Summary: In this message, part 3 in series Getting Free, Dave gets people thinking about the possibility of living lives that are free from the control of sin.


Sermon Three: Imagining Freedom

Wildwind Community Church

David K. Flowers

March 2, 2008

This series is called Getting Free. But over the last few weeks I have been talking to you mostly not about freedom, but about slavery to sin. Now as I begin today’s message it is not my thoughts and belief that are foremost in my mind, but it is the emails and phone calls I have been getting over the past few weeks from so many of you – all of which are saying the same thing. “Dave, something is happening in me. I find myself longing for whatever it is you are talking about – wanting to be free from sin, wanting the struggle to be done, wanting to be able to be fully dedicated to any and everything that God might have for me, wanting to no longer live in fear of what I stand to lose if I follow Christ with my whole heart.”

Those are the testimonies I am hearing, and I suspect there are many more people represented by these testimonies than just those I have heard from. My goal for today’s message is to tell you that, if that is your testimony – if you sense God is doing a great work in your heart, leading you to another place – I just want you to know there is freedom! Today I want to show you, Biblically, that you don’t have to live the way you have been living.

Last week we covered Romans 7, which is the Apostle Paul’s brilliant explanation of what it feels like to be a Christian yet still struggle with sin. At the end of that section Paul says this:

Romans 7:24 (NIV)

24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Now last week we stopped there and I told you that this week we’d look at the answer. You probably already know what Paul’s answer was –

Romans 7:24-25 (NIV)

24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

25 Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!...

That’s Paul’s answer. Who will rescue me from my daily, ongoing struggle with sin? The answer is Jesus. Now that’s a Sunday school answer if I ever heard one. And many of us have read this passage a thousand times and many of us know that the answer is Jesus. It just so happens that most of us don’t live like it. We just saw what the passage says, but how do we actually live? Here’s the passage again in my own paraphrase that I like to call the Confused Christian Translation, or the CCT.

Romans 7:24-25 (CCT)

24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

25a Golly, that’s a tough one. I guess Jesus will, but not right away. I mean, get ready for a long, hard struggle. 25bAnd it won’t be so much a rescue as a kind of gradual “growing out of it.” And it won’t really seem like Jesus did it, because of how much effort you’re going to have to put into it. 25c Come to think of it, I’m not really sure what I mean when I say that Jesus will handle it. 25d All I know is good luck to you, because you’re in for a long, hard fight. 25e Trust me, it stinks bad.

That’s close to how we live. Even in some of the notes and calls I’m getting from some of you, there is still a misunderstanding about the kind of life I am talking about. Many of you have talked about “wanting God more than ever to lead me away from sin.” That’s great. But that’s just an increased desire you’re talking about. My question is, “Does God have both the power and the intention to set you free from sin?” If so, is God capable of doing this in your life NOW – TODAY? Can something happen in your heart today – by the end of this service – where your heart can be so deeply changed that you can be essentially freed from the struggle with sins that have dogged you most of your life? The Apostle Peter seemed to think that can happen. He wrote:

1 Peter 4:3 (NIV)

3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do…

This is a letter to the church! Stop doing these things – you’re Christians now! You’ve spent enough time in the past doing that stuff – time to live a new life. Time to be done with sin. Why?

1 Thessalonians 4:7 (NIV)

7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

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