Summary: Pentecost 4 (C) Stand firm in Christian freedom. Believers have been set free from the slavery of sinning and have been set free for loving service to others.
STAND FIRM IN CHRISTIAN FREEDOM
July 2, 2006 - PENTECOST 4 - Galatians 5:1,13-25
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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
This time of year we all are excited to celebrate freedom. Our freedoms in these blessed United States of America give us many reasons to rejoice with great joy. We have been free to do what we want whenever we want, wherever we want for generation after generation and century after century. As much as we are excited to celebrate our national freedom today’s text reminds us of the real freedom every believer has been given. There is no greater freedom in this world that anyone has except for the freedom that each and every Christian possesses. Even Jesus said: "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free"(JOHN 8:31b, 32). This Sunday we turn to the absolute truth in God’s word and learn to appreciate our freedom. STAND FIRM IN CHRISTIAN FREEDOM.
I. Set free from the slavery of sinning,
II. Set free for loving service to others.
I. SET FREE FROM THE SLAVERY OF SINNING
A. Verse 1 of chapter 5 reminds these believers to stand firm in their Christian faith and freedom.
1. Paul was writing against the Judaizers. The Judaizers tried to deny God’s gospel freedoms.
2. They tried to make the law more important than God’s gospel. This teaching denied freedom.
B. Verse 13a repeats the freedom God has given to these believers through his gospel.
1. In the midst of this freedom there was still a war waging, a battle. Verse 17.
2. The believers’ sinful nature was in constant conflict with the new man.
C. The conflict with sin was real. Paul lists the dark side of every person in verses19-21.
1. Paul reminds those who persist in such acts will throw away their eternal heavenly inheritance.
2. In recognizing sin and repenting there is freedom. The Spirit of God sets believers free, v. 18.
D. That is quite a list the Paul lays out for believers to consider. We know and confess that at one time (or many) or another we have been guilty, very guilty of all of them on that list. The reality is that sin is not very far from anyone of us. Listen to Jesus’ words: "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander"(MATTHEW 15:19).
E. Make no mistake. It sometimes is just all too easy for some to think, “Not me. I am not as bad as everyone else”. Again it makes no difference, the law of God condemns everyone. God does not keep track of the number of sins one does. God does not rate them as good, bad, or worst. For our Lord sin is sin is sin. In the end we are told: "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it" (JAMES 2:10). One sin condemns the one sinner – every one.
F. Are to throw up our hands in despair? No! It is for freedom that God has set us free. God’s truth reveals to each and every believer that they are free indeed. This freedom comes simply and purely out of God’s great love and divine grace for each and every believer. Our lives are changed, forever by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. "But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life"(ROMANS 6:22).
TRANS.: STAND FIRM IN CHRISTIAN FREEDOM. Believers have been set free from the slavery of sinning. Avoiding sin leaves an emptiness that needs filling. This emptiness is replace for believers --
II. SET FREE FOR LOVING SERVICE TO OTHERS
A. Verse 13b warns against falling into the false teachings of the Judaizers. Laws, works are not freedom.
1. Rather faith reveals love for others, verse 14. Verse 15 warns against not loving one another.
2. The conflict and battle were always present do what is good or listen to evil.
B. Paul provides the answer for the strength of each believer in verse 16 (and verse 18).
1. God’s Holy Spirit, which worked faith in their hearts through grace, is the answer.
2. By the power of the Holy Spirit these believers will use their faith for loving service.
C. Paul puts forth another list. This is a list concerning the Christians’ faithful living in verses 22,23.
1. Note: against such things there is no law! There is no law against love, joy, peace….
2. Verses 24, 25 remind these believers how Christ died for them that they might live for him!