Title: What is Christian Freedom?
Focus: Biblical Freedom is not merely about freedom from bondage and tryanny, but freedom from bondage in order to serve God
Function: To motivate the hearers to exercise their freedom in Christ through serving one another
Text: Galatians 5:13-26
Intro: 1. One of the words at July 4th - Liberty (Makes you think of flags and such) a. Being free is at the heart of what it means to be an American b. Few have ever sought to define exactly what we mean by freedom c. Freedom means different things to different people 2. Older view - Freedom to go good and serve God without interference a. View began to change, nearly meant free from Govt - Led to Revolution b. Immigrant in 1775 said of Americans “They are all Liberty Mad” c. According to Declaration of Independence, Liberty second only to life d. However, Patrick Henry said “Give me Liberty or Give me Death!” 3. 19th century, Freedom came to mean Opportunity to develop innate talents fully 4. 20th centry - Freedom to choose - Clothes, lifestyle, sexuality, religion 5. Our founding fathers acknowledged freedom was endowed by God in Declaration of Independence. a. They never defined freedom b. It was not applied equally - Native Americans, Africans, Women c. The idea of what freedom is has changed drastically over the years 6. What does the Bible say about freedom? I. Oppressed believers in God found hope of Freedom in Exodus A. Gods people enslaved under harsh conditions 1. Cried out, God freed them and led them away 2. God not turn them loose though B. Text 1. Ex 19:3-5 - To be his posession? I thought they free? 2. Then, to make matters worse - God gave them LAWS! 3. He started with 10 commands in Ex 20, and it kept going 4. Now it looks like they not really free, became Yahweh’s slaves C. Pre-revolutionary notions of Freedom were compatible with this 1. John Winthrop in a speech to Massachussetts legislature in 1645 a. Spoke of Natural and Moral Freedom b. Natural Freedom, to do what you want, is evil c. Moral Freedom, to do what is right, is good - It meant submission to God - It meant submission to Civil Govt d. Most common civil crime was contempt of authority 2. Most early Americans (and ancient Greeks) saw doing whatever you wanted whenever you wanted as slavery a. Amounts to lack of self-control, indulgence - slavery b. Freedom was submission to a moral code D. Even Jesus viewed freedom as following God’s will 1. “Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin” (Jn 8:34) 2. Only way out - submission to moral principles II. When think about it, it can be puzzling how submission can make you free A. Seems like an oxymoron, a contradiction of terms B. God freed them from harsh bondage and gave them Torah - Which allowed them to live like free people, in a land of liberty 1. Ex 22:21 - Not oppress a stranger 2. Lev 19:34 - Love the alien 3. Lev 19:36 - Just balances 4. Lev 25:35-43 - No slaves for life in the kingdom 5. Dt 15:12-15 - Not send slave away empty handed 6. Dt 24:5 - Newly web excused from military service 7. Dt 24:6, 10-13 - Humane pledges 8. Dt 24:14-15 - Not oppress hired servants 9. Dt 24:17-18 - Not pervert justice (must be fair) 10. Dt 24:19-22 - Provision for the poor C. Lev 18:1-5 1. Stated negatively - they to leave old way behind 2. Stated positively, love neighbor as yourself D. However, they failed 1. Like an abused child who abuses others, Israel did the same 2. They still thought and acted like the abusive Egyptians 3. They craved evil things like the Egyptians 4. Later, they would do evil as the Canaanites did What was the problem? III. Israel taken out of Egypt, but now Egypt had to be taken out of Israel A. Being holy meant not just change of scenery, but inward change 1. Irony - They free from Egypt, but they are still in bondage 2. Didn’t know how to act like free people, they wanted to but couldn’t 3. Like Rom 7:24 - Wretched man that I am, who will rescue me... B. But God gives us a greater freedom today (Rom 8:2) 1. (Rom 8:2) -Law of Spirit of life in Christ Jesus set you free - How? 2. Tit 3:5 - Saved by washing of regeneration & renewal by the Spirit 3. Stated negatively - (Rom 8:13-14) - Power to put to death deeds of flesh C. Stated Positively - (Gal 5:13-14) - Free to serve 1. (Gal 5:16-26) 2. This passage sums up how free people are to live D. *Notice the emphasis is not just on the rules, but on the character qualities necessary for the rules 1. God gives the Spirit as an octane boost to do it a. It “renews” us b. Col 2-3 - Put off old self, put on the new self c. Rom 12:2 - Transformed by renewing of mind 2. The Spirit gives us the power to get Egypt out of Israel 3. It give us the power to get the world out of our mind So the only way to be free is to be enslaved IV. Freedom comes by Slavery A. Rom 6:1-7 - Freedom through death B. But it is a death and resurrection, from slavery to slavery 1. Rom 6:12-13 - Alive from the dead, sin not a slave master 2. v.18 - Freed from sin, slaves of righteousness 3. v.22 - Freed from sin, enslaved to God 4. But is this freedom? What if I really want to be free C. Need to understand that this IS freedom 1. Not just freedom FROM, but freedom IN 2. It is Ironic that freedom FROM amounts to slavery and tyranny a. Freedom from education, responsiblity, morals, ethics, rules, laws, etc. - - Ripe for bondage to tyranny, physically and spiritually b. Freedom in Christ means love, joy, peace, etc. 3. That is why Jesus said, “If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” (Jn 8: ) 4. It is Freedom from what kept us from doing good, and freedom to worship and serve our God D. When we submit to God, we will receive eternal life Concl: 1. So freedom is not freedom to do whatever, it is freedom to serve and worship 2. A free society is one ruled by righteousness, ruled through love, joy, peace, patience, etc. a. Have you excercised freedom this last week? b. How have you served someone? c. Write down the name of someone you can serve in some way this week 3. Are you free, or in bondage? 4. Only Jesus can make you free a. He died for your sins, which enslave you b. He buried and raised c. He taught how to live a free life, serving God d. Now you can accept his freedom by repentance and baptism 5. Maybe you already have, and still feel like in bondage a. Greater is he that is in you b. You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you c. He will strengthen you by his Spirit d. Make the first step, come.