RecipientsPastor Jerry Gillis - July 26, 2015
Christ has set us free from slavery to sin so that we can be slaves to love.
Community Group Study Notes
- How do we sometimes misunderstand what it means to be free in Christ? How does the Bible speak to this and correct what our view of true freedom is?
- What constrains our freedom? Why is this actually a better concept of freedom? How does it apply to our everyday lives?
"Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." -Luke 9:23
So the other day I had an opportunity to see something. It was on I guess some official document or whatever. And I noticed that this particular document had a state motto on it. And I thought to myself you know... I don't even know the New York State official motto. Like, is it Sinatra doing "My Way?" Is that the state motto? I didn't know. I was. I don't even know the state that I grew up in, Georgia. I didn't know their state motto. So I went on this website and I went and looked up like all the state mottos.
So if you didn't know the state motto for New York is excelsior. Now that's a Latin term that means ever upward. Some of you are nodding saying "yeah I knew that". Some of you are nodding and you're lying just to look smart. Some of you are just looking at me like "Yeah, I didn't know that either. I'm going to confess it right now, I had no idea that was our state motto." So if you see it on particular you know the seal of New York State, you'll see the state motto on there. And I looked up Georgia's, which you know I'm from originally. And I didn't know it either. And it is wisdom, justice in moderation. That's the state motto of Georgia.
And so I looked through a few more, you know. California's was "Eureka". Which means translated, I think it means "I found it". That's, I don't know it's not hard to find California. I think it maybe referring to gold, I'm not really sure. Uh, but whatever.
But there was one state that would fall into the "my motto can beat up your motto" family. It was the best motto of all of them. It was New Hampshire. "Live free or die." Now, I'm just. I'm just saying that all of the other mottos that I looked up. If they were voiced over, you know for kind, if they were doing a national kind of marketing campaign and they were voiced over. It's like almost all the other mottos could be some very sweet middle-aged woman doing the voice over, right? Come to New York "ever upward", you know. Y'all come to Georgia "wisdom justice in moderation". You know. And maybe you'd have some kind of surfer dude in California going "ooh eureka". Maybe, right? But for New Hampshire? You would need that dude that does like WWF and monster truck rally, right? "Come to New Hampshire... live free or DIIIE!" Right? That who you'd have to have for that one. Everyone else would be really tame and then this guy: "Live free or DIE!" Just thinking about that.
Here's the thing. I think that the United States if we were invaded by a foreign country, we would just go ahead and adopt New Hampshire's motto for the whole country, right? Somebody comes in and says we think we're going to come and take you over. And we would be like "New Hampshire, where you at? Live free or die!" That's what would go on in the United States, right?
Why is that? Here's why. Because in the United States we are so ingrained in our DNA with freedom being at the core of who we are. The same probably could be said those of you who are watching in Canada. The same could be said for Canadians as well. They love and they cherish their freedom. And in America, we're built on it. It is a core fundamental of who we are in the United States of America. The bottom line is, that this is a part of our identity. It's kind of, in America we want to do what we want, when we want, how we want. That's just kind of how we're wired, right? We have been known as rugged individualists. We are the the land of the free and the home of the brave. This is who we are and it is woven deeply with into the tissue of the core of our identity.
Now, that's okay to an extent, but here's the problem. Is that it can cause us to be a little bit messed stuff on the way that we view freedom the way that Jesus talks about it. It can cause us to maybe have a skewed understanding of what that looks like, and can mess us up a little bit if we're not careful.
You see, ultimately we didn't earn our own freedom when we talk about the nature of our freedom in Christ. This is a gift. We are recipients of a gift of freedom. And in fact when Paul talks about it in his letter to Galatia. If you wanna turn certainly feel free to do that in Galatians chapter 5. When Paul talks about this idea, really the whole of the book is about this idea of freedom. And I want us to be able to maybe understand a little bit at least kind of the nature of the freedom that we're talking about because it cuts a little bit against the grain of what we think of in the United States when we think of freedom, of being able to do whatever we want, whenever we want, however we want. Right? That we're kind of unconstrained by anything. We are free.
