SERIES: Guest Speakers
MESSAGE: Dr. Phil vs. Dr. Paul
SPEAKER: Nate Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Romans 8:1-6


Good morning, great to see so many beautiful faces this morning.  I've got a little challenge for you.  I challenged the 8:00 a.m. service to be louder than any other services and they did a pretty good job.  They were really, really loud.  So being that I am the student ministry's overseer, this is kind of a given.  So on the count of three, I want to hear you guys get louder than they did.  You have a lot more people in here, so it shouldn't be a problem.  So on the count of three, I want to hear you guys raise some ruckus, all right?  One, two, three.

Alright, you win so far but there's still the 11:15 service so you haven't done it yet, but we will see what happens.  Hey, go ahead and turn your bibles to Romans Chapter 8 Verse 1-6 for a message entitled Dr. Phil versus Dr. Paul.  Let's go ahead and open up with the word of prayer.

Lord, we come before you right now and we are excited, Lord.  We are thrilled because we have a chance to hear from you.  We have a chance for you to speak to us God.  As we open up your word, we know we're not just opening up any book.  We're a novel, Lord.  We're opening up your living word which is sharper than any two-edged sword.  And you desired to challenge us, to change us, to penetrate deep into our hearts and to give us the help we need and give us life Lord.  So we ask you to speak to us this morning, in your name we pray, Amen.

I have a question for you this morning.   Who in here has ever wanted to be a better person?  Everybody.  Now, I'm not just talking about spirits.  I'm talking about more generally, maybe physically, emotionally.  In general in your life, who wants to be a better person?  We all do.  To be honest, everyone wants to and this is the question that drives the economy of so many people today.  This drives the economy of so many Americans because everyone in this world is looking for ways to help themselves, looking for ways to become a better version of themselves.  And not just secular people but Christians, too, that's why we raised our hands.

This is the reason people get gym memberships.  Did you know there are over 29,000 fitness centers in America with a reported 41.3 million Americans who are active health club members?  This is the reason people get plastic surgery.  Did you know there are over 60,000 plastic and cosmetic surgeons in America with an estimated 10.2 million cosmetic procedures performed each year, 10.2 million?  This is why there are so many self-help books when you go to Borders.  In 2005, the U.S. self-help market was worth $9.8 billion in 2005.

In 2005, $693 million worth of self-improvement books were sold.  If you go on right now and look under the subject of self-help, you will find 125,632 books ranging from titles like "Overcoming Anger", "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", "Chicken Soup for the Soul", "Awaken the Giant Within", "Life Without Limits", "Achieve Your Dreams and Make Yourself Happy", "Self Matters", and my favorite and this is a real book, "Who Moved My Mouse: A Self-Help Book for Cats".

That book exists.  If your cat struggles with self-image and is overweight, there is a book for that.  You can get help for your cat.  When you go on Google and search self-help, you will get 93,800,000 results ranging from books, services, life coaching, CDs and DVDs.

Now, although that sounds crazy, we look at the statistics.  We look at the self-help market in America and we say, "That's ridiculous.  That's absurd."  The truth is that people want to help themselves.  Well, here in Romans Chapter 8 Verses 1-6, we are going to see a showdown of philosophies.  We're going to see Dr. Phil versus Dr. Paul.  We're going to see self-help versus spirit help.  We're going to see the power of determination versus the power of deliverance.

And here we will see that true help doesn't come from the gym or plastic surgery or books or CDs or DVDs, it comes from one source and that is the Holy Spirit.  That is the only place that we can get help for ourselves.  As a matter of fact, this morning if you really want to help yourself, you will stop trying to fix your flesh and you will start submitting to the spirit.  You will submit to God's will for your life.

Sometimes the questions ask among Christians, "Have you been filled with the Holy Sprit?"  Who's ever had that question asked to themselves?  Have you been filled with the Holy Spirit?  You know, this question is often misinterpreted.  We're not really sure how to answer that.  We don't know if this is some kind of a force like in Star Wars or if this is just a relationship with God.  We don't really know what to answer.  And usually, the criteria that is looked for in a spirit-filled believer is the operation of certain spiritual gifts, for example tongues or miracles or something else of that sort.

