Sermons

Summary: God is merciful, compassionate and slow to anger. He is willing to set us free if we are willing to do what it takes to be free.

WHEN IT COMES TO FREEDOM, IT WAS WRITTEN IN THE BOSTON POST-BOY NEWSPAPER, IN 1774, BY AMERICA’S MOST FAMOUS BLACK POET OF THAT DAY, MS. PHILLIS WHEATLY, THE FOLLOWING: “IN EVERY HUMAN BREAST, GOD HAS IMPLANTED A PRINCIPLE, WHICH WE CALL LOVE OF FREEDOM; IT IS IMPATIENT OF OPPRESSION AND PANTS FOR DELIVERANCE.”

THE UNITED STATES CELEBRATED 244 YEARS OF LIBERTY, INDEPENDENCE AND FREEDOM! SO, WHEN IT COMES TO FREEDOM, I BELIEVE THERE ARE MANY OF US WHO ARE STILL DETERMINED TO STAY FREE AS A COUNTRY.

DESPITE THE NATIONAL FREEDOMS WE ENJOY, THERE ARE STILL YET SOME WHO ARE LONGING FOR PERSONAL FREEDOMS. FROM “WHAT” YOU MAY ASK? I AM TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT “FREE” BECAUSE THEY ARE STILL IN CHAINS AND IN BONDAGE. THEY ARE SHACKLED IN THE CHAINS OF YESTERDAY.

I DON’T THINK THERE HAS EVER BEEN ANYTHING THAT HAS KEPT MORE PEOPLE INTO BONDAGE THAN THE EVENTS AND HEAVY BAGGAGE FROM THE PAST. IT’S UNFORTUNATE JUST HOW MANY PEOPLE STILL BURDEN THEMSELVES WITH THE UNNECESSARY GUILT AND SHAME OVER PAST MEMORIES AND MISTAKES.

THEY CONTINUE TO DRAG AROUND THEIR BURDENS DESPITE THE FACT THAT JESUS SAID IN MATTHEW 11:28-29, “COME TO ME, ALL YOU WHO ARE WEARY AND BURDENED, AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST. TAKE MY YOKE UPON YOU AND LEARN FROM ME, FOR I AM GENTLE AND HUMBLE IN HEART, AND YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.”

IF THEY COULD JUST FIND THAT STRENGTH TO CRY OUT, LIKE THE PSALMIST IN 62:1-2, “MY SOUL FINDS REST IN GOD ALONE; MY SALVATION COMES FROM HIM. HE ALONE IS MY ROCK AND MY SALVATION; HE IS MY FORTRESS, I WILL NEVER BE SHAKEN.”

IF THEY COULD JUST HEAR THOSE REDEEMING WORDS OF PSALM 71:20-21, “THOUGH YOU HAVE MADE ME SEE TROUBLES, MANY AND BITTER, YOU WILL RESTORE MY LIFE AGAIN; FROM THE DEPTHS OF THE EARTH YOU WILL AGAIN BRING ME UP. YOU WILL INCREASE MY HONOR AND COMFORT ME ONCE AGAIN.”

THE GOOD NEWS FOR US TODAY IS THAT OUR HEALING AND RESTORATION IS POSSIBLE. OUR FREEDOM IS NEAR. REGARDLESS WHAT STORIES WE TELL OF OUR BONDAGE TO THE PAST, JESUS IS OUR ANSWER AND OUR FREEDOM.

BECAUSE JESUS IS THE ANSWER, WE CAN DISTANCE OURSELVES AND HEAL FROM THOSE MOMENTS IN TIME, THE EVENTS, CIRCUMSTANCES, AND CHOICES OF THE PAST THAT HAUNT US AND CRIPPLE US FROM BEING ABLE TO MOVE FORWARD TOWARDS FULFILLING GOD’S WILL FOR OUR LIVES.

