Abounding Grace (Vol. 40) – Freedom of the Christian Believer
Sunday English Service – 10 OCT 21
Please turn with me to Galatians chapter five. We’ve been speaking about abounding grace. It comes as you know from Romans, chapter five, verse 20, where Paul says, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Whatever sin has destroyed and ruined, the grace of God comes and is more powerful than sin, and therefore, it restores everything that sin has destroyed, and makes even beautiful, more beautiful than ever everything that sin destroyed. This is the work of God’s grace that happens in our lives. We were studying that. We’re in the book of Galatians, looking at certain portions here because we’re talking about lawn grace. Paul preached in the Galatian region, in the cities of Iconium, Lee strand, Derby, and so on, in his first missionary journey, and many Gentiles came and received Jesus as Lord and Savior. His message was very simple. His message pointed to Christ as the answer, that Jesus is the Savior, that what he did on the cross, plus nothing else, everything that he did on the cross is the thing that brings salvation. So they need to put their trust in Jesus, and don’t need to do anything else but just put their trust in Jesus for their salvation, put their faith in Christ, and those people did. But after he left there, there are some others that came there, and preached criticizing Paul saying that Paul doesn’t know very much. He is a person who came later into the Christian faith. But these people claim to have come from the original apostles. And so they said, this man doesn’t know much. We come from the original apostles, and they have been with Jesus, will tell you the real gospel and they told them, yeah, you need to believe in Jesus but you need to add some more things to your faith in Jesus, because salvation is not simply by believing in Jesus, but also by observing all the laws, and by observing all the rituals and ceremonies of the Old Testament, the Jewish laws.
Now, all those Jewish laws and ceremonies and the commandments, and all of that was given for a purpose, it was all to point to Christ, it was to point to the fact that they are sinners, and that they need salvation, that they need a savior, and to describe and teach about that salvation, how it comes by shedding of blood, and so on. That’s the purpose of the offerings and sacrifices and so on. It taught about Christ and what he will do, but now Christ has come. And Paul has preached that Christ, Christ has fulfilled all of that, that was only a foreshadowing of what Christ will do. So Christ has come, he has fulfilled all that. There is no need to go back and practice all of that, from the Old Testament. That was to teach. That was for the purpose of showing people, pointing people to Christ, showing them the need for the Savior, showing them that they’re sinners, pointing to Christ, and the way of salvation, and that has accomplished that its job, but now Christ has come. Salvation is only by faith in Christ. In the Old Testament, they didn’t have salvation back then. They had only the teaching concerning these things. They practice these things. They were being prepared to accept and receive the Savior. In the New Testament Savior has come, he has done the job, there is no need to now go back and do all those things. But these people are going and preaching saying, you get circumcision done. You observe all the Old Testament rituals and ceremonies and everything. Now what is the use of circumcision? Now, circumcision was given in the Old Testament for the purpose of conveying the truth, that there is a circumcision of the spirit that must happen, that flesh must be cut out from our life. The world and the flesh must be cut out, and that we must become spiritual people to teach that it was given as a sign. But now real has come and don’t need to go back to the shadows, but they insisted that you need to go back. They brought in all of these things which have lost their significance and relevance and made them so important. And Paul didn’t like that because it takes away from what Jesus has done. It is diverting people from the Gospel. It is not glorifying God and Christ and what he has done. It is glorifying something else that only came as a foreshadowing. So, Paul had to do several things in order to correct the situation. And one of the things he did was to write to them in an epistle and that is this epistle. We covered so much from this epistle. Right now we’re in chapter five. Let me read you from verse 13 onwards, you my brothers were called to be free, but do not use your freedom to indulge in the sinful nature, rather serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command, love your neighbor as yourself. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out, or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit, what is contrary to the sinful nature, they are in conflict with each other so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
I want you to notice the word freedom here. That’s the main word here it is talking about the freedom of the Christian believer, and that is what we’re going to talk about. The freedom of the Christian believe. You’ve been called to be free, he says. Don’t use your freedom to indulge in sinful nature rather serve one another in love, he says. So freedom has great value in modern times. In people’s minds, it is very big. Everybody likes the idea of freedom. It’s the one thing we all agree on, no matter what we disagree on, we agree on one thing that is freedom. And if anything, we want more freedom. It’s a powerful thing. The stories that share up human heart, and emotions are the stories of freedom really. Now, freedom, therefore, is a big major theme. And after having gone through in our own country, the freedom struggle, we understand a little bit about freedom, at least it’s part of our history, the freedom struggle. Many people literally gave a lot and worked a lot in order to obtain this freedom. So we understand what freedom means we can appreciate and understand what freedom means. But many people think that Christianity is not about freedom. Because on a national level, we have freedom. But we need to understand on a personal level, there must be a spiritual freedom also. The Bible talks about that spiritual freedom. But many people think when it comes to Christianity, even those people that have been raised in Christian countries, the West, they’ve come to the conclusion somehow because of the wrong kind of teaching many times or the way they put it in, it’s not very clear to them.
