Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright. God is a God who loves freedom. And that love for freedom that you have in your heart, and that this country values so highly, and that gets talked about so much, that began with God.
He's a lover of freedom. 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, excited for you to hear the teaching today in our series called Story Wars, as presented at Rinaldo Church in North Carolina. Now, 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 today. It can be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries. So, as you listen to today's teaching, go deeper as we send you today's special offer. Contact us at Pastor Alan.org. That's PastorAlan.org. Or call 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. More on this later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching.
Here is Alan Wright. Okay, are you ready for some good news? Beloved, God wants you to be free. God loves freedom. Expansive, lavish, glorious freedom. The world is a bit confused about the pathway to that freedom.
And we're going to learn about that today. We're picking up in Matthew chapter seven, where Jesus says as part of his famous Sermon on the Mount, enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide, and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
For the gate is narrow, and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. And then in John chapter eight. John chapter eight, verse 31. Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. And they answered him, we are the offspring of Abraham, and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say you'll become free?
See, they were a bit insulted by what Jesus was saying. They're like, well, even though we were slaves in Egypt, we've never capitulated. We see ourselves as being free. Jesus was talking about a different kind of freedom.
He was talking about something deeper than what they knew. And Jesus, verse 34, answered him and said, truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. So the person who is acting like they look like they've got all the freedom because they just do whatever they want, you see, is actually a slave to that. The slave does not remain in the house forever. The son remains forever. So if the son sets you free, you'll be free indeed.
We're talking about freedom. During its theatrical run, it took in 1.3 billion of the highest grossing animated film up to that time, made more money than any movie in 2013 and became the fifth highest grossing film of all time. A story of an ice princess named Elsa who had had some powers to freeze things. And she accidentally hurt her little sister Anna when they were little. And so the parents over functioned and over controlled and over shamed and isolated the two girls from each other. And so they grew up, Elsa did, with this fear of her powers hurting somebody else until the time came for her to potentially be engaged at a big ball. And she comes out nervously and then her powers come out and unwittingly, she freezes all of the land and she wanders away to make her own ice castle and live in isolation.
And that is when she famously sings. It's time to see what I can do to test the limits and break through. No right, no wrong, no rules for me.
I'm free. Let it go. Let it go.
I know you'd like me to sing it right now, but I'm not going to. Can't hold it back anymore. Let it go. Let it go.
Turn away and slam the door. I don't care what they're going to say. Let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered me anyway. No right, no wrong, no rules for me.
I am free. Problem with it is that when Elsa actually does let it go, her sister who had come looking for her in the big whirlwind of it all, her sister gets hurt by like an ice dagger to the heart. And in this explosion of letting it go, it's so destructive.
And then Anna, the younger sister, begins to freeze what looks like nearly to death. And so that's the plot of the movie. We're in a new series that I've called Story Wars because the real battle in today's world is not over the individual little hot butt issues as much as people are full of vim and vigor and hatred over all of it. The real battle is what's the true story, the narrative of who we are, what the world's about, what humanity is all about.
And what I want to do in coming weeks is to help you identify the conflict of the narratives and contrast what it is that you're hearing when you hear one of the most famous songs of any animated film ever. No right, no wrong, no rules for me. I'm free. And to think about what the message is for us today as we talk about freedom, I would say that little song that is so famous that every five-year-old girl in this country still could sing it for you, right, capsulizes a whole lot of the narrative about what freedom is. And the idea that freedom is the lack of restraint. You know, one thing you could say for sure as we enter this subject is that Christians and non-Christians alike have a huge value on freedom. And Jesus says at least these two things that are fascinating and disturbing to freedom lovers. He says that if you want more expansive freedom, then you won't find it the way you think through the really wide gate, but through something that's going to feel it first very narrow. And they also then says that if you really, really want to be free, then you're going to have to come to have revelation of some very narrow truth. So both Christians and non-Christians and our culture today agree on how important freedom is. We have a huge value on freedom in our country, and I love that. But the pathway to that freedom from the world's narrative, the modern spirit of the age narrative versus the Bible is completely different.
And that's what I want to talk to you about. I just want to talk about the priority of freedom and the problem of freedom and the paradox of freedom. First, the priority in God's own heart and in ours. One of the biggest misunderstandings of God in our culture today is that God is by nature restrictive as if God is a hater of liberty. And it's one of the things you'll see and people that are are opposed to Christianity right now.
