Here are the Lifegroup questions for this week.

1. What aspect of adoption/redemption thrills you?

2. What difference will it make in your thoughts, priorities, or behavior today? (Romans 8-16 For You, Tim Keller, p. 31)

3. How does being set free to as a child of God, change the value and meaning of suffering?

4. As creation groans, so do we. What are you groaning for? (James 5:16)

5. How important is the “we know…” in the fog of suffering’s “I don’t know..”?

6. Read Hebrews 11:1-3. How does this passage give meaning to Romans 8:25? What is the role of faith in hope and suffering?

What’s up with all these metaphors?

Each of the metaphors used for the church can help us to appreciate more of the richness of privilege that God has given us by incorporating us into the church. The fact that the church is like a family should increase our love and fellowship with one another. The thought that the church is like the bride of Christ should stimulate us to strive for greater purity and holiness, and also greater love for Christ and submission to him. The image of the church as branches in a vine should cause us to rest in him more fully. The idea of an agricultural crop should encourage us to continue growing in the Christian life and obtaining for ourselves and others the proper spiritual nutrients to grow. The picture of the church as God’s new temple should increase our awareness of God’s very presence dwelling in our midst as we meet. The concept of the church as a priesthood should help us to see more clearly the delight God has in the sacrifices of praise and good deeds that we offer to him (see Heb. 13:15-16). The metaphor of the church as the body of Christ should increase our interdependence on one another and our appreciation of the diversity of gifts within the body. Many other applications could be drawn from these and other metaphors for the church listed in Scripture. -Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, 859.

The church must be something wonderful. Let’s work today to realize all the blessings that are ours in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:14-16 Led by the Spirit, Notes

Led by the Spirit

Text: Romans 8:14-16                                                7/2/2017

Main Point: The Holy Spirit leads Christians.

There is unfortunately a great deal of confusion in the church regarding the Holy Spirit. There is also a great deal of false teaching regarding the Holy Spirit and these errors often cause great personal turmoil. What is speaking in tongues? Should I speak in tongues? Am I less than Christian because I don’t speak in tongues? That one is easy, 1 Corinthians 12:30 tells us that not everyone speaks in tongues. The difficult passage is our passage today, Romans 8:16, and the promise that the Spirit will testify with our spirit that we are children of God. This is a universal witness and if you don’t have it then you are not a Christian. Let’s stop worrying about tongues and start worrying about the witness of the Spirit.

Romans 8:12-17

I. To be led by the Spirit means you are a Christian

  1. Who are the sons of God?
    1. The sons of God are the redeemed people of God
    2. Sons of God is another way of referring to Israel God’s people
    3. Deuteronomy 14:1-2, sons of the Lord your God, people holy to the Lord, chosen people, treasured possession
    4. Isaiah 1:2-4, my people, my children
    5. Hoshea 1:10, new covenant, children of the living God
    6. John 1:12, he gave the right to become children of God
    7. Sons of God is another way of referring to Christians, God’s people. Christians are sons of God. Christians are children of God
  2. The sons of God are those who have been given the Spirit of God
    1. Galatians 3:14, “in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham has come to the Gentiles, we receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.”
    2. The mark of the people of God is no longer circumcision, the Promised Land, or the temple. The mark is not preeminently baptism. The mark of the people of God is having received and being led by the Spirit of God. The seal of the Spirit is confessed in baptism (Acts 2:16-18, 33, 41).
  3. The sons of God are those who are led by the Spirit of God
    1. Romans 8:14
    2. Led by is a present passive verb- all those who are being led by the Spirit of God are sons of God
  4. The sons of God are disciples who make disciples
    1. Biblically speaking, discipleship is fundamental and universal in the Christian life. In our day we have made discipleship unnecessary and inconsequential. Jesus said, “Go make disciples and teach them how to obey everything Jesus commands.” This most certainly includes the command to be led by the Holy Spirit.
    2. We are meant to learn how to follow the Spirit according to the Word and with the help of other believers
    3. Since it is the case that Christians are those people who are led by the Spirit it is crucial to understand what it looks like to be led by the Spirit.