So they think that Christianity is an authoritarian system of do’s and don’ts backed up with heavenly sanctions. So Christianity as far as they’re concerned, seems to get in the way of salvation, they think. They don’t see Christianity as something that brings freedom. They think that Christianity has something that hampers freedom that obstructs freedom, that is against freedom, because it is laying laws on people, rules and regulations on people, restricts people, ties of people. So if you become a Christian, you’re giving up a lot of independence, a lot of freedom. That’s the way they’ve come to think about it. So the world today. In light of that the world today says well, let’s talk about freedom. We’ll tell you what freedom is. So the world offers a kind of freedom today, and they think this is what freedom is all about. And what is the world’s freedom, like? It’s almost completely and almost entirely defined in negative terms. Because it’s a freedom that is always spoken of as a freedom from something. Freedom from what? Freedom from anybody telling us what to do. As far as people are concerned, they say nobody can tell us what to do. What is freedom is I’m free only when I’m free to do whatever I want. As long as it doesn’t hurt someone else. All I need to make sure is that it doesn’t hurt someone else. I am free. Only when I’m free to do whatever I want, as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else, as long as they ensure that what I’m doing doesn’t hurt someone else, it’s alright for me to pursue whatever I want, I’m free to do whatever I want.
And there should not be anything that comes in the way, there should not be anything that tries to stop me from that, if anything comes in the way of me achieving my goals and my purposes and my desires, then that is not freedom, I must be let alone to pursue whatever I want to pursue. Now, so that means that if there is a God, then that freedom that there define is impossible, because they’re defining freedom, a kind of freedom where nobody can tell anything, nobody has a right to tell anything, they will decide, they’ll follow their heart, they’ll do whatever they want. So if there is a God, it’s an impossible thing, to have the kind of freedom that they’re describing. If God is not there, then they can have the freedom to define themselves and make themselves what they want. And since there is no God who conceived us, we can go ahead and conceive what we are ourselves. We can think about ourselves, in our own terms, define ourselves. And this has become a very huge influence in the world, people believe this kind of a thing, and they go for this kind of thing. So they say there is a God, you can’t do that. Don’t bring God into the equation, remove God from this. A lot of people don’t want these days to say that there is no God, because then you have to deal with arguments that show that there is a God. And many times they find themselves unable to deal with those arguments. So now it’s not fashionable to say there is no God. They say, well, even if God is there, who knows what this God wants, what his will is, who can decipher what he’s all about? What does he want from us? What does he want us to do? Who can tell us? They say, well, all these preachers that tell us that God said this, God said that, they’re all saying their own things, 1000 different preachers saying 1000 different things. You got one church that saying one thing, you got another church, they’re saying something else. So who can tell us what God says?
Nobody is sure what his will is, if there is a God. Nobody can tell us this is what God wants. Nobody can tell us, therefore this is wrong and this is right, and so on. Therefore, basically, everybody’s free to follow their own heart. And that’s freedom, according to the world. Now today, there’s a real cultural war going on in the world, in the sense that the world is divided into two groups, the liberals and the conservatives. Everywhere you go, this is happening. The liberals are the people that say things like this, even if there is a God who knows what he wants, leave us alone, don’t tell us what we need to do. Let’s decide, we’ll follow our heart. It’s none of your business, we’ll do whatever we want, do not obstruct our freedom. Freedom is to be able to do whatever we want to do, as long as we don’t hurt anyone else. That’s the liberals, the traditional people, the conservatives, they say there is a God, therefore, that God has a purpose has a will. Wants man to be a certain way, he has made man a certain way. He wants man to live in a certain way. And one day, if you don’t live like that, one day, you will stand before him and give account to God. So then we’ve got these two weak divides, two kinds of people saying two kinds of things. But what does the Bible say? That’s what we’re going to look at today. What is the Bible says, the Bible, if you read, is dripping with the language of freedom. I mean, it’s full of the language of freedom overflowing with the language of freedom. Now, a lot of people this is so much different from what people think about the Bible and about Christianity. People think Christianity provides inspiration. They want the inspiration that Christianity provides, but they do not want what they call as a bondage that Christianity brings. It’s all you guys put us in bondage, you take away our independence, you take away our freedom, we commit ourselves to Christ, then we come under bondage. We can’t do this. We can’t do that and follow this rule, follow that rule and so on. So we don’t want to give our freedom up. We’ll take the inspiration from you, but don’t want to give up our freedom. That’s what they say about Christianity.
But the Bible, if you read it for yourself, you will see it dripping with the language of freedom. For example, let me refer to Luke chapter four, where we have the account of what Jesus preached in his very first sermon. After he was baptized, the Holy Ghost came upon him. And he was recognized in front of people by God himself with a voice coming down from heaven, saying, this is my Son, in whom I’m well pleased, and so on. And then he sets out on his ministry, in his hometown in Nazareth, he goes to the synagogue. And there he is told to read the Scripture portion for the day, and share something. And so he takes the scroll of the prophet of Isaiah and verse 17, we read, the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him, unrolling it, he found the place where it is written. Now listen, these are the words of Jesus in his very first sermon, very important sermon, he is now going to declare what his mission is why he has come. People really don’t know what he’s all about, but they know that he’s something special. So he is now standing before them, he is reading Isaiah 61, the first few verses, and listen to what those verses say, the Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Then he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down the eyes of everyone in the synagogue who had fastened on him. And he began saying to them, today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing means today is the fulfillment of these verses that I just read to you happening right before you. In other words, it’s saying, I am the fulfillment of these verses, in other words, where it says the Spirit of the Lord is on me, and he is anointed me, I am the person, I am the person upon whom the Spirit of the Lord is on. Because the Spirit descended upon him like a dove, and they know. They’ve heard about it say, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me. I’m anointed Messiah, Christ. Jesus Christ, Christ means the anointed one. I am the Anointed One, I am anointed for the purpose, for a purpose. What is the purpose? What is his mission? What is his anointing for. He says, to preach the good news to the poor, what is the good news to the poor. It’s not like what some Christians say, it’s good to be poor, because you’ll get to heaven. It’s good to be poor, because it’ll lead you to holiness. None of that is taught in the Bible anywhere, I can guarantee you that.
