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Sermon #79 — Romans Series


      Title:                                 If Christ be in you…


      Text:                                  Romans 8:5-10

      Reading: Joel 2:1-32

      Subject:               The Flesh and the Spirit

      Date:                                Sunday Morning — March 6, 2016



If Christ be in you… — That is the title of my message. — If Christ be in you… If Christ is in you, you are…

Š      Born again!

Š      Made “partakers of the divine nature!

Š      Possessors of “a good hope through grace!

Š      Elect, Redeemed, Justified, and Sanctified!

Š      Heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ!


If Christ is not in you, if the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ is not in you, you are…

Š      Lost, Without God, Without Christ, Without Hope!

Š      Unregenerate, Dead in Trespasses and in Sins!

Š      Under the Wrath of God!

It is my prayer that, before you leave here today, Christ will be in you. — O Son of God, come, take up residence in the hearts of your lost ones this day!


Proposition: To have Christ in you is to be saved, made whole again, by the grace of God.


Twice in verses 1-4 the Apostle has told us that God’s grace, God’s salvation belongs to those who “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Š      Those who walk in the Spirit (all who live by faith in Christ) are justified and have been made the righteousness of God in Christ, having the righteousness of the law fulfilled in them. They are not now and never can be condemned!

Š      Those who walk in the flesh are condemned already, and shall be forever damned, if they persist in their godlessness, rebellion, and unbelief. — You who are without Christ are condemned already, and shall be forever damned in hell, if you persist in your godlessness, rebellion, and unbelief!


Oh, come to Christ, oh “Come today,”

The Father, Son, and Spirit say,

Come wash your sin and guilt away!

Come, bow to Christ, the Son of God,

And trust His efficacious blood,

His sin-atoning, precious blood!


But what does it mean to live by faith in Christ? What does it mean to “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit?” What is the distinction? How do I know whether I walk after the flesh or after the Spirit? — Romans 8:5-10 gives us the answer to that question.


(Romans 8:5-10) “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (6) For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (8) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (9) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (10) And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”


Divisions: Let me show you to three things in this passage of Scripture.

1.    That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (vv. 5-7).

2.    Those who are in the flesh cannot please God; and those who are in the Spirit cannot but please God (vv. 8-9).

3.    If Christ is in you God put him in you (v. 10).


Flesh and Spitit


1stThat which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (vv. 5-7). That is what our Lord told Nicodemus, and that is what the Holy Ghost tells us here.


(Romans 8:5) “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”


Lost, unregenerate, unsaved people mind earthly things. They live for are concerned and anxious about earthly things. They are taken up and consumed with the things of this world and of the flesh (Matthew 6:24-33).


(Matthew 6:24-33) “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (25) Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (26) Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? (27) Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? (28) And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: (29) And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (30) Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (31) Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, what shall we drink? Or, wherewithal shall we be clothed? (32) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”


O Spirit of God, give me grace to live for eternity not time, for heaven not the world, for Christ not the flesh!


(Colossians 3:1-3) “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (2) Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (3) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”


Health, happiness, and honor, property, prosperity, and position, fame, fortune, and favor, these are the things for which men and women spend their lives in this world. Most people will sacrifice anything for riches, revelry, and recognition. These are the things our flesh craves! — “But what will a man give in exchange for his soul?


The believer, that one born of the Spirit, that new man created in us by the grace of God lives for things higher and better. The heaven born soul is concerned about his/her relationship with Christ and growing in the grace and knowledge of him who loved us and gave himself for us (Philippians 3:3-11).


(Philippians 3:3-11) “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. (4) Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: (5) Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; (6) Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (7) But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. (8) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (9) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (11) If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”


“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (v. 6). — The person who is swallowed up with this world is dead, spiritually dead, and everything for which he lives is marked for destruction. — “The fashion of this world passeth away” (1 Corinthians 7:29-31). — Someone once said, “Don’t build your house in any of the trees of this forest. They are all marked for burning.”


The believer, that new man born of God, that person who trusts Christ, sets his mind on things above, not on things on the earth (Luke 12:15; 1 Timothy 6:6-11).


(Luke 12:15) “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”


(1 Timothy 6:6-11) “But godliness with contentment is great gain. (7) For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (8) And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. (9) But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. (10) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (11) But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness”


Children of God, set your affection on Christ. Turn away from earthly things. Set your mind on heavenly things.

Š      Minding the things of the flesh is deadening.

Š      Minding the things of the Spirit is enlienig.


Illustration: “Lacked ye anything?


