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REAL freedom

The Gospel for REAL Life: A Study of 1 Peter  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:47
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People want to be free. We pursue all kinds of things because we think that they are expressions of our freedom, or what we are entitled to do as free people. But, are we free? What is REAL freedom? How can we be free?

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1 Peter 4:1–6 NIV
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

1 Peter 4:1–6 NIV
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
REAL freedom!
In our study through 1 Peter, we are up to chapter 4. In this passage, Peter is going to be repeating some things he has already shared a few times, however repeating them in a slightly different way.
As I read and meditated on this passage, I believe Peter had a real heart for the people he was ministering to through this letter. He was familiar with what they were going through, and wanted them to be free!
Freedom is the cry of the human heart. We want to be free.
If you are following the news about Venezuela, the people there want to be free. They are living in oppression, and a collapsing economy where it is hard to survive. They want to be free to live. Free to change their lives for the better.
That is just one example in our world.
Within our human hearts there is this longing for freedom.
Some want freedom from their governments. Others want freedom from religion. Teenagers long to be free from the boundaries set by their parents.
Teenagers long to be free from the boundaries set by their parents.
People long to be free. Free to do the things they want to do, without someone, or something telling them what they can or cannot do. Free from all suffering. Free from whatever it is that burdens us down.
But when we follow that path, the path of doing what we want, when we want, how we want, without anyone or anything interfering, pursing freedom from all suffering, are we really free?
How can we be truly free, and what does that freedom look like?
Pray
If we go back to the first man and woman, were they free when God created them and put them into the garden of Eden? Yes, they were completely free to live in the garden and eat fruit from any tree, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil… “Ah, that except meant they were not free,” some might say. Did it limit their freedom, or preserve their freedom? What happened when they disobeyed God’s command? Were they free? No, they were no longer free, but removed from the garden, suffering consequences for their disobedience to God—sin. They were no longer free, but slaves. Their minds were darkened, they were self-conscious, and self-centered (self-seeking—what will make me like God, and self-justifying—blaming others for their faults) They were slaves to a depraved mind. They could no longer freely enjoy all that God had made for them to enjoy in the garden, and they were now slaves in a fallen world.
What happened with Adam and Eve, is exactly what everyone of us experiences in life. The very thing that we pursue thinking that it is what gives us freedom, is the thing that enslaves us.
Chain
It is easy to see in some.
The drug addict. Are they free? It may have started as an act to declare freedom, or independence. But, instead of being free, they are slaves.
The alcoholic. Are the free? It may have started as an act to show freedom, but it ended up as slavery.
Sex addicts. Our culture is fixated on sex, and that everyone should be free sexually in so many ways. Free to experience sex, whenever, with whomever we want. But is it freedom? This act of freedom, leads to slavery. Slavery to porn. Slavery to lust. Slavery to acting certain ways around certain people. Slavery to create an image.
Those are things we always harp on. But really, whatever brings me pleasure is what I want freedom to enjoy.
What about lying? It may seem like it leads to freedom, but lying leads to slavery—slavery to the lie.
Stealing may seem like it gives freedom, freedom to enjoy the things I want, but stealing also leads to slavery.
What about fear of other people? Wanting to fit in to the right crowd? Wanting to impress others? Buying into that can lead us in all kinds of directions. From hurting others whether verbally, or physically just to impress others. To changing our looks to impress others. Some people are so addicted to impressing others that they become addicted to body shaping. It is said to hear of those who are so addicted to this, that it ultimately results in their deaths. They are not free when trying to impress others. They are slaves to the opinions of others.
They are now diagnosing digital addiction. We want to be free to enjoy our electronics from the youngest of ages. People are so tied to their electronic devices that they are slaves to them. They cannot put them down. They cannot cope without posting, and checking on posts.
Though we seek for freedom in so many different, worldly ways, we find ourselves slaves.
Slaves to consequences
Slaves to desires
Slaves to the consequences of our actions or inactions. Consequences of:
Guilt
Shame
Condemnation
Punishment
Slaves to the desire to do those very things again, even when we do not want to do them.
Urges
In church we, realize that this is all sin. Some of the things we do are blatantly contrary to what God says. Other things, though potentially harmless in themselves, become idols, that are more important to us that God Himself, or doing the things that God tells us to do, be or pursue.
Thus, to do them is contrary to what God says, and is disobedience to him. It is sin.
And as Jesus says in , whoever sins is a slave to sin.
Throughout the Bible, God shows us, and in , God clearly says the consequence of sin is ‘death’ - separation from Him, and REAL freedom that He alone can provide.
God says the consequence of sin is ‘death’ - separation from Him, and REAL freedom that He alone can provide.
God is also honest about the desires. Those desires wage war against our souls. It is a battle. It is a war between the desires of the flesh, and God the Spirit within us.
James 1:14 NIV
but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.
Galatians 5:17 NIV
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.
Galatians 5:20–22 NIV
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,
Galatians 5:16–18 NIV
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 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.
Paul spoke of this battle within in .
-21
Romans 7:18–19 NIV
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.
Romans 7:19-
I know I feel this tug within my heart in my life.
I cry right along with Paul,
Romans 7:24 NIV
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?
Romans 7:24-
Thankfully, Paul did not end there.
Romans 7:25–8:5 NIV
Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
Romans 7:25 NIV
Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Romans 7:25-8:5
Jesus is the only one who can give us freedom from the slavery brought by sin. Jesus came to give us REAL freedom.
John 8:34 NIV
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.
Isaiah 61:1 NIV
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
John 8:31–32 NIV
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 NIV
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
John 3:16 NIV
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 8:36 NIV
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Jesus came to set us free. He came to give us the very things our hearts desire, but we can never attain on our own. REAL freedom.
How is it that we are free? What is the freedom like? We need direction because our flesh, our natural selves want to pursue freedom in all the wrong ways.
Peter wrote his letter to help believers find REAL freedom.
Let’s look into 1 Peter.
1 Peter 1:

