Summary: Christ came to set us FREE!! Do we live like free people?
Believers who are “M.A.D.”
“A Life of Freedom”
* Three weeks ago I began this series of messages with one prayer, hope, aim, goal, and desire; to help each of us become (or be) people who are indeed “Making a Difference.” What happens inside the four walls of this building, the four walls of your home, and the four walls of your heart determines if you and I will be ‘difference makers’ in our community. Candidly, to ‘make a difference’ we must ‘be different.’ Furthermore, if we are to ‘make a difference’ because ‘we are different’ then, I submit, they must be a difference in how we connect with our Lord. This morning, consider the text we have already read. Isaiah writes the words that Jesus would read some 700 years later (Luke 4) and then say, “Today this text is fulfilled.” Jesus has been ‘anointed and sent’ to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners.
* Freedom. What comes to your mind when you hear this word? Most of us think of the USA and our civil freedoms. In fact, the 21st Century American culture is so enamored with these that we have concluded we are deserving & are due these precious rights and freedoms. Sadly, few believers today think of their life in Jesus as a life of freedom. As an aside, if we don’t clearly see our lives as ‘free in Christ’ what would make the one outside of Christ desire to join in? Do you truly think that people are looking for some way to live a life of bondage? Certainly not, and that is not Jesus’ mission.
* How long (if ever) has it been since you considered your life as a believer a life of freedom? Yet, Christ same to set us FREE! Paul understood this & wrote to the Galatians saying, “Christ has liberated us into FREEDOM!” Paul knew about ‘freedom’ versus ‘bondage’ because he had lived like a Pharisee until he met Jesus on the Damascus road. He knew what it was to be released from trying to work his way to heaven. Now his work was to call others to this same freedom which he has discovered. Peter understood freedom he writes, “Live as FREE people.” We are called to be free.
* Rick Stanley is a name known among the evangelical community. Rick is an evangelist who is considered to be the half-brother of Elvis Pressley. At the time of Elvis’ death, Rick was Elvis’ aid & hooked on drugs, alcohol, and generally lived a rough life. Rick’s testimony is that he felt trapped in all those things and needed relief, release, and freedom. When he met Jesus, HIS TESTIMONY is that God immediately delivered Him from drugs, alcohol, and partying. Though it wasn’t like Rick’s story, I remember when God changed me from the inside out. Personally, God released me from some things which had haunted me for years. Guess what? I have no desire to go back to what or where I was because it was personal bondage.
* Here is the bottom line: God’s redeemed people (you and me) are placed in this world by our Lord to ‘make a difference.’ We have been called from darkness to light, from death to life, and from bondage to freedom. Walk with me through God’s word & let discover this life of FREEDOM! I begin in our text to see;
1. The Declaration of Freedom – In 1776, a rag-tag group of men who had settled a new world wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence. They proclaimed their liberty for all to hear see and know. The text says that our Lord came to “proclaim liberty to the captives.” To proclaim is to announce, call out, and make it known. The framers of the Declaration of Independence ordered that hundreds of copies be made so that the message could be proclaimed, announced, and made known. This is exactly what our Lord, Christ did when came to earth. He began by proclaiming that the “Kingdom of Heaven is near, so repent.” He proclaimed the message of the Kingdom which is the availability of liberty for all. The word liberty is the word which was used for the Year of Jubilee. To understand the year of Jubilee requires we know about the statues and ordinances of God. Let’s make this simple, understandable, and short. God created the earth in 6 days and rested on the 7th which He termed the ‘Sabbath.’ The word Sabbath means a cessation from exertion, repose, or a rest. This is what is meant by a professor or minister taking a ‘sabbatical.’ To know this takes us to Leviticus 25 where God lays forth the “Sabbath years.” In this agricultural culture, God gave the limitations which probably was the forerunner of ‘crop-rotation’ except God said you can farm the land for 6 years and on the 7th the land must be given rest, thus the Sabbath year. Then, at the end 7 Sabbath years (49 years), on the 10 day of the seventh month trumpet blew loudly to announce (proclaim) the YEAR OF JUBILEE. During the year of Jubilee, there was rest for the land, reversion of land to the family, and release of the slaves. Historians tell us that the Year of Jubilee tended to abolish poverty, slavery, overwork, and loss of birth right. Can you imagine that slave who was worked until JUBILEE? Can you imagine what it was like? Well, we should be able to because you and I were a slave to sin with no hope of freedom until our “Jubilee in Jesus.”