Summary: What is the purpose of our freedom in Christ? How does our relationship in Christ relate to our relationship with others? What struggles do we has christians have against the flesh ? against the law?
Walking the Tightrope of Christian Liberty
If you have ever been to the circus, you can recall the tightrope walker on the platform high above the crowd, it sometimes seemed that she could almost touch the top of the circus tent. In front of her was this silver stand of thin wire that is barely visible to the naked eye of the crowd below. It almost seemed that this wire was endless. The tightrope walker offers a bow of confidence, takes a deep breath, and slowly begins to walk across the wire one foot in front of the other. With unbroken concentration and focus, she reaches the other platform, takes a bow and breathes a sigh of relief.
Like this tightrope walker in a circus, Christians are faced with a silimar experience- walking a tightrope trying to avoid two extremes - legalism and licentiousness. For you see as we will examine together this morning. - God calls us to keep on walking the tight -rope of Christian Liberty.
True Christian freedom involves restrains- that help not hinder our spiritual growth and service. In fact in Galatians 5, verses 13-15 gives us three principles to follow concerning our Christian Liberty.
For brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion of flesh,but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in this one word,even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
Principle 1. WE ARE NOT FREE TO INDULGE THE FLESH (13b,24)
A. Flesh in this passage, doesn’t mean our physical bodies . It doesn’t mean skin that is strenched over our bones and muscles. Flesh here refers to our fallen sinful nature- That propensity we have within us to sin, In fact , the word fleash is used 7 Times in the course of our passage today.
We are not to use our Christian Liberty for opportunities for sin but for Service. In other words: CHRISTIAN LIBERTY IS FREEDOM FROM SIN TO SERVE THE LORD NOT FREEDOM TO SIN AND NOT SERVING SELF.
Notice the word but in v13,15 of our text (Gal 5:13ff) this is the greek word ALLA. It is the strongest contrast possible. It identifies a complete turn around. It signifies a complete opposite.
We also find this word used again in reference to our Christian Liberty in I Peter 2:16
.... and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness ( intend for sin), BUT as servants of God.
You see folks, scripture is clear - WE ARE NOT FREE TO INDULGE THE FLESH, rather we are to use this freedom as servants of God.
HOW? The answer is in the next phrase - BY love, Serve one another.
John reminds us in his gospel that a mark of a true disciple of Christ is the love that is demonstrated.
There was a chrous sung back in the 1970’s
They will know we are Christians by our love, yes they will know we are Christians by our love.
How true that is , Jesus reminds us in Matt 22, that the greatest commandment of all is Love God , second greatest command - To love our neighbor as ourself .
You see we are instruments of God’s love to a dying world. We are to take his love and live it out to a Christless world. With the hope and desire to see God’s love working in us and develop a desire for God’s great love. - (Matt 5:16).
By LOVE, SERVE ONE ANOTHER.
How can we serve one another?
It begins with having the right prospective - J-O -Y .
Jesus, Others, and You.
Thus, WE ARE NOT FREE TO INDULGE IN THE SELFISH DESIRES OF THE FLESH, rather we are to use our freedom to honor God and Serve others,
Serving is a humbling experience, It involves putting others before our own needs.
Not only are we to have the right prospective, we are to demonstrate the right attitude.
An attitude like Abigail in I Samuel 25- Giving when you get nothing in return.
Principle 1 WE ARE NOT FREE TO INDULGE IN THE SELFISH DESIRES OF THE FLESH
Principle 2: WE ARE NOT FREE TO DISREGARD THE NEEDS OF OTHERS (v14)
It involves the Romans 14 Principle, freely giving up our freedom, because it may cause someone to stumble.
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tempted him , saying Master, what shall I do to inherit Eternal Life? He said unto him what is written in the law? How readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt Love the Lord with all thou heart, with all thy soul and with all thy Strength, and with all thy Mind and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, thou hast answereed right: do this and thou shalt live.