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Christian Freedom

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Introduction:

Letting go of the dirty thing. (Barb or Mr. B) Holding on to the form of religion but not able to embrace the real thing.


Galatians 5:1 through Galatians 5:15 (NIV)
1It 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.

A2Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. B5But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

A7You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. B11Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

A13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature£; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”£ B15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Introduction:

.Let go of the dirty thing. (Mr. B)

I.                     The Contrast of  Faith

A.      The Dangerous Faith in Religious Form

*Eder Sheim in "The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah"

outlines the most elaborate of Jewish washings.    Water jars

were kept ready to be used before a meal.  The minimum amount of

water to be used was a quarter of a log, which is defined as

enough to fill one and a half eggshells.  The water was first

poured on both hands, held with the fingers pointed upwards, and

must run up the arm as far as the wrist.  It must drop off from

the wrist, for the water was now itself unclean, having touched

the unclean hands, and, if it ran down the fingers again, it

would again render them unclean. The process was repeated with

the hands held in the opposite direction, with the fingers

pointing down; and then finally each hand was cleansed by being

rubbed with the fist of the other.  A really strict Jew would do

all this, not only before a meal, but also between each of the

courses.

B.      The Delightful Faith of Righteous Fellowship

*As a musician was tuning his instrument prior to a concert, he

held it for a few seconds before a flaming fireplace.  Asked why

he did this, he replied, "I can't seem to get any music out of

it when it's cold."  In a similar way, God's children cannot

produce the music of hearty service when their lives are

spiritually frigid and unresponsive.

II.            The Conflict of  Friction

A.      Hinderances in the race

*If you think you have problems in your life you can probably

identify with the Volunteer Fire Department in Dixmont, Maine. In 1991 Jim Dunivan, the volunteer fire chief, was eating

breakfast when he noticed smoke coming out of his barn.  His wife

got on the phone and called the volunteer firemen while Jim raced

to the barn in his pickup truck trying to rescue the 70 cows and

30 calves from the flames.  With the help of his friends from the

volunteer fire department he rescued all but six of the animals

and saved half of his barn.

  Unfortunately for Jim, a field representative of the Maine

Bureau of Labor Standards dropped by the fire around 4 p.m. while

the firemen were just finishing.  The field representative

complained that the firemen were not wearing the protective

clothing, air packs, or other safety gear required by state

regulations so he fined them $1000.  He told Dunivan, "You might

have put the fire out, but you didn't put it out right."  The

state also cited the fire company for not being able to prove

that all of its volunteers were adequately trained.  Failure to

correct this violation carries a $1000 a day fine if the state

chooses to impose it.

B.      Hardships in the race

*An evangelist told the following story in one of his campaigns. He said, "I have a friend who during the depression lost a job, a fortune, a wife, and a home, but tenaciously held to his faith - the only thing he had left.  One day he stopped to watch some men building a stone church.  One of them was chiseling a triangular piece of rock.  'What are you going to do with that?' asked my friend.  The workman said, "Do you see that little opening way up there near the spire?  Well, I'm shaping this down here so that it will fit in up there.'  Tears filled the eyes of the heartbroken man as he walked away.  It seemed that God had spoken through the workman to explain the ordeal through which he was passing."

III.           The Call of Freedom

A.      Free for Service

*A Sunday School teacher was teaching her children the benefits of unselfishness. She concluded by saying: "The reason you are in this world, children, is to help others."

After a moment's silence, a little girl piped up: "Well, then, what are the OTHERS here for?"

*A nineteenth century painting shows a long row of beggars waiting in a soup line.  They are all ragged and sleazy looking. But around the head of one, barely perceptible, is a halo.  One of them is Christ!  You may see no halo around the heads of your brothers and sisters in need, yet to serve them is to serve Christ, for the King is hidden in them.

B.      Free from Fighting

*Two battleships met in the night and began to attack each other. In the conflict, a number of crewmen were severely wounded, and both vessels were damaged.  As daylight broke, the sailors on the ships discovered to their amazement that both vessels flew the English flag.

  Many years earlier, just before the battle of Trafalgar in 1805, the British naval hero Lord Nelson learned that an admiral and a captain in his fleet were not on good terms.  Sending for the two men, he placed the hands of the admiral and the captain together.  Then, looking them both in the face, he said, "Look - yonder is the enemy!"  Working together, the British fleet won the battle.

  Like the men in the first story, Christians sometimes "attack their own ships," and the victory that could have been won by battling the real enemy is lost.  Harsh words and belligerent attitudes weaken the effectiveness of Christ's body, the church. How much better to "keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace!"

Conclusion:

Don't be bound by the form that measures and judges others according to a list of observances, but find freedom in grace to love and serve one another joined on the Love of Christ

Peter Marshall’s Prayer

Lord Jesus, thou who art the way, the truth, and the life; hear us as we pray for the truth that shall make all free. each us that liberty is not only to be loved but also to be lived. Liberty is too precious a thing to be buried in books. It costs too much to be hoarded. Help us see that our liberty is not the right to do as we please, but the opportunity to please to do what is right.

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