To preach the good news to the poor means poor have a good news now that they can be delivered from that curse of poverty, when they’ve laid the crown of thorns on his head, on the cross of Calvary, it indicated that the curse of poverty was laid upon him, so that we can be free from it so that we can be blessed. So he says, to preach the good news to the poor, that’s the first thing on the agenda. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed. There are many people that are oppressed. As a pastor, I meet a lot of people like that, they’re oppressed in so many ways. Some of them crushed in their hearts. Because they have been abandoned, they have been ignored. They have been refused love, care by their own people. Husbands leaving them, wives leaving them, children leaving them alone. Nobody ready to take them on, telling them to get out, that kind of problem, rejecting them, not caring about them, taking away everything that they have that kind of a thing. And also, society oppresses people in so many other ways, using cursed and various other things. They oppress people. They try to keep them down so that they will not rise from that position so that they’ll be kept down, oppressing people just pressing them down so that they will not rise. Recovery of sight to the blind, they live in darkness, they don’t know the truth. They don’t know where to go, they don’t know anything. That’s the condition of the people. Freedom for the prisoners, so many people are imprisoned by so many bad habits. Take for instance, alcohol and the problem that we face with alcohol today. I went to a little place right outside of Chennai, somebody told me, the entire little village was working for a company close by, and they were thriving and flourishing at one time, houses were built in the whole village came up as a result of that company. But now everybody has become drunkard, just about almost everyone has become drunkard. It’s deteriorating. It’s falling apart.
Homes are falling apart, marriages are falling apart, children are going to waste entire community affected. People are imprisoned, they get into the alcoholism and not able to get out of it. They’re locked in. They’re unable to get out of it. To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, every 50th year was called the Lord’s favor under the Jewish laws, because if you borrowed any money, mortgaged your house or property and borrowed any money, they can only keep your property, the one who lent you money can keep the property only for 50 years. On the 50th year he must return it whether you paid it back or not. So he calculates how much he must lend you based on how many years are there to the year of lots favor as they call it that year. So that was the year of jubilee they called it. And Jesus says, I’ve come to proclaim the Jubilee year. Hereafter Jubilee year is not going to be every 50 years, every day is Jubilee year, because Jesus has come. Jubilee year, or simply assign a foreshadowing that allows Jesus and what he will do, in and through his redemption. So he’s looking at the mission of Christ, Christ Himself, to preach the good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of Lord’s favor. That’s his mission. Christianity is about setting people free. It’s about freedom. It is about true freedom. Anything else is preached in the name of Christianity, that’s only a religious teaching and preaching. It has no power in it. Christianity will preach about how the poor can get out of the poverty, it will preach about how people can be set free from all those things that imprisons them, and ruins them.
Christianity preaches about light in the midst of darkness, it gives the knowledge, knowledge that will set people free. Christianity preaches about release for the oppressed from under the oppression of others. Christianity preaches about the Jubilee Year. That’s the Christian message. That’s the essence of Christ’s message. Even john says, the truth shall make you free. And then he says, whom the Lord sets free is free indeed. He saw Christianity as a freedom movement. It is to set people free from all the evils that has come in as a result of sin. That is what the Christian faith is all about. Even Paul, look at what he says in verse one, in Galatians, chapter five, the very chapter that we just read from. In verse one, he says, stand first therefore in the Liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage, stand fast, in the liberty in the freedom, where with Christ has set you free. He has set you free and brought you into a freedom. If you are a Christian, if you’ve had this Christian experience, if you’ve experienced true Christianity, that means you’ve been set free, you’ve been out of the bondage, you’ve been brought out to the bondage into the freedom liberty. That’s how the Christian message is presented in the Bible. It is dripping with the language of freedom. But it’s not presented like that many times today. Many times it’s presented in the wrong way you do this and this and that, and don’t do that and that and so on. And then only you can be accepted by God, and so on. But what we’re really supposed to say is that Jesus has come, freedom has come, liberty has come, you can be set free, you can receive the freedom that comes, the true freedom through Jesus Christ. That’s what Paul was preaching. That is why he’s very angry that people were taking them back into the yoke of bondage again.
Paul says, he has set you free, don’t go back again into the yoke of bondage, what does he call bondage? He calls the law and all the observance of all the ceremonies and rituals, a bondage. I’ll show you why it’s a bondage. When we come to the end, I’ll show you why it’s a bondage. You may say, well, God gave all that, how can you call that a bondage? Well, right now, since Jesus has come, and he has fulfilled everything, you take people back into that, you’re taking them into a bondage. And I’ll show you why. Just wait. But this is the thing, in a world where they’re saying, we’ll offer you freedom. And freedom is the ability to do whatever you want to do as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody. They define it like that. As a Christian, we are supposed to say, and we need to say, and this is what we say. You know what we say to those people, we say, there is no such freedom, that such freedom is not possible, a freedom by doing whatever you want to do, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. Sounds wonderful. But that’s not possible at all. That’s such freedom is non existent, it does not exist. So first of all, I want to show you that that kind of freedom, the world’s freedom, is a failure. It cannot work. I want to show you that. That kind of freedom is a failure cannot work. It is proposed, but it cannot work. It never worked. I’ll show you that.
