Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene
Sunday, January 10
  • Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)
  • Our God
  • Blessed Be Your Name
  • 10 Jan 21
    Freedom II
    The last week we opened up with the idea that
    1) God desires all people to experience freedom - both in Heaven and on Earth.
    Thus,
    2) God, through Christ secured our freedom.
    (Before Christ, freedom was in the OT law - by faith. Now, freedom is through Christ - the cross - by faith). Therefore,
    3) Freedom is possible.
    Freedom is a reality that we can experience. However,
    4) We have the tendency to not live in the full freedom that Jesus provides.
    That comes from various passages in Scripture, primarily from
    Galatians 5:1 ESV
    For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
    This is primarily referring to our salvation - deliverance from sin and death. In Christ, we no longer have to sin. In Christ, we no longer have to fear death. Salvation is solely the work of Christ, He did it all and all we can do is receive it and believe it by faith. So once you are saved don't go back into the captivity of thinking you need to be better or do better to keep your salvation. That is the main idea of Gal. 5:1.
    Like I said last week, I believe
    The freedom that God intends for us has a purpose that goes beyond salvation and into practical Christian living.
    Before I get into what that means, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page.
    What do I mean by freedom?
    First, the word freedom in Gal. 5:1 and other passages
    Biblical freedom means free from obligation.
    Again, in Christ, we are no longer obligated to keep the OT law (grace), no longer obligated to sin for sin is no longer our master, and we’re no longer obligated to die ….
    Secondly, it also
    Biblical freedom also means unhindered.
    We can be free from things that hinder us from living in the fullness of God or in the fullness of the Spirit. We can be free from the things that hinder us from the living the way Jesus Christ wants us to live. Or to use our lingo here at Sunnyside,
    We can be free from those things that hinder us from reaching our potential in Christ.
    I think the best definition of freedom comes from
    Hebrews 12:1–2 ESV
    Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
    When we’re talking about freedom, we’re talking about laying aside weight and sin. Laying aside literally means “to put it in another place” (the sin and weight). In other words, drop it! Stop doing that! What? Stop sinning and stop carrying excess weight.
    Stop sinning and stop carrying anything that God says, “Don’t carry that.”
    Now the sin part doesn’t need a lot of explanation because God's word is fairly straightforward on what sin is and it’s universal. No matter who you are or where you live sexual immorality is sin. Getting drunk is sin. Idolatry is sin.
    It’s the weight part - the “Don’t carry that” part that’s a little more difficult because … we’re not all in the same race … which means we all have different things to carry and different things to let go. Lay aside every weight and sin and run the race that God has set before you. Yes, we're all in this thing called life together - yes, we’re a corporate body of believers, but we’re not all in the same race. My race is different than yours and yours is different than the person next to you. God will call each one of us to carry certain things for our race and to lay aside certain things that hinder our race. It’s going to be different for each person.
    Questions:
    What is the race God has for you? And are you running it?
    What might be stopping you or slowing you down from running that race?
    What might be the weight or sin that God is saying, “Don’t carry that?” Good or bad.
    Two scenarios: In John 21 - Peter and Jesus take a walk. Jesus said, “Feed my sheep; follow me.” Peter looked back and said, “What about John?” Jesus said, “Don’t worry about him? Don’t carry that. He has a different race.”
    In 2 Cor 12, Paul pleaded with God, “I’ve got this thorn in the flesh. It’s hindering me! Take it away!” God said, “No, you need to carry that because if I take that away, you’ll really be hindered for the race I have for you. So what I want you to do is lay aside your self-reliance, lay aside thinking of this as a hindrance, know that my grace is sufficient and run the race.”
    Q - What does that mean for your life?
    Earlier I said I believe
    The freedom that God intends for us has a purpose that goes beyond salvation and into practical Christian living.
    God calls us to freedom so that we can run the race set before us. We’re all in a different race - but there is one thing we have in common.
    1 Peter 2:16 ESV
    Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
    Galatians 5:13 ESV
    For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
    Do you see the connection? God wants us free - from anything that hinders our race, but somewhere in there our freedom is connected to other people.
    The freedom that Christ provides is not only for our benefit, but also for the benefit of others - to love and to serve.
    This tells me that gaining freedom, regardless of what that freedom is - physical or financial or emotional or spiritual or whatever - is connected to what I will do with that freedom. For Paul to be free of that thorn would have hindered his ability to love and serve.
    If I desire freedom, and the Lord knows I will not be submissive and use that freedom in His service to love and serve others, will the Lord give me the freedom I desire?
    Example. 98% of Christians do not experience the financial freedom and blessings that God offers. They may desire financial freedom, but they do not experience it. Why? 1) 98% of Christians do not honor God with His tithe (10 % - robbing God). 2) They often don’t manage their money well (i.e. according to biblical principles).
    Do you think God is going to bless them financially? No. It doesn't work that way. God says honor Him with His tithe and learn how to steward money, then God will bless you with financial freedom. Doesn’t necessarily mean riches, but it means financial freedom.
    And what is the purpose of this financial freedom? Yes, it honors God, and faithful stewards have less financial worries, they have more joy and they are more able and likely to bless and serve others with their finances.
    Our freedom, regardless of what it is, is for our joy and to serve others. For our benefit and the benefit of others. So, I’m just asking the question - If I desire freedom, and the Lord knows I will not be submissive and use that freedom in His service to love and serve others, will the Lord give me the freedom I desire?
    What’s happening on the inside right now? What might the Holy Spirit be saying to you right now about freedom? Pick up? Put down? Submit? What race?
    The freedom is there - we need to know our race, hear God’s voice and submit …
    The next big question is how? How do I attain this freedom?
    James 1:25 NIV
    But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
    This is where freedom begins - looking into God’s Word: The Living Word (Logos / Jesus) and the Written Word. We’re going to start a journey through Ephesians - to help each of us reach our full potential in Christ.
      • Galatians 5:1ESV

      • Hebrews 12:1–2ESV

      • 1 Peter 2:16ESV

      • Galatians 5:13ESV

      • James 1:25NLT

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