Locations of visitors to this page
Liberty of the Holy Spirit
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:17; Romans 8:1-4; Romans...
Track 3 of 4 in the Person & Work of the Holy Spirit series
Running time: 1 hour, 04 minutes

Click above to listen in this window.
Right-click to download MP3. With one-button mouse, control-click.

Be sure to scroll down to read the transcript.

Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

There is a false idea that has spread throughout the unbelieving world about becoming a Christian and that is, once a person submits to Jesus and becomes a believer, he is placed under rules and regulations that rob life of its liberties. When a person becomes a Christian, the world looks upon him with sympathy as though he were being put behind prison bars, and now life for him is stripped of its fullness and freedom. This is one of the sharpest and effective lies the enemy uses to stop the Kingdom of God from growing. Contrary to what Stan wants unbelievers to know, our new birth introduces to us a whole new experience of freedom.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

But Satan and unbelievers arenít the only ones who believe that once a person becomes a Christian, the fun life is over. There are also many Christians who have the same belief. In fact, one of the toughest struggles within the church is the misunderstanding what ďfreedom in ChristĒ really means and that this freedom is a great thing and given by the Holy Spirit. What we are talking about is not the freedom to do what ever you like, but the freedom from slavery-bondage, from the servitude from which there is no release. The slavery that sin binds a person with and causes so much pain and anguish. Our freedom is not necessarily a physical freedom, but an inner liberty of the Holy Spirit.

Christianity promises to make men free; it never promises to make them independent.
William Ralph Inge (1860-1954)

As a Christian, what is the difference from being free and being independent?

No man is free who is a slave to the flesh.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca (C. 4 B.C.-A.D. 65)

This quote leads us to the first freedom the Holy Spirit gives us.

Free From the Curse of the Law

In the Bible the believerís liberty is spoken of in several ways. The first is found in Romans 8.

Romans 8:1-4 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

We have already studied this concept before but it is good to go back over it again so we truly understand what Paul is talking about. Here Paul is contrasting the power of the law of the Spirit to that of the power of the Mosaic Law. At Sinai, God placed Israel under the law. The people then realized they were in bondage to sin and, try as they did, there was no release. No matter how hard Israel tried to keep the law, they couldnít. But we learned that it wasnít Godís intention for Israel to keep the law because he knew they were totally incapable. The intention of the law was to prove to Israel that they needed something else; they needed someone to rescue them from the slavery of sin and give them freedom from the power of sin over their lives.

The law demanded righteousness but the law could not give the people the power to be righteous. There was nothing wrong with the law if it were upheld and honored. According to Romans 7:12, Paul calls it holy, just and good. The whole source of the problem was found in the flesh. The flesh didnít honor the law even though Israel saw that the law was spiritual and its requirements righteous. But the people were powerless to make their lives measure up to it.

Think about MPCC today, are there written or unwritten rules (laws)that we have set up to guide us to be ďgood ChristiansĒ? Letís ask it this way, are there things any good and well thought of Christian wouldnít do that just might be okay with God?

Have we created laws that we feel God surely must honor? Are these laws dangerous and what will be the pitfalls? (Legalism)

Man is proud and boastful and needs to be humbled. It was not the function of the law to save. Obeying the law never saved anyone. The function of the law was to incriminate, establish guilt and cause man to look for relief from the sinful bondage he was in. One sinful transgression resulted in the penalty of the broken law. Man was cursed and was unable to save himself from the penalty of death and destruction due to breaking the law.

I think it I interesting that manís problem is described as a curse. But if we are cursed, in that we canít help ourselves because it is our nature to sin, isnít it Godís fault that we canít stop sinning? Think about the 10 Commandments; what were the actual penalties for breaking the laws? In almost every case, the penalty was death. Why? It was a visual aid describing the penalties for breaking Godís law.

Can you imagine the relief of the believers back then when they finally realized that they no longer were under the law and didnít have to fear the penalty of the law? One of the major effects of the Spiritís work is to free men from the bondage of the lawís condemnation and curse. Not only are we free from the penalty, we are also free from the power of sin to slay us.

Free From the Power of Sin

No sooner after we become Christians, there are enemies out there ready to wage war against us and our new found freedom. The enemies come in three forms: the world, the flesh and the devil. These three enemies make up the unholy trinity. But they have been beaten by the Holy Trinity and each person in the Trinity plays a part in defeating the enemies that come against the believer:

The Father has conquered the world
The Son has defeated the devil
The Spirit has overpowered the flesh

The world is both attractive and alluring. Satan is subtle and getting us to look at the world but the biggest problem is our flesh. The flesh is our biggest enemy. We have to admit, our biggest problem comes from ourselves. We usually, if we are honest, are guilty because we wanted to do something. Our own will causes us the problems. As long as we are in our physical bodies, the flesh will always be our enemy. Our sinful nature is a result of the Fall and it has a propensity for evil. We have free will like God but unlike God, our sinful nature wants to do evil, not good.

