Summary: Liberty provides us freedom. Freedom allows us to excel, to take risks, to achieve great things for God. Often though, we want to try and extend the reach of our liberty in Christ, and in doing so, we actually lose liberty and place our self in the cont
BEYOND THE SANDBARS OF LIBERTY
INTRODUCTION: Not too long ago there were several newspaper and television accounts of shark attacks, two in Florida, and one here in New Jersey. One of the reasons sighted for one of the attacks is that the victim was out too far – ie; they were beyond the sandbars that separate the beach from the ocean, the shallow area from the deep area. Often people go beyond these natural barriers – particularly those who are surfing. For the surfer it is one thing to go beyond the safety of the sandbars, for the believer it is quite another.
The sand bars are our liberty. Liberty provides us freedom. Freedom allows us to excel, to take risks, to achieve great things for God. Often though, we want to try and extend the reach of our liberty in Christ, and in doing so, we actually lose liberty and place our self in the control of powerful forces and dangerous situations.
I The Qualifications Of Liberty – 6:12
Paul begins this section talking about our liberty – our freedom as believers. In fact this passage will set the stage to talk about other liberty issue further on in the letter.
Liberty has limits. Even today of liberty of speech does not extend to yelling fire in a movie theatre.
One major limit or qualifier of liberty is love. Here is what the Scripture says -- Mark 12:31 The second is this: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these."
ü Liberty cannot be detrimental to others
ü Liberty cannot be detrimental to me, hence …
1 A result of our freedom in Christ is that or what is permissible.
2 The word means “in my power”
3 What we need to understand …
a The removal of sin does not give me the right to keep doing wrong
b Actions which may in and of themselves not be sinful can control our lives and lead us away from God and produce sin in our lives
c Some actions will hurt others and they are not right in and of themselves
4 Things that are permissible are the things that I control, not things that control me
1 What is permissible or in my power is limited by what is beneficial
2 Beneficial things are those things that are
1 The text says , “that I will not be mastered by anything”
2 The issue is control – I will not be controlled by anything
3 It is a play on words with permissible
a Permissible means – “in my power”
b Mastered means – to be overpowered
4 Mastered in this context is the opposite of Permissible
Paul is laying down a biblical principle:
ü Liberty is mine in Christ
ü Liberty is limited to what is beneficial to me
ü Liberty is limited to what I am the master of, not what overpowers me
Although all things are mine in Christ, all things are not profitable for me, nor are all things wise for me!
Paul goes on now and seeks to explain our liberty in terms of our body life as a believer in Christ.
Body life for the believer is important.
ü Body life refers to my interaction with others in the body
ü Body life refers to my interaction with Jesus as the head of the body