July 4 2021

Series: One God

Good morning. Good morning. Good morning. I can’t really see you, but I could see you and half of your faces covered up, so I know it’s just good to be together. Well, happy Fourth of July. Today is a special day, and David thank you so much for all you to share. It’s just good to put it in perspective what today is. It really is a special day. It’s July 4th. So, yeah, this is this is probably my favorite holiday.

But before before I go on. My name’s Tyler. My wife is Molly and she’s doing Kingdom kids there in the second row. Grandma’s was helping somewhere, but, yeah, it’s just good to be together and today’s is a really important day, you know, for me it’s it’s an awe inspiring day and get some fuzzy feelings that come up. And, hey, I have a lot of memories associated with Fourth of July. I know that some of you guys probably have some plans later today.

I pray that the rain holds back, but there’s there’s some plans later today Lake Eola. We’re going to head out there with a bunch of the tribe ministry and we’re going to get to see fireworks prayerfully. And so I’m sure you guys are doing something like that. But but, yeah, today there’s just a lot a lot going on. So I want to talk about this. Great. Great. This is K.K and she is a. Traveling a lot, trying to do something pretty amazing as she is on her way to the Olympics.

You accomplished an amazing thing that that even those that try hardly ever get the opportunity when you get to run in the Olympics this summer. In the Olympics is you can talk to her about all her training. She’s going to be out from weekend to weekend. So I know there’s a lot, but we just want to say we’re proud of you.

But every nation gets to come together on at the Olympics every four years. Every nation comes together and every nation has has an independent state, almost every nation, I should say. I Wikipedia’d it and there’s over 100 nations that have independence day. And ours happens to be today. But there’s a lot of maybe if it gets rained out, you guys just do some little fireworks in your driveway right next to poppets. Hopefully the watermelon will still be there for you, but maybe you can watch a movie because there’s a lot of Independence Day movies.

And one of my favorite is The Patriot. The Patriot goes all the way back to the American Revolution is super inspiring. Right. But maybe some of you guys like Hamilton. Does anyone like Hamilton? Yeah, some great friends. I was convinced I wouldn’t see it. And then they convinced me and I watched it several times. It’s amazing. That’s probably what we will do if it gets rained out tonight. But if you’re more of an action kind of guy, a little more modern, maybe you’re going to watch Independence Day, right?

That we can make sure we’re safe from aliens because a lot of things confront can threaten our freedom. But my all time favorite has to be Braveheart. Yeah, because especially the last scene where William Wallace he’s there and he’s he’s been fighting for freedom for the Scottish I haven’t seen in a couple of years. But maybe tonight I’ll watch it. Right. It is an amazing movie and it transcends cultures. So you connect with it right away. But his last cry.

Does anyone know what he says? That one word, that one liner. Freedom! right? It’s so, long story, I had the soundtrack. I won’t go into that story. I had to do a coding class. I’ll just tell you, I had to do a coding class. I was so into this movie in college but I’m so bad at coding that I couldn’t it took me days to figure out what was I click a button and it was a Braveheart website and you click the button and you scream freedom, but I couldn’t get it to work.

So for days all I heard was freedom and I started to resent that. But freedom does not get old. No matter how many times you hear it, right. Freedom it resonates with our heartstrings. Just that word. It’s inspiring. And people are always fighting for freedom. I love freedom and I know I’m not alone and I know you guys love freedom too. I know this holiday means a lot around the world, whether we’re American or not.

American freedom has done a lot for this world. Changed it. I personally hate restrictions. I’m so excited I don’t have to wear a mask because I’m up here. I like this because I’m so excited that I’m excited to share what we’re going to share today. But restrictions, I don’t like signs that start with no. Like I hate signs. No swimming just makes me want to swim, you know, no skating all these things, no eating food in the auditorium.

But by nature, anything that just threatens my freedom, I’m ready to push back against it. No smoking. Right. I don’t smoke, but it makes me it tempt me to want to smoke. You see a sign because I love freedom. You know, on our honeymoon, was probably the second day we were in Helen, Georgia, we went to a movie, falls, gorgeous waterfalls. The the waterfalls are just so inviting. And there’s a sign that says, no, no past this point. And our first marriage conflict happened right there.

But I didn’t even read the sign because you got Gods nature calling you and you got this puny little sign like who’s voice right? That’s a broken self serving. That’s not where we’re going, but where we’re going is Galatians. Go ahead and turn in your bibles to Galatians. Because I know that this longing for freedom isn’t something that just applies for me it’s for all of us. All of us feel it’s calling, it’s longing, we want it. And the truth is, it’s because we are wired for freedom.

