Summary: Freedom in Christ. We have been set free from what?
John 8:31-36 “Beginning again”
INTRODUCTION: Have you ever been to a fair or maybe to Disneyland where they have these people dressed up like statues and they stand perfectly still and you think it is the stature until they move and freak you out?
I remember reading an illustration about one of these characters that stood on the street corner and he would point his finger at people going by and then say “guilty”. People would look at him, lower their head and try to sneak away. Some would say “how does he know”?
Do you ever get hard on yourself? Do you ever verbally and consciously beat yourself up over the errors, the sins, and the difficulties you have brought upon yourself.
Sometimes we are very hard on ourselves and we should be if we have done that which is wrong.
Sometimes we are very hard on yourselves and we shouldn’t be because we’ve done nothing wrong, but yet we feel the guilt over whatever situation we are in.
Hazel Felleman wrote a poem about this:
"I wish there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again
Where all our mistakes, and all our heartaches
And all our selfish griefs
Could be cast like a shabby old coat at the door
And never be put on again"
The problem is that guilt has a tendency to dominate our lives and the devil loves to use it to destroy us.
Titus 3:3 tells us that “for we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and lovingkindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us …”
Notice, that he said this is what you used to be, but something caused a change in you.
Jesus said– “… if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
That is the promise of Christ.
When Jesus talks about freedom, he is not talking political freedom, he is not talking about anarchy-the freedom from all the rules and regulations, no he is talking about a spiritual freedom they can only come through him.
I’m not sure that we as Christians even fully understand what he is talking about because there are so many Christians that still live lives of defeat, lives that are stressed out, lives that are overcome by worry instead of lives that Jesus talked about when he said, I have come that you might have life, and have it in abundance, John 10:10.
I wonder if we really understand the word freedom and how it applies to Christians in the 21st century.
As one person said, "This is not the freedom to attend church or not to attend church, it is not the freedom to read the Bible or not to read the Bible, it is not about the freedom to choose the denomination we feel most comfortable in; we are talking about a freedom to live the abundant life that Jesus talks about".
Jesus says, “If the Son sets you free you are free indeed;” But what does that really mean?
1. Freedom from Guilt
STORY: there was a gentleman that was feeling extremely guilty that he had cheated on his tax return, so he wrote this letter to the IRS;
Enclosed you will find a check for $150. I cheated on my income tax return last year and have not been able to sleep ever since. If I still have trouble sleeping, I will send you the rest.
Sincerely, A Tax Payer
There is such thing as good guilt. It is that guilt that the Holy Spirit brings upon us when we have done something to hurt somebody, or we have maligned somebody or if in our thoughts and actions we have done something wrong. The Holy Spirit sends a conviction of sin to our minds and hearts to get us to repent and to turn away from that which we know is wrong.
That is the purpose of our Confession of Sin that we share each Sunday in our services. That’s why we sing songs like we did today;
“search me, O God, and know my heart today.
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
cleanse me from every sin and set me free.
We need to be reminded that we are sinful human beings and sometimes we do things that we shouldn’t do, we say things that we should say and our actions don’t always tell people that we are truly following Jesus Christ. So sometimes guilt in the form of conviction is a good thing and we must listen to it, it will lead us to true repentance.