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A Declaration of Freedom - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
June 6, 2022 12:00 am

A Declaration of Freedom - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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June 6, 2022 12:00 am

Gain spiritual freedom through God's grace.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, June 6. What does it mean to be free in Christ? If you've ever wondered about that, let's look at the book of Galatians. Through God's grace, believers are liberated by faith.

It's applicable to us today, maybe even more so in some ways, than it was 2,000 years ago. So let's read those first five verses together, which is sort of the introduction to the whole book. Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. And all the brethren which are with me under the churches of Galatia, grace be to you and peace from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins that he might deliver us from this present evil world according to the will of God our Father, to whom be glory forever and ever.

Amen. I want you to turn to Luke chapter 4 for just a moment. There's a verse here I want us to look at. Luke chapter 4, you'll recall that Jesus stood up in the temple, went there on the Sabbath day, and he stood up for to read. And the Bible says in verse 17, there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah.

And when he opened the book, he found the place where it was written. And listen to what Jesus said. Jesus said, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He had sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Jesus Christ came into this world to liberate mankind, to free them, to free them from their bondage of sin, from their captivity of sin, their captivity of disease, their captivity of sorrows, their captivity of heartaches. Jesus Christ came as man's liberator. He came to free mankind. And it would be great to say that when Jesus Christ went to the cross, he took care of all of man's bondage.

But I want to tell you something. No book in the Bible could be more applicable than the book of Galatians 2, the bondage in which we're in. You can be a believer and be in all kinds of bondage because you see, people are in all kinds of bondage. They're people who are in bondage to habits, habits of their own making. They're people who are in bondage to the opinion of others.

Most of what governs what they do and how they do it and where they go and how they dress and what they say is the opinion of other people. There are many, many areas and aspects of bondage, but one of the areas of bondage is religious bondage. I mean, you can go to church and get in bondage. And there are many people today who are in as deep intrinsic bondage today as they were in the day in which Jesus said, I've come to deliver men. I've come to set them free.

I've come to liberate this whole generation. But there are people today in bondage. And the real truth is some of you are in bondage. You're in terrible bondage. And I'm going to tell you, I've been there.

I know what it means to be saved and preaching the gospel. But to feel the bondage of something in my life, I did not know how to break out of it. And you see, sometimes we're in bondage and don't even realize it. And sometimes when we do realize that something is not right, we can't quite put our finger on it.

But even after we put our finger on it, we say, well, now, how do we break this? I read the Bible. I pray. I go to church. I give. I do all these things, but I still feel bound up by something.

Let me tell you something. Friend, with all of my heart, I want you to listen. God doesn't want you walking on eggshells.

He doesn't want you pulling the chains behind you. He wants you free, free to become the total person he wants you to be, free to love him, free to worship him, free to adore him, free to praise him, free to be everything he created you to be. And the whole impact of what Paul is saying in these six chapters of Galatians is that Jesus Christ came to make you a free man. And as we go through these chapters, you're going to discover some things.

You're going to discover that you are in bondage to things that if anybody else had told you, you'd say, no way. That's why the Spirit of God must do the convicting. And you see, once God begins to free you in your spirit, in your attitude about yourself, in your attitude about other people, in your attitude toward God, in your attitude about what you think he expects of you, in your attitude of what you expect for yourself, you're going to see something really begin to happen in your life. And what he says all through this book is simply, God wants you free and he'll make you free if you'll follow his word.

Now listen, here's the problem. We swing from one to the other. And all of us have probably to some degree been on this side. We've said, well, I'm going to do what God says to do. And that is we try with all the effort we know how to obey the Lord, to be strict in our obedience to him. We want to live up to what Jesus Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount.

We want to keep all of the Ten Commandments, all these things that people expect upon us. And so we try to do that. All of us to some degree have tried that. And after a while, we come to this terrible feeling to think that I've been trying for years. And the real truth is, and I'll tell you, it's a shock when you realize that you've been trying to be good and trying to live up to these expectations and to obey God for 30, 40 years.

It's not working. The truth is, I'm no better than I used to be. I mean, you know, if the real truth were known, that is, if nobody else knew. And you think all kinds of things. So here's what happens to a lot of people who start out right in the Christian faith. They try.

Nobody instructs them properly. So they try. They can read the Bible. They're going to pray.

They're going to trust all to help them over temptation, meet their needs and all these things. And something comes along. They have one failure here, another failure over here, defeat over here, another defeat over here. And after a while, they say, there's something wrong. It's not working. And what happens is they feel more and more guilty.

