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Sermon shared by John Williams Iii

January 2001
Summary: This sermon addresses those times when we feel as though God might have forgotten about us and our desire for freedom.
Denomination: United Methodist
Audience: Seeker adults
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In 1972, a multi lingual case worker by the name of John Kurz began to talk with her. Kurz was a case worker from the Bureau of the Aging. Not only did he understand her language, but he also found out her name Mary Peischl. Kurz also found out that she had left what was the former Austro-Hungarian Empire when Franz Joseph I, was in power. Kurz even helped her to get reunited with her five children. Jesus had come through this case worker to set her free from her prison of hopelessness. (Paraphrased from Tarbell’e Teacher’s Guide. 86th Annual Volume. (Edited by Dr, William P. Barker). Elgin: David C. Cook Publishing Co., 1990, p. 248). Imagine for just a minute that you were this woman. Imagine that people had written you off as hopeless. Then, imagine that one day there was a breakthrough for you just as there was for this woman.
There might be times in our lives when we have given up on our dreams, our hopes. Certainly, that has been the case at times. Jesus never quits on us. Jesus is always there wanting and waiting to set us free. This woman was broken-hearted and it seemed hopeless until Jesus’ work of liberation was realized through this case worker through whom Jesus worked. Although our circumstances might not be the same, there are always those times in our lives we look for the day or days that Jesus can lighten our burdens and liberate our spirits. Second Corinthians 3:17 says, “… where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (NIV).

Just recently I read a very profound statement: “Teaching is good only where there’s life to be channeled. If the listeners are in a spiritual coma, what we’re telling them may be fine and orthodox, but unfortunately, spiritual life cannot be taught” (Jim Cymbala. Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997, p. 50). There were some in the presence of Jesus in the synagogue who were in a spiritual coma.
Spiritual freedom is caught not taught. There is a difference between learning about something and experiencing it. We learn something when we have been taught. We experience something when we have been caught. Talking about freedom and experiencing freedom are two different things. When we catch hold of God’s Spirit it is because God’s Spirit has first captured and caught us.
Who can forget when Peter first caught God’s Spirit (Luke 5:4-11)? Jesus had told Peter to go into the deep water and let down his nets for a successful fishing trip. Simon Peter told Jesus that his fishing trip from the night before was a failure. He followed Jesus’ fishing instructions and had his best fishing trip ever. They caught so many fish that the boat was in danger of sinking. Simon responded by telling Jesus to depart from him for he was a sinful man. Jesus told him not to be afraid because from now on he would become a fisher of men (Luke 5:4-11 paraphrased). That day was the day that Peter caught God’s Spirit which also had caught him. It was not something that he learned. It was something that he experienced. Second Corinthians 3:17 says, “… where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (NIV).

There are always going to be those whose opinions are such that certain are people are not deserving of freedom from their troubles.
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