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Summary: As people respond to Mel Gibson’s film, there is one truth that must be made clear: Neither the Jews nor the Romans had power to put Christ to death apart from His voluntary act. "No man takes my life from Me. I have power to lay it down and to take it ag

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Easter Series # 1

“The Liberating Purpose of Christ’s Death”

February 29, 2004

Subject: Christian Freedom

Theme: Christ, the Liberator

Passage: John 8: 21 - 36

There is a wonderful verse in Hebrews that comes to mind as we move toward Easter.

“Looking unto Jesus... who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross...” Hebrews 12:2

In the midst of the discussion of whether Mel Gibson’s film is anti-Semitic, and who is to blame for Christ’s death, there is one central thought that I want to press home again and again during the next seven weeks leading up to Good Friday: The Lord Jesus did not die as a martyr but as a heaven sent Saviour. The Jews didn’t put Christ to death, though they certainly tried to do so on many occasions. The Romans did not put Christ to death, for Jesus made it absolutely clear to Pilate that he could have no power whatever against Jesus if it were not given to him

from above. The Lord Jesus was fulfilling a divine plan for the redemption of mankind and no one could take His life, nor could anyone restrain Him from dying on the cross because by this means He would purchase your salvation and draw to Himself the people of God who will be His glory and His crown for all of eternity. “Therefore the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from my Father.” John 10: 17, 18.

So, what will the passage we have read this morning show us about the purpose of Christ’s death? Here is the answer: The death of Christ was necessary for the liberation of slaves from the bondage of sin.

1. The Search for Freedom

a. Freedom cannot be gained by casting off all restraints.

b. Casting off all restraints leads to the most appalling slavery.

c. There can be no freedom apart from acknowledging our bondage.

2. Christ came to set the prisoners free.

a. He accepted the ultimate penalty for the sin which enslaves us.

b. He lifts us from the bondage of slavery into the freedom of sons.

c. This freedom involves knowing and embracing the truth.

3. The Christian life is maintained by living in the freedom of the Spirit.

a. True freedom is not license to do what we want.

b. True freedom is not conformity to certain rules, but love to Christ.

c. The evidence of our salvation is seen in a continuing walk of faith.

1. The Search for Freedom

We live in a day when people are searching for complete and absolute freedom. It might be said that Lincoln gave his life for the emancipation of America from slavery, and Martin Luther King gave his life for the emancipation of America from segregation. It might be said that two world wars were fought for the protection of freedom in the western world which we call democracy, and the United States seems to have taken on the role of liberator within the rest of the world, but when all is said and done people can still find no real freedom in this world.

a. Freedom cannot be gained by casting off all restraints.

In their search for freedom, modern man has cast aside every rule in the book, insisting on

one’s right to do whatever one desires to do. What has been gained?

If you receive e-mail, you have probably received and read, the following prayer by Minister Joe Wright in opening a new session of the Kansas Senate, but it is worth repeating:

“Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ’Woe to those who call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.

We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and call it Pluralism. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen!"

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