So today we're going to kind of bring it all home and land on what does it actually mean to be chained to Jesus? Because it almost sounds counterintuitive that if we're going to be free from other chains, then we need to be actually chained to Jesus. And that's really where freedom is.
And it sounds a little almost ironic that how does freedom deal with being chained to who Christ is? And so this is the last time I do this, but I wanted to bring up four people who can come up on the stage. Welcome up here this morning. They're going to help me out one more time. Come on, give them a big hand for helping me out this morning. Last Sunday, Stacey was like, enough with the chains.
We got it. But I do got one more and I want to show you this visual. And so over here, each one of these chains kind of represents the last three weeks that we were talking about how it's really easy to be chained up to condemnation. It's really easy to be chained up to comparison and to the crowd. And the visual that I want us to kind of get is that a lot of people unfortunately are kind of living like this where they just feel chained to things of the past and they feel chained to the crowd or to condemnation or to comparison. And so as much as we want to pursue what God has for our life, the more that we're chained to these things, the harder it is to go. And what we talked about over the last couple of weeks is that the more that I'm chained to these three things, this gets exhausting to try to pull this around, to try to do and be all that God wants me to do and be. It gets exhausting. And it's hard because there's this constant pull and tension and you just get tired.
You get exhausted from doing it. So the answer typically is, well, then I guess I'll just give in. And it's just much easier just to give into the crowd or give into temptation or to give into condemnation of the past and guilt and shame. It's easier just to compromise my beliefs just a little bit because there's not tension.
And so it doesn't feel exhausting just to kind of give in. The problem is that on this side of the equation, I told Anthony he has one job today, and that is to play the role of Jesus. That is his one job. It's just a little job.
He did it well the first service, but I wanted you to see the picture of this. Just because you struggle with comparison or the crowd or condemnation does not mean you're not a Christian, by the way. It's not questioning whether or not you love God, whether or not you are trying to do your best to live for him. But unfortunately, too many people are living like this, where you got Jesus on one side that wants to lead you, but you can't go because you're stuck back here. And then the moment you feel the pull this way, you kind of feel the tension of all the stuff you learned in church about right and wrong and all the Bible school things and Sunday school and sermons you've heard.
You're like, no, I can't, I can't let go of Jesus. I feel tempted over here because it's just easier and you're stuck in this tension. Has anybody ever felt this tension before?
I know I have. You kind of just feel this tension between the two, which way to go and which way to go. And when you do this, guess what? You get stuck. And quite honestly, being stuck really stinks, doesn't it? Being stuck in your faith, being stuck in progress, being stuck in your job, just being stuck in life, it's just not a good feeling.
And there's a lot of you that you like, this is just how you live your life right now. You're just stuck. You're hanging on to Jesus, but for whatever reason, you're still hanging on to the crowd or comparison or condemnation of the past, guilt and shame of the past. So we've been trying to say is over this last couple of weeks, the answer, the answer today is you got to let go of the crowd. You got to let go of the comparison.
You got to let go of the guilt and shame and never let go of this one. Because when I don't have these, now all of a sudden, yeah, yeah, it's good. You can clap for that. That's good.
That's good. I do appreciate the clap. Oh, come on. If you're going to clap, everybody clap. Now I just feel bad about it.
That got, that got awkward, Mark. So now, now I can follow Jesus wherever He wants to take me. And now I can follow Him wherever He wants to take me. Doesn't mean by the way that it won't be hard. It doesn't mean it's going to be easy.
Sometimes it's going to be mountaintop, it's going to be great. Other times it's going to be very difficult, which I think at times it's even more important to hang on to this chain to Jesus, because when you can't know, you can't find the way when you don't see the next step, you trust that Jesus does. But the temptation is this, even though Jesus says to bring all your burdens to Him, to give it to Him, to take His yoke because it's easy, even at church, what happens is even though you set that there, there's some of you that will still hang on to Jesus and say, I want you to lead me, but I kind of want to pick up this chain again. And then we just pick it up again, whatever it is, whether it's, whether it's whatever these three were or something else.