Well Paul speaks to this. And in Galatians chapter 5, in verse number one, the first part in it, he says this: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." You need to pause there for just a moment, because this is really kind of a thesis statement of the whole book of Galatians. That it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. And one of the first things that you pick up on and that you notice is that we did not earn our own freedom. That passage says to us that Christ is the one who freed us and what did he free us for? Freedom. You go, man I don't even understand what that means. Christ has freed us for freedom. Yeah, we will understand that a little bit better in just a few moments.
But here's what I want to ask I just want to ask. I just want to ask a question and then kind of answer that question, and maybe give us a better understanding of what we're talking about when we talk about this idea of freedom in Christ. I get emails consistently and or questions that I talk to people about, when they say "Man, here's what I don't really understand when people talk about being free in Christ/ I don't really know what that means. I don't really understand what that looks like." And then, I'll have brothers and sisters and friends of mine in Christ that will say,
Man, I am just enjoying my freedom in Christ." And sometimes people are going "Yeah, okay what does that mean? I don't really understand that."
Well, I'm hoping that maybe when we see what it is we've been freed from, that maybe we'll begin to understand what it means to be free in Christ. Because here's the thing. Some of you sometimes wrestle with the will of God for your life. I don't know what the will of God is for my life. Well, there are some places in the scripture where it's patently obvious what the will of God is. And this is one of them. Here it is: it is for freedom that Christ has set you free. This is the will of God for you. You don't even have to ask questions about "well I wonder if".. You don't even have to wonder. It is for freedom that Christ has set you free.
Here's what we should ask: "What we have been freed from?" What is it that we have actually been freed from, by Christ the one who has given us this gift of freedom? Well, there's a least three things that I'll mention in our time together. And here's the first one: we've been freed from slavery to sin. Where once we were slaves to sin, we are no longer if we are found in Christ.
Let's read the whole of Galatians 5 verse 1. It says this: "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."
Now, whenever a Jew as Paul was. Whenever a Jew is referencing an idea or a metaphor of slavery. And in this sense he's talking about kind of metaphorically. Whenever a Jew is making that kind of reference to slavery, almost always within the context of the Jewish mind is that particular Jew referencing at least to some extent something from their historical past. You see, oftentimes when we hear that term we think in different terms, but when you've got a Jew using a term about slavery, it's true Paul at times may have been referencing his present kind of context. Because in his present context, in the Roman Empire that was kind of taking over everything there were such thing as slavery. There was no question. That was part of the current cultural context Paul was referencing. But my guess is, Paul is referencing that which is one of the foundational stories in all of the Old Testament. And that is when the people of God, the Israelites, were freed from the slavery of Egypt.
You see, part of the reason that I mention that, is because Paul is normally in this kind of setting when he uses this term metaphorically talking about being burdened again by a yoke of slavery, he's speaking in such a way that all of his Jewish listeners would have thought about the idea of the Exodus. They would have thought about the time where their people were in bondage, and in slavery to Egypt for hundreds of years. And that through the course of that they didn't get to do what they want, when they wanted, and how they wanted because they were under the yoke of some cruel masters. They were very hard on them. When you go back and you begin to read how some of the Israelites were treated during that time. And they had a quota to fulfill in terms of the number bricks that they had to make every day. And then they decided to make it even harder on them. and said not only this were not even gonna provide you with the straw for the bricks anymore. You're gonna have to gather the straw and make the bricks and fulfill the same quoted that you had even now having to go harvest the straw! It was a very, very difficult life that they were living under. They were in bondage. They were in slavery.
But God raised up one of their own, Moses, who obviously had connections and ties to the people of Egypt and even to the power of Egypt. But raised up Moses. And Moses began to to preach to Pharaoh "Let my people go." And ultimately, God performed many signs and wonders in that context. Obviously plagues associated with that. But he delivered the people out of Egypt. And in their leaving, when they were crossing through the Red Sea in making their way into the Promised Land, just prior to that.
