Pastor James J. Barker

Text: ROMANS 8:12-17


1.     We are moving along in our series in Romans 6—8.  Last week we saw that the emphasis in chapter 8 is on the Holy Spirit.

2.     The Holy Spirit delivers us from the penalty of sin (8:1).

3.     The Holy Spirit delivers us from the power of the flesh (8:3).

4.     The Holy Spirit delivers us from the power of death (8:11).

5.     The emphasis in our text is the Spirit-filled life.   Those of us who have trusted Christ are not to walk after the flesh but after the Spirit (8:1, 4).

6.     I want to speak this morning on the blessings of the Spirit-filled life.



1.     The early part of Romans 8 shows us how by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit we are delivered from the condemnation of the flesh (8:1-3).

2.     The flesh wants its every desire and craving gratified (cf. 6:12).  And when men allow their flesh to rule them they are worse than beasts.  Think of this devilish brute who raped and murdered that teenage girl the other day and then shoved her dead body in a suitcase and threw it into a trash container.

3.     The great evangelist George Whitefield was certainly right when he said, “man is half a beast, and half a devil.”

4.     But thank God, those of us who have trusted Christ have been saved from the power of the flesh (8:3-8).

5.     Now in verses 12 and 13, we are told to mortify the deeds of the body “through the Spirit.”  It is only by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit that we can mortify the deeds of the body.

6.     It is not within the power of man to overcome in his own strength, but thank God it is within our power to submit to the Holy Spirit for His leading, and His guidance, and His power to mortify the deeds of the flesh.

7.     A few years ago, Mel Gibson was a big RC hero.  His motion picture, The Passion of Christ, was a huge financial success.  Many foolish Christians promoted this film, not realizing that they were not promoting the Gospel, but were in fact promoting Roman Catholicism and Hollywood. 

8.     I heard a well-known preacher say that he has travelled up and down this country from coast to coast and has been in many, many churches and has yet to meet one person who was saved by watching this popish movie.

9.     But Mr. Gibson insisted that Jesus turned his life around.  Yes, but which Jesus?  Apparently not the Jesus of the Bible!   Now we hear that Mr. Gibson was arrested out in California for drunk driving. 

10. I said all that to say this: it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that a worldly drunkard like Mel Gibson can be delivered from his sin of drunkenness (8:13).  Mary cannot help him.  The pope cannot help him.  His drunken priest friends certainly cannot help him.  Mr. Gibson needs to be born again.  He needs the Holy Spirit working in his life.

11. Any attempt to crush down the power of indwelling sin by religion will only end in frustration.  We do not need Romanism or ritualism or sacramentalism or legalism or any other “ism” to give us victory over the flesh.  When we received Christ as our Saviour we were given the power of the Holy Spirit (8:9-13).

12. The flesh is in us (cf. 7:18), but we are not to live according to the flesh (8:8, 12).

13. If we live according to the flesh, spiritual death will be the inevitable result.  But if we mortify the deeds of the body we “shall live” (8:13; cf. Col. 3:5-10).



1.     Remember, one of the great themes of Romans 6—8 is that sanctification is an evidence of justification.  The born again, Spirit-filled child of God will be ruled and guided and directed in all things by the Holy Spirit.

2.     The Holy Spirit is not only our Deliverer; He is our Guide (8:14; cf. John 16:13).

3.     When a man is born again he becomes conscious of the Holy Spirit as his Guide as well as his Deliverer.  Being led by the Holy Spirit is not for apostles like Paul, it is the privilege of every child of God (8:14).

4.     Being led by the Holy Spirit is not just for great missionaries like Hudson Taylor or David Livingstone.  It is for all Christians.

5.     Read carefully the book of Acts and you will see that this is the normal Christian life.   And if you do not feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as your Guide, then your Christian experience is abnormal.  You need to ask the Lord to help you and to direct you and to guide you and to assist you (Rom. 8:14).

6.     Years ago, my pastor and his fledgling congregation were meeting in a schoolhouse and they all knew it was time to buy some property and build their own church building.  Every day he would stop off in the woods and pray.  He had a favorite prayer spot under this big oak tree. 

7.     One day his deacons said, “Come on Pastor, we found a nice spot for sale.  It will be perfect for our church!” 

8.     Guess where it was?  Yes, in that wooded area where the pastor went to pray.  I believe that old oak tree is still there, somewhere beyond center field in their baseball field.

9.     I believe the Holy Spirit directed the pastor to pray in that isolated spot, and the Holy Spirit directed the deacons to purchase that piece of property.