And then you come to church and you worship and it's like, oh, it feels good because at the end of the service, not the first service, we had such a powerful time around the altars, we're going to do it again this service. And some of you are going to let go of stuff in your life and you're going to walk with Jesus and before you leave the room, your temptation is going to be, oh, but, but, but I want to pick that back up and take it. But the answer is this right here. All right, thank you. You guys can just drop the chains. You can just leave them or take them. Thank you.
Appreciate it. So I want to give you three, three benefits of what does it actually mean and three meanings of what does it mean to be chained to Christ? Because again, it sounds almost counterintuitive that if I want to be free, then I shouldn't be chained or bound to anyone.
However, in scripture, it speaks a lot about actually being chained to Jesus and being a bond servant of Jesus, not people. So here we go. Number one, write this down. Number one, I'm going to give you a lot of things to write down this morning, but the first thing is that you are bound to Christ, not people.
You got to start there. We have to recognize that we are bound to Jesus and we're not bound to people. We're not bound to the crowd. We're not bound to comparison. We're not bound to condemnation.
We're not bound to other people. Turn in your Bible to 1 Corinthians 7, verse 21 to 24. I want to talk about this idea of a bond servant to start with. And so as you look into scripture, you see the word bond servant quite often. And in the simplest form of definition, a bond servant is somebody that is working for somebody else because they owe them something. Now it could be that they paid off a debt, that they gave them property, that they gave them food. There's probably a myriad of ways in Bible times that you became a bond servant to somebody else.
And it was either until your debt was paid off and oftentimes it might be for the rest of your life. So get that picture on one side that here are somebody that are either paying off a debt or they're in some kind of an agreement or they're just working through a lifetime of servanthood to somebody else. And then on the other side you have, well, then it also says that we're supposed to be bond servants to Christ. So how does that work?
How does that go back and forth? In 1 Corinthians 7 and 1 Corinthians 6, answer this, we're going to start in chapter 7, verse 21. It says, Were you a bond servant when called? Do not be concerned about it, but if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity. For he who was called in the Lord as a bond servant is a freed man of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bond servant of Christ. Verse 23, it says, You were bought with a price. Do not become bond servants of men. So brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.
So this idea of a bond servant, this idea of being chained, this idea of of owing something, here's a sub point to write down. Being a bond servant is a free will, but willingly stays with their master, Jesus. So in this context, what it's saying is that you were bought with a price, so somebody paid for your life. And he's referring, of course, to Jesus, who paid the ultimate price, who did something that nobody could do for themselves, that we can't buy, that we can't do. And so we owe him our very life. In this context of a bond servant, it means that I have now the freedom to choose to actually be a servant of Jesus.
And that's the big difference. And that's what this means, that you are bound to Christ and not people. In First Corinthians chapter six, verse 19 and 20, it says, Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?
You are not your own. You were bought with a price, so glorify God in your body. Again, it's speaking about you were bought with a price, that Jesus did something for us that we could not do for ourselves.
He paid the ultimate price. This is referring to the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, there were sacrifices, there were laws. And so the sacrifices and laws were the way that you were made right, that you were made righteous in God's eye. In the New Testament, here comes Jesus.
Jesus comes and fulfills all the law, and he becomes the ultimate final sacrifice for all people. And because of that, Jesus paid the price that none of us have to pay. You can't earn enough.
You can't make enough. You can't sacrifice enough to earn salvation that was given by Jesus. So since you were bought with a price, you're not your own. And if you're going to follow Jesus and be a disciple of Jesus, that means that you're actually going to be bonded to him, that you're going to be in him. The next thing I want you to write down is this, that there is a slave to sin or freedom in Christ.
And those are the two roads and the two options that you and I have. You and I, we are either slave to sin, which is defined as lawlessness, or we are free in Christ. Turn over to John 8, verse 31. In John 8, verse 31 to 36, it speaks about what does this actually look like to be free in Christ and not be a slave to sin? It says, Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.
That's a key statement. If you abide in my word, you're my disciple. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Well, where do you find the truth?
You find it in his word. They answered him, We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say you will become free?
