Summary: Freedom is worth dying for. Freedom is worth fighting for. And in these next verses of Galatians, the Apostle Paul is going to make the case that freedom is worth living for.
Dance Lessons: Freedom! (Part1)
Chenoa Baptist Church
Pastor Jefferson M. Williams
Free at Last!
On August 28, 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and gave one of the most memorable speeches in our country's history.
He ended, with a rising crescendo, with these words:
“And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
Freedom is worth dying for. Freedom is worth fighting for. And in these next verses of Galatians, the Apostle Paul is going to make the case that freedom is worth living for.
Hagar vs. Sarah
Last week, we studied the hardest verses in the book of Galatians and I was very encouraged by all the responses I received about the sermon.
Boiling it down to the very core of the argument, there are only two ways to approach God. You can be in Hagar’s family tree and try to earn brownie points with God by following the law and all its rules and regulations. Or you can be part of Sarah’s family tree and recognize that it is God’s divine initiative that saves and not anything you can do.
While the Jews were interested in their Father Abraham, Paul says the better question is who’s your momma? Sarah or Hagar?
If you didn’t watch that sermon, you can find it on our FaceBook page as with all the other Galatian sermons.
In chapters one and two of Galatians, Paul is making a point with his personal testimony.
In chapters three and four, Paul delves deeply into doctrine to show that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone and that keeping the law only leads to slavery.
In chapters five and six, Paul is going to make some very practical applications about how we are to live once we have been set from by the power of the Spirit.
These chapters are where we learn some brand new grace/freedom dance moves!
Remember, those who dance are thought crazy by those who can not hear the music.
Turn with me to Galatians chapter 5. We’ll cover the first six verses this morning.
Patrick Henry stood at the pulpit at St. John’s Episcopal Church at the Second Virginia Convention on March 20, 1775 and passionately proclaimed:
“It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”
Americans have always prized their freedom. Sociologist Robert Bellah haw concluded that:
“…freedom is perhaps the most resonate, deeply help American value…yet freedom turns out to mean being left alone by others, not having other people’s values , ideas, or styles of life forced upon one.”
But that’s not the freedom that Paul is talking about here. Let’s look at the proclamation.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”(Gal 5:1)
I love the way Eugene Peterson paraphrases this verse:
“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” (Gal 5:1, The Message)
What has Jesus set us from from?
We have been set free from the burden of our sins
We have been set free from the guilt of our sins