June 27 – July 1, 2022

June 27 – July 1, 2022

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Read Romans 8:9-11

“You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” (Romans 8:9)

Baking shows are very popular. My granddaughter introduced me to a show called “Is It Cake?” on Netflix. Talented bakers create flavorful cakes that look like everyday objects: fast-food, bowling balls, seashells, statues, and more. Judges then “guess” the true objects from the fake (cake). I can never tell from the outside what is real and what is fake.

Paul wants the Romans, as well as us, to know that there are only two categories of people in this life—those who are dead in their sins and therefore unresponsive to God as dead people, and those who have been made spiritually alive by the Holy Spirit and are therefore following Jesus Christ in true discipleship. Discipleship is the process by which a disciple—a dedicated follower of Jesus—grows in the Lord and is equipped by the Holy Spirit, who resides in our hearts, to overcome the pressures and trials of this present life and become more and more Christlike.

This process requires believers to respond to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to examine their thoughts, words and actions and compare them with the Word of God. This requires that we be in the Word daily: studying it, praying over it, and obeying it. In addition, we should always be ready to give testimony of the reason for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15) and to disciple others to walk in His way. According to Scripture, being a Christian disciple involves personal growth characterized by the following:

  1. Putting Jesus first in all things (Mark 8:34-38)
  2. Following the teaching of Jesus (John 8:31-32)
  3. Fruitfulness (John 15:5-8)
  4. Love for other believers (John 13:34-35)
  5. Discipling others (Matthew 28:18-20)

A Christian is someone who has been delivered from one realm, the realm of sin and death, and who has been transferred to the realm of God’s Spirit, which is life. This is something God has done Himself, and it is done through grace. The reason we can be assured of our salvation is because salvation is a work of God, whose ways are perfect, whose promises are never broken, and who does not change His mind.


Who is a Christian? Give yourself an honest assessment of your life to this point. Explain the difference your identification with Jesus has made and will make in the future.

For Gio & Indra Garcia, Church Planters

Pray for a strong union with Christ. Pray for planters Gio and Indra Garcia that they will remain in continual communion with God, His Word, and His people. Pray that they would be filled with the fruit of the Spirit and be able to minister out of that power.



Read Romans 8:12-13

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:12-1)

An APU student I once mentored told me her greatest concern was that she lacked assurance of her faith. She had fallen in love with an unbeliever. Of course, she had prayed. But God had not answered her prayer by bringing him to faith. She had a twofold problem. How would she find strength to end the relationship, which she knew she should do? Secondly, why was God not bringing her friend to faith? The relationship mattered to her. She had prayed for his salvation. There seemed to be no Christian men around (interested in her). What was wrong? She began wondering if God had ever intervened, especially to do anything just for her. And if not, why should she believe that God was even there? Many wrestle with similar questions. How can you do the right thing in your particularly difficult situation? Why doesn’t God clearly intervene to solve your problem?

I responded: “You can do it—break off this relationship! Not by your own strength or willpower, because none of us are able. You can do this because you have the Holy Spirit. You are troubled by the need to do right and not simply drift along unfaithfully, like unbelievers, because you belong to Jesus Christ and therefore want to please Him. God’s Spirit is within you.”

God has intervened. Jesus came to earth to live a perfect life and die on the cross for humankind’s sins —God provided the means to save us, not only from sin’s penalty, but from sin’s power, too. We have God’s Spirit within us, so that we can live for Him. God equips us perfectly for every good work.

When Christians do the right thing—even when it’s heartbreaking or includes suffering—when done in utter dependence on God out of love for Him, such obedience proves everything. It proves that they matter to God and that God matters to them as they praise our great God throughout eternity.


How can I find the strength to do what is right—even when it is very difficult? Why doesn’t God intervene in my life in special ways to help?

For Gio & Indra Garcia, Church Planters

Pray for perseverance. Pray that the planters will persevere during the planting process. Pray that they would have faith as they prepare and till the soil. Pray that they would face the challenges with trust in God, the One who gives the growth.



Read Romans 8:14

“… because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)

From time to time, we read or hear about a “paternity suit,” in which a mother sues for support of her child on the grounds that a certain man is the father though he denies it. Today’s testing of the alleged father’s and child’s genetic makeup and their relationship can be established (or disproved) with nearly 100 percent accuracy.

Paul teaches us how we can know we are in God’s family, a paternity test. We are in God’s family if the Spirit of God is leading us in our daily lives. Paul has been talking about our minds being set on what the Holy Spirit desires (Romans 8:5-8) and about our obligation to live according to the Spirit rather than according to the sinful nature (vv. 12-13).

What does the Holy Spirit do internally in Christians to lead them?

He renews our minds (Romans 12:1-2). The person who discovers, tests, and approves the pleasing and perfect will of God obviously is being led by God. The key is the minds’ renewal in our reading and being taught by the Holy Spirit from the Bible. God has given us the Bible to inform us, enlighten our minds, and redirect our thinking. Has the Holy Spirit been leading you by enlightening your mind through Bible study? Have you discovered things about God, yourself, the Gospel, and the ways of God that you did not know before? Are you beginning to live differently?