In this Great Plague, what happened was there was a great passing over all the people of God who put the blood on their door post of a spotless lamb. And so now the angel death passed over them, and dealt with the firstborn of those who did not do it. It was called the Passover. And the Passover is associated kind of as a memorial tribute to what was the freedom week. The time when the people of God were freed from there slavery. So, this kind of serves as a foundational story in the Old Testament. And, remember Paul said "it is for freedom that Christ has set us free". So don't be bound again by this bondage of this yoke of slavery. He's using this story as a backdrop, a foundational backdrop, because it was a backdrop to the story of Christ. It was a backdrop to the story of Jesus. And it is Jesus who has freed us from the slavery of sin.
By the way, if you want to understand how this was a backdrop. This freedom from slavery idea. Remember when Jesus came, and the angel said you will call his name Jesus because he will what? He will save his people from their sins. This was actually when Jesus was born and named, it was with this idea and this Old Testament backdrop of freedom from slavery that Jesus was actually named "Jesus". Because he was going to save his people from there sins.
And then ultimately, when you have Jesus kind of in the beginning part of his ministry. And now he's beginning to preach the gospel. And he's there in kind of what is it his growing up town Nazareth. And when he walks into the synagogue, and he's handed the scroll, do you know what happened in that context and what Jesus chose to read and chose to preach in his messianic appointment there? Here's what it says in Luke chapter 4. Listen to the words of Luke 4:16: "Jesus went to Nazareth where he'd been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. And unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down and the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
Jesus was saying that the beginning of his messianic call, he was basically doing this: he was coming to free the slaves. This was a new exodus that was about to transpire in their midst, and it was being fulfilled in Messiah Jesus. The true and better Moses had come among them. And now the foundational story of the Old Testament about freedom from bondage and freedom from sin. Jesus shows up in his messianic work and says this is what I've come to do. I have come to free you not from an oppressing country necessarily, even though there wasn't oppressing country in Rome, the Roman Empire. But I've come to free you from sin. I've come to set the oppressed free. I've come to free the captives.
We even see this more clearly when Jesus is making one of his trips into Jerusalem, where he is there for some of the feast weeks which he would go each each year into Jerusalem. And while he is in the temple courts, listen to the words that he says in his communication in John chapter 8. He says this: "To the Jews who had believed in him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you really are my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." They answered him, "We're Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we should be set 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."
You see, Jesus was getting at this idea even in his preaching not only what his name was, that he was going to come and save people from their sins. So name him Jesus which means Jehovah or God saves. But also when he came he announced his messianic appointment to set the captives free. And then in his preaching outside the temple courts he said, basically, those who sin are slaves to sin. But when the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. You will no longer be slaves anymore. And so isn't it interesting that there in the last week of Jesus' life, that the time frame that Jesus chose to give his life to pay for the sins of humanity was during freedom week? The time of the Passover. The time of the Exodus. This is the time because a new exodus had come in the person of Jesus. And he went to a cross as a sinless Son of God, just like there was a spotless lamb in the exodus. The sinless spotless Son of God goes to the cross, lays down his life on behalf of sinful people, satisfies the justice of a Holy God that much judge sin. Jesus took all of that upon himself died in our place as a substitute, rose from the dead paying our sin debt, and now because of our faith and trust in Him we can be set free from sin. No longer slaves to it.
In fact, it is that good news, is that gospel that Paul actually talks about how that plays out in our lives in Romans chapter 6 in terms of our freedom. Listen to what he says in Romans 6 versus 5-7. First it says, "For if we've been united with Jesus in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with. That we should no longer be slaves to sin, because anyone who has died has been set free from sin." And then verse 11 picks up and says, "In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness." For sin listen to this: "For sin shall no longer be your master because you are not under the law, but under grace." And then verse seventeen says, "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. And you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness."
