Summary: A Freedom That Lasts
A Freedom That Lasts
Preached - Friday, June 20, 2003 - June Teen Tent Revival
Scripture: "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
This evening, I want to talk about "A Freedom That Lasts." The New International Version says "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." "A Freedom That Lasts."
My brothers and sisters, saints and sinners, bond and free children of the Most High God, all of you that love the Lord, and to all of you in your respectable places. We do greet you in the name of the unparalleled, incomparable, and matchless name of Jesus, and do share with you his word of inspiration, wisdom, and hope. For his word is rich and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that we might be equipped for every good work.
A Freedom That Lasts
When will we really be free? Oppressed people throughout the ages have asked this question. African Americans have also been asking the same question of our creator, "Lord, when will we be free?" Our heroes and champions have kept us looking to the day when we will be able to stand universally declare that we are truly liberated with a lasting freedom.
The African-American experience is uniquely similar to that of the Old Testament Jews. Our struggle for freedom and independence, as well as our subsequent meandering has closely paralleled to that of the ancient Hebrews. What Biblical history has revealed is that the Jews thought they would be free if they could escape the chains and shackles of slavery in Egypt. Real freedom for them meant to leave Egypt and enter a new era where they would have an opportunity to enjoy the good life. Externally the oppressor was Egypt, which they saw as the source and cause for their bondage. In the wilderness, they saw as the source and cause for their bondage. In the wilderness, Moses came down from mount Sinai with Ten Commandments that would set the tone of their morality, which would help them fight an even more forceful oppressor, the internal forces of with the potential to destroy them with moral decadence. To a large extent, the Jews embraced the call to fight oppression externally, but often failed to acknowledge the need to defeat the enemy within. Once, in the Promised Land, they soon found themselves enslaved again, not by one oppressor but by a series of oppressors that dominated them. In Canaan they found freedom but it was not a freedom that lasted very long.
African Americans have a similar story. For generations our main quest was to free ourselves from external slavery. Our leaders, including Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman and other fought against a system that legalized slavery. To many of us freedom meant the ability to walk out of Egypt. Like the Jews however, we soon found that though the chains were gone, still we were constantly facing the risk of re-enslavement. On one hand our enemies were seeking to re-enslave us by political disenfranchisement, social segregation and economic deprivation. On the other hand we, like the Jews, strayed away from the God that delivered us, and began to deteriorate internationally, thus re-enslaving ourselves. On January 1, 1863 we were freed from slavery. However, the years since have proven that it has not been a freedom that was lasting.
As people of African American descent, we have come to learn that we will never truly be free until both the external and internal vestiges of slavery are abolished. To this end, we look to Jesus, the source of our faith and hope. As more people turn to Jesus the propensity for slavery is diminished and the day is quickened when all humanity will be able to sing with new meaning "Free at Last, Free at Last, thank God almighty, I’m Free At Last."
As the Holy Ghost shines on this text, we see Jesus as he explains to the Jews the nature of real freedom. He explained to them that this ministry on earth sought to show them how to free themselves from their servitude to the law and its ritual. In verse 32 he noted that those who believe the truths he taught would be truly free of the influences of sin and spiritual death.
The Jews hearing Christ speak about being truly free told him that they were descendants of Abraham and "were never in bondage to any man, how say thou, Ye shall be made free?" The fact that the Jews considered themselves free was a part of their problem. Even at the moment they spoke they were a conquered people, living under Roman authority. In their history they had been people taken into bondage and slavery by the Egyptians, Philistines, Midianites, Ammonites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians and the Greek. Nationally they had along history of periods of slavery and short periods of freedom and subsequent returns to bondage. After leaving Egypt and making a covenant with God in the wilderness, all of the times that they were re-enslaved were directly related to their return to sinful lifestyles.