HELPING SET OTHERS FREE
"Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.... Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.... By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16, The Message
I. Salt that Stings, Light that Glares
II. Salt that’s Savory, Light that Attracts
• Live out a ______________Christianity
• Live out a __________________________Christianity
• Live out a ________________________Christianity
HELPING SET OTHERS FREE
We’re just completing a series called “Set Free.” It’s been a great series. We’ve learned how following Christ can set us free from our past, from our fears, and from our failures and from our sin. Today I want to conclude by sort of turning the tables and say that now we’ve got this great stuff of how we can be set free for ourselves, how can we now turn around and help other people find freedom through Christ.
I’m particularly thinking about this because of a story from a Major who is part of our armed forced in Iraq. He tells the story of what happened a few months ago over there about a group of American soldiers who went into a little village and they were giving away clothing to the Iraqi children. A lot of school children in America sent their old clothes so these soldiers were distributing it to the kids. The kids appreciated it. That was great. But then they opened up a bag of stuffed toys and began passing out stuffed toys to the kids. The kids just flipped over these. They’d never seen anything like this. They loved them. It was a way to give them an expression of love in the midst of a difficult circumstance.
The next day a convoy of security patrols left their base camp and was driving by the same village where they’d been distributing the stuff the day before. As they were coming down the road this convoy saw down in the distance in the middle of the road, a figure who was standing there and not moving. So as the convoy got closer they noticed this figure was standing still and wouldn’t move. They got out the binoculars and looked and there was standing in the middle of the road a little five year old girl who had been part of the group from the day before. She was standing in the middle of the road hugging a stuffed animal.
They didn’t know what to do. As they approached she just wouldn’t move. They radioed the base and said, “What do we do?” They said “This could be a trap, it could be a sniper there, there could be a road side bomb. Who knows? It could be something intended to hurt you. So go around her but go very slowly and carefully as you do.” The convoy began to go. She just stood there in the middle of the road hugging her little stuffed animal. As the convoy went around her they looked and they realized why she was standing in the road. She was standing in front of a landmine that had been planted the night before on the road. She was trying to save from harm these soldiers. She was expressing her love to them because they had first shown their love for her.
When I heard that I thought if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ you love God because He first loved you. He sent His Son to die that we might find freedom, be set free. To know Him personally, to spend eternity with Him in heaven. Yet we all know people in our family or our neighborhoods or at work or wherever and we know people that we know they’re going down a road in life. We can see the land mines they can’t see yet. We can see these land mines of alienation from God. Of bitterness, of fear, and of insecurity and of disconnectedness from God’s purpose for their life. And ultimately isolation from God forever. We see those land mines and we want to protect them. So we want to stand in front of them and say, “Don’t keep going down this road that you’ve been going down. Take a detour. Take God’s road. God’s road is different. Down God’s road you’re going to find peace and liberation and love and acceptance and grace and community and purpose and goodness and security. And ultimately you’re going to find a place with Him forever in heaven.”