And secondly, I want to show you the Christian freedom and the nature of Christian freedom and how well it works. This is the two things I want to take you through in the rest of the time that we have. First, the failure of the freedom as it is defined by the world. There are three ways in which it fails. The first way it fails is because it is unable to point us to what we really need. See that freedom never talks about who we are, how we are made, and what kind of needs we have. It says we can pursue anything we want. We can work to anything we want. That’s what that’s freedom says. But it doesn’t talk about what we really need. Because of the way we are made, so that we may wholly want that which we really need. Instead of doing that, it enslaves us. But by driving us to do whatever we want, very wrong approach. It drives us to do whatever we want. It says you’re free, go do whatever you want. You can do whatever you want instead of pointing us to who we are, how we are made, how we’re designed, and what we really need. So that we may wholly want what really applies to us. So let’s describe this. How the world’s freedom does not point to what we really want, but drives us to go ahead and try to get whatever we want. That’s the wrong approach. In verse 13, we read you my brothers are called to be free. And then listen what he says. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature rather serve one another in love. So if you’re called to be free, you’re supposed to be free. But don’t indulge the sinful nature he says. But serve one another in love. What does it mean? It means freedom does not mean you can do whatever you want to. Freedom means true freedom means that you cannot indulge in sinful nature. You cannot go and do what is sinful. There are certain things that you cannot do, you cannot indulge in. And there are certain things you must involve in. You must serve one another are in love, but cannot indulge in the sinful nature.
True freedom will not tell you go ahead do whatever you want, it’s fine if you feel good do it, that philosophy doesn’t work. That’s not true freedom. In order to do what true freedom requires, that is not to indulge in sinful nature. But to serve one another and in love, avoid this, but take up this, don’t do this, but do this. In order to do that, you need to know what is right, what is wrong, what you’re not supposed to do what you’re supposed to do, that knowledge first of all is very necessary. But the freedom that the world offers, the freedom that these people are talking about, you’re free to do anything you want, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, that freedom has no knowledge of what is right and what is wrong. It simply says follow your heart. Do whatever you want. It has no concern about what is right and what is wrong and say and it actually says, don’t be like God, or don’t be representative of what, don’t try to tell us what you can do what you cannot do, who are you to tell us what you can do and what you cannot do? Don’t tell us, we’ll decide that. What you’re doing is wrong, they say. But the thing is, the point is this. The skeptics, they call themselves skeptics, they don’t trust anything. And they protest against everything. You’re going to tell them anything, cannot teach them anything, you cannot tell them anything. They hate all this kind of religious preaching, and so on, because they say, who are you to tell what we need to do? That’s their approach. All right. If you question everything, and if you reject everything, then how do you expect us to listen to what you’re saying? You mean to say what you’re saying is true. That means you’re claiming some truth. But you yourself said, there is no such truth. Nobody knows what the truth is. Nobody knows what God wants. That’s why you told us not to say anything about what is right and what is wrong. Now you are saying what is right, and what is wrong? You are saying what you are saying is right. How do I know what you’re saying is right. This is the problem? When you start denouncing something.
If nobody can tell what is right and what is wrong, then by what doctrine, or by what law, or by what standard can they denounce what they’re trying to denounce? If there is no right and wrong, if there is nobody that can tell us what is right and wrong, then how are you denouncing certain things as wrong and false? By what standard, by what doctrine? The moment anyone tries to denounce something as false. They’re claiming that they know what the truth is. Because they’ve claimed that there is no such truth. Because they’re claiming that nobody knows the truth. Nobody knows what God’s truth is. Then I asked, on what basis can they denounce that which is false. So you see this contradiction in them a lot. On the one hand, they’ll speak about war in this way, that’s a war is a waste of time, waste of our resources, we’re wasting a lot, war. We need peace. War is a waste of time. And you see them in another meeting, they’ll say life is a waste. They’re talking about becoming a philosopher now. Life itself is a waste. What is a waste? Tell me war is a waste or life is a waste. They go to one place and they say that all they’re treating people as beasts here, like animals, people are treated very badly. And so on, they complain about it and raise a big issue about it on the other place, they go to some scientific meeting or something. And they claim exactly the opposite. They say people are nothing but animals, were another form of animals, that’s all. In one place you say, it’s wrong to treat people as animals, in another place you say, we’re just animals. Another animal, that’s all you know. So the modern skeptic, a skeptic like this. He keeps digging a hole. He is busy digging a hole in which he keeps falling. He’s logically undoing himself all the time. You’ll find him doing that all the time, he’s undermining his own mind.
On the one hand attack persons, people for trampling on morality. They say, oh, well, what happened to morality? Look at all these young people, they have no morality, they’ll say, but on the other hand, they speak about ethics. And they become all very high flung and very liberal. And they say, they attack morality for trampling upon people. It’s what are you trying to bring this morality and trying to impose upon us, don’t be preaching this to us. So if you want this kind of freedom, if you want the world’s kind of freedom, you can’t have it, you cannot even protest against anything. Because you can’t even tell what is slavery and what is freedom? Then how can you protest against something saying this is slavery? What can you point to saying this is freedom? So how are you going to enjoy freedom or free anyone, it’s not possible, you don’t even know when you’re free. According to your own definition. So this kind of freedom fails, miserably fails, it doesn’t work, there is no such freedom. If there is true freedom, it must take into account who we are, how we are designed, how we are made. What God’s purpose is for us. And then help us to focus on what we need and focus wholly on what we need, as people designed in this way by God. And motivators to arrive at what we need, so that we can be happy, which it doesn’t do, it simply says, do whatever you like. You can do whatever you like. That’s the reason for all the confusion today in the world. That’s the reason for all the violence. That’s the reason for all unkindness, all wickedness. That’s the reason for all the hatred. That’s the reason for all the things that go on today, all over the world, because there is a confusion about what is right and what is wrong. Everybody does whatever they think is right. And they think that’s what is right because they thought it’s right, they think that’s what is right.
