Sermon:  The Forgotten Gift

Summary:  Jesus not only gives us the gift of forgiveness, but also the gift of renewal 
through the power of the Spirit who enables us to grow in godly character by transforming 
our behavior through transforming our mind and heart, giving us a clearer picture and 
understanding of ourselves, godliness, the world, and the change that needs to take place 
in us.

Know:  We have the ability, through the Spirit, to grow spiritually in order to live the Christian 

Feel:  A desire to grow in "Christian" character and intellect 

Do:  Reflect on the renewing ministry of the Spirit (behavior, character, intellect, etc.), and 
identify ways this happens in your life.  Also identify areas of struggle, their causes, and 
possible solutions.  

Text:  Rom 7-8

Scripture Reading:  John 14:15-16

1.  Won't be long before we at part of year people exchange gifts
	a.  Remember as child pile of wrapped presents in the corner
	b.  We asked for hints on what was in those wrapped gifts
	c.  If someone gave you a gift, wouldn't you want to know what it is?  
	     wouldn't you look forward to opening it?
2.  We have a marvelous gift from God.  What is it?
	a.  Rom 6:23 - The free gift of God is eternal life
	b.  There is another gift that is part of the package
3.  It is the forgotten gift - For one reason or another, not talk a lot about it
	a.  Life and Death statements:
	b.  Mk 16:15 - He who believes and is baptized shall be saved…
	c.  Acts 2:38 - Repent, baptized, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
		- What about the gift we receive?  
		- Calls it a gift, not an entitlement.
		- But the Spirit is something we absolutely need - not optional
	d. Rom 8:9 - If not have the Spirit of Christ, not belong to Him
4.  What does the Spirit do?
	a.  Most studies I grew up with was about what the Spirit does NOT do
		- But I want to know what the Spirit is doing
		- Several ministries the Spirit does, lets look at a specific one
	b.  (2 Thess 2:13) - Sanctification
		- Set apart, or dedicated
		- Have been "re-characterized," you have a new purpose/function
	c.  (Titus 3:5) - Renewal
		- Not just that you were saved
		- You also have been renewed
	d.  More than an extreme make over
		- It is a transformation from the inside out
		- You have been renewed
5.  The Spirit Renews us.  Will look at 3 types of renewals:

I.  Renewal to a New Person
	A.  We are no longer who we were before conversion
		1.  Part of the Spirit's ministry is to transform you
		2.  Spirit of God, the "breath" of God breathes new life in you
	B.  The Bible speaks of this in several different ways (radical statements)
		1.  (Rom 6:4, 16) - Resurrection to newness of life
			a.  You walk in newness of life
			b.  You have switched masters, no longer serve sin, but God
		2.  (Col 3:8-10) - Putting off old and putting on new
			a.  Your very nature has changed
			b.  No more abusive speech, wrath, lying, etc.
		3.  (Rom 12:2) - A new way of thinking
			a.  Do not be conformed to this world
			b.  Be transformed by the renewing of your mind
			c.  God guides your thinking in ALL things
				- Whether it is scientific (it is his world, he created it)
				- Whether it is philosophical (fear of Lord beginning of 
				- Whether it is relational (God is love, not Hollywood)
		4.  (John 3:3, 5) - Being born again, (of water and spirit)
			a.  Being born again is to be born of water and Spirit
			b.  Such a radical change, you are born again
	C.  ILL: Read about homeless man, drunk, hung out in alley outside shop
		1.  Shop owner wanted to help, and got many people in on it
			a.  There was a clothes store, got him a new suit
			b.  An apartment owner got him apartment, first month free
			c.  One of the businesses gave him a job
			d.  Took up collection, gave him cash for needful things
		2.  After cleaning him up, was a completely new man
			a.  Did not even look like the same person
			b.  Combed, groomed, successful looking
			c.  Things were finally going to change for this guy
		3.  First day job, reporters, mayor was there, man was no show
			a.  Waited, and waited.  What happened to him?
			b.  Went to his apartment, he was not there
			c.  Finally found him in the alley, still wearing his suit
			d.  Suit a little dirty, wrinkled, had 5-oclock shadow, drunk
		4.  This demonstrated a truth
			a.  Changing the label, wrapping, outside is not real change
			b.  What is needed is an inner change
			c.  All we can do is change the outside
			d.  Through the Spirit, true transformation can take place
	D.  As a new person, the old nature is gone
		1.  You been crucified with Christ
		2.  You have "risen from the dead"
		3.  You are now being conformed to His image

II.  Renewal to a New Power
	A.  We need this power.  (Rom. 7:14-24)
		1.  Can you relate to this at all?
		2.  This passage is full of hopelessness
		3.  It seems that we are stuck
		4.  Is this the life of a Christian???
			a.  I don't think so
			b.  This is talking about life if you are under law & therefore 
			     enslaved to the power of sin
			c.  We have been freed from law, sin, and death
			d.  We are under grace, not law
	B.  Notice what happens when in Christ.  Don't stop at chapter 7…
		1.  (Rom 8:1) - No  condemnation,  but don’t stop there
		2.  (Rom 8:2-13) - WHY there is no condemnation
			a.  Free from law of sin & death through Law of Spirit of life
			b.  v.7-8 - Not even able to serve God in the flesh, like in 
			     chapter 7
			c.  v.9 - Spirit is in you, therefore you belong to Christ
			d.  v.13 - By the Spirit, but to death the deeds of the body!
		3.  (Rom 8:26) - Spirit helps us in our weakness
		4.  We are given POWER to put to death the deeds of the flesh
	C.  ILL:  It is like Rover - Dead all over
		1.  Rover was about to be dead all over, Rover fell into a pit.  
		2.  Farmer saw it, figured neither pit nor dog worth saving
			a.  Began to fill up the pit with dirt
			b.  Rover felt the clumps of dirt hit his back
			c.  What to do?  What to do?
		3.  He shook off the dirt as it hit his back
			a.  Pile of dirt beneath him
			b.  Stepped up on the pile
			c.  Continued to shake it off, and step up……over and over
		4.  Finally, he stepped OUT of the pit victoriously (Rom 8:37-39)
			a.  We overwhelmingly conquer through Him
			b.  We are more than conquerors
	D.  Which scenario is yours?  Chapter 7 or 8?
		1.  Is it, "I know I need to do better, I want to, but just can't"
		2.  Or is it, "I am putting to death the deeds of the flesh"
		3.  Satan will try an bury you alive - throw all kinds of dirt
		4.  Don't let it sit there, you have the ability to shake it off

