Summary: Christ set us free for liberty’s sake. A fourth of July sermon
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm, and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”
I want to begin today by communicating to you what a privilege it is, to be preaching here at Calvary Baptist in Delta, and to be worshiping with the folks here and from Solid Rock and Mountain Valley. And it is a double honor, because I have never preached on the fourth of July before. I can’t promise you ‘fireworks’…
…but I do have some pretty liberating news for you today, if you come with a heart prepared to hear God’s voice and receive His word.
When Pastor Roger called me a couple of weeks ago and asked me to preach, something of note happened. You see, as the folks of my own congregation would confirm to you, I don’t do theme sermons. By that, I mean if you come to my church on Father’s Day, you will not hear a Father’s Day sermon. And if you come on Mother’s Day, you won’t hear a Mother’s Day sermon, and so forth.
In short, I don’t plan my sermons by Hallmark’s calendar.
So when Roger asked me to preach and then suggested I preach something on freedom, I balked a little. The immediate reaction in me was a determination to stand my ground. To stick to my guns and say, ‘no, I don’t do theme sermons’.
But my second thought was, ‘well, it will actually be on July 4th; and besides, there is a kind of freedom that is really one of my very favorite subjects to preach on. That is the kind of freedom that Christ has purchased for us. And as I was thinking this, he was saying it.
So it was easy for me to acquiesce to Roger’s suggestion, and so here we are, looking at Galatians 5:1. Let’s see what we can glean from it today.
SET FREE FOR FREEDOM
The generally accepted dates for the writing of the letter to the Galatians are between A.D. 48 – 58. Some narrow it down to the years 48 – 51, which would place Paul on his second missionary journey, and probably staying in Corinth at the time of writing.
Apparently some emissaries had been sent to him from the Galatian region to tell him of problems creeping into the churches there. Those called Judaizers, were coming in after Paul and teaching that to be saved they must believe in Jesus, yes, but also be circumcised, and hold to the traditional Jewish feast days, observances of the new moon, certain worship rituals and so forth.
So the purpose of Paul’s letter to them is to respond to these things, and to set their doctrine back on track.
We get a sense of the urgency he felt in his straightforward approach in verses 6 & 7 of chapter 1.
“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ.”
So by the time he gets to what we call chapter 5 verse 1, he has addressed these errors and once more established that salvation is by grace through faith in the shed blood of Christ alone. We’ll have more to say about that today also. But I want our focus to be primarily on verse 1 of chapter 5, not only because Roger asked me to preach about freedom, but because the context of the verse says some things to us that I believe very many Christians in our time and culture need to hear.