Expositor’s Conference 2013
Session 7 – The Effects of Pentecost Preaching – The Salvation of Sinners (Sinclair Ferguson)
Text: Galatians 4:1–6 (NASB95)
1 Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything,
2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father.
3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.
4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
Text: Romans 8:9–32 (NASB95)
9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
11 But 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.
12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—
13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,
17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope
21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?
25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;
27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
Romans chapter 8 is the great chapter in the Bible concerning the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The language here is rich with the imagery of family – brothers, sons, adoption, children, heirs. Comparing Galatians 4 and Romans 8 we see a subtle difference in the cry “Abba, Father”. In Galatians, it is the Spirit who cries “Abba, Father”. In Romans 8 it is the spirit of adoption as sons in us which cries “Abba, Father.”
Adoption is the highest of our present privileges. The apex of the ministry of the Spirit in the believer is this gift of the spirit of adoption as sons.
1. When the Spirit comes, He produces in us family likeness to the Son of God (v.13)
A. Ongoing destruction of sin
B. Ongoing construction of holiness
2. When the Spirit comes, He brings assurance of our adoption of sons.
A. This is the common experience of all believers.
B. The Old Testament scriptures do not speak of God as Father of the believer.
C. The New Testament scripture reveals God as the personal Father of the believer.
D. This is done practically by the Spirit witnessing with our spirit.
i. The evidence is our crying out “Abba, Father.”
a. The cry here is the shriek of a child for help.
b. This is not the evidence of a super-mature Christian, it is the nature of every Christian, newborn and mature. It is instinct. It is because of the Spirit in us.
3. When the Spirit comes, he teaches us that there is significance and meaning in our suffering.
A. We who have the firstfruits of the Spirit groan inwardly waiting for our adoption as sons. We long for that day when this adoption is fully realized.
B. The Spirit does not release us from the sufferings and groanings. We groan because we already have the Spirit. We groan because we are not completely there yet.
i. We groan because of suffering.
ii. We groan because of our sins.
iii. We groan because we have not yet been resurrected. We are not yet whole. There is a home-sickness in every believer.
C. We endure the suffering in order to share in the glory. It is the suffering that results in the glory. It is not a now-then construction. It is a now-now construction – suffering now, glory now.
4. When the Spirit comes, He gives us supernatural help in our weakness (v.26).
A. “helps” contains two prepositions – “sun” and “anti”. “Sun” indicates someone who is with us. “Anti” indicates someone who stands alongside us.
B. The Spirit knows how to pray for us in our weakness. The groanings of the Spirit are the deep-seated cries of our soul. God is able to interpret the groanings of the Spirit.
5. When the Spirit comes, He comes as the agent which transforms us into the likeness of the Son.
A. The Father promised the Son that He could send the Spirit into those who would be adopted as sons.
B. One day through the ministry of the Spirit we will be just like our elder Brother.
C. The deepest desire of the Trinity is that we will all be family.