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Free to Obey
06/24/2012
Scripture: Galatians 2:1-5, 13-14; Acts 13:1-3;
Track 8 of 15 in the Paul: Grace & Strength Mixed Together series
Running time: 1 hour, 03 minutes, 34 seconds.
It is not until Acts 13 that Paul is actually ready to go and preach the Gospel for the Lord. It is here that God sends Barnabas and Paul, under the power of the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel to those far away. Paul's missionary journeys start here. What is important here in Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas didnt leave to do what ever they wanted, they were released into the world in order to obey. Freedom in Christ is all about obedience. Freedom never allows disobedience. Freedom basically is the freedom to choose whose slave you will becomeas slave of the world and the devil or a slave to Christ.



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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.


Free to Obey

For several weeks we studied the whole topic of freedom and what that actually means for a Christian. Freedom is something many people long for but when actually faced with the reality, many chose to go back into slavery because it is easier to have someone tell them what to do than to make one’s own decisions and be accountable for what they decide. Many people today would rather have someone else just feed them with everything they need even though they have little freedom to make their own choices. You and I are free in Christ yet many don’t freely exercise that awesome blessing.

Many Churches are afraid of the freedoms we have in Christ because some mistakenly believe that freedom equals playing with sin. Some believe and practice the thought that if Christians were free to do what ever they pleased, how would the Church make sure everyone is abstaining from sinful actions? There would be chaos and free behavior would cause the Church to cease. People just can’t be free to do whatever they please. The clergy’s job is to make sure Christians follow the Christian rules. Unfortunately, many of the rules are not found in the Bible; they are man made traditions.

How many of you are comfortable with the idea of complete freedom in Christ?
On the scale of 1-10, where do you rate yourself?
On the scale of 1-10, where do you rate yourself at allowing others to be free?

This is where freedom in Christ gets tough, seeing someone behaving in a way we normally wouldn’t behave and not being judgmental about it. It is one thing for us to allow ourselves to be free; it is another thing when someone else exercises their freedom.

Can you give me some examples? Fasting, modes of worship, observing church events, etc.

The Apostle Paul wrote a lot about freedom and the freedoms we have in Christ. His concept of freedom was so radical many thought he was promoting chaos in the Church. For someone like Paul with his background as a Pharisee, it is amazing how Paul transitioned from one being a radical legalist to a free slave to Jesus. Many in the church argued with Paul that what he was teaching promoted or allowed Christians to assume they could go out and have all kinds of fun. But that is not at all what Paul taught but it isn’t hard to imagine how some n the Church came to their conclusions.

Galatians 2:1-5 Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.

There were many within the Church who disagreed with Paul and the freedoms he preached. Paul taught that not only were we free from sin but we were set free to live our lives as Christians to the fullest. Many were jealous of his freedom and wanted to stop his message. There was fear within the leadership that Christians would get the wrong idea.

Galatians 2:13-14 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature£; rather, serve one another in love.The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Every time Paul talks about freedom he reinforces his thoughts with the actual meaning what freedom in Christ is, the freedom to be a slave. Freedom in Christ is not the freedom to do what ever we want; it is the consciences decision though our free will to be free to do what ever Jesus wants. When we are under that mindset, there are no limits to our freedom. In Jesus, we can do what ever he calls us to do and how he wants us to do it.

Here is a question I want you to think about through out the rest of this class today, what has Jesus set you free to do? Are you doing it to your fullest? Are there things in your life that prevent you from being free? What cage have you allowed yourself to be put into keeping you from living a life of freedom?

There was a young boy who was always catching and caging wild things. He particularly loved the sound of the mockingbird, so he decided to catch one and keep it so he could hear it sing any time. He found a very young mockingbird and placed it in a cage outside his home. On the second day he saw a mother bird fly to the cage and feed the young bird through the bars. This pleased young boy. But then the following morning he found the little bird was dead. Later the boy was talking to the man next door who told him, "A mother mockingbird, finding her young in a cage, will sometimes take it poisonous berries. She evidently thinks it better for one she loves to die rather than live in captivity."

Acts 13:1-3, In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

It is not until Acts 13 that Paul is actually ready to go for the Lord. It is here that God sends Barnabas and Paul, under the power of the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel to those far away. Paul’s missionary journeys start here. What is important here in Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas didn’t leave to do what ever they wanted, they were released into the world in order to obey. Freedom in Christ is all about obedience. Freedom never allows disobedience. Freedom basically is the freedom to choose whose slave you will become…as slave of the world and the devil or a slave to Christ.

Give me words that help describe the freedom we find in Acts 13?

There is a word that best describes the kind of freedom Paul is talking about and what the Bible so openly displays for us; that word is “Change”.

True or False: Freedom = Change.

I think the main reason why churches don’t like freedom is because it also means change. Freedom/Change threatens our comfort zone. Freedom/Change interrupts our routines, changes our priorities which often times produces anxiety.

True or False: Freedom in Christ is impossible to achieve if you aren’t willing to change or accept the changes God asks you to make.

Be honest with yourself, would you be the person you are today or doing what you do if you were really living out your freedom in Christ?

Change…The unfinished sentence in life.

Someone give me the definition of the word, change? To make different in some particular.

How many of you want to get the last word? No matter what the topic, in a debate or verbal fight, how many of you just have to have the last word…you can’t allow someone to get that last statement in? Why is that? What is so important about the “last word”?

The definition of change seems to be an unfinished sentence. It ends with the word, “particular”. It is almost as though the definition is trying to get the last word in, it never ends. The rest of the definition goes like this:

To transform, to undergo a modification, to become different.

How many of you want to be considered, “different”? Is that a good thing to be known as?

Maybe that is why it is so hard to accept change; it isn’t easy to be different. Maybe that is why so many churches reject the concept of freedom. It isn’t because they fear chaos in their pews, it is because they don’t want to be changed, to be different. Isn’t the whole definition of salvation and Christianity founded on the word “Change”…”Freedom”?

Eddie Espinosa wrote a really popular song that is sung in many worship services. It has everything to do with freedom in Christ and yet, many Christians when they sing this really understand what it means nor do they intend to do what they sing:

If you were in the congregation at Antioch, how would you react to the setting apart Paul and Barnabas? How did this freedom/change affect them?

Acts (Today) 13:1-3, In the church at Quincy there were prophets and teachers: Chuck Sackett, Tyler Meyers, Evan Horner, Tim Miller and Keith. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Chuck and Keith for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

How many of you would be happy about that? How many would move to the church they went to? How many would move to the church if we plant a new one across town and we decided to send Chuck and Keith there? Why? Can you really accept change, the freedom we have to obey?