Summary: Jesus promised us that we would be free, but what does that mean? And what doesn't it mean? This message looks at those two questions.
Since it was first Introduced in Dr. Seuss’ 1954 Horton Hears a Who, Whoville has been a staple in popular culture. In 1957 Seuss reintroduced Whoville in his book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the location and residents have been popularized in different media through the years. There has been a TV special of each book, a direct to VHS version of Horton Hears a Who, three movies, a Broadway special and a 19-minute paint on glass animation entitled, I Hear You, was released in Russia in 1992.
And that really has nothing to do with our series, other than it provided a really cool kickoff point. And our visit to Whoville is based on Who We are in God’s eyes.
You see, often our identity comes from how others see us or how we see ourselves. And while that is not completely bad, if that is the only way we define ourselves as Jesus Followers then it is a flawed matrix.
Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
So, if that is your reality, if you belong to Christ, then your identity is new as well, and God has specific descriptions of you as his new creation
Over the past few weeks, we've looked at how God calls us his children, victors, disciples, ambassadors and his friends. And I trust that some of those have resonated with you.
This morning I want to focus on the words of Jesus that were read earlier.
John 8:31-32 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Free what tremendous connotations this conjures up in our mind. Freedom a concept, an ideal a theory. And yet it is more than that because it's a concept, an ideal and a theory worth dying for and there aren’t many of those around today.
It was for freedom that Abraham Lincoln split his country with civil war. It was for freedom that Orange Scott left the Methodist Episcopal church and formed the Wesleyan Church. It was for freedom that Canadian soldiers fought and Died at Vimy Ridge and Dieppe.
It was for freedom that Martin Luther King Jr. organized the freedom march, went to jail and eventually died. It was for freedom that my great grandfather escaped the tyranny of Estonia, and left his parents and brothers and sisters to start a new life in Canada.
And it was for a much greater freedom that Jesus Christ the Son of God, Emmanuel, the Messiah left his home in heaven, was born of a virgin, lived on this earth for thirty-three years and died on a cross. For your Freedom. Free at last, free at last thank God almighty we're free at last.
It was this freedom that Paul wrote about in Galatians 5:13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
At that point, freedom was an even more marvellous, more wonderful and more beautiful concept. Because in the time of Paul life was polarized, you were either free or you weren’t and there was no middle ground.
And it is to our detriment that we have become so used to freedom, so convinced that it is our God-given right, so blasé about the fact that we are free to do virtually anything we want that the concept of freedom no longer really means much to us at all. That word, that concept means nothing; it is no longer marvellous, wonderful or beautiful. It has become just another word, just a collection of vowels and consonances.
And yet there are millions of Canadians today who are in bondage. They enjoy their external freedom, the benefits of their political freedoms, and the rewards of their economic freedom and yet they are slaves. Slaves just as surely as if they were black Africans in Atlanta Georgia two hundred years ago. Slaves just as Onesimus was a slave 2000 Years ago when Paul wrote about him in the New Testament. And they don't even realize it.
And the bible says, you, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. Who was called to be free? Paul said, “You, my brothers and sisters.” Christians are called to be free. And Christ offers the only true freedom that There is.
So, let’s begin with 1) What Being Free Isn’t
So often in this world, we hear people who make the fatal mistake of believing that freedom is the freedom to sin. Yet that isn't freedom at all. You say "Oh yes it is I'm free to do whatever I want to do.”