Summary: Once we experience the Freedom of Christ...How do we stay Free...this sermon will tell you.
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Staying Free in our Inner Man
Pastor Jerry C. Vargo
A. Staying Free in our Inner Man! That is the title of today’s message. God is concerned MOSTLY with all of us staying free in our inner man.
B. Listen to¡K
"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."
C. Listen to what Oswald Chambers had to say about freedom¡K
The Spirit of God is always the spirit of liberty; the spirit that is not of God is the spirit of bondage, the spirit of oppression and depression. The Spirit of God convicts vividly and tensely, but He is always the Spirit of liberty. God who made the birds never made birdcages; it is men who make birdcages, and after a while we become cramped and can do nothing but chirp and stand on one leg. When we get out into God’s great free life, we discover that that is the way God meant us to live "the glorious liberty of the children of God."
-- Oswald Chambers in The Moral Foundations of Life
D. He makes it clear in His word that it is not what goes into the man that defiles him but what comes out of him. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
E. When Samuel first looked at Eliab, he was tempted to think that this man of great strength was God’s anointed and soon to be king. However, God had a different view¡K
"But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
F. Church¡XGod is looking at our hearts more than our outward righteousness. And you know what? He knows the difference between true Christ-Centered Hearts and Outward-Focused Appearance.
G. Listen to¡K
"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
H. So¡Xthis is one reason we have been so focused on the transformation of our Inner Man lately. We are finding the Keys to the Kingdom. God is showing us how to GET FREE! But what happens AFTER we get FREE? How do we STAY FREE?
There are a couple of things we must do to STAY free¡K
1. Fellowship and receive nurture from the Body and our Families¡XAllowing God to awaken our sleepy spirit man.
2. Release Bitter Root Judgments¡XForgiving others, self, and even God.
3. Release Bitter Root Expectancies¡XThereby expecting God’s Blessing rather than negative responses.
4. Release all Inner Vows¡XResulting in the law of sowing and reaping being stopped by the cross¡Xand receiving the benefit that we had bound up.
5. Start thinking about what you’re thinking about¡Xthus allowing the Holy Spirit to help us think with the Mind of Christ.
6. Develop new behaviors¡Xunderstanding the word "by" in Romans 12:1.
7. Forgive ALL offenses¡XThereby opening the door for a greater release of God’s forgiveness in our lives.
Transition: You can do all these things and still slip back into patterns that you had prior to this newfound freedom! You may even be tempted to think that all of this was bogus and it didn’t work. LIES, LIES, LIES!
Fear will paralyze you! Have you ever seen a dead squirrel in the middle of the road? How did he get there? Fear killed him. Not stupidity. Not poor calculation. Ever seen the Geico commercials where the squirrels strategize on how to make a car go off the road. They run out at the last minute and make the cars swerve off the road? They then give each other high-fives! Well¡Xthat’s not quite what is happening.
The Squirrels are Paralyzed by FEAR. As they sit on the side of the road wanting to cross they get scared. Along comes a car and in that paralyzed state¡Xthey take off running! Only problem is that the FEAR they have sends them right under the tires of the car coming by. Thus, squirrels are killed by the very things they fear¡XKIND OF REMINDS ME OF THE MANY CHRISTIANS I KNOW WHO GET FREE BUT THEN FEAR MAKES THE RUN RIGHT BACK INTO WHAT THEY HATE!
Let me tell you a story¡K
An Arab chief tells a story of a spy who was captured and then sentenced to death by a general in the Persian army. This general had the strange custom of giving condemned criminals a choice between the firing squad and the big, black door. As the moment for execution drew near, the spy was brought to the Persian general, who asked the question, "What will it be: the firing squad or the big, black door?" The spy hesitated for a long time. It was a difficult decision. He chose the firing squad. Moments later shots rang out confirming his execution. The general turned to his aide and said, "They always prefer the known way to the unknown. It is characteristic of people to be afraid of the undefined. Yet, we gave him a choice." The aide said, "What lies beyond the big door?" "Freedom," replied the general. "I’ve known only a few brave enough to take it."