Summary: A message on true freedom. Written for Independence Day
A Different Kind of Free
July 3, 2005
I believe that we have been blessed to live in the greatest nation in all of the world and we have been given, by God, almost matchless freedom. No other nation on earth enjoys the kind of nation that we have and tomorrow we will celebrate the freedom we so greatly enjoy and so often take for granted.
Freedom was without a doubt one of the cornerstones that this country was built upon. We see it continuously in the writings and speeches of the national leaders from founding of our country.
We shall not fight alone. God presides over the destinies of nations and will raise up friends for us. The battle is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave...! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! Patrick Henry
We also see this same thread of freedom etched in the words of our current President in our more recent history.
A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining... None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world. George W. Bush
Freedom is one of the ideals that has been ingrained on our American conscience and it one of the things that I believe we most often fail to understand. As Americans we often talk about freedom without truly understanding what it means to be free. We live in a free country without a true understanding of what freedom is.
As we move closer to Independence Day I feel obligated to ask you a serious question. What does it mean to have freedom?
I believe to understand this question we have to apply knowledge of our primary citizenship, not in America but in the Kingdom of Christ. Jesus answered this same question about freedom with some of His followers 2,000 years ago.
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, "We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?" 34 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:31-36
I. The Foundation of Freedom
If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples
The gospels are filled with the teachings of Jesus and we are meant to hold to them.
• You are the light of the world
• Love your enemies
• The Great Commandment - Love God with all your heart, mind and soul
• The Great Commission
• I am the way, the truth and the life
• Take up your cross and follow me
The word disciple literally means follower. It would seem to be impossible to be a true disciple of Jesus and not make a conscious effort to follow Him. What Jesus is saying here that in order for us to follow Him we must hold to His teaching.
We can only truly follow Jesus when we make the intentional effort to know His Word and then do our best to live in obedience to His word. Even our best efforts sometimes fail and that is why Jesus includes forgiveness for the times when we blow it. The Bible is our handbook for living our lives for Christ.
Knowing the Word of Christ is the beginning of following Him.
The Bible is the rock on which this republic rests - Andrew Jackson
If one of our Presidents recognized the need for the Word of God to be a part of the nation, don’t you think it is high time that you apply this same philosophy to your life.
Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free
When Jesus speaks here of knowing the truth, He is not speaking of something merely being known like a set of facts and figures. Instead Jesus is speaking of knowledge as something being done. The truth that Jesus speaks of here is a life changing and transforming experience. In order to know truth you must first know Jesus Himself. Knowing truth is found in having a deep, personal relationship with the One who is the Truth.