Summary: This sermon explores the benefits of seeking the Lord and helps aid the Christian in how to seek.
Seeking gives Freedom
It is ironic that from the world’s perspective the Christian is in bondage when the true bondage comes from sin. In fact, we are all either under bondage to righteousness or to sin. The Bible explains in Romans 6:20-22
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
Romans 6:17-18 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
The difference is with our master. Those who are under sin have a heartless and cruel master that seeks to oppress, entangle and destroy while we who belong to Christ have a compassionate master who states the following:
Matthew 11:28-30 28 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Rather than having a master who lords over us, we have a Lord who labors with us. A
yoke is a harness used to join two oxen together. It is a wooden device contoured to fit around both oxen to prepare them for laboring in the field. The picture Christ is presenting is that we are yoked together with Him. Rather than carrying a heavy burden, we are joined to Him and since all strength belongs to Him, our burden becomes light. Keep in mind that Jesus is calling out to those who are under the heavy burden of the world. He calls those who are weighed down with the cares of this world to come and find rest in Him. Only in Christ can we both labor and find rest for our souls.
Those who are slaves to righteousness are bond-slaves. A bond-slave is someone who is a slave by choice. In the Old Testament, slavery was usually the result of a debt owed. When someone could not pay their debt, they were required to pay off that debt by laboring for their creditor. When the time was fulfilled that they were to be free, if a slave loved his master, determined that their master was good and the benefits were worth the labor, they could choose to become a permanent bond-slave. A ceremony would be performed where the ear of the bond-slave was pierced with an awl on the door of the house and they received a ring that signified that they had submitted to the master of the house in service.
This illustrates the difference between becoming a slave of sin and a slave of righteousness. God does not enslave but calls for us to submit. All the promises of God reveal to us the benefit only found in our Master’s house and we who have been set free from sin, submit ourselves to Jesus Christ and become bond-servants – slaves by choice.
The same is not true of becoming a slave of sin. Satan does not care about our good and has no compassion on us. He seeks to entangle, oppress, destroy and deceive. Sin always looks enticing on the surface but in reality it is a bait for the shackles of oppression. A bond-slave is never shackled but those oppressed must be shackled to prevent escape. This is why Jesus made so much of the fact that He has come to set at liberty those who are captives. Have you ever heard a drug addict rejoice in their drug use at the end of their lives? How many joyful thieves or prostitutes do you know? How many of those oppressed began with the decision to fall into bondage?
Several years back, Barbara Walters interviewed an adult film star on 20/20. The pain was clearly seen in her eyes but she kept a smile on her face. During one question, she gave an answer that was obviously painful and filled with remorse, yet she kept smiling. As she smiled, tears began to trickle down her cheeks. Barbara asked why she always smiled even when it was clear she was not happy. The woman stated that she had to keep her front going so that no one could see the pain that filled her life.
Here is a woman whose job it is to make men believe that sin is fun and make it look harmless and inviting, yet she was in such bondage that she did not even feel free to be herself. This is exactly what the Bible is warning us about. Sin is bondage. The deception makes it look like freedom and pleasure – and for a short time it is. Just beyond the brief pleasure there is bondage and oppression. The message of the gospel is that Jesus Christ has come to set all men and women free. We then seek the righteousness of God and willingly become slaves to righteousness.