Well, Romans Chapter 8 is a description of the spirit-filled life and there is not a single mention of tongues or of healing, or of any other spiritual gift that some people put such a high premium on.  The emphasis of a spirit-filled life found here in Romans Chapter 8 is on successful spiritual living.  The emphasis is on holiness, not healings; on sanctification, not science and wonders; on spiritual victory, not spiritual visions.  It is on fact, not feeling.  The emphasis is not living under the bondage and control of sin but instead living in victory over sins.

Now, this is not a message to criticize spiritual gifts.  And this is not to say that there isn't a place for spiritual gifts because there certainly is.  But a proper and correct definition of a spirit-filled life is a spirit controlled life.

Question for you this morning, are you a spirit-controlled believer?  I don't mean have you asked Jesus to come into your life.  I don't mean do you go to church and carry a bible.  I don't mean do you know how to sing Amazing Grace backwards and quote John 3:16.  I mean, is your life 100% controlled by the Holy Spirit?  When you wake up, where you go, what you do, what you say, what you listen to, what you watch, how you act, how you conduct your business, how you conduct your marriage, how you raise your family, is your life 100% controlled by the Holy Spirit?  Unfortunately, not every Christian is.

And that usually results from one of three causes.  Number one, they don't want to be and if such is the case, then it's highly questionable that they are Christians at all.  Number two, they aren't taking hold of the massive resources that God has made available to them and number three, they are unaware of the facts concerning their victory over sin's power.

Well this morning, we will seek to do what we can to remedy these second two problems.  We will inform you about the facts concerning your victory over sin and we will encourage you to take hold of God's power in your life.  We will see how you can take hold of the help that the Holy Spirit wants to bring into your life.  And this morning, we're going to look at three things.  We're going to look at the realization of our help, the root of our help and the response to our help.

And thus we're going to see the Bible divides every single human being into three categories -- the natural man, the carnal man and the spiritual man.  Another question for you this morning, which one of those are you?  Because you're on the list, every human being is one of those three people -- natural, carnal or spiritual.  The natural man where I Corinthians 2:14 speaks up and says, "The natural man receives not the things of God neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned."  Maybe you're the carnal man, the person who is in an arrested state of spiritual development.

Paul described this miserable state in Romans 7 where in an absolute desperation, he cried out, "I am carnal sold under sin," and we'll learn a little bit more about this person here in Romans 8.  And then there is the spiritual person, and this is where we're going to focus on.  This is what we're going to hone in on this morning and dive into in-depth here in Romans Chapter 8.

Before I move on though, I want to point out that we can't truly appreciate the glory and the magnitude of Romans Chapter 8 without first understanding Romans Chapter 7.

You know, Romans 8 is considered one of the most incredible chapters in the entire bible and yet, without understanding Romans 7, it's lost.  As a matter of fact, Jay Vernon McGee, a great commentator said this.  He said that he had a professor who was a commentator that would often be asked to review people's commentaries on Romans.

And this professor, the first thing he would do when he would receive the commentary is look at the author's view of Romans Chapter 7 and he would base their entire work off of that chapter.  See, Romans Chapter 7, Paul describes his struggle with this carnal dilemma where he cries out, "Oh, wretched man that I am."

Romans Chapter 8 is the way out of that dilemma and the way in to spirit-led living.  Romans 7 is the struggle of a man trying to live a godly life without the power of the Holy Spirit.  In Romans Chapter 7, the word "I" is used 30 times without a single mention of the Holy Spirit.  Compared to Romans 8, there are over 20 references to the Holy Spirit working in the believer's life.  Think of it this way.  If Romans 7 is the wilderness, Romans Chapter 8 is the promise land or the land of promises.

If Romans 7 is the storm, Romans 8 is the port where we can cast our anchor.  In the 7th Chapter, we see a man in sin.  In the 8th chapter, we see a man in Christ.  In Chapter 7, he is a wretched man seeking deliverance.  In the 8th Chapter, he is a victorious man happy in his security in Christ.  In the 7th Chapter, it was Christ's work for us.  In the 8th chapter, it is Christ's work in us.  In the 7th Chapter, we are a victim crying out, "Who shall deliver me."  In the 8th Chapter, we are a victor saying, "In all these things, we are more than conquerors."

Let's dive in Romans Chapter 8 Verses 1-6.  Let's read it together.  "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who were in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law could not do and that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh on account of sin.  He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  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, the things of the Spirit, for to be carnally-minded is death but to be spiritually-minded is life and peace."

