Summary: As we celebrate and remember this Memorial Day weekend, we will examine the costs of freedom and ask whether we are living up to the legacy of freedom and faith that we’ve inherited.
Memorial Day Weekend 2009
The Costs of Freedom
1 Cor. 10:1-13
May 24, 2009
What is freedom to you? We take a break from the parables to celebrate this special weekend and hear how God speaks to us at these special times of celebration. Memorial Day reminds us that freedom does not come without cost. Whether we think in terms of the freedom found in country that was bought by the sacrifice of countless lives or the freedom that comes through Christ that was purchased by his blood, freedom costs. So today we look at “The Costs of Freedom.”
The pastor called the children forward for the children’s sermon and held up a very ugly looking shirt. “This shirt is one that I wear around the house during the summer but someone recently told me that it was ugly and should be thrown away.”
“Now we all have the freedom to have our own opinions but this particular comment it really hurt me. Should I forgive this person?”
His own daughter raised her hand and answered, “Of course you should.”
“Why? This person really hurt my feelings.”
To which his daughter wisely added, “Because your married to her!”
In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul recounts the story of Israel and the exodus from Egypt. Except Paul gives us an interpretation based on the aspect of freedom, which he uses to teach the church at Corinth regarding the freedom that those who believe have and how it should be treated. We’ll look at that around July 4th. Today we are going to limit our focus on the costs of freedom.
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry." We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
The Israelites had an incredible freedom given to them. They were slaves being worked to death and then God miraculously delivered them. But despite all the miracles that they saw and experienced, they kept stumbling. They were free but they used their freedom in destructive ways. Indulged in pagan revelry. Created idols. They committed sexual immorality. They tested God. “This isn’t so bad. God really won’t have a problem if I do this or that because it isn’t that bad, is it? It isn’t like I’m some serial killer.” They grumbled and complained against the person God chose to lead them and grumbled against God.
The result was that their destructive behavior destroyed them. They had been given an enormous gift of freedom but they misused and even abused that freedom. They took it for granted and failed to use their freedom responsibly.
Freedom always has costs. Not just one cost but usually many costs. Moses paid a great price. The Irsraelites paid a great price of suffering. Christ was even with them in the desert according to Paul as symbolized by the rock from which God brought forth water.
Now Paul in this letter has already detailed the sacrifices of Jesus and himself on behalf of the people at Corinth as well as all people. And what Paul is leading up to is that freedom means that sacrifices will need to continue to be made.
We worship in freedom because of the sacrifices of people who died in wars. People who gave their lives for the cause of freedom. People who sacrificed so that we have building to worship in. On Memorial Day we remember their sacrifices and at the same time ask God what sacrifices do we need to make in order to continue this legacy of freedom.