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If We Are Free, Then Why Don't We Live Like It
11/01/2009
Scripture: Romans 3:19-24; 1 John 3:7-10; Romans 6:...
Track 5 of 11 in the The Freedom that Comes from Grace series
Running time: 55 minutes, 11 seconds.
Paul wrote the Emancipation Proclamation for the Christian. It is amazing to me how many Christians dont realize or live knowing they are free and dont have to be slaves anymore. They live everyday enslaved. Paul declares we are no longer slaves, we have been set free.



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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.


If We Are Free, Then Why Donít We Live Like It?

I am a fan of the Civil War. As some of you know, I love history and the History Channel is one of my favorite channels on TV to watch. When stories come up dealing with the Civil War, I find that kind of stuff fascinating. It is hard to imagine what it was like having a war raging is oneís own back yard. Quincy back in the mid-1800ís has a rich history concerning the Civil War. It is really interesting looking at pictures of what Quincy looked like back then and how we were a staging area for the Union Troops.

Illinois was a Union state. Right across the river is Missouri, a state that was a Confederate leaning state in support of slavery and the Confederate cause. There are some interesting battles and skirmishes that were fought in Missouri and in our area during the Civil War and Quincy played a key role in helping to move slaves through the Underground Railroad.

Just recently a book was published detailing the slave trade in Hannibal, MO. This book is somewhat controversial because Hannibal doesnít want that fact about their history circulated to all Americans. Terrell Dempsey wrote a book called Searching for Jim: Slavery in Sam Clemens's World. He details the hard fact about Hannibal and its role with slavery in America.

Samuel Clemens wrote two books about Hannibal that are famous today. One of them are usually required reading. The other one is rarely talked about and in Hannibal, isnít highlighted much because of its content. What are they?

The one everybody has to read is the book Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). You go to Hannibal today and everything is Mark Twain and Tom Sawyer. But very little is found in Hannibal concerning Huckleberry Finn. In 1884 Clemens wrote his second book called the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. That book is one we donít hear much about in Hannibal because it was written as a satire against the slave trade and attitude that existed in Hannibal during that time.

Today, Hannibal wants nothing to do with the identity with slavery. It should be that way because slavery is a hideous thing when one sits down and contemplates it. I canít imagine what that was like. I have never seen slavery or experienced it in my lifetime. Those who have testify that it is a terrible thing and something that needs to be fought against and eliminated. Even though I love to read about the battles of the Civil War, I find the whole war confusing. Why would a country as great as ours, one who found so hard and sacrificed so much to win freedom, turn around and embrace slavery for other people? For many, not only did they embrace it, but fought hard to keep it.

Many of our founding fathers had and kept slaves. Many of them eventually gave up the practice and publically desired the practice be abolished but many kept their slaves for years after the Revolution. I find this hard to comprehend since most of our founding fathers were professed and practicing Christians. The reason I say this is because in the letter to the Romans, Paul wrote extensively about Freedom and the source of it. The basic thought of Slavery should be repugnant to the Christian because the very basic fact about being a Christian is we are set free by God.

How many of you know what the Emancipation Proclamation is?

Paul wrote the Emancipation Proclamation for the Christian. It is amazing to me how many Christians donít realize or live knowing they are free and donít have to be slaves anymore. They live everyday enslaved. Paul declares we are no longer slaves, we have been set free.

Romans 3:19-24 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

I love the underlined portion of this statement, to qualify for freedom you donít have to be born in a certain country, speak a certain language, have a certain skin color, have a certain education, a lot of money or fulfill some list of requirements. There is absolutely no distinction.

According to Paul, why is there no distinction? Because we were all slaves, all of us sinned and fall short of Godís ideal. All of us are sinners and are savable. Jesus justified us as a gift. He justified all of us. We are all now free to serve Jesus for the rest of our lives.

What is stunning to me is, when this fact is expressed to Christians, when freedom is encouraged in the Church, there is no excitement. There is no enthusiasm. Why is that? How many of you really, actually understand what freedom in Christ means and are out there daily living it?

What was fascinating about the emancipation of the slaves, great numbers of them decided to stay in slavery. When given the opportunity to gain their freedom, many at first left the plantation but after a short period of time returned. The reason being, slavery was all they knew and they found it hard to live a different life. Freedom is a lot harder than it sounds.