II. Evidence of the Spirit’s leadership

  1. The Spirit leads us to believe, confess, and depend on Christ for life (John 6:63; 1 Cor 12:3)
  2. The Spirit leads us to put to death the deeds of the body (Rom 8:13)
  3. The Spirit leads us away from a fear of punishment (Rom 8:15; 2 Tim 1:7)
    1. What is the spirit of slavery?
    2. Fear God and fear the future
    3. Fear God- I don’t measure up, I’m not good enough, God doesn’t love me, God couldn’t love me, I am doomed to hell
    4. Fear of the future- what is going to happen?
    5. Rom 5:5, hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us
  4. The Spirit leads us to cry out to God as Father (Rom 8:15)
    1. Spirit of adoption- sealed with the Spirit
    2. Eph 1:3-6
    3. Know the care and trustworthiness of God such that you pray to Him
    4. One evidence that God is your Father is when you are actively concerned about and practically doing helpful things for your brothers and sisters.
  5. The Spirit leads us to love the church (1 John 3:10; 1 Cor 12:7)
    1. 1 John 3:10, “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil, whoever does not practices righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”
    2. We serve in the new way of the Spirit (Rom 7:6). We don’t serve in order to gain something from God. We serve because we have been made sons and daughters of God. We do not sit like parasites on the church. Led by the Spirit, gifted by the Spirit, we encourage, build up, correct, and exhort our brothers and sisters. If you have an active and practical concern for these people in this room, that is good evidence of the Spirit dwelling in you. If you have no active or practical concern for your fellow members that should cause serious concerns in your mind about your salvation. You may indeed not have the Holy Spirit. The Spirit leads us to love the church.
  6. The Spirit assures us of our reconciliation to God (Rom 8:16)
    1. See in the text that this is not a verbal witness to our ears. We are promised a witness alongside of our own spirits. You should not sit in silence waiting for this inner testimony of the Spirit. Instead, of waiting in silence we are to act upon our rights as children of God.
    2. We confess, “we are children of God.” The Spirit comes alongside and gives a corroborating witness, “these are children of God.”
    3. A corroborating witness is a witness who supports or confirms testimony already given[1]
    4. Deuteronomy 19:15, “only on the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses shall a charge be established.”
    5. John 15:26 the disciples bear witness to Jesus and the Holy Spirit bears witness about Jesus. This also is corroborating evidence.
    6. What is happening here? To whom are the children of God and the Spirit of God testifying? Are the children of God and the Spirit of God trying to convince God of their rights? No, Ephesians 1:5 tells us it is the Father who predestined these children for adoption.
    7. Zechariah’s vision of Joshua the high priest in Zechariah 3
    8. Is the witness to Satan then? Are we testifying to Satan and the Spirit is testifying with us to Satan that we are children of God. Maybe, but I think that falls short of the context of Romans 8:14-16.
    9. More specifically, it seems to me, in the context of the struggle of Romans 7 with remaining sin and the blessing of sonship in Romans 8 that the witness is given by the Holy Spirit to us to continue crying out to the Father in light of our weakness, struggle, and sin.
    10. We confess Christ as our Savior, our justification, and our righteousness. We are sons and daughters. We so desperately want to come boldly to the throne of grace to find mercy and grace in our time of need. But we are often divided between pursuing the things of God and the things of the world. Our affections are very weak. We don’t feel like sons and daughters. Why should we think God would hear our cry to him as Father? As we pray depending on the Son and asking for the Father’s help, it is the Spirit who testifies alongside of us. We sheepishly and shyly go to the Father overwhelmed by His holiness and our sinfulness. Satan accuses us, “You have sin, your affections are weak, you don’t belong here. Don’t cry out to God, He’s not your Father.” But our spirits testify, our regenerated spirits testify that we have been adopted and justified children of God. It is the Spirit who comes alongside of us and testifies in response to our weakness and Satan’s accusations, “This one is a child of God.” It is as if the Spirit puts his arm around us to hold us up. To the children of God the Spirit says, “Keep praying, Keep crying out.” Against Satan’s accusations the Spirit says, “This one is a child of God!” The Spirit leads us, because of our weakness and sin, to keep crying out to God.

III. What do we do with all of this?

Stop sitting in silence playing some spiritualized form of duck, duck, goose. Maybe today the Spirit will tap me on the head, say goose, and then I’ll get to run around like a Christian. Romans 8:16 does not promise an internal warm fuzzy. Instead, because of adoption and justification, expect the Spirit to convict you of remaining sin while also encouraging you to cry out to your heavenly Father who loves you.

Expect the Spirit to lead you to put sin to death because you are a child of God.

Expect the Spirit to lead you to see and savor the great work of Jesus Christ securing righteousness and forgiveness so you can be a child of God.

Do not look for some second blessing. Instead, read and pray, expecting an ever deepening and satisfying appreciation for Christ’s righteous life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection. The testimony of the Spirit can only be heard beneath the cross.

