Summary: We choose whether to live, serve, and behave like Christ. In times of transition, our direction appears when weh make the decision to turn our lives over to Christ so that we can live, serve, and behave as He did.
“Free Will – Choosing to Live, Serve,
and Behave Like Christ”
Making the Most of Transition
John 8:31-36, Roman 12:1,9-21
(quotes taken from the NKJV unless noted)
Wakelee Church ~ April 17, 2005
Theme: Our freedom comes when we make a decision to turn our lives over to Christ so that we can live, serve and behave as He did.
Introduction – Bondage ~ It’s all in the mind!
Harry Houdini had a problem. The famed escaped artist found himself in a jail cell that he couldn’t get out of. His mind began to wander back to the challenge he made…any jail cell, he claimed, couldn’t hold him, that is until now.
Thirty minutes had gone by since the heavy, metal doors swung shut behind him. After an hour, he was still working with the concealed piece of metal that he had hidden in his belt. Bathed in sweat and panting in exasperation, he could not get the tumblers to move. There was something different about this lock. Something he had never experienced before.
Finally, after laboring for two hours, Houdini collapsed to the floor in frustration and failure. He couldn’t figure it out! He had never been beaten before! All he could do is wait for his ultimate embarrassment. He hung his head in shame.
But as he did something miraculous happened. When he hung his head, he instinctively leaned against the heavy, metal door…and it swung open. The door was never locked, just closed. The door had been open the whole time.
For Houdini, his mind overruled the physical. His mind was locked, and that was all it took to keep him from opening the door and walking out of that jail cell.
From that point on, Houdini always checked the door first. (Illustrations Unlimited)
Last week, we talked about God’s power being greater than ours. This week as we look at how to make the most of transition, it’s going to be a matter of choice.
Although other parts of this sermon series will be memorable, I think that this step is the most important. If we do not choose live like Christ, serve like Christ, and behave like Christ, during the most challenging times in our lives, then we’re just sitting in a jail cell throwing our heads against the wall in disbelief while the door is wide open.
Free will is nothing more than God giving us the ability to make our own choice. Freedom comes when we choose Christ. Failure is inevitable when we don’t.
During times of transition, our free will can be a gift as much as a curse!
The choice remains ours.
I – Living Like Christ…
And that choice, to live like Christ or not, is exactly what Jesus was speaking about in the John passage this morning. Hear the words again, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free…if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” –John 8:31-32, 36
Jesus was speaking to a group of ordinary Jewish people in the midst of radical change. Some readily choose to accept the truth as Jesus presented it. Others choose not too. There was no doubt, however, that this Jesus was causing quite a stir. He was claiming to be the Messiah…(John 4:25-26) and with that forced people to live like him or live against him.
Jesus was simply making the point that the door was not locked…that only their minds were holding them back from true freedom. “If you choose the truth…the truth will set you free.”
Paul knew this truth. He told his Philippian readers that “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21). To hold to Christ’s teaching, to live as Christ lived, means that we are totally aware of the bondage which so easily ensnares us.
To live as Christ lived, brings truth into our lives.
To live as Christ lived, brings a sense of direction.
To live as Christ lived, brings a hope in any circumstance.
To live as Christ lived, brings a realization of joy into our lives.
To live as Christ lived, accepts the fact that according the law we are condemned already,
but according to Christ, we are free! Free from sin…free from bondage…free from the limits of our minds…as we allow Christ to live and move in us.
But the choice is ours…
Because of our free will, we can live like Christ or not live like Christ…but only the truth found in Christ will set us free!
II – Serving Like Christ…
And if we are to live like Christ, then it follows naturally we are called to serve like Christ.
This is where Paul’s letter to the Romans come into the picture. Hear the words again,