Summary: Paul in rebuke of the Judizers who seek to bring God’s people back into the bondage of leagalism answers (3) questions for us regarding Christain Freedom: What is Chrsitian Freedom? Can Christian Freedom Be Abused? How Do We Remain Free?
“FREEDOM IN CHRIST”
Fr. Christopher M. Nerreau
Introduction: (READ PASSAGE)
• If someone who knew nothing of Christianity were to watch a video of your life, how would they describe the Christian faith? If the only example they had was your life, what would they say about Christianity?
• Unfortunately, it seems to me that in many cases the video would demonstrate a life of legalism. That somehow Christianity was far more about being good than being His. While there are a whole lot of words that can be used to describe Christianity the word that should be used most often is “Freedom.”
• The purpose of Paul’s epistle to the Church in Galatia is to remind the Church that Christianity is not about legalism, which leads to bondage and slavery, but rather about freedom and liberty. In the time of the apostle Paul it was typical for Jewish zealots known as Judiazers come behind him preaching a legalism that included circumcision and obedience to Jewish customs and practices.
Proposition: But in Gal 5:1 Paul reminds the Church that “it was for freedom that Christ has set us free”.
Interrogative sentence: Does your life reflect the fact that you are free in Christ?
Sermon Preview: In our sermon today we are going to explore this a little further as our passage answers (3) question about Christian freedom:
1. What Is Christian Freedom?(5:1)
2. Can Christian Freedom Be Abused? (5:13)
3. How Is Christian Freedom lived out?(5:16)
Transitional Sentence: So let’s begin today by asking…
I. WHAT IS CHRISTIAN FREEDOM? (5:1)
Explanation: Paul begins our passage today by reminding us that Christ is serious about providing freedom for His children. THE BIBLE SAYS – Gal 5:1 “It was for freedom that Christ set us free…”
• The Judiazers threatened to bring Christians who are free in Christ, back into a life of bondage, a life of trying to earn the approval of God by their own merit. (Which is not possible – “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law.”)
• So what is this Christian Freedom that Paul is so concerned the Church will lose?
A. CHRISTIAN FREEDOM IS TRUE FREEDOM (v.23 “Against such things there is no law”)
• Moving Out of our house – When you moved out of the house for the first time, your parents were not there to tell you when it was bedtime. You simply went to bed on time because it was the right thing to do. That is like Christian freedom, we do not live under law but grace.
• The law of God is for the untamed heart, to be the parents telling us what we ought do. But now having a tame heart we are no longer under law but under grace.
• Christian freedom is doing what is right out of love not out of REGULATION.
CHRISTIAN FREEDOM IS A TRUE CHALLENGE (v.1 “Stand firm”)
• Moving Back Home – Sometimes out of fear we seek to move back home for something familiar. It was easier to have someone commanding us than to be responsible on our own.
Illustration: To exchange our life of liberty (living alone) for that of legalism (commanded what to do) is to remain in a cage that has an open door.
Application: Paul understood that Christian Freedom was a life driven by love of God and each other. He also understood that this life could easily be abandoned.
• Today – Have you abandon Christian Freedom for a life of legalism? If so Paul warns that you could be - “severed from Christ” (v.4).
II. CAN CHRISTIAN FREEDOM BE ABUSED? (5:13)
Explanation: Paul continues our passage with a warning to those free in Christ. THE BIBLE SAYS – Gal 5:13 “Do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh.”
• Paul warns that true freedom affords the opportunity to return to slavery. Because we are truly free, we have the option to return to a life of sin.
• In John 8:34 Jesus warns that - “everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin” or in other words returns to the cage of slavery.
FREEDOM ABUSED – Licentious Living
• WE DEFINE FREEDOM AS DOING WHAT WE PLEASE!
• You abuse Christian freedom by doing what is right in your own eyes. THE BIBLE SAYS with condemnation – Judges 17:6 “Every man did what was right in his own eyes.”
• Do not think that because you are free, you are free to do evil. Liberty is not a license to do evil.
• TRUE FREEDOM IS FOUND NOT IN DOING WHAT WE PLEASE BUT IN DOING WHAT WE OUGHT.
Illustration: Living on our own we could surely do whatever we wanted but are we free when we are exhausted, guilt ridden, shame filled and beaten down. Are we free when we are drunk, cursing, carousing about, staying up all hours of the night and eating unhealthy? No, we are slaves! That is using our freedom for the flesh.