“HOW – The Son Sets You Free!”
This Thursday is the 4th of July – a time set aside to celebrate the day America declared her Independence from England. To live in a free country is an awesome thing… AND LISTEN – we who have been born into that freedom, have absolutely no idea just how awesome it is…
During the past 260 years – thousands of people have shed their blood, given their lives on the battle field, and they have set sail in some pretty shoddy boats - for the mere hope of experiencing what you & I experience everyday… Think about it… THIS 4th of July don’t get so caught up in the food, fireworks & fun – that the great freedoms we have in America never even cross your mind…
This morning I want to talk about an even greater freedom then the freedom we experience as Americans… And it’s a freedom that – we don’t have to; shed our blood OR give our lives on the battle field to get it… YOU SEE - somebody else already shed His blood as he fought & won that battle 2,000 years ago for US.…
Let me read a couple of passages of Scripture as we begin;
The first is from John 8 - in this chapter Jesus is battling the Jewish leaders over questions of his identity.
So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will realize that I am he and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak what the Father taught me. And the one who sent me is with me--he has not deserted me. For I always do those things that are pleasing to him." Then many who heard him say these things believed in him. Jesus said to the people who believed in him, "You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." ”But we are descendants of Abraham," they said. "We have never been slaves to anyone on earth. What do you mean, `set free’?"
Jesus replied, "I assure you that everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will indeed be free. John 8:28-36 (NLT)
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death. Romans 8:1,2 (NLT)
TODAY – we are going to talk about the greatest freedom AND THE most important teaching there is in the entire bible. A teaching that God formed & shaped before the creation - a teaching that all of scripture sicne the fall in the garden were pointing to..
How a person gets right with God. How a person receives the freedom that Christ won on the cross… Thsi morning we are going to talk about – HOW the son sets us free?
Did Jesus Christ, through His death and resurrection;
defeat, slam dunk, crush, smash, cream, rout, best, beat, destroy, demolish, conquer, vanquish, blast, trample, finish
overcome, overpower, overthrow, overturn,
extinguish, annihilate, eradicate, exterminate and obliterate
Satan. . .
Yeah baby. . .
OKAY - HERE’S a few more questions…
Is Satan happy about what happened on Calvary? No…
Can Satan – undo what Christ finished on the cross? No….
Will Satan just roll over and say ‘uncle?’ No he won’t…
Has satan done anything to mess things up? Yes…
What has he done? Satan has perverted, slanted, twisted and distorted, God’s plan of salvation…we see in the bible…
LISTEN – satan confused people about the details of salvation… to such an extent that people don’t really think the details matter all that much…(Hey let’s not get bogged down in details – all that matters is we love Jesus).
QUESTION - are details important;
q If you place the wrong key in your car, will the engine start? The answer, of course, is no. The right key is an essential detail.
q If you are following a map and you accidentally take the wrong road, will you still end up at Aunt Ethel’s house? No, not unless you backtrack and take the right road. Taking the right road is an essential detail.
q If you dial a phone number incorrectly, do you still reach the desired party? Of course not! The small detail of just a single digit is crucial.
q If your computer program is missing just one small file which is required for it to load, will it still load? No, you will receive a "file not found" error message, and until you correct that detail, you won’t be accessing that program.
q When using the Internet, if you type one wrong character in the web address, will you still be able to access the web page you sought? No, one wrong character is a significant detail.
q If you have a serious medical condition or illness, what would happen if you mistakenly took the wrong dosage or medication? Not only would you not get better, but the chances are significant that you would actually get worse! The details of your medication are very important.
q If you put the wrong amount of an ingredient out of some thing you are cooking, will it turn out the same? No…
QUESTION - if all of these sorts of wrong details listed above won’t work, then why would anyone think that the wrong details in God’s plan of salvation would? I mean is there anything in the bible that lead us to believe that God doesn’t care about details?
ON THE CONTRARY - we see in the bible that details are very important to God…
When God gave details to Noah as to how to save himself and his family from the flood to come, he followed every single detail in building and supplying the ark. Consequently, God saved Noah and his family (Genesis 6:9-8:22; Hebrews 11:7).
