Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: "Being a servant of Christ is to be free from the approval of the world"

Recently one of the TV programmes I enjoy watching is Noel Edmonds “Deal or No Deal”. Has anyone here seen the programme. Bank’s offer could suddenly vaporize. ?

Basically there are 22 contestants and each one will get a go in the seat so to speak. There are 22 boxes, each one of them contains a cash figure from 1 pence with the top amount being £250,000. The main contestant will pick one box, the rest are given to the other contestants to look after. No-one knows what their box contains One by one the main player will select a box and eliminate an amount from their potential winnings in the box they’ve selected, it’s a game of chance and really does involve sheer luck. Periodically there will be a call on the telephone, on the end of the line is the anonymous banker. . The Banker is always watching the player, trying to analyse their psychology, and has has no idea what the contestant’s sealed box contains. The Banker’s sole purpose is to try and ensure the player leaves the studio with the smallest amount of money possible. Based on the amounts of money the player has eliminated and their perception of the player themselves, the Banker makes a cash offer to buy the mystery box. Whenever The Banker makes an offer, the player is left with a desperate dilemma... take the offer, or risk losing everything!- ’Deal or No Deal’. It’s certainly a tough one, a contestant could have £250K in their box, they could have a few quid. Do they turn down the bankers guaranteed amount of £20k or do they keep on playing?

Before you get to disappointed I havenot turned up with a quarter opf a million pounds and we will not be playing Deal or No Deal. But based on the 2 passages that were read earlier

from the gospel of Matthew and the letter in Galatians and the question that we will be considering is Free or Not Free that is the question.

Now the answer may seem fairly obvious. Jesus makes a number of claims about freedom

John 8:36

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Luke 4:18

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,

Mark 5:34

He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

The gospel message is that Jesus has come to bring in the kingdom of God and that through his death on the cross individuals can be forgiven for their sins and are free to live and serve him. So if you have said Yes to Jesus then you are free.

Yet there is this nagging voice in our heads “Am I really free?” – I don’t always feel free.

Lets look at some examples.

Tom works up in town – and has been at the same company for the last 4 years. When he started the hours were fairly regular. 9 till 5.30. But over the last few months he’s been made to work longer and longer hours and feels more and more trapped – having less and less time for his family. He feels constrained but not free to speak to his boss for fear of consequences

Margaret has 2 young children and is goes to the nursery with her kids on a weekly basis. She often meets up with her friend Pam a good looking lady. She always wants to share a bit more about God’s goodness and love with Pam who isn’t a believer but doesn’t feel free to do so and is worried about the consequences

Dave is retired and has worked hard all his life and is now pulling in his pension. He often reads about opportunities to serve abroad or help out Christian organizations. He senses the Lord could be calling him to this. But he is worried about what this may mean for his future. He feels constrained to stay put rather than freedom to step out into something new.

Three different snapshots of people who although Christian are afraid. They have all been set free from the consequences of sin and yet still live in fear of what others think And this element of fear can manifest itself in many ways. Fear of rejection by others. There is nothing more satisfying having spent time working on a sermon to have people come up and share their appreciation – but in that can creep fear – “Phew they did like me after all – I do have worth.” In other things Work can consume us because we want to impress – the fear of being 2nd rate. We can give in to our kids demands for fear that they will no longer like us. We can be afraid of what others may think of us if they knew the real me. As a teenager we can be afraid of what others think of us.

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