Freedom comes from the Word of God, it is the Truth and that Truth makes us Free. It is the Son of God, Jesus Christ who makes us to live in Freedom. Freedom is not something that we earn or merit, but it is a gift that is given to us by our Father and our God through His Son, Jesus Christ. The established hierarchy in the time of Jesus had their own definition of Freedom. It was based upon that which they had received from their forefathers, but through time had drifted away from the Word of God and were now being invited into Real and True Freedom, which only comes through and in Jesus Christ.
As grateful recipients of freedom, we have the responsibility to know what True Freedom is and to do our part to protect and preserve True Freedom. For the one who knows, experiences and practices Christian Freedom makes the best citizen in whatever role one has in their lives, whether in a family, in a church or in a country.
John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
We are free to share the Greatest News that anyone can ever hear, for we have been freed from the penalty of sin and from the power of sin. We have been found by our God and live in the riches of grace in the forgiveness of our sin!! Freedom!!!! We can pour out the Good News: “You have been freed, you may rejoice in the freedom which Christ has purchased for you, and He wants so earnestly that you would swim in that marvelous grace that flows continually from heaven via the cross of Christ.
The question for me and for you today is:
Are we living in the freedom that Jesus is talking about in our text?
Is the freedom that we enjoy grounded in the Word of our God?
Have we come to see the difference between freedom in the Spirit and the freedom in the flesh?
Do we use our freedom to serve others in love, or do we use our freedom for our own purposes and benefit?
The Privilege of Freedom
The Responsibility of Freedom: To understand, to experience and to practice Christian Freedom by serving our neighbor in love. Galatians 5:13
In our two scripture readings, the Holy Spirit taught us about Christian Freedom and how when properly understood, experienced and practiced, it means that we care for those who are yet in bondage to sin, but who believe that they are living in freedom. It is to those that we have been freed to reach out to in love, which is what God has always done since the fall of mankind, and which is a trademark of those who live in Christian Freedom. It is freedom from the flesh, and it is freedom to the Spirit of God.
Paul taught this very clearly as he said:
1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
Consider the heart of God as we think about our freedom in Christ and in the Spirit:
KJV Genesis 3:9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
(from an account by Max Lucado)
A man had become disillusioned with his life, had walked away one day and was never heard from for many years. (He was single) His sister looked for him, asked people about him, but nobody had a clue what had happened to him. Where he had gone was to Texas and as he lived in a shack by a freeway, he got this idea that his calling was to keep a portion of the freeway clear of trash. This he did for many years. No one had any success trying to pull him out of his "calling." After around 14 years of this, two things happened which caused things to change for him.
One is that the place where he called home was going to be destroyed for a building project and the second was that he contracted a fatal strain of cancer. Because his home was destroyed, he had to come out in the open and there he was found lying on the highway in severe pain. A care giver, as a last resort, began to search for any family that this man might have and through his efforts his sister was found and came to help her brother. He did not want help, resisted every effort of his sister, wanting his "home" and his "calling." When asked why she did not give up, she said, "He is my brother."
Adam and Eve ran to hide in the bushes, God came looking and calling; Moses was in the desert when God came near to him in the burning bush; Jonah was running away via the boat when God came near to him in the cloud, in the storm; the Samaritan woman was at the well when Jesus came near to her; Peter, after denying the Lord, experienced the nearness of Jesus around the cookout where Jesus was frying fish, Lazarus was awakened by Jesus' voice when Jesus came near to him......
In what way is He near you/I today? In what way is He near our loved ones, those who are not able to see or experience His inviting and calling love?
So many are like the man and perhaps we are like that man who walked away from everything, got caught up in nothing and did not want to leave what he was used to and into which he was bound. But his sister did not give up on him and continued to seek him, advances to which he succumbed just before he died. Let us not give into discouragement or to hopelessness, but let us remember that if we do not faint, we will reap in due time.
Jesus is seeking to reveal Himself to all, to those who are in darkness, but even for us who are the children of light, He wishes to establish a deeper bond between us and Himself, a bond of love and trust.
Let me illustrate this:
A number of years ago Beth and I were sitting and listening to a song which was being sung at a wedding. As we sat there listening, I was watching the young bride, who kept glancing up at her husband to be, seemingly hoping to catch his eyes so that she could shower her love to him through her eyes/expression as well as receive his adoration in like manner. She did this a number of times, in the hope that their eyes would make contact. He was intent on listening to the song, but then he turned to look into her eyes. I could not see his face, but I could see hers. The expression of love for him as well as the apparent reciprocation of love from him put a look on her face that to me was indescribable and, after observing this for a few seconds, I looked away because the moment was too personal and too holy for me to look upon.
We have been looked upon in love by our Father, He has drawn us to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ, He has downloaded His Spirit into us so that we not only know the gift of Freedom, but we exercise our Freedom by serving others in love.
May the love of the Father, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us now and always, Amen!