Summary: a sermon on Religious Liberty
This week I was moved as many of you were by the protesters in Hong Kong. Here’s a group of people trying to exercise freedom in order to get some type of representative government instead of an oppressive tyrannical government.
As I watched video and pictures from the news, I saw something that caught my eye – it was big red banner with black handwritten wording on it and it was strung across a bridge or a walk way.
Written on the banner were these words; “Do you hear the people sing”.
At first I thought that was odd…
-no one was singing, or at least I had not heard anyone singing.
But the banner really was not about singing it was trying to connect the plight of the people in present day Hong King to the struggle and fight of the people during the French Revolution. Do you remember that conflict? When the common people of that day were trying to throw off the yoke of their oppressors and gain their freedom.
But to be honest the banner was not so much about the French Revolution “per see.” The banner was actually quoting a part of a song in the musical Les Miserable which is about the French Revolution. In the musical this song serves as the rallying cry for the people.
Do you hear the people sing? - Singing a song of angry men.
(angry because there is no representation, no freedom, no food, only oppression)
It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart, -Echoes the beating of the drums.
There is a life about to start.- When tomorrow comes!
Will you give all you can give,
So your banner may advance. (The banner for freedom)
(will you do your part so freedom can exist?)
So what is the connection between the protestors in Hong Kong and a musical score about the French Revolution and a sermon at River Bend?
There is something within people that makes us yearn for freedom.
The desire for freedom will help you persevere and endure and live through all kinds of wrongs and evils and sufferings as long as there is just a glimpse of freedom. – somewhere, out there on the horizon.
The hope of freedom will sustain you through the horrors of war.
The hope of freedom will up hold you in the face of injustice.
The hope of freedom will strengthen you when the actions of humanity have betrayed you.
Just the thought of freedom will encourage you.
It will stir up in you the strength to overcome any difficulties.
The cognizance of freedom lies deep within the spirit of each and every person.
But…How did it get there?
Now before I go much further let me clarify, I’m not talking about political freedom or the freedom from anything.
I’m talking about that “Spirit of Freedom” which God has implanted into the soul of every individual who has ever lived or is alive or will ever be alive.
God puts the “Spirit of Freedom” deep within each person’s soul.
-its within everybody
Freedom is not given by men or governments or won thru wars or earned by elections.
Freedom is first given by God.
But the sad reality is…
Freedom is often stolen, cheapened, diminished and even controlled by men and the institutions men create.
The #1 thing I want you to hear today is that freedom begins with God. We see it throughout the Bible we even see it in the first story.
In the beginning God created:
-light – air – water - the planet – fish – animals – birds – plants – people
Next God established a relationship with man and woman – Adam and Eve.
-to share His presence - to talk - to spend time
-to walk in the garden - to worship
READ Genesis 1:27-28
Adam and Eve used their freedom and chose not to follow God’s word; they ate the fruit from the tree in the middle of the Garden.
What happens next is important but probably not for why you think.…
-consequences are coming but that is not what this sermon is about today.
READ Genesis 3:8-13
It is easy to read this passage and then jump into the consequences of sin but that’s not what I want you to see here.
-What I want to point out to you is relationship.
-You see familiarity, closeness and communication.
-You see action based on past experiences.
-it seems like meeting in the garden was something that happened often.
-this was not the first time God walked in the Garden spending time with
Adam and Eve.
When God created, He gave Adam and Eve the freedom to choose.