Summary: God gives us freedom so we can be free to follow His plan for our lives.
FREE TO FOLLOW
Intro: On this weekend of Independence Day, most of us will at least give passing thought to the freedom we enjoy here in America. Amid the screams of illegal airborne bottlerockets, and the frequent explosions of more illegal firecrackers, many Americans will pause at some point and show some appreciation for the freedom we enjoy.
-In fact, I think it would be good for us to pause for a moment and recognize every person who has been in any branch of the military. If you have been in the armed forces, will you please stand so we can honor you for serving our country? [applaud]
-Now, people have many different ideas about what freedom is all about. Some believe freedom means being free to do their own thing. Others believe it means freedom to accumulate personal possessions, rather than everything belonging to the government. Still others would say that freedom is simply the right to be who you are. These aren’t right or wrong, necessarily, but what is really the point of freedom? Why did God allow the United States of America to separate from England and become the most prosperous and powerful nation in the last couple of centuries?
-Though everyone might not agree on this point, I believe God made America a free nation and blessed her abundantly so that more people would come to know Him as their Forgiver and Leader. More missionaries and more mission and relief dollars have gone out from this country than any other country (in fact, more than several countries combined). God has blessed America so that America could be a blessing. Unfortunately, there is also much sin going on in America, and we need to be praying for our nation that we as a people will turn to the One who made us and ask Him to forgive us and help us.
-How does this relate to us and to our text today? Well, God gave the apostles freedom from the prison they were in, so they could keep on doing what He wanted them to do. God wants to do the same kind of thing in our lives today. And this is the main truth I’d like to share with you:
Prop: God gives us freedom so we can be free to follow His plan for our lives.
Interrogative: In what kinds of areas is God willing and able to give us freedom?
TS: Let’s look at a few areas in our lives where freedom can be more than a song.
I. We Can Find Freedom from the Past (No more guilt!)
-2 Corinthians 5:17-18 “…those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! 18 All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did.”
-Regardless of our past, we can find forgiveness and freedom by repenting, and trusting Jesus to take care of it all.
-1 John 1:9 “…if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.”
-No sin is too big for God to forgive! Listen to the kinds of people the apostle Paul was writing to: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
-God forgives the sins of the past when we humbly ask Him to. He will wash us and make us right.
-There is a story that when the Moravian missionaries first went to the Eskimos, they could not find a word in their language for forgiveness, so they had to compound one. This turned out to be: Issumagijoujungnainermik. It is an intimidating-looking group of letters, but a beautiful expression for those who understand it. It means: “Not-being-able-to-think-about-it-anymore.”
-God does not think about our sins anymore after we confess and repent of them. How far does He remove our sins from us when we repent? Psalm 103:12 “He has removed our rebellious acts as far away from us as the east is from the west.” We may bring up our past sins, and our enemy will try, but God will never rub our faces in the failures of the past. Someone said, “When the devil reminds you of your past, you need to remind him of his future.”