We were designed for freedom. American freedom is great. What I’m about to talk about today makes American freedom look really small. So as you turn your Bible to Galatians, I want to read a quote, though. I do want to honor the the declaration of independence and America, the land of the free. We wrote these words, we wrote, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and that they are endowed with by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty or freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

That these these men, many hundreds of years ago, they said, what’s this longing for freedom? We all know it. It’s true. It’s not some subjective thing that we’re going to say we’re going to be free because we want to. We know in our hearts we were designed for freedom. And it’s a right that we have and it’s given by God. That’s what they were saying. It’s a longing age old, right? Wars have been fought for freedom.

Our war of independence was fought on the basis of freedom. That one word summarizes why we’ve gone to war for all sorts of freedoms right on every front, civil rights, whole era. And we’re still fighting for freedom, all kinds of freedom. Communism, right. World wars. We will join on a world scale to fight for freedom. And this has gone back thousands and thousands of years. And we all feel it. But we feel even today, I figure if any of you guys are getting your license when you’re young, write for teens out here.

I couldn’t wait for the day when I got my license. It was like a special day. I get to be free from my parents in the car. And I think my parents are thinking the same thing. Right. Parents, I want my freedom. You go to soccer practice, you go to school, right. We want freedom. I can’t I can never forget the first drive I had by myself. Financial freedom. The other end of the spectrum.

You want to retire, right? You don’t want to have to go to your job forever. We want to set ourselves up for freedom. And if we want that, we we figure out a way to make it happen. And then if we’re in the midst of our careers, you know, we don’t want a boss that’s micromanaging us or overbearing. If you get to work from home this year, you’ve experienced some freedom there.

You get to work how I’m dressed want however you want, eat whatever you want. And I know some of you guys have got that freedom. So this is even today on a small scale. We want freedom. And so graduates I know, like college guys, girls, you want to graduate, don’t you? Right. You want at least summer break. Give me a break for two weeks. I know some of you guys have two weeks left of class in the couple of weeks of freedom.

Work hard, but earn your freedom. Right. So much freedom in this world needs to be earned or fought for. We’re going to talk about a different kind of freedom today. But there is a problem with freedom. And we all feel this, too, is kind of the unspoken problem. And that’s that freedom is fragile. it breaks so easily. It’s the second you have it, it’s in your hands. We know that it could be taken away at any moment.

It’s something so valuable. It’s so valuable. It costs so much. And even the richest of the rich like the point zero zero zero one percent, they know that too much money takes away that freedom. All they wanted with money was freedom. Right. They can’t buy it anymore. But freedom is so valuable. I say it’s the most valuable thing we have. So what is God’s word I have to say about this? Are you guys in Galatians? I think he has an interest in freedom and he has a concern for our freedom and a solution for this fragile freedom. In fact, I would say that freedom is the constant theme of the Bible. It is the theme of God’s redemptive story. That in the garden he made this beautiful place, and he placed Adam and Eve in it, and he said, you’re free, you are free. He’s guiding the freedom away from something that would steal their freedom.

Right. And they decide, I want to try that. And they find themselves in a trap and then freedom’s gone. And then God does all he can. And he sends Jesus and Jesus buys their freedom back and he buys our freedom back and that’s where we’ll land. But along the way, you see they become slaves in Egypt. He frees them. Right. These constant games. Freedom is a biblical theme that God wants to repeat over and over.

He frees them. He gives them people to guide them back to closeness with him, and then they find themselves in slavery or in captivity in Babylon. Again and again. Today in Galatians, I’m so excited and excited to read. I actually just I’m going to talk about a few short scriptures and land on that at the end of Galatians Chapter five. But I am going to thumb through so you might want to turn to Chapter one, just going to zoom through and walk you through so that we can get there, because I want you to see what this is all about, Galatians.

Remember, we looked at the Declaration of Independence, one of our original documents? Galatians, one of the original documents, one of the oldest documents in the New Testament. Right. Very close to Jesus. And all that meant in the early church, perhaps the first the first letter in the New Testament. And something that it was actually written prior to Acts fifteen, where we have this council and they’re talking about freedom in Christ. And do we need to be circumcised?

We need to enforce that. All these things. The Jews and Gentiles are mixing for the first time. And there were some problems with that. The Gentiles did not sign up to be Jews. They signed up to be Christians. And there are so many clashes of culture. And so, Paul, right here in the book of Galatians, this is really the wake up call to the Gospel of Freedom. This is the most passionate I’ve ever seen, Paul, in the Book of Galatians.

So let’s go ahead and read here. We’re going to thumb through. So a little context. The first two chapters, Paul is saying this is the gospel of Christ. It’s precious. Don’t let it become an egg on the floor. Right? Treat it with the worth that it deserves. It’s the gospel of freedom. And he says that in the first chapter, he’s saying you’re following a different way that pretends to be the good news, but is not the good news at all.