Do you know what Paul says here? He says this is the beauty of the gospel. You have traded masters. You are no longer a slave to sin, where sin has dominion over you and you must sin because you are a sinner. No longer! Jesus has set you free, and you are under a new master, a great master, a good master. Jesus himself. And now you are free not to sin any longer. This is what freedom really looks like, you see. But if we come into this with the wrong idea, we begin to misunderstand the idea of our freedom in Christ.
So the first thing that Christ, when it says that it is for freedom that Christ has set us free, what he set us free from is slavery to sin. But he's also set us free, listen to this, he's also set us free from religious performance. This is the beauty of the text. I'm just this, isn't me just making stuff up by the way. This is what the scripture says. Because I like that point, too. But this is actually how Paul begins to unfold this for us.
Look in verse number 2 of Galatians 5. "Mark my words! I, Paul tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision no uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."
Now listen, Paul is writing because Galatia had a problem. There was the problem that these agitators and they probably came from Jerusalem. And they had found out the Paul was preaching a gospel that he talks about in Galatians 1. He says that this is a gospel that is, here it is. It is by grace that we have been saved. There is nothing that we can do to earn our salvation. It is not Jesus plus anything, it is completely a gift of God, which we've been unpacking over the last few weeks, this idea of salvation. That this is the gift of God in and through Jesus Christ and by faith in Jesus Christ we are now recipients of the incredible gift of salvation.
And you cannot, listen, you cannot be justified by the acts of the law, because no one can fulfill all of the obligations of the law. No one. And by implication, ladies and gentlemen, just because you attach to yourself some external religious performance issues, that will not justify you before God. It will not. You cannot have that happen. Because ultimately Paul is trying to deal with these agitators, who were Jews, who were coming in saying to these new believers in Jesus Christ, "Hey that's great that you follow Jesus Christ, but you gotta follow Jesus, plus be circumcised as a sign of the covenant. You gotta follow Jesus, plus, you've got to observe the Sabbath. You've got to follow Jesus, plus, you've got to share table fellowship only with those who've done the same things as you, and you can't hang out with some of these other people." That's all unpacked for us in the book of Galatians. I'm summarizing for you, to give you context.
You see, this is what was going on here. These agitators were coming and saying this. And Paul was saying "No no no no no no no no no". Here's the gospel: it is what God has done in Jesus Christ that you could never do for yourself. You could never justify yourself by the works of the law. It is only by Christ. It is Jesus plus nothing. He alone! He alone can save all by himself. It is Jesus plus nothing. This is what Paul is saying. He's saying, this is the true gospel, and I came to you preaching the true gospel of Jesus Christ. But if you want to get involved in a yoke of slavery, ladies and gentleman, then come, then try and justify your life by religious performance, and you will be living in the bondage of slavery. You can't do it. You cannot do it. I don't care how good how good a work it ism it will not justify you before God.
So, if you show up on a Sunday, for whatever reason, hopefully for good reason. And you think because you stick some money in the plate, that you are going to earn God's favor because you did that, think again. You cannot. You cannot be justified by that. If you think that you can sponsor a child that needs help in Haiti, so that God will go "Wow. I'm incredibly impressed." And you can justify yourself before God because I'm doing that, think again. You cannot do it. If you think somehow that you can justify yourself before God because you you chose to volunteer in one of our ministry arenas. You say, "See there, God. Look what I've done for you." You cannot justify yourself by doing that. If you think you can justify yourself before God by spending some money to go to a Christian festival, to listen to all kinds of good music and be a part of all the things of God and that kind of stuff. And you think that somehow it justifies before God I'm telling you you're living in a yoke of bondage.