Let's look at our first point, the realization of our help.  Look at Verse 1 with me again.  It says, "There is therefore now no condemnation."  Stop there.  Remember when we see this word "therefore", what question do we ask?  What is a therefore?  And this is a pointer word that points back to a thought previously mentioned in the passage before.  And in this case, it's not simply drawing on Romans Chapter 7, but instead it's drawing on the epistle as a whole up to this point.  Keep in mind, Paul has been making a case over the past seven chapters and now he comes to a major conclusion.

In the first seven chapters of Romans, Paul is referring to the act of justification by faith alone.  And here in Chapter 8, he makes a major division in this epistle.  And from this point on, the focus and flow moves towards the result, not the act, the result of the outworking of justification in a believer's life.  You know, many believers make a fatal mistake at this point in their Christian walk.  What I mean by that is that many believers are content with justification, just justification or at least their limited view of justification.

They come, they receive and confess Jesus Christ and then nothing happens.  There is no change.  There is no growth.  There is no transformation.  They stay the same.  Sure, they buy a Bible.  They come to church every now and then.  They learn the songs.  You know what, they might even get a "what would Jesus do" bracelet just to spice it up a little bit.  But there's no change.  They forget that after birth, there must be growth.

See, it's not enough to just come forward.  You must also move forward.  You must also grow.  And now, Paul is saying that because we are justified by faith alone, this is the result.  This is the outworking.  And Paul is more or less asking us to realize that we are saved to realize it.

Question, do you realize that you are saved?

And you say, "Well yeah, I said my sinner's prayer this time on this date and you know that I was saved."  No.  Not that you know when you were saved but do you realize that you are saved?  Do you comprehend that you are saved?  When Satan brings doubt into your life, when he brings lies into your life, can you say beyond the shadow of a doubt with assurance, "Get behind me"?  Can you respond in faith knowing and realizing that you are saved by the grace and the blood of Jesus Christ?  See, Paul wants us to understand the reality of a great truth.  And that truth is that we have help.  We have help.

You know, it's always nice to have help, isn't it?  It's always nice to have assistance whether you're doing something that requires physical labor, whether you're in a fight with somebody who is a little bit bigger than you in grade school and you need that help, whether you just need the help of a parent and you're doing homework, or you need financial assistance, it's always nice to have help.  And the beauty of the gospel is that we have help.  We have help.  We have assistance through Jesus Christ.  And Paul announces the wonderful news that there will be no condemnation.  There will be no condemnation, no sentencing or punishment for the sins that believers have or will commit.

You know, this word "no" carries the idea of complete cessation, complete fulfillment.  And Satan absolutely hates and challenges a truth like this.  He hates it because it cuts him off at the ankles.  This truth takes the proverbial baseball bat to Satan's knees.  It drops him to the ground that there is no condemnation in Christ.  Why?  Well because Satan is the great deceiver.  He is a liar and his whole goal and aim is to undermine Christ to take the truth that he has given and replace it with a lie.  You know, conviction from the Holy Spirit after we have sinned is a biblical teaching.  We're supposed to feel that.  But when that guilt continuous after forgiveness has come into our lives and controls our lives for months or even years, that is Satan.  Whether it's a sin we've committed or whether it's sin someone has committed against us and we just can't forgive them for years, that's a lie from Satan that he replaces with the truth that there is no condemnation for those who were in Christ Jesus.

And if he can get us to believe that we are helpless, if he can get you to believe that there is no hope, that you will never get over that sin in your life, that God can never accept you as you are, that you will never be a good husband or you will never be a good wife, or you will never be a good parent, or you will never be successful on your walk with God.  If he can get you to believe that, that you are helpless, then he has done his job.

This truth is reinforced later in Verse 31 where Paul says, "If God is for us, then who can be against us?"  And again in Verse 33, Paul says, "Who shall bring the charge against God's elect?  It is God who justifies."  Basically the thought is this, if the highest court in the universe justifies us and declares us not guilty, then who can declare us guilty?

