Michael Youssef - From Valley to Victory - Part 10
Romans chapter 8 tells us that a repentant sinner is one who is empowered by the Holy Spirit not only to repent of their sin but to live a new life in Christ in every way. The Scripture is very clear. Listen to me. Surrender to the control of the Holy Spirit gives you freedom from the control of sin. Look at verse 1: "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". Now, that verse always gives me chills, always gives me chills, every time I read it. You see, the believer is no longer under condemnation. A believer is no longer under divine condemnation. But listen carefully please because here is where some believers get confused.
Confusion number one, they confuse divine judgment, which that we escaped from forever and for eternity, with divine discipline. Hebrews 12:6 says that, "the indication that God loves you is that he disciplines you". Confusion number two is a confusion between deliverance from divine judgment with divine accountability, in which we will be accountable for all the stewardship. Beloved, hear me right. Believers never, never, never will go to hell. Did you get that? Say, "Amen". But they will be held accountable for their stewardship, for the gifts, for the time, for life, for everything that he's given to us. And that is why the believer should seek to obey God with all of his heart.
Oh, having said that, I understand that every one of us might fumble and stumble along the way, but we immediately, because of that divine nature, we dust ourselves off and clean ourselves sometimes even with our own tears and get back on the road. In Romans 8, the Apostle Paul gives us three reasons as to why the Holy Spirit has been given as a gift to the believers. First, look with me, and they come in verses 2 to 27. I already covered verse 1, 2 to 27. First, in verse 2 to 4, the Holy Spirit ensures our liberty and freedom in Christ. That's in verses 2 to 4. Verses 5 to 17, the Holy Spirit seals our adoption papers. He confirms it. He seals it. He witnesses it. He said, "It's done". Verses 18 to 27, the Holy Spirit turns our groans into glory. Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit as a gift to indwell us so that we might live in liberty and freedom, not slaves.
There are some who teach that if you are warring against sin, there's something wrong with you. There's something wrong with your spiritual walk. Absolutely not true. In fact, the more faithful you are, the more obedient you are, the more longing for righteousness and hunger for righteousness you become, the more the battle heats up. The only wrong would be is when if you give up the battle, if you give up the fight. The only wrong is when you hoist your white flag and you surrender. Let me put it this way. The Spirit-led believer, which should be every believer, the Spirit-led believer is like a seagull. The gull, when it gets ready to take flight from a steep hill or a cliff, first it gets gripped with the law of gravity. But as soon it starts spreading its wings, another law takes over. It's the law of aerodynamics which allow the gull to soar.
In the heat of the battle, it is absolutely vitally important to remind yourself that you're not in the battle alone. This is something, beloved, I do all day long, not just once or twice a day. I do it all the time. I'm constantly reminding myself that I am not alone in the battle. And I might begin slow because of the law of gravity, but then you say to the Holy Spirit, "Holy Spirit, you are with me. You are in me. You're about me. You are fighting for me". And all of a sudden, the law of gravity gives way to the law of aerodynamics. See, and the Holy Spirit is gonna lift you up, and you will soar above all sin, above your circumstances, above your fear, above your anxiety, above whatever it is troubling you. Beloved, that is why God gave us his Sprit. It's his breath. It's God's Spirit. God the Holy Spirit fights for you. God the Holy Spirit defends you. God the Holy Sprit shields you. God the Holy Spirit empowers you.
And that's exactly what John is saying in 1 John 4:4. That's exactly what he meant when he said: "Greater is he is in you that he is in the world". God's gift of salvation comes to us as a result of his perfect sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. So many preachers today preach moralistic gospel, and they say, "Oh, just follow Jesus's example. Just follow Jesus's teaching". This is no more possible than telling a two-months-old baby to walk. To try to follow Jesus's perfect example without Jesus's perfect Holy Spirit will only lead to failure and to frustration, and it's impossible. And that is why Paul is saying in Romans 8:4: "Believers, freedom from sin is only possible when you activate the power of the Holy Spirit of God in you".