I like that question that they asked. Of course, as they're referencing that their offspring of Abraham, the Israelites spent 400 years or so in slavery in Egypt. And so this generation that Jesus is speaking to is several hundred years removed from that. And so now all they do is celebrate the Passover and acknowledge certain festivals of when they were free from there. But none of them felt as if they were still in Egypt or enslaved to Egypt.
So they are living free lives that they're saying, listen, we're from Abraham. We're not we're not bonds over to anybody. Nobody owns us. We're not slaves to anybody. So how is it that you are saying that we're actually slave to something, we're free?
And the reason why I like that statement is that's probably what we feel like oftentimes too. We're not enslaved to anyone. Yet how often do we not really feel free? And when he's referencing to again, he keeps bringing it back to a spiritual sinful condition. He keeps drawing a line between humanity and what bond servants and slavery looks like in humanity versus what does it look like sinfully? And he answers the question when he says this, that truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin, you're actually a slave to sin.
You are actually not free, even though you are quote unquote free and you can do what you want to do. If you're living in sin, you are chained and enslaved to sin. Jesus is referencing that notion of freedom spiritually, freedom from sin, freedom from death. In verse 35 says the slave does not remain in the house forever.
The son remains forever. So if the son sets you free, you will be freed indeed. And what is he talking about? He's talking about the condition of our soul. He's talking about the condition of sin, that if Jesus sets you free from sin, guess what? You're free.
You don't have to walk in it anymore. That's that picture we were giving you. Yet how often do we go back and we pick up that chain of guilt, we pick up that chain of shame, do we pick up the chains of the past? And even though we know this, this is one of those verses that listen, if Jesus sets you free, you're free. We've heard that before. You might even know that. But how often do you not feel really free?
Why? Because we're still picking up the chains of the past. We're still walking in sin. The key to this, and I want you to write this down, is one word. The word is abide.
That's the key. The key is to abide in his word. That is how you are made free. That is where we are bound to Christ. We are not bound to sin. We are not bound to lawlessness. We're not bound to other people. We're not bound to culture. We're not bound to everything else that's over us. We are bound to Christ. Tasker said it this way.
It's a great statement. He answered the question, what does it mean to abide in his word, to be abiding in Christ? He says this, and I love the words. He says that we welcome it, it's being at home with it and living with it so continuously that it becomes part of the believer's life, a permanent influence and stimulus in every flesh or every fresh advance in goodness and holiness. That's what it means to abide in Christ. It means that we welcome him into our life.
We welcome him into every situation. That we are at home with him and his word, that it lives so continuously inside of us that it is just a permanent part of our life that we walk in daily. That is what it means to abide in Christ. Yet, if we are slaves to sin, if we're chained to sin, then we're not really free. True freedom is found in this. He answers the question that if we're slaves to sin or free in Christ, it comes down to who am I abiding my time with?
Number two is this. The second one, that as we walk with Jesus, as we're chained with him, as we're a bond servant to him, what does that mean? Well, that means that you are a servant of God. You're a servant of God. That's what it means that if you and I willingly are following Jesus as our master, then we are ultimately servants of him. In 1 Peter 2, verse 13 to 17, it says be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good, for this is the will of God. That by doing good, and I love this verse, by doing good, you will put a silence to the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover up for evil, but living as servants of God. And then he breaks it down.
What does that actually look like? He breaks it down and says, honor everyone, love the brotherhood, fear God and honor the emperor. And so again, as we look at this passage, I love what he says there that by doing good, you will put silence to the ignorance of foolish people. You want to know how to handle somebody that is attacking you, that is coming at you, whether it's through social media or personally, you know what the Bible speaks about that? Responding in kindness. And the Bible says that when you respond in kindness and gentleness, it's like humping burning coals on top of their head. It's like pudding, like just piling burning coals on somebody's head when you actually respond in kindness, when somebody is yelling at you and you just can't quite understand where it's coming from.
You respond with gentleness, you respond with love, you respond with kindness. And it just kind of infuriates them even more. Have you ever seen this happen, by the way? It's actually kind of enjoyable to do, to be quite honest with you. It's actually enjoyable when somebody is like, I can't stand you.
You're wrong. You're like, hey, you have a great day. Like, stop it. I want to get angry.
