Allen Wright, pastor, Bible teacher, and author of his latest book, The Power to Bless. I watch them down at the beach. They let them off the leash sometime. Maybe they throw a ball out into the surf, and the dogs swim out there and get it and come back and bring it back to its owner. Sometimes they just walk along next to them. Are you kidding me?
If I let that beagle off the leash at the beach, it'd chase every seagull and sandpiper, dig up a few fiddlers, catch a scent, go over the dunes, never to be seen again. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light.
I'm Daniel Britt. As many Americans remember and celebrate the Fourth of July as a picture of national freedom, Independence Day, Pastor Alan Wright has a very important word about the biblical view of freedom. Freedom is not, as many postmodern suppose, an escape from authority or commitment.
It's something much deeper. I'm excited for you to hear this teaching today. It's titled Freedom Through Submission, Living an Unleashed Life, as presented at Reynolda Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It can be yours for your donation this month to Allen Wright Ministries. As you listen to today's message, go deeper as we send you today's special offer. Contact us at pastorallen.org or call 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. More on that later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching.
Here is Allen Wright. Okay, you ready for some good news? God wants you to be free. 100% completely, totally free. And God wants you to be submitted to Him. 100% completely, totally yielded to His will for your life. Here's the marvel. Freedom and submission are not mutually exclusive.
They are inseparably connected. I hope you're ready to start a new series that I think will be one of the most important that we've ever examined together what real freedom is all about. We call it Unleashed. And we're going to start right in the beginning at Genesis chapter 2 where you're going to see the story of the freedom that was lost and then how God has made it available to us again. In Genesis chapter 2 verse 15. The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man saying, You may surely eat of every tree of the garden.
And note that well. Every tree of the garden. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat.
For in that day that you eat of it, you shall surely die. And then jump to chapter 3 verse 7 after they had sinned. Verse 7, then the eyes of both were opened and they knew that they were naked and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day and the man whose wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, Where are you? And he said, I heard the sound of you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself.
He said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree which I commanded you not to eat? And the man said, The woman who you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree and I ate. And the Lord God said to the woman, What is this that you've done? And the woman said, The servant deceived me and I ate. And then jump to verse 22. Then the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat and live forever, therefore the Lord God sent him out from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.
He drove out the man and at the east of the Garden of Eden, he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. His full name was Recy Peanut Buttercup Wright. We called him Recy for short or sometimes just Reese. He was in many ways the perfect family pet, our beagle, who was a pure beagle, complete with the brown, white, black coat and the short little legs. And like all beagles, he had a sugar-sweet temperament, was great with children, and just loved people.
Hard to imagine having a better family pet. We tried hard to train him well, and we succeeded in a few ways. Recy would sit for a bit, and he would lie down. He got so good at this that he could lie there with his front paws out, and we could put a treat on his two front paws, and he would wait to eat it until we told him he could eat it. The other thing that was great about Recy was right from the beginning of our early age, he was very quickly house trained, and that was very important to us. He never went in the house, always went outside, and in the natural area, not in the yard. That was very important, which is, by the way, in great contrast to Pastor Chris's new dog, who will only go in the house, is what I'm hearing, so I'm just saying.
I'm just saying that. I asked Chris's son, Adam, I said, How's the new dog doing? He said, He potty, he trains, does he house train yet?
He said, No. He goes in the backyard, walks around for 15 minutes, and then comes in and goes right in front of my mom just to taunt her. So Recy went like that. And yet Recy had a couple of big problems, and the first is related to that hound dog nose of his. A beagle loves a scent more than anything else. He's bred to track a scent, just wants to track a rabbit so badly. And so I would like to take the dog for a walk, but he wanted to have his nose to the ground, and he wanted to be following a scent. Walking the dog was something of kind of a fight, you know, because he's always pulling.
I never did get him to walk like that. I just, he had to keep him on a short leash. And I was envious of those people that had those stately, elegant, retriever-type dogs. I watch them walk in the neighborhood, and the dog doesn't even need a leash.