And perhaps there's someone here today. And if you're if you're struggling with Christianity, you're struggling with the claims of Christ, then it is a good chance for our culture today that the issue revolves around a misunderstanding of who God actually is. Yes, God is opposed to sin, but God all throughout the Bible is seen as not a hard taskmaster, but someone who has an enormous value on freedom. God God doesn't want to keep people out of heaven.
God wants people in heaven. You remember the story of the lady who died? She got to Heaven's Gate. Saint Peter was there and she said, How do I get in? And he said, Well, you have to spell a word. And she said, Well, what's the word? He said, Love. She said, L-O-V-E. That's easy.
He said, That's it. Come on in. And she came into Heaven's Gates. He said, Hey, listen, would you do me a favor? I've got to run an errand. Would you stay here at the gate and welcome the next person that comes in as well?
I'll be back in a little bit. So she stood there at Heaven's Gates. And lo and behold, her ex husband showed up.
That two timing snake of a man that had just about ruined her life on Earth showed up at Heaven. And he said, Well, hey, how do I get in? She said, You got to spell a word. And he said, What's the word? She said, Czechoslovakia. That's right. Several times this week to spell Czechoslovakia.
That's Alan Wright. And we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. Ever feel like something's holding you back as if you lack an important key that could change everything?
Is there someone you love who seems stuck? You'd like to help them, but how? What's missing? Blessing. We all need a positive faith-filled vision spoken over our lives. You can learn how to embrace the biblical practice of blessing through Pastor Alan Wright's new book, The Power to Bless, which quickly became an Amazon number one bestseller after its recent release.
Until now, the hardcover book has only been available through retail sales. But this month, Alan Wright Ministries wants to send you the book as our thank you for your donation. Make your gift today and discover the power to bless. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries.
This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Today is the final day we're offering this special product. Call us at 877-544-4860 or come to our website, PastorAlan.org.
Today's teaching now continues. Here once again is Alan Wright. There is an image that people have of God is that he's got this hard mandate that you need to spell Czechoslovakia. You need to get your life all together in order and that that's what we mean by the gate being narrow and the way being hard. And people would read that and say, see there the Christian God is against freedom and the people who follow God are very narrow and very restricting.
That's the narrative. But beloved, God is expansive and lavish in his desire for liberty. If you go back to the beginning and read in Genesis 2 and just look at the world he created for Adam and Eve, the Lord God, verse 8, 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. Every tree that was beautiful and delicious fruit and the tree of life was in the midst of the garden, in the middle of the garden, this glorious tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was there. And a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden and there it divided and became four rivers. The Garden of Eden was expansive and the Lord at verse 17 or verse 15 rather, the Lord took the man, put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it and he summoned the man. He commanded him saying you may surely eat of every tree of the garden.
That's how it all started. I have made a paradise for you and I want you to look to the left and to the right and up and down and all around and you see every kind of fruit that is here. You see everything that is delicious and beautiful. I want you to understand it's all made for you and you can taste and sample of a different fruit every day the rest of your life. It is for freedom that I have set you free in this garden. But verse 17, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. There's one tree that you're not to eat of and it would rob you of all this freedom I've given you. Would it not be a complete misunderstanding of God and absolute caricature of God to say because he made a million trees that were beautiful and available for their fruit to be eaten by Adam and Eve and he made one tree that they weren't to eat that God's a restrictive God.
That's a ridiculous notion. He made it all. So my wife likes to say God isn't a no God he's a yes God. He's an expansive God.
