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Happy Memorial Day weekend!  We hope you commemorate all of those who “gave the last full measure of devotion” (President Abraham Lincoln) in service to our great nation.  We truly give thanks for those who have served and continue to serve in the cause of keeping our nation safe and free.  We come to the end of our sermon series Jesus Gets Us with the sermon, Got the Spirit?  This weekend, liturgical holy days coincide with secular celebrations.  It is not only Memorial Day weekend but it is also Pentecost Sunday.  Although they may seem worlds apart, there are a couple of themes that tie them together.   Redemptive suffering is one of them.  Soldiers suffer and die in order to defend their nation, but also for the greater cause of freedom.  Their sacrifice empowers others to enjoy the fruit of a free nation and a just cause.  The Holy Spirit comes on the day of Pentecost to a fearful group of disciples because of the redemptive suffering of Jesus on the cross.  This redemption was confirmed by the power of resurrection.   The coming of the Spirit confirmed the truth of Jesus’s words to all believers that we would be witnesses to God’s power.  Another common theme is freedom.  In America, we value our freedom, but we often misunderstand and misuse it!  Jesus gets us because he understands that we need help in order to live the Christian life.  We need the help of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is described as the Advocate, Helper, or Comforter.  We turn this week to Romans 8:1-9 to understand how the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives to empower us and to give a freedom that far is beyond our national identity.   Our strength as believers, our ability to fully experience the freedom of faith, and our potential to find the new life in Christ are all found in our willingness to allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.  Yet, how does this work?  Paul gives us powerful guidance that will help us experience God’s help and strength as we seek to follow our Savior.  Our most earnest prayer is that you will be set free from condemnation and fear by God’s power, and that you will also be filled with the joy of the Spirit of Christ as you read Romans 8:1-9:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. 9 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.