Summary: Epiphany 5(C) - The Holy Spirit provides freedom: freedom through Christ and freedom to serve Christ.
THE HOLY SPIRIT PROVIDES FREEDOM
February 5, 2006 - Epiphany 5 - ROMANS 8:1-9
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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
Today, if you looked inside the bulletin, saw the theme and listened to our text, we are going to talk about freedom. There probably is no greater feeling on earth and our lifetime than to experience freedom. We, of course, live in a nation that is free, and have freedom to do many things. We are free to worship, free to express our opinion, and free to do just about anything we want to do. Yet, sometimes we are held in slavery and captivity, aren’t we? We might think of the cares and worries of this life that weigh heavily upon us. We heard that in Job, our first lesson, where Job says, "There’s nothing worth left living for in this life." He tosses and turns in bed. Job thinks he is not going to find happiness. Job is right in the fact that this world is truly a world, which Scripture describes as a veil of tears.
Today we celebrate the fact that God has set us free. The Holy Spirit gives to us freedom through the knowledge of truth and the message of salvation. One more example of what it feels like to be free. During our lifetime each one of another or us at one time owed a debt. We probably had to make payments every month for land or a house or a car or machinery or something. When we got to that last payment, what freedom we felt when there were no more monthly bills coming for that item. The Lord’s freedom is far greater than any earthly freedom, a feeling multiplied by thousands--the freedom from sin, death and the devil. Paul writes in Galatians: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1). Christ has set you and I as believers free from the troubles of this life, free from the cares of this world, and free from the power of sin, from the snares of Satan, and even from death itself. What does Paul tell us?
THE HOLY SPIRIT PROVIDES FREEDOM:
I. Freedom through Christ
II. Freedom to serve Christ.
I. FREEDOM THROUGH CHRIST
When you get the chance today, read chapter 7 of Romans. At the end of this chapter Paul is struggling with sin. Paul is struggling with the fact that he is a wretched man. He says that, "What a wretched man I am. Who is going to rescue me from this body of death?" That is the question that fills Paul’s thoughts. In chapter 8 Paul has his answer. The Holy Spirit gives him the answer, and he gives us the answer. Our text begins: "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Paul has found that Christ Jesus is going to set him free from that body of death, because Christ Jesus does not condemn him. Christ Jesus came to save him, and he has freedom through Christ. The Spirit now gives this freedom to Paul from God through Christ.
Verse 2: "Because through Jesus Christ the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Paul knew that sin was around him. Paul knew that he was going to face death. Paul also knew that Christ Jesus came, and paid the price that was demanded of the law--by being perfect and never sinning. Christ paid for the demands that were made by death by being put to death and coming back to life. Jesus promised his disciples that he was going ahead (to heaven) to prepare a place. Christ says that in heaven there are many rooms for the believers.
He continues by describing that the law is powerless: "For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering." Paul is writing this letter to the believers at Rome. You can picture in your mind the Mediterranean Sea and how the nations surrounded it. Jerusalem was located far away to the east and Rome to the northwest. They are almost at the ends of the known civilized world at that time. Most of the believers in Rome weren’t there in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified. It was too far away. Paul had to remind them time and time again that yes, this Jesus Christ was sent by God, was crucified by man, and was raised back to life by the power of God. In this way Jesus paid the price for sin. That was one of the purposes of this letter to encourage these believers in Rome who could not be at the crucifixion. Paul reminds those who were not there that Christ did indeed come to live, die and rise again. The law was powerless to save them, but not Christ who had all the power in the world. Jesus came from God to redeem them.