Sermon Overview & Prayer: "The Gospel of Surplus Grace"

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Romans 8:1-8 SERMON PRAYER POINTS

These written prayers are intended to fuel your meditation on this passage and your enjoyment of God in prayer.

 

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4)

PRAYER: Father, thank you for delivering me from the guilt from my shameful past, from the anguish from my failures in the present, and from fear of deserved judgment in the future. Thank you that nothing can separate me from your love. And thank that such a promise does not draw me to complacency. But by your grace, it instead, leads to me a greater passion to know, love, and serve you!

The key word in the chapter is Spirit. So then, what does God give to sinners like us who long to grow and get better? God gives his own Holy Spirit. Grace succeeds where law fails, because grace works with the power of the Holy Spirit.  Your future is transformed by receiving the one Jesus called “another Helper” (John 14:16).

PRAYER: Lord, that you have sent your very Holy Spirit to dwell in us and abide in us, despite all that we are or do, is a matter of profound wonder and worship! Thank you, that it is through your Spirit that we know you, that we read your Word with understanding; that we receive power to obey; and that we experience transforming grace. Teach us to faithfully commune with your Spirit with dependence, gratefulness, and faith!

Christianity is Christ giving himself to you in so profound a way that the apostle Paul had to invent a new way of saying it – in Christ.  Your unsteady ups and downs have been re-defined by the death and resurrection of Christ. Wherever else life might take you in all this world, your location in Christ is as secure as Christ himself.  So then, verse 1 announces that we are in the most secure, the least precarious, place in all the universe: Christ

PRAYER: Lord God, that I am in Christ is as gloriously incomprehensible as the fact that your Spirit dwells in me! Open my heart to what that means...clothed in your righteousness, supplied with everything pertaining to life and godliness, eternally secure from wrath and judgment! Please, by your Spirit, empower me to steward such a gift with a life of faith, faithfulness, holiness, and peace.

Ray’s paraphrase of Romans 8.3-4: God has done for us what even his own law couldn’t do. Not that God’s law was the problem. The problem was our weakness. So, what God did was this. He sent his own Son, like us in our human nature, unlike us in our sinful character. And when Jesus died on the cross, God judged our sin there with irreversible finality. And now the Holy Spirit helps us live for God, one step at a time.

PRAYER: Father, when I bemoan my failures with comments like, “I should know better!” or “How could I?!” or “What was I thinking?!” or “That’s not like me!” let this passage remind me that there is only one sinless, only one perfect, only one without need of a Savior...and it’s not me. But, because I have a perfect, sinless Savior, my imperfections are covered as I continue to grow, by your grace alone, in godliness.

What we’re seeing in Romans 8:1-8 is the ongoing gift God gives to sinners like us who need more than what we can bring to the table. God gives himself to us through the finished work of Christ on the cross and the endless power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the way life actually works is through our ongoing openness to God and his endless grace. The key to life is not us demanding what we deserve. The key is us receiving what we don’t deserve but what God has committed to – the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for yet another view of the miracle of the gospel. May “in Christ” fill my heart, my mind, my desires, and my deeds with overflowing praise and gratefulness. May your amazing grace fill me with compassion toward those who don’t yet know you, and with a desire for biblical unity among those who do. As I treasure the gift of the gospel, may my life display the righteousness, peace, and joy of being “in Christ”!

OVERVIEW OF THE SERMON:

In Romans 8, Paul effectively answers the question, “What grace does God have for Christians who aren’t good at being Christians?” The answer: he gives us even more grace through his Spirit. When we come into Christ, we have no condemnation because we are solidly unified with Christ. We cannot sin our way out of being in Christ. Therefore, even more important than giving us a second chance, God has given us a whole new reality. He did for us what the Law was not able to do—He judged our sin and helps us live in obedience to him one step at a time, with a renewed mind, and through the help of the Holy Spirit.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. How do these verses answer the question “What grace does God have for Christians who aren’t good at being Christians?”
  2. Martin Lloyd Jones uses this scripture to instruct us to “say farewell to past sins . . . and look to Christ.” What do these two things look like in your life?
  3. Alexander Pope said that the Law is “a sharp accuser but a helpless friend.” Why is just knowing the Law not enough to change us? What does grace offer that the Law cannot
  4. Ray said that walking by faith means asking for help. How do these verses challenge or confirm what you think of as “walking by faith?”
  5. All that God has done funnels down into our moment-by-moment reality. What current sin is God making you sensitive to? What next step is God giving you towards setting your mind on the things of the Spirit (verse 5)?
  6. Ray summarized Romans 8 by stating “I would rather stumble into heaven than stroll into hell.” How could this application of Romans 8 equip you to persuade others towards following Christ?