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4th of July Sermon

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4th of July Sermon

This morning I’ll be reading Galatians chapter 5 verse 1, then verses 13 through 25.
And I'll be reading the Holman Christian Standard Bible.
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We are back in Galatians again this week and as I told you last week,,, Paul wrote this part of the letter to the church in Galatia to clear up confusion about the way that they were trying to live. The people in Galatia were beginning to try to live by the old laws of Moses and were ignoring the effects of grace that came from Jesus Christ. This morning we will talk about the freedom we celebrate this coming Thursday and the greatest freedom we should celebrate every day and that's the freedom that we have in Jesus Christ.
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1 Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.
13 For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself. 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another. 16 I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance - as I told you before - that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.
God bless the reading and the hearing of your word this morning.
Let us pray:
Dear Lord, as we begin this morning, we ask that you open our ears to hear and our hearts and minds to receive the message that you have for us today,,, In Jesus' name I pray,,, Amen.
This coming Thursday we will celebrate Independence Day.
According to the website of Wikipedia,,, Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776.
The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject (and subordinate) to the monarch of Britain and were now united, free, and independent states.
The Congress had voted to declare independence two days earlier, on July 2, but it was not declared until July 4.
I mention this date because I want to share with you part of the letter that John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail on July 3rd.
In this letter,,, Adams wrote that July 2nd will be the most memorable event in the history of America,,, of course,,, we really remember the date that it was declared,,, which was July the 4th,,, not the day that they voted on it.
He was correct that the event would be remembered,,, but he just didn't have the correct day that it would be remembered.
He goes on to say that this event ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.
And I mention this letter because it highlights what you can see over and over if you look at letters and other things that have been written during this time about our country.
Did you catch the part of the letter that said by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty?
References to God are made over and over again by our founding fathers in all types of material that we can look at today that have been preserved for us.
We have so many today that try their best to say that this country didn't begin as a Christian country and God wasn't a part of it.
I guess if you don't know God personally and you want to deny that God does exist,,, then that's why they go to such great lengths to ignore the numerous times that God is mentioned or make up excuses as to why it's there.
We have so much to be thankful for in this country and our creator is the one that we should be careful to give thanks to.
One of those things that we have to be thankful for is freedom.
That's what the celebration of July the 4th is all about.
We have the freedom in this country to say and do anything that we want to do,,, as long as it doesn't go against the laws of our country.
Whether it is morally the right thing to do or not,,, we have that choice.
We aren't forced to be a Christian and believe in God.
We have the choice to do whatever we want.
Having the luxury of doing anything that we want doesn't make it right,,, that just means that you have that freedom of choice.
My job is to make sure that you have the information that you need to make the correct choice and also have the knowledge to pass on to others who you come into contact with so that they can make the correct choices also.
Hopefully by studying these verses,,, they will help us all this morning to make the correct choice.
In the first verse that I read this morning,,, Paul is telling the Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.
This verse summarizes chapter 4,,, where the theme is bondage and freedom.
Paul is explaining that Christ will set them free from bondage and they must stand firm because they were close to becoming entangled in the laws of slavery to Mosaic law.
(6:52)
Jesus Christ came to set us free from sin and free from a long list of laws and regulations.
While Jesus came to set us free,,, we weren't set free to do whatever we wanted because that would lead us back into slavery with our selfish desires.
Now we have the chance to do what was impossible before and that's the ability to live life unselfishly.
We have that ability through the help of the Holy Spirit now that He is in the heart of every Christian today.
Without this help,,, we could not do this on our own!
In verse 13,,, Paul is distinguishing the differences between freedom to sin and the freedom to serve.
Contrary to what the people of the world will have you believe,,, freedom to sin or do whatever you want to do,,, is not freedom.
It might seem like the easy way,,, by just doing whatever you want,,, but once you take this direction you will end up feeling trapped and alone,,, like there is no way out.
That's why that our way of life during the week are so important.
Those that have taken what seemed to be the easy way and now are feeling trapped and alone,,, are searching for a way out and they are watching us to see if this really is the way!
We don't have to say a word,,, let our actions speak for us,,, because that’s what speaks louder than our words anyway.
(8:01)
As Christians,,, if the Holy Spirit is a part of us and guiding us as we go about our daily life,,, others will see the love of God shining out of us and they will try their best to find out what we have.
At the end of verse 13,,, Paul is telling the Galatians that rather than being enslaved by the flesh (or sin),,, they should serve one another through love.
Then verse 14 gives us a command that we have heard before - 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.
This law was taken from - Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community, but love your neighbors as yourself; I am Yahweh.
