Led By The Spirit
Our Response

In a Brief Survey of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
Based on sermons preached in PCC Worship Services, July 2003 to Sep 2005
Part 34c of 83


“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:12-14).

[In the previous instalment of this study, we saw that the Holy Spirit He leads us (1) by His Word, (2) with and through His Church; and (3) gently from within.  In this concluding part, we consider what our response to this doctrine should be—JJL]

3.  Our Response

What are our responsibilities if we are to be led by the Spirit? What must you do?

a. First, since the Holy Spirit leads you with His Word, it is your duty to study the Word diligently. You must do so privately at home, and when you meet for public worship.

You must be like the Berean Christians, who “received the word [preached] with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).

If you will not study the Word of God, or receive the Word with all readiness of mind, you cannot expect the Holy Spirit to lead you. Remember that He does not lead by feeling and intuition, nor by dreams and visions, nor by new revelations.

To expect the Spirit to lead you when you refuse to study and receive the Word God is to expect the Spirit to squeeze water out of dry rock. The Holy Spirit can indeed do so, but He does not usually do so. Instead, His appointed method is to change the hard rock into soft fertile soil that is ready to receive seed and water.

If you heart is made of good soil and not thorny or rocky soil, it will be zealous to receive the word. It will not only be as sponge, which has a capacity to absorb water; it will be like silica gel, eager to draw all moisture unto itself. You will not have enough of the Word. You will always want more.

b. But secondly, you must pray. The Bible is the Spirit’s road map. But how do we ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit, but by prayer?

What should you pray for?

Well, pray with Paul that “[God] would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (Eph 3:16).

Pray with the apostles: “Lord, Increase our faith” (Lk 17:5). Pray with the father of the demon possessed boy: “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mk 9:24).

Pray that the Spirit will give you greater spiritual understanding of the truth.

Pray with David: “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Ps 119:18). “Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart” (Ps 119:34).

Pray that the Spirit will bring to mind His Word which you have read or heard so that you will walk according to it. Again pray with the psalmist: “Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” (Ps 119:133)

Pray that the Spirit will make your conscience tender so that you will respond to the Word of God with care.

The Holy Spirit has promised that He will lead you, but it pleases God that you should still pray for His guidance. Therefore, you must pray if you wish to be led by the Spirit.

c.   But that is not all, for thirdly, you have a responsibility to mortify the deeds of the flesh. Those who are led by the Spirit will mortify the deeds of the body. But this does not mean we need not put in any effort.

Paul does not speak about the Spirit mortifying through us. Instead he says: “if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body…” (v. 13).

It is the believer’s duty. Mortification is through the Spirit. You must be enabled, strengthened and guided by the Holy Spirit if you are to mortify the deeds of your body. But you must be actively engaged in the exercise. In particular, you must prayerfully search your heart, you must flee from temptation and you must confess and repent of every sin that you are made aware of.

You don’t have to and you must not remain a slave to sin. Rather, you must disown sin and the deeds of sin, and kill them as they appear on you. Kill them with the sword of the Spirit. You have the ability to obey God’s Laws. Strive with the Spirit help to keep God’s Laws out of love for Him.

Conclusion

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Are you a son or daughter of God? Are you conscious of being led by the Spirit? If you are a son or daughter of God in good spiritual health, you will be conscious of the Holy Spirit’s leading. You will want to be led by Him and you are enjoying His leading. This is the testimony of the Scripture.

How do you know if you are led by the Spirit?

In the first place, if you are being led by the Spirit, you will mortify the deeds of the body. “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” says Paul in Galatians 5:16. This is so because if you are led by the Spirit, you will grow more and more to hate sin.

And in the second place, if you are being led by the Spirit, you will find your yourself,—more and more,—yielding obedience unto God, not out of slavish fear, but a child–like love and willing mind (WCF 20.1).

You will find your Christian life to be more and more meaningful. You will enjoy an abundant life (v. 13). You will bear spiritual fruit in your life. You will enjoy your relationship with God.

Are you being led by the Spirit? Happy are you, beloved brethren, if you are, for you have God’s assurance that you are His son or daughter.

But are you still unsure if you are being led by the Spirit of Christ? If you profess faith in Him and you love Him in your heart, you need not doubt that you are a son or daughter of God. But remember that God sometimes will allow you to go your own way in order that you may be humbled.

Have you taken a wrong turn in your life? Oh do not continue on in that way. The more you go on, the more lost you will get. Turn back. Mortify the deeds of your flesh: Do not continue to entertain sin and grieve the Holy Spirit. If you will repent of your sin, you can be sure that the Father will receive you and the Spirit of Christ will again lead you in the way everlasting.

Or is Christ still a stranger to you? If so, you must realise that you are heading the way of damnation. Oh do not continue that way. There is a huge volcano ready to erupt in the way you are going. Do you not hear the rumble and smell the sulphur. It is written everywhere in the Word of God.

Will you not turn and run? Will you not flee? But do not try to flee alone. You will get lost. Go to the Lord repenting of your sins. Plead with Him to receive you for you are a sinner. Ask to be accepted as His son or daughter. Ask to be given His Spirit that He may lead you in the way everlasting.  Amen.

—JJ Lim