REAL freedom deals with the consequences by knowing what God has done

1 Peter 1:1–9 NIV
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
REAL freedom starts in knowing who you are! You are a chosen, loved, child of God! You are given a new birth when you believe in Jesus! A fresh start! A new life! You are forgiven! The consequences of your sin have been dealt with!
Knowing what you are truly here for! You do not have to live in your old ways, because you are a new creation! You have a new purpose, to please Him! You have new goals, not to amass things here, but to seek His kingdom, and to receive your inheritance in His kingdom. To live for Him and receive praise, glory and honor from Him! If we would live in this mindset, we would be free, REAL freedom, from so many things here.

REAL freedom deals with the desires by not conforming

1 Peter 1:14 NIV
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
1 Peter 1:14
Rather than conforming, just going along with what comes naturally, or what the world says we should desire, one living in REAL freedom remembers who they are, and decides to live in reverent fear of their Father. REAL freedom remembers the cost Jesus paid for us to be free, and lives in light of His sacrifice instead of the desires.

REAL freedom deals with the desires - by remembering the new birth

1 Peter 1:23
1 Peter 1:23 NIV
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
1 Peter 2:1–3 NIV
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
Remembering that we are born again, into a new life, we do not have to live in the old ways. We need to get rid of the old, and start living the new.
But it isn’t easy is it? Just like Paul said, it is a war within!
That is why Peter keeps reminding us through the letter who we are! We are no longer separated from Christ, but rather a part of Him. We are a chosen priesthood, set apart from the rest of the world, in fact, like aliens and strangers in the world that are being built together to give Him praise, rather than just work for our own glory!
Therefore,
1 Peter 2:11 NIV
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.
:11

REAL freedom deals with desires by abstaining

We need to keep our distance from things that would pull us in. Have you ever played with magnets. Once you get them so close, what happens? They are drawn together.
If you and I want to live in REAL freedom, we have to put some distance between us and the desires that pull us in!