Well, certainly not Satan.  He no longer has any rightful claim on our lives as Christians.  Think of it this way.  If you were convicted of a crime and you fought it in the courts until it went all the way to the Supreme Court and at the Supreme Court, they declared you not guilty.  Well if that's the case, then no law in the land can change it.  It doesn't matter who declares you guilty.  The Supreme Court has justified you and declared you not guilty.  You don't go around for the rest of your life saying, "Man, I wonder if the cops are going to come for me.  I wonder what's going to happen.  I wonder when I'm going to get what I deserve."  No.  You've been declared not guilty by the Supreme Court of America.  And in our lives, Satan the accuser is always around to remind us of our mistakes, to remind us of our flaws, but God, those beautiful words, but God accepts us and receives us no matter what we have done.

Maybe you've committed a sin that you just don't think you can be forgiven of.  You've done something and you say, "Nate, God could never really forgive me of what I've done."

"I've messed up my life.  I've messed up my marriage.  I've messed up my family.  I've messed up my business.  I've ruined my life.  There's no way that God can forgive me of this." Christian, but God, but God.  Not only does he forgive you, He accepts and He receives you no matter what you've done.  His blood covers a multitude of sin.  The great difference between a believer and a non-believer lies in this fact.  The non-believer's judgment day is before Him.  The believer's judgment day is behind Him.  That's the beauty of the gospel.  If we have Jesus Christ in our hearts, when we come to Him, he judges our sin.  He condemns it and there is no judgment before us.  If we do not, then our judgment day is forever hanging ahead of us.  This chapter begins with no condemnation and it ends with no separation and sandwiched in between is no defeat.

Notice it doesn't say "no false" or "no failures", or "no inconsistencies" because as a human being, we will always mess up.  We will always mess up.  But that does not mean that if such things come, the believer has no responsibility for them because we definitely do, but it means that their occurrence in our lives does not affect our status before God.  The occurrence of sin in a believer's life does not affect their status before God.  They might affect our personal feelings for God but they do not affect our relationship with God.  But keep this in mind, deliverance from divine condemnation doesn't mean deliverance from divine discipline.  The Bible tells us, "For those whom he loves, he disciplines and he scourges every son he receives," nor does deliverance from God's condemnation mean escape from our accountability to God.

Galatians 6:7 says, "Do not be deceived; God is not mocked."  See, it's normal to have divine discipline in our lives as a Christian because it shows that God loves us.  And this comes in the form often of guilt, of knowledge that we've done something wrong.  This is why when we hear a passage or we read a passage in scripture that convicts us, we feel that conviction because that's God, the Holy Spirit letting us know there's an area of our lives that we need to change.  But the flipside is that even though there is discipline, even though there is conviction, there is no condemnation, that there is no condemnation for sin in our lives because God forgives us of our sin.

So first of all, I want you to understand, I want you to realize that we have help, to realize that we have been forgiven.  And second, let's look at the root of our help, Versus 1 through 3.  Let's continue.  "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."  Stop there.  It says to those who are in Christ Jesus, this could be better be translated those who enter into union with Him, those who abide there, those who abide in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation.  Old things are passed away.  All things will become new."  Ephesians 2:6 says, "He has risen us up together and made us to sit together in the heavenly in Christ Jesus."

We're told in Psalm 91:1, "He that dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."  This word "dwells in" means in quietude and resting, enduring and remaining with consistency.  Does that describe your walk with God?  Are you enduring, remaining with consistency?  Or is your Christian life ups and downs, highs and then deep lows?  Hebrews 4 says, "There remains a rest for the people of God, for he that has entered into this rest has ceased from his own labor."  Ephesians 6 tells us, "Stand in the Lord and in the power of His might."

This morning, are you abiding in Christ?  Are you dwelling in Christ?

Not "Are you a Christian?" not "Have you asked Jesus into your life" but are you abiding there?  Are you dwelling there?  See, this is the source.  This is the root of our help.  I hear many Christians come to me and state that they aren't growing or flourishing in their walk with God the way that they want.  And this is always the first question I ask them, "How was your personal relationship and quiet time with God?"  "What do you mean?  I go to church."

No.  How was your personal relationship?  How was your personal quiet time and walk with God?  Are you abiding in Him?  Are you dwelling in Him?  Look at Verse 1, it continues.  "Who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit?"  It's interesting that this word "walk" is used because see, to walk is a picture word.  It's something that we're all familiar with.  It's something that most of us do.  And to be honest in general, walking isn't it a spectacular thing to do.  After the service, when it ends and it concludes and you guys stand up and walk out of here, no one is going to watch you and go, "Oh my gosh, they're walking.  I've been crawling for 20 years.  I didn't know this was possible.  It opens new horizons.  You can walk?"  No one's going to be really amazed by that.

