10 February 2014

FREEDOM TRUMPS BONDAGE


John 8:31-36

In this world, different people have different kinds of freedom - freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, and so forth. However, I would like to talk about the real freedom that comes from God. Sadly many people do not have real freedom, because they’re looking for freedom in all the wrong places. Truth has fallen in the streets and the world is not listening! As John MacArthur said “throughout history people have always sought to know the truth about reality, about what is right and wrong, and about what is the meaningful and purpose of in life. As a result endless philosophies, worldviews, and religious systems have arisen over the centuries, each claiming to teach absolute truth, and each in turn cancelling out the “absolute” truths of those that came before it.” The great majority of people in our culture today believe that mankind is on its own and we are in control our own lives and destiny “we are free to do what we want, when we want too”. Maybe a great majority of people follow after the teaching by Friedrich Nietzsche who said “There are no eternal facts, as there are no absolute truths.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that his statement has more holes in it then Swiss cheese. If there is no such thing as absolute truth! Then Nietzsche’s statement is false, because he just made a so-called absolute truth that there is no truth. Sadly sin does that to a person…….it keeps us in bondage, which leaves us ignorant because our hearts are hardened to the truth. Again as Jesus said “…..men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19. 

Bondage by definition is “Slavery or involuntary servitude; captivity; imprisonment; restraint of a person's liberty by compulsion or force. Think about for a moment! Slaves cannot free themselves; they need to be set free. Martin Luther takes up this subject in his book “The Bondage of the Will,” where he argues that free-will is a myth (when it comes to our relationship with God). Luther said “We are either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness.” He’s right! Remember what Paul wrote in Romans “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” Romans 6:16. Again as Luther said “We are either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness.”

LOOK WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS TO THOSE WHO ARE IN BONDAGE [SLAVERY] TO SIN. It brings death “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Rom 7:24 It deceives the mind “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8. It entices our affections “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17. John Owen in his book “Modification of Sin” speaks about four strategies that sin uses to entice, entangle, and ensnare our affections.

1.Sin distracts us from watchfulness by pointing out our recent victories. Owen said “If you recently escaped some temptation or another, watch out. Sin is preparing the third assault. (The second assault has already happened: it's how good you feel about yourself for having defeated the first assault.)”

2. Sin presents itself as desirable and satisfying. It appeals to our most corrupt affections and desires. It uses what Scripture calls "the fleeting pleasures of sin" (Heb. 11:25).

3. Sin shows the bait, but hides the hook! He says, "Sin deceitfully hides the danger that attends sin. It covers it, just as the bait covers the hook."

4. Sin argues with us. Like a slick lawyer, sin presents a case for itself.

To be bondage to sin is to bring forth eternal judgement, everlasting torment by a holy God who must do what is right………….PUNISH SIN! But sadly, everywhere you look people are trying to find quick and easy fixes to their problem because they’re in bondage to their sin. Whether it is:

  • Marriage
  • Child rearing
  • Addictions
  • Self-fulfillment
  • Education
  • Weight loss
  • Financial gain or riches and etc!
Quick fixes don’t solve the issue it only covers them for a season! Why? The reason is that they cannot see the truth to their problem because they are slaves to sin and they hate the truth. People are usually ok with truth as long as it doesn’t involve the bible or Jesus Christ. The Jews completely missed the point that Jesus was making when he said “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (v31-v32). And He also went to say in (v34)"Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. Jesus was speaking about their spiritual bondage, but the Jews were thinking physically. Our culture is no different than it was during the time of Pharisee’s and disbelievers. Just like these men whom Jesus was speaking too didn’t think they were in any form of bondage. Look what they said “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone….” (v33) in other words what they were says was “Jesus we haven’t been in bondage to anyone, so how could you make such an outlandish statement like that.” Sadly, not only did they misunderstand Jesus’ statement, but they were also deceived by their own hardened hearts. Did the Jews forget about all the bondage they have been in? They have had their share of bondage....Egyptians, Babylonians, Philistines, Greeks, and now the Romans. The Jews were slaves, but they would not admit it. See! Bondage does that a person they don’t realize the danger they are in. It reminds me of the story i came across about a cocky young man who once remarked to a preacher in mocking fashion, "You say that unsaved people carry a great weight of sin. Frankly, I feel nothing. How heavy is sin? Ten pounds? Fifty pounds? Eighty pounds? A hundred pounds?" The preacher thought for a moment, then replied, "If you laid a four-hundred-pound weight on a corpse, would it feel the load?" The young man was quick to say, "Of course not; it's dead" Driving home his point, the preacher said, "The person who doesn't know Christ is equally dead. And though the load is great, he feels none of it"

Bondage keeps a person …….