He stirs the heart (Galatians 4:6). “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father’” Do you love God? Do you want to spend time with Him through studying the Bible and praying? Are you concerned for His glory?

He directs our wills (Philippians 4:6). How lovely to know God leads us by redirecting and strengthening our wills.

John Murray wrote, “The activity of the believer is the evidence of the Spirit’s activity, and the activity of the Spirit is the cause of the believer’s activity.” If you are trying to please God, it is because the Spirit is at work within you, leading you to want and do the right thing. It is an assurance that you are in God’s family.


How does the Holy Spirit lead us?  What does it mean to you that you are in the family of God?

For Gio & Indra Garcia, Church Planters

Pray for the leadership team. Pray for the people who have chosen to serve alongside the Garcias in the Spanish church plant. May the Lord provide these co-workers with the time, energy, and resources necessary to carry out this task God has placed before them.



Read Roman 8:16

Life can be so confusing, and the Christian life can be even more mind boggling! Just when we think we have it figured out, God throws us a curve, and we wonder if we have understood anything at all. Take heart! You are never left alone for there is an inside helper, the Holy Spirit.

What does Romans 8:16 mean when it says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”? The Greek word translated “bears witness” (testifies) communicates the idea of confirming or supporting a truth claim. In other words, to bear witness about something means to demonstrate that it is true, which is exactly what the Spirit does for us with the Gospel. The Spirit testifies to our inner man that we are God’s children by convincing us of the truths of the Gospel.

Faith in the truth is the substance of the Spirit’s witness in our hearts. The New Testament identifies several specific truths of which the Spirit convinces and assures believers:

  1. The Spirit testifies to our inner man by convincing us to recognize the lordship of Christ in our lives (1 Corinthians 12:3).
  2. The Spirit testifies to our inner man by convincing us to trust in the graciousness of the Father to adopt us as sons (Galatians 4:6).
  3. The Spirit testifies to our inner man by convincing us to turn away from our enslavement to sin (Romans 8:14-15).

These three areas of the Spirit’s inner testimony are particularly helpful because they play a vital role in assurance. If you want to grow in the certainty of your conversion, the place to start is with your submission to the lordship of Christ, your appreciation of the character of God, and your separation from your old life of sin. If you see fruit in these areas, you can be confident that the Spirit is at work in your heart and that you are truly saved.

There are certainly other truths that the Spirit confirms in the hearts of believers. Through the Spirit we have the “mind of Christ,” which is another way of referring to the inner testimony of the Spirit. He is graciously at work in our hearts, persuading us of the truth and providing us with the faith that we need in order to be right with God.


What does it mean to you to be a child of God? How are you encouraged knowing the Holy Spirit helps us to know, understand, and trust the Gospel?

For Gio & Indra Garcia, Church Planters

Pray for grace in the community. Pray that God will bring people who are well-connected in the community. May the planting team interact graciously with them so that natural relationships will emerge and they will become open to and excited about the mission.



Read Romans 8:17

Paul introduces two biblical ideas in Romans 8:17: suffering and glory. First, he says that the children of God are God’s heirs and co-heirs with Christ—the glory or hallelujah. Second, Paul talks about suffering—the hurts.

What a glorious thing it is to be an heir of God Himself! Children might hope for a great inheritance from parents, but often are disappointed. One of the world’s richest men, Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902), who amassed wealth through diamond mining, died when he was only forty-nine. In his will he left most of his riches not to his immediate family, but to endow the famous Rhodes scholarships. Middle Ages Frenchman Francois Rabelais made the following will: “I owe much, I possess nothing (as a friar). I give the rest to the poor.”

How different it is with God. He owes nothing, He possesses everything, and He gives all of it to His children.

What is our inheritance? The truth is that most of our rewards are yet in the future.

  1. A heavenly home (John 14:1-3): a place especially prepared for all believers, guaranteed by the Lord of Glory Himself, Jesus Christ.
  2. A heavenly banquet (Matthew 22:1-14; 25:1-13; Luke 14:15-24; 15:11-32): our inheritance will be filled with joy and fellowship.
  3. Rule with Christ (2 Timothy 2:12; Luke 19:11-27): servants who demonstrated faithfulness during their master’s absence were awarded cities to govern in his kingdom.
  4. Likeness to Christ (1 John 3:2; Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18 and more): we are daily being conformed to the likeness of Christ. I long for this promise’s fulfillment in me.
  5. The Lord, our Portion (Psalm 73:25-26, a “must read”!): God Himself is our inheritance.

Why does Paul introduce suffering at this point? It seems hostile to the assurance of salvation. Suffering is as common to God’s people today as in the 1st century. We all know suffering through deaths, disappointments, pain, trauma, sickness, pandemic, poverty, prejudice, and sometimes lack of rewarding work. Paul acknowledges that the path to glory involves the cross. But God shares this suffering with us.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)


How does our verse today help you understand the hurts and hallelujahs of this life? Help you understand your forever life with God?

For Gio & Indra Garcia, Church Planters

Pray for the launch of the church. Pray that God will guide each step of the church planting process and that the leaders will discern the best time to launch. Pray for the financial, logistical, human, and spiritual resources that must be lined up for launch day. May that the Lord would provide and bless this work!



John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1968), p. 295.


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