Raising Sails

September 26, 2021

David Sorn

Our lives will never work if our focus is ourselves and our answer to fixing them is also ourselves. There is a better way.

Raising Sails

September 26, 2021

David Sorn

Our lives will never work if our focus is ourselves and our answer to fixing them is also ourselves. There is a better way.

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | Romans 8: 5-11


(God Never fails Series slide)

Morning! My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here.

I’m so excited that you’re here.

I know many of you are back from our Grand Opening last week, and some of you are coming for the very first time today!

We’re going to talk a bit today about living life out on the water…as a metaphor.

And sometimes being out on the open water is fun, and sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes you never know what to expect.

A few years ago, my wife Lindsey and I were in Massachusetts, and we got an opportunity to go on a whale watching boat.

Anyone ever done that before?

I brought a picture to prove it


Apparently I was nervous…see my hand clutching the guard rail?

I don’t actually remember being nervous, but well, pictures never lie

But before we got on the boat, the crew said to us, “You’re going to want to take some preventative motion sickness medicine that we will give you. Trust us”

(Raising Sails Message Title slide)

And we were like, “Deal, never done this before. Sure”

But some people were like, “I’ll be fiiiinnnnnneee”

As we got out on the ocean, there was a lady next to us, who, the whole time, had to just hug the garbage can.

Life on the open water, you never know what it’s going to be like

We’re continuing this morning in our “God Never Fails” teaching series and we’re going to talk about how we should live in this, sometimes easy, sometimes hard, sometimes, sometimes turbulent life.

And in this series, we are teaching verse-by-verse through Romans chapter 8 in the Bible.

Romans is a letter written by a man named Paul to the first Christians in Rome.

It was written only about 25 years or so after Jesus’ death & resurrection

Last week, we covered the first few verses of chapter 8 and talked about how there is NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus.

And now, as we move into the next section of Romans 8, we’re going to see the next part of the Christian journey

How one can actually live a Godly life even on turbulent seas…

So let’s dive into God’s Word

Everybody grab a Bible.

They are on the chairs in front of you

(page 772)

As always, if you don’t have a Bible, take this one with you…and start following the Bible reading plan in the front.

And seeing what the Bible is actually all about.

When you get to page 772, you’ll want to find the big number 8 (for chapter 8), and then the little number 5, as we’re going to start at verse 5


(Romans 8:5) – NIV - Leave up for a minute

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.

Okay, let’s start to unpack God’s Word.

This is a Bible-teaching church…this is what we do.

I’m going to do everything I can today to help you visualize and make sense of God’s word,, so you can apply it to your life

Before we go any further, we need to define some words.

The Bible uses the word “flesh” a lot.

Here’s what The Bible means when it says “flesh”

Flesh = Our natural and selfish bias that doesn’t want to live for God, but instead for ourselves

In fact, without God, the Bible teaches that we are incapable of doing the right thing.

In theology, this is called “The Doctrine of Total Depravity”

I’ll explain it like this: Imagine you just had one craving, and it was for junk food.

Might taste good for a second, but it just creates problems in your life.

That’s like what “the flesh” is

Apart from God, we can truly only crave one thing, and it’s not good, and doesn’t lead to anything good.

But when you invite Jesus Christ into your life, the Spirit (the other key term in this verse) comes into your life.

The Spirit, is the Holy Spirit, who is God.

And the Spirit not only comes in to guide you…and change you…and He also gives you a new craving.

A craving for Godliness…now, at times, you actually WANT to do the right thing.

And if you go back to the food metaphor…

Sure, sometimes you will still feel like eating an entire gallon of ice cream, but there is this new craving for healthy food that exists alongside of that old one.

And you have the power to tap into that now…

And there are essentially two warring natures now

Okay, now knowing those two things, let’s look at the verse again:

(Romans 8:5) – NIV - Leave up for a minute

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.

So Paul gives us an easy way for you to tell if your ultimately living your life by the flesh or by the Spirit.

What do you think about?

Because…if your mind is set on the desires of the flesh…you will live according to those desires.

If your mind is set on what the Spirit desires, your life will be in accordance with those Godly & Spiritual things

And this makes sense, right?

If you spend your whole life thinking about being rich, what do you think your actions will look like?

If you spend your whole live thinking about Star Wars, you’ll probably end up at a Star Wars Convention, and with a Star Wars themed room…in your parents basement.

I’m just kidding…no I’m not.

If you spend your whole life thinking about sports, or home decor, or politics, or your kids…how will you then spend your time?

In so many ways, our minds dictate our actions.


And so the Bible warns us here to be wary of having your minds be set on what the flesh desires (again, that’s our selfish desires) .


Well, let’s keep reading. Let’s do 6-8

(Romans 8:6-8) – NIV

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.

