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Jan 19, 2020

Written Into a New Story

Written Into a New Story

Passage: Romans 8:5-13

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Elevator Pitch: The Good News in One Chapter, Romans 8

The irony of an increasingly secularized world is that interest and devotion to spirituality is not only unabated but exploding. Little to no consensus exists among those who practice some form of spirituality, except the common rejection of the belief that all we see is all there is. What, though, is unique to that spirituality derived from the Gospel of Jesus, both in the understanding of ourselves and our need, and also its purposes and practical realities?

Order of Worship

Pre Service: Romans 8:10
Call to Worship: Psalm 89:1-2 & Romans 12:1-2
Sermon Title: Written Into a New Story
Old Testament Reading: Ezekiel 36:22-29
Central Text: Romans 8:5-13
Response: Communion
Confession of Sin: (St. Ambrose of Milan)
Assurance of Pardon: Romans 3:21-24
Benediction: 2 Corinthians 13:14
Post-Service Text: Romans 8:11

01.19.2020 Sermon Notes

Readings & Scripture

Pre Service: Romans 8:10
10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Call to Worship: Psalm 89:1-2 & Romans 12:1-2
LEADER: I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.

PEOPLE: 2 I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.

LEADER: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

PEOPLE:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Old Testament Reading: Ezekiel 36:22-29
Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses.

Central Text: Romans 8:5-13
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Rom. 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Confession of Sin: (St. Ambrose of Milan)
O Lord, who hast mercy upon all, take away from me my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit.
Take away from me the heart of stone,
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore thee,
a heart to delight in thee,
to follow and to enjoy thee,
for Christ's sake.

Assurance of Pardon: Romans 3:21-24
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. . . .

Benediction: 2 Corinthians 13:14
LEADER: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.


Post-Service Text: Romans 8:11
11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Related Scriptures

  • Isaiah 43:1-3a
  • Matthew 11:29
  • John 14:12-17
  • John 14:25-27
  • Romans 6:21
  • Romans 12:1-2
  • 1 Corinthians 3:16
  • Galatians 5:19-21, 22-25
  • Galatians 6:8
  • Ephesians 4:29-32
  • Ephesians 4:30 / I Thessalonians 5:19
  • Philippians 2:5-11
  • Philippians 3:19-21
  • 2 Timothy 1:14
  • James 4:4

Discussion Questions & Applications:

  1. When you hear the word “spirituality” what do you think? What might your neighbors, colleagues, or peers think when they hear the word?
  2. Paul’s meaning is, no doubt, challenging both to translate into english but moreover to grasp. But what’s your best guesses as to what distinguishes life “in the flesh” from life “in the Spirit”?
  3. Why might we think the Holy Spirit is an actual person and not only a way of speaking about the influence of Jesus on our mind and heart?
  4. Paul says someone without the Spirit not only does not submit to God’s will, but cannot. Why might that be?
  5. We typically ascribe to ourselves or to others the inclination to “people-please.” What motivates that? What do we or they get out of it? Aside from its excesses what kernel of good is in that? Why is the desire to please God a nourishing thing?
  6. What are several reasons one might make a moral choice--a choice between what one thinks is good or bad? How is worshipping God on account of what He’s done for us through Christ a different kind of motivation--especially when we make immoral choices?


  • I have always liked going into bookshops. When I was a young man, the mind, body and spirit section was tiny. But now it’s a whole wall in some shops. That’s what it’s all about – we all want the same thing. - Adrian Chiles
  • We are all of us born in moral stupidity, taking the world as an udder to feed our supreme selves. - George Eliot
  • I have learned to give up my need for control. - Harvey Weinstein
  • Remember, they're just jokes. We're all gonna die soon and there's no sequel, so remember that. - Ricky Gervais
  • We repudiated entirely customary morals, conventional and traditional wisdom. We recognized no moral obligation on us, no inner sanction, to conform or to obey. Before heaven we claimed to be our own judge in our own case. - John Maynard Keynes
  • I find VANITY engraved in capital letters, on myself and everything around me. - John Newton
  • . . .I still have more to prove. - Tom Brady
  • . . .without further orientation or choice is just another means by which I’m trying to look for satisfaction. Insofar as I keep choosing to try to find satisfaction in finite, created things--whether it’s sex or adoration or beauty of power--I’m going to be caught in a cycle where I’m more and more disappointed in those things and more dependent on those things. I keep choosing things with diminishing returns, and when that becomes habitual, and eventually necessary, then I forfeit my ability to choose. The thing has me now. - James K.A. Smith
  • The Lord help us to discover SELF in all its various windings, to resist it by the sword of the Spirit, as we would the devil, for surely—self is his great engine of evil. - John Newton
  • I came to see that my love for Emily was the love of a ghost for a ghost, and that the letters I had been writing to her were the letters of a hallucinated man, a man vainly trying to pretend to himself that he was the same man that he had been in 1914. - T.S. Eliot
  • ‘Our hearts and our thoughts are not in our power.’ Everyone who is humble and genuinely religious recognizes that this is entirely true. . . .Who is so happy as one who always ascends in his heart? But without divine assistance who can make it happen? - Augustine
  • I needed to believe in something stronger than my willpower. - Leslie Jamison, The Recovering
  • . . .in my late 20s, I discovered I was a Christian. I do not mean that I realized I believed in God. Nor do I mean that I decided to become a Christian, which would imply more agency on my part than I experienced. I mean only that somewhere, between all the running and the raging, the trans-Atlantic crossings and the reconfiguring of names, I had something to hold fast to. I had something I had to hold fast to. For the first time, there was a part of me I could not run away from. - Tara Isabella Burton
  • It is vanity to solicit honors, or to raise oneself to high station. It is vanity to be a slave to bodily desires,'(Gal.5:16) and to crave for things which bring certain retribution. It is vanity to wish for long life, if you care little for a good life. It is vanity to give thought only to this present life, and to care nothing for the life to come. It is vanity to love things that so swiftly pass away, and not to hasten onwards to that place where everlasting joy abides. Keep constantly in mind the saying, `The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. '(Eccles. 1:8). Strive to withdraw your heart from the love of visible things, and direct your affections to things invisible. - Thomas á Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
  • The belonging you seek is not behind you - it is ahead. - Maz Kanata, The Force Awakens
  • We sometimes speak of someone who’s been very ill as a shadow of their former self. If Paul is right, a Christian in this present life is a mere shadow of his or her future self. - N.T. Wright
  • So...Let me dive into the water
    Leave behind all that I've worked for
    Except what I remember and believe
    And when I stand on the farthest shore
    I will have all I need.
    - David Wilcox, “Farthest Shore”






  • The Whole Christ, a book by Sinclair Ferguson detailing a particular theological controversy in 18th century Scotland which has contemporary relevance for how we think about the Law in light of Jesus