Summary: 2000 years ago, one greater than Lincoln, stood up and made a proclamation of freedom. Our job is to bring the freedom that our King has proclaimed to bear into every life.
Flags fly. Penalties are assessed. Props are used. Sharpies. Teammates. Imaginary cameras. Choreographed antics. All fall in the category of excessive celebration. We are in the middle of a season of celebration as a nation. We celebrate our collective freedom. Yesterday is the designated day in our annual calendar and consciousness to celebrate the freedom we enjoy. However, in our history we have celebrated excessively. Excessive because while many were free . . . all were not free. While some celebrated freedom others continued to remain chained.
We are all aware and celebrate July 4th but do you know anything about Juneteenth? During the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, with an effective date of January 1, 1863. 1863. 1863. The declaration of freedom for every slave in all Confederate States was made in 1863. However, By 1865, there were an estimated 250,000 slaves in Texas. News of end of the war moved slowly and did not reach Texas until May 1865, and the Army of the Trans-Mississippi did not surrender until June 2. On June 18, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston Island with 2,000 federal troops to occupy Texas on behalf of the federal government. On June 19, standing on the balcony of Galveston's Ashton Villa, Granger read aloud the contents of "General Order No. 3", announcing the total emancipation of slaves: "The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free."
Freed by presidential order in 1862 but people who were free continued to live as slaves for almost 3 years. Others celebrated while 250,000 failed to experience promised and provided freedom.
2000 years ago, one greater than Lincoln, stood up and made a proclamation of freedom. He declared in Luke 4:18 . . . "The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,
Many have experienced and celebrated this freedom. However, like slaves in Texas there are scores who have yet to taste this freedom. Also like Texas there are authorities that don't want us to know about or exercise our freedom! In fact, these authorities do their very best to keep the truth about our freedom from us. These authorities lie to us about bondage. They convince us that we are bound when we are in fact free.
Paul exposes a truth in Ephesians 6:12. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Jesus understood this because we see Him address it in Mark 9 when He comes into contact with a possessed boy and makes this statement, "These kind only come out by prayer and fasting." These kind . . . so there must be other kinds. The disciples didn't catch it but Paul did. He understood that there are ranks and hierarchy in the kingdom of darkness. These levels, ranks do their best to keep us from accessing true freedom. We need a Juneteenth spiritually. We need to wake up and receive the truth that "Whom the Son sets free is free indeed." The enemy fights to keep us bound. So he assigns these ranks to stop us.
I want to spend my time today talking about principalities. I think this is the issue that many of us have. A principality is assigned to a region, area, and certain people groups. You can see this power as a regional manager. It is this power that causes people to refuse to make climate change. It is this power that causes folks to repeat issues. It is this power that causes dysfunction to set up in a culture.
I bring this to your attention because it is the responsibility of those who have experienced freedom to now identify, expose and break through the power of principalities in our region. Our job is to bring the freedom that our King has proclaimed to bear into every life.
So rather than excessively celebrating freedom while others remain as slaves to the enemy we must discover what principalities are assigned to us, our region, our people.
Here is what I know . . . you are not doing as good as you look. You look good cause God is good. However, your look doesn't reveal your level of bondage. There are people sitting in this room and sitting in this community who see people celebrate their freedom while they personally continue to wallow in bondage. We major in church but fail in life! I would say that there are some who walk in here every week and while you are celebrating your freedom to the sound of worship the sound that others hear is the rattle of chains. You hear God while they hear the devil. You hear liberty while they hear limitation. I am convinced that too many of you here today have boxed Jesus up to salvation when the truth is He wants to save some saved folks. God will allow you to live on whatever level in which you settle. Jesus said all authority is given to Him. How much does that leave for the devil? None! And yet we still have folks bound! Why? We allow it because we allow principles to produce principalities.