Here's the thing. The good news is, is that when we trust Christ by faith and we love him with all of our heart, you know what we'll do? We will give generously. But we won't do it, to try and justify ourselves before God. We'll do it because we have been justified by Jesus and his life is now living out through us and we do it because it's an act of love! We will sponsor kids because of what Jesus has done on our behalf and it is his life and his love that's now living out through us! We're not doing it to be justified before God. We're doing it as an overflow of God's justification of us in Jesus. Do you see the difference in those things? One leads to slavery and bondage, because you will never live up to the laws you built for yourself. You will always fail. You'll never live up to them. Just like we cannot be justified by the works of the law. You take the ten commandments and you say "well I'm gonna be true to them as long as I shall live." No you're not. You can't fulfill them. You can never fulfill them on your own. Because you not only might violate the letter of the law, but you're gonna violate the spirit of the law.
But here's the great news. The great news is that we actually can fulfill the law when we are in Jesus. You see Jesus is the fulfillment of the law. Remember, he said he didn't come to abolish it. He came to fulfill it. And he's the only one who could fulfill it, both in letter and in spirit. And he did. And here's the beauty. That when we put our faith in him, and we put our trust in him, we are now dead to the condemnation that the law brings, but we are now alive to Christ Jesus in the fulfillment of the law in the life of the Spirit.
In factm listen to how Paul said it toward the end of the book of Romans in chapter 13. He said, "Let know no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another. For whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not covet," and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." You seem you can only love like that, you can only live like that, as Paul goes on to say in Galatians, when you are filled with the spirit. Because when you're filled with the spirit, ladies and gentleman, you then fulfill the law in all of its intent.
You see, here's the thing. We were saved from the law, so that we could be saved for it. So that we could fulfill the law of love that goes beyond just the letter that we are no longer condemned under. But because of Christ Jesus, there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Right? For basically the the law of the Spirit of live has set us free from the law of the Spirit of death. We are now no longer under the condemnation of the law, but we have been set free to do what? To be the radiance of God and the fullness of God in and through Jesus Christ, who is the fulfillment of the law. And we can live that way because of the Spirit of God living in us.
This is what freedom looks like, ladies and gentlemen. You can't put all these external religious performance pieces on you, and think you're going to justify yourself before God. It is bondage. It is slavery. But those things, all of those good works, will be produced by the one who understands they've been justified by God in Jesus Christ. They are produced from that, because we walk filled with the spirit. And when we walk filled with the spirit, the fruit of the Spirit. It's not fruits, like you can pick and choose them. It is fruit of the spirit. Love, and joy, and peace, and patience, and kindness, and gentleness, faithfulness and self control. All of those things listen, when you have, when you walk filled with the Spirit, all of that is true at the same time. Not one or the other. You know I'm pretty good at love, but I'm terrible at patience. No, no, you're actually not good at all of them, because you're not walking filled with the spirit. When you walk filled with the spirit, it's all true about you, because it's the fruit of the spirit, singular.
See, this is what it means to walk in freedom. That we are set free from slavery to sin. We are set free from religious performance. Let me give you a third one. We are set free from thinking autonomy is true freedom. I want to disabuse us of this notion. That autonomy is true freedom. You see, the core of our problem of understanding Christian freedom, is that we think freedom in the same way that we think about it in America. We think freedom means, that we can do whatever we want, whenever we want, however we want, and that we are unconstrained and unrestricted in what we have to do. If freedom has constraints, then it's not freedom. That's what we think. That could not be more untrue.
Think about it with me for a second. Let's just say you're a train. That's weird. But let's just say you're train. Pretend you yourself are a train, and you say to yourself, "Train self, I'm a little tired of being constrained to the tracks." So you decide in your train mind to jump the tracks. These are constraining me. I'm gonna get off of them. How's that gonna go for you? It's called a train wreck. That's what it's called.
If that train illustration doesn't work for you, become a fish. I've got loads of these, if you want me. I'm just gonna keep pulling them out. Become a fish. Swimming around the water, liking everything. Everything's cool, right? Then you're like, "This is stupid. I want my freedom. Stuck in this water. I want my freedom." So you get out. Here's what that looks like. [demonstrates fish flapping] That's how that goes. Everybody clear on that illustration?
