind the process of a Roman adoption ceremony. Now, in a Roman adoption, the son who is being adopted loses all of his rights from his previous family but gains all of the rights of the new family he's being adopted into so that even if in that family there are natural born children, the adopted child is considered equal, co-heirs of the estate.
One of the New Testament scholars that I read, F.F. Bruce said, "In the Roman world of the first century, an adopted son was deliberately chosen by adoptive father to perpetuate his name and to inherit his estate. He was in no way--" that is, the child-- "inferior in status to a son born in the ordinary course of nature and might enjoy the father's affection more fully and reproduce the father's character more worthily."
So to be adopted in a Roman culture was a high status symbol. It meant that you have equal footing with natural-born children in that family. There was a teacher talking to her first-grade class about adoption, wanted them to understand that there could be kids in the class who are adopted and what that means in society so that they would accept one another.
And one little girl said, I think I know something about adoption. I've been adopted. And she said this is how my mother explained adoption to me. She said, when a child grows in your heart instead of your tummy.
I think that's beautiful, actually. And I think that's a good description biblically of adoption. God had you growing in his heart for a long, long time.
In fact, the Bible says in Ephesians chapter 1 that God "chose us in him before the foundation of the world-- having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of His will." There it is. You are growing in God's heart. God predetermined that he would bring you into his family, and that's adoption in the New Testament. He chose you before the foundation of the world.
I've always loved what Spurgeon said about this. He said, it's a good thing God chose me before I was born. He probably never would have picked me after I was born. Now do you know a lot of famous people have been adopted?
For example, John Lennon was adopted by his aunt Mimi after his mother died. Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, adopted. Nelson Mandela, the first Black president of South Africa, adopted. Marilyn Monroe, Babe Ruth, Faith Hill, Jamie Foxx, Eleanor Roosevelt, all were adopted children.
We are adopted into God's family. That gives us a certain privilege of access. Notice verse 15. "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out Abba, Father." Abba is an Aramaic and a Hebrew word that literally means daddy. It's not just "father".
It's something much more intimate. You still see, in Israel today, little Hebrew boys and girls running around the streets when their parents are close saying, Abba, Imma, Daddy, Mommy. So we now have a right to approach God as our heavenly daddy, something that Jesus allowed when he said, when you pray say, our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Jewish people never did this at the time of Jesus. They never referred to God as "my Father" or "our Father". He was too distant. He was too powerful.
He was too sovereign. So they would simply use the words, "HaShem", which means "the name" whenever they would refer to God. They would never say, "my God" or "my Father".
But Jesus, in the gospels, 70 times referred to God as Father, the Father, our Father, my Father, but also gave us permission to use it. So that's the first experience-- position. We've been adopted into the family.
The second experience after salvation, after position is progress. And what I mean by progress is we get victory steadily as time goes on over the flesh. In verse 12, Paul says, "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors-- not to the flesh"-- that is, we don't owe the old nature anything-- "to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to this fallen nature, the flesh, you will die-- but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live."
Now I'm referring, in particular, to a process that takes place after regeneration, after salvation, after adoption called sanctification. That's what theologians call it. It's a million dollar word, "sanctification". I've had people come up to me, have you been sanctified? Yes, and I am being sanctified. It's an ongoing process.
What it means is-- what Paul means here in these verses is we don't have to live like we used to. We can conquer old patterns, and we can grow continuously and spiritually. So sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes me more free from sin and more like Jesus Christ. I want to give that to you again. It's a very important definition.
Sanctification is a progressive work of both God and man that makes me more free from sin and more like Jesus Christ. Now don't misunderstand that. That doesn't mean we become sinless. It does mean we sin less. As we go on, more and more, we're like Jesus Christ. Less and less, we're gripped by sin's dominion.
One of the first things I heard as a young man before I gave my life to Christ is that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. That was good news to me. But then I found out something else. The devil hates you and has a miserable plan for your life. And they're often fighting over souls.
Of course, God gives us the choice to say yes to one or the other. But the devil hates you, and he wants you to be miserable. He wants you to be stuck in the mire and the muck of your past.
And unfortunately, a lot of Christians are. They kind of grow a little bit. Then they stop. There's no really continual progression.