He's for you. He's for your freedom. If you were to read the Bible through knowing nothing about Jesus nothing about God you could not help but discover that the story is about what God has done to set his people free. They were slaves in Egypt and God heard their cry and he sent a liberator to bring them out of their slavery. The story of the people of God in the Old Covenant is their deliverance from bondage and it is a shadow that then gets reflected all in the New Covenant when Jesus comes and describes his own ministry and this command to even rest from our labor is about our freedom. Well if you've ever noticed in Deuteronomy 5 verse 13 in the Ten Commandments the connection of Sabbath the day in which you don't have to work you rest from your labors the connection of that is with the freedom of the people verse 13 the seventh days of Sabbath to the Lord your God you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day God saying I didn't make you to be slaves not slaves to any tyrant and not slaves even to your own laborious attempts to make it in this world every week you just rest one day a week and remember I'm the God who liberates slaves I'm the one who doesn't want you to be a slave to your work a slave to toil so when Jesus came he was like a new Moses and he went up to a mount and spoke Beatitudes and he he went and he spoke blessings and in Luke chapter 4 we read that he unroll the scroll and found the place where it was written the spirit of the Lord's upon me these are the words of Isaiah the spirits of Lord upon me because he's anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor and this is why Jesus says he was sent he sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind to set at liberty those who are oppressed to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and he rolled up the scroll and he began saying to them today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing he sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord you know what he's speaking of there the year of Jubilee so every week on the seventh day no work remember you once were a slave you're not slavery remember that you're not a slave you can just rest you can just be free and then every seven years it would be declared a Sabbath year and they were to let the land lie fallow it's good for agriculture to not overwork the land some debts were canceled some slaves were set free that seventh year but it was said in Israel that in the 49th year seven times seven years it'll be the Sabbath of Sabbath of Sabbaths in the year Jubilee all debts are canceled all land is returned to the original owners and all slaves are set free the Jubilee was a complete reset of freedom for everyone it was kind of like you know when we were kids and we played this game called kick the can and anybody ever played kick the can as a kid I loved it man I was the kick the can champion of pine top road baby it was nothing like it because whoever was it has captured all these people and they got to be huddled up around there they're like in prison but if there's one person still available who can sneak in and then come rushing in and and the and the key is you got to get there and kick that can before the person who's it goes back and touches the can and you come sprinting in and everybody that's in jail is like come on come on come on out and then you can kick that can and when that happens everybody goes free and the game is reset and that's that's what Jubilee was he said I've come to set captives free and more than that now is Jubilee he's talking about something more than just literal freedom he's talking about the deepest spiritual freedom and so Paul speaks often of freedom 2nd Corinthians 3 17 the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is there's freedom Galatians 5 for freedom Christ is set as free stand firm there do not submit again to the oak of slavery so we could go through the whole Bible and see clearly that God is a God who loves freedom and that love for freedom that you have in your heart and that this country values so highly and he gets talked about so much that began with God he's a lover of freedom Alan Wright our good news message today and it's titled wide gate versus narrow gate from the series story wars they stick with us Pastor Alan is back in the studio sharing his parting good news thought for the day in just a moment unlock the power of blessing your life discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing if you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement get Alan Wright's daily blessing it's free and just a click away at Pastor Alan dot org ever feel like something's holding you back as if you lack an important key that could change everything is there someone you love who seems stuck you'd like to help them but how what's missing blessing we all need a positive faith filled vision spoken over our lives you can learn how to embrace the biblical practice of blessing through Pastor Alan Wright's new book the power to bless which quickly became an Amazon number one bestseller after its recent release until now the hardcover book has only been available through retail sales but this month Alan Wright Ministries wants to send you the book as our thank you for your donation make your gift today and discover the power to bless the gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries this broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support when you give today we will send you today's special offer we are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries today is the final day we're offering the special product call us at eight seven seven five four four forty eight sixty or come to our website Pastor Alan dot org Pastor Alan I'll never forget we owned a house with a small backyard but it went up and kind of faded into some wooded areas and as we had little kids we decided to put up a nice privacy fence and so our kids could run around back there without drifting into the woods and I was kind of against it at first I thought I was gonna really close it in make it feel more pinned in a smaller yard I could not ever forget walking through the gate of that brand new fence the day I came home when it was put up and it felt like the yard was bigger because now we could play all the way to the margin all the way to the edge all the way to the edge you know we're talking about story wars and that's what the battle is about we get frustrated in our culture when we hear things we go that's not right it can make us angry as Christians and so forth but what we're inviting listeners into in this series Daniel is to think deeper about the the big story what we would call the meta narrative that's going on so people are acting and responding and being frustrated and and saying things out of the story that they believe and the story that our culture has been steeped in is that freedom means the lack of restraint so take the restraint off make me free don't tell me what to do and don't give me anything that would feel narrow at all well but Jesus said the truth actually sets you free so what we're looking at today is this paradox that Jesus says that the gates narrow that leads to life what looks like it would be very constricting the word there stenos in Greek it is it is something that feels like it would be narrowing and that's the very thing that in our culture people don't want don't become narrow with me because the idea is freedom has got to be broad but what we see with Jesus is as though this small gate of truth that it that's the only way that opens up the expanse of everything on the other side so God is for freedom and it's for freedom we've been set free and in Christ in the Spirit of the Lord there is freedom but it's not as the world thinks it's a paradox first there's the narrowness of truth and then there's real freedom that's what we're learning about today's good news message is a listener supported production of Alan Wright Ministries
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