How about one more serious? If you're a husband or a wife who says this wedding ring feels like the world's smallest handcuff. Can't believe I'm stuck. I need my freedom. Where do all these freedoms lead? Either to train wreck or death of the fish or wrecking lives. You know why? Because they thought that freedom meant that you had to be completely and totally unconstrained. You see the train is free, when it exists for what it's made for. The fish is free when it lives where it's made for. The spouses are free when they exist for what they're made for.
Are you starting to see this a little bit? You see freedom has constraints. In fact, if freedom didn't have any constraints, we'd have to change the motto of New Hampshire from "Live free or die" to "Live free and die". That's what it would look like, right? Because freedom without any constraints does not lead to the place where you think it leads.
So what is the constraint of freedom in Christian faith? What is this constraint to freedom when we talk about our freedom in Christ? Well Paul tells us.Listen to what he says in verse 13. "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." Write this down. Yeah it's the Bible, right? It's like nothing I did. I'm for applauding the Bible and Jesus and the Spirit of God who gives this to us.
Listen, let me summarize this for you. Here it is. Love is the constraint of freedom. Love is the constraint of freedom. If you want to know for us what is our track, what is our water, what is our covenant? It's love. That's the constraint of freedom. That is what freedom has to operate in.
If you think I'm crazy, hold for a second. Run your mind all the way back to the very beginning in Genesis chapters 1 and 2. Here's what you will find. The first people that were ever created were created free. Enjoy everything. Enjoy all the trees. Enjoy all the fruit. Enjoy one another. Enjoy God. But God says I'm just asking for one thing for you to in love do what I ask you to do in this one area. I don't want you touching this tree. I don't watch you to eat from this tree right here. Everything else, man, it is yours. You are made for it. It is yours. And you what Adam and Eve fell to? They caved to the idea that God was holding out on them. That somehow God was holding out on them, and that maybe if they could have whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want that that would be true freedom. So they took and they ate and man are they free! Actually they were exiled. They were in bondage. They fell to slavery.
Freedom is not what you think it is. Freedom has constraints and the constraint for the original design was love. Love God, do what He says. Remember, Jesus said that's what love is, right? You love me when you do what I say. That's what it is. So love that leads to obedience. Ultimately, that is the constraint that we have of freedom.
You see it in the original design. You see it in the stories of Jesus. Jesus told a story about a man who had two sons. And the younger of his sons wanted his inheritance. He wanted it right now. Not when dad died. He wanted it right now. So, dad gave him his inheritance. And you know what he did? He said now this is freedom. He goes off to a distant land and he does whatever he wants, whenever he wants, however he wants. He spends what he wants to spend. Do what he wants to do. This is living, man. This is freedom. Until he has absolutely nothing. And he's living in a pig pen wishing he had to eat what they had to eat. You think he feels free? Because he threw off every constraint. Is he really free? No, he's a slave to his own selfishness. And so you know what he decides to do? Go back to his father. And do you know what he found? A reception of grace, where he is brought back in as a son. A party is thrown for him.
And do you know what, if you asked him, "What's freedom look like man?" He'd say this. Not that. This. Everybody has the idea that freedom is that. Freedom is not that. Freedom is this! To be loved by your father as a son. That's freedom. He is now existing in the place and in the context and in the atmosphere that he was supposed to be existing in. This is what freedom looks like for us.