Somebody once said, a Christian is a man who feels repentance on Sunday for what he did on Saturday and is going to do again on Monday. Let me tell you, that's not a definition of a Christian. That's the definition of a defeated Christian.
Now, after regeneration, let me give those words again to you-- after regeneration, after God awakens life in us, and we see our need for Jesus. And then you come to Jesus, and we go from regeneration to justification, which means God declares you righteous. Then we go to adoption. He places you in the family.
Then, then there is this. There is sanctification. We become mature. We grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Now I want to clear this up or make it clearer for you. Justification is instantaneous.
God declares you righteous. You say yes to Jesus-- child of God, put into the family of God. Justification is instantaneous. Sanctification is not. Sanctification is continuous.
Justification is entirely God's work. You can't earn it. You can't add to it. It's something he does.
But sanctification is with human cooperation. So this is where we are working together with God to grow holier. That is, we are not passive when it comes to our sanctification. We don't just kick back, let go, and let God. We have to actively cooperate with the Holy Spirit for victory.
Now the question is, how do we do that? What do we do? Well, here's a nice little summary for us. Paul says also in the book of Romans, this time in chapter 6, verse 11 and in 14, he says, "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin."
What does that mean? Reckon yourself. It means consider or count on this as a fact. This is an established fact. Reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, "but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts-- For sin shall not have dominion over you."
Now the way that is worded shows me that there is an element of human control. Don't let sin reign. Reckon yourselves to be dead. Reckon yourselves alive to be God. This talks of cooperation.
God wants to do it. God gives us power to do it, power to grow, power to mature. We have to cooperate with that. Too many Christians live on the right side of Easter but the wrong side of Pentecost. Too many Christians live on the right side of pardon but the wrong side of power.
Too many Christians are out of Egypt, but they never make it to the promised land. They wander in the wilderness, continually wander in the desert. Martin Luther said, you can't stop birds from flying around your head, but you can certainly stop them from building a nest in your hair. So we must cooperate with what the spirit wants to do and make progress. Not sinless, but we sin less.
So we have two distinct experiences post-salvation. We have position-- adopted into God's family. We have progress-- victory over the flesh. Let me give you a third. Proof. Proof. This now is the positive, not the negative. The negative is saying no to certain things.
But now, the positive is the proof-- what we display that others can see. This is the increase of spiritual fruit. So verse 14, let me take you to that. Paul puts it this way, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God."
Just let that soak into you for a moment. As many as are led by the spirit of God. Here's the idea. We are to have a spirit-directed life. A spirit-- not a flesh-dominated life. That's the negative. The positive, a spirit-directed life.
That's possible. We have the best helper in the world, the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, when the helper comes, he will be with you. He will be in you, and he will guide you into all truth.
He's going to direct you. He will lead you. Even Jesus himself, it says in the gospels, the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness.
The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. I hope you know that. He doesn't force you. He doesn't cajole you. He doesn't drive you. He doesn't bully you. He leads you.
Some people talk about being driven. I'm a driven person. I'm driven by the Spirit. No, you're not. Well, it's a purpose-driven life. No, it's a spirit-led life. The Holy Spirit leads people. And that's the idea-- he is leading you, directing your life.
Now as you are led, as you are directed by the Holy Spirit, instead of your old nature, the fallen nature, the result of that spirit-directed life is fruitfulness. That's the proof I'm talking about. Now I'm going to take you down to verse 16 and put all these thoughts together. Verse 16 continues, "The Spirit Himself bears witness"-- or brings testimony, testifies. "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God."
Let me tell you what Paul's talking about. Paul is referring, once again, to a Roman adoption ceremony. That's the overall genre of this paragraph-- Roman adoption. In a Roman adoption ceremony, there were always several witnesses, people who would be there to watch what happened and testify what happened.
Now why was that necessary? Because let's suppose that the new father, the one adopting the son into the family, dies later on and a dispute arises over inheritance rights, land rights, who owns what. Well, this isn't a child of the family. There is going to be a witness, or several, who will step forward and go, I was there when it happened.
I saw the whole ceremony. That is an adopted child. That child has all the same rights. I testify to the validity of that position so that if even other sons, natural born sons who were born and part of the family before him, that would not affect the adopted child's right as a co-heir or a joint heir in the family.