Secondly, real freedom has to be compatible with the complexity of the human heart. The human heart is complex. And the world’s freedom is not compatible with the complexity of the human heart. Human heart is very complex, you want a real freedom, you got to take into account the complexity of the human heart. What do I mean by the complexity of the human heart? Read verse 17, chapter five, Galatians, for the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature, they are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. In other words, he says there are two things going on inside of you. You’re battling two things, a human person is battling two things. On the one side, he’s seeking something good. On the other side, there are some desires that is driving him to destruction, because of the sinful nature. He’s made in the image and likeness of God. So there is lot of longing for holiness, to be good, to be true, to be honest, to be all those things. But then the sinful nature has come in and it drives them to do things on the sly, go behind the back and do certain things. And every man and woman is battling these two things, they’re in conflict with each other, these two different things that is driving them that is trying to drive them is really dividing them. And they’re in conflict with each other so that they are not able to do what they want to do. They want to do good, they want to be honest, they want to be good, they want to do good. But there is a sinful nature that always drives them to do that which is evil, that is that which wicked and no good. I’ll tell you one example just simple example. But it will help you to see that people normally like to be very healthy, live long, and so on. So a person, say for example, loves to live to 100 and sees grandchildren and their children and grandchildren. It’s a good motive, good desire. He wants to live a long life and a good life. He wants to be free from all sickness and living as a strong person physically, but he’s got another thing going on in his life. That is he has appetite for everything that is wrong. He wants to eat everything that he sees.
That is not right. Not the right kind of food, and he likes to eat it, and therefore, it’s driving him in that direction. On the one hand, he wants to live 100 years and live healthy. On the other hand, he is not able to do it, because he’s driven towards all kinds of wrong food. That will not help him achieve the good goal that he has. So very simple example. But just take this and apply in other ways. To all other areas of life, people like to be good, people like to be loving, people like to be kind, people like to be true. But there is sinful nature that always when nobody’s looking, wants you to do something else, wants to go behind in the dark and do something else. Because that sinful nature. It tries to destroy all this good motive. And so this worldly philosophy of freedom doesn’t work. Because it is not aware of these two things that is happening in human beings, they don’t even believe that. They’re not aware of this, and they don’t even believe this. So they are there, since they’re not even aware of it. They don’t take into account these things. And therefore, it fails
Let me give you another example you’ll understand very plainly. And that is a fish is made to live in water. It must be in water to feel happy, it must be in water to thrive and flourish, right? The moment you take it out of the water, it has breathing problems, and it will die. After a short while it cannot survive the other environment, it has to be in its own environment. It’s made for such an environment. So you cannot remove it from that environment. Suppose a fish thinks I want to live on that sofa in that person’s house because look at that sofa, man, that’s nice. These people are sitting on it, I want to go live there, I want to sit on that sofa, be able to sit on that sofa. Well, he’s asking to be — he’s asking to die, that’s all. He cannot do it. Because he’s not made for that. He’s got to belong to the water. So his need is an environment in which there is enough water. And that fish must live in water, so are the birds. The birds belong in the air, they need to be free to fly everywhere. God has given them the ability to fly. If you take a bird and cut its wings and put it in a cage, you may feel happy because you got that bird, but the bird is not happy. If you ask that bird for had any way to speak and tell you what it feels like it wants freedom, it cannot feel happy until it goes out and is able to fly wherever he wants to.
It needs that environment, that air to fly. What about the human heart? What is it made for? Listen to me. The Bible says the human heart is made for God, for God to dwell in, the human spirit is made as a dwelling place of God. You’re supposed to be the temple of God, God must come and dwell in you. You are made to have fellowship with God. You’re made in the image and likeness of God, just like him. You’re not made like cows and goats. You’re not made like that. Because God’s purpose is that we must be in fellowship with Him. That we must be like him so that we can commune with him, we can be in communion with Him, togetherness that cannot be achieved in any other way. We can keep a dog and a cat in our house and as our pet, and have something to do with it and love it even, but it’s not communion. Communion is far beyond that. God wants to commune with man. Wants to be one with man. Fellowship with man. That’s the way we are made, that we are designed for it. If you’re designed for it, then you need to wholly seek that. And that must be your pursuit. And you need to achieve that, in order to make yourself happy, just like fish needs water, you need God. And without that environment, it’s not possible for you to be happy. You’re made just like God, God is love. This God who is love made you as a low creature, you’re made to love. You are made to love and to give love. Love is the thing in which you live. That is the thing that makes you happy. That is the thing that really gets you going. But people don’t realize that. Well, freedom is to be able to do whatever you want.
