Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Tim Keller wrote, Modern people like to see freedom as the complete absence of any constraints. But think of a fish. Because a fish absorbs oxygen from water, not air, it is free only if it is restricted to water. Freedom does not mean we have no boundaries. We are free within God's loving boundaries.
They are for our good because God is good. The element in which a fish thrives is water. The Christian's element is in Christ. If you shatter the fish bowl so that everything is possible, the poor fish won't have freedom, only paralysis.
If you shatter this fish bowl so that everything is possible, you decrease satisfaction. 1 Peter 2 16 calls us to live as people who are free. Today is the third part of the sermon titled Freedom Through Submission, which was first preached on September 25, 2022. So we live as those reconciled to God, brought back to God, vitally connected with Him, in communion with Him, tasting His goodness.
In my life then, the fruit of my life is like the fruit of that branch that is grafted back into the tree. Live as people who are free in attitude and in activity. Now, Peter is very clear here when he talks about the root of that freedom, and he very much counters the secular notion of freedom.
Look what he says once again in verse 16. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as what? Slaves of God. Your freedom in Christ is not for your autonomy. Christ didn't set you free so that you could just live without all boundaries and all restraint and just do whatever you want to do, because that's not freedom. He knows it.
You know it. It's not freedom. He did not set us free so that we could then once again run headlong right back into slavery, to the passions of our flesh, the passions of self-preservation and self-gratification. And so when one says, if a Christian says, I am free in Christ, or another one may say, I am under grace, these steps are these statements are not pretext for self-indulgence.
It is a colossal misunderstanding and abuse of the grace of God to do that. No one lives without a master or without boundaries. We've already established that, just saying it a different way.
No one lives without a master and without boundaries. Now remember that fish you were thinking about earlier? Let's go to two of them. All right. And let me quote a psychologist.
His name is Barry Schwartz. He was saying this in a TED Talk. And he was addressing the claims that many of us make and in our lives, we live our lives by the unspoken official dogma that to maximize your happiness, you need to maximize your individual freedom.
That's very much the American way, isn't it? To maximize your happiness, you must maximize your individual freedom. So where are we today? We are inundated with choices. I had to go to the grocery store yesterday, preparing to take some things to take down to Haiti. They only serve two meals a day. I've got to find some protein for dinner time. So I go to the store, 175 different choices of protein bars. That's stressful. What on earth am I going to choose?
Which one do I like? Right? Here's the issue more appropriately though. Barry Schwartz says this, even our, listen to this, even our personal identity has become a matter of choice. Quote, we don't inherit an identity, he says, we get to invent it. And we get to reinvent ourselves as often as we like.
And that means that every day when you wake up in the morning, you have to decide what kind of person you want to be. Now listen, he's saying this as a negative thing. This is not good. We don't invent our identity. This is not good. We don't invent our identity. Consider two fish in a bowl.
That's the one you were thinking of, wasn't it? He says the truth of the matter is that if you shatter that fish bowl so that everything is possible, you don't have freedom. This is what Tim Keller said. Those fish are in that bowl and they're free and they're swimming.
They're in their element. If you shatter that fish bowl, you decrease satisfaction. Everybody needs a fish bowl.
The absence of the metaphorical fish bowl is a recipe for misery and I suspect disaster, he says. And he's right. You see, God knows this. All of this is according to God's design. No one lives without a master and without boundaries. So as the water is the element for the fish and the fish thrives and is free when it's in the water, Christian, what is your element? As a Christian, my element is that I am in Christ and therein I am free.
So live as people who are free. Think about this for a moment. Christ as your element, what does that mean?
What does it look like? I am forgiven. I don't have to live with that guilt.
I am justified. I have the righteousness of Christ. It is a received one. I don't have to earn that righteousness. I have received it.
I have it. I am justified. God has declared me justified. I am righteous. Chapter four of my book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, just as a little pre-order.
I think it's chapter four. I am reconciled to God. I am that branch grafted back into the tree so I can draw life from it. My element is in Christ. I am accepted by God. I have been reconciled to God. Accepted by God. I have been reconciled back to him. I am accepted by him. And that's what we celebrate every time at the Lord's table. And the foundation of all of that is the blood and the body of Jesus Christ. His death is resurrection. And what does he call me?
What does he say right here in First Peter? Chosen and beloved. Chosen and beloved.
What an awesome title for the infinite sovereign of the universe to call me. You see, that's freedom, folks. That's freedom.
Live in that freedom. So because I am reconciled, because I am justified and reconciled, because I am free, I am accepted in him, I can draw near to him. I can abide in him. I can walk in step with his spirit whom he has placed in me. With all of that, I am free. I can thrive. I can succeed in the way that he has designed me to.
This is so, so far away from turning over a leaf and trying harder to be a better person. This is what we have in Christ. You, I belong to God. We are people of his own possession, meaning he is my master. He is my master. I am not my master. He is my master. I live, you live, to serve his pleasure. You want freedom?
It will not come short of your surrender to this master. That's where freedom comes from. A few years ago, my daughter Ashley, she's our third child, she went skydiving on purpose with her then fiance, Peter Mills, and as they were up in the airplane, let's say suppose up at 10,000 feet she announces to the rest of the group that's going to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, I'm not using a parachute. I want freedom. The fact is that she is constrained by a greater law.
It is the law of gravity. But when she chose the constraint of the parachute, she was free to enjoy the exhilaration of it. It would be an entirely different experience if she had chosen not to use the parachute. It would have been terror. You see, surrender to God is the only way that you and I will enjoy the exhilaration of the real freedom that he has designed for us.
Nothing short of surrender. Why do I say that? Because he's God. And you don't come to Jesus died on the cross. He gave his life for you and me. And what kind of arrogant delusion is it on my part to come to him and try him as if he's under probation?
I will try you and see if you work for me. We can be that arrogant as humans, can't we? Many are. No, we are called to live as servants of God. We live for the pleasure of the benevolent sovereign. And he is benevolent. I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. There is never a time that he's not good.
He is good. He is my freedom. So that's the root of freedom, surrender.
In one word, surrender. The fruit of freedom is the mind of Christ. That's considering others more important than yourself. That's Philippians, as Paul describes in Philippians chapter two, verses three and four. 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 / 2023-04-20 16:53:41 / 2023-04-20 16:58:00 / 4