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Sermon #SD12

The Spirit of Bondage

A Sermon on Spiritual Bondage from Romans 8:15-16

Scripture

Romans 8:15-16 ESV NASB 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!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (ESV)

Sermon Description

The Christian may feel the Christian life is filled with burdensome tasks, an endless to-do list. When living in an antagonistic world, the tendency is to turn the faith into nothing more than a higher law. Holiness becomes nothing more than an occupation. To what does this lead? It leads to a wrongful fear of God; a tormented view, seeing God as merely a distant law-giver. This doesn’t lead to a life of joy, but rather a spirit of bondage. In this sermon on spiritual bondage from Romans 8:15–17 titled “The Spirit of Bondage,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses this issue through examining the doctrine of adoption. The Christian is invited to call God “abba.” A slave cannot call their taskmaster “father”––only a child can do this. Adoption means that God is not a distant law-giver, but a father who is near. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that desire to live a holy life must not come not from an attempt to appease God. On the contrary, that desire to live a holy life is because He is the father and Christians are His children. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. The moment this is realized, everything begins to change.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul wrote Romans 8:15-17 to address discouragement and spiritual depression in the Roman church.
  2. Living the Christian life and dealing with sin can lead to feelings of discouragement. There are difficulties within and without.
  3. The essence of the problem is a failure to understand the truth about the Christian life and what is possible for Christians. It is a failure of faith.
  4. This failure produces a "spirit of bondage" - a servant spirit and attitude. This comes from turning the Christian life into a new law to follow.
  5. The "spirit of bondage" produces a "spirit of fear" - a wrong fear of God, an exaggerated fear of the difficulty of the Christian life, and an exaggerated fear of the devil and one's own sin.
  6. The antidote is understanding the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells within us and gives us power, reminding us of God's fatherly love.
  7. The Holy Spirit reminds us of God's power within us, enabling us to live the Christian life. We are not left to our own strength.
  8. The Holy Spirit reminds us of our relationship to God as His children. We can cry "Abba, Father!" We desire to please our Father, not just keep a law.
  9. As God's children, we are also joint heirs with Christ. We have a glorious destiny and position.
  10. Our destiny as heirs of God should lead us to purify ourselves in preparation. We can overcome the world through faith in our ultimate destiny.
  11. We should not repine or complain, but instead think of the Spirit within us, the Father's smile, and what Christ did to win us. We have full salvation.

Spiritual Depression

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.