REAL freedom deals with desires by playing its proper role

As we saw going through & 3, living this new life in this world means we play our proper role toward the governing authorities, at work, and in our homes.
When we do not play our proper roles in these areas, we are drawn back in, and find ourselves in slavery again.
For example, we may think we are free at work when we work well when the boss’ eye is upon us, but like everyone else, sluff off when they are not looking. But that is slavery. Slavery toward laziness. Slavery to pleasing others. REAL freedom works as unto the Lord at all times, and brings Him glory at our jobs as people see one who finds joy and freedom in working well!
REAL freedom in our homes is not when we start treating our spouse according to the way we feel they treat us, but when we learn the joy and freedom to live in our proper role for the Lord, no matter what the other does. We are then no longer slaves to pettiness, jealousy, bad attitudes. We can find joy in having pleased our Lord and being good examples to our spouses and children.

REAL freedom deals with desires by doing good

1 Peter 3:8–9 NIV
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:8-9

REAL freedom deals with desires by doing good

When we return evil for evil, we become slaves to revenge. We become slaves again to ugly passions that destroy us from the inside out. It really is a way against our souls as Peter said earlier.
I felt I had to review some of what Peter wrote, because this is a recurring theme throughout the letter he wrote. I keeps repeating himself over and over. We are not to live in the old ways. We are born again. We have a new way to live… to live in REAL freedom instead of the slavery of our old ways.
In fact, he says it all again in the passage for this week. .
1 Peter 4:1–6 NIV
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

REAL freedom deals with the desires through suffering

One of the biggest lies Satan has put into this world, which throws so many off, especially believers… is that we should not have suffering.
Have you noticed through this letter that Peter never says we should not suffer? Actually, he does, in that he says we should not suffer as an evil-doer. But, rather suffer as one who is doing good.
God does not call us to a life of no suffering here in this world.
No, this is a fallen world. Sin is here. We will and must suffer through it.
The way to deal with evil desires requires suffering. Christ suffered for us. He died on the cross because of our consequences and desires. He suffered, and showed us the way out from the consequences and desires is through suffering.
It is not easy to lay aside the chains, the old ways, the evil desires that are a real part of us. It requires us taking up arms like a soldier. What do we take up as arms in this fight? The attitude of Christ! I am going to suffer through this fight today, and come out the other side victorious!
To many of us feel that to not suffer means you give in to the desire… If I just do it, it will be over. This is common in all addictions. Just do it and get it over with because then you will be free from the desire. That is a lie!
Instead of giving in, we need to suffer through! We need to endure the pain of separating ourselves from our old desires!
What do we need to be free from?

REAL freedom deals with desires by saying I have had enough!

What do we need to be free to do?
says we have spent enough time doing those things! It is time for us to suffer with Christ, and to live our new life! We need to focus on Jesus, and having his mindset each day… throughout each day, and distance ourselves as much as possible from those things that enslave us.
Hebrews says it this way,
Hebrews 12:1–4 NIV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Context...
We have not suffered nearly as much as Jesus has.
We need to set our eyes on Him, and endure through the suffering of leaving our old desires behind. He has paid such a high price for us to be free. He wants us to be free. But REAL freedom is costly. It requires suffering to get there!
And as you suffer through it, you will suffer more at the hands of those around you. You will be despised. You will be reviled and made fun of for not doing the old things.
1 Peter 4:4–6 NIV
They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
1 Peter
Though you are put down, and abused by others, you will have REAL freedom as you suffer through. Jesus was also abused. But he rose victorious!
You too will rise victorious. Though you may be judged by people here, you will be truly judged by your Father, and
1 Peter 1:7 NIV
These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:8 NIV
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
:
REAL freedom deals with the consequences - knowing what God has done
REAL freedom deals with the desires by
Remember - why he wrote
Remember - why he wrote
Not conforming
Remember all of the exhortations to be holy
Remembering the new birth
Remember the trials which we face
Abstaining
The first - wage war against your soul
Playing its role
And now, he returns to that one again.
Doing good
Why twice?
Suffering
Maybe we tend to think of the other trials as trials, but the greater trial is this...
If we do these things, we will live in REAL freedom, and truly be judged by our Father, resulting in praise, glory and honor.
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