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Summary: Independence Day for us is when we came to Christ. Christ set us truly free. Some see this freedom as license; but true freedom has constraints. It’s not the right to do as we want but the opportunity to do what is right.

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HOW TO ACT AS A FREEMAN

1 PETER 2:15-17

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (ESV)

Introduction: Independence Day for the believer is the day that they turned their heart over to the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ said that when one comes to Him they are truly free. Some see this freedom as license; but true freedom has its constraints. Liberty is not the right to do as we want but the opportunity to do what is right. Let us consider how we such act as freemen.

I. Exhibit Self Control

A. “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil…”

B. A company advertising brakes came up with the slogan: "Without control, there can be no freedom." Self-control is using your brakes (saying "no") in order to keep your freedom. - Kent Crockett’s Sermon Illustrations, ww.kentcrockett.com

C. Galatians 5:13 “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

D. British statesman Edmund Burke argued, "men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there is without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." Imprimis, Vol. 20, No. 9.

E. 1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”

F. William Arthur Ward said, “"He loves his country most who values integrity above influence, conscience above criticism, freedom above favor, morality above money, character above comfort, principle above popularity, loyalty above license, greatness above glory, self-control above self-indulgence, and effort above ease.”

II. Respect Others

A. Honor everyone.

B. The definition of respect is the acknowledgement that someone or something has value.

C. Romans 13:7 “Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”

D. How to show respect

1. Be attentive to what they are saying.

2. Be fair toward the other person. Don’t unfairly pre-judge another person or their views.

3. Give them time to say what it is they want to say.

4. Be sensitive to their thoughts and feelings.

5. Treat others with the same respect with which you hope they treat you

E. Abraham Lincoln respected people from many different backgrounds. During the Civil War, he met Union soldiers and their families from all walks of life. He showed respect to poor widows and to Supreme Court justices. Perhaps most impressive is that he respected the Confederates who were his enemy. In 1865, after he had been elected for another term, he gave his second inaugural address. It is one of his most famous speeches. In it he urged Americans to have “charity towards all, malice towards none.” – copied

F. Luke 6:31 “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”

III. Love the Body of Christ

A. Love the brotherhood.

B. The Amplified Bible paraphrases this portion of verse 17 as “Love the brotherhood (the Christian fraternity of which Christ is the Head).”

C. 1 Corinthians 8:9 “… beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.”

D. We are to walk in love which necessitates us strong to limit our freedom at points when failure to do so will hurt weaker believers.

E. “For love never disregards weak consciences. Love limits its own liberty out of respect for them. For to wound a weaker brother’s conscience is not only to distress him but to ‘destroy’ him, and that is totally incompatible with love.” (John Stott, Romans, p. 365)

F. “Liberty is wonderful, but love is even greater.” - (Douglas Moo, Romans NIVAC, p. 468)

G. As free in Christ we are to walk in love. Walking in love does not allow me to harm my brother by letting my liberty cause my brother to stumble.

H. Romans 13:10 “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

I. Hebrews 13:1 “Let brotherly love continue.”

IV. Revere God

A. Fear God.

B. Hebrews 12:28 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

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