You Shall Be Free Indeed
Posted on 04/29/2007 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
Good morning and welcome! As always it's a blessing and an honor to meet with all of you to bless the Lord together.
I'd like to make a quick announcement. For the past month we've been trying to send a notice to the group, and havn't yet succeeded due to technical issues. We have started a men's group called "Christian Men of God." This Tuesday at 4:30pm Second Life time, we will be having our first official gathering, and if you are at all interested in taking part in the weekly men's Bible studies, please try to be there.
We are going to begin with a study that is specifically designed to set men free from some things with which almost every man struggles, and whether or not you feel as though you're bound, come take part, as we work together to walk in the freedom God has for us as Christian Men of God.
So if all you men will take a moment to do a group search for Christian Men of God and join, you'll receive a reminder before Tuesday's gathering.
This is the day that the Lord has made. Let's all rejoice and be glad in it! Please stand to your feet and prepare your hearts to seek after the Lord with all your mind, all your strength, and all your soul. Let's come into his presence with singing, and into his courts with praise!
Holy Spirit, you are welcome here today. Jesus, take center stage. May everything we do here today glorify and magnify you and your holy name.
We ask you to make yourself known to us today. Meet every one here in a special way. Open our minds and hearts to hear your voice, and so the seeds of your Word will sink deep inside of us, changing us more into your image.
Meet the need here today, both spoken and unspoken, as we take our minds off our problems and place them completely upon you.
And it's in Jesus' name we pray.
If you want a notecard, click-touch the pulpit, and let's worship God with song.
YOU SHALL GO OUT WITH JOY
You shall go out with joy
And be let forth with peace
And the mountains and the hills
Will break forth before you
There'll be shouts of joy
And all the trees of the fields
Will clap, will clap their hands
And all the trees of the fields
will clap their hands
The trees of the fields will clap their hands
The trees of the fields will clap their hands
While you go out with joy
How can it be?
That You, my King would die for me?
I know itís true.
Itís my joy to honor You,
In all I do, I honor You.
You are my King
Jesus You are my King
If the Son has set you free,
you are free indeed
I LOVE YOU LORD
I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh, my soul rejoice!
Take joy my King
In what You hear
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear
Lord, we do love you! We bow our hearts and our knees before you, our Lord, our Master, our Savior, our Friend.
Lead us into your Word, and in embracing your Word, may we be drawn closer to you.
Thank you Lord.
You may be seated.
Last week we talked about the step-by-step removal of the presence and restraining power of God from individuals, families, communities, nations, and from the whole world.
And while this dark picture is based upon all-too-present and soon-coming reality, today we're going to take a look at the other side of the equasion.
While the absense of God's presence brings darkness, the presence of God brings light.
While the absense of God's presence brings confusion, the presence of God brings clarity.
While the absense of God's presence brings despair, the presence of God brings hope.
While the absense of God's presence brings bondage, the presence of God brings liberty.
While the absense of God's presence brings death, the presence of God brings life in overflowing abundance.
Bondange comes in many forms and wears many faces. Darkness, confusion, despair, false light, and spiritual death to name a few.
Liberty also comes in many forms and wears many faces, including light, mental and spiritual clarity, freedom from sin, and spiritual life and joy.
And today we're going to talk about liberty, about true freedom, which comes from one place and one place only.
In John chapter eight, verse 36, we read, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:36)
So let's take a look at Scripture to find out what this true freedom really is, and how we can be truly free.
When speaking about the meditations of our heart, the Word of God tells us that our thoughts are not private non-realities with which we are free to do as we please, but that what we do in our thought life is very real.
After Jesus revealed that holding on to anger towards someone is murder of the heart, and lusting after someone is adultery of the heart, he said that it would be better to remove your eye and enter heaven without an eye than to keep your eye and be cast into hell. Of course he was not speaking of self-mutilation, but of careful self-discipline.
We see in that passage the importance of doing whatever is necessary to keep sin far from us, and to keep our feet far from sin, guarding our heart, our inner thoughts, very diligently.
And yet to the person who has struggled with unclean thoughts and still finds him or herself bound, this can seem like an impossible mission.
In my own past experience, I've fought many losing battles in my mind. I would control certain sinful thoughts for about a week, then fall flat on my face. After many years of failure, I had all but surrendered to the thought that I would always be bound.