It's just lying limp there next to them. They're just walking along as if they're smiling at all the passersby, winking at the darting rabbits and squirrels, not prone to chase anything. Oh, how I coveted those dogs. And Recy had another problem that, speaking of other dogs, and I had read this in a dog training book when Recy was little, that you ought to socialize your dog with other dogs. But I'm like, who needs to socialize a dog with other dogs?
I'm like, who needs to socialize a dog, or socialize a dog? And that was a huge mistake, because Recy basically only got socialized with one other dog. It was sort of his cousin, Lucky, my sister-in-law's dog. Lucky was a little bitty poodle mix, smartest little, cute little dog, high-energy dog. And those two dogs were just best buddies.
Recy loved Lucky and spent a lot of time with Lucky. But Recy hated every other dog on the planet. It was kind of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde situation, like he's like the sweetest beagle in the world, and you get him around another dog, and he's like, argh, argh, argh, argh, argh. And it was embarrassing to try to walk the dog, because the other dog would come, and he's trying to pull and go chase after the other dog. I'd have to be on a walk and send my daughter and say, run up and around the corner and see if there's any other dogs being walked, because we'd turn around and go the other direction, just so we wouldn't have to pass by a dog. And every now and then I'd see these people like at the park or the beach or something, and they'd let their dog off the leash.
I'd watch them down at the beach. They'd let them off the leash sometimes. Maybe they'd throw a ball out into the surf and the dog swim out there and get it and come back and bring it back to its owner. Sometimes they'd just walk along next to them.
Are you kidding me? If I let that beagle off the leash at the beach, it'd chase every seagull and sandpiper, dig up a few fiddlers, catch a scent, go over the dunes, never to be seen again. My dog had to be on a leash.
The point of all this is only the best trained dogs can go unleashed, which brings us to the primary point, where real freedom does not come through the absence of any authority, but real freedom comes through submission to the right authority. That's Alan Wright, and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. God's love. You've heard about it with your ears.
You've believed it in your mind. Now experience it in your heart with Alan Wright's beloved book, The Lover of My Soul. The Bible is a love story from beginning to end. You are the spiritual bride of Christ, the perfect bridegroom. The Bible tells about a God who has gone to unimaginable lengths to woo you, to win you, and to walk with you hand in hand. For any man who has fallen in love with a woman, you've tasted the sweetness of what God's love for you is like. For any woman who has searched for true love, what you long for can only be found fully in God. Gary Chapman, renowned author of the five love languages, the incredible reality that God pursues us in love comes to life in Lover of My Soul. Ancient biblical accounts explode in the heart. Accept Christ's proposal, enjoy His embrace, revel in His love.
After all, it's a match made in heaven. It's Lover of My Soul by Alan Wright. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Today's teaching now continues.
Here once again is Alan Wright. I'm so thankful for this generation in so many ways, not least of which this generation has brought into the mentality of a culture that all forms of oppression should be rejected. This is not a generation that emerges now that is dominated by the pressure to conform. It is much more a culture and a generation that values freedom of expression.
In other words, be who you are. And all of that is, I think, really good. But I think along with it, there is a thread of dark deception that has come into so much of modern thinking. And it is that freedom is always diminished if there's any submission or any restraint. And the idea that submission and freedom actually go hand in hand would be an alien thought. And I want to show you today and in coming weeks just what a paradox freedom is. It is arguably the great theme of Scripture, the big story of the Bible, a story of freedom that is lost and freedom that is found again. Whether it's in the story of Adam and Eve that we look at today and a new people that are a new Adam, or whether it's the story of the Exodus and a people that were enslaved in Egypt and they're brought into freedom and what that freedom really means for them. And Jesus who came and He said, If the Son sets you free, you'll be free indeed. Who when He began His ministry unfurled the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. And He read in part that He had come to set the captives free.