ONE OF MY FAVORITE SAYINGS I LEARNED FROM JERRY FALWELL WHILE ATTENDING LIBERTY UNIVERSITY WAS THIS: “YOU DON’T DETERMINE A MAN’S GREATNESS BY HIS TALENTS OR WEALTH LIKE THE WORLD DOES, BUT BY WHAT IT TAKES TO DISCOURAGE HIM.”

THIS IS WHY I ASK THESE QUESTIONS: ARE WE REALLY GOING TO ALLOW THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD (GOOD OR BAD) TO DETERMINE FOR US WHAT BECOMES OF US? ARE WE REALLY THAT SUSCEPTIBLE TO THROWING IN THE TOWEL THAT EASILY?

IN SPITE OF ALL THAT WE HAVE LEARNED ABOUT GOD’S PLAN FOR OUR LIVES, HIS LOVE FOR US, AND THE KINGDOM HE IS PREPARING FOR US, THEN WHY ARE WE SO GULLIBLE TO GIVING UP, GIVING IN AND QUITTING SO SOON, SO QUICKLY AND SO EASILY?

MAY THE PHRASE THAT THREADS ITSELF THROUGH PSALM 80 BE OUR FIRST STEP OF FREEDOM WHICH STATES, “RESTORE US, O GOD ALMIGHTY; MAKE YOUR FACE SHINE UPON US, THAT WE MAY BE SAVED.” MAY WE ONCE AGAIN BE REMINDED OF GOD’S COMFORT TO JOSHUA IN 1:9, “HAVE I NOT COMMANDED YOU? BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS. DO NOT BE TERRIFIED; DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED, FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD WILL BE WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO."

LET US RECLAIM OUR FREEDOM AND LOOSEN THE CHAINS FROM WHAT OPPRESSES AND EATS AT US. WE SERVE A MIGHTY AND POWERFUL GOD WHO OVERCOMES ALL THINGS AND HAS NOTHING THAT CAN BEWILDER, SURPRISE, OR CATCH HIM OFF GUARD.

BE ENCOURAGED! LUKE 1:37, SAYS “FOR NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD.” BE AT PEACE! JEREMIAH 32:17 DECLARED “AH, SOVEREIGN LORD, YOU HAVE MADE THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH BY YOUR GREAT POWER AND OUTSTRETCHED ARM. NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR YOU. BE COMFORTED! JOB 34:21 AND 36:7, “FOR HIS EYES ARE ON THE WAYS OF A MAN, AND HE SEES ALL HIS STEPS…HE DOES NOT TAKE HIS EYES OFF THE RIGHTEOUS.”

THAT IS WHY WE CAN HAVE HOPE AND TAKE SUCH COMFORT IN KNOWING ALL THESE THINGS! GOD’S PROVISIONS FOR HIS PEOPLE IN NEHEMIAH 9:9-21, TELL US THAT GOD HAS A PLAN, IS MERCIFUL, COMPASSIONATE, AND WILLING TO HEAR OUR PLEAS FOR MERCY.

AS WE’VE READ IN NEHEMIAH, WE SEE THE ANCESTORS OF THE ISRAELITES BECAME DISOBEDIENT, SINFUL AND REBELLIOUS AGAINST GOD TO THE POINT THAT THEY NOT ONLY IGNORED HIS WORDS, BUT LITERALLY WORSHIPED A GOLDEN CALF.

BUT, DESPITE TURNING THEIR BACK ON GOD, CHOOSING EVIL, BEING STIFF-NECKED, ARROGANT, AND MAKING FOR THEMSELVES A GOD OF GOLD, GOD WAS STILL GRACIOUS AND COMPASSIONATE, SLOW TO ANGER AND ABOUNDING IN LOVE FOR HIS PEOPLE BY CONTINUING TO GUIDE THEM, INSTRUCT THEM AND PROVIDED FOR ALL THEIR NEEDS. THIS IS THE UNMERITED FAVOR OF GOD’S GRACE.

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