July 6, 2009

"Freedom Fries"

A sermon I gave yesterday (7/5/09) at our Sunrise Campus.
So we are starting a series entitled “All American Ideas” and the best title I could come up with was “Freedom Fries”. It really has little to do with what I want to talk about this morning other than the idea of freedom, and specifically freedom in Christ. When I was told what the series was going to be and knowing that I would be preaching on Independence Day Weekend, "Freedom Fries" was the cheesiest (no pun intended...get it? cheese fries) title I came up with so I decided to go with it. Ok, enough about cheese fries...err, I mean "Freedom Fries"...I want to ask you a couple questions before we jump in:

How many of you need to be in control or feel like you have control? How many of you have ever had a decision made for you or taken from you? How many of you have ever had times when the outcome of a certain situation, circumstance or relationship has been taken out of your control?

If you're like me, you could relate to each one of those questions and often times find that you never really had control in the first place. And the times when you did "have control" you just messed things up, at least that's my story most of the time. Sometimes all of this can lead to a sense of being trapped by fear, doubt or worry. When the worries of this world cage us in, we quickly realize that despite living in the "Land of the Free" we often times don't feel so free.

This is what led me to think about what freedom in Christ can mean and look like for you and I this morning. Now there are probably more things that you could think of that Jesus wants to set us free from or set us free to do but I feel like these four points will give us a good place to start. If you other ideas you want to share of what freedom in Christ looks like, please don't hesitate to let me know. Ok, let's jump in...

1. Jesus wants to set you free from religion.

-Matt. 11:29-30 (28-30 "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." The Message)
-This is the idea that Paul talks about when he mentions the ‘Law’ in a number of his letters.
-Jesus says that if you and I know Him, we will obey His commands.
-Jesus is setting us free to focus on a relationship with Him and not the rules or regulations.

2. Jesus wants to set you free from the concerns of this world, but not for this world.

-Sometimes we get distracted by the cares of this world and find ourselves held captive to policies, staff directives, finances, bosses and expectations others have for us.
-John 16:33
-John 14:27
-John 17:15-16
-Jesus recognizes this world desperately needs people like you and me who have a relationship with Him to care for it. I think He also wants us to see that the world doesn't need more religion but rather people who are following Him.

3. Jesus wants to set you free to love and serve.

-Gal. 5:13-15 (13-15 “It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows. For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?” The Message)
-This means we are set free to forgive those who have hurt us and to show mercy to those we’d rather seek revenge on.

4. Jesus wants to set you free from yourself

-Rom. 6:17-18 ( 15-18 ”So, since we're out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we're free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it's your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you've let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you've started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!” The Message)
-In the very next chapter of Romans Paul talks about doing the very things he hates doing…even when we think we have control we don’t
-You and I are not in control. If even for a moment we had it, we’ve lost it. We can’t even stop doing the things we know we don’t want to do.
-Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.” In order to have life to the fullest, we must allow Christ to set us free from ourselves.


Matt said...

-Matt. 11:29-30
"free your self from religion"

I love this verse!!! It has been a verse of heated debate within the Dinwiddie household, and I think it's clear that Jesus is not bound by the restraints of "religion" or Christianity. I often wonder how effective Christians could be if they put there religion aside and just loved people.

john 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Life to the full is understanding the freedom you preach of. Love it.
Keep up the good work.