Summary: Message regarding how to have spiritual independence. Given on the Sunday before Independence Day 2006.
July 2, 2006
Well, in case you’re not aware of it, the 4th of July, Independence Day is on Tuesday.
My guess is that all of you are aware of it, and if you have kids, they’ve made you aware of it, if for no other reason than the fact that they feel it’s their patriotic duty to empty your wallet for fireworks, right?
Today I want us to look at independence from the standpoint of spiritual independence.
Why is that important? Because no matter where you live, if you’re not free spiritually, then you’re not really free, even here in the good ol’ US of A.
There are people in the world right now who are not free socially or politically – they’re in prison or unable to practice their faith in Christ out in the open like we do, but they are free, because of their love and devotion to Jesus.
And there are people who, because of what Christ has done for them, are free from the prisons of their past, and free to live for God in the present, enjoying life like they never thought possible.
So what’s the secret? They found out how to get real independence – spiritual independence.
So how do we get that? Is it something you buy? Something you inherit? Something that just kind of rubs off in church or Sunday school?
Nope – none of these. To get real independence that will affect not only how you live and face life on earth, but also prepare you for eternity, you gotta come to Jesus.
Our passage from Scripture tells us about it, and I’d like you to turn with me in your Bibles to John 8:31-36. If you’re using the Bibles in the seats in front of you, this is found on page 758.
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
33 They answered him, "We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?"
34 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Today I want to show you three steps to real independence. I don’t know that you’re going to hear much that you haven’t heard before, but folks, this is an issue for all of us, in one way or another.
So I’d ask that you pay attention, and ask God to show you if there’s something you can take away from here, okay?
Three steps to real independence:
1. Realize that you are a slave.
If you don’t know you’re a slave, then freedom means nothing and cannot be obtained.
You know, one of the fascinating and even humorous parts of this passage is when they look at Jesus and say –
"We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone.”
Hello! Didn’t they watch “The Ten Commandments,” with Charlton Heston? Oh wait – they didn’t have movie theaters and TV back then.
But the fact is they had awfully short memories. Which is weird because every year they had a celebration called the Passover, which celebrated the way God delivered them from slavery!!!
They were slaves for over 400 years in Egypt, not to mention the exiles to Babylon and Assyria.
The passage here specifically mentions slavery to sin, and really that’s the main area of slavery for people.
Jesus says in our passage that –
“…everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”
So let’s very briefly talk about that for a bit.
> What is sin?
Here’s the most basic definition of sin I can come up with. Ready?
Sin is anything that goes against God.
How is that for simple? We can get into all sorts of theological debates about “types” of sin, whether some are worse than others, or whatever, but the bottom line is that sin goes against God.
How do we know what goes against God? The Bible. We learn what God likes and what He dislikes. And we learn that what we might not consider sin is sin, indeed, and that we’ll need to answer to God for it.
But we might also find that something we thought was sin, isn’t actually sin.
And we might find that there are some areas for discussion.
If you want to get more into it, and discuss something in particular, let me know and I’d love to talk with you, and we can look to the Bible for an answer.