Sermons

Summary: We are called to be God’s ambassadors proclaiming freedom.

WHERE IS FREEDOM?

2 Corinthians 3:17

Pastor Brian Matherlee

July 1, 2007

Strange United States laws

from the book "Loony Laws" by Robert Pelton

In Ottumwa, Iowa, "It is unlawful for any male person, within the corporate limits of the (city), to wink at any female person with whom he is unacquainted."

In Los Angeles, you cannot bathe two babies in the same tub at the same time.

In Zion, Ill., it is illegal for anyone to give lighted cigars to dogs, cats, and other domesticated animals kept as pets.

In Carmel, N.Y., a man can’t go outside while wearing a jacket and pants that do not match.

In Gary, Ind., persons are prohibited from attending a movie house or other theater and from riding a public streetcar within four hours of eating garlic.

In St. Louis, it’s illegal to sit on the curb of any city street and drink beer from a bucket.

In Hartford, Conn., you aren’t allowed to cross a street while walking on your hands.

In Michigan, a woman isn’t allowed to cut her own hair without her husband’s permission.

In Baltimore, it’s illegal to throw bales of hay from a second-story window within the city limits. It’s also illegal to take a lion to the movies.

In Oxford, Ohio, it’s illegal for a woman to strip off her clothing while standing in front of a man’s picture.

In Nicholas County, W. Va., no member of the clergy is allowed to tell jokes or humorous stories from the pulpit during a church service.

In Pennsylvania, "any motorist driving along a country road at night must stop every mile and send up a rocket signal, wait 10 minutes for the road to be cleared of livestock, and continue."

In Carrizozo, N.M., it’s forbidden for a female to appear unshaven in public (includes legs and face).

Laws are given to curb freedom gone awry but sometimes the laws are the things that have gone awry. We need true freedom. The kind of freedom God intended for all of us.

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Cor. 3:17

If freedom is ushered in by the presence of the Spirit it follows that it is ushered out by the absence of the Spirit.

America is increasingly in bondage today because of a misunderstanding of freedom. Freedom is only worthwhile as it is governed by life-giving principles. The architects of the Declaration of Independence expressed it well that freedom is a gift of God. The apostle Paul cautioned in Galatians 5:13 “You brothers, were called to be free, but do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature.” Our nation has enjoyed the God given gifts of freedom but recently has followed the unfortunate pattern of Israel and turned away from God’s principles that perpetuate that freedom. When trouble is allowed by God to gain our attention and turn us back to him we are like the Israelites in the days of the Judges—we turn back for a while but with each return it is less passionate and complete.

The hope of freedom is found solely in Christ! The ambassadors of that freedom are those who have been found by him! If bondage of people is increasing then where have we abdicated our responsibility?

1. We have become an institution instead of a movement.

a. The goal of an institution is to perpetuate itself—the goal of a movement is to proclaim a message. The earliest disciples were referred to in Acts 9:2 as “the Way”.

b. Are our traditions more important than the culture God has called us to permeate? Paul said “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” I Cor. 9:22

c. We have become inwardly focused instead of outwardly mobile.

2. We have expected the government to do what God called us to do.

a. Jesus said in Matthew 25 that there are times we have failed to visit, clothe, and meet the basic needs of those less fortunate than ourselves.

b. It is not the sole reason for welfare but it is a contributing factor to the number of people in desperate need today.

c. When we don’t meet felt needs we can meet spiritual needs. Jesus fed people who were hungry and healed those who were sick. Because it was inconvenient, who have we turned away that God wanted to minister to through us?

3. We have stood on the sidelines because the frontlines of the battle were too heated for the fainthearted faith we have settled into.

a. Pastor Neimoller a doctor in Nazi Germany wrote the following poem prior to World War II. It has a message that we need to consider today.

In Germany they first came for the Communists,

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