With that in mind, look at verse 17. "And if children, then heirs-- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with him, that we also may be glorified together." Now let me just tie up a couple loose ends. In Judaism, this was different.
If you know the Old Testament, you know that in Judaism, if you had a couple of sons born in the family, the oldest son got a double portion, double the inheritance, much more than the second-born son, not in a Roman adoption. In a Roman adoption, all the children were equal, natural born and adopted.
So God adopts us into his family. The Holy Spirit was present when it happened. I've had people say, how do you know you're saved? Easy, I was there when it happened. But not only that, the Holy Spirit was there when it happened. And he brings testimony.
He is a witness. He validates my adoption. He validates our sonship or daughtership. So when he says, "The Spirit of God"-- verse 16-- "bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God."
Listen, Paul doesn't have in mind some mystical voice whispering to us from the Holy Spirit going, you're really saved. Really, you are. This is the Holy Spirit. You're saved."
He doesn't mean that because I know a lot of people who've heard that voice and think they're saved who are not. The idea's much simpler than that. I think it is referring plainly and simply and obviously to what the Bible calls the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit, that's the proof.
I want to show you that. Go to Galatians chapter 5 for just a moment where Paul the apostle speaks of spiritual fruit. It's a classic section of New Testament scripture. Galatians chapter 5, verse 16, Listen to how Paul puts it. "I say then-- Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
For the flesh lusts"-- or wars-- "against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. These are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are-- adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contention, jealousy, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambition, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like-- of which I told you beforehand, just as I have told you in times past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
Now this is very similar to what we just read in Romans, if you live according to the flesh, you will die. You live according to the spirit, you will live. Verse 22, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
He's speaking about spirit-dominated life, a spirit-controlled life. And these are the character traits. This is what the Holy Spirit produces in our lives.
And when he produces that in our lives, those things give us assurance. They are benchmarks that we belong to him. Jesus put it this way, every tree is known by its fruit. Every tree is known by what it produces.
It's not by what a person claims. I said some words 10 years ago. I prayed this little prayer. It's not by the bumper sticker they have on their car. It's by the fruit that is being produced by the Holy Spirit. This is the proof-- the increase of spiritual fruit.
John Stott, one of the best commentators I've ever read, a man who is now in heaven, 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." When it comes to spiritual fruit, it's really a matter of just sticking close to Jesus, being led by the Spirit.
You can look at it this way-- I'm just going to stay close to Jesus. Jesus put it this way, if you abide in me, you will bear much fruit. So just abide in him. Just stay close to him. Have you ever watched a fruit tree give fruit? They don't sweat.
Fruit trees don't go, oh, man, this is going to be a hard day. They don't go out there and go [GRUNTING] poof, apple. All they do, the branches just hang in there. The ends of the branches just hang in there. The little apple is just growing, just hangs in there, just stays close, stays connected. And you bear forth fruit.
So this brings up this issue. When it comes to being led by the Spirit, you have to want to be led. Again, he will not drive you.
He will not force you. He will not bully you. You have to have an act of your own will and submit to him. Think of it this way. It's like a conductor with an orchestra.
The conductor knows all the right moves, the right beat, the right cadence. Knows when there's a break, when there's a turnaround, when there's a key change, and gives that direction to the orchestra. But if somebody playing an instrument in the orchestra doesn't want to follow the conductor, there's going to be a train wreck. There's not going to be harmony. There's going to be disharmony and disarray.
Imagine, for instance, in the orchestra, the tuba player wanting to just break away from the pack and give a tuba solo. There's nothing good about a tuba solo, just sayin'. Here's a guy that wanted to blow his own horn.
So the issue is, are you watching the conductor? Are you looking to the Holy Spirit? Is your life-- do you allow it to be led by the Spirit of God? When you do, proof will be there. Fruit will be there.
So position, progress, proof. Adopted in the family. Victory over the flesh. The increase of fruit. Brings us to the fourth experience, and that is promise. Promise. We have glory in the future.