All believers have been delivered from the penalty of sin, but not all are daily being delivered from the power of sin. Many Christians are still in bondage today because they have not allowed the Holy Spirit to take over and free them from the power of sin.

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

It is sad to find Christians who, having been freed from the power of sin, are willing to leave the place of freedom, take the key and go back into the cell from which they came. It is not enough to be freed from the penalty of sin, but we also have to be delivered from the power of sin.

What causes a Christian to go back into the prison cell from which they came? How does a person become delivered from the power of sin?

James 1:22-25 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing itóhe will be blessed in what he does.

The study of Godís Word and the constant practice of prayer and confession with the Spirit allow the Spirit to transform your mind and desire to do the will of God. The problem for those Christians who struggle with sin is; they spend very little time in the Word and in prayer.

Freedom of Speech

Someone define for me what a coward is? What are considered cowardly acts?

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.Ē

Freedom of speech is a hotly debated topic these days in America. For some, freedom of speech means a person has the freedom to say anything they want and that freedom should also come without any consequences. For some, freedom of speech means they can say what they want to say and you canít oppose what they say or else you are infringing on their freedom of speech. But according to the Spirit, freedom of speech is not about what you speak about, but rather, that you speak.

Jesus knew from past experience that his disciples lacked the freedom to speak so he instructed them that the Spiritís coming would give them a holy boldness and wisdom in speaking His message. No sooner had the Spirit come upon them; they discovered that both power and wisdom of speech were theirs. The Holy Spirit not only imparted to them a new live, but also a new liberty. Before they knew it, they were speaking out with a boldness for Christ preaching the Gospel in the face of death for what they said. They had no liberty to openly speak against the Mosaic law or against the government. They didnít have the freedoms we have today. But they were freed from their inabilities to speak. The Holy Spirit gave them what they needed.

You and I have been given this same liberty and freedom. We are to speak out the Gospel to all we know, yet, we make so many excuses for why we donít do it. What are some of the excuses? In the first century, they had no constitutional right of free speech yet they spoke with liberty. Today we do have protected rights of free speech yet we are many times cowards and afraid to speak. If Paul and the Apostles were here in our class, what might they say to us?

The church today is listening to what the world is telling us about our preaching and our evangelizing. The world doesnít like what we are doing and is resisting our message. It wants us to respect others opinions and not force our message on them. The devil is working to convince us that it is more respectful to tone down our message and respect others feelings. But the person overtaken by the Spirit is given freedom to speak out the message with no fear or apologies. The first church spoke because they were freed by the Spirit. Todayís church has the same freedom and we must use it.

Freedom of Worship

This freedom is one that I believe is one the church is pretty much unaware of. Again, when we mention the freedom to worship, our constitutional rights probably come to mind. But that s not at all what is meant when Paul writes about this freedom that comes from the Holy Spirit. Letís first talk about what worship is.

Someone give me the definition of what worship is?

Worship is the exercise of the whole man--heart, mind, will, person and possessions--in confession, adoration, praise and prayer to God.
Lehman Strauss

John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.Ē

Worship covers a huge area and is not confined to Sunday morning. In fact, there is no set time of worship. What we do on Sunday mornings is corporate worship (when all the Christians gather together) but it is not worship as a whole. We have references in the scriptures that on the first day of the week some of the Christians met together to break bread and hear Paul preach. But we have many more scriptures that tell us the church met together everyday. The fact was, the church met at different times, on different days but the purpose was always for the Lordís Supper, prayer, preaching and meeting needs. The unity of the church was essential and growth was to take place.

The concept of worship in the New Covenant is so different than the concept of worship under the law. For you and I today, there is no limit on where, when, how long, how much, how often and the content of our worship. What is really emphasized is the attitude, the unity of the church, order, the Lordís Supper and the leading of the Holy Spirit in worship through prayer, preaching and teaching. There really are no set methods, form or rules to follow. We have examples of how some of the churches did things but there are no exact rule books given because there is freedom. The intent was to remove the limits so each one of us can worship all the time in all we do.

What is your idea of the perfect worship service? According to your preference, what do you prefer?

I am using some notes from Lehman Strauss to help organize my lessons and it was interesting to read what he thought worship should be like. The book was written in 1954 and even though he is writing about freedom of worship, his ideas are a little on the preference side. In fact, his preference is pretty tight and stiff; not at all like some of the changes our church has made over the years.

Most of what we see in form and method in our worship services is based on preference. There are some elements that are always there and biblically so such as the Lordís Supper and preaching. But a lot of it exists because of the freedom given to us by the Holy Spirit and the use of the service is so God is always exalted, praised and adored. How should we deal with preference? What happens if conflicting preferences clash? Who wins? How is it determined?