Let’s go to the third thing. Third reason why it fails. The second reason why it fails is they don’t take into account the freedom philosophy of the world doesn’t take into account the fact that we have a complex heart pulling two ways, the two natures. Thirdly, the real freedom has to be compatible with love, which this freedom that they’re talking about is not. In fact, it is not at all compatible with love. Real freedom has to be compatible with love, it has to be compatible with love. Otherwise, it cannot be freedom. It has to go along with love, it has to be motivated by love, activated by love, the serving one another in love. That’s what real freedom. Freedom is for that. You need to enjoy your freedom and that way serving one another in love, not indulging in sinful nature. I say the worldly philosophy of freedom does not take this into account, that it has to be a love motivated freedom. The world’s freedom finds no place for love in that. Look at verse 13. It says, you my brothers were called to be free, but do not use your freedom to indulge in the sinful nature rather serve one another in love. You are to be able to serve one another in love. That is not in the picture at all in the freedom that they’re describing. There was a television interview in a foreign channel of a woman very famous woman. And the interviewer was asking the woman saying he said to her then you’ve had the freedom you wanted. You’ve had the freedom that you wanted that you sought always, that you wanted always. And her reply was, yeah, well, I was obviously not free when I was in love with anyone. Whenever I fell in love with anyone married anyone I was not free. They took away my independence. I lost my freedom. It’s exactly what they say. But fortunately, one is not in love all the time. We can just get out of that love. If they take away our independence or freedom, we can kick the guy out, we can divorce, we can just send them off. Because there’s no freedom. He doesn’t allow me freedom. I want to do whatever I want to do. So when that becomes a problem, kick him out. So for them love interferes with freedom they think. Love takes away the freedom so you should not commit yourself to love or a loving relationship.
Think about this. Think about loving relationship even falling in love, let alone marriage. Marriage obviously is a commitment and once you get married, certainly a lot of people feel like their freedom is gone now. That’s a common talk about that. But even when they fall in love, already begins to show up because once you’ve fallen in love, you kind of made a heart commitment to a person. Both of you mutually have done it And then what happens if you don’t show up for two days? You’re answerable. They’ll ask you. The other party will ask you, where did you go? What happened to you? Why didn’t you show up? Why didn’t you call? Why didn’t you do this, that? And why are you doing this? All kinds of questions you become answerable. And so you feel like your freedom is gone. You say, where is my independence? Why do I have to answer for everything? Why do you have to account for everything? This is the kind of thing that happens. So freedom, without love, is not freedom at all. That’s the thing. When you give your life to the Lord, to Jesus as your Lord and Savior, lot of people say, well, don’t commit yourself, just like they talk about marriage. They say, well, if you — that’s like giving your neck, finished, you’re finished. If you get married, man, your freedom is gone, then thereafter, you’re a slave. You just have to do whatever they say, they’ll dictate terms and you’re finished. This is the way they talk about it. And they talk about relationship with Jesus in that way. They say don’t become religious, don’t become too involved in this thing. Don’t give your life to Jesus, that will lead you to bondage, to a whole bunch of rules about what you can do what you cannot do, who wants that, you should be able to do whatever you want. Sounds good. But if you realize that everybody is ruled by something other than themselves. Even if you don’t receive Jesus as your Lord, and take Him as your Lord, because you think your freedom will be gone. Something else is your Lord anyway, your career is your Lord. Sometimes the money is your Lord, sometime something else is your lord, some other person is your Lord. They’re controlling you.
If you look at it that way, no one is ever free. To say that you can do whatever you want, and that’s freedom, as long as you don’t hurt anyone, you should be able to do whatever you want. Nobody’s able to do whatever they want. It’s not possible at all, that such freedom is non existent, it does not exist. Where is that freedom. You can show me that kind of freedom, there is no such freedom. Everybody is ruled by something, whatever you love, that becomes your Lord. Whatever you put first in your life that becomes your Lord, your master that rules you that guides you, that dictates what you do. So you are ruled and governed by something all the time. So this thing about being able to do whatever you want, and that’s what true freedom is nonsense, really. Because you have competing desires, conflicting desires. And the fish doesn’t have conflicting desires, the bird doesn’t have conflicting desires. But human beings are complex, they’re competing desires. And love is an important factor in human life, because they are made — human beings are made like God, God of love made love creatures when he made men and women. And then you got to know what your made like. You can only know what your real need is only when you understand how you’re made, how you’re designed. So the worldly freedom does not take any of this into account, therefore that freedom is not workable. It does not work. It’s only in Word, but it only leads to bondage and destruction and failure. And not true freedom. What you call freedom lands you in trouble. That’s a problem today.
What’s the nature of Christian freedom? Let me describe that very quickly. Christian freedom. Look at verse 18. What if you’re led by the Spirit, you are not under the law? Now this is a very tricky verse to understand. Because a lot of people take this line where it says you are not under the law. So they say well, Christian is not under the law, and it’s correct. It says that, but what they take it to mean is the difficulty. They say we’re not under the law means. We’re not under obligation to do anything that the law says. The law says thou shall not murder. Now sometimes you got to murder you know you can do it. That’s all you have to do. You have to do. You see that all the murders come from now. If they need to, they’ll do it. Because they think they can do whatever they want. If they can manage it, they’ll do whatever they want. That’s where it comes from. All the wickedness, the murder, the hate, and all the other things that come out of is amazing. We’re not under the law. The law says, thou shalt not covet. But they say, well, who’s not coveting? Everybody is coveting? So it’s all right to covet. The law says, thou shalt not bear false witness. They say never mind that, we can do that sometimes we need to we need to do that. The law says honor your mother and father. Well, yeah, it says that, but it’s convenient, honor them, otherwise throw them out, nothing wrong with that.