And so, the first reason the Lord gives us the Holy Spirit, his Spirit to well in us is to ensure our liberty, to ensure our victory over sin, over fear, over temptations, over circumstances. Secondly, the Spirit of God is given to us as a guarantee. He guarantees our adoption papers. He witnesses our adoption papers. He seals our adoption papers. That's what Paul is saying here. Look at Romans 8 again. Beloved, this is one of the greatest privileges for believers. It really is. Just focus on it with me, okay? Every genuine believer is indwelt of the Holy Spirit. But you have to constantly welcome him. He's indwelt you, but you constantly, he has to be welcomed. Why? Why? Why every believer's indwelt of the Holy Spirit? Because you cannot be adopted by God's family without taking the power of your adopted Father.
That power is the power of the Holy Spirit, is in his Spirit. And that is why Jesus said to his disciples before he ascended into heaven, he said, "You have to wait until you receive the Holy Spirit. And when you receive the Holy Spirit, you will receive power, it come upon you". I know our finite mind, it sometimes cannot comprehend how the breath of God, the Spirit of God can hook up with our spirits. And it's one of the things I'm really looking forward to understanding when I get to heaven. For now I'm very grateful. The one thing I know is this. God the Holy Spirit will not beat down the door of your life. He is not gonna force himself in there. He seals a willing obedience. Did you get that? He seals a willing obedience.
Someone may ask, "Well, Michael, how does the Holy Spirit work in sealing our adoption papers"? Well, first, he reveals the truth of his Word, the Scripture. Paul told the Ephesians in chapter 1, verse 18, he said: "He prays for them that the eyes of their hearts may be enlightened in order that they might know the hope to which Christ has called them". But also, the Holy Spirit leads us by helping us being obedient to the Word of God. I've tried to obey without the power of the Holy Spirit, and I've failed every time. Beloved, it is one thing to read the Word of God. It is one thing to understand the Word, even memorize the Word of God, but it's a whole other ballgame to obey the Word of God. I can show you from the Scripture that the Lord is more pleased with obedience than sacrifice, even in the Old Testament.
You remember when Saul, King Saul, screwed up badly and he cheated and lied and took the stuff that he's not supposed to take? And then when Samuel confronts him, he said, "Well, I'm just offering sacrifice. I stole this stuff so I can offer a sacrifice". He said to him, "Remember, God is more pleased with obedience than sacrifice". There is a sacrifice that comes from obedience, but not a sacrifice as an excuse instead of obedience. Are you with me? Then also the Holy Spirit seals and confirms our adoption papers is by freeing us from the spirit of slavery. Look at verse 15: "For you did not receive the spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship," and daughtership. "Sonship. And by that we cry, 'Daddy, Abba.'"
And here's what Paul is saying. Sin brings slavery and fear, but the gracious work of the Holy Spirit continues to deliver his children from both the slavery of sin and fear. He's writing to the Romans. They're living in Roman society, living by Roman law, and you need to understand what Roman people did when it came to adoption. And they understand that the adopted son has more prestige and more honor than the natural son. You say, "How come"? Well, if a father becomes disappointed with his natural son, whatever the reason is, if he becomes disappointed, he will go out and search diligently for a boy to adopt. The adopted son would have to have the characteristics that were lacking in his natural son. If, upon the father's death, the adopted boy had proved himself worthy, then he would inherit the father's title, and becomes a progenitor of the family name.
You might say, "How do I know that the Holy Spirit dwells in me"? Another good question. The evidence is in you having an intense desire, whether it be privately or publicly. That's between you and God to be able to cry out, "Abba". "Abba" is a word that is filled with intimacy and tenderness and dependence, is devoid completely of fear or anxiety. When God adopted us, the Holy Spirit sealed us, he set us free from all debt. He took away the fear of sin. He took away the fear of death. And he gave us his Holy Sprit who continuously bear witness that our adoption papers have been signed, sealed, and delivered.
