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Stand Firm in Your Freedom!

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Dirk Willems story as the introduction

John 8:26–32 NIV
“I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.” They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” Even as he spoke, many believed in him. 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 8:26–32 NIV
“I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.” They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” Even as he spoke, many believed in him. 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.”
1 Corinthians 10:23–33 NIV
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
Galatians 5:1 NIV
It 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.
Galatians 5:1 NIV
It 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.
Galatians 5:13–23 NIV
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 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. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 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, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
1. Dirk Willems had the freedom because of Jesus Christ to choose the way of the world or to choose the way of Christ. He knew it, He felt it and he was mature enough to decide that he was going to choose to accept suffering and martyrdom for Jesus Christ his only true king. Rather than the king of the state he was in.
1. Dirk Willems had the freedom because of Jesus Christ to choose the way of the world or to choose the way of Christ. He knew it, He felt it and he was mature enough to decide that he was going to choose to accept suffering and martyrdom for Jesus Christ his only true king. Rather than the king of the state he was in.
2. We’ve been talking about the law and the 10 commandments for the last 2 weeks and now here Paul takes the teaching of the whole law, the entire book of Deuteronomy, he sumarises it in one sentance.
Interestingly, the NT authors, when they quote Jesus and his great commandment, Love your neighbour as yourself, they never mention the first part love God. It’s as if the early church learned to listen to the spirit and then decided that loving their neighbour was an act of worship that expressed and enacted their love for God.
3. But Paul doesn’t tell them to try harder. To be better followers of Jesus. He acknowledges that there is a conflcit going on inside of each one of us. A conflict between our choice to practic listening to the spirit of God and submitting ourself to God’s guidance, or listening to our flesh.
Freedom from...
In this letter Paul has taught the Galatians tha that they are free:
From their pagan past
Free from
But also to former pagans and all Jewish members of the church are free from the restrictions of the law.
Freedom for a purpose...
Last week we talked about how Jesus Christ took the ten commandments and updated them, he reinterpreted them in his sermon on the mount. He was the new Moses who Moses and the Prophets pointed to...
Deuteronomy 18:15–18 NIV
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.” The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.
Even right from Adam and Eve, when God described the curse on the surpant he said that one day God will send a Messiah who will be bitten by the serpant but, despite his wounds, he will crush the serpant. And this is what we belive happened on the cross!
Freedom for a purpose...
Freedom is for love
And this is the Old Testament teaching Jesus pulled right from Deuteronomy. Love your neighbour.
What paul means when he says not to follow the ways of the flesh, but the ways of the spirit is that our primary identity is with Jesus now. We are not, in the flesh, the ways of the world fighting about things so that we devour and destroy each other. That’s evidence that we haven’t changed our identity to be with Chirst in his Kingdom first. We are still primarily identifying as part of the Kingdoms of this world.
When we become members of the body of Christ are choosing to die with Christ, die to the brokenness and the sin that Jesus saved us from, and die to letting the world determin who we are and how we behave.
But becoming a member of the Body of Christ
When we die to Jesus in baptism, one of the meanings of baptism is that we die with Christ. We die to the world.
Now this is one of the most exciting things about following Jesus, our freedom in Jesus Christ.
If you belive that Jesus was God walking on earth, if you believe that Jesus took sin and death on his sholders and they died with him on the cross when he was crisified, if you belive that Jesus offeres us the same eternal life that we see in the ressurection then you can imagine the kind of freedom he is offering us!
Freedom from worldly allegiances that cause every kind of “biting and devouring” that happens in the church becasue of livign in this world.
Division because of family identy
Devision caused by ethnic identity
Division caused by territorial identity.
But instead in Jesus Christ we have a new identity is the spirit! Who is showing us the disiplined way to be in the Spirit.
And the fruit of that is in V.22-23:
Galatians 5:22–23 NIV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
What kinds of things happen when we are “in the spirit in Canada” this is what I heard about yesterday at the assemby of the Canadian Mennonite Church in Abbotsford.
A church plant in Quebec that hosts people from every demographic and in their worship service they singe one worship song, stop for 20 min of breakfast, then come back to singing, have a 20 min message and then table discussion about integrating the message into their daily life.
In Tavistock, Onterio The Mennonite Church created a community prayer guarden because someone in the church had a burden and idea to do it.
At a church of 30 people outside of Winnipeg. The town shrank to 20 ho uses. They had no buisnesses, no train station nothing. But the community was trying to figue out how to have a community center. They asked the church. Gym pickle ball. Games in the basement.
As you go home this week ask yourself, as Jesus disciple, what is Jesus telling you that he is giving you freedom from? What is Jesus telling you you now have freedom and purpose to do?
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