Sermon:  The Meaning of Freedom


Summary:  Christians have been freed from bondage to sin and redeemed to God to be his servants, children, and nation that is not of this world, but of Heaven.  Citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven have the responsibility of ambassadors of Christ to serve out of love, be an agent for godliness through word, example, and work, sharing the Gospel.


Text:  Various


Scripture Reading:  Dan 2:43-45



1.  Time of year is filled with patriotic songs, flags, remembrance, fireworks, cookouts, time off with family, etc.

            a.  In recent years it has become more pronounced

                        - Due to attacks on our country

                        - Due to our country being at war

            b.  We are reminded not to take freedom for granted

            c.  We remember that freedom came at a price

            d.  It is appropriate to reflect on this during this time of year

2.  I have been thinking about religious values that gave rise to our country

            a.  Our country born on the heels of a sweeping religious revival

                        - Historians call it the First Great Awakening

                        - Transformed our culture

                        - God, the Bible, personal conversion, etc. was "in the air"

                        - Had a profound influence on founding fathers

            b.  Founding fathers all believed in God

                        - Some were ministers

                        - Their religious convictions shaped the laws they wrote

                        - Their religious values are blatantly stated in founding documents

            c.  "Election Sermons" were part of political landscape in early America

                        - They were printed and distributed to each representative

                        - Gave spiritual guidance to nations leaders

                        - Example:  Jonathan Mayhew in his 1754 sermon - "Rulers derive

                          their power from God, and are ordained to be his ministers for


                        - Ministers believe in government by compact or constitution, taking

                          their cue from God who enacted covenants by people's consent

            d.  Obviously, Christianity had a profound impact on American culture

3.  Influence seemed to work in reverse as well

            a.  In 1826, Alexander Campbell gave speech in which he stated that

                 America's political regeneration gave her the responsibility to lead and

                 ecclesiastical renovation as well

                        - Many withdrew from their denominations and called it a

                           "declaration of independence of the Kingdom of Christ"

                        - Republican ideals were applied to the church

                                    = Elias Smith wrote 120 page sermon on how republican

                                       ideals should be applied to the church

                        - Religious language was bathed in the language of politics

                                    = Many referred to the church as a republican society with

                                       the Bible as her only constitution

                                    = People rejected traditional sources of authority in religion

                                    = All men to be equal, no clergy, no one dictate Bible


            b.  Lines between church and world became blurred

                        - In his later years, Campbell demonstrated optimism in ability of

                          human reason and effort to bring about a golden age of God on

                          earth - postmillennialism

                        - M.C. Kurfees in 1914 - Said League of Nations might well do

                          God's bidding and help usher in the age when "Nations shall beat

                          their swords into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks, and

                          nation shall not lift sword against nation, neither shall they learn

                          war anymore

                        - Increasingly, Christian reconciled themselves with full participation

                          in the political scene, not aware of the pitfalls

                        - Many believe that human government could bring about a

                          millennial dawn - had positive view of human government

            c.  Irony

                        - No longer a state church

                        - Yet the church still was expected to have an unofficial  role in

                           public life, as chaplain to society

            d.  Result was that many did not understand holiness fully

                        - Being a good Christian and good American became synonymous

                        - Passages about being separate from world were applied mostly to

                          the surrounding denominations

                        - Some put US flags in their buildings

                        - Church influenced the world, then the world influence the church

4.  But not everyone was like this

            a.  People such as Barton Stone and David Lipscomb had a different view

            b.  They believed that the millennium, the golden age of God, would be

                  brought about by God and not by human institutions

                        - Believed that human institutions were flawed to the core by sin

                        - Believed all rule, power, and authority would be abolished

                        - In his book, "Civil Government," Lipscomb taught that human

                           government was the domain of Satan

                        - Generally did not participate in human institutions, politics,

                           military, etc.

            c.  Became very unpopular, especially during WW1

                        - Foy Wallace attacked those who refused to go to war as those

                          with a "dwarfed conscience" and a "freak specimen of humanity"

