Summary: Christ has set us free so we can serve one another in love through the power of the Spirit.
In the movie “Cast Away,” Tom Hanks played the role of Chuck Noland, a Fed Ex executive who was stranded in an uninhabited island because of a plane crash. During his 1,500 days in that lonely island, he made an imaginary friend out of volleyball. He named it “Wilson.” There was even a scene where Chuck wailed for losing Wilson in the sea. I pray that none of us need to come up with an imaginary friend just to cope with life. In his “The Never Alone Church,” David Ferguson wrote, “The world needs a relevant, vibrant body of believers who will serve as a shelter in the storm, a refuge from the pressures of life, a sanctuary of hope where hurts can be healed and spiritual needs can be met.” We want our church to be that body of believers. It can only happen when we obey the “one another” commands of the Bible.
Let us open our Bibles in Galatians 5:13-25. We will focus on “serve one another in love.” Someone wrote, “The only people who will really enjoy life are those who have sought and found how to serve.” That’s why this morning we will talk about “Enjoy Life Together.”
How do we enjoy life together? First, we are to ENJOY our freedom in Christ with each other. Freedom in Christ is the main idea of the book of Galatians. Chapter 5 verse 1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Based on this key verse, we can divide Galatians into two. First, look at the upper portion of the verse: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” We became free when we trusted in our Lord Jesus as our Savior. From chapters 1 to 2, we see our freedom in Christ defended. From chapters 3 to 4, we see our freedom in Christ explained. Before we were slaves to sin. Now we were set free in Christ. This means that we are free to be what God has created us to be. Note that all of us were set free. This is something we have in common. That implies that what is important is not how we look at a person or what people think of us. What is important is how God looks at us and what He thinks of us. We are free from trying to impress each other. Christ had set us free to enjoy our freedom in Christ with each other.
Now, look at the lower portion of the verse: “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Note the word “then.” Now that we are free in Christ, therefore we are to stand firm in this freedom. From chapters 5 to 6, we see our freedom in Christ demonstrated.
One version goes like this, “Christ has freed us so that we may enjoy the benefits of freedom.” How do we then enjoy our freedom and avoid going back to slavery? Look at verse 13. “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” The New Living Translation translates verse 13 like this, “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” This is how we demonstrate our freedom. We are free to serve one another.
John Stott wrote, “[Our] freedom in Christ is not to be used as a pretext for self-indulgence. Christian freedom is freedom from sin, not freedom to sin.” We are not supposed to use our liberty as license to sin. Instead, we are to EXPRESS love through serving one another. As I’ve said we were set free so that we would no longer try to impress each other. We were set free to express our love by serving one another in love.
We serve one another in obedience to the second greatest commandment, that is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Chuck Swindoll wrote, “Christian freedom is not freedom to exploit others. Christian freedom is not freedom to disregard the needs of others. We’re to love God and one another, fulfilling the heart of God’s Law.”
Thus, we are to care for one another, not to contradict or to compete against each other. Verse 15 says, “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Are you using your freedom for selfish reasons? Do you insist on your rights? Or do you give up your rights for the sake of others? For example, when there’s a conflict, do you focus on your hurts? Or do you go beyond and reach out in forgiveness?