Walking in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit flows from a clear understanding of the new identity we have as children of God. Part of the Spirit’s work in us is to bear witness to us of this new identity.
Understanding What Is Meant
These verses make a link between being led by the Spirit of God and our identity as sons of God (note that this use of the word ‘sons’ is not meant to make a point about gender, but to imply that we have the full inheritance that would have belonged to a son in that day).
This work of the Spirit is contrasted with the ‘spirit of slavery’ which leads to fear. When we think of following God primarily through a ‘slavery lens’, we will focus mainly on what we do, seeking to obey rules and live a legalistic life that lacks peace and assurance and is driven by fear of putting a foot wrong.
The main objective of this sermon is for people to have a strong sense of their identity as children of God and the freedom that comes with this. To help bring this about you could encourage people to:
- Reaffirm their Identity – In the gospels, there are numerous stories where Jesus’ own sonship is reaffirmed. If this was something Jesus needed to be reminded of regularly, then how much more for us. Encourage people to build into their lives ways of reminding themselves of their status as God’s children.
- Pray to God as Father – How do we think of God when we pray to him? There is of course a place for titles like ‘Lord’ and ‘God’, but we are also invited to address him as ‘Abba, Father’, and as we do so it enables us to develop a new spiritual intimacy with him.
- Cultivate the Relationship – For many there may need to be a shift from a ‘functional’ view of Christianity based on tasks to a relational one based on adoption as sons. Help people understand what it means to truly be in relationship with God and how to cultivate this relationship.
This topic is one that may open up great opportunities to pray for people. Leave time in the service to do so and offer prayer ministry for those who would like it.