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Freed From and Freed To
Scripture: Romans 6:18-22; Hebrews 10:11-14; 2 Pete...
Track 4 of 8 in the Slaves of Christ series
Running time: 1 hour, 01 minute
When we are freed from our old slavery to the world and bound over as slaves to Christ, an exchange occurs. As we are liberated from all those things that enslave us, we discover a new, better freedom that takes their place.

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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.

Freed From and Freed To

Whenever I read about freedom, be it in history books, papers or even in the Bible, I always ask myself a few questions:

• What am I being freed from?
• What am I free to do?
• Will this freedom make me better or cause me to have a better life?
• What are the dangers in the freedom I have?

These are really important questions to ask because sometimes freedoms I am offered might not be freedoms I will want over time or freedoms that are good for me?

Can you give me any examples of freedoms that might not be good for us or at least, we need to be very careful about?

When we are freed from our old slavery to the world and bound over as slaves to Christ, an exchange occurs. As we are liberated from all those things that enslave us, we discover a new, better freedom that takes their place. When we are freed from the tyranny of the self we discover a new freedom to enter redemptively into the lives of others.

I don’t know about you but on the day when I accepted Jesus into my life and gave myself over to him, there was a huge burden lifted. I could say I no longer feared death because everything in my life was covered by Jesus. It was such a relief. On days when I feel very stressed and burdened by work, family or just life itself, I get my sense of balance to remember that Jesus has everything covered and I can’t worry about the things I can’t control, God has it taken care of. I just need to pay attention to the things I can control. In the end, I will be with Jesus and that by itself makes situations more tolerable.

But there is a whole lot more to this freedom than to be set free and to feel really good about it and experience a sense of relief. The moment Jesus set us “free from,” he also makes us “free to.”

There is no one who explored this transformation more completely than Paul because he himself was set free from slavery to sin, discovering in the process that he had become free to live as a slave to righteousness.

Romans 6:18-22 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

There is a word that shows up a couple times in this passage, it is the word “HOLINESS”.
“slavery to righteousness leading to holiness”
“slaves to God", the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

First of all, what is holiness? It is a pursuit, a chasing after. Holiness is “perfection” in Christ. How many of you are perfect? We pursue something we can’t be on our own but in Christ we have perfection.

Hebrews 10:11-14 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

Frederick Douglas once talked about a “gross fraud” of slavery that was used against the slaves. On holidays some slave owners actually encouraged heavy drinking. Later, as the slaves were suffering the effects of what we call a massive hangover, Douglas said they were encouraged to believe that was what freedom was like. He concluded the slave owners were trying to “disgust their slaves” with freedom. Many decided afterward that they would rather be slaves to their masters than the slaves to rum. These unfortunate slaves had come to understand what Peter was saying:

2 Peter 2:19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.
What Peter states here is a very important fact, something that is a foundational truth. What truths do we see here that pertains to freedom?

Romans 6:16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

In Romans 6 Paul clearly sets forth the only choices we have based on the premise that we are slaves to whatever or whoever owns us. The choice for Paul is not between slavery and freedom, but rather, whose slave will you be? Will you be a slave to the world or a slave to Jesus? If you have been set free from sin by the sacrifice of Jesus then you have been freed to become a slave of righteousness.

Slaves of Righteousness = Disciple

There is no other choice for a disciple but to take up the cross. There is no other choice but total submission to his lordship, his mastery, over ever area of our lives. Being a disciple, being a slave, means giving up choices.

So, what are we freed to do?

Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

We are freed to please our master.

Paul was under attack by some within the Galatian church. There was a group called “Judiazers” who believed that in order for a Gentile to become a Christian, they had to first become a Jew. This group challenged Paul’s authority as an Apostle and his servanthood to Jesus. Over 40% of the letter to the Galatian church Paul dealt with defending himself from the attacks. The Galatian letter is the only letter from Paul where Paul leaves out the thanksgiving portion at the beginning of all his letters. This faction did not like Paul’s message of grace and the thankfulness had gone right out of him.