I want to fight. No, you look great today. You have a great day. Thank you for sharing that.
Appreciate it. Just burns more and more and more. When we do good in Scripture, we reflect who our master is. When we're doing good to people, it's reflecting who we actually serve.
It's the reflecting the heartbeat of the gospel. It doesn't mean that we don't speak truth. It doesn't mean we don't respond in truth.
It's how we do that that matters. I want you to write down four things on number two of what does it actually look like to be a servant of God? They answer the question right here in 1 Peter, because if you read that and you talk about that by doing good and you're not free just to do what you want, your freedom is not a cover up to be a bad person, what is it for then?
Well, it gives it right here. First thing is to live righteously, that if we are a servant of God, my lifestyle is going to be a lifestyle of righteousness, not my own righteousness, not righteousness that I manufactured, not something that I created. Scripture says that my righteousness on my best day is filthy before God. So then whose righteousness do I live by?
When it says honor everyone, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the emperor, how do I actually live that way? Well, it's living through Jesus' righteousness. Remember what righteousness in the core means is that we have been made right. Well, how have we been made right?
Well, we just read that because we were paid for and bought with a price. Jesus' righteousness covers our filthy righteousness and we are made right in Him. The way that we are a servant of God is by living in His righteousness. Now there's a balance to this because Ecclesiastes also says do not be overly righteous. Well, then how am I supposed to live righteously and do everything He said and not be overly righteous?
Well, here's a good tipping point. The overly righteous are the holier than thou people. They're the ones that instead of loving, they're judging. And maybe at times we've crossed that line ourselves where instead of loving our neighbor and helping our neighbor and walking in righteousness, it's real easy just to turn a switch over and now I'm judging my neighbor and now I'm judging the world.
Now I'm judging everybody else. Instead of loving and doing what I'm supposed to do, I'm judging. And so there's this overly righteous that leads to religion and a religious spirit as opposed to the humble side of righteousness, which means I can't do this on my own.
So I have to walk in Christ. The next thing is this, write this down, it says to honor everyone, just to honor everyone. Now that one always brings up questions because I always get the question, well, what if my boss is not an honorable person?
What if my neighbor is not somebody that deserves honor? How do you do it then? What if that's in my own family?
How do we do that? Well, again, we come back to the way that I feel my emotions does not dictate my theology that the Bible says. I still have to honor.
Now it doesn't mean I have to approve. It doesn't even mean I have to do everything that I'm told to do if it goes against God's word and there's a whole list of things that we can get into. At the heart of it though, I'm called to honor. I'm called to honor people ahead of me. I'm called to honor people next to me and behind me.
And in this passage, in 1 Peter, he's actually talking about the governors, the rulers, the supreme leaders of their time and their day. And he's referencing the honor that goes with that. That's hard to do because we can use our own real examples right now of what we're seeing in our own country and go, how in the world am I supposed to honor this person and honor this person? At the end of the day, I'm called to honor.
And then that's displayed, right? So honor could be just the way that I speak about people. Doesn't mean I have to follow what everybody says, doesn't mean I have to do everything that they say or believe everything they say, but I'm also not called to gossip and slander people either. I'm called to speak truth, but again, there's a fine line between truth and now all of a sudden you're gossiping and judging somebody. So it could be that the way I honor is the way that I don't say anything. I just hold my tongue when everybody else is talking negative. I just respect. It could be in my actions of how I respond and smile.
It could be as simple as that. Again, it doesn't come back to I just have to agree and do everything I have to do. But it does come that I'm called to honor.
The next one is this that it speaks about, which is so important. It is to love the brotherhood. It's to love the family. And this is referencing the people in this room, to love one another. This world is as tough as it is.
We have got to love one another, that those that are in the faith, that those are here together, that there's something about this that immediately make us family. Look around this room real quickly, by the way. Just look at somebody.
Just look around, look around. You're looking at family. You're looking at family. And I love this family because we're from all different walks of life, we're from all different backgrounds.
And yet we're here worshiping one person. That's what makes us family. It doesn't mean that we agree on everything. It doesn't mean that we have all the same likes and dislikes. We are family though. We're together. And when we love one another, when we honor one another well, good things will happen. Transformation happens in our community when we get this right. And there's way too many people that are hurting each other on the same side.
