Summary: We are not only free FROM but also free FOR.
5th of June 2011
Text: Acts 21:17-24.26.
Shave your head for Jesus and be free!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Today I want to speak about the freedom of a Christian. Or as I was preparing this teaching and thinking of the theme I thought I also could name it: “Shave your head for Jesus and be free!”
So choose whichever appeals to you more.
Can you finish this verse for me:
“If the Son sets you free, ………………….” (you will be free indeed - John 8:36)
Or maybe even Galatians 5:1:
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us ………” (free)
And what about this one - Hebrews 13:5:
“Be free from the love of ………….” (money)
And one more from Proverbs 19:5:
“A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free.”
Yes, the Bible speaks a lot about freedom, being free, setting free, binding and loosing demonic powers, cutting the chains of bondage, forgiveness, taking away the sin, opening the doors for prisoners, etc.
We are free and that is the reason why we come every Sonday* together as a family of God to worship and celebrate the One who made us free – our Lord Jesus Christ! The freedom that we experience is not a metaphorical figure of speech or just some emotional episode, but it is the foundation of our new life that we all have in Jesus. When someone who lived in sin meets Jesus, his life changes and when all the people around him see the change you cannot explain, you know there is something very real happening. We are all witnesses of the real freedom that we all have in Jesus. Hallelujah!
But today I want to speak specifically of one aspect of our Christian freedom. We are not only free from, but also free for! Every one of you here should be able to give a testimony what you are free from; what did Jesus take away from you. If you do not know, or if by any chance there is somebody who is still not free in Jesus, you have your chance today; right now this morning you can be set free. We surely want to invite you to come forward here and give your life to the Lord and to be free once for all.
So we are free from the things of the past.
But what would you say if I’d ask you: What are you free for? What do I mean? Let me explain it through the story from the Bible.
I want to read a story from the life of apostle Paul from Acts 21:17-24. 26.
17. When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly.
18. The day following, Paul went in with us to James; and all the elders were present.
19. When he had greeted them, he reported one by one the things, which God had worked among the Gentiles through his ministry.
20. They, when they heard it, glorified God. They said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law.
21. They have been informed about you, that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children neither to walk after the customs.
22. What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come.
23. Therefore do what we tell you. We have four men who have taken a vow.
24. Take them, and purify yourself with them, and pay their expenses for them, that they may shave their heads. Then all will know that there is no truth in the things that they have been informed about you, but that you yourself also walk keeping the law.
26. Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purified himself and went with them into the temple, declaring the fulfillment of the days of purification, until the offering was offered for every one of them.
I am sure if you are regular Bible readers, that you have come across this story before, so you might wonder now what does it have to do with our Christian freedom.
Well, I believe that “all Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16).
So it is with this story from Paul’s life. It is good for our training purposes. So get ready.
So what is the story? After number of years of successful mission activities and as far as we know at least three major mission journeys, Paul came to Jerusalem reporting to the church elders and leaders of the things that happened among the gentiles. They all rejoiced, but they also knew that Paul, being the reason for many Jews becoming followers of this Messiah Jeshuah, is in grave danger here in the centre of the Jewish religion. So they made a certain suggestion to Paul.