Look at verse 7. — Because the carnal mind is enmity against God. — The natural man, that which is born of the flesh, the old Adamic nature that is still in God’s saints and the fallen, depraved nature of all the human race, hates God and always reasons against God. But we are the children of God (1 John 3:1-10).


(1 John 3:1-10) “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (4) Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (5) And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. (6) Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (7) Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (8) He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (9) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (10) In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”


Lost, carnal men and women (and that old man in us) do not hate their idols (their gods), but they do hate the living God (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17).


(James 4:4) “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”


(1 John 2:15-17) “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (17) And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”


Read on — For it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. The carnal mind will not be subject to and will not submit to the will of God, the way of God, the providence of God, or the gospel of God (Jeremiah 13:23; 17:9).


(Jeremiah 13:23) “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”


(Jeremiah 17:9) “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”


One of the old writers said, “How can snow be made warm? Only by making it cease to be snow. The natural mind cannot be mended or modified, only destroyed.”


(Isaiah 55:7-8) “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (8) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.”


Cannot Please God


2nd Those who are in the flesh cannot please God; and those who are in the Spirit cannot but please God (vv. 8-9).


(Romans 8:8) “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”


Outside of Christ there is nothing that we can be, think, say, or do that is pleasing to God. God’s saints are accepted and are well-pleasing in his sight because we are in Christ, one with Christ (Ephesians 1:3-6; Hebrews 11:6).


(Ephesians 1:3-7) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”


(Hebrews 11:6) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.


Now, look at Romans 8:9.


(Romans 8:9) “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”


Ye are not in the flesh. — That does not mean that we are not human, or that we have no fleshly passions, appetites, lusts, and desires, or that our old nature is eradicated. What we read in Romans 7 makes that perfectly clear. Rather, Paul is telling us here that we have a new nature, being indwelt by the Spirit of Christ who is our Life. To be in the Spirit is to be ruled over, influenced, and governed by the Spirit of Christ our Lord (Luke 14:25-33). All who are in Christ have Christ begotten in them in the new birth and are justified and sanctified in Christ and with Christ.


This is what Paul is talking about when he says God’s people walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. — Ours is a life in the Spirit, a life of faith in Christ, living under an abiding sense of being completely justified by him, and having no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3). We mingle no Pharisaical righteousness of our own with the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus in this walk of faith, not being puffed up with a fleshly mind (Colossians 2:8-23).


(Colossians 2:8-23) “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (9) For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (11) In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: (12) Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (13) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (15) And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (16) Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (17) Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (18) Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, (19) And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. (20) Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (21) (Touch not; taste not; handle not; (22) Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? (23) Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.”


The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free and makes us free from the law of sin and death. For all who believe on him…

  • Christ is our Holiness.
  • Christ is our Righteousness.
  • Christ is the End of the law for us.
  • Christ is the Fulfilment of the law.
  • And Christ is our Law.


If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you!” — “Now, if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his! — If you do not have this Spirit of Christ dwelling in you, this Holy Spirit who effectually causes you to look away from self to the Savior for all grace, all righteousness, all sanctification, all redemption — all salvation, you are not yet born of God.


Christ in You


3rdIf Christ is in you God put him in you (v. 10).


(Romans 8:10) “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”


If Christ be in you, he is in you because God put him in you by his omnipotent saving grace in the new birth, making you whole.

  • Body
  • Soul
  • Spirit


This body of flesh and all that pertains to it is subject to death because of sin; but the Spirit that is in us is Life! Being vitally united to Christ we have no stain, no sin (1 John 3:5), and cannot die (Revelation 20:6). — Eternal life is ours because of his righteousness.


(1 Thessalonians 5:16-24) “Rejoice evermore. (17) Pray without ceasing. (18) In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (19) Quench not the Spirit. (20) Despise not prophesyings. (21) Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (22) Abstain from all appearance of evil. (23) And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (24) Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.


Bold shall I stand on Judgment Day,

Though millions shall be cast away.

Since Jesus Christ my ransom paid,

No charge against me shall be made.


While through my Savior’s blood I am

Absolved from sin, and guilt, and blame,

I cannot be condemned to die,

For by free grace I’m justified.


Robed in my Savior’s righteousness,

My soul cannot be in distress,

For with His spotless garments on

I am as holy as God’s Son!


While unbelieving rebels die,

“Salvation to the Lord!” I’ll cry.

My worth and works I’ll still deny,

“Salvation to the Lord!” I’ll cry.








Don Fortner








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