Now, if after this service ends you get up and sprint as fast as you possibly can and push those doors open, people are going to say, "What's wrong?  Where is he going?  What's happening?  What going on?"  But if you walk, they'll really not going to care.  See, walking speaks of steady motion, not spurts but regulated, continual movement.

Some experts have even said that it's perhaps better for you than running.  Walking implies effort, having a direction with a destination in mind.  Think of it this way.  In a mall, men walk with a direction in mind, "Get what I need and get out of there."  Women, not so much.  Women meander, "Oh, look at that candle.  That smells nice."  "Oh, look at that stuff over here."  "Oh, look at that dress."  They are just kind of going with the flow.  Men want to get out of there as quick as they possibly can.  They have a direction and a destination in mind, because to walk also implies making progress, getting somewhere, getting out of there.  This is all to say that growth in the Christian life is not overnight.  You don't ask Jesus to come into your life and instantly all of your temptations, your trials, and your struggles are taken away.  And if it is, then it's likely artificial like the seeds sown on rocky ground.

We live here in America in a fast food culture.  We like things fast and convenient.  We like drive-thru, whatever.  As a matter for fact, there's a growing trend in America which is drive-thru grocery stores.  Really?  So now, we've have taken away the only source of exercise for so many Americans, which is pushing a cart through a store to get more food?  Really?  You know, we like it fast.  We like it quick.  We want to get what we want and get out of there and go home.

Know this, there is no drive-thru Christianity.  There is no fast food holiness.  You can't get it in a convenient package and immediately have all your problems taken care of.  True spiritual growth will be gradual and yet very real.  You'll notice it in your life.  It won't be instant.  It will be gradual and very real.

A good friend of mine, Levi Lesco, posted on Twitter the other day.  And he said, "Change on the inside is an event.  Change on the outside is a process."  See justification, forgiveness on the inside happens instantaneously.  Sanctification, change on the outside is a daily process, a lifelong process where the believer is constantly and consistently giving over areas of their lives over to God and letting him take control.

Colossians 2:6 says, "As you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, walk in him."  Galatians 5 says, "Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." Romans 13:13 says, "Let us walk properly as in the day."  Ephesians 5:2 says, "And walk in love as Christ also has loved us."  1 John 2:6 says, "He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk as He walked."  1 John 1:7 says, "If we walk in the light as He is the light, we have fellowship one with another in the blood of Jesus Christ."

Are you walking with God?  If someone were to look at your life, every area of your life, even in the areas that you're ashamed of, could it be said of you that you were walking with God, that you are abiding with Him, that you were dwelling in Him?  Look at Verse 2.  "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law."  This one sentence is the root of our freedom in contrast to Romans Chapter 7.  When we enter into this union with Jesus Christ, we find a new power and that is the power of the Holy Spirit.  That is the power of the law of the Spirit.  The law of the Spirit means placing myself as a bondslave to Jesus Christ.  It is a blessed bondage.  The only way to be free from the power of sin is to be a slave to Jesus Christ.  The only way to be free from your struggles and your sin is to be bound to Jesus.

And the Holy Spirit is an incredible thing.  When God calls us to light and fight the good path of faith, He is not asking us to do it in our own strength.  He's not asking us to go out there and with determination live the spirit-filled life.  David in God's strength as a shepherd boy defeated Goliath.  David in his own strength couldn't even overcome temptation.  Samson in God's strength could slay a thousand, but in his own strength he couldn't even overcome passion.  Peter in God's strength was a bold preacher who would stop at nothing including whipping, imprisonment and ultimately death.  Peter in his own strength was ashamed to even acknowledge that he knew Jesus.

Maybe there is something in your life that you can't accomplish on your own, maybe a sin that you can't overcome, an area that you cannot get under control.  You've tried.  You have but you can't do it.  You can't help yourself.  You've done everything you can.  You've done everything you can think of and yet you still fall short.

