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Summary: A sermon given for Freedom Sunday, a day where Churches around the world preach about freedom and justice, and praying for victims of slavery.

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As Christians we have a responsibility to share the freedom of the Gospel message, but we also need to activate what we believe, by lifting others to a place of strength and liberty.

In John 13:34, Jesus gives us a new command -- 'Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.'

The question is... how do we activate love of this magnitude? To answer this question, we need to look at love, freedom and justice from God's perspective.

We all know the story of how God (through Moses) restored the Israelites freedom after 400 years of slavery in Egypt. The Israelites faced great oppression during their time in Egypt, yet after gaining freedom they too struggled to understand the mandate God gives each of us to seek freedom and justice for all.

As Christians we need to lead the way -- Christ laid down his life for us, and in response we should lay down our lives for others so that they too have the opportunity to receive 'true freedom' in Christ.

Text - Isaiah 1:18-20 NLT

"Come now, let's settle this,"

Says the Lord.

"Though your sins are like scarlet,

I will make them as white as snow.

Though they are red like crimson,

I will make them as white as wool.

If you will only obey me,

You will have plenty to eat.

But if you turn away and refuse to listen,

You will be devoured by the sword of your enemies.

I, the Lord, have spoken!"

This scripture is written to God's people 'Israel' and the book of Isaiah is about RESCUE and RESTORATION. In verse 18 the people of Israel are challenged to repent and connect again with God.

The same scripture in the NIV version of the Bible reads...

"Come now, let us reason together,"

says the Lord.

"Though your sins are like scarlet,

They shall be as white as snow;

Though they are red as crimson,

They shall be like wool.

If you are willing and obedient,

you will eat the best from the land;

But if you resist and rebel,

You will be devoured by the sword."

For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

God was passionate about restoring His relationship with Israel, even though they had distanced themselves from Him. God also passionately seeks relationship with us today -- right where we are at; despite our failings... He says 'Come...'

Let's look at the words that God used to seek reconciliation.

1. 'COME' - God calls Israel to himself.

Question - Why does the God of the universe say 'come'?

Answer - He wants the best for Israel. He's interested in Israel and has answers for them.

As humans we would be more likely to confront Israel and say 'Go away', but God loves His people and doesn't want to distance Himself. He wants to draw us near.

2. 'NOW' - God challenges Israel to be responsive to His call instead of responding only when it suited them.

Question -- how do we maintain a responsive attitude towards God?

Answer - We need to remain open and ready to hear the 'now' Word of the Lord and then respond.

If we only listen to what God said in the past we could kill our future. We need to 'have an ear to hear' at all times. Imagine what would have happened if Abram ignored God when He told him not to kill Isaac.


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