You also see this obviously in our lives when we make mistakes, right? Because we've all lived that prodigal story. Either we have, or we thought about it, or we figured it out, or we haven't figured it out yet. And we think that if we can just go spend all our money on stuff that doesn't satisfy, that somehow that's going to bring us freedom. It will not. Or we think that maybe I just need to get out from under the throes of anybody telling you what to do. So you start your own business. By they way it's perfectly fine to start your own business. But maybe if it was for that motivation. I just got to get away from people telling me what to do and how to do it and all that kind of stuff and if you think that solely is gonna bring your freedom you failed to understand. Or you keep going you basically you keep moving through relationships like packs of gum. Because you think you're gonna find, somehow you're gonna find freedom in those things. It's not gonna happen for you. You need to learn the lesson of Adam of Eve. You need to learn the lesson of the prodigal. That freedom has constraint and it's the constraint of love for God. That's the constraint. And that's what it looks like to actually live free, because Paul says don't use your freedom to indulge the flesh. But instead humbly serve others in love. This is freedom. This is what freedom in Christ looks like.
You seem we have to come to that place where we finally understand that we're only gonna be free when we come to the one who is truly free, God. Think about it for just a second. If I could elevate your mind here for just a second. God is the freest being in all the universe. He's completely and totally unrestrained. Unconstrained except by himself. God is the only one who can constrain God. And do you know what God did? He constrained himself by love in sending Jesus for a sinful humanity. So why would it be any different, when the freest being in the world constraints himself by love, that for us when we are re-made in His image, what true Christian freedom looks like is that it will look like him. It means we will be a people that is constrained by love, just like God is. This is what true Christian freedom looks like.
So, to summarize. We were slaves. Jesus went to a cross and he substituted himself the sinless one for sinful people. He paid for our sin, he rose from the dead, and as a result of that, when we put faith and trust in him, we are redeemed. We are forgiven. We are adopted. We are set free. But that freedom is paradoxical, isn't it? Listen. It's a little paradoxical. We were slaves to sin, willingly or unwillingly. We were slaves to sin. Jesus set us free and made us sons and daughters, only so we could be slaves again to love. We went from slaves to sin, to sons and daughters, to slaves once again. But this is a willing, loving, joyful slavery to love. To Christ.
So, choose your master well. Will you be a slave to sin? Will you be a slave to the law? Will you be a slave to yourself? Or will you understand that true freedom is found in being a slave to Jesus? A slave to love.
Let's bow our heads together. Before we're dismissed, there may be those of you in the room have never actually found the forgiveness of sin. You've never understood what it meant to be freed in Jesus from your slavery to sin. If you've never come to that place where you've said "I've gotta stop trusting in myself. And I've gotta turn away from this kind of living that says that I'm in charge, and I'm the boss, I'm the king of me. And instead I want to humbly lay myself and my life at the feet of Jesus, because he is the only savior that can save." Any other self-styled savior, whether it's money or power or fame or selfishness, whatever it is. They can't save. Only Jesus can. And if you've never turned from your sin and put your faith and trust in Jesus, then boy if you're in this room or in the East Worship Center, I would encourage when we dismiss to just come by the Fireside Room. We'd love to talk to you for just a moment about what it means to entrust your life to Jesus Christ. Maybe you're watching online, you've got a way to contact us as well. I encourage you to follow on that.
For those of us that already know Jesus, boy, what I want us to grab hold of is this. Is that freedom in Christ means that we are free not to sin. We are actually free to love. We are actually free, listen to this, we are free to set aside our freedom to serve others. Just like Jesus. Our freedom will look like his. That's what freedom in Christ looks like. It is constrained by love. That is the water we swim in. That is the heartbeat of Jesus.
So, Father I pray that we would be a people that demonstrates what it means to live free in Jesus. That we are no longer mastered by sin. That we are no longer trying to justify ourselves before you by our religious performance, but that what we do that's good is done because you have justified us. And that God, we are no longer in a place where we feel as if, that we are enslaved by the things that we don't want to be or throwing off all constraint. but instead we are constrained by that which constrains you: love. And we only know what love looks like, when we look at the cross, when we understand the gospel. That's when we know what love looks like. So, Father help us to be a people that shines brightly the love of Jesus Christ. And that we would demonstrate our freedom in being willing to lay our freedom down to serve and to reach people who need Christ. We pray that you would teach us what it means to be free in Jesus name. Amen.
Love you folks. Have a great day.