You’re being fooled. And he’s really concerned. And so he keeps going and in chapter two, he just talks about the gospel, how beautiful it is. And he introduces that some are talking about circumcision that’s on the table. All these Jewish laws and regulations their past where they’re coming from. And he’s saying, look, people are sneaking in among us and they want to spy on us and they want to take away our freedom. They want to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations.

But we refuse to give in to them for a single moment. We wanted to preserve the truth of the gospel message for you. This is so important to him. So he keeps going and he says, look, let’s just be real, you know, verse sixteen chapter two that we know people are not they’re made right by God by faith in Jesus, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Jesus so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Jesus, not because we obey the law.

For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law. He just makes it real like that’s a really sharp statement to all the Jews who all their lives have been trying to obey the law, the law, the law. Right. It’s a burdensome thing. I got I got the law right here. It’s this heavy laden thing. It’s got tons of rules. It’s got tons of dos and don’ts. I think that it’s probably not worth their time to talk about their laws, but sometimes Christianity can feel like that for us too right? Dos and don’ts.

Do this. Oh, it’s a lot. It’s a lot to bear. And it’s heavy. It’s it’s a lot. Verse 11 of chapter three. He says it’s clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law like I know you thought this is so precious. This has guided you. For anyone who’s grown up in church or around with moral parents, right. They’ve giving you good principles to live by. But he’s saying it’s clear no one can be made right with God by trying to keep this thing. The scriptures say it’s through faith that a righteous person has life. Its through faith. Very different than the law. Faith, the law. He’s making the case You don’t need it. You know, He’s saying the law it was designed to last until the coming of the child who was promised promised to Abraham. He’s talking about Jesus, that when Jesus came, this law was not it wasn’t needed, they just, you’re good. You don’t need the law.

Keep it over there. You know why? He’s saying that we’re free. He’s saying like burn it, like burn the checklist, the do’s and don’ts. Jesus filled it all because you can’t do it. So stop trying. Stop striving to be perfect or feeling if you’re on the brink of making a decision to become a Christian. I know this is a thing, people think I have to be better, like I have to scrub myself up a little bit before people will come and watch me be baptized.

I don’t want to fail. Right. I don’t want to fail. And when they’re saying that, they’re thinking, like, you really got to realize you failed. You know, there’s a point in the semester you’ve got so many F’s an A’s not going to do anything for you. Like drop the class if you can, and Jesus is giving us an opportunity to drop the class. We can stay in it if we want, but he’s really explicit what it means if you’re going to stay bogged down and trapped in the law.

Do you understand so far? In Galatians three, verse 22, he says, but the spirit, sorry, but the spirit, but the scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin. So we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ. And then he goes down and we’re almost here. I just want you to see the emotions of what Paul says. He’s like, I’m afraid for you. You’re going down that route. I fear for you.

And I’m pleading with you, please, please live as I do in freedom from these things. For I’ve become like you gentiles free from those laws. I’m free like the Gentiles they kind of get it, you know, they get it. They’re free. But there’s empathize with the there’s a vulnerability in a church where you say, look, free of the law. He was persecuted. He talks about how he was persecuted for that. And that’s kind of a scary wager to make.

But it is the true gospel. And the reason it’s scary is because people can take that the wrong way and say, I’m going to do whatever I want and I’m going to go wherever and say whatever. And freedom like like in the garden we find there is there’s a way that you can find yourself still enslaved. So even if it’s something other than the law. Right, it’s slave to sin. So we’re going to land here.

And this is the thought that we’re landing on Chapter five. And I’m going to read the whole chapte until verse twelve, chapter five. So Christ has truly set us free. I just want to land there. Its amazing, right? The law is taxing. Britain was very taxing to the Americans. Right. The laws taxing. It’s a lot dos don’t cross your eyes and dot your t’s. Wait, let me set up. I mix it up on purpose.

Right, because I’m free in Christ I don’t have to be perfect right? Do it. Dietrich Bonhoeffer says sin boldly don’t run to sin, but just know your sin is taken care of. It’s not it’s not something you have to walk on a tightrope while you’re focusing on Jesus. It’s the running towards the faith in Jesus. You’re free. He says in Christ you’re truly set free. He keeps going. I might want to just land on Galatians 5 now.

Make sure you stay free from a law and don’t get tied up again in slavery. Listen, I Paul tell you this. If you’re counting on circumcision to make you right with God then Christ will be of no benefit to you. I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole of Moses. If you you’re trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you’ve been cut off from Christ.

You have fallen away from God’s grace. But we know but we who know that. And we live by the spirit. We eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness that God has promised to us for when we place our faith in Jesus Christ, there’s no benefit in being circumcised or uncircumcised. What’s important is faith expressing itself through love. You were running the race so well, who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom.