In verse 17, he says, if we are children, then we are heirs-- "heirs of God"-- here's that great phrase-- "joint heirs with Christ"-- I'll touch on that in a minute-- "if indeed we suffer with Him"-- here it is-- "that we may also be glorified together." Verse 18, let's just skip ahead. "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." Now back to that phrase, "joint heirs with Jesus Christ." It's really an amazing turn of phrase that we are joint heirs with Jesus Christ, meaning everything that Jesus received by divine right we receive by divine grace.
That's part of the adoption process, including glory. So though we may suffer now on this earth, one day it will be eclipsed, not just by incomparable glory but the same kind of glory that Jesus has right now with the Father. John Stott once again said, "Suffering and glory belong together."
One characterizes this age. The other characterizes the age to come. This age, suffering. A lot of us know about that the last eight, nine months-- the world knows about that. But for those of us who are adopted children of God, glory. Glory.
That's the perspective. That is the compensation, and Paul always makes reference to something coming ahead. Second Corinthians 4, verse 17, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Suffering now, glory later.
You go, why suffering now? Not just because we live in the world, but principally, because we follow Jesus Christ in this world. And we have no right to expect better treatment from this world than Jesus got from this world.
They misunderstood him. They're going to misunderstand you. They mocked him. They're going to mock you. They said bad things and did bad things to him. They're going to do it also to you.
That's why Peter said, first Peter chapter 4, "Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you, but rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ. So that you may be overjoyed when the glory is revealed." Suffering, present age. Glory, future age.
In fact, it is an honor to suffer for the right reason. It's even an indicator that we belong to him. Didn't Paul say to Timothy, all those who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. That's part of the promise. The promise referred to here is glory, but part of the promise is will suffer persecution, which just makes the glory all the more appealing.
So to sum it all up, God has saved you. He has adopted you. He has given you the Holy Spirit to lead you, to direct you, to restrain you in your sinful passions and to produce fruit in your life. He has even made you heirs with Christ, even promising you the same glory that Jesus Christ now has.
So once again, you're on your way to heaven. But, but will you do something until you get there? Yes, you're going to heaven, but will you do something for the kingdom of God?
Will you make it your aim to seek first the kingdom of God, to be a fruitful believer? Until you get to heaven, will you be committed to growing in Christ? In fact, ask yourself, over the last six months, over the last eight months, with all this pandemic, have I progressed in my Christian life?
Because I've discovered if you haven't progressed, you're regressing. I love to ride bicycles, but when I come to a hill, I have to really engage in that gear system. Because I've discovered if I'm going up a hill and I decide to just do nothing, I'm going to go backwards.
I have to press ahead. So you're going to heaven. Be fruitful till you get there. Be committed to Christ in his case and his cause and his glory until you get there.
I read a story years ago and I've read it since, and I've actually talked to different people at the aquarium about this. It could be just a certain species of shark, but an interesting thing about a shark, in some cases, is that if you catch it small enough and you confine it, it will stay the size proportionate to its environment so that it's possible to have a shark that is only six inches long and yet fully mature.
It's only a tiny, little shark. If you release it to a large environment like the ocean, it will then grow to its normal length of about average 8 feet. I've met the cutest little 6-inch Christians. Oh, they're Christians, but they don't grow very large. They swim in the shallow, and they swim in puddles.
Go deeper. Be committed. Go deeper. Position, progress, proof, promise. Go deeper. How? Live for Jesus, and live for others.
Father, we thank you for your word. We thank you for your truth. We thank you, Lord, for the unfolding of your will in human lives.
And we thank you that, though we are fallen, we can be redeemed and redeemed, even though we are imperfect, even as believers, forgiven but imperfect. The Holy Spirit lives in us, and we are the receptacle, we are the temple of the Spirit of God. Because of that, Lord, so much can be accomplished in this world for your glory, for your purpose.
So, Lord, I pray that you will cause us, as we abide in Jesus, to be fruitful, not being sinless but sinning less, hanging in there with Jesus, staying close to him, and continually bearing fruit that others can see and be refreshed by, knowing, Lord, that no matter what we might suffer on the way to heaven, heaven is still waiting.
It is our home. There will be glory. There will be rest. There will be reward. And I pray that that would motivate us in this present life. We ask it in Jesus' name, and all God's people who are in this auditorium and at home said, Amen.
Let's all worship together.
We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Church. We'd love to know how this message impacted you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.