[1] https://definitions.uslegal.com/c/corroborating-witness/

7/2 Put It Into Practice

  1. In what way did God comfort, encourage, or correct you today?
  2. What does it mean to be a child of God? Is every human a child of God?
  3. What is the defining mark of the sons of God? Where do you see that mark in your own life?
  4. The Spirit leads us to believe in, confess, depend upon, and Jesus Christ.  Who is Jesus and why does he matter?
  5. The Spirit leads us to put to death the deeds of the body. Where do you see the Holy Spirit convicting you of sin?
  6. The Spirit leads us away from a fear of punishment. Describe how the righteous life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection of Jesus work to encourage repentance toward and joy in God.
  7. The Spirit leads us to cry out to God as Father. When you pray, do you pray to God coldly or generically? Or, do you experience a familial warmth and acceptance by your Father because of Jesus the Son?
  8. The Spirit leads us to love our brothers and sisters; he leads us to love the church. In what practical ways are you serving and building up your fellow members?
  9. The Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. What does that look like in your life?

Leadership Section Update

After sermons and discussions with the church, the pastors and deacons of Mambrino Baptist Church have put together a proposed update to our church documents to reflect a more biblical understanding of the offices of elder or pastor and deacon. There will be other changes to the documents based on these updates but this section is crucial. The introduction on the church from section 1 and the leadership portion from section 3 included in this document. Below is a copy of that proposed update to our bylaws. We want to discuss these proposals with you. Please read the information below.

This proposal will need to be discussed in a members’ meeting, presented as an amendment, and then voted on by the members after a minimum of 30 days.

1.    The Church

This congregation shall be known as Mambrino Baptist Church. The church building is located at 1625 Mambrino Highway, Granbury, Texas.

Mambrino Baptist Church is a congregation of baptized believers in Jesus Christ who take the Bible alone as the standard by which all matters of belief and conduct are to be decided. We believe the Bible, consisting of the 39 Old Testament and 27 New Testament books that comprise the Canon of Sacred Scripture, is the completed and final revelation of divine truth. We believe every word of the original writings of the Sacred Scripture is inspired by God and that the Bible is, therefore, our inerrant and final authority in all matters of faith and practice. If any point of these Bylaws is found to be inconsistent or contrary to the Bible that point of Bylaws is null and void.

1.1.  Purpose of the Church
Mambrino Baptist Church exists because of the glory of God and for the gospel-good of others.

Our purpose is derived from the Great Confession in Matthew 16:13-20, the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, and the Great Commandment in Matthew 22:37-40.

1.2.  Polity
Mambrino Baptist Church is an autonomous body subject to the Lordship of Christ, under the authority of Scripture, led by its elders, and accountable to the congregation. The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who may be members, elders, and deacons of this church and the conditions of such membership in accordance with Scripture.

 

3.     Leadership

3.1.  Two leadership offices of the church

According to the New Testament, we recognize the offices of elder or pastor and deacon.

3.2.  Office of Elder, Overseer, or Pastor

The terms elder, overseer, and pastor are used interchangeably. While the elders serve in various ways according to gifting and availability, they share equally in the authority of the office. While giving equal honor to all the elders, some of the elders may receive financial support.

3.2.1.     Qualifications

The elders shall be comprised of those men who desire the office, are called and gifted by God for the office, and are set apart by the church for the office. Elders must meet the qualifications for the office set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. Each must also be a giving and serving member of the church with proven ability to teach and make disciples (1 Tim 3:2; 2 Tim 4:2).

3.2.2.     Responsibilities

1)   The elders shall, first and foremost, devote their time to prayer and the ministry of the Word by teaching and encouraging sound doctrine and practice, and by shepherding God’s flock.  (Acts 6:2, 4)

2)   The elders shall take particular responsibility to examine and instruct prospective members and recommend to the congregation those who fulfill the expectations for membership.  (Titus 1:9)

3)   The elders must examine and recommend to the congregation all prospective candidates for offices and ministerial/administrative positions.  (Acts 6:2-6; Titus 1:9-11)

4)   The elders shall examine and discern the need for and recommend to the congregation the creation and dissolution of all teams.

5)   The elders shall oversee the work of the deacons and appointed teams and agents of the church.  (Acts 6:5)

6)   The elders shall administer/oversee the ordinances of baptism and communion.