We have to love one another, even when it's difficult. My daughter had her last freshman year college volleyball game last night. And so we went to the game, of course, and cheering them on. And they're playing a team, quite honestly, that was probably a little bit more talented than they were. But Kennedy's team swept them in three straight sets.
And here's exactly why. I love sports. I played sports my whole life. Played through college. I love coaching. I love all this stuff about sports.
And yes, I'm that parent up in the stands that probably yells a little too much at the team. Right. And so I'm watching and here's what happened. The other team began to implode against each other.
They were probably more talented, but they began to argue with each other. In fact, at one point, some girl threw a Gatorade bottle against the wall. Right. And it was at that point that I'm like, take away their soul now. Like I'm like, you know, I'm kind of like, rip their heart out. You've got them against the road. No mercy.
No mercy. And then I'm like, people are like, oh, that's Kennedy's dad. He's the pastor. I'm like, yeah. I got caught. Listen, I never crossed the line, at least I don't think I do. But like two weeks ago, I'm leaving and I walked past and I could see people just kind of like whispering. And I heard them say, oh, yeah, he's the pastor at a big church in Raleigh. I'm like, oh, what did I say?
I'm like replaying the game. Like was I encouraging or did I literally say rip their soul out of them and destroy them? And I'm pretty sure I said that. So anyways, so but the reason why Kennedy's team won is Kennedy's team, they were encouraging each other.
You saw it. They were lifting each other out there. They were coaching up one another, right, as they call it. They were for one another. Even when they weren't doing it, they picked each other up. They were helping each other off the floor.
They were saying, get hit. The other team just kept imploding, imploding, imploding, imploding. And they just fell apart, quite honestly.
They fell apart. And I say that because we can't be like that. We have to be for each other and encourage each other and love one another well because the world is hard enough as it is. We don't have to make it harder to know that you've got a few thousand people in the context of crossroads that are for you, that are family. That means something.
That means something. And not just here, that we're family with all the other churches too that are preaching the gospel. Maybe next week I'm doing a little bit of traveling. I'm speaking at about four or five different places in the country and I'm going to Mexico again and doing there. And I'll probably be speaking about 25 times in the next month. So you can be praying for me.
I got like 25 different messages to create next month. But everywhere I go, when I'm talking to believers, they're family and there's just something about that. There's something special about that, that whether it's here in the States or Mexico or in the Bahamas or wherever it is or in Europe, John Fry and Doug just got back from Europe teaching over there. It's like no matter where it is, when you are on that team of Jesus, you're family and you lift one another up and it's special.
The last one is this, it's fear God. So how do we do this well? Well, we honor each other. We honor, we honor people around us. We live righteously.
We love one another. But at the core of it, in verse 17, it says to fear God. Why did he throw that one in there? Because like that one seems like it doesn't quite fit the other ones because he's talking about honoring everyone, love the brotherhood, honor even the emperor, do good, you know, do good even in front of foolish people. And then he's just like, oh, and by the way, fear God. Why? Well, because fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.
That's why. At the beginning of wisdom of how do we actually do this? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of that wisdom. Now, fear of the Lord.
What does that mean? Because sometimes when people hear that, they think immediately, I have to be afraid of God. Like I have to actually be afraid that if I step out of line, that God's going to punish me or that if I sin one time, that God's going to do something bad to me, that my sins going to lead to some kind of sickness and disease. And you can go down these really dark paths that actually don't reference what fear of the Lord is. Now, fear of the Lord has two sides.
I'm going to give you two sides of the same coin. There's one side that is fearing a holy God because of our sinful state. There absolutely is the side of God that is pure holiness, that sin cannot stand in his presence, that he is judge and ruler of all. There is that side of God. And we see that through scripture. We said in our life, we see that around us, that that is a holy God that we serve. Yet that holy God invites us to call him friend.
How special is that? If God wanted us to fear him and not be anything with him, then all he would be is wrath and destruction and tell us, you got to earn your way to me like most other religions say. But instead he says, listen, I'm holy, but I'm inviting you to come close to me. So there's that side of it.
