Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: How to become free from the bondage of addictions

“Set Free!”

July 8, 2007

It was about 150 years to the days before the Civil War. It could have been any one of the great cities of the South like Savannah, Atlanta, Birmingham, Jackson or New Orleans. As you approach the center of town you hear a commotion as a crowd gathers for a public auction and you gather round to watch the proceedings. The first thing you notice in the crowd is an uncouth, foulmouthed, loud, boisterous man who you know, by reputation only, as the meanest, cruelest, most hateful man around.

You also notice in the crowd another man who stands out for his dignity, genteel mannerisms and soft-spoken tone, and recognize him also by reputation as a very kind, gentle, and gracious man. Both men, along with the crowd wait for the auction to begin.

Finally the auctioneer steps to the podium and begins rattling his words as the first item to be sold is brought to the auction block. There before you is a beautiful young black girl, about 20 years of age. Her dress is old and torn, but clean and cared for. She is obviously filled with anxiety and fear as the bidding begins.

From the outset the loud obnoxious man seemed to have his evil, lecherous eyes set on this lovely, innocent, young lady. She obviously knew of his reputation and cringed in fear as he opened the bidding.

When the kind gentleman saw her fear, he too placed a bid. Soon only these two men were involved in the bidding as the price of the girl rose higher and higher. Finally the evil man bowed out of the bidding when he realized that the price of the girl was more than he was willing to pay.

When the auctioneer closed the bidding the kind gentleman paid the price for his purchase, was handed the Bill-of-Sale and turned to leave. The young girl started to follow her new master.

He then turned to her and asked, “Where are you going?” “Why, I’m going with you,” she responded; “You bought me and I belong to you.” “O! You misunderstood,” the man said, “I didn’t buy you to make you my slave, I bought you to set you free.”

Then he took the Bill-of-Sale and wrote across in big block letters – FREE! – signed his name and gave it to the girl.

“I don’t understand,” the girl said. “You mean I am FREE!” “Yes, you are FREE!” ‘I can go wherever I want and do as I please.”

“Exactly, You are FREE!”

“Mister, I don’t know who you are, but no one has ever shown such love and kindness to me. If I am free to do as I please, nothing would please me more than to go with you and serve you till the day I die.”

And that day she went home with Abraham Lincoln, not as his slave, but as his willing servant.

I don’t know if that story is true or not. I’m told it is true. But whether it is or not it is a beautiful illustration of finding freedom from slavery. We can all relate to it because the Bible says,

“The wicked man is doomed by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him...”

Prov 5:22-23 (Living)

“Do not let sin control your puny body any longer; do not give in to its sinful desires. Do not let any part of your bodies become tools of wickedness, to be used for sinning; but give yourselves completely to God--every part of you--for you are back from death and you want to be tools in the hands of God, to be used for his good purposes. Sin need never again be your master, for now you are no longer tied to the law where sin enslaves you, but you are free under God’s favor and mercy.”

Romans 6:12-14 (Living)

"You aren’t saved by being good," they say, "so you might as well be bad. Do what you like; be free." But these very teachers who offer this "freedom" from law are themselves slaves to sin and destruction. For a man is a slave to whatever controls him.” 2 Peter 2:19 (Living)

So what does it mean to be a slave? Well, it means no choice. Slaves do what their master tells them. It means no freedom. Slaves go where they’re told, live we’re they’re told, get up, go to bed, work, when they’re told.

But at least there’s a sense in which that sort of slavery is outside their control. People are born into it. They have no say over it. And because they have no choice they can still protest against it, in their minds at least. But what if we actually chose to enter into the slavery of sin? Then it would be even worse.

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