Summary: Looking at the freedom we have as Christians
Flaunting your Freedom in your Family – Gal 5:1-16
Gladstone Baptist Church – 16/10/05 pm
Run the Chicken Run video clip.
In our society, We desperately seek freedom. We exalt freedom as the be all and end all – the panacea that will cure all ills - Freedom of religion, freedom to refugees, freedom to work anywhere that you choose or not to work even – even if your not suited to the job, freedom to choose to eat or not eat genetically modified food, freedom to go on holidays in safety, freedom to use your holidays when you like, freedom to choose the shop you buy you clothes in – Freedom. In fact in our society the ultimate punishment is the depravation of freedom through imprisonment.
We like to see ourselves as a land that is free – But that freedom cost some people a great deal - for some it cost them their lives – that is what we remember on Anzac Day.
But Freedom is a somewhat difficult thing to define. What a lot of people call freedom, isn’t really freedom at all.
It’s a bit the trained elephants which are described by James Belasco in his book “Teaching the Elephant to Dance.” Belasco describes how trainers shackle young elephants with heavy chains to stakes driven deep into the ground. In that way the elephant learnt to stay in its place when they are young so that when they are old and powerful enough to pull any stake out of the ground, the elephants never try to leave. Their conditioning has limited their movements. With only a small metal bracelet around their foot attached to nothing, they stand in place. The stakes are actually gone – they are free to leave when they want to, but they don’t or can’t! Like powerful elephants, many people are bound by earlier conditioned restraints, which are as limiting to their progress in living a life of freedom as the unattached chain around an elephant’s foot.
The scandal of freedom in Christ is that we are really, truly, 100% free, but we don’t act like it. We are free to be alive and to live the way God intended from the very start. But we are scared – it is not what we are used to and we’d far prefer to believe we are still restricted by our chains – why, because we feel safe there. We therefore invent step-by-step instruction manuals about what to do with our freedom – how we are to live, what rules are we to obey. We end up with a heap of rules and regulations to live by instead of actually being responsible for what we choose to do with our freedom.
Paul talks about our freedom in Galatians chapter 5. He uses it as a spring board to telling us that instead of using our freedom for selfish gain, God gives us freedom to serve him and to serve others within the context of being in the family of God. True freedom is freedom that serves one another.
If you’ve got your bibles there, take them out and open them up to Gal 5. Let’s pray before we read God’s word.
Gal 5:1 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. [A bit of strange thing to say. You were freed to be free. Err Derr … I have never heard of someone who has escaped from jail going up to the next prison down the road and knocking on the door and saying – “excuse me, I’m free, but can you please lock me up again.” Paul says that Jesus set us free so that we can be free – truly free. Don’t allow yourselves to be “burdened again by a yoke of slavery” The Message puts it this way – “take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” What is going to enslave them – Paul Goes on …
2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. [Now that is a drag] 4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. [Paul says that the burden of slavery we were rescued from was the burden of having to gain our salvation by working for it.