It was also used by Jesus in - The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
And in by the expert in the law that tried to trick Jesus - where he ended up answering the question correctly - beginning in verse 25 it says: 25 Just then an expert in the law stood up to test Him saying, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
26 "What is written in the law?" Jesus asked him. "How do you read it?" 27 He answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." 28 You've answered correctly." Jesus told him, "Do this and you will live,"
These are three examples where this command is given and Paul is trying to tell the Galatians that they must love their neighbor as yourself because that will put a stop to the fighting and bickering that they were doing.
Verse 15 says: 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another.
That kinda seems like the situation we find ourselves in today as we are still trying to get past the passing of the traditional plan at General Conference 2019.
It never fails to amaze me that the Bible,,, written many, many, years ago,,, can still answer or address problems that we have today.
It speaks to us every day if we just let it.
The answers are there if we just take the time and the effort required to read it,,, being sure that we take the time to listen for answers.
If we,,, as the church body that we are supposed to be,,, would just use this one command to truly guide us,,, so many of our squabbles would be stopped.
We really need to get this command in our hearts and really put forth the effort to live by this and let our lives be enriched by the grace of God that would shine through this church out into the world.
This is what the world needs to see!
(10:54)
Paul uses verses 16, 17 and 18 to tell the Galatians to walk by the Spirit so that they won't carry out the desires of the flesh.
He says this because he knows that if we are living the way that the Spirit tells us to,,, this world will be a much better place to live.
He also knows that this is impossible on our own,,, we can't do it without the help of the Holy Spirit.
When we are paying attention to the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit,,, when we make a mistake,,, we can be guided back onto the right path,,, but if we are trying to do it on our own,,, we might be persuaded to give up because it becomes too hard.
I can't say this enough,,, it's not the end of the world if we sin,,, as long as we pay attention and allow ourselves to be shown the right way to go.
Now,,, that doesn't make it right to continue in sin but through the Holy Spirits help,,, each and every day,,, if you continue to hear,,, you will notice that eventually,,, whatever keeps tripping you up,,, will get easier and easier to resist.
(11:35)
Paul spends verses 19 -21 talking about the works of the flesh.
He gives a long list of things that are not acceptable in the church and I believe that these are self explanatory.
Paul then says that "I tell you about these things in advance - as I told you before - that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
He is telling them that if they are doing these things and continue in sin without turning away from these things that they won't inherit the kingdom of God.
This is where a lot of people get tripped up,,, by believing that all they have to do is believe in Jesus and everything will be just fine.
Yes,,, God is love,,, I understand that,,, but,,, apparently they forget that God is also just.
He hates sin.
He has given us every chance to change and that's where some fall short,,, because they want the love of God but they want to continue in their sinful ways.
Paul is reminding them that this won't work!
Verses 22 and 23 gives a list of the fruit of the Spirit and says that against these things there is no law.
This is the work of the Holy Spirit working in us.
These are produced in each of us but not through our own effort but by listening to the Holy Spirit as He guides us.
We can't do these on our own.
Then verses 24 and 25 tells us that those who have crucified the flesh by belonging to Jesus Christ must now follow the Spirit as it guides us.
(12:27)
And that is what will give us the true freedom that we are all seeking.
Knowing that the Holy Spirit is there to help us when we can't live on our own the life that is required.
It requires change in our lives,,, and it requires work and commitment,,, but we have the help that we need.
This week as we celebrate July 4th,,, remember to give thanks to God for our freedoms and to ask Him to help us to become a Christian nation again.
This country of ours will not last going in the direction that it's going now.
Pray for our leaders, our people and our church.
Not only this week but every day as far as that goes!
As we continue with our life away from church,,, remember this scripture and the words of Paul to "Love your neighbor as yourself".
This will stop more arguments than anything we can do or say.
We must remember that Christ has set us free but that freedom does require change.
Don't accept Christ and continue living the same sinful lifestyle that you were living before.
And remember also,,, that we aren't on our own,,, Jesus has sent a helper for us.
The Holy Spirit helps each of us and guides us,,, even while we make mistakes along the way,,, it keeps us on the right path.
If you haven't accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior,,, then today is the day to answer His call.
You aren't promised tomorrow.
God wants you with Him in Heaven and He has done everything that He can do,,, the choice is yours to make,,, be sure that you make the right choice today.
So as we sing our final hymn,,, let me remind you that the alter is always open,,,
If you feel God speaking to you,,, don't hesitate to come,,, maybe you just have questions,,, God will answer,,, you just have to ask Him,,, whatever the need may be,,,
As we sing the final hymn,,, come if needed!
Oakdale - Hymn Page - 357
Seminary - Hymn Page - 431
(13:58)
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