7)   The elders shall gently but firmly admonish and correct those in error, aiding and overseeing the process of church discipline as necessary.  (Matthew 18:15-17, Galatians 6:1; Titus 1:9-11)

8)   The elders shall coordinate and promote the ministries of the church, ensuring a balance between edification of the saints and evangelizing the lost, being mindful of the Kingdom’s work both locally and globally.  (Ephesians 4:12; 2 Timothy 4:5)

9)   The elders shall ensure that all who minister the Word to the congregation are properly qualified and scripturally sound.  (1 Thess. 3:9, 5:22; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; Titus 1:9-11; James 3:1)

10)  The elders shall ensure that all song leaders, as well as all songs sung in our services, are God-honoring and edifying to the body.  (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; Titus 1:9-11)

11)  The elders shall appoint the Moderator for all Members’ Meetings.

12)  The elders shall be responsible for the proper staffing and supervision of that staff. (See Personnel Handbook)

13)  The elders shall pray for the sick upon request and visit the congregation.  (James 1:27, 5:14)

14)  The elders shall communicate to the congregation on a regular basis, at least quarterly, concerning the activities and concerns of the Elders.

15)  The elders shall establish policies and practices for the Church consistent with her purposes.

16)   The elders and deacons will meet together at least quarterly for the purpose of prayer.

3.2.3.     Selection and Removal

The elders are responsible for identifying, training, and presenting prospective elders to the congregation. Input from the congregation is encouraged by submitting an explanation of the perceived fitness of the candidate for the office of elder. Prospective pastors must be presented at the members’ meeting prior to being voted upon. A two-thirds vote of those members present and voting is required to approve an elder. Installation to office will involve a time of corporate prayer by the church for that elder and his work.

Any two members with reason to believe that an elder should be dismissed should express such concern to the elders and, if need be, to the congregation.  Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18: 15–17 and I Timothy 5: 17–21.  Any of the elders may be dismissed by a two-thirds vote of the members at any members’ meeting of the church.

3.2.4.     Terms

Elders will serve indefinitely according to personal life circumstances, the needs of the church, and the will of the congregation. It is understood that unpaid elders may have prolonged seasons of life where work, family, or physical circumstances prohibit them from fulfilling their duties. When this occurs, the church will be notified that the man will no longer fill the office. Reinstatement to the office will come by request of the acting elders at any regular members’ meeting then approved by majority vote of the congregation in the following members’ meeting.

3.3.  Office of Deacon

3.3.1.     Qualifications

Deacons must satisfy the qualifications for the office of deacon set forth in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

3.3.2.     Responsibilities

1)  The deacons shall work for the unity of the body and support the elders. (Acts 6:1-7)

2)  The deacons shall aid the elders in the visitation needs of the congregation. (Acts 6:2-3)

3)  The deacons shall administer the Benevolence Fund to assist the poor and needy and otherwise provide aid in times of crises or distress. (Acts 6:1)

4)  The deacons shall coordinate the greeting and welcoming ministries of the church.

5)  The deacons shall assist with baptisms and the Lord’s Supper

6)  The deacons shall assist at fellowship gatherings of the church

7)  The deacons shall oversee the gathering of tithes and offerings.

8)  The deacons shall oversee the buildings and grounds.

9)  The deacons shall meet together with the elders at least quarterly for the purpose of prayer.

The deacons, according to the congregationally approved budget and with the agreement of the elders, may establish paid or unpaid positions to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities in the church.

3.3.3.     Selection and Removal

As needs arise, the congregation can present prospective deacons to the elders for nomination. Nominations need to be given with an explanation of the qualifications of the nominee. Upon testing and approval by the elders, deacons will be installed after a two-thirds vote of the congregation. Installation to office will involve a time of corporate prayer by the church for that deacon and his work.

Any two members with reason to believe that a deacon should be dismissed should express such concern to the elders and, if need be, to the congregation.  Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18: 15–17.  Any of the deacons may be dismissed by a two-thirds vote of the members at any members’ meeting of the church.

3.3.4.     Terms

Deacons will serve indefinitely according to personal life circumstances, the needs of the church, and the will of the congregation.

6/25 Discussion Questions

  1. In what way did God encourage, comfort, or correct you today?
  2. What is a practical way you can grow in godliness this week?
  3. What are the deeds or practices of the body?
  4. What does it mean to put to death the deeds of the body? Explain in your own words (Romans, LifeChange Series, 117)?
  5. How is putting misdeeds to death different from trying to keep the Law by force of effort alone (LifeChange, 117)?
  6. Victory over temptation comes as we see the danger of our desires, view those desires as enemies to be killed, cut off the supply lines, and by the Spirit smother those desires with better desires. What area do you want to focus on this week?
  7. In what area of your life do you need to put the deeds of the body to death and set your mind on the desires of the Spirit (8:5, 13)? What can you do and pray to accomplish this? What attitudes toward your power and God’s do you need (LifeChange, 117)?