Summary: Sermon preached at community event "Day in the Son" on how to be free from sin and the flesh.
John 8:31-32,36: “To the ones who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
Thomas Jefferson, writer of our declaration of Independence, was reminiscing about how it all started and said,
“Nothing of particular excitement occurring for a considerable time, our countrymen seemed to fall into a state of insensibility to our situation. The duty on tea, not yet repealed, and the Declaratory act of a right in the British parliament to bind us by their laws in all cases whatsoever, still suspended over us. But a court of inquiry held in Rhode Island in 1772, with a power to send persons to England to be tried for offences committed here, was considered at our session of the spring of 1773 as demanding attention.”
There was a subtle taking away of freedom. Most people didn’t notice. Most people were too busy to be bothered. It didn’t affect them directly – so they were ‘complacent’ – or in a state of “insensibility”, as Jefferson put it. But this lack of freedom had become intolerable, to some. And as a result, a group of godly men got together and wrote up the “Declaration of Independence”. And we are here today celebrating what those brave men did. July 4th is the Independence Day celebration and there will be parades, singing, cheering, fireworks – and all the hoopla. But it begins today. Day in the Son is the “invocation” for the celebration, so to speak.
There is something inside of us that demands freedom. We were not meant to be in bondage. We were not created to be slaves. God created us to be free. And in each heart is a cry for freedom. In each soul is a yearning for freedom. In every person God created He put this instinct; this desire; this hunger - to be free.
Contrary to some people’s belief’s – we were not born free. We were ‘created free’ – but we were not born free. Due to the fall of the first man, Adam, we are born in slavery. We are born in sin. We are born rebellious. No child has to learn to rebel against his parents. No child has to learn to be self-centered. He has inherited from his parents ‘the sin nature’. Theologians call it ‘inherited depravity’. But whatever you call it – the result is slavery. We are each born a slave to sin and are not free to live and do as we wish.
You have experienced slavery, haven’t you? Maybe it was drugs or alcohol or pornography. Maybe it was gossiping or cursing or overeating or pride. But we all are addicts. We all know the pain of bondage – of slavery to sin.
Let me tell you the true story of a duke who lived during the fourteenth century named Raynald III. Raynald III lived a life of indulgence and was obese. His Latin nickname was Crassus, which means, “fat.” One day Raynald and his younger brother, Edward, got into a vicious fight and Edward planned and executed a triumphant revolt against Raynald.
Edward overpowered his older brother and took him into custody - but he didn’t take his life. Edward decided to build a room around Raynald in the Nieuwkerk Castle and promised his brother that he would enjoy freedom once again - when he was able to leave the room.
Now for the average Joe this wouldn’t have been much of a challenge, because the room Edward built had a number of windows- and a door of near normal size. Neither the door nor the windows were locked - - they weren’t barricaded. So you’re getting the picture by now: In order to experience his freedom again Raynald needed to loose weight.
But his brother Edward was no dummy, because he knew just how to keep Raynald imprisoned. Every day he would send Raynald an assortment of tasty foods. And what took place is very sad. Instead of dieting his way to freedom, Raynald grew more overweight and he stayed in that room for ten years until his brother died. But by that time his health was so awful that he died within a year.
We can say that Raynald III was a prisoner of his own appetite for food. So many people today are prisoners to their appetite for lust. Like good ole’ Raynald they may appear to be free, maybe even on cloud nine. They know what they like and they know how to get it. They are doing what feels good to them. But the fact is that every bite they take into the tastiness of their own personal lust -only makes them more of a prisoner. When you and I indulge in a life of sin and do whatever feels good, we are anything but free. We are, according to God’s Word, slaves to sin. Paul, in anguish prayed, “O wretched man that I am! Who can rescue me…!” He admitted his slavery to sin. He said,