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12 Characteristics of People Who Are Free, Part 1

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
April 18, 2023 10:15 am

12 Characteristics of People Who Are Free, Part 1

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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April 18, 2023 10:15 am

Is freedom the complete absence of boundaries? 1 Peter 2:16 challenges this notion by asserting that people without boundaries are not free, in reality they are slaves to their own short-sighted view of what is good.

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Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Tim Keller wrote, If you shatter the fishbowl so that everything is possible, the poor fish won't have freedom, only paralysis.

If you shatter the fishbowl so that everything is possible, you decrease satisfaction. 1 Peter 2 16 calls us to live as people who are free. 1 Peter chapter 2, we are looking at the 12 characteristics of people who are free.

And we're on number four today. Peter says, If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good, have you tasted that God is good? I hope you have, because He is. If you have surrendered yourself in faith to Jesus Christ, you are free to taste that God is good. So I hope you are living up to the first characteristic of people who are free, and that is feeding on His goodness. Feeding on His goodness. And for those who are feeding on His goodness, you will also be one who, because of God's goodness, and because you have delighted in it so much that you are then telling others about it, you are proclaiming His goodness. That's what we're called to, 1 Peter 2 verses 9 and 10. And then, as we proclaim His goodness, because we've been feeding on His goodness, we don't just talk about it, we live His goodness. We live in the outflow of His goodness, because His goodness resides in us. And so we live His goodness, and what Peter now is going to be writing to his readers from here on through almost the rest of the book is going to be, what does living the goodness of God look like? And we begin then today with that fourth characteristic of people who are free, and that is that we are free through submission.

Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it? Particularly in today's culture. We are free through submission. Living the goodness of God, He's going to show us what it looks like in society in general. He's going to show us, He's going to write to us what it looks like at work in harsh circumstances.

He's going to write to us and show us what it looks like in a marriage relationship. Living as people who are free, living the goodness of God. So let's begin today talking about flourishing in freedom, because this is the will of God for us. He has set us free not to live in the bondage that we once knew, but also to flourish in that freedom. Freedom does not mean we have no boundaries.

You listening to me? Freedom does not mean we don't have boundaries. If you have no boundaries, you are not free. It's like a kite flying with nobody holding the string. That kite's not free. We are free within God's loving boundaries.

If you take anything away today, take that. We are free within God's loving boundaries, and therefore we who have tasted the goodness of God, feasting at His banquet table and proclaiming His goodness and living His goodness, what we proclaim is that we are free within God's loving boundaries. Because His boundaries are good. Why are His boundaries good?

Because He is good. We are free within His loving boundaries. In Christ, you are free, and this is how we need to understand freedom. Because we think freedom is just the absence of restraint.

That is not what freedom is. But in Christ, we are free from what obstructs us from success and flourishing. Now every time I use the word success, I have to define it. Remember what Jesus said, success has nothing to do, you listen to me, success has nothing to do with material stuff. Nothing.

Finish the statement. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? That ought to give us a glimpse of what success means. Success means realized purpose, functioning according to design. What were you designed to do? You were designed to know God and enjoy Him.

Do that and you are successful. And in Christ, we are free from what obstructs that success and that flourishing. Free from bondage, free from the bondage and penalty of sin. We are free to, we are free from the bondage and penalty of sin. We are free to know God and enjoy Him. That's our freedom in Christ. Now two main aspects Peter is going to be touching on this morning in this text. Freedom in our attitude and freedom in our activity.

Freedom in our attitude. Look what he says as we begin in verse 13 today. Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor 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 you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. And here's our title text for this whole sermon, for the whole series on 1 Peter. Look at it, verse 16. Live as people who are free.

You see, I didn't just make that up. That's the word of God. Live as people who are free. We must recognize our freedom in Christ. So if we don't know that we are free, if we don't understand our freedom, we will not be able to live that freedom. So live as people who are free. So we flourish in freedom, first of all, in attitude. As he says, be subject for the Lord's sake.

Subject. That's an attitude. It begins with an attitude. Freedom begins with the recognition that you are not autonomous. You are not the master of your life. Now, I know that rails against everything you hear in the corporate world and in the media, all the movies, freedom begins with the recognition that you are not autonomous. You do not have the capacity to be that. Let me use Tim Keller, an illustration that Tim Keller gives. This is in his book, Every Good Endeavor, connecting your work with God's work. Tim Keller says this, modern people like to see freedom as the complete absence of any constraints, but think of a fish.

You with me? Think of a fish. Because a fish absorbs oxygen from water, not air, it is free only if it is restricted to water. If a fish is freed from the river and put out on the grass to explore, its freedom to move and soon even to live is what? It's destroyed. The fish is not more free.

It is less free. Now, we're going to revisit this illustration again a little bit later on from a different author and speaker, okay? But he says here, be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution. God is a God of order. And when he says be subject for the Lord's sake, and remember that for the Lord's sake to every human institution, that word institution, this is the only time in the world in scripture that that particular word is translated this way.

Every other time that word is used in scripture is translated creature or something like that, okay? Now, it wouldn't make sense to us to say be subject to every human creature. What he does in the context here, he's talking in the context of civil government, the institutions that God has ordained to structure and order the human community. We find ourselves within that. So when he says be subject to everyone, he's speaking of a broad principle of the mind of Christ, and that is to consider others more important than yourself. This is what contributes to the structure and order of human community. Civil government, may I remind you, as Peter wrote this, as he was writing to Christians who were slandered, reviled, probably many of them displaced from their homes, who was the emperor at this time? A fine, outstanding gentleman by the name of Nero, just a delightful individual, and Peter says be subject to.

Now, we're all Americans here, I think, and inside we're all just squirming at that, aren't we? He is talking about God-ordained structure and order in the human community, and we need to understand this. Everyone doing right in their own eyes is not how humanity flourishes. It's not how it works. People need to be aware of that today. They need to be told that. When you encounter somebody today and they use this idea of being a human being, they have freedom that just cast off all restraint. I will do what's right for me. If everybody does that, humanity cannot flourish. Something we need to be prepared to communicate. Now, we need to understand also that this is not just merely blind obedience to the governing authorities, but it is done as a form of obeying God.

If human government is countering what God has said, and if it requires us to disobey government in order to obey God, then God wins the day, hands down. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's Word the very purpose for which you were designed. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace, weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-18 17:49:49 / 2023-04-18 17:54:08 / 4

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