When the Israelites crossed the Jordan in order to take the land God had promised to them, there were very specific details they had to follow in order to take the fortified city of Jericho. The commander of the Lord’s army instructed Joshua. He and the Israelites obeyed to the very last detail, and the walls of Jericho collapsed. They took the city as God promised (Joshua 5:13-6:27; Hebrews 11:30).
When Naaman was afflicted with leprosy, God instructed him through Elisha the prophet to dip in the Jordan river seven times. At first, Naaman was angry and wondered why the other rivers wouldn’t be better. But the Jordan was a vital detail in the solution prescribed by God. Finally, a servant talked some sense into Naaman and into the Jordan he went. He wasn’t cleansed of the leprosy on the first, second, or third dip. Dipping seven times was another vital detail. After he dipped the seventh time in the Jordan, Naaman was immediately cleansed of the leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-14).
LISTEN - In His Word, in the Bible, God has given us all of the details that we need in order to receive the awesome gift of salvation BUT UNDERSTAND - If we don’t choose to use the right plan if we don’t choose to follow those details - that would, in effect, be saying that we can somehow achieve salvation on our own terms or in our own way and that God’s details don’t really matter. !
Paul addressed people just like that in Romans 10;
“I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Instead they are clinging to their own way of getting right with God…they won’t go along with God’s way.” (2,3)
God has given us the details we need to receive salvation. They are so clear that anyone can understand and follow them:
Today we are going to look at those details…
Now - I’ve kind of put these details together in a way that we can use to share our faith with others…
Four Things You Need To Know
God LOVES You & Has An Awesome PLAN For Your Life
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills removed, yet my unfailing lover for you will not be shaken…” Is 54:10
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life..." John 3:16
“Because of His love, God had already decided to make us his own children through Christ Jesus. That was what he wanted and what pleased him…” Eph 1:5 (NCV)
LISTEN - God loves us; he loves you; he loves me, that’s why we are here, that’s why he created us…and as the Psalmist writes 26 times in Psalm 136 – “His love endures forever…”
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer 29:11
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jn 10:10
LISTEN – God has great plans for every single person that has ever been born – and His plans for us are good – because He is good. HIS PLANS for us are to give us life – real life, life in all of it’s fullness… UNDERSTAND - God wants us to have a relationship with Him, and He wants us to enjoy all the benefits that come with being in a relationship with him; peace, hope, confidence, self worth, security, confidence, fulfillment, purpose, freedom, help with weakness, joy…
QUESTION – If God loves us and has this awesome plan for us… Why are so many people not living this kind of life? Why are so many NOT experiencing this plan?
WELL YOU SEE – God has given us something call ‘free will’ and what messes up His plan and limits the power of his LOVE for us, is that man chooses to sin – and has been doing so since the garden; AND:
SIN Keeps You From Experiencing God’s Love & Plan
Sin Enslaves Us
Back in John 8 when Jesus told the people that they could know the truth and the truth would set them free… SOME of those listening, didn’t like what Jesus said that too much, they were offended. Why? BECAUSE they saw the meaning behind those words and they knew that Jesus was looking them straight in the eyes and was saying to them, “you guys are slaves…you’re not free at all . AND they replied; ”But we are descendants of Abraham," they said. "We have never been slaves to anyone on earth. What do you mean, `set free’?"
YOU KNOW – people respond the same way today – “what do you mean Jesus can set free – I’m an American, I live the way I want, I make my own choices, I do my own thing, I don’t need anyone to set me free, I am not a slave to anyone, …” AND Jesus says; "I assure you that everyone who sins is a slave of sin.”
QUESTION – is the person doing drugs free or a slave? Is the person who drinks too much free or a slave? Is the person caught in immorality free or a slave? Is the person hanging out at porn sites on the web – slave or free? Is the person who is immersed in materialistic pursuits free or a slave? Is this person who is trapped in anger, bitterness, slander, hatred, malice and unforgiveness free or a slave? Jesus said, "I assure you that everyone who sins is a slave of sin.”