                        - O.C. Lambert advised churches to collect all copies of Lipscomb's

                           book, Civil Government, and burn them

                        - Attorney General threatened to arrest J.C. McQuiddy, editor of the

                          Gospel Advocate if he continued to publish articles that were

                           "seditious" and discourage men from the armed services.  All

                           articles on pacifism stopped

5. My purpose not to give a history lesson

            1.  Wanted illustrate how we need to be grounded in God's word, not

                 popular opinion

            2.  Some concepts loom large in our minds, especially "Freedom"

            3.  I want to look at the biblical concept of Freedom, Slavery, and


            4.  What does the Bible say about these?


I.  Freedom Leads to Slavery

            A.  Talking about freedom as many define it today

                        1.  Freedom from rules

                        2.  Freedom to do and go wherever passions may lead

                        3.  Freedom from responsibility

            B.  A good passage is Rom 1:20f

                        1.  (v.20-23) - They refused to acknowledge or honor God

                                    a.  Became futile in their speculations

                                                - Some today say life came from non-life

                                                - Some say life developed on the backs of crystals

                                                - Some say Alien seeded planet with DNA

                                                - Some say fish climbed out of primordial ocean and

                                                   became an ape which became a man

                                    b.  Foolish hearts were darkened

                                                - All these wild theories seem "enlightened" to them

                                                - They will say that nature has the "appearance" of

                                                  design, but it is just random

                                                - DNA, the computer program for life, is just random

                                                - You imagine Windows7 coming about randomly?

                                    c.  v.23 - Professing to be wise, they become fools

                        2.  (v.24-25) - They exchanged the truth of God for a lie

                                    a.  With God out of picture, can make own rules & truth

                                    b.  They worshipped the creature

                                                - They worshipped what was created not the creator

                                                - We ourselves are also "creatures"

                                                - When man worships self, it is called humanism

                        3.  (v.26-32) - God gave them over - Let them have their "freedom"

                                    a.  v.28 - Result of this "freedom" was a depraved mind

                                    b.  What does a society of a depraved mind look like?

                                                - Sexual, gender, family twistedness

                                                - Wickedness, greed, murders, strife, etc.

                                    c.  Imagine living in a place like that

                                                - All are greedy, murderers, violent, deceitful

                                                - Liars, arrogant, untrustworthy, hate God . . .

                        4.  This is not freedom, but bondage

                                    a.  Being enslaved to your passions is not freedom

                                    b.  Result is devastating to self, family, and society

            C.  ILL:  This is not the king of freedom our forefathers envisioned

                        1.  Freedom is not freedom to carry out all your passions

                                    a.  Freedom is freedom from tyranny and oppression

                                    b.  Freedom is freedom to carry out your responsibility

                        2.  Biblical example of a man ruled by passions was Samson

                                    a.  Big, strong, did whatever he wanted to do

                                                -  Saw good looking Philistine, took her as his wife

                                                -  Killed lion, ate honey from carcass later

                                                -  Slept with harlots

                                                -  Instead of delivering Israel, he would do things like

                                                   take the doors of a Philistine city at night

                                    b. One Philistine woman he had weakness for was Delilah

                                                -  Philistines tried to get her to get Samson to share

                                                  his weaknesses with her

                                                - She pestered him so much, he finally told her

                                                - He had Nazarite vow, hair never to be cut

                                                - If cut hair, strength would be gone

                                    c.  (Jud 16:20-21) - Result of Samson's "freedom" was


                                                - God left him

                                                - As if God said, "Find, do what you want in your own


                        3.  You ever known anyone like that?

                                    a.  Did whatever his heart desires, no inhibitions

                                    b.  I knew someone like that, thought of self as liberated

                                    c.  In the end, he wrecked his life, his family, his body

            D.  Freedom leads to slavery

                        1.  When you free yourself from God, God will oblige

                                    a.  God is not a tyrant who will force you to obey

                                    b.  God only wants your submission willingly

                        2.  When you free self from God, you are not free, but in bondage

                        3.  **Freedom is not freedom to follow your passions . . .


II.  Submission Leads to Freedom

            A.  The only place to find freedom is in submission to God

            B.  Look at how the Bible teaches this

                        1.  (2 Pet 2:18-19) - Chapter describes false prophets

                                    a.  Problem - Due to secularism, many only apply this to


                                    b.  Many not apply this to the religion of no religion

                                                - The humanists, Darwinists, naturalists, atheists

                                                - This applies to them too

                                    c.  They promise freedom from tyranny of religion and God

                                                - There is even a church/foundation called the

                                                   "Freedom from Religion Foundation"

                                                -  Irony - They promise freedom, yet are slaves to sin

                                    d.  Text - By what a man is overcome, by this is he enslaved

                                                - Some are slaves to atheism, Darwinism, etc.

                                                - Greatest tyrannies in 20th century based on some

                                                  form of atheism

                        2.  (Jn 8:31-36) - He who commits sin is a slave to sin

                                    a.  What will free you from sin?

                                                - Not religious rituals

                                                - Not better laws, technology, education, prosperity

                                                - Not welfare programs, entitlements,

                                                - Improvements to human condition blind you to sin

                                    b.  If the SON make you free, then you are truly free

                                    c.  Freedom can be found only under the Lordship of Christ

                                                - "If you continue in my word . . ."

