Summary: Christian liberty -- what is it? Being able to drink occasionally? Watch R-rated movies without guilt? Some would say so. . . but what does the Bible really teach about our liberty? *HANDOUT INCLUDED*
Exactly how free are we as Christians? What does it mean to be brought back into bondage? Isn’t that what denominational and school rules do? What does the majority of Christians say? What does the Bible have to say?
For an opener, read the controversial interpretation of Christian liberty in Marv Penner’s book, “Creative Bible Lessons in First and Second Corinthians.” , on pg. 55. (Published by Youth Specialties, available at www.youthspecialties.com)
I. The Declaration of Liberty.
John 8:36 "If the Son…shall make you free, you shall be free indeed."
Romans 8:21 "… delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
Galatians 2:4 "… to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:"
Galatians 5:1 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."
1. What do these passages say we are we free from as Christians?
2. What do the majority of Christians today think we are free from? What do you think?
II. The Warnings about Liberty.
1 Peter 2:16 "...as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God."
1 Corinthians 8:9 "But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak."
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."
Romans 14:15 "Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died."
“Now, wait a minute! That doesn’t sound FREE to me – it sounds like I should be worried about the other guy! It sounds like there are some things I STILL CAN’T DO! How is that real liberty?
We have to understand that liberty is the freedom to do as we ought, not as we want.
As someone said, “If you give a pig and a man everything they want, you get a good pig, and a bad man!”
1. What "limits" do these verses put on our freedom?
2. Give a practical example how should this affect our choices as Christians?
III. The Definition of Liberty.
A. Christian Liberty is always associated with TRUTH.
John 8:32 - "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
What is the truth that sets us free? John 17:17 “Thy Word is truth.”
Psalm 119:45 - “I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts.”
1. How is this different than many view freedom in the church world?
Too often, it’s legalism that’s associated with truth, not freedom! Start examining God’s Word, and applying it to how we should live, what we should watch, how we should dress, how we should spend our money, and you’ll get screams of “LEGALIST!” The Old Testament, for instance, contains all sorts of “horrible bondage” in the form of laws!
But that sure isn’t the picture we get reading David’s statement! (And remember, David was referring to the Old Testament when he wrote.)
How can we get to the place that David has arrived – feeling free by obeying God’s Word?
B. Christian Liberty assumes the PRESENCE OF GOD.
2 Corinthians 3:17 “. . .where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
C. Christian Liberty can be lost by DISOBEDIENCE.
2 Peter 2:19-21 “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.
20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.
21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.”
1. What kind of liberty are the false teachers offering?
Notice that some who offer liberty, are offering a false liberty – it feels free, perhaps, but it isn’t so in the sight of God.
2. What is "bondage" in these verses? How is it brought about?
Being overcome by anything corrupt (contrary to God’s laws). It is brought about by “turning from the holy commandment.”
Definition of Christian Liberty: The freedom, given by Jesus Christ, from the bondage of corrupt living, and the power live according to the Word of God. Any freedom which does not bring conformity to the Word of God is not true Christian liberty.