Summary: Freedom in Christ is freedom to love not freedom to do what we want.
[either play this clip from Braveheart or get two people to read it out]
William: I am William Wallace, and I see before me an army of my countrymen here in defiance of tyranny. You have come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What would you do without freedom? Will you fight?
Tall soldier: Fight against that? No, we will run, and we will live.
William: Ay, fight and you may die, run and you’ll live. At least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom.
[I then charge onto the platform wearing my Scottish flag and yelling …]
Freedom!!!!! [the charging and yelling are obviously optional but attention getting]
Our society loves freedom. Exalts it to the be all and end all. Free country. Freedom of religion, freedom to vote, freedom to work anywhere that will take you, freedom to choose to eat or not eat genetically modified food, freedom to choose which rail or bus company you use, freedom to choose the shop you buy you clothes in, in fact in our society the ultimate punishment is the depravation of freedom through imprisonment.
America likes to see itself as the land of the free, but they’re not the only ones
[Show clip from Chicken Run where Rocky is asked where is from and he says the land of the Free and the Home of the Brave to which the reply is Scotland!! If no video is available the scene can be described]
We do too, not only in Scotland but most of the Western world, including England, Canada and Germany.
Last year it was the first ever Holocaust Memorial Day when we remember the Jews and others of the Second World War, and their loss of freedom and lives. On Remembrance Day we remember what our freedom cost. One of the justifications used for the bombing of Afghanistan, as well as the terrorism angle, was so that the people and the women of Afghanistan could get their freedom.
So when we talk about the gospel to non-Christians one of the ways we can do this in a way that they will understand is talk about freedom.
Paul says in Gal. 5:1 it was for freedom that Christ has set us free
So I want to look a bit at freedom, what we are free from and what we are free to do.
Galatians was written to a group of Jewish and Gentile Christians in a Church that Paul had started.
Problems had arisen over the issue of the Jewish law. Did Gentiles have to keep the law or not to become Christians? Or did Gentiles have to become Jews before they could become Christians? The main emphasis in this letter was on the issue of circumcision but in other letters that he wrote the issue was observing Jewish food laws, only eating kosher food. Paul writes to tell them that they do not need to observe these rituals. They were free!
They were saved because of Christ & his salvation
We are saved through faith not by observing the law. Continue this way.
If you could be saved without circumcision then why was it necessary?
Illustration: Business man who works his way through company through hard work yet stops working and lounges about when made director
Illustration: Athlete who trains really hard for Olympic trials yet before the Olympics eats fry ups and lives like a couch potato
We are now free. But free from what? Badges are things that declare our identity. 1st century Jews, circumcision and food rules were the badges that told others I am a Jew. In remembrance of the Holocaust, in Nazi Germany, the badge of Judaism was a yellow star. Trekkie (jumper, ferengi head gear, starfleet uniform, badge or the spock ears). Evangelic Christians, earlier last century, don’t drink, don’t dance and don’t go to cinema. Learned the lesson, this isn’t what makes us Christians. But have we replaced it with other things? Quiet time, WWJD bracelet, fish sticker on your car, speaking in tongues, singing the right old hymns, clapping in the right bits of choruses or something else. If our criteria of what makes a Christian is anything other than faith in Christ and his death we are wrong. In here you could also include legalism, where obedience to the law instead of faith in Christ is what makes a Christian, and many Christians have interpreted Paul to be saying this, but the issue is more than this. Also freedom from the flesh. Gal 5:16-18. What is this? Firstly is not a view that our bodies are evil while our Spirits are good. The NLT sinful nature, Message sinful self-interest. Some theologians describe it as sinful nature, some as the effect of an evil society without God’s Spirit as restrainer. However, you describe it or whatever language you use, it is a compulsion to sin, an inability to do what is right. And Christians are free from it. No longer are our lives to be dominated by sin and evil, we are no longer slaves to sin and the flesh.