The other side of the coin is simply this. I heard this a long time ago that has really helped a lot as I navigate fear of the Lord. It was I'm afraid to do life without the Lord.
That's the other side of it. That there has to be or should be a reality and a fear that I actually don't want to do life without him, that I'm actually afraid of what my life would be without being in his will, without walking with him, without allowing him to lead me. There should be a fear in people that are living life without God. And it's not just a fear of hell or eternity or without God. It's fear of trying to navigate this difficult, ugly world without the Holy Spirit in my life.
I need his spirit. In fact, one of the verses we just read speaks about that we are a temple of his Holy Spirit to lead us and to guide us and direct us. The third and final point this morning is number three is that we are free in Christ to serve and love one another well. So not just a servant of God to do all the things he wants us to do, but specifically how does this actually play out? Here's the practical side of this message. The practical side of this message is to serve and love your neighbor as yourself. That is the practical side of what it actually looks like to be a bondservant of Jesus. Turn to Galatians 5, verse one, and then verse 13 to 14, Galatians 5, verse one.
It's on the screen as well. It says, Freedom, Christ has set us free, stand firm therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. It's a very powerful beginning of Galatians 5. Freedom, Christ has set us free. So don't go back and pick up that yoke that you put down. Don't go back and become enslaved to the sins that you once were in.
You are free. In verse 13 and 14, it gives the practical side of this. For you were called to freedom, only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Think about the power of that statement. All of the laws, all of the commandments, the 66 books we have hinge on loving God and loving people. That is the hinge by which we are called to live our life. The Gospel following Jesus, being attached to Him, abiding in Him, being a bondservant to Him, being chained to Christ, the Gospel should feel like freedom. It should not feel like He's just yanking us around. It shouldn't feel like we're just laying on the ground and Jesus is dragging us through the street. That's not how it should feel. It should feel filled with joy and purpose in life.
It should be filled with the fruit of the Spirit, of patience and kindness. That is what it feels like to walk with Jesus. If you're walking with Jesus and you feel like He is just running and dragging you behind Him, you're not doing it right.
You're not doing it. That's not how it's supposed to feel. And more than likely, the reason why that's feeling that way is because you're still hanging on to another chain of the past that's keep pulling you back this way. And Jesus wants to pull you and take you to your purpose.
And yet you're feeling so trapped in the past. So don't use your freedom as an opportunity to flesh. In other words, don't use your freedom to say, I get to do whatever I want to do because I'm saved. I get to do and treat people however I want because God has more than enough grace for me. In fact, Paul says elsewhere, do not keep sinning so that grace abounds. No, you are dead to sin, so stop sinning.
Stop abusing the grace that God has for you and just live for Him. The gospel should feel like freedom. Religion and law feels like chains when all we're doing is checking a list and do what we're supposed to do because this is what we're supposed to do on Sundays and I guess I have to honor somebody because that's what I'm supposed to do now. We go urgently before it.
It doesn't feel good that way. He says, don't use your freedom for the flesh instead, use it to love and to serve each other. So let me just ask you, how does that practically look in your life? How today does that practically look in each one of our lives? Our actions, we just read about it elsewhere, our good works and our actions will define who we serve. It's either going to say that we serve ourself, it might say that we serve culture, it might say that we serve other people, or does it say that we actually serve the God most high, that we serve Jesus? So in other words, you've been free for two things, two purposes to put into practice today, to serve one another and to love your neighbor as yourself.
How does that look for you today? Then what are you going to do about it? In fact, I'd love for you to take just a moment and just think about who is your neighbor. Think about who your neighbor is. How can I love that neighbor? Whether that's a classmate at school or an actual physical neighbor in your neighborhood or a coworker, where has God put you and how are you going to love that person well? And how are you going to serve them well? So that they recognize the person you serve, so they recognize the God that you serve, because that's the point of all this, right? It's not to people come up and say, wow, you're such a good person, pat you on the back because you're doing some good work. That's great, but that's not the purpose. The purpose is to point people to Jesus always, always, always, always.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-13 09:01:21 / 2022-11-13 09:17:13 / 16