Now, "Amen," belongs here. No one could challenge these adoption papers, no one. No one can challenge them. Why? What purpose do these adoptive papers serve? Salvation is part of it. Forgiveness is part of it. Cleansing is part of it. But the ultimate purpose of our adoption is to be progenitor's of our Daddy's name, to be the progenitors of the inheritance of his glory. And here's some great news, some fantastic news. Satan can never challenge these adoption papers in the courts of heaven because he's forbidden from going there anymore, amen. Look at verse 17: "Now if we are children, then we're heirs of God, co-heirs with Christ".
Let me ask you this. Answer to yourself. Have you reflected on your inheritance lately? Have you reflected on the glory that we will receive lately? I know there's some people waiting for some rich uncle to die so you can inherit a few dollars. No, "For me to die is gain". That's the best inheritance of all. The Spirit of God assures us of our liberty and victory. Spirit of God guarantees and seals our adoption papers. Thirdly and finally, the Spirit of God turns our groaning into glory. Look at verse 18: "I consider that all our present sufferings not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us".
My beloved friends, what makes you groan today? I know what makes me groan. What causes you to be in agony? What is weighing your spirit down? God's Spirit is telling you today, listen to me, God is saying to you today he can turn your groaning into glory. You have God's Word on it. All of your pain and hurt and disappointment, shattered dreams, all of your dashed hopes and abuses and alienation, all of your rejections and affliction, of them, all of them like a puff of dust in comparison to the glory that's gonna be revealed in us. And Paul said, "Not only the believer's groaning, but also because of the weight of sin, but also the whole universe, the whole earth is groaning because of the curse of sin, the consequences of sin".
All the earthquakes and all the hurricanes, all the fires, all the storms, all are signs that the creation is groaning in travail. Since the Fall of Adam, the earth has been convulsing and groaning under the curse of sin. But the good news is, in Matthew 24:8, Jesus said, "When you see these earthquakes, when you see these natural phenomenas are taking place in very short intervals, you know it's like a woman in childbirth. You know that the baby is getting ready to be born. The new Jerusalem is on its way".
Beloved, as long as we live in this tent, as long as we live in this flesh, we will groan. We will groan. Different reasons, but we all will groan. We groan from cancer. We groan heart attacks. We groan from kidney failures. We groan from bodily pains. We groan because we are strangers and sojourners in this earth, and our Daddy who's in heaven is waiting for us to be with him one day because our adopted Daddy is in heaven. We are anxious to be with him, and that is why we groan, longing for eternity.
We groan because of what sin has done to the human body in terms of sickness and disease and disappointments and grief. We groan because of what sin is doing to others in public life, in social life, in political life, in dividing homes. We groan when we see violence in schools, and drugs, and gangs, and terrorism, and denial by our political leaders. We groan when we see young people fail to acknowledge even today, and I'm talking about young people who are in churches. They say, "Sin does not exist anymore. Only mistakes, we all make mistakes".
The very reason for which Christ not only came and died on a cross and hung on that cross is now being denied by some church folks. But here's the good news. All of our groaning cannot begin to be compared with the coming inheritance, with the coming glory. "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray. We do not know what to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that word cannot express".
Let me tell you this as I conclude. There are times in my life when the Spirit groans in me. It's because I'm not so sure whether I should pray for deliverance or strength to endure. Many times, I struggle to know the mind of the Spirit so the Spirit groans within me. And I know he takes those agonizing groaning to the throne of the Father. And then he brings me the answer in due course.
Do I understand everything about the Holy Spirit? No, not in this lifetime anyway. But what I know is this. If it were not for the intercession of Jesus with the Father, if it was not for the Spirit's groaning within me, if it were not for the empowering of the Holy Spirit to give me victory, if it was not for his guaranteeing and sealing my adoption papers, if it weren't for the Holy Spirit's turning my groaning into glory, I would have been as lost as a goat in a hailstorm. Have you ever seen a goat in a hailstorm? But thanks be to God for his Holy Spirit.