  • Ignorant
  • Prideful
  • Diluted
  • Skeptical
  • Angry
  • Unbelieving
  • Arrogant to the truth and so on!
Today many people are in bondage [slaves] and they feel they are not! It’s the idea “I’m ok, I know when to quit” or “I can stop any time”. Usually you hear this coming from a person who is engulfed or knee deep in ……

  • Porn
  • Alcoholic drink
  • Drug of chose
  • Passion for riches
  • Keeping up with the Jones
  • Abusive to their spouse
  • Abusive to their children
  • A Workaholic
  • Obsessed with food
  • Idolatrous
  • Town gossiper
  • Angry and bitter all the time
  • Keeps a record of peoples wrongdoing
  • Judges people without really knowing them or their situation
  • And the list is endless
Let me ask you before we continue in this passage! From this list is there something I’ve said or not said that is keeping you in bondage to sin this morning? The Jews thought they were free because they are under the linage of the covenant promise the God made with Abraham! And you might think you’re free because you attend church, said some superstitious prayer or grew up in a Christian home, or know enough bible to sound legit but not really! Have you truly tasted the grace that flowed from Calvary and the truth of the gospel message! See, the freedom that Jesus is talking about doesn’t come from your race, or religious identity. [I’m a Baptist, Lutheran, and Non-denominational and so on]. Our freedom is found in the Son of God who gave His life as a ransom for my sin, your sin! Jesus was talking about freedom from the bondage of sin found in Him alone! Apart from Christ and the truth he brings, a person will continue to stay in bondage until the hopes of the Spirit removing the chains of sin in their life through the gospel’s good news. The transforming work of God and power it brings shatters the chains of bondage and sin.

HOW IMPORTANT IS TRUTH? Augustine said “Where I found truth, there I found my God, who is the truth itself." The late great A.W Tozer spoke  about the dangers of not seeking  the truth “The unattended garden will soon be overrun with weeds; the heart that fails to cultivate truth and root out error will shortly be a theological wilderness. Truth is so important…….. Jesus said it’s the only way your ever have true freedom! Jesus is not teaching that we need to try really hard not to sin to avoid being its property. He is teaching that we need to be set free from the ownership of sin. So how is it that we are set free from sin? Through the truth of the gospel! Again, so many people today grow up really knowing nothing about Jesus at all. Yes, they have heard some of the Bible stories, but they really don't know who Jesus is, his purpose, or what Jesus has to do with God. I think at the core, most people do believe there is a God, but they have no idea what to really believe about who God is. In fact, people, that I have talked to or observed, believe that there is no way to really know the absolute truth about God.That is sad; because what that tells me about that person is that they’re still slaves to sin.

As the bible says “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor 2:14. They are in all intense purposes dead in their sin, because they’re in bondage to their sin! They deny the truth and believe their father of lies which keeps them enslaved to sin and death, which ultimately leads to eternal torment. But it’s not too late to embrace the truth! Hear the promise! “Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (v34-v36) 

The son has permanent rights in the household where a slave does not! Though they were descendants of Abraham’s promise they were like slaves, not sons, and they were facing danger of eternally forfeiting they privileges they had received. Just as Jesus said “And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matt 8:11-12. Only those who receive Jesus Christ as the Son of God, will be the sons of God, which is the only place you’ll find freedom from the bondage of sin and death. As Jesus said “therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” What a promise and joy that brings to the heart of the one who continues in His truth......................WHAT ARE WE FREE FROM?

WE ARE FREE FROM THE BONDAGE OF SIN

Rom 6:6-13 “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”

WE ARE FREE FROM THE PENALTY OF DEATH.

Jesus said in John 5:24, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

In Romans 8:1-2 Paul says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

WE ARE FREE FROM THE LOSS OF BLESSING

Ephesians 1:3-7 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

Let me leave you with this thought by J C Ryle as we close “Let us never rest till we have some personal experience of this freedom ourselves. Without it all other freedom is a worthless privilege. Free speech, free laws, political freedom, commercial freedom, national freedom,–all these cannot smooth down a dying pillow, or disarm death of [its] sting, or fill our consciences with peace. Nothing can do that but the freedom which Christ alone bestows. He gives it freely to all who seek it humbly. Then let us never rest till it is our own.” Always remember, the promise that Jesus is offering is what true freedom really is! The gift of eternal life and the freedom from the bondage of sin and to live life for Him and His glory. Remember what the bible declares about Christian who is free from the bondage of sin and death!
  • I am not dead but made alive in Christ Jesus.
  • I sit with Christ in the heavenly places.
  • I am God’s workmanship.
  • I am unable, but the Spirit of God will produces in me: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
  • I am not under condemnation.
  • I am a child of God.
  • I am not in bondage to fear.
  • I will be glorified with Christ.
  • I am saved in hope.
  • Where I am weak the Spirit helps me.
  • All things work together for good.
  • If God is for me, who can be against me?
  • Jesus is in heaven and He makes intercession for me.
  • I am more than a conqueror through Jesus who loves me.
  • Nothing can separate me from God’s love.

This is the gospel truth! Question is………………..Do you believe Him?

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