So here's what they do. You know, when you start out, you're not making it. You up your tempo just a little bit and you don't make it. You feel more guilty. Then you up your speed and you feel more guilty. You try a little bit harder and you feel more guilty so that you finally come to the place. You think, man, this thing's not working. I'm getting more and more guilt.

I'm not getting anywhere. God forget the whole mess. And what happens? They swing to the other side and they say, well, here's what I believe. I believe that once Jesus Christ saves you, man, you're free. And I saw one of my dearest friends in the minister do this. He became so disenchanted because he couldn't live up to the expectations he thought God had on him. Somebody came along and said, man, you don't have to do that.

You can do anything you please after you become a Christian because you're free. So they finally convinced him he could do anything you please. He could drink. He could read stuff that he shouldn't be reading. Before long, he swung all the way to the other side. So he swung from legalism to absolute license.

Legalism says you can't do anything right and license says you can't do anything wrong. And so that's what we have. We've got a whole generation of people just like that today. We've got churches full of folks who say if a woman wears makeup, man, she's had it. Somebody else says you not only can wear makeup, you can dress any way you please.

Doesn't make any difference. You're free. No laws, no restrictions, total license. And what they're really saying is I want the privilege to do what I please any way I please under the blessing of God. You've got two extremes. Now, God doesn't want us living in either one of those extremes. Why you just do any old thing you please because you're saved, one of God's children.

Nor does he want us. You see, one's as bad as the other. Neither one represents Jesus Christ. Neither one is indicative of the Christian life. Both of them are forms of bondage. One becomes bondage back to old habits and sin, and one is bondage to a religious legalism. I must not do this and I must do that.

Either one is just about as bad as the other. And I want to just look through here because here's what I want to show you. The solution to all that's right here in this book.

And let's just look through this book for just a moment. Let me just mention several verses because all through here we find his talking about freedom. In verse four, he says that Christ gave himself for us that he might deliver us from our present evil world. That is to free us and deliberate us. In the first chapter, verse six, he says, I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ.

That is, here they are retreating from their freedom and going back to the old way again. Then in chapter two, verse 20, here's the whole key to freedom. Paul says, I found the key to freedom. What's the key to freedom? The key to freedom is that I can't do any better.

I can't improve myself. I've tried, I've tried, I've tried, but I discovered that I've been crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.

The life which I now live, I live with the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. And once a man is able to grasp the true full meaning of verse 20, you begin to understand how to live totally free in him. Then in chapter two, we could just go on down through many verses here. He talks about the key to freedom. He talks about failing from our freedom. He talks about being born free. In chapter five there, he talks about the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus. In the 13th verse, he talks about our call to freedom. For brethren, you've been called unto liberty, only use not your liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. He says, now you've been called to freedom, he says, but listen, if you misuse your freedom, what? He says you're over here on the area of license in bondage to legalism or license to do as you please.

He says neither one of those is correct. All through your chapter after chapter, we'll see him talking about freedom and liberty. So Paul, as he traveled on his missionary journeys, established these churches up in Galatia. And he taught them the truth of the word, and you can imagine him meeting with a few people, instructing them, bringing them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, the next missionary journey around. He goes by and sees them again.

And then something happens. Down in Jerusalem, the Pharisees who were professing faith in Jesus Christ, they heard what Paul was doing. They heard that Paul was offering the gospel to Gentiles and saying to them, all you have to do is receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith, and you can be saved. Now, because they were strict in their religious beliefs and because they practiced all kinds of religious ceremonies, they believed in the right of circumcision, and that was absolutely essential in order to complete salvation.

So what do they do? They just go up to the churches of Galatia and they say, look, we hear that Paul, old Saul of Tarsus, has been up here telling you that you can be saved and all you have to do is express faith in Jesus Christ, and that is not so. If you're going to be saved, you have got to undergo the exercise of circumcision or you can't be saved.

What they were doing is this. They were adding law to God's grace, adding law to God's grace, a legalism, a system of ceremony, all kinds of things they wanted to add to grace. So when Paul writes this letter, this isn't one of those love letters like Philippians.

This is a very tense letter because he realizes that there's a war going on in those churches. And that is that there are Judaizers who are there who are trying to disrupt the grace of God, who are trying to add to the grace of God and saying, no, you cannot be saved unless you add law to grace. If you don't add law to grace, then you'll never be saved because it isn't all that simple. Well, when Paul heard about that, he was probably at Corinth when he wrote these six chapters of this book. And he wrote this in order to remind them of the freedom that they had in Christ. Well, they were so vicious and so hostile when Paul writes this letter, he spends part of his time defending his apostleship. So some of the parts of this you will see here is Paul defending his apostleship. Here is Paul explaining over and over and over again why you don't have to add anything to grace.