And when He handed back the scroll He said, Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. We are people who have been set free by the gift of Jesus Christ. And that freedom is something to be cherished.
It's something that every heart, every human heart longs for. We know that slavery is evil and we know that freedom is wonderful. And I want to just show you and celebrate what that freedom is to lead you into more and more freedom.
And to show you that the pathway and the meaning of that freedom may be deeper and richer than you ever thought before. So we start right here at the beginning with Adam and Eve in a garden. Travel back with me to the dawn of time and see this garden that God has created. God is perfect in every way. He is beautiful and He's wonderful. He is creative.
He is an artist. He is the master landscaper. And so when He created, it's no surprise in Genesis 2 verse 8 that the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east. And there He put the man whom He formed and out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. I just want you to just highlight that every tree, every tree that's pleasant to sight and good for food. And the tree of life was in the midst of the garden. And the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. Let me just pause here to say, I think they're just, in the modern age, there's too often a caricature of God that is popularized today that says that God is essentially a restrictive God. Maybe it's because we've had so much oppressive forms of religion.
People just are tired of it all. Or maybe it's just a conspiracy of hell. But far too many people in this generation have believed that God is primarily a God of constraint. That primarily He is restrictive.
And that in other words, it leads to the conclusion maybe your life would be better off without God because He's going to put all these restrictions on your freedom. I want you to see this garden. It was created for this man and this woman to work. God is sheer genius.
And He is sheer beauty and wonder. And the garden was expansive and full and beautiful. God was expressing His own inner splendor in what He created. And by definition, a garden is made on purpose, by design. I mean, if you were to just happen upon one of the great gardens of the world, like the gardens at the Versailles Palace, you wouldn't come upon it and say, oh, what a coincidence that all of this just came together. You would see order and beauty and symmetry and wonder.
And that's the way it was. This was a garden that was expansive and beautiful and wonderful in every way. And the Scripture tells us that springing up from the ground was every kind of flowering tree, every kind of fruit tree.
I mean, you just need to take your imagination to see what this paradise is like. Imagine every tree that you love to see in the springtime of North Carolina, all the flowering dogwoods, the weeping cherries, every kind of ornamental and beautiful tree, and all the fruit trees. Every kind of fruit tree was there. My daughter at the end of the summer convinced my wife and I to go on a whole 30 diet in which we had zero sugar for 30 days and zero sugar substitute and zero milk and cheese and zero about everything else for about 30 days. And it was supposed to get you to wake up your real appetite for more healthy foods. And I will say this, that though as soon as the day 30 was over at 10 p.m. we declared it over, I went and grabbed some chocolate, but I will say this, that I did discover fruit's not that bad. In fact, fruit's good.
If you hadn't had sugar in 30 days, a strawberry is delicious. An orange and a banana is just sumptuous. And so here's Adam and Eve, before there was Doritos and processed sugar and soda cans, their bodies were designed for all this and every delectable kind of fruit. What I'm just saying is I want you to see this garden and all of its expanse and all of its beauty. The point is simple. The Garden of Eden was not a restrictive place, was it?
It was a place of vast beauty and wonder and unbelievable freedom. If God's such a restrictive God, where's the long list of all the rules and restrictions for Adam and Eve? There's one. There's only one thing that's even mentioned. There's one tree. Out of how many thousands of trees, we have no idea what to count. The myriad of all of the fruit trees of which they could enjoy and sample and eat. And just one little rule. God said to them, eat of every tree anything that your heart takes delight in.
Enjoy it all except for one. See, God is not a no God. He's a yes God.
All the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ Jesus. My wife, she was the one who coined the term and she always wanted our house and we encouraged other parents to make your house a yes house because you can feel like your house is just a no house. You know, when you're parenting, it can just turn in. Can we have some ice cream? No. Can we play ball inside the house? No. Can we roller skate down the hallway? No.
Can we just stay up late tonight? No. Can I? No.
