We all want to be free!
Our spiritual freedom comes at a great cost, but the battle was fought on our behalf and the price was paid by Christ on the cross.
Nobody chooses to be subjected to another’s rule. In 1776, our colonies rallied together and took a stand to declare independence from Great Britain, but this was an act of war. This Independence Day, as we eat and have fun, we are called to remember that freedom is anything but free. Independence came at a great cost. Likewise, if you have declared your independence from sin and death as a follower of Christ, that was an act of war as well. Our spiritual freedom comes at a great cost, but the battle was fought on our behalf and the price was paid by Christ on the cross.
Pastor Marcus wants to highlight two points today.
1. Jesus sets you free from sin.
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
In Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin. Jesus tells his followers that He is truth and He also says that the truth will set us free.
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:34-36
In believing in and following Jesus, we are free indeed! His work on the cross is finished - it’s over. But sometimes we still choose to live as though we are in bondage to the enemy.
Do you hear his lies in your mind sometimes?
- You’re not good enough.
- Nobody believes you.
- God doesn’t really love you.
- He can’t forgive you.
- You are no good.
These are lies from the father of lies! We need to claim and use our power and authority in Christ and not allow lies to have any power in our lives. When the devil reminds you of your past, then remind him of his future: he loses!
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:42-44
Jesus says plainly that the devil is a liar, so if you live your life believing and following his lies, then he is your spiritual father. But if you have become a child of God by faith, then it is worth whatever struggle you must endure to fight through and believe the truths of God. If you have made a decision to follow Christ, then don’t let the shackles of sin dictate your thoughts and actions.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
Pastor Marcus shared that his four children are guaranteed certain privileges because they are his children: they will be fed, taken care of, and loved because they are his. As children of God, we are guaranteed to become a new creation in Christ and to live in freedom and truth, so we should settle for nothing less.
2. Jesus sets you free to serve.
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
Focus not only on what God has freed you from, but what He has freed you for. Our country is not perfect, but we have many political freedoms that other parts of the word cannot enjoy. In our freedom, we can celebrate, invent, create, and practice our faith. Our spiritual freedom should give us just as many advantages - so we should not be living as though we are enslaved to our sinful nature or to the lies of the enemy. Instead, we can love others and engage in the work of the ministry.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13
For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:17-23
Pastor Marcus brought an apple to illustrate this point. The apple can be used to make apple juice, apple pie, or applesauce. If we bite into it, we can expect it to be crunchy, sweet, and juicy. It came from an apple tree, so it should have the characteristics of an apple. But what if we bit into the apple and found that it tasted like a potato or had the texture of a banana?
If we are believers, then our lives should not be subject to our sinful nature, but bearing the fruit of the Spirit. We should bear the image of Christ because we are His children. When a person looks at your life from afar, do they see the fruit of the Spirit? Or does your life bear some other kind of fruit that is not associated with Christ?
Jesus does not call us to holiness and freedom in order to make him look better or more holy; He doesn’t need us to make Him look better - He is God! He wants us to enjoy the bountiful, wonderful fruits that life in Him has to offer.
Are you still feeling trapped, believing the lies of the devil, and yielding the unpleasant fruit of sin? Maybe you’ve made a step toward Christ, but your life doesn’t show it; you don’t “taste like an apple.” But if the Son has set you free, then you are free indeed. Take this chance to live it, step into the authority and power of a child of God, and grasp hold of freedom!