Today is the day to stop trying to fix your flesh and to start submitting to the Spirit.  Now you say, "Alright Nate, I'll play your game."  Does this mean that I can say, "Well, I want to be a millionaire."  So if I ask the Holy Spirit, submit to Him, ask Him to empower me, will I become rich?  Will that happen?  No of course not.  Keep in mind, anything we ask of the Lord must be in line with His general and specific will for our lives.  So I encourage you to take some time tonight and look at the things that you're asking God for and see if they line up with what His word says and ask yourself this question, "Are the things I'm asking for in my life lining up with God's will for my life?"

Look at Verse 3, "For what the law could not do and that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of the sinful flesh on account of sin.  He condemned sin in the flesh."  You know, the law served its purpose.  It was both righteous and efficient.  And yet despite these considerations, we have to remember that while the law had authority to condemn sin, it had absolutely no power to conquer sin.

And as a Christian, we can live without the condemnation of Verse 1 because of the condemnation of Verse 3.  We don't have to be condemned by sin because Jesus Christ has already condemned sin.  Let's look at our third and final point, the response to our help.  Look at Verses 4 through 6, "That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  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 on the things of the Spirit, for to be carnally-minded is death but to be spiritually-minded is life and peace."

I mentioned earlier that the bible dives people into three categories -- the natural, the spiritual and the carnal.  Well these three categories are really three different responses to our help from God.

You can either ignore the help.  You can accept the help or you can reject the help.  Look at Verse 5.  It says, "Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh."  Here in Verse 5 is the natural person in all of their glory.  See, the flesh speaks to that old nature capable of the most ungodly, vicious and depraved sins and yet it's amazingly chameleon-like.  It's capable of being incredibly religious, delighting in outward ceremonial observance.  It can come to church.  It can carry a bible.  It can sing a song.  It's even capable of self-inflicted pain and denial.  It says that they set their minds on the things of the flesh.  This word "minds" carries the idea of cherishing, desiring, to be absorbed in, to talk of, to think of, to follow after.  See, the flesh can either be physical, what can I eat, drink, watch, listen to, say, do, or it can be spiritual, my personal happiness, my prosperity, my self-glorification.

So how can you tell if you are living after the flesh of the spirit?  Well, what controls your thoughts?  What is always on your mind?  Me, me, me or God, God, God?  My glorification or God's glorification?  My personal happiness or my personal salvation?  What is on your mind?  What are you obsessed with?  And in contrast, there is the one who is spiritually-minded which is life and peace.  Look at the end of Verse 6, "To be spiritually-minded is life and peace."  So just as fleshly, people are obsessed with the physical.  The believer should be consumed and even obsessed with the things of God to cherish, desire, talk of, think of, follow after.

Colossians 3:2 says, "In view of the fact that you are raised with Christ, be constantly seeking the things which are above, not on things at this Earth for you are dead and your life is hidden with Christ."  And then of course there's still the carnal person of Verse 6, "To be carnally-minded is death."  The ultimate tragedy, the wasted life, the person who like Lot tries to live in both worlds and impacts neither, the person who instead of turning their world upside down has turned upside down by their world, the miserable person of Romans Chapter 7.

Are you sitting in here this morning?  Do you claim to be a Christian and yet cussed like the world?  Do you claim to be a Christian and yet get drunk like the world or do drugs like the world?  Do you claim to be a Christian and yet have sex outside of marriage?  Do you claim to be a Christian yet your marriage is falling apart?  Do you claim to be a Christian and yet you haven't talked to your kids in weeks?  Do you claim to be a Christian and yet when the world looks at your life, they find no difference except that you come to church every now and then?  Let me tell you, you're never going to be able to fix it on your own.

You're never going to be able to remedy the sins and the struggles in your life.  The only person that can fix your life is Jesus Christ.  The only person that can bring you help is the Holy Spirit.

Church, it's time to step out of the mediocrity of carnality and to step into the dynamic Christian life as it was meant to be.  If you're not yet a believer and you're trying to help yourself, today is the day to give up, to become a spiritual person instead of a natural one.  If you really want to help yourself, stop trying to fix the flesh and start submitting to the Spirit.  The gym isn't going to help you.  Plastic surgery won't help you.  Self-help books won't help you.  Life coaching will not help you.  CDs and DVDs will not help you.  You will not help you.  The only thing that can help you remedy your life is a relationship with Jesus Christ which will free you from the power of sin and help you conquer your sin and your struggles through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Let's pray.