You just feel like sometimes as a parent all you do is watch. No. No. No.
No. And Anne said, you know, sometimes when we feel like we're given all these no's, she would just invent reasons to be able to say yes. You know, like she'd plan it out. She's like, you know, I think we're going to get some donuts.
And so what she'd do is she'd go and she'd just plant the little seed thaw with the kids. Like, you know, boy, wouldn't a donut be good right now? Could we? Could we get Krispy Kreme? Could we go get some Krispy Kreme? Well, yes.
You know, I mean, she'd just come up with things, just yes. Because the fact of the matter is, although it can seem like you're just walking around the parent saying no, no, no all the time, that your yeses far outweigh the no's. God is not a God who is looking for a way to say no.
He is looking for a way to say yes. And this is the purpose and the coming of Christ. The Garden of Eden reflected God's own nature that He is not restrictive, judgmental, and constraining, but He is a God of wonder and freedom.
And then note this well. The picture of humanity is God created us. They were free.
Wow. Adam and Eve are free. Free not just to enjoy this paradise and enjoy one another and enjoy God's presence, but they were free from shame. No anxiety or angst about what would happen if they didn't measure up. No fear of being rejected. No fear of that ultimate fear that's behind all others. No fear of death.
Imagine that. No sense of the mortality that hangs over them. No fear of disease or decline of health or fear of running out of provision. No worry, no dread, no angst of any type.
No tyranny of the urgent. They were free to learn. They were free to grow. They were free to share their lives. No one was pushing them.
No one was pressuring them. Whatever they did was from faith and hope and joy. They were free to laugh. They were free to give. They were free to enjoy life. And they were free from sin. And what we'll see is that the picture of freedom for the Christian is in the Word of God is largely related to this. From the movement from bondage to sin to freedom from sin, and in the beginning they were just free from sin. And what this means is they didn't have any of the misery that comes with all of the sin of our lives.
I mean, just imagine it. I mean, no covetousness. So they never had that miserable feeling of like, well, I wish I had what they had.
They never had that. No envy, no greed. There was no lust, no adultery, no betrayal. There was no sin. And so they not only didn't have their own sin, but they didn't suffer the consequences of someone else's sin. There were no murderers. There were no thieves. There were no bullies. It was a place of ultimate freedom.
They were free indeed. If you ever want to know who God is and what He wants for humanity, start here at this paradise in a garden called Eden that was expansive and beautiful with this man and this woman that were made in the image of God, and it was just bursting with freedom. Allen Wright.
It's the teaching freedom through submission. Stay with us. Allen is back in the studio here in just a moment to share his parting good news thought for the day. Stay with us. What you long for can only be found fully in God. Gary Chapman, renowned author of the five love languages, says the incredible reality that God pursues us in love comes to life in Lover of My Soul.
Ancient biblical accounts explode in the heart. Accept Christ's proposal. Enjoy His embrace. Revel in His love.
After all, it's a match made in heaven. It's Lover of My Soul by Allen Wright. Call us at 877-544-4860. That's 877-544-4860.
Or come to our website, pastorallen.org. Allen, we've kicked off this new series. It's titled Unleashed, and maybe you want to take us into how this series came to be. Well, I think so much as we were talking about our dog that we had, our family pet, Recy the Beagle, and oh, how I would have loved to have let him roam free without a leash like some of those dignified retrievers that I'll see so politely walking next to their masters. But not Recy if there was a darting squirrel or a bird of any type.
He would be gone never to come back and find his way home unless he used that good nose of his. The bottom line is what we're saying here as we start off and the reason for the title of this whole series. Only the well-trained dog can go without a leash, and so it's a picture of the paradox of submission. And as we are continuing into what I think one of the most important series I've preached, the idea of freedom in our culture is completely backwards. To think that the less choices you have, the less free you are, when actually it's deep submission to God that creates greatest freedom. It's a wonderful mystery. Today's good news message is a listener-supported production of Alan Wright Ministries.
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