! Text: Gal. 5:1-15
Like those who died to give us liberty in this country, Jesus died for our freedom.
I. Liberty in Christ is freedom from the Law
A. The law cannot be fulfilled naturally
--Even the temple was a standing testimony that man could not perfectly fulfill the law. If man could keep the law naturally, there would be no need for the sacrifices and offerings presented in the temple for sin and guilt.
--Trying to be saved by keeping the law is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. We can’t expect to keep the law while the carnal nature remains.
B. Law binds us to its performance
--If we trust in the law to save us we will be judged by all of the law.
C. Trying to be justified by law cuts us off from grace
---Works are a result of salvation, not the way to it. Sometimes we get the cart before the horse.
--works does not a faithful man make, but a faithful man will work.
II. Liberty in Christ is freedom to Love
A. Faith fulfills the law through love
--We can only fulfill the law if there is a work done in us by faith.
B. Love expresses itself in service
*Without love, almsgiving is no more important an action than brushing your hair or washing your hands, and the Pharisees had just as elaborate a ritual for those things as they had for alms, too, because all these things were prescribed by law, and had to be done so. But love does not give money, it gives itself. If it gives itself first and a lot of money too, that is all the better. But first it must sacrifice itself.
-- Thomas Merton in Run to the Mountain: The Journals of Thomas Merton (Vol. 1, 1939-41). Christianity Today, Vol. 40, no. 5.
III. Liberty in Christ is freedom from lust
*How an Eskimo Kills A Wolf
*Saving grace makes a man as willing to leave his lusts as a slave is willing to leave his galley, or a prisoner his dungeon, or a thief his bolts, or a beggar his rags.
-- Thomas Brooks. Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 1.
---Naman- expressed his faith by dipping in the Jordan 7 times to get rid of his leprosy, which is often used to depict the infection of sin.
A. This freedom is enabled by the Spirit through faith
* We live by faith in a prayer-hearing, soul-converting, soul-sanctifying, soul-restoring, soul-comforting God.
-- Early Methodist evangelist Francis Asbury. From the files of Leadership.
B. This freedom from lust preserves the Church
--When we get self out of the way we can see to serve others. You can’t be selfless and self-serving both at the same time.
Bruce Larson in Believe and Belong, tells how he helped people struggling to surrender their lives to Christ:
For many years I worked in New York City and counseled at my office any number of people who were wrestling with this yes –or –no decision. Often I would suggest they walk with me from my office down to the RCA building on Fifth Avenue. In the entrance of that building is a gigantic statue of Atlas, a beautifully proportioned man who, with all his muscles straining, is holding the world upon his shoulders. There he is, the most powerfully built man in the world, and he can barely stand up under his burden. “Now that’s one way to live,” I would point to my companion, “trying to carry the world on your shoulders. But now come across the street with me.”
On the other side of Fifth Avenue is Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and there behind the high altar is a little shrine of the boy Jesus, perhaps eight or nine years old, and with no effort he is holding the world in one hand. My point was illustrated graphically.
We have a choice. We can carry the world on our shoulders, or we can say, “I give up Lord; here’s my life. I give you my world, the whole world.”
If you are trying to keep the law in your own power, Jesus wants you to trust in His power to take your burden. By the power of His Spirit, He can free you from the law, while he fulfills it in you through love. He can free you from your own tendency to satisfy your own desires, and give you a heart to serve Him by serving others. If this is not done, we will end up eating each other alive, and though the church as a whole will never cease to exist, our little church could be destroyed.
Jesus died to set you free from the bondage. Let him loose you to serve him without fear, to love through the Spirit.