Summary: This message encourages listeners to use their freedom, not to indulge themselves, but to serve others and so satisfy the law and heal their relationships.
Free to Serve! (Galatians 5:13-15)
A pastor in Kansas City, Kansas, was organizing opportunities for people in his church to do small acts of kindness as a demonstration of Christ’s love in the community. He phoned several neighborhood grocery stores and Laundromats for permission to do specific services.
In one call, the employee who answered the phone hesitated, then said, “I’ll need to ask the manager, but first, let me make sure I understand: You want to clean up the parking lot, retrieve shopping carts, hold umbrellas for customers, and you don’t want anything in return.”
“Yes, that’s right,” the pastor replied.
After disappearing for a moment, the employee returned to the phone. “I’m sorry,” he said, “we can’t let you do that because if we let you do it, we’d have to let everyone else do it, too!” (Ann Jeffries, Kansas City, Kansas, “Lite Fare,” Christian Reader; www.PreachingToday.com)
How silly. Why NOT let everyone else do it? Wouldn’t that be wonderful if everyone found ways to serve? It would be a little like heaven on earth.
Do you want to find a little heaven in your home? Do you want to find a little heaven in your work? Do you want to find a little heaven in all your relationships? Then learn to serve. It’s the reason why Christ set us free.
If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Galatians 5, Galatians 5, where we begin to see what our freedom in Christ means to us practically and how it can positively impact all our relationships.
Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
God called us to freedom, so we could love not lust. God called us to freedom, so we could serve one another, not be in bondage to our sinful natures.
So since you are free, DON’T SERVE YOURSELF. DON’T INDULGE YOUR SINFUL NATURE. DON’T GIVE IN TO THE DEMANDS OF YOUR BASER DESIRES. Literally, do not let your freedom become a base of operations (or a beachhead) for the flesh.
In the early morning of June 6, 1944, 5300 ships carrying 153,000 American and Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, France. It was D-Day, and the Allied Forces knew that if they could establish a beachhead at Normandy, they would eventually win the war, and that’s exactly what they did. They established that beachhead at Normandy, used it as a base of operations to push the Germans back, and eventually won the war.
That’s the picture we have here in verse 13. God is saying to us, “Don’t let your freedom become a beachhead for selfish indulgence. Instead, let it become a beachhead for selfless service.”
In July of 2005, ESPN reporter, Andrea Kremer, interviewed the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, who at the time was the youngest quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl. One of her questions concerned his decision to ride his motorcycle without a helmet.
It’s not the law in Pennsylvania to wear a helmet, but Andrea Kremer wanted to know, “Why don’t you wear a helmet?”
Roethlisberger simply replied, “Because you don’t have to. It’s not the law. If it was the law, I’d definitely have one on every time I rode. But it’s not the law and I know I don’t have to. You’re just more free when you’re out there with no helmet on.
Unfortunately, less than a year later, in June of 2006, Roethlisberger was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. A 62-year-old woman failed to yield the right-of-way at a Pittsburgh intersection, and Roethlisberger was thrown into the windshield of her Chrysler Town and Country car. His bike was totaled, and emergency surgeons spent over seven hours repairing a broken jaw, a fractured skull, missing teeth, and several other facial injuries.
After being released from the hospital, Roethlisberger apologized to the fans, his family, and his team for risking his health (and life) unnecessarily. In another interview, he was no longer focused on taking advantage of his individual freedom. He told the reporter, “In the past few days, I’ve gained a new perspective on life. By the grace of God, I’m fortunate to be alive.” He also added that, if he ever does ride a motorcycle again, “It will certainly be with a helmet.” (David Slagle, Atlanta, Georgia; source: ESPN.com; www.PreachingToday.com)
You see, God set us free from the law, but we don’t have to be stupid.
We are free from the law, not to serve ourselves, but to SERVE ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE (vs.13 says). God set us free so we could GENUINELY CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER. Lit., so we could BE SLAVES TO ONE ANOTHER THROUGH THE LOVE.