Sunnyside First Baptist Church
HOW DO WE FIND "FREEDOM"
  • Blessed Be Your Name
  • You Are My King (Amazing Love)
  • A Bit of Review...

    The best way that we can understand the message of Paul in this letter and really all of his letters is to understand who Saul was and what happened after his encounter with Jesus.
    Saul hated Christians why?
    Acts 21:39 (ESV)
    39 Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city....”
    Paul was born “into it”
    He was trained to be the best Pharisee… By the best, Gamaliel.
    He maintained a great deal of power being a Pharisee.
    Acts 9:1–2 ESV
    1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
    He didn’t bring them back to Jerusalem to have tea and crumpets. For those it meant death. Sometimes a very gruesome death.
    Saul, authored or approved of the execution of Stephen, the first martyr but certainly not the last to be martyred for their faith.
    Acts 8:1 ESV
    1 And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
    Most ordinary people would see all of this happening to them and their ragtag group of followers and run and hid. And they did…
    But in running the exact opposite occured that was Saul’s intention. Everywhere they scattered a group of disciples popped up and and further spread “The Way” as it was called.

    Paul’s Conversion

    Acts 9

    Saul is considered too have one of the best “minds” that have ever existed.
    He was renowned for his knowledge of “The Law,” he was a Pharisee’s Pharisee.
    Acts 22:3 ESV
    3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day.
    In all of his knowledge, in all of his zeal, in all of his persecution of the followers of Jesus there is one thing that he didn’t plan for, one thing he didn’t see coming, one thing that he had no power over.
    Acts 9:3–5 ESV
    3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
    He never counted on that...
    The Lord struck him blind and sent a man named Ananias.
    Acts 9.15-17
    Acts 9:15–17 ESV
    15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
    After Paul regained his sight, “like scales” fell from his eyes and he could see again. He got up and was baptized.
    Paul using his knowledge of the Old Testament, The Law, Judaism, his knowledge of the Pharisee, and of the Council of the Sanhedrin.
    His primary focus was bringing those people who previously followed “The Law” and now to bring them into a personal relationship with Jesus.
    His heart burned for the salvation of the Jew, the Gentile, the Pagan.
    There was NO ONE that Paul did not believe could leave their past behind and become a follower of Jesus.
    Paul visited Corinth to bring The Gospel, to encourage the Gospel, to fight for The Gospel and finally to fight for those who were fighting for The Gospel.
    During that time, there was a constant battle going on. The battle ultimately was with satan to keep the people of Corinth from following Jesus.
    They doubted Paul’s commission from Christ
    satan drew those whose faith was weak back to “The Law”
    The people tried and failed to mix “The OT Law” and Grace and Mercy through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
    This was an epic battle… This was Spiritual Warfare.
    2 CORINTHIANS, CHAPTER 3
    Here is the BIG Question for today...
    Where is freedom free?
    I’d like you to use your Bible, your app and turn to 2Corinthians Chapter 3 beginning in verse 1.
    Let’s look at V.1
    2 Corinthians 3:1 ESV
    1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you?
    Let’s look at that word “Commend” our inclination would be to see that and think that Paul and his followers are getting a bit to big for their britches.
    That is not the case, here “self-commendation” is equal to self-introduction.
    So after the introductions of Paul and the affirmations. Paul get right to his purpose.
    POINT #1 - OUR SUFFICIENCY IS BASED ONLY ON OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, THROUGH CHRIST!
    2 Corinthians 3:4–6 ESV
    4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
    No human, not even Paul himself, sees the challenges that we are going to face. There is NO WAY he could see 2020 and 2021, and the broken families, and the broken relationships, and the pain and suffering in our world.
    BUT… Since we are “sufficient” in ourselves because of sufficiency of God to be ministers of the “New Covenant”
    V.6 - The Covenant, a set of promises, benefits and responsibilities.
    The new covenant is NOT written in the letter of the law… But of the Spirit.
    Jeremiah 31:33–34 ESV
    33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
    Notice… from the Book of Jeremiah.
    The Prophet himself declares that “the law” will be written on peoples heart. And here is the key...
    … And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [Jer31.33b]
    ...For I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more. [Jer31.34b]
    What a gift we have been given...
    No longer do we have to measure everything that we do against a book of law that is 427 laws thick, but can rely on the book of the law that is written on our hearts. That is the “sufficiency” of God, Through a relationship with Christ.
    Do you recall what had to be done with your sin? Fatted calfs, perfect sheep and goats, splashing of blood, burning of meat, the ash, the proper and improper handling of the meat of the sacrifice. FOR WHAT PURPOSE. FOR THE REMISSION OF SIN! FOR A SIN COVERING!
    God says in the 34th verse that sin will be forgiven by God and “remembered” no more! Like in never happened… What a gift!
    POINT #2 - THE HOLY SPIRIT IS STRONGER, IS MORE SUFFICIENT THAN THE LAW!
    2 Corinthians 3:7–8 ESV
    7 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?
    Paul is calling out the law and the “carved letters” as the ministry of “death.”
    The Israelites could not look at the face of the one who brought the law down from the mountain. So bright was the light that Moses covered his face except when he was in the tabernacle.
    POINT #3 - WHAT IS OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH A HOLY GOD, AND JESUS OUR SAVIOR?
    We on the other hand when faced with Jesus and God we can approach differently
    Hebrews 4:16 LEB
    16 Therefore let us approach with confidence to the throne of grace, in order that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
    AND
    2 Corinthians 3:12–13 ESV
    12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end.
    Such is NOT THE CASE for those who have not encountered the living God.
    POINT #4 - FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW JESUS… THE SPIRIT HAS NOT REPLACED THE LAW.
    Therefore, those who are perishing without the Grace and Mercy of God from Jesus Christ it is like this.
    2 Corinthians 3:14–15 ESV
    14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.
    Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to get through to some with the Gospel, have you ever wondered why your words and your testimony just bounce off your friend, your neighbor, someone that understands but won’t yield to the Spirit?
    Scripture is pretty clear… “The people suffered from stone hard hearts, not simply dull minds.”
    Isaiah 6:9–10 ESV
    9 And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “ ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ 10 Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
    And here is one other, that typifies the words that Paul is using
    Ezekiel 12:2 ESV
    2 “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house.
    And one final verse under this idea.
    Romans 11:7–8 ESV
    7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.”
    Scripture is talking about the days of the first century. But it is not to difficult to see the illusion to our time here in the last days.
    Let me finish here...
    What is the answer to our “BIG” Question? Where is freedom free?
    And our opportunity in being free and in remaining free in having our faces unveiled and seeing His Glory has one condition… TRANSFORMATION!
      • Acts 22:3ESV

      • Acts 9:3–5ESV

      • Acts 9:15–17ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 3:1ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 3:4–6ESV

      • Jeremiah 31:33–34ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 3:7–8ESV

      • Hebrews 4:16ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 3:12–13ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 3:14–15ESV

      • Isaiah 6:9–10ESV

      • Ezekiel 12:2ESV

      • Romans 11:7–8ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 3:18ESV

  • I Can Only Imagine

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