This flesh thing doesn’t look good.

Paul says the flesh, our natural sinful nature (the part of us that always wants to sin first)…

Paul says it’s actually HOSTILE to God.

It doesn’t want to submit to His law or to God’s way of doing things

Paul even goes as far as saying, it cannot please God.


Now, if we’re going to truly understand this, I have to deconstruct what many of you are thinking when I say the word “flesh.”

When I say that word, a lot of you are thinking, primarily, of really sensual sins or other sins of passion or indulgence or impulsiveness

But that’s not the best base definition for the Biblical usage of “flesh.”

The main way we sin against God and set ourselves up against God is through our own pride and self-reliance.

So living in the flesh is essentially putting yourself on the throne instead of God

J.D. Greear describes this as the “5 selfs”…the 5 main ways we put ourselves before God


The “5-Selfs”

Self-will (I want my will to be done)

Self-glory (I get the credit)

Self-gratification (My pleasure come first)

Self-righteousness (I’m good enough on my own)

Self-sufficiency (I can fix this myself)

Those 5 “selfs” are an excellent summary of living in the flesh.

Because living in the flesh is essentially when we insist on sitting on the throne of our lives instead of letting God do it

And that’s why Paul says the flesh is “hostile” to God

It literally can’t submit to his law, his ways, nor can it please Him

Why? Let me get a chair here.

Let’s pretend for a second that there is a real King of Blaine.

And you are one of His subjects who works in the palace…

But imagine you insisted on constantly sitting on his throne (multiple times a day)

And determining how things should be run… (“Uh, no sorry sir, we’re going to do it this way…this is better”

And you insisted on doing things yourself (no, sorry your highness, I got this)

And taking the credit (weren’t you impressed oh King, when I fixed this myself?)

Okay…THAT is what Paul is saying in Romans 8…self, self, self, self, self.

And it’s even more serious when you think about the fact that we try and sit on the King of HEAVEN’s Throne!

A mind set on the flesh…a mind set on sitting on God’s throne, is hostile to God…it does not, it cannot submit to Him, and certainly cannot please Him

And do not be deceived by this world, if your mind is set on the flesh, if it’s set on yourself, it leads to death…not life, not peace.

I pray that we wake up to that this in our world today

We have spent the last 2 or 3 generations diving deeper and deeper into trying to find satisfaction and meaning in ourselves, and it is NOT working

For decades now, we’ve taught this to children.

The phrases change, but the message is the same:

We taught them to

Improve their self-esteem and talk about how great they are

We taught them to follow their dreams, then follow their heart, then live out their desires, you do you, and then we said “live out your truth”

If you boil it down, the goal of all of those things was for us to find “life and peace” by, essentially, living out those 5-SELFS

And yet every generation that we raise in this is more depressed and more anxious than the one before.


Because trying to find “life and peace” from “setting your mind on what the flesh desires” is like trying to jam a square peg into a round hole

It just simply is not where God created you to find life


Well, where did He create you to find it then?

Look at His Word again

Not the culture that never stops shifting and changing.

Look at the timeless Word of God

…look at verse 6:

(Romans 8:6) – NIV

6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Ahh…there it is!

The mind governed by, submitted to, set on, the Holy Spirit (on God)…that mind…finds life and peace.

See, it is the Holy Spirit that enables you to live how you were meant to live…in life and peace.

Think of it this way.

Imagine you’re out on the ocean, but this time in a sail boat, but you’ve refused to put your sails up.

And you’re way off track...

But you recognize it now, and you want to go home, get back on the right path again.

But like any other American, you FIRST think of the 5 selfs, and you say to yourself:

“I can do this. I can turn my life around. In fact, I’ll have fun doing this! And people will talk about how great I am!”

What is that? It is self, self, self, self)

That’s what we’ve been indoctrinated in, and so that’s how we try and solve almost ALL of our problems.

And so, here’s what we do to get our lives back on track…

You keep the sails down and you lean over the side of your sailboat, and you start paddling with your hands.

And you’re going, “I CAN DO THIS! I’ll turn my life around! I’m coming for you addiction! I’ll fix my marriage! I’ll get happy again! I’ll start being a better mom! I’ll fix this!”

But what happens?

Nothing. Maybe you spin around in circles.

And all you get is frustration, disillusionment, a whole lot of anxiety, and maybe even some depression.

This is the state of our world due to a society that thinks paddling on our own is the answer to all of our problems.

But LIFE in the SPIRIT, the Christian life, looks completely different.

The entire Christian life is about RAISING SAILS

It’s about saying, “I cannot do this on my own. I literally can not.”