Do whatever you want, that’s there for us. That’s the freedom. There is no good bad. There is there is no one to say this is right, and that is wrong. So do whatever you like. This is the thing that is wrong. So what is the nature of Christian freedom? Will now come to the Christian freedom. What is the nature of Christian freedom? It says if you’re led by the Spirit, you are no longer under the law, you are not under the law. What is the meaning of not under the law? One? The Christian freedom means. Only with this meaning you can understand what is Christian freedom? What is the nature of Christian freedom by understanding what it means that you’re not going to say, you’re not under the law? Christian freedom means freedom from guilt. Freedom from guilt. Why do we say that? We say that because the law makes us guilty before God. Its purpose is to make us guilty. It was designed in such a way. No one was supposed to pass the test of the law. No one has ever done what the law says. And went and stood before God and said I’ve done all that it says no, only Jesus has done it. No one else has done. No human ever has done it. Because it was designed in such a way to fail everyone. Normally, when they give you a test, the results are in line with a normal curve. Most people get somewhere in the middle. The marks some people get very high marks. Some people get some low marks. But most people fall somewhere right in the middle. That’s the normal curve. But this one is flat. It’s all failure. Everybody’s failed. No one ever passes. Amazing. It was designed like that. Why? To prove to us that we are sinners. It was designed to prove to us that our sinfulness should drive us so that it may drive us to a need for a savior, so that we will need a savior, look for a savior and receive Jesus as a savior. It is supposed to drive us and lead us to the Savior. That’s why it was made. The law itself the commandments condemn you. They bring you under punishment as a result of violation. Everyone has violated so everyone is punishable. Everyone is condemned. Everyone is guilty.
All right, then it teaches you about how to be saved the sacrifices. The Lord condemns you, the sacrifices teaches you how the salvation comes. It’s by shedding of the blood. A lamb dies in your place. That’s how you’re saved. All this is taught like that. That’s why the commandments and the sacrifices were given under the law. The law condemns, therefore you’re guilty. But since Jesus has come, the law did its job very well in the Old Testament times. But now, since Jesus has come, he has done his job. Now, there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ. So now if you put your faith in Jesus? Where is the condemnation? Where is the guilt, therefore, no guilt, no condemnation, because he has totally forgiven your sins. There is no way you can ever become disqualified before God. He is totally forgiven you, totally accepted you. You are accepted by God totally. You don’t need to feel condemned. A lot of Christians today feel condemned because condemnation is preached to them. They’re still kept under the law, by some preaching because they say, well, the law says this and that and you’ve failed this and that, therefore, you’re condemned. Instead of preaching it like that, we need to preach it like this. What Jesus has done is this, he died on the cross, he took your sin, he gave you his righteousness, you’ve been made righteous, therefore you’re free from guilt, instead of saying that they’re saying that instead of talking about Jesus on the cross, and what he has done, they’re talking about what the law says and how you failed, then condemnation will be the result, guilt will be the result. I say to you, the Christian freedom is a freedom that comes as a result of looking at the cross. And what has been achieved on the cross and fully acknowledging and recognizing and believing and putting our faith in that. Therefore we are set free completely from all guilt. So Christian freedom means freedom from guilt, are you free from guilt, you’re not free from guilt, my friend, you’re listening to the wrong kind of thing. If you’re all the time guilty, feel unworthy feel like you’re not accepted by God, you’re listening to the wrong thing, my Christian message sets you free from guilt. You know that all your sins have been forgiven? That’s the basic message of Christian faith.
Secondly, the Christian freedom also means freedom from works of righteousness. What do I mean? Does it mean that we don’t do any works of righteousness? No, we do works of righteousness, but we don’t do them in order to feel good about ourselves, in order to feel loved, in order to feel worthy, in order to feel accepted by God? No. We don’t do that. We don’t do that in order to gain acceptance by God. In order to gain God’s approval, God’s favor and so on. When he say we are not under the law. We are not under obligation to the law in that way. I am not under obligation to do the works of the law, in order to satisfy God so that God will show me favor and bless me. He has already blessed me. He has already shown me favor, he has already died for me, given his life, he has done everything for me. It’s not as a result of me doing good that he’s going to do me good. He has already done me good and therefore out of a thankful heart, I reciprocate. I simply respond by living for him. That’s the way I do good work. I’m not under obligation to good words in order to qualify me before God. That is not the case. Now, let me put it in another way, you’ll understand it better. Regarding this righteousness, business works of righteousness. Let me put it this way. You’ll understand better. There is no need or necessity. I’m free from the need and necessity of being perfect. Take that down. I’m free from the necessity of being perfect. Very important. A lot of people are going to counselor psychiatrists and pay the money so that they can tell them again and again. You don’t have to be perfect. It’s all right. Don’t worry, you’re not perfect, nobody’s perfect. Don’t worry about that. And here I’m telling you freely. I’m telling you from God’s word. To say that I’m not under the law means that I do not have the necessity of being perfect. I am free from being perfect. I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect. If you say you’re perfect, you’re the biggest liar. If God looks at us and examines us he can find 1000 faults with us. But he doesn’t reject us because he finds fault with us because we are lacking in perfection.