Lord, we thank you for your word that does not return void, that is powerful and that cuts us deep.

Lord, I pray for every believer in this room.  Lord, I pray that you would help them to realize and stand in the truth that there is no condemnation Lord.  That they will be rest assured in their salvation based on the root which is you, what you've done for them.  And Lord, I pray for those in here who are either (a) not Christians or (b) who are carnal Christians, living life just like the world.  I pray Lord that you will help them to respond to you by accepting you this morning, by giving you their life, by accepting the help only you can bring by bringing them forgiveness.

As we're praying, we have our eyes closed and our heads bowed.  If you're in here this morning and you do not have a relationship with Christ, you've been ignoring him.  And you know that if you are to die right now, based on how you've lived your life, you would not go to heaven.  You would be judged and you would go to hell.  I want to give you an opportunity to be sure that you can go to heaven.  If you would like to give your heart to Jesus Christ this morning and start living for Him and receive the help He wants to offer, I just want you to raise your hand up so I can see it.  Just raise it up.  You say, "Nate, pray for me", in the back to the right, praise the Lord, anyone else?

Maybe you're in the balcony, in the family room, in the hub, wherever you are.  Just raise your hand up.  You say, "Nate, I need Jesus Christ.  I can't do it on my own anymore.  I have so many problems.  Everything is falling apart.  I need Jesus in my life.  I need His help."  Just raise your hand up so I can see it.  To the right, here in the front to the right, in the back to the left, anyone else, just raise it up.  Do you feel the Holy Spirit tugging on your heart?  Don't resist Him today.  Accept the gift He wants to give, anyone else?

Maybe you have accepted Jesus Christ before, but you've seen your life be into drift from him.  You've seen your desires changed and when you look at your life now, you're not the person that you want to be.  And you recognize this morning, you need to rededicate your heart to Him, you need to ask Him to help you turn your life around and be the person God has called you to be.  If that's you this morning, you'd like to rededicate your heart to Jesus Christ, I want you to raise up your hand.  Just raise it up.  Tons over here to the right, over in the center, to the left, praise the Lord.  Just raise your hand up, Amen. 

Lord, I thank you for all these that I have acknowledged their need for you either for the first time or again.  And I pray that you will now help them to stand for you and be bold as they make a commitment to you.  And as we close in this last song, we're going to stand up and sing.  I'm going to ask you, if you raised your hand either to accept Christ or to rededicate your heart to Him, I'm going to ask you to get up from where you're standing and come stand here in the front and say a prayer to accept Jesus Christ.  And you say, "Hold on a second Nate, I don't mind raising my hand when everyone has their eyes closed and their heads bowed but standing up in front of a bunch of people, that's a different story."

If you can't stand for Jesus Christ in a room full of people who love Him, how are you going to do it in a world that hates Him?  So I'm going to ask you as we sing this last song to get up from wherever you're seated, come up here to the front, stand here in the front and ask Jesus Christ to come into your life and to forgive you of your sins.  Let's close and sing a song, Amen.

Before we lead these people in a prayer to accept Jesus Christ, if there's anyone else, you come right now.  I'll wait for you.  If there's anyone else that needs to accept Jesus Christ, you do it right now.  Get up from where you're standing and come up here to the front as we lead these people to accept Jesus, anyone else?

Praise the Lord.  Can I just say personally, I'm thrilled and excited for what God is going to do in your life.  I don't know what's going on.  I don't know what sins or struggles you have, what you need help with but I know that Jesus is stronger.  And I know that His plans for you are of good, not of evil, plans to give you a future and a hope.  And let me tell you, they're incredible and it's going to be exciting to see how God changes your life.

I'm going to ask you to repeat a prayer after me.  It's simply a prayer asking Jesus to come into your life, to forgive you of your sin and to help you to live for him.  I want you to say it from your heart, say it to him and mean it, all right?

Repeat after me, Lord I know that I'm a sinner.  I know that I've done many things that have hurt you.

But Lord, I believe you died on the cross for my sins and that you rose again.  So Lord, come into my life.  Forgive me of my sin.  I turn from my old life and I turn to you.  Help me to live for you in the power of your Holy Spirit.  In your name I pray, Amen.

Amen, congratulations.


Dr. Phil vs. Dr. Paul - Romans 8:1-6 |
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