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Christ Has Set Us Free
Scripture: Galatians 1:6-9; Galatians 3:1; Galatian...
Track 4 of 6 in the A Freedom Journey series
If you deny yourself the opportunity to live free once you have been made free in Christ, you are actually denying the power of the cross of Christ. When we try to manage our lives by our own hands, or by the hands of religion, we end up with a disaster. But when we allow Jesus to manage our lives, the outcome is beautiful. What is awesome is to realize the great privilege we have when our lives are transformed from bondage to freedom by the only One who has the authority to do so.

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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.

Christ Has Set Us Free.

Many historians say that Abraham Lincoln was defined as a president by the Civil War, There is no question that the Civil War was one of the cruelest times in America’ history but Lincoln is still considered the greatest president and one of the greatest leaders of all time. Pam and I were standing outside Westminster Abby in London on Christmas Eve a few years ago and while we were leaving the area we happened to walk by a huge statue of Abraham Lincoln. I really thought that was weird. I didn’t realize that the citizens of Great Brittan honored him. In Great Brittan, Lincoln is looked upon as the greatest leader the world ever knew.

Many years before the United States gave up the practice of slavery, Great Brittan and all of Europe quit the practice. When Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation which essentially freed all the slaves in the United States, Lincoln became a great hero to many in Europe for his leadership and his daring convictions against slavery. Lincoln had a deep conviction against slavery and was disgusted by how men enslaved men for their own benefit. In a letter he wrote in 1855 he stated,

As a nation we begin by declaring that “all men are created equal”. We now practically read it “all men created equal”, except the Negroes.

Even though Lincoln was praised by the leaders in Europe, his decision to free all of the slaves in the United States was unwelcomed by many southern slave owners. As the news of the proclamation spread, slave owners lied in order to keep their slaves working. Slaves were told that the proclamation was a lie and that just as their mothers and fathers were slaves, they were slaves and always would be. Believing the lie, many slaves returned to the field, giving up their granted freedom.

True or False: Possibly the most tragic existence in life is to be free yet live in bondage.

If you deny yourself the opportunity to live free once you have been made free in Christ, you are actually denying the power of the cross of Christ. When we try to manage our lives by our own hands, or by the hands of religion, we end up with a disaster. But when we allow Jesus to manage our lives, the outcome is beautiful. What is awesome is to realize the great privilege we have when our lives are transformed from bondage to freedom by the only One who has the authority to do so.

Our study today will take us into the letter to the Galatians. We spent a lot of time in worship, nine weeks actually, looking at Galatians 5:22-23, the Fruits of the Spirit. What is important to know about the fruits of the Holy Spirit, they are direct by-products of our freedom in Christ. But before Paul wrote that passage of scripture, Paul wrote to the Galatian church about freedom and what it actually meant.

The letter to the Galatian church is one that opens with utter disappointment, even anger toward the decisions the Christians in Galatia were making.

Galatians 1:6-9 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

What was it that had Paul so upset? What false gospel was being preached by some in the church causing some to follow after it? Legalism, turning from freedom and moving back into slavery. In the church there were those who said that it wasn’t enough just to be a Christian, you had to do more and observe certain rules. Basically, former Jews were wanting to go back to take on many of the Jewish practices and beliefs and traditions. In the church today, we still have that false gospel preached.

Is it enough just to be a Christian? If yes, how so? If not then why not?

Paul states very clearly that when an attempt is made to prohibit or hinder our freedom in Christ, it is not an act from God but an act from Satan.

Galatians 3:1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?

Last week I reminded you about wisdom and what it meant. Wisdom is the ability to see things the way God sees things. If this is true, then what is the definition of foolishness? The inability to see things the way God sees it.

Galatians 5 is the chapter in the Bible that best describes what our freedom in Christ is all about. In fact, Galatians 5:1 is considered the Magna Carta of Christian Freedom.

Does anyone remember from World History what the Magna Carta was?

