Summary: Examines the freedom we enjoy as Christians and the responsibility we have to share that freedom with others. Expanded outline.
This week we celebrate Independence Day, the 4th of July. On that day 230 years ago, the founding fathers of our nation signed the Declaration of Independence. In that document, the founders of our nation said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Our founding fathers purchased those freedoms for us in battles that cost many of their lives, and all of their fortunes. We enjoy freedoms today, many in the world only dream of, because of the sacrifices of those men. I thank God, I have the opportunity to live in the United States of America, where we enjoy luxury, security, and liberty that many in the world only dream about. But let me tell you my friend, the greatest freedom we ever received was not freedom from British rule. It was not freedom from taxation without representation. It was not freedom from quartering troops in our homes.
The greatest freedom we have ever received is the freedom Jesus bought for us over nearly 2000 years ago.
Ruth Tucker tells the story of Kari Torjesen Malcolm, who served for 15 years as a missionary to the Philippines. Kari was an MK (missionary kid) who grew up in China: "As a teenager, she was confined for a time during World War II in an internment camp, and there she discovered a deep truth that changed her life.
"In the camp she was number 16, and only one of many Westerners who sought self-identity and comfort behind the walls and the electric fence that separated them from the outside world. There were other MKs in the same predicament, and often they managed to get together for a few moments of prayer--prayer for freedom.
"But as time passed, Kari began to feel uneasy about these times of prayer. Freedom was becoming the ultimate goal in life, and God seemed to become less and less important--except for His answer to their prayers for freedom. She began to pray and search the Bible.
"Kari came to a new outlook on life, and she no longer desired to join the others in their prayers for freedom. It was only then that Kari was able to pray the prayer that changed her life: `Lord, I am willing to stay in this prison for the rest of my life if only I may know You.’ At that moment, she was free."(Quoted in SermonCentral.com)
I am grateful for the freedom we enjoy in this country. I am grateful for those who found to purchase that freedom, and for those who continue to defend our freedom today, on the battlefields of Iraq, Aphganistan, and around the world. I am grateful for the freedoms we have, but I am afraid that we often take for granted some of the greatest freedoms we have. A freedom we can enjoy, even while being detained. A freedom we can enjoy even when imprisoned, the freedom from sin and its consequences.
As we look at this passage of scripture this morning, I would you to notice first, the freedom Christians share.
I. CHRISTIANS SHARE FREEDOMS