Celebrate (In)Dependence Day!

Services

Sunday - 8AM & 10 AM, Wednesday - 6:30 PM

Jul, 02

SERMON NOTES

JUly 2, 2017

CHUCK LOFTIS - SENIOR PASTOR

Celebrate (in)dependence Day!

Text: Galatians 5:13-18.

Introduction -

This weekend many are celebrating Independence Day in a variety of ways: some travel while others stay home with the family. There’s a lot of grilling, fireworks shows, parades and other traditional American celebrations.

But what did the Founding Fathers want to become independent from? When reading through the Declaration of Independence, we find their precisely stated set of charges against the king and justification for independence: to break free of the stifling hold of a British tyrant.

So does the American story have a parallel in Christianity? Yes, it absolutely does.

Purpose: to help us recognize that in depending upon Jesus’death for our sins, we enjoy independence from sin’s final dividend.

Spiritual independence…but from what?

  • Our main text is about Mosaic Law, and bear in mind that it’s the Law that both identifies sin and how to live a life honorable to God (Romans 7:7-25).
  • However, religious leaders were using the Law ignorantly or deviously as a tool for power and position and separation.
  • Paul declares freedom from the Law and tells The Church in Galatia that they are called by God through Jesus to be free from the old sacrificial system (cf. Matthew 5:17-20; Acts 15:22-29).
  • Christians in Galatia were under a lot of pressure and - logically - it seems that one pressure was to become a Jewish convert first in order to become a Christian second.
  • Another Christian paradox: independence comes from dependence.

  • To be free means we must be freed by a liberator capable of not only opening our spiritual prison door, but also able to gracefully influence us from going back into sin’s cell (John 8:31-38; Titus 3:3-7).
  • Paul explained this in Titus chapter 3.
  • Jesus made the same point plain in John chapter 8.
  • Jesus elaborated on this even more in John 15.
  • Even an atheist uses this same line-of-thought though pointed in the completely opposite direction: their so-called independence is dependent on what they believe…or more appropriately: in whom they believe.
  • After independence-through-dependence, then, comes responsible spiritual living.

  • Paul is essentially telling the Galatian Church they were meant to be free from slavery to sin. But what does that phrase, slavery to sin mean?
  • Everyone is a slave in a spiritual sense as either slaves to self (our natural sinful state) or we are slaves to Christ.
  • New Testament authors openly declared their status as slaves of Christ (e.g., Romans 1:1; Titus 1:1; James 1:1).
  • Modern translations use politically-correct terms such as servant or bond-servant in these passages, but the Greek word doulas literally means, slave.
  • Jesus told unbelieving Pharisees, Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin (John 8:34; cf. Romans 6:18).
  • He uses the analogy of a slave and his master to make the point that a slave obeys his master because he belongs to him.
  • Slaves have no will of their own, being in literal bondage to their masters.
  • When sin is our master, we are unable to resist it.
  • By the power of Christ to overcome the power of sin, You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness (see Romans 6:18).
  • Once we come to Christ in repentance and receive forgiveness for sin, we are empowered to live victorious over its hold by the Holy Spirit Who comes to live in us (I Corinthians 6:12-20).
  • Look again to our text in v. 13: For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh (i.e., to indulge your sinful nature ), but through love serve one another.
  • That could be summarized this way: we cannot use our freedom to break God’s moral commands.
  • Freedom is not a license to sin (cf., Romans 6:1-14)
  • And praise be to God that we’re given in this passage a key to unlocking spiritual liberation: serve others.
  • We should not succumb to believing that freedom allows us to avoid obligations as members of The Church.
  • We can’t use the idea of freedom to spectate while others do all the serving;
  • When one bottles up their spiritual freedom, it tends to spoil: just like manna did if not gathered daily (see Exodus 16).
  • Service is akin to physical exercise.
  • Use your spiritual freedom daily in how at OBCC we say, “Loving God - Investing in People”(Great Commandment/Great Commission living; Matthew 22:36-40; 28:19-20) and your spiritual muscles will strengthen.
  • Don’t use them, and you’ll be weak.
  • Conclusion -

    In a couple of days, we’ll celebrate the day America’s Founding Fathers declared independence from the British empire. But today let us celebrate our declaration of dependence upon Jesus for eternal life and independence from sin’s mastery over us.

    As we approach the Lord’s table today, let’s express our complete dependence on Him to be liberated from the stifling tyranny of sin!