“I’m raising my sails on my boat…and I’m going to acknowledge, that the Holy Spirit is the wind that pushes my life along

This is Romans 8: “I’m setting my mind on Him….I’m going to let my life be governed by His direction, His Wind, His power”

So what does Raising your Sails look like?

What does it means to set your mind, and live in accordance, with what the Spirit desires?

In many ways, it’s living a life that is the opposite of the 5-selfs (the flesh

So let’s flip them around…

…And notice how each one of these becomes a posture not of paddling by yourself but of surrender…of raising sails.

Sails up cuz YOU NEVER FAIL

Self-will: I want my will to be done BECOMES your will be done

Self-glory: I get the credit BECOMES you get the credit

Self-gratification: My pleasure come first BECOMES your glory comes first

Self-righteousness: I’m good enough on my own BECOMES I’m not good enough on my own

Self-sufficiency: I can fix this myself BECOMES I can’t fix this without you


And my friends there is absolutely incredible release in living that way.

Can you just feel your body even relaxing in that truth?

That’s that round-hole you were made for.

As a sailboat is designed to catch the wind, so every human is designed to surrender and catch the power of the Spirit moving their lives…

There truly is life and peace (that’s a promise from Scripture), but it’s in raising sails

Wherever you need to stop paddling today, please, trust God and raise your sail.


And let me take a few more minutes…because for some of you this room, the most important point is actually in these next 3 verses

(Romans 8:9-11) – NIV

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. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Okay, Paul is saying that if all of what he just said in verses 5-8 (which we’ve already been talking about this morning), if all of that is true, than, really the most important question is: Do you have the Spirit of God in you?

Because you can’t raise your sails if you don’t have the Spirit in you

You won’t have any power to change your life, or to experience God’s love, and freedom, if you haven’t first surrendered your life to Christ and had the Spirit come in your life!

And so let me just ask you: Have you?

Have you invited Jesus to sit on His throne and be the King of your life?

Jesus Christ, God’s Son, came to earth to die on a cross.

And what He was doing on that cross was taking the punishment that you deserved for your sin and bad choices.

That’s how much He loves you.

But in order to be forgiven, to have your sins paid for by Jesus, and not yourself, it takes faith.

Faith that He did that for you.

And faith to turn your life over to Him as the leader of your life.


And when you do that, Jesus gets your sin, and you get his covering.

He covers you, and dies in your place.

AND, the Holy Spirit, who is also God, comes in your life, giving you the power to raise sails, defeat sin, crave goodness and holiness instead, restore relationships, and live for God.

It’s incredible.

You’ll still be a sinner…you’ll still make mistakes.

But your mind will begin to want God more than sin…and God will give you the power, the sails to live that out.

And, it gets even better….look at verse 11 again

(Romans 8:11) – NIV

11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

What that’s saying is that if you believe that Jesus has paid for your sins, and the Holy Spirit lives in you.

God, who raised Jesus from the dead, will, one day, when you die, raise YOU from the dead!

And you will have life everlasting with Him in heaven!

Not because of what you did, but because you surrendered to Him and said, “I believe, I surrender, come into my life and lead me”

It’s an offer to have your life changed in the HERE & NOW….AND….FOR ETERNITY

And if you’ve never made that decision before, I want to give you a chance to do so right now.

Let’s just have everyone bow their head and close their eyes.

If, for the first time, you need to tell Jesus that you believe He died for you, and you are surrendering your life to Him…

…Giving up your old ways of living for yourself, sitting on His throne, but instead, letting Him be King of your life…

You can do that today.

And He will forgive you, come into your life, and save you for all of eternity.

If your faith is truly genuine, He will absolutely do that.

So please my friend, let this Jesus who loves you, die in your place…to save you from hell.

Turn your life over to Him.

And so if that’s you, as a “mark of surrender to Him,” as a way to symbolically raise up your sail to Him, if you need to believe in Him as your Savior for the first time today…

I want you to raise your hand up to Him.

For those of you with your hands raise, we want to pray with you.

Repeat this out loud after me…whether you’re a brand-new believer or have been one for quite some time.

Repeat after me

Dear God

I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.

But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place

And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.

And now I commit, to following you, with my life.


As everyone still has their eyes closed, for those of you with your hands raised, you just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe that requires some more information…

So here’s what we’re going to do to get you that…as everyone has their eyes closed, I want you, in just a second, to walk back out to the lobby where it will be quiet.

You won’t walk out there alone.

There are others standing with you, and our follow-up team is going to walk out at the same time with you, and they will meet you immediately as you walk out the door

Then myself and our team are going to get you some extremely important resources & next steps to get you started on the most important journey of your life.

If you’re part of this church, and your friend or family member has their hand up, PLEASE come out there with them.

All right, you can all go now.

As they’re walking, I’m going to thank God in prayer.

Let’s pray

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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