The truth of the matter is that I was unable to free myself. I prayed, and sought the Lord, but even then I could not seem to truly break free.
To think that we will ever, in this earthly life, be free from temptation, is a fairy tale. To think that we will ever reach a level in our walk with God that we never have sorrows and pains, disappointments, struggles, and battles with the devil and the flesh, is vanity.
In fact, as long as we live on this earth in this "body of death" as Paul calls it, we will be faced with trials and temptations.
Even Jesus himself was tempted in every single way any of us have ever been tempted. But while he had the same thoughts pass through his mind that all of us have, the same urges call him to do their bidding, and the same draw to compromise to which we've all fallen, he was completely without sin; for it is not the temptation that is sin, but the surrender to that temptation.
It's important for us to remember what Proverbs tells us about our responsibility to carefully guard over our hearts.
Proverbs 4:23 says, "Keep watch over your heart with all diligence, for out of it flow the springs of life."
We turn on our televisions and, even during a seemingly neutral program, see comercials portraying sensuality and Godlessness.
We let people come into our home to entertain us, and they do sensual, fleshly, Godless things in front of our eyes. And we continue to invite them back in time and time again, telling ourself it's just entertainment, it's just a movie, it's not that bad, it's not really hurting anything.
But we just might ponder the possibility that to hope for God to set us free from unclean thoughts while putting those very thoughts in front of our eyes and ears in vanity.
God will do the things that we cannot do. But he expects us to do the things that we CAN do. It is called "obedience."
Hebrews 5:9 tells us, "And being made perfect, (Jesus) became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."
We may cry out day and night for Jesus to bring us salvation from our mental addictions; yet, Jesus is not simply the author of salvation. Rather, Jesus is the author of salvation unto all those who obey him.
When I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, the doctor gave me instructions on diet and a prescription for insulin.
The doctor had the medical knowledge to keep me from suffering many of the horrible long-term effects of high blood sugar; yet, his knowledge, his ability, and his instructions were not enough.
In order for me to avoid losing my eyesight, my limbs, and my life, I had to OBEY the doctor's orders.
I fully believe that God is going to heal me from diabetes, and if necessary, give me a brand new pancreas which will produce the insulin I need.
However, if I, due to laziness or lack of self-discipline and self-control, neglect the instructions that I believe have come from God through the doctor, should I expect God to reward my disobedience with a miraculous gift of healing?
If, after the Lord has set us free, we become careless and leave a door open even a tiny little bit for temptation, our enemy will waste no time in shoving a hook through our nose and leading us off, once again, into slavery to sin.
So to be free from sin, we must OBEY.
"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
While our obedience is a vital component for our deliverance from sin, it is not our obedience that frees us from bondage. Rather, it is the Lord who sets us free.
As Zechariah 4:6 says, it's "not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord." It is only by the Spirit of the Lord working in our lives that we can be set free.
When the death of a generation of Israelites in the wilderness is mentioned in the book of Hebrews, the words "disobedience" and "unbelief" are used interchangeably.
They did not enter into God's promise because of their "disobedience."
They did not enter into God's promise because of their "unbelief."
The ones who entered into God's promise were those who trusted and obeyed.
We read in Hebrews 11:6,
"But without faith it is impossible to please (God): for the one who comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him."
It is not our obedience that will free us from bondange; it is the Lord who brings deliverance. We cannot trust in our own works; instead, we must put our faith in the strong arm of the Lord, believing that he is who he says he is, and that he will reward us when we seek him with all our hearts.
Ephesians 2:8-9 states the importance of completely trusting God, not ourselves, for his ongoing Salvation in our lives. "For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any one should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
When we hear or read about Salvation, we think of being born again, the time we repent of our sins and turn from death unto life.
Yet we are daily being saved. Salvation is not just a one-time event; it is a daily walk.
"Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you both to will and to do that which pleases him." (Philippians 2:12-13)
Salvation is a life-long process. We are daily being saved from sin. And we are daily being changed into the image and likeness of Jesus, as we read in 2 Corinthians 3:18, "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
If today we do not choose salvation from sin, and we do not choose to be being changed into the image of Jesus, we are not, today, walking on the path of Salvation. We may be born again, but are we being saved from sin? Or does sin still have dominion over us?
So salvation from sins of the heart comes through faith and obedience; and it is a daily walk.
Jesus told his disciples how to pray. He gave them an outline, telling them, "Pray after this manner..."
