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Summary: Uses patriotic theme to discuss spiritual freedom.

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“TRUE FREEDOM” Gal. 4:28-5:1

INTRO – What is your mental picture of freedom? On this Sunday after the 4th of July, maybe the picture of our flag, “Old Glory,” flying in the wind, or the Marines on the island of Iwo Jima hoisting the flag comes to your mind. Or maybe our military personnel serving in the Middle East right now comes to your mind. Or maybe the picture of our nation’s founding fathers signing the Declaration of Independence comes to your mind. Maybe you see fireworks exploding as you hear the Star Spangled Banner in your mind.

Let me share with you a story about freedom. Fall of 1988, presidential campaign in full swing. But instead of evening news focusing on Bush and Dukakis, nation’s attention was on Bonnett and Crossbeak, 2 California whales. Eskimos…”Archimedean screw tractor”…National Guard helicopter…2 icebreakers from Soviet Union. World celebrated as the 2 whales finally silently slipped into the ocean and into freedom.

Freedom is precious to everyone, even whales! We’ve celebrated this weekend the freedom that is ours as citizens of the United States, freedom that was purchased by the blood of many who died so that we might be free. And we ought to celebrate that freedom. But how much more should we celebrate the freedom that is ours as citizens of heaven, freedom that was purchased by the blood of One who died so that we might be free, our wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus X!

P continues to wrestle for the freedom of the Galatian Xns. He sees them trapped in the icy grip of legalism as they tried to approach G and earn His favor by keeping the Law. He was working as hard as the Eskimos. He so desperately wanted to see these Xns free from the trap of legalism that the Judaizers were laying in front of them. He wanted them to experience the true freedom that was theirs as children of G.

That is what is available to all of us here today – true freedom! True spiritual freedom is available to you today. True freedom:

- Doesn’t mean you are free to sin, but you are free to serve.

- Doesn’t mean you are free to rebel, but you are free to revel in the wonder of abundant, eternal life.

- Doesn’t mean you are free to be wicked, but you are free to be a worshipper.

- Doesn’t mean you are free to do things that are wrong, but you are free to do things that are right, bringing honor and glory to G w/ the living of your life.

- Doesn’t mean you are free to do evil, but you are free to be available to be used by G to help others know how great is to live in spiritual freedom.

“Legalists in our churches today warn that we dare not teach people about the [freedom] we have in X lest it result in religious anarchy. The Xn who lives by faith is not going to become a rebel. Quite the contrary, he is going to experience the inner discipline that is far better than the outer discipline of man-made rules.” (Warren Wiersbe) So many are afraid of teaching others about G’s grace, about the fact that we no longer have to live under the weight of a heavy set of rules and regulations. They are afraid that if we tell folks about G’s grace and the freedom that accompanies it, they will go out and live any way they want and forget about G.

The rules and regulations make us feel safe b/c we think we can control them and we can control others by using the rules. We become so concerned w/ changing a person’s outward behavior that we forget about inner change that has to happen before the outer behavior changes. The Lord spoke to Isaiah about this very thing when He said in Isa. 29:13, “These people come near to me w/ their mouth and honor me w/ their lips (outer behavior), but their hearts are far from me (inner spiritual condition). Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.”

Salvation by grace through faith in X alone will bring true freedom to our lives. Trying to earn our salvation by our good works and the keeping of the Law will bring total bondage. Living by faith in G’s grace every day will bring true freedom to our lives. Trying to live by faith in our good works to earn G’s approval will keep us in bondage. Jerry Bridges – “Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the REACH of G’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the NEED of G’s grace.”

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