                                                - "Will know the truth, and shall make you free"

                                    d.  Jesus is the only one who can free you from sin

                        3.  (Rom 6:16-18) - Freedom comes through submission

                                    a.  We are either enslaved to cruel taskmaster sin, or Christ

                                    b.  v.21 - The outcome of sin is death

                                    c.  v.22 - The outcome of slavery to God is life

            C.  ILL:  This reminds me of riding on a train

                        1.  You ever ride on a train before? 

                                    a.  We did in Boston, they called it "The T"

                                    b.  Went to go see a Red Sox game

                        2.  To get the train to its destination, it has train tracks

                                    a.  Tracks are not designed to oppress the train

                                    b.  Tracks guide the train to her destination

                                    c.  Without the tracks, train would be lost, stuck, destroyed

                        3.  Only way to reach our destination is to submit to God's tracks

                                    a.  Can move along to our destination only on the tracks

                                    b.  Freedom to move along is only on the tracks

            D.  Submission to God leads to Freedom

                        1.  Any thing else is cruel bondage

                        2.  **When freed by God, you are free to fulfill your purpose


III.  Freedom Leads to Responsibility

            A.  We are not to squander our freedom, but use it responsibly

            B.  What kind of responsibility do we have and to whom?

                        1.  1 Cor 6:20; 7:23 - You have been bought with a price

                                    a.  You belong to God now

                                    b.  You now serve his purposes

                                    c.  1 Jn 3 - Not slaves, but adopted as his beloved children

                        2.  As children of God, we serve a Higher Power under a higher law

                                    a.  (Col 1:13) - Rescued/freed us & transferred to Kingdom

                                    b.  Phil 3:20 - Our citizenship is in Heaven

                                    c.  2 Cor 5:20 - We are ambassadors for Christ

                                                - We are resident aliens

                                                - We represent not earthly Kingdom, but God's

                                                - Our embassy is wherever Christians are

                                    d.  Our responsibility is ultimately to God

                        3.  What is our responsibility as a free people?

                                    a.  (Gal 5:13-14) - Serve through love

                                                - Fulfills God's central commands

                                                - In serving God, we serve others for their good

                                    b.  Mt 5:13-16 - We are salt and light of the world

                                                - We preserve what is good as salt

                                                - We bring out the best as salt

                                                - We are a guide to others as light

                                                - Our "good works" are a credit to the God we serve

                                    c.  As ambassadors, we appeal to people with the Gospel

                                                - We share the Gospel

                                                - We appeal to people to be reconciled to God

                                                - We recognize God's purpose is to redeem

                        4.  What our responsibility is not

                                    a.  Establish God's Kingdom on earth

                                                - Many earliest colonists believed they were

                                                   establishing God's Kingdom on earth

                                                - Some intended on founding the "New Jerusalem"

                                    b.  Man cannot establish God's Kingdom

                                                - Scripture says it comes at God's initiative, not man

                                                - (Dan 2:44-45) God, not man, set up eternal kingdom

                                                - Rev 11:15 - Eternal Kingdom comes only when final

                                                  trumpet sounds

                                    c.  Man-made Kingdoms are not God's Kingdom

                                                - Dan 2 - God's Kingdom will put an end to all the

                                                   Kingdoms of the world

                                                - 1 Cor 15:24 - When Christ return, will abolish all

                                                  rule, power, and authority

                                                - Eternal, universal reign of Gob will begin at Christ's


                                                - Reign of man/ this world/ Satan will end

                                    d.  With all the good a righteous nation can do, it is NOT the

                                         kingdom of God

            C.  I think the Founding Father's Understood this

                        1.  Apparently some of the earlier colonists did not

                        2.  This part of reason they didn't try to establish a theocracy

                                    a.  Kingdom of God is not of this world

                                    b.  There can be a nation of Christians

                                    c.  But there is no such thing as a Christian nation

                        2.  Understood that humans are flawed due to sin, therefore her

                             institutions would be flawed

                                    a.  Best they could do is put in checks and balances

                                    b.  Best they could do is fashion laws according to the higher

                                         law of God

                        4.  They saw themselves as servants with a great responsibility

                                    a.  They were salt and light

                                    b.  They were ambassadors

            D.  What does this all mean?

                        1.  We have a responsibility, not as Americans, but as Christians

                        2.  Our participation in public life is as resident aliens

                        3.  We serve out of love as blood-bought servants of God

                        4.  As ambassadors, we are agents for good through the Gospel



1.  This is what Christian freedom is all about

2.  True freedom is not freedom as the world defines it, that is slavery

3.  Freedom comes from submission to God (inv)

4.  With freedom comes responsibility to serve God as resident aliens

            a.  How do I serve God's purposes as an ambassador?

            b.  Do I serve others out of the love of God?

            c.  Am I salt and light, preserving what is good and guiding people?