III.  Renewal to a new Perspective
	A.  New perspective on life.
		1.  There are many things we thought were okay, but realize they 
		     are ungodly, they are wrong, they are sin!
		2.  Not everything the world calls good is good
			a.  Greatest thing to make lots of money - wrong
			b.  Sex before marriage, gay marriage - world say it okay
			c.  Getting revenge on your enemies is sweet - wrong  
		3.  We walk according to the Spirit, new perspective on life
	B.  Problem is that many Christians are still in chapter 7, or go back to it
		1.  The minute you become Xn, Satan will throw dirt
		2.  (2 Pet 2:20) If you go back to where you were, worse off
			a.  Like dog returning to his own vomit
			b.  Like a cleaned up pig going back to the mud
				- What's in that mud?  Feces
				- Want to go and roll around in that junk?  No
		3.  Why Christians not make it to chapter 8?  Because have forgot
			a.  (2 Pet 1:9) - Forgotten purification from your former sins
				- Your former sins is FECES
				- Selfish ambition accumulate money, power, prestige
				- Mistreating others to make me look better
				- Revenge, homosexual acts, heterosexual acts 
				   (outside marriage)
				- Cheating, lying, stealing, anger, abusive speech
			b.  (Titus 2:11-12) - Forgotten grace that is to change us
				- If truly understand, experience grace, changes you
				- Grace not mean anything without Righteous…
				- (Rom 3:22-26) - 
					-- Righteousness - God is "just"
					-- Grace - God is the "justifier" by offering 
					    Jesus as sacrifice
	C.  ILL:  Little Billy learned about grace and righteousness
		1.  Foster homes, was a problem child, no one would keep him
		2.  Went to home of a Christian, loved him, but no change
			a.  Had hit another child in the home
			b.  Why did you do it?  "I didn't like the way he looked at me"
			c.  Also said - I don’t like the way your looking at me either!
		3.  Father of home told him he probably never experienced grace
			a.  Billy - "Grace?  What's that?"
			b.  Father - "It when you supposed to be punished, but aren't
			c.  Billy's - "Oh so there is not going to be any punishment?"
			d.  Father - No, there will still have to be punishment
			e.  Billy - "I knew it, I can take whatever you dish out!  Let's 
			     do it!"
		4.  Father stood up, got a spanking paddle, handed it to his wife
			a.  Bent over as the wife began to spank the Father, hard
			b.  Smack!  Smack!   Beads of sweat form on Father's face
			c.  Billy - Wh..what are you doing?   Stop! Stop this, please, 
			     I'll never do it again, just stop!
			d.  Father took Billy in his lap, hugged him, and said, "grace"
	D.  Jesus did the same
		1.  But it was not smack, but clang, clang, as the nails went in
		2.  (2 Cor 5:21) - Made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf
		3.  Suffered as embezzler, thief, liar, cheat, adulterer, fornicator, 
		     wife beater, drunkard, child molester, murderer, etc.
		4.  Suffered for what you did.  Why?  You didn't deserve it.
			a.  He loves you, wanted to pull you out of pile of feces
			b.  Cleans you up, and brings you into fellowship with God

1.  Jesus has given you a great gift, salvation AND the Spirit (invitation)
	a.  If already a Christian, don't overlook ministry of the Spirit
	b.  It is a great encouragement
	c.  Also, helps us to understand that we don't struggle alone, we have a 
2.  Jesus has given a way out of the muck, and a way to stay out of it
	a.  Don't have to remain in "chapter 7" and be stuck
	b.  Can be in chapter 8, put to death to deeds of flesh
3.  Where are you at?  In or out of the muck?

Small Group Notes:  The Forgotten Gift

Summary:  Jesus not only gives us the gift of forgiveness, but also the gift of renewal through 
the power of the Spirit who enables us to grow in godly character by transforming our behavior 
through transforming our mind and heart, giving us a clearer picture and understanding of ourselves, 
godliness, the world, and the change that needs to take place in us.

- What is the best gift you ever received?


1.  (Titus 3:5) - Discuss what the washing and renewal are in this passage

2.  (Rom 7:14-24) - Describe your reactions as you read this passage.  

3.  (Rom 8:1-13; Titus 3:5) Discuss reasons why God grants the gift of the Spirit to us.  What if we 
didn't have the Spirit?

4.  What is our role in the Christian life vs. what the Spirit's role is in our lives?  Which is more 
important, human effort, or the Spirit's ministry?  (Note: You may want to reflect on Rom 8:26-27 
or 1 Cor 2:12-14 as an example)


5.  Describe some of the "renewal" that has happened in your life since becoming a Christian (behavior, 
way of thinking, character, intellect, etc.).  Give some examples from your own life.

6.  Describe some ways you struggle with the changes you know are to take place in your life.  What 
are the possible causes?

7.  Take inventory of some of the possible solutions to your struggles.  Make a commitment to at least 
one of them.