Sin enslaves us…
"But your iniquities have separated you from God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” Is 59:1
“For the wages of sin is death…” 6:23
"Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin when it is full-grown gives birth to death." -- James 1:15
Death = separation
Sin Makes You God’s Enemy
LISTEN – God hates sin… And when I say hate I am not talking about a minor irritation. I’m talking about an all consuming rage… I recently read Zephaniah and I was blown away by the depth of God’s anger against sin. IF you think that sin doesn’t matter and that God does really care or won’t do anything about it – you need to think again…
"I will sweep away both people and animals alike. Even the birds of the air and the fish in the sea will die. I will reduce the wicked to heaps of rubble, along with the rest of humanity," says the LORD. "I will crush Judah and Jerusalem with my fist and destroy every last trace of their Baal worship. I will put an end to all the idolatrous priests, so that even the memory of them will disappear. For they go up to their roofs and bow to the sun, moon, and stars. They claim to follow the LORD, but then they worship Molech, too. So now I will destroy them! And I will destroy those who used to worship me but now no longer do. They no longer ask for the LORD’s guidance or seek my blessings….."I will search with lanterns in Jerusalem’s darkest corners to find and punish those who sit contented in their sins, indifferent to the LORD, thinking he will do nothing at all to them. They are the very ones whose property will be plundered by the enemy, whose homes will be ransacked. They will never have a chance to live in the new homes they have built. They will never drink wine from the vineyards they have planted. That terrible day of the LORD is near. Swiftly it comes--a day when strong men will cry bitterly. It is a day when the LORD’s anger will be poured out. It is a day of terrible distress and anguish, a day of ruin and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, of clouds, blackness, trumpet calls, and battle cries. Down go the walled cities and strongest battlements! "Because you have sinned against the LORD, I will make you as helpless as a blind man searching for a path. Your blood will be poured out into the dust, and your bodies will lie there rotting on the ground." Your silver and gold will be of no use to you on that day of the LORD’s anger. For the whole land will be devoured by the fire of his jealousy. He will make a terrifying end of all the people on earth
Zeph 1:3-6; 12-18
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
“Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?" Rev 6:15-17
“Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Rev 20:14,15
LISTEN – sin makes us God’s enemy… You see to be lost is not simply to be abandoned by God... It is not that God just simply leaves us to ourselves.. But rather the Biblical Doctrine of lostness is that this righteous God, This offended Lord pursues us... He seeks out and pursues after evil to conquer it... and God will catch up to lost people, either at Mt Calvary, or at judgment. But He will catch up to us. AND when he does we best have Jesus…
QUESTION – would you agree that sin is a major problem? WELL – just who has this problem?
"All of us like sheep, have gone astray, and each of us has turned to his own way."
“There is no righteous, not even one…” Rm 3:12
"All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." -- Rm 3:23
LISTEN – we are really in a mess… We all sin – everyone of us (it enslaves us, makes us God’s enemies and separates us form his love and plan)
OKAY – enough of the bad news – let’s move on to the good news!!!
JESUS Has Paid The Penalty For Your Sin. . .
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life..." John 3:16
"You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you His enemies, and you did evil things. But His Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in His presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent." Col 1:21,22 (CEV)
“God demonstrated His own love for us in this; while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Rm 5:8
“For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and satisfy God’s anger against us.” Romans 3:25
LISTEN - on the cross – Jesus died to pay the penalty for mankind’s sin. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:21,
“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that IN HIM we might become the righteousness of God.”
What This Means To Us?
We can relax! Understand that salvation comes by grace.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast." -- Eph 2:8
LISTEN - Grace means that salvation cannot be earned or deserved. Although God wants us to live good lives, we could never be good enough to earn salvation.
Grace is getting what we don’t deserve
UNDERSTAND - God has already done His part to restore our relationship with Him, BECAUSE of His great love for us God sent Jesus to take care of the sin problem that we all have.... God took the initiative. He offers the gift to us. AND - He waiting for each of us to individually receive the gift.
“Jesus Christ said, I AM THE WAY, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father, except THROUGH ME." Jn 14:6
How You Can Receive The Gift Of Salvation
OKAY – here is where we will look at the details of salvation and remember details are essential…
LISTEN - Although the gift of salvation is available to everyone (Burger King – free fry day), not everyone will choose to receive it. Sin, pride, hardness of heart, and indifference keep many from accepting the gift God offers us. But if you recognize the tremendous offer God is making to you then.... There is only one response God is looking for: faith
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith..." -- Eph. 2:8
"And without faith it is impossible to please God." -- Heb 11:6
IF – those verses are true and they are (saved through faith, can’t please God..) – THEN I contend that it is essential for us to understand faith – to know what it is and how we get it…
Faith Comes From Hearing. . .
