Liberty To The Oppressed
The Lord's Favor • Sermon • Submitted • Presented • 39:45
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18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Jesus was sent to solve sin. Sin is what separates us from God. Sin will separate us from God for eternity unless we are provided a solution. Jesus is the solution.
But sin separated even the saved from God. Not for eternity, but for the moment. Our fellowship is broken when our desire is for something other than God’s glory and our actions misrepresent God’s character.
Today we look at the section of this passage: “To set at liberty those who are oppressed.” It has been some work to preach on these short phrases. But these small phrases are the cornerstones of Jesus mission. And they are the cornerstones of our mission - to be like Christ. Jesus is the solution, and we are entrusted to tell others of His solution.
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
>because he has anointed me to
- proclaim good news (evangelize) to the poor.
He has sent (apostled) me to
- proclaim (preach/proclaim) liberty to the captives and
- recovering of sight to the blind,
(He has sent me) to
- set (apostle) at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim (preach/proclaim) the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Saved and Set Free!
Saved and Set Free!
What I want you to see is the connection between WHY Jesus was sent and the PURPOSE of His being sent. There is a progression taking place:
Proclaim that good news is at hand
Tell us that good news will lead us to freedom
Cause us to see the sight of freedom while we are still bound (blind)
Then to CAUSE that freedom to happen.
Then ultimately brings us to enjoy the favor of God.
It is this causing the freedom of those who love Him that is so pivotal here. It is the sum of Jesus life and the effect of His death and resurrection.
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.”
Paul sees freedom even when he is bound by chains and in prison. He was free to live like Christ no matter his situation. In fact, we reflect Christ the most when we are bound by some trouble. I do not say bound by sin, but by the oppression of this world that hates the message of Jesus.
We are not enemies of these troubles. When we make Jesus our Lord we make enemies of the spiritual powers at work in this world.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
So the oppression from which Jesus grants freedom is spiritual, not primarily physical. And that liberty immediately places us on a battle field on which we could not hope to find victory. How then is that freedom good news?
Because we stand in the strength and might of the Lord. We face a defeated enemy - though he has not given up yet. We face a task master of sin and walk in the fields of it produce.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is our God who has proclaimed - secured - given liberty to our captive soul!
It is the gift of God to forgive sin, to take our guilt, to restore our place in His presence.
Jesus died and rose again.
Trust in Jesus and live! This is liberty to salvation. When we identify with Him, He gives us all we need. It takes faith to see liberty from prison. Lord, increase our faith!
When Joseph was in prison, the good news of the Lord for the deliverance of Egypt and of Joseph’s family was given in the darkest hours.
When Peter found himself thrown in jail and readied for execution for his faith, the church prayed hard for his life. It was God’s hand that loosed the chains, incapacitated the guards, and opened the doors.
When Paul and Silas were in prison, they were praying and sining hymns to God. They saw there freedom through the prison bars. And this time, the Lord shook the prison, opened the doors and set free the chains.
In each of these the purpose if God’s glory. If we saw only these examples of freedom from physical bondage we might think Christ came for our freedom.
But there is the other error. It is equally troublesome to think that Christ’s promise of freedom is purely spiritual. That He is unconcerned with the real bounds of injustice and sin in this world.
Saved, but Separated.
Saved, but Separated.
This is the risk of saved, but separated.
There was a time when God’s people spiritualized their faith. They had all the ceremonies, all the worship services, all the prayers, all the right attitudes of humility and repentance even. But they weren’t sincere.
1 “Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God. 3 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. 4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord?
This is what our attempts to draw near to God look like when we do so with indifference to those who are bound by the priorities, sins, and pleasures of this world. When we worship, but do not wash feat we are separated, playing the roll of righteousness but kept apart from the Righteous One.
So, what is the solution? [Prompt for response] JESUS is the solution.
He is the solution to salvation. He is the solution to separation. And He is the solution for effective efforts to please Him.
Even when His people did all the things right and actually desired to be close to God, their heart were not pure and their actions did not reflect the Image of God. So Jesus showed us the way.
Isaiah 58:6–9 (ESV)
6 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
We must first find freedom in Christ. But we must also be effective in giving liberty. If we want the powerful presence of the Lord, we must be about His business.
And His business is to “set at liberty those who are oppressed”
This is why I ask each of us to pray for how you can be a yoke-breaker to someone in need. You have been equipped by experience, your own freedom story, the gifts God has given you. Let us all use those in ways that set people free from oppression. Then let us share the gospel.
I asked our med yesterday “What is something you are grateful for that God has given you that you don’t deserve?” The one caveat was they could not say salvation! When we look back at our lives, so often someone gave us something good we didn’t deserve. But in several of those stories it was clear that the one giving was acting on behalf of God.
Often the gift of the gospel is given in a grocery bag. What I mean is that there are opportunities to share the gospel when we first meet tangible needs. We should be about that.
But I don’t think that all that’s happening in Isaiah 58. I think the primary thing that’s happening is that God seeks good for the oppressed. This is the opposite of sin which destroys the weak. It is the opposite of Satan who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.
When we give tangible aid to those who need it, we are about God’s business. When we overlook and push them around, we are an enemy of God. Let us not think we can ride that fence.
May we be about God’s business.
May we be about God’s message.
May we be about God’s salvation.
May we be about the year of the Lord’s Favor!