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A Call To Freedom
Miles McPherson - July 20, 2014

Message Recap

Have you ever served in a prison ministry?  Prison ministry is amazing because everyone has apparent need and is in touch with their sin because they are surrounded by the fruit of their own sin.  They have tried to make themselves freer and more empowered, when actually their actions were enslaving them.  

It doesn't really matter how you became bound.  The real question is: Do you want to be free?

You may not know anyone in physical prison, but you will most certainly know someone in spiritual prison, bound heart, mind, and soul to doing wrong and seeking destruction.  Maybe you even have struggles with spiritual bondage yourself.

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.  Romans 6:16-19

It doesn't really matter how you became bound.  The real question is: Do you want to be free?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1

Today two Rock members shared their experiences with incarceration and their eventual freedom in Christ.

Mike Macias
Under the stresses of life working and raising a child, Mike Macias turned to drugs.   As he began to abuse substances, his tendency toward violence escalated until he craved it;  violence was his drug of choice. He was arrested for assault and battery, served some time and did community service, but eventually was incarcerated for his increasing violence.  Being inside with others who were angry and prone to violence only escalated his own violence and fed the darkness in his heart.  He felt he was in the environment he deserved.   He fit in and didn’t need or want anyone else's approval.   He thought that he was where he was supposed to be.

Tim Neisler 
All the time Tim Neisler was in prison, he had no desire to change; he was counting the time until he could use again.  He believed that he was on this earth to use and sell drugs.  He even took incredible risks to have drugs sent to him in prison.  He knew these things didn't make sense and weren't worth it, but he could not stop himself.

There are two kinds of slaves found in the Bible: a slave unto righteousness (voluntarily submitted to God); and a slave to sin (serving only himself and the devil).  In a spiritual sense, you can either be a slave leading to death, servings something that will bring you pain and ruin your life, or a slave to something that will give you life.  Which slave do you want to be?

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? Romans 6:16

(Further reading: John 8:34, Ephesians2:1, 1 Timothy 3:7, 2 Timothy 2:26, Romans 1, James 1:1, 2 Peter 1:1, John 10:10)

Have you given authority to the devil over certain areas of your life (or all of your life?)   When you are frustrated, upset, or under stress, do you go to God for guidance and support, or do you trust the devil to guide and direct you?   Are you trusting in your vices (overeating, porn, anger, violence) to bring you comfort and take care of you?  If you have decided to yield to the devil in sin, you are surrendering yourself into his care.

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.  For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 1 Corinthians 5:1-5

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 2 Peter 2:19

Tim Neisler
Tim says that methamphetamines were like the devil living inside of him.  While they were stealing the soul away from his body, they whispered to him that everything was okay, that he was right where he should be, and that everything was working out as it should.  As he continued smoking and selling, in the meantime Tim was losing weight, his life was a mess, the people he cared about were leaving him, and he was shackled in the chains of a spiritual prison with Satan as the warden.

Mike Macias
When Mike was released from prison, he was clean and sober, but he still craved violence and was still imprisoned in his mind.  Because the drugs were gone, other people expected to see big changes in his life, but his real drug was still alive and well.  He still walked around in chains.

Have you ever been reading a book in the afternoon and continued to read so long that you haven’t realized the sun slowly setting?  Until someone turns a light on, you think you can see just fine, as you have become slowly accustomed to the growing darkness.  Spiritually speaking, sometimes we get so accustomed to darkness that we don't even realize we're sitting in the dark.  How comfortable has it become for you to curse, gossip, tear down someone’s character, or watch pornography on your phone?  Sin is a process that draws us further and further from God; heroin addicts do not start with heroin, but with one cigarette and a few drinks.  Satan lures us down the path of death and destruction slowly, enslaving us a little at a time.

Take a moment to evaluate your own spiritual life.  How is your language?  What is your thought life?  How far have you slowly drifted from God’s holy standard?  The question of importance is not how you got to where you are, but how you will get back.  How far is far enough that you will stop and choose to follow Jesus?

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”   Romans 8:15

Mike Macias
Mike’s wife had developed a relationship with Christ and devotedly invited Mike to church week after week.  He finally accepted her offer, having been broken financially and feeling like life was spinning out spinning out of control.  He went to service, where God began to “peel his layers.” He realized his issues with drugs and violence had always been born of his desire for approval.   And now he discovered that he is approved already.  In Christ, he is a son of God, a prince who is 3 years violent-free.  Now instead of hurtin men, he hugs them and loves them.  It sometimes fees odd, but he knows that it’s God changing him.  God’s grace has revealed that Mike is approved and truly set free.

Tim Neisler 
After Tim surrendered his life to God, for the first time he finally felt like he was home no matter where he was, because something had happened in his heart.  For first time he felt the indescribable love that God had for him and he knew that he wasn't created for addiction and prison.  God had created him to walk in the fullness of his design for him and he was created to worship God, forgiven and free.  The only thing that released me from his spiritual prison was Jesus Christ.

Whatever the devil means for harm in your life, God intends for good.  That is why Time now loves going into prison facilities to share his story of hope.  Through prison ministry, people are saved and lives are changed.  By the power of Jesus, convicts can break the cycle of addition and bondage in their lives.

Earth is sometimes like a temporary jail of unpleasantness.  But hell is long-term incarceration—an eternal place designed to punish the devil for all his evil forever.  Matthew 25 tells us that hell is for the devil and anyone who wants to go with him.

The Bible says that all of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory and that the penalty of our sin is death – eternal separation from God.  But if you don't want to spend your time on earth in spiritual jail and your eternity in spiritual prison, all you need to do is surrender your life voluntarily as a bond-servant to Christ.  He will forgive you and take residence in your heart and you will voluntarily become a servant to the One who loves you and can give you hope and a future.

This Message

In this message, Pastor Miles analyzes two types of slavery in the Bible: slavery unto righteousness and slavery unto sin. One will give us life and the other will lead us to death.

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