There is no question Paul is somewhat emotional in his letter but beyond his emotion lies a crystal-clear certainty, Paul does not exist to win their approval. While Paul longs to serve them, his ultimate purpose is not to please them. This clarity comes from the simple fact that Paul knows he is a slave. Someone had bought and paid for him. Paul is owned. He has only one master, only one person to please.

If you talk with our staff today, our preachers will tell you they are here to serve this congregation, however, they do not work for this congregation, they work only for Jesus and he alone is their boss. Some Christians might find that offensive. Who pays for their salaries? The church pays the salaries or sustains them in their ministry, but it is God they are slaves to and because of that slavery, they serve the church. Too often the church gets it backwards. It is the preacher who is the slave of the congregation and because of that fact; the Church pays their preachers a slave’s wage. Why is it that so many in the church believe the preacher and his family need to starve to do his work well?? That concept is so wrong as we read scripture both from Jesus and from the writers of the letters found in the New Testament.

Here is the liberating fact about being a slave to Christ, we have only Jesus to please, we have only His approval to gain, no one else’s. We are never called to be people pleasers, only Christ pleasers.

We are freed to heal divisions

Romans 14:4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

It is important to know the background to the letter to the Romans. When Paul writes this letter he writes to a church he had never met nor did he help to establish. He avoided ministering there because they had been established as far back as AD 35. Paul doesn’t visit Rome until about AD 59. The letter to the Romans was written to help prepare the church for his upcoming stopover on his way to Spain.

In AD 49 the church had been divided when the Emperor Claudius had expelled all the Jews from Rome due to a riot. Claudius mistakenly identified the trouble makers as Jews so they were expelled. In AD 50 Paul meets up with two of these exiled Jews, Aquila and Priscilla. Shortly after that Claudius dies and the ban was lifted but a dramatic change had taken place within the church. What once was a church with leadership made up of both Jews and Gentiles, now the church was led by all Gentiles. When the Jews came back there were some real tensions Paul had to deal with. Paul writes to help ease some of the tensions.

Imagine that this class is the Roman church. Within the church you had Gentiles that worshiped Jesus the Lord. Also within the church you had Jews who worshiped Jesus the Messiah. Both had different preferences on dietary issues, and both had preferences in the style of worship. The church became divided and this had a devastating effect on the ministry of the church.

Paul boldly states, who are you to judge another person’s slave?

In this statement is the remedy to heal divisions within a church. When churches fight and begin to criticize each other, or move to split over some dispute, what is Paul say that should stop the infighting?

If we are owned by someone, the issue is between them and their master, no one else. In the case of the church in Rome, Jesus is the master and how the slave and the master work things out, that is all that matters. Now that the believers were free from judging each other, they were free to get back to the business of the church; loving each other and serving each other well. The freedom from judging each other could only come from their slavery in Christ.

We are freed to serve

This third freedom is different and really has to do a lot with your perspective in life. If you are a self centered person wanting everyone to do things for you and to serve you, then this last freedom will be hard to comprehend. A lot of the disputes that happen within a local church has a lot to do with this type of freedom, or should I say, the lack of freedom. In fact, when a church struggles with all sorts of infighting and factions, it is not because they have differences of opinion, it goes a lot deeper into the spiritual realm of their lives. They are not free to serve, they themselves want to be served thus the unwillingness to heal differences.

2 Timothy 2:23-26 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s slave must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Looking at the passage in 2 Timothy, why do churches struggle with each other and have disputes and arguments? What is the core problem?

The second letter to Timothy is considered the last letter that Paul wrote right before he was martyred in AD 64. It seems evident that Paul senses he doesn’t have a whole lot of time left to live. Timothy is serving a church that is struggling with internal quarrels. When Paul writes to Timothy, he is centered on the image of the humble servant of Christ. Paul tells Timothy that the slave of the master is free. The slaves demeanor is dictated by his slave posture, dominated by patience and gentleness. Timothy must come to understand that whatever the struggle, it is ultimately the concern of his master. He must focus simply and humbly on obedient service.

Slaves are freed from quarreling and fighting. They are therefore free to serve through patiently teaching those who would be otherwise their opponents. It is a freedom that could only come through slavery.