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Sermon #3155

Freedom from Fear

A Sermon on Romans 8:15


Romans 8:15 ESV KJV
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (ESV)

Sermon Description

While the spirit of bondage and fear is a work of the Holy Spirit, it has a specific and limited role in the life of the Christian. It is to awaken the person to their desperate condition. However, as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones argues in this sermon on Romans 8:15 titled “Freedom from Fear,” the spirit of bondage and fear cannot coexist with the spirit of adoption. The former is always replaced by the latter. But how can Dr. Lloyd-Jones claim this when the New Testament has much to say about fear in the Christian life? Are there not numerous examples where Christians experience what could be called a spirit of bondage and fear? Are these examples that prove the spirit of adoption does not replace the spirit of fear? Dr. Lloyd-Jones walks through objections to his understanding of the apostle Paul, detailing how his understanding of Romans 8:15 is compatible with the rest of Scripture. In so doing, he engages a number of pastorally pressing concerns such as depression in the Christian life, demonic aggression against believers, and the Scriptures in counseling. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones hits on a wide-range of topics in this fascinating teaching on Romans 8:15.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul is concerned with the theme of sonship in Romans 8:15.
  2. He tells us we can be assured of our sonship in two ways: being led by the Spirit (v. 14) and no longer having a spirit of bondage (v. 15).
  3. A "spirit of bondage" produces fear and is a sign of not being a son of God. Sons of God have the "spirit of adoption" and call God "Abba, Father."
  4. Some argue this contradicts verses calling us to fear God (e.g. 2 Cor. 5:11; Phil. 2:12; Heb. 12:28-29). But there is a difference between a "spirit of bondage" and proper "reverence" and "godly fear" of God. The former is craven and tormenting, the latter is respectful and loving.
  5. Feeling depressed or deserted does not mean one has a "spirit of bondage." The cause could be temperament, sin, or satanic attack. The key is how one responds to Scripture. Those with a "spirit of adoption" respond positively.
  6. God may withdraw his felt presence to chasten us or for other reasons. But this is different from a "spirit of bondage." We seek God's face (Song 5:2-6) rather than cry in utter despair (Rom. 7:24).

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.