Good Morning, I Hope you had a great 4th July.…
One of the Holidays that we know how to celebrate well as a nation is Independence Day....... Have you ever wondered how money gets spent over the Holiday?
had some interesting numbers... Apparently, we spent about…
$6.8 Billion: on food.
150 Million: on hot dogs
$1.6+ Billion: on beer and wine.
$1+ Billion: spent on fireworks
$5.4 Million: on American flags i
47+ Million: On travel --- Where the average person traveled about 50+ miles from their home on the 4th
The 4th of July is one those Holidays that remind us that even though things are far from perfect in our Nation.
We are still Extremely blessed to be living in a country that upholds and believes in Freedom.…
A couple of weeks ago Carol handed me this news article from Zimbabwe… The clipping had to do with how the economic crisis in Zimbabwe is impacting people’s ability to get passports and to travel….
The title was “We are Trapped.”
When we lived in Zimbabwe it would take about full day of waiting in a long line to hand in your application for a passport, then it would take a few months for the officials to issue you with a passport.
Today the lines at the Passport office are nearly a mile long.... and it is taking more than a year to be issued with a passport.
Without a passport, you are literally trapped in the country, … even if they wanted to leave you can’t…
Can you imagine just for a moment being stuck in California…even if you had ability and resources to visit friends and family members let’s say in Oregon or Nevada… you simply couldn’t leave…that kind of thing we talking about…
We are in a Series on the Fruit of the Spirit –9 Flavors 1 Fruit.
from Galatians 5:22-23...
The Fruit of the Spirit is in Context of Paul admonishing the Church in Galatia to stand Firmly in the Freedom they had Received.
Read our Text.
Galatians 5:1–2 ESV
1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.
• A Problemhas cropped up in the Galatian Church.
The church was growing and many Gentiles were coming to faith … Most of them were coming out of strange belief systems and idolatrous religious cults.
• These new Christians were being set Free from things that held them in bondage.…
Paul encouraged them to keep on the path of Freedom… Christ had set them Free so that they might continue their lives in Freedom..
• Paul was careful not to add any set of rules or do’s and don’ts.. but stand in the Liberty of Christ… When we come to Christ we come into a life of Freedom… We no longer have to be Stuck… we no longer have to feel constraints… The scripture tell us that whom the Son sets free is free indeed..
· While the Genitle Christians are experiencing Freedom the Jewish community was wondering if the Gentiles that were now part of the Church were truly Covenant People of God…
• .. Was faith in Christ Enough to be considered the people of God??? ...
• …To confuse matters further there was a group of false teachers called the Judiazers..(simply means to live as do Jews)… were teaching that in order to be considered part of God’s people the Gentiles had to live according to the Mosaic law and had to be circumcised….
• Paul pushes Back....on legalism...
He tells them even if they got circumcised it would be no advantage to them… because they wouldn’t be any closer to Jesus..
• He uses even stronger language in chapter 5:12…
Galatians 5:12 ESV
I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
• Why is Paul so passionate… about fighting legalism!!!
• The reason is that Legalism unravels the power of Grace in our lives… and turns Christianity into a works based religion.
• The Gospel they had received was one of Grace and freedom.
Paul’s message was that it wasn’t Christ plus something....
It was simply that you were saved by grace through Faith alone…not by works.
Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith.
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
… Paul tells us that we have been Saved for FREEDOM.
Here is the weird thing about Freedom…
• If we are not careful Freedom can lead us back into captivity.
• Every criminal that is released from prison has the challenge of what to do with new found freedom.
There is freedom to start a new chapter or possibly commit more crimes.
• Paul tries to make it clear that Freedom doesn’t mean a license to sin…
• but rather our Freedom comes with Responsibility
• In theology there are two views that are juxtaposed that relate to responsibility…
• One is nomianism —Which simply means for the law…our responsibility is to Obey the law..
• and the other view is anti-nomianism - which means against law…The position is that we are not bound by any law, whether related to religious practice or ethical behavior.
Both these positions are extreme positions.
One leads us into the bondage to laws… legalism --- the other is that one uses ones Freedom as a kind of license to Sin…
Freedom can be something that is missundertood..
• Since the 1950’s there has been a movement away from Traditional values in this country… at the time it it was coined “the New morality.”
• — in the 60’s and 70’s millions of Americans embraced free sex, drugs and general revolt against morality as it had been… the slogan “if it feels Good, do it” —
• In the 1980’s the baby boomers matured got jobs and started families.. and there was a somewhat return to more traditional values…
• But, by the beginning of the 21st Century we saw another wave against traditional values which has been called… “The radical New Morality” — acceptance of beliefs and philosophies wouldn’t have even been tolerated in the 70’s —
• Today secular humanism has firmly entrenched our educational systems… it impacted our views on marriage, gender, abortion.
morality and ethics.
Paul teaches that...
• Freedom without Responsibility in not real freedom…
In Romans 5…Paul tells us that when the law came it increased sin… because it made us aware of sin… but grace abound even more.... Grace is always greater than sin… So, in our Freedom should we continue to sin?
Romans 6:1–2 ESV
What shall we say then?
Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
By no means!
How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Paul answers the question By no means.
Paul tells us that freedom needs to be tempered with responsibility.
T/S Paul shows us the way to Freedom… Freedom comes by making the Right Choices.
1. Freedom Chooses love Over Selfishness .
• Most us go into marriage full of optimism!
And Rightly so but we are not always prepared for the challenges along the way.
• The adage Good marriages might be made in heaven but the maintenance is done on earth… rings true because... Every marriage is a work in progress.
• One of the challenges in marriage is that you bring yourself into the relationship… Before you are married you have this noble idea that you are an easy person to live with… The Truth is that we are not that easy as we think… Why… Because each of us is inherently selfishness.
• David Brooks in NY Times writes that
• Good marriages happen when one identifies one’s own selfishness as the fundamental problem --- it not about reforming or changing your spouse but it is about learning to cultivate selfless love.
Marriage is all about selflessness.
• Brooks says that
• “marriage isn't about two individuals trying to satisfy their own needs; it's a partnership of mutual self-giving for the purpose of moral growth and to make their corner of the world a little better.”(CT)
• T/s Paul is pointing us in the True way of Freedom… and the First thing he tells us that we are to choose love over Selfishness.
Galatians 5:13–15 ESV
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers.
Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
Paul tells these New Christians that they were Called to Freedom…
• FIRST OF ALL… Christianity is a CALLING to Freedom.
• Our Christian life didn’t begin with our decision to follow Christ but with God’s call us to Salvation.. this is part of this mystery of election — Paul tells us that...
Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus took the initiative in His grace while we were still far from God in rebellion and sin.
God demonstrated his love by dying for us on the cross… We have been Called to Freedom.
but…our Freedom is not to be consumed on ourselves… Paul tells us in...
• - vrs 13 "Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.:
• The word OPPORTUNITY is a military word it speaks of a military base for launching an offence….