Why would someone desire to stay in slavery and reject freedom? What is so hard about being free?

I am alarmed at our nation today. I have struggled in recent months with depression to the point that it is beginning to affect me in some physical ways. I work very hard to not let things get to me but I am deeply dismayed at how people are willingly marching into slavery. I would like to say they are doing it not knowing what they are getting themselves into but unfortunately, they do know what they are doing and they feel slavery is better than being free.

Just look at the debate that is going on with healthcare today and it is very easy to see slavery at work and how fast many are choosing to be enslaved rather than free. I am stunned how quickly slavery has been introduced and how readily many on our media have endorsed the actions. It is right there at our door step ready to pounce and many are ready to invite the monster in.

Romans Chapter 6 is the foundation to the freedom we have in Christ today. The reason I feel many Christians donít live in freedom is because they never really experienced the truth found in Romans 6. To be honest, if Romans 6 is experienced in a person life, the result is a dramatic change in attitude and behavior. In fact, John writes about this fact in his first letter to the church. He bluntly states it this way:

1 John3:7-10 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devilís work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because Godís seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

What is the hard fact we get from John letter? If we are truly from God, should freedom and the affects of freedom be a reality in our lives?

Romans 6:1-11 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or donít you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sinóbecause anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

In Romans 6 Paul talks about the reality of slavery and the reality of freedom. There is one fact that is absolutely true; you are either a slave or a free man. You are either living a life in slavery and sin or you are free from that life and living a free life. The question is, what life are you living? Are you a slave still or are you free?

The fact remains, there is no in between. A couple times in this passage Paul refers to us knowing something. He uses phrases like, ďDonít you knowĒ or the Maybe it is due to us being unaware of some facts about our freedom in Christ. We are to know a couple things that directly affect our freedom:

1. We were baptized into Jesus death thus leading us to realize a new life.
2. Because of our baptism and the close relationship it has with his death, our old self was crucified and we too died to sin. That old life was done away with and we are now new, we have a new free life from sin.

Galatians 2:20-21 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!Ē

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

The point to all of this is freedom is a real thing. Living a life free in Christ means slavery no longer is part of your life. It is hard to be free in Christ to live a life he wants us to live and still be messing with sin. Sin enslaves, it does not set us free. The real fact is with many Christians, they are trying to sing a sinful song in a righteous choir. Neither one has anything to do with the other. Christians canít enjoy sinning and then complain that they are still in slavery.

There is no question that Romans 6 is a hard chapter to consider. It is designed to get you to consider your life, not to make you feel bad or to make you think you failed, but to encourage you and excite you that freedom is something that should be real in your life. Before the emancipation of the slaves they had no choice about freedom. They were slaves and that was that. There was really nothing they could do about it. Their masters were too powerful and had all the resources to keep them in slavery. If they rebelled, they were beaten and forced into submission.

But a day came when slavery was abolished. They were set free. But still, slavery was a choice as well as freedom. Many chose to leave the plantation and strike out for a new life. Others found freedom too hard and unfamiliar so they chose to remain a slave. It seemed safer, it was familiar, the hard reality was, it was easier to be told to do something than to freely do something on their own.

A Warning: I would love to tell you change is easy, but itís not. Freedom is massive change in a personís life. Freedom is awesome but freedom can be fleeting. There are always evil intents to destroy freedom. Old habits are hard to break. Thinking correctly takes courage. Our enemy, Satan, wonít take your new course in life lying down. He will use the grace killers to come in and make life even harder to pound you into submission.

To the legalist, freedom is dangerous, risky and unacceptable. Their thinking is, how can sinful behavior be controlled if freedom to sin is allowed? They believe that sin can be controlled when behavior is controlled by rules and regulations. But the real truth is; sin is controlled because Jesus killed it in us by our accepting him and allowing His Spirit to change us from the inside out.

Shortly after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation after it passed the Congress, he made this statement:

ďWe are like whalers who have been on a long chase. We have at last got a hook into the monster, but we must now look how we steer, or with one flop of his tail he will send us all into eternity. ď

Lincoln was correct; right after freedom was given to the slaves, the Civil War escalated that brought on even greater struggles and death.