This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads to the whole batch of dough. And I’m trusting God that he’s going to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you. Dear brothers and sisters, if you are still preaching that you must be circumcised, as some say I do, why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended.

I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would castrate themselves. You know what I mean about strong language. He’s like, you’re free or you’re not. Go all in or all out. That’s what he’s saying about freedom. Like every law. I mean, do it to a t. Do it more than you need to or don’t don’t subscribe to that anymore. Right. Turn to something else. You’re free.

You’re not almost free. You’re free. You’re free. And here we land in Chapter five verse 13. This is where we find our one point for the day, it’s verse 13, he says, for you’ve been called to live in freedom my brothers and sisters, but don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. I’ll keep going. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love for the whole law could be summed up in this one command.

Love your neighbor as yourself. But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out. Beware of destroying one another. You know, Freedom, he says you’ve been called it’s a calling it’s a calling. This is the freedom’s call at the deepest level. Like I said, every other freedom we have, they’re not they’re an echo of this kind of freedom. They are. The American Revolution, slavery, all of these things.

They’re an echo of God’s true freedom. And they exist. They do echo because God is truly called us to freedom and this kind of freedom. I hope you understand what kind of freedom this is. You know, it’s a calling, but the question is, what are we supposed to use it for? Because he says don’t use it to satisfy your sinful nature. And that’s a good question. When you’re enslaved for so long, either that’s a sin and your baptized for the first time and you’re like the only time, like, what do I do with my life?

They don’t have to have it that it’s just freedom. You look through a menu at the Cheesecake Factory, you’re like, what do I eat? What do I do? Right. I don’t have to focus on what I do and what I don’t do. I need to just focus on Jesus that he starts to funnel our freedom but we are free. Living for Jesus is just like that. Right. And he says you got to use it in this way to serve one another in love to serve one another.

And he’s like, if you just want if you want some sort of law principle I’ll sum it up in one statement. Love your neighbor as yourself. That’s the law you need to hold on to. Is that easy? Just love Jesus came here he loved us dearly. A better word, honestly, I don’t know why but serve because what it’s really saying when you take I don’t know the translator’s decision right there in the committee meeting, should we put serve or slav? Well, serve will be less distracting.

But really what it’s saying is instead use your freedom to slave for one another in love. That’s really interesting, isn’t it? Like you are free. So as free then please slave for each other in love. That’s the principle. Like, you know what freedom is and you know what slavery is do that towards love. Let that be your only master. Let love master you. And do this for one another. This is what we’re called to. I think about John thirteen and Jesus washes his disciples feet and he’s literally doing a slave job in the name of love. And he’s free. He’s the master. He’s in control of that room. But he’s doing what a slave would do because of his love. We start to think about what that means in the church, like we don’t need a call for volunteers. There’s so many needs. We need a lot of servants, but we really want people to know that they’re free.

Like, if you’re going to do it, do it with love, do it from your heart, not as law. Like mean. It’s been a year since I did Kingdom Kids. There’s some pressure to do this. Do this like biting and devouring each other. Right. There is there is evidence to freedom and then there’s evidence when even your good works are all about you and proving yourself that you’re worth something in God’s eyes. He set us free from that.

But that’s selfish, right? Like I want me instead of focusing on Jesus wanted me. It’s enough. Now, I can love others. Right. There’s so much here. But love goes out the window when we are focused on the love. So, if you see this kind of thing, you know, real freedom isn’t there. Freedom in Christ is about loving one another. That’s the law in one sentence. That was the heart and the principle.

All good things. They guided us to this point. But Jesus was like, if you don’t love one another, you’ve missed it. Like, that’s what I was guiding you towards. And I hope that you can do that. And Jesus, at another point he says this. He says it regards to his disciples and giving them all these things, these spiritual gifts. And Jesus is sending them out and he says, freely you have received now freely give. It’s a free it’s a free will offering of love towards others.

That’s what freedom in Christ is all about. You are free to love. You’re free to love. Remember that. We’re going to take communion right now. And I want to just bring communion as a celebration of independence. It is a celebration of independence. Freedom in Christ. That’s the gospel. Its for freedom that Christ has set us free, nothing less. By the love of Jesus you are free, right? Jesus fulfilled the law and along with the deadly penalty that sin demands of you and that the law demands of you the penalty of death, spiritual death.

Jesus fulfilled it and he dealt with it and it’s penalty. And that’s why Jesus went to the cross. This morning if you’re free and Christ, I implore you, I plead with you. I beg you, don’t give up your freedom. Don’t give up your freedom to sin. Don’t give it up to the law. Live out your freedom today in a way that blesses those around you and others see the love that’s coming from you and the unity the body of Christ is sustained.

And that’s what communion’s about that we’re connected together. It’s a communal celebration of independence. That’s freedom in Christ. Amen.


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