Summary: A sermon for Reformation Sunday...highlighting that freedom from God is from something and for something
What is freedom for you?
In Project News, a recent newsletter of the Australian Lutheran World Service Club, there are a number of stories of people living in India and Nepal.
Through the work of the Lutheran World Service and many of its sponsors they have been freed.
Freed from a life of slavery,
Freed from a life of constant discrimination, harassment and beatings which they endured simply because of the family they were born into
Through training, information, money and legal advice their life of constant oppression has been replaced with a life that involves freedom
But what about you?
What does freedom mean for you?
Maybe you would like to think about the things or situations: that constantly oppress you
or that constantly consumes your energies
Think about what life would be like without these
Maybe you are looking forward to something?
A day or a time when your mortgage no longer exists, your children are at school or have left home
or perhaps a time when work or someone at work is not so worried about controlling you.
Freedom for many is very enticing.
What does it mean for you to be free?
Today we are celebrating Reformation Day, officially this occurs on Tuesday 31st October.
Do you realise that Reformation Day, is about freedom?
On October 31st 1517 Martin Luther nailed 95 statements or theses to the door of the local church.
He was concerned that the church was saturating people with requirements that were unnecessary and had no support from God.
It was like the church of the time was falsely advertising that if you did this or that you could obtain God’s favour.
When in fact such requirements failed to do deliver
Martin Luther’s statements directed people away from following rules and regulations made by humans without God’s influence
To living lives as God says it happens
This is a life of true freedom
Freed to live under God
Freed to live as God acts, as God sees things and God creates life.
This is in fact genuine living in freedom
However freedom from God does not mean we can do whatever we want or act in any way we wish
Three years after nailing the 95 Theses to the church door, Martin Luther wrote another document called, ‘The Freedom of a Christian’ and one of the regular repeated quotes from that document is:
A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none.
A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.
This is not something Luther made up himself.
This quote is based on a number of verses of scripture, including Romans 13, verse 8 which says
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
It is through God and not humans where we can truly understand and find freedom
And so I invite you to again listen to what Jesus says about being free:
From John 8, verse 31 to 36
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
The key to us gaining genuine freedom is Jesus.
Being a follower of Jesus.
Being a disciple of Jesus.
Means we are connected to a life of freedom.
Freedom that we can not gain by ourselves
But freedom which we need Jesus for.
We need what only he can give us and so growing with Jesus by listening to and studying the bible is the place where His freedom is found.
Without Jesus we end up relying on people and things that trick us into believing they offer freedom.
They may even give us a sense of freedom.
But ultimately they fail to deliver us ongoing freedom, they lie to us.
Often they end up oppressing us and even oppressing others.
Let me give you an example.
A lot of people have a superannuation policy.
Many people base their entire retired future on superannuation policies.
For many people this is supposed to be the gateway to retirement.
We are encouraged to plan for our retirement.
Do you know what the biggest complaints about superannuation policies are?
the amount of laws that go with them