In this outline for prayer at the beginning of each day, he tell us to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread..."
The prophet Elijah was about to make a journey to Mount Horeb, the Mount of God, to meet with God.
An angel gave him food and drink, telling him, "The journey is too great for you."
Scripture tells us that Elijah journeyed in the strength of that meal for 40 days! No ordinary food and drink could have given him strength for a 40-day journey. This food and drink was sustinance from heaven.
When I pray for my "daily bread," I ask God to give me the spiritual food and drink I will need for the journey of today. I know that the journey of today is too great for me, and that withouth that manna from heaven, I will fall.
In Ephesians 5:18, we are told to "...be filled with the Spirit..." The original Greek text implies a continual filling, and could be read, "...be being filled with the Spirit..." We must drink in the spiritual drink of the Holy Spirit of God each and every morning, because the journey of today is too great for us.
Every morning in my time of prayer, I praise and worship God, inviting his Spirit to fill me afresh. I know the journey of this day called "Today" is too great for me!
Even if it is only a few verses, I take the time to read the Bible, God's Word, for Jesus tells us in Matthew 4:4 that "...Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."
Each day I must obey the Word of God, and the leading of his Holy Spirit. And each day I must trust God to feed me, lead me, strengthen me, and uphold me.
In the words of Hosea 10:12, "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he comes and rains righteousness upon you."
In the first chapter of Psalms, God describes the righteous man like this:
"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or standeth in the way of sinners, or sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
"But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law he meditates day and night.
"And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, who brings forth fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper."
The law of the Lord is the Word of the Lord and the ways of the Lord.
The counsel of the Godly is the Word of the Lord made alive by his Spirit.
It is these things which should fill our hearts and minds both day and night.
This is a definition of the righteous man. And for God to uphold us and keep us from falling, we must walk in his righteousness.
We must trust in God to provide the strength we need to make it through the journey of today. And we must walk in total, uncompromised obedience to God so that we can receive his daily salvation.
We must begin each day in his presence, seeking his Spirit to fill us afresh, and seeking his spiritual food and drink to sustain us through our journey of today.
We must fill our day with a mind that is set toward the Lord, refusing to set anything, by choice, before our eyes and ears but that which speaks the Word of the Lord and his perfect ways.
We must trust in God to deliver us from temptation, then do our part to flee from it.
Salvation from sin is a daily process. It is a day-by-day transformation.
We go forward on this journey by a daily walk with Jesus, believing in him and obeying his Word.
We go backwards on this journey by friendliness with the things and ways of the world, and by setting things before our eyes and ears that do not openly glorify and magnify the Lord and his Word.
We can have been "Saved" a long time ago when we asked Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. But we are daily "being saved" as we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, trusting in God and obeying his voice.
You may feel as though you are hopelessly bound. You may feel as though there is no way to be free from certain sins of the heart. You may feel as though your thought life will never be pure.
Yet Jesus is offering to you, this day, his salvation. He said in Hebrews, "Today, if you will hear my voice, harden not your hearts as in the day of rebellion..."
So I ask you, don't harden your heart against the Word of the Lord. He's not looking for an outward appearance of holiness; He's looking for a willing and obedient heart.
Hear the voice of the Lord calling out to you, showing you the way to walk on his paths of righteousness and peace, so that you may live a life of joy in the Holy Spirit.
Seek him diligently and ernestly, putting far away from you anything that is not centered around and founded upon the solid rock Christ Jesus.
And step by step, day by day, he will lead and guide you, feeding your spirit in green pastures, and watering your soul by still waters.
Salvation from sins of the heart is calling out to you. Hear his voice and trust and obey.
"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
The ministry team can come to the front now. This altar is open. If you want to be free, come to the front and spend some time in the presence of the Lord. His Holy Spirit is here right now, and he is ready and waiting to loose the chains that bind you, and to give you a new liberty, a new freedom, and when the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!
If you don't know Jesus, he's waiting to meet you, to forgive you, to wash you clean, and to come into your heart and make you a brand new creation.
Just pray to him now. Say, "Jesus, forgive me for my sins. Come into my heart. Wash me clean. Be the Lord of my life. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. And lead me beside the still waters all the days of my life. Thank you Jesus. Amen."
This altar is open. In a few minutes we'll all go next door for a time of fellowship, and as your time with the Lord here finishes, you're invited to go next door and join us.
Now may the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20,21)