10. This leading of the Holy Spirit is an important part of the Christian life.  This is why it is important to understand the personality of the Holy Spirit, and the deity of the Holy Spirit.

11. The Holy Spirit is not merely an influence, He is God.  Only God can direct us – not some inanimate force or power.  Only a Divine Person can comfort us, guide us, and endue us with power.

12. Ephesians 4:30 says, “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”   These Scriptures attest to the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit.



1.     The “Spirit of adoption” (8:15) enables us to appeal to God as our Father.  

2.     Oftentimes I meet JW’s and they try and badger me and they say, “We address God by His proper name – Jehovah!  What do you call Him?”  I always tell them, “I call Him Father.”

3.     They cannot comprehend this because in order to call God your Father you have to be born again into His family.  Jesus said, you must be born again (John 3).

4.     Jews cannot comprehend this and neither can JW’s because they are in spiritual darkness.  They need to be regenerated by the Spirit of God.

5.     Now there is a difference between adoption and regeneration.  Regeneration has to do with receiving a new nature.  Adoption refers to our privileges and our position before God.

6.     Regeneration concerns our nature and condition, while adoption concerns our position and privileges.  Both regeneration and adoption are complimentary aspects of our Divine sonship.

7.     Speaking of privileges and position, notice the startling contrast between “the spirit of bondage” and “the Spirit of adoption” (8:15). 

8.     Anything that puts a person in bondage cannot be the work of the Holy Spirit.  Anything that puts a person in fear cannot be of God.  Why do so many people stay in a false religion?  Fear (8:15). 

9.     Our privileges as children of God are many (8:17).  Being an “heir” is wonderful enough, but a “joint-heir with Christ” is more than wonderful. 



1.     “Abba” is an Aramaic word comparable to our English word, “Daddy.”   William Tyndale and later on the King James translators, had such great reverence for God and for the Word of God they would not translate this word.

2.     While praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, our Lord Jesus Christ used this same identical term, “Abba, Father” (Mark 14:36).

3.     Through the miracle of the new birth, we have been brought into the same kind of intimacy with God that Jesus enjoyed.  What a privilege!  What a blessing!

4.     Let us compare Romans 8:15 with Galatians 4:6.   In Romans 8:15, who is crying, “Abba, Father”?  We are.

5.     Who is crying, “Abba, Father” in Galatians 4:6? God (Holy Spirit).

6.     Here we see a double testimony – that of the Holy Spirit and our spirit (Rom. 8:16).  Both witness to the fact that we are children of God.

7.     I am not talking about the unscriptural doctrine called, “the Fatherhood of God, and the brotherhood of man.”

8.     That false teaching may appeal to unregenerate worldlings, but it certainly is a devilish and very dangerous doctrine.  I say it is dangerous because when people have been taught for years that they are children of God they do not see their need to be born again.

9.     And one cannot become a child of God until he is born again.

10. Watch out for any so-called minister who teaches that we’re all children of God. That’s nothing but religious humbug. Sam Jones had it right.  He said, “I can stand anything better than I can stand a hypocrite.  I always did have a hatred for shams and humbugs and cheats, and of all the humbugs that ever cursed the universe, I reckon the religious humbug is the humbuggiest.”

11. I heard about a liberal preacher who preached a sermon entitled, “For Ye Are All the Children of God.”   Liberals get away with this foolishness because people in liberal churches do not bring Bibles with them, and people in liberal churches do not know what the Bible really teaches.  But the fact is that this liberal minister left out the last five words in his text (Gal. 3:26).

12. Remember, Jesus told the religious leaders of His day that they were not the children of God but the children of the devil (John 8:44). There is a big difference between the children of the devil and the children of God.

13. God said to the devil, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed” (Gen. 3:15).

14. Now, before I go any further, I need to clarify something. We are all related one to another.  We are all descended from Adam and Eve.  God is our Creator, and in that sense we are all his children.

15. The apostle Paul said to the Greeks in Athens, “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring” (Acts 17:28).

16. So in that sense we are all God’s children, “His offspring.”  But to be a child of God spiritually, you must be born again.

17. And this is not based upon emotions, but on facts.  The Holy Spirit witnesses to us (Hebrews 10:15).  The Holy Spirit witnesses in us (I John 5:10).  And the Holy Spirit bears witness with us (Rom. 8:16).

18. These are great spiritual truths, reminding us of the many blessings of the Spirit-filled life.



1.     Have you asked the Holy Spirit to work in you to mortify the deeds of the flesh (8:13)?

2.     Are you being led and guided by the Spirit of God (8:14)?

3.     Does the Holy Spirit bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God (8:16)? 

4.     These are very important questions.

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