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We walk in bondage when we walk without Christ.

Introduction

I used to think I needed a personal trainer, someone who'd get me to the gym and make sure I exercised regularly, someone who would put me through my paces and track my progress. "If I just had a personal trainer," I thought, "I'd be a different man."

Then, someone gave me a personal trainer every week for two or three months. Steve, my personal trainer, was terrific. He got me on an exercise regimen, and I actually liked it. I looked forward to seeing Steve every week. He had a chart for all these different exercises I did, and I liked the challenge of watching the numbers improve. Knowing I was going to see Steve every week motivated me to get to the gym in between the times I met with him.

But then, there was no more Steve; the gift ran out. You know how things work—pretty soon I wasn't going to the gym anymore. I kept the exercise chart for quite a while, and I'd look at it. I couldn't remember what the exercise names meant after a while. I thought of that again the other day. My neighbor, Tracy, is a personal trainer. For her, spending three to four hours in a gym is glorious. I told her I'd just finished a long walk. "Didn't it feel GREAT?" she asked. "Ah, well, it was nice," I said, "but my feet really hurt." I hate to admit it, but I suspect that the only way I'd be steady with exercising is if there were a personal trainer in me or if I had the nature of a personal trainer, like Steve or Tracy. Do you ever feel that way about your spiritual life?

(Read Romans 8:1-3)

Christ is the one who frees us from condemnation

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Lee Eclov is pastor of Village Church of Lincolnshire in Lake Forest, Illinois and author of Pastoral Graces: Reflections on the Care of Souls (Moody Publishers). Eclov also leads a gathering of pastors for mutual support and learning called Pastors' Gatherings. To find out more about these Gatherings visit his site www.leeeclov.com.

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Sermon Outline:

Introduction

I. Christ is the One who frees us from condemnation

II. The Holy Spirit gives us a new mindset

III. 'The mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace'

IV. The Holy Spirit 'will give life to your mortal bodies'

V. We are no longer indebted to death but to the Spirit's life

Conclusion