Faith Believes In Jesus. . .
Believes what God’s Word says about His love, His plan, His grace.
Believes what God’s Word says about our sin and it’s consequences.
Believes what God’s Word says about Jesus: Who He is & What He did.
But UNDERSTAND - intellectual agreement (believing the right stuff) alone is not biblical "faith."
“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe and shudder.”
“Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are - the Holy One of God.” Lk 4:34
“...Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead...a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone...As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead” James 2:17, 24, 26
Belief is an essential detail in our salvation…
But there is more to faith then belief you see biblical...
Faith Expresses Itself In Repentance, Confession & Baptism
“Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” 3:19
"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regrets, but worldly sorrow brings death." -- 2 Cor 7:10
> Our minds acknowledge that we have rebelled against God.
> Our hearts feel the impact of our rebellion against God.
> Our wills determine to submit to God once and for all.
U – Turn….
NOTE: that repentance is not only turning away from the wrong things we have been doing; it is turning to the good things which we have not be doing. This humble attitude stays with the Christian his/her entire life.
Repentance is an essential detail in our salvation…
[if you remove repentance it is NO longer biblical faith]
faith expresses itslef in
[now for the most part we have a much too narrow concept of confession - something people say at the front of the church]
“Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before my father who is in heaven.” Mt 10:32
The CONTENT - of the confession: “Jesus is Lord”
(Mt 16:16; Jn 11:27; Phil 2:11; 1 Tim 6:13)
The Greek Word for confess is (‘homologeo’) and it means “to say the same thing...”
Biblical confession should be understood this way... Whatever Jesus said about himself, I agree, I say the same thing...
The CONTEXT of the confession (where is it to be made?) “Wherever Jesus is Lord”
q And just where is Jesus Lord? Everywhere
q So should Jesus be confessed at church? Anywhere else?
q Where did Jesus make his confession? Made it before men who were about to take his Life.
q What is the context of the confession Jesus talks about in Mt 10:16-33?
q We are to confess that Christ is Lord in a world where he does not appear to be Lord and where people don’t want him to be Lord...
Confession – is an essential detail in our salvation…
[you remove confession is no longer biblical faith]
NOW – for the most part there is little debate over B/R/C being essential details for our salvation.. (John 3:16; Acts 2:38; Rom 10:9…)
OKAY – now we come to the final detail of our salvation; a detail upon which their is much debate and disagreement…. FAITH EXPRESSES ITSELF;
Baptism. . .
There are many different views about baptism. LISTEN - satan has been working overtime for centuries trying to muddy this one up. AND – he has done a great job..
However, the view that counts is the one the bible offers. Let’s take a closer look at what the Bible says about this subject of baptism:
Go ahead and grab your bibles and lets take some to look this verses up…
q Baptism is where we become a disciple of Christ
q Baptism is where our sins are forgiven
q Baptism is where we put on Christ
q Baptism is where our union with Christ begins
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rm 6:23
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus...”
“I always thank God for you because of his grace given you In Christ Jesus.”
1 Cor 1:4
“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive...” 1 Cor 15:22
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” - 2 Cor 5:17
“In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins...” Eph 1:6
“But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” - Eph 2:13
q Baptism is where we contact the death of Christ
q Baptism is by immersion
"As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water."
-- Matt 3:16
"And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went sown into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing." Acts 8:38,39
q Baptism is where we are saved
1 Peter 3:21
q Baptism is when the second death has no power over us
Scripture teaches that the first resurrection is our baptism into Christ (Romans 6:3-6) we were dead in our sins (Eph 2:1) but through faith and baptism God made us alive with Christ (Eph 2:5; Col 2:12,13) and we are now a royal priesthood (1 Pe 2:10) and the second death, separation from God for all eternity has no power over us (1 Cor 15:54-57)
What saves us the D-B-R of Jesus….
When a repentant believer is baptized he experiences that D B R
are the essential details of God’s plan of salvation - AND they have been so for 2,00 years... LISTEN if you leave anyone of them out it is no longer biblcal faith and it cannot save you...
DO You Need