Please remember that sermon notes are meant to act as a guide and may not be exactly was preached.
Faith is not an emotion, it is a decision to stand on God’s Word because of His love for us! It is the love of God through Christ that saves us! This same love gives us freedom in Christ. The individual Christian is free from the guilt of sin because they have experienced God’s forgiveness. They are free from the penalty of sin because Christ died for them on the cross. And that person is, through the Spirit, free from the power of sin in their daily life.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” – Romans 8:1-2
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. – John 8:36
The freedom we have in Christ is not a license to sin nor can we go so far as to make it legalistic, it is the love of God that constrains us in freedom, not the Law.
The freedom we have in Christ requires the understanding that each of us, male and female, young and old, Christian and atheist, are created in the image of God and loved by that same God who fearfully and wonderfully made us. We are to love one another as He loves us, deny ourselves, and pick up our cross and follow Him.
That love, God’s love, is to constrain – and enable us – to be the Church that we are called to be in Freedom. Think about the death and resurrection of Jesus, it was God’s hatred for Sin and His love for us that sent Jesus to this earth, it was your sin and mine that placed Jesus on that cross. And it was God’s love for us and for His Son that raised Jesus form the dead. It is that love and the freedom that we have in it that compels us to become more Christ-like.
In his book, “Last Call for Liberty,” Os Guinness writes, “The greatest enemy of freedom is freedom.” We cannot use our freedom to do as we please, when this happens it can lead to excess, permissiveness, and openminded indulgence to sin.
“Freedom is not free.”
“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” our freedom was bought at a price (Romans 5:8). To continue on enslaved to your vices and sins is to make the death of Christ and the love of God nothing!
How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? – Hebrews 10:29
When Christ set you free from your bondage to sin, He gives you new life, redeems you, and reconciles you, and places His Spirit within you. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Freedom in Christ is not freedom to continue on as we always have.
There are congregations and individuals that welcome anyone and everyone just as they are but expect no change in attitudes or actions, nor do they encourage them to walk away from the world, “Jesus forgives all sins, past, present, and future so go on as you have and do as you will.”
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same. – Ronald Reagan
The opposite is a congregation/individual that is legalistic, they tend to oppress and mistreat people who do not live up to their standards of Christianity, “You are not wanted or welcome here until you clean up your life, no cussing, no dancing, no t-shirt and jeans,” and the list goes on and on until no one can live up to their standards. This happens when they, seeking to be safe and secure in their freedom, have, out of fear of the freedom we have in Christ, bound themselves to the Law and become pharisaical, not Spirit led.
There are also congregations/individuals that go through the motions, they are lackadaisical in their worship, attendance, and participation with, and in, their relationship to God and His Church. They have not surrendered themselves to the Spirit, are not “Spirit led,” are not walking with the Spirit, and they are not a part of God’s Church. How can they be? How can you be part of something when you are not a part of it? Having no commitment to the mission, they have, as Jesus points out in Revelation, “abandoned the Love they had had first.”
But a congregation or individual that is Spirit-led welcomes and invites any and all. They are passionate in, and for, the mission. They come along side others in their walk, they live out their freedom in God’s Love and power in obedience, they are putting the one anothers of God’s Truth into action, and helping others to overcome the world, sin, and the temptations the enemy throws at them. They are Spirit led, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in their lives, while encouraging, loving, and accepting others where they are, but helping them to grow and change and become more Christ-like as the Spirit leads. That is a true congregation of God’s Church. They may not get it right every time, but they are striving to live the life God intended as a community of believers, using their gifts and talents for the common good and fulfilling their calling to reach out and turn communities upside down.
Their freedom in Christ is maintained through attitudes and convictions that are formed and found in God’s love and are expressed through action in obedience to His Word as we walk by faith, “Faith working through love.”
In an article I read, Greg Laurie asks, “What if everyone in the church behaved like you do? How well would the church know the Bible? What kind of prayer life would the church have? How many people would be hearing the Gospel. What kind of church would it be?” To which I will add: Would it be living out the love of God, would it be Spirit led?
- How are you living out your freedom in love?
- How are you showing the love of God to those who are a part of this congregation (excluding those sitting around you)?
- Are you using the freedom God has given you in Christ to grow and be a part of this congregation or do you think that Christ died so you could be and do something else? (See 1 Corinthians 6:19-20!)
Further Reading: Acts 17:1-7, Romans 8:1-14, 1 Corinthians 13 (vs. 13), 2 Corinthians 5:13-17, Ephesians 2:1-22 (19-22), Ephesians 3:17-19, Ephesians 5:1, 1 John 4, Revelation 2:1-7