Let me ask you this. What did you add to your faith in Jesus Christ to be saved? How many of you added church membership? Well, you can go to some churches and you have to add that. How many of you added baptism?

You can go to some churches and if you don't add baptism, you're not saved. You see, it is amazing what man has added to the grace of God. And Paul says, he says, do not frustrate the grace of God by adding to it what does not belong.

Now, what you and I have to ask is this. Listen, we have to ask ourselves the question, could we be blind to truth? Is God trying to say something to us that we have either been unwilling to accept or afraid to accept? Are we bound by tradition? Have we parameters around us that we do not break out of? Is there a freedom and a liberty in the spiritual life that we've never tasted? I've used to know. Are you up to something?

No, I'm not up to a thing. I just want you to think about your life. I want you to think about what Jesus Christ has for us. I'm simply saying that for generations, men have been bound in blindness and tradition, steeped in tradition. And because they were, listen, and this can happen to us, we get comfortable in our tradition. We get comfortable in our ruts. And if somebody comes along and pushes us out, we are so comfortable in our rut, we become very fearful.

I want to tell you something. Listen, God will not get you out of balance. I'm not talking about getting off on tangents. There are no tangents with God. God keeps his people perfectly and beautifully balanced. You know how I know that? Because Jesus was.

He never caused any confusion. Jesus was perfectly balanced. And I believe there is a freedom and a liberty for God's people in beautiful, exciting, rejoicing, happy, contenting, joyful balance like we've never known before. But if we're going to receive that and to accept that, we have to ask the Lord to show us if we are bound. So would you just do yourself a big favor as we go through this? As you pray today, would you ask the Lord, Lord, show me if there's an area of my life in bondage. Show me if my thinking has me bound in some way.

And I believe as you do that, you'll find out that there may be something there that you've never thought about. So look, let's look at these first three verses. And I want to deal with the fourth verse primarily here. He says, Paul, an apostle, that is one who has been sent by another with a certain commission who has the credentials of the one who sent him. So that doesn't mean that Paul was just another speaker. And he begins by saying Paul, the apostle, because, you see, he must defend himself to these believers and they are upset. The people in the churches in Galatia, they're in confusion because these Judaizers have come up and said, you can't believe Paul.

They attacked him as a person and they attacked his theology. Now, listen, Paul's response to that is this. I don't mind you attacking my person, but if you attack my credentials, which is an apostle of Jesus Christ, then you are attacking the gospel I preach.

And I want to tell you, you have no right to attack the gospel. So he begins by saying, Paul, one who is sent by the ambassador of ambassadors, who bears the credentials of the Son of God himself. And notice what he said, an apostle, not of men. He said, men didn't make me an apostle, neither by man. I'm not going in the behalf of men, he says, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead, which is his way of putting emphasis to who he is. He says, I'm an apostle of Jesus Christ. He said, I shared my faith with you on those missionary journeys. He said, I was sent by Jesus Christ.

I gave you the message of Jesus Christ. And he says, what I'm writing in this letter is the message of Jesus Christ to you. He says, grace be to you and peace from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, in many other letters that Paul writes, he has a beautiful salutation in commending them on different things.

But in this letter, there's no commendation. He says, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world according to the will of God and our Father. Now, let's look at that verse a moment. He says that Jesus Christ gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world. Now, that one phrase, that one verse, verse four, here is the heart of the gospel, that Jesus Christ gave himself, aris tense, once and for all at the cross. The Bible says he gave himself, but I want you to see something.

He says that he gave what? Himself, Jesus Christ voluntarily. The Bible says that God so loved the world, what did he do? He sent his only begotten Son. And he's saying of Jesus, that Jesus voluntarily gave himself. That is, he voluntarily came to lay down his life and suffered the sacrificial death on the tree, on the cross, the atoning death in order that he may do something for us. And in essence, what he's saying is that he may deliver us, liberate us, free us, break the bonds, take away the bondage. And what I want you to do is ask the Lord through this series, to liberate you, free you, and to show you if there's any area of your life in bondage. And if in your thinking you're in bondage, if you have limited God's work in your life because you are afraid to believe the whole Word of God. In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-08 20:12:56 / 2023-04-08 20:21:05 / 8

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