Would you throw out your son, your daughter. If they’re lacking perfection if they’re not perfect. If one of your children is not so perfect. You will cry out to God. You will ask everybody to pray. You will fast. You will pray. You will do all kinds of things. You’ll go here and there. You’ll be doing everything possible try to do anything possible to correct that situation. You will work you will try to convince them to change. They’re not studying while you have tuition for them pay for it and you do anything to correct that situation. You don’t throw them out just because they’re not so perfect. Have you ever seen a parent saying my steady child is not studying so I’m not going to feed him from tomorrow? No. They start doing something in order so that you can study well. If you being earthly parents, fathers. Bible says you being evil, know how to do good to your children. How much more your heavenly Father, I tell you, your heavenly Father, my Heavenly Father is a much better for father than you and I have been to our children. He’s compassionate. He’s gracious, he loves us. He knows that we are imperfect. We knows what’s going on. He knows what we are hiding. He knows what we’re doing. He knows everything about us. He knows that there is a lot of imperfection. But he is able, he is a mighty God, when he takes someone, he can change that person. He can work with that person. He can transform the person. He has that confidence. No project has ever failed with him. So he’s working on us. Lydia’s guiding us into perfection. He doesn’t throw us out. So I don’t ever feel like I’m rejected by God, I should not feel like no Christian should ever feel that you’re rejected by God, just because you’re not perfect. If you’re feeling a necessity of being perfect, even listening to wrong teaching, it’s poisonous. It will destroy you. It’ll destroy your confidence. It’ll destroy your happiness. It’ll destroy your relationship, your fellowship with God, it will destroy your Christian life. It will destroy your life in this earth on all level.
You know why people feel like that. Because they’ve had other masters. They’ve had other masters before, other things were ruling them. That they thought was this, whatever you give, number one place in this life, that’s what rules you suppose very simple thing. Suppose you think to be beautiful? Physically, is the most important thing now that you’re putting that in number one place, that’s your God. Beauty is your God. So rest of your life, you’re going to go through hell for not being perfectly beautiful. That’s it. Nobody can correct that situation. You’re going to make everybody miserable; you’re going to make yourself miserable. Just because your nose is not exactly the way it should be, your face is not exactly the way it should be. Your color is not the exactly the way that you would like it to be. Some imperfection is there, you’re going to torture yourself and torture others, you’ll be unable to have good relationship, because you’re allowing this to be your Lord. It dictates everything to you. There is only one Lord that accepts you just as you are. Jesus Christ. He came to you when you were a sinner. When you are not even washed and cleansed. And he accepted you. He died for you while you were sinners, gave his life for you. He’s the only one that says, I love you, though you’re imperfect. There’s nobody in the world that will say I love you because you’re imperfect. I remember one guy came to me and said one time in a marital problem. He said, I want my wife to be perfect. I don’t like all this business. Perfect. She must be. I said, Brother, you’re still in this world. There is no perfect person. Perfect, I want a perfect wife. And there’s no wife like that. There’s no husband like that. Just imagine if she asked for a perfect husband, where will he go? He is not perfect? I can tell he’s got so many problems. He’s got so many hang ups. I felt sorry for that lady. Perfect. She must be perfect. I don’t like this imperfection. I’m a perfectionist. Oh, you’re so imperfect, that you don’t even have eyes to see. Your eyes are not working properly. That’s what I would say to such a person. So no necessity to be perfect. Oh, what a freedom it is. I am free from the necessity to be perfect. I can be just as I am and still have full confidence that the God accepts me. And he is working on me, perfecting me, making me better all the time. My imperfection does not mean that God hates me. God’s going to kill me or break my hand or leg one day. No, no. I’m in God’s hand. I’m trusting in Him. And he’s working on me. I’m free from the necessity of being perfect. What a freedom this is. Enjoy that freedom my friend. Have you got it? Free from guilt, free from the works, and they are free from the need to do the works of righteousness to be accepted by God. You may say this we are free from the necessity of being perfect.
Thirdly, Christian freedom is freedom from fear. Because there is no guilt. And because you’re free from the necessity of being perfect, and you are confident, so confident that God accepts you, no matter what your condition is, since you’ve got the message of God’s grace, fully in your heart, it drives out fear. Fear is not there. You’re not afraid of future, you know how many places people are afraid. I myself when I was a little boy, I used to hear a lot of preaching by preachers that came by often and scared, asked like anything. They said, if Jesus came today, where will you be? Where will you go? And I thought, My God, I’m going to be left behind. So I’d go home and pray, Lord, don’t come today. Just give me a few days. Let me repent. Let me get everything right. Let me get perfect, because you got to be perfect to go. Oh, me, I’m not perfect. Sorry, Lord, please don’t come today. Fear. Fear because we thought God didn’t accept us because we were not perfect. Fear about the end of life. Fear when we came to death, where we’re going to go. But look at what Paul says, in verse five, we read verse five before and taught on that, for we through the Spirit, eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith, eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. We hope to be bright, brilliantly shining before God. We wait with the hope of righteousness by faith. We wait to be acknowledged as righteous before God. That’s the way Paul puts it. Isn’t that something my friend? Do you have true Christian freedom? Are you free from guilt? Are you free from the necessity of being perfect? Or are you doing works of righteousness in order to become perfect and become righteous? And are you free from fear? If you are, you’re the most blessed person if you’re not today, you realize that the message you’re hearing is wrong. Something wrong. There’s something poisonous in that. You need to turn to God’s grace to help you. And God’s grace will help you.
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