King John of England agreed, in 1215, to bind not only himself but his "heirs, for ever" to grant "to all freemen in the English kingdom" the rights and liberties the great charter described. With Magna Carta, King John placed himself and England's future sovereigns and magistrates within the rule of law. When Englishmen left their homeland to establish colonies in the New World, they brought with them charters guaranteeing that they and their heirs would "have and enjoy all liberties and immunities of free and natural subjects." The Magna Carta was the basis our founding fathers followed when they wrote the Constitution of the United Sates.

Within the Magna Carta is the following foundational statement:

No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned,...or in any other way destroyed...except by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to none will we deny or delay, right or justice.

Paul states the same idea in Galatians 5:

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.

The slaves during the 1860’s had been set free by someone who had authority to do so, yet they were told a lie and had no reason not to believe it. God has proven Himself in Jesus and we have no reason to be in bondage to any lie from Satan.

True or False: Any attempt within the church to limit our freedom is an attack from Satan himself?

If true, then what responsibilities do we have as Christians to combat it? How do we correctly fight for our freedoms?

Galatians 5:1 contains 2 commands that are very important to us as Christians:

Command #1: Stand Firm

Because of what God did for us in Jesus, you and I are to portray every day to the world around us what God has already declared in the divine realm, the divine verdict of justification – I STAND NOT GUILTY.

QUESTION: How do we do this? We do this by fully embracing our identity in everyday events realizing that this freedom is our birthright. Do you recognize the freedom Paul is talking about here? It is not about civil liberty or carnal liberty, it is the freedom from the bondage of sin. Paul wrote to give us the reason for this freedom.

Romans 6:6-7 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 sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

This then leads to:

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!”

Too often Christians take a casual approach about this freedom we have. What Jesus did for us on the cross was AWESOME. Our freedom is a result of the redemptive work of Jesus. By its very nature, Jesus sacrificial love demands our exhaustive response.

How many of you when you come to the end of your day feel totally exhausted due to the events of your day? How many of you lay totally exhausted from your minute by minute battle not to sin?

Command #2: Do not submit again to the yoke of slavery

In Galatians 5:1 there is a reality that we have to be on guard for, it comes from the word “again”. The word “again: means we can temporarily lose or surrender our freedom if we choose to become entangled in the bondage of sin. Jesus had set us free and it is our responsibility to live out our freedom through the decisions we make. Yet some Christians continue to allow sin to control them. There is no reason for this but Christians allows this to happen.

True or False: There is no longer any reason to sin.

If true, then why do people continue to be enslaved to sin?

Galatians 5:2-4 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Paul left no doubt who was communicating to the church. False teachers came into the church and taught that if Christians didn’t follow the Torah and adhere to the Old Testament law, their Christian salvation was void. Basically, circumcision was a must to become a Christian. In Acts we see where this question was debated throughout the early church. Did Gentiles have to be circumcised in order to be a Christian? Paul and Barnabas made a trip to meet with the leaders in Jerusalem to debate this issue.

Acts 15:1-2, 12-14, 19-20 Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them…The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself…“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.

Even though this decree was made and the church agreed that Gentiles didn’t have to be circumcised to be saved, the lie continued to be taught throughout the church. Paul’s whole point to this argument was this, we either follow Christ who set us free and gave us our freedom or we can choose to follow religion that attempts to destroy freedom and leads the individual to a life of following man made rules and traditions in an attempt to earn salvation which is impossible. In simple terms, you can’t follow two masters, you either trust Christ or your trust religion.

True or False: The righteousness of works to earn salvation and justification by faith cannot coexist.

If true, why? So why then do so many Christians try to do this? Give me some examples where this is true in the Church?

Our freedom has nothing to do with human achievement. It has everything to do with who Christ is and what He can do through us and for us so we can serve others freely.

Our freedom is based on faith (not works) expressed through love, not religious plans or projects.

We can so easily fall into the trap of DOING rather than BEING as the means for success. We must always remember that we live free because we are free, not because we are trying to earn our salvation. When we do anything for Christ outside the love of Jesus, it is being done for the wrong reason.