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Liberty, Not License

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
June 23, 2022 12:00 am

Liberty, Not License

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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June 23, 2022 12:00 am

Liberty has limitations since we're obligated to honor God by giving love and serving others.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, June 23rd. Becoming a Christian means a life of liberty, but that doesn't mean you're free to live any way you choose. Learn more from the fifth chapter of Galatians. We're moving in one direction, saying to the Judaizers who were trying to get the Gentile converts in the Galatian churches to get them to the Jewish law in order to be full-fledged Christians, which Paul was arguing is not needed. A man does not have to be circumcised to be saved. He doesn't have to fulfill the law to be saved.

We're saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and that alone. And so that was the whole controversy here. So beginning now in verse 13, he makes this a little bit more practical through the rest of the book.

Now listen to what he says. For brethren, you have been called unto liberty, only use not your liberty for an occasion to the flesh. But by love serve one another, for all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, that thou should love thy neighbors thyself.

But if you buy one and devour one another, take heed that you be not consume one of another. All right now, what I want us to see in these first few verses here is the proper and the improper way of using our liberty. We're not to live up to other people's expectations. God knows we can't, and we know in reality we can't. We're not living under some expectation of God that he's expecting us to do something we can't. God already knows what we can and cannot do, and he's not disappointed with us because you're not disappointed with anybody when you already know what they're going to do.

He's been knowing before we're ever born what we're going to do, so he's not disappointed. He says, but brethren, you've been called to liberty. You and I have been called, listen, that means we have been called from trying to live under the law and please God. We've been called to live in his grace, freed and liberated to be everything that God wants us to be. But that calling, that calling can bring confusion unless we understand what the calling means. Now, here's what happens when I recognize my liberty in Christ Jesus, that I don't have to try to please everybody, live up to everybody's expectations. God doesn't have all these expectations, and he knows I can't live up to. You and I are living in the liberty of Christ, freed and liberated.

Now, what does that mean? That does not give me license to just go out and do any old thing that the flesh, which I have just like you have, that does not license me to do anything my old fleshly five senses may generate and stir up in my life at the given moment. That is making my liberty license to do what my flesh pleases to do. All of us have a fleshly nature.

The five senses are active in all of us. And if you just naturally do anything your old five senses prompt you to do, I can guarantee you will not be walking in the spirit and you will be taking license to do what liberty never allowed you to do, because you see, all liberty has a limitation on it. We say this is a free nation, that God has created us and endowed us with certain inalienable rights, which are among these life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Every man has the right to pursue his own happiness, but that liberty and freedom has a limitation. And the limitation is I cannot steal from you in my pursuit of happiness. I cannot murder you in my pursuit of happiness. Otherwise, I'm going to be punished because there is a limitation on liberty. But let me ask you this. Will you take the liberty that God has given you in the grace of God, that you are saved by his grace and heaven bound and the many things not going to send you to hell. But the question is this. Are you going to take your liberty and define it?

Just pull it out and say, here's my license. I'm living in grace, saved by grace, walking by grace, endowed by grace, surrounded by grace, upheld by grace, overshadowed by grace. And therefore, I am heaven bound and I have the right to do what I please till I get to heaven. What you've done is you've taken the gift of liberty and you have distorted it and perverted it. And you've crossed the line of God's limitation.

And what you have done, you have blown your love for mankind to the wind. And you're saying the only thing that matters is what pleases me and satisfies me, because I'm walking in the grace of God and I want to tell you that is fleshly and not spiritual. Now, you say, well, now, what's the basis of that if I'm not to get an expectation? I didn't say you ought not to do that because of what other people think and therefore live under their expectation. Here's what he says.

Now, let's go back to what he's saying here. Brethren, you've been called to liberty. Only use not your liberty for, listen, the word occasion here means for a base of operations.

That is for your rationalization. Don't use your liberty for an occasion to the flesh. But he says, listen, he says the right response to one who's been liberated, he says, but by love, serve one another.

Now, think about this. Liberty plus love equals my service to other people. I'm going to serve other folks when my liberty in Christ Jesus and my and his love in my life, when they get combined, I'm going to love other people. Now, listen, if I really love you, I will not willfully, knowingly do something to cause you to stumble. I may not always please you. I may even disappoint you. But I will not willfully do something that I know would cause you a heartache or cause you to stumble.

That is, I would at least try not to. Because love seeks not its what? Its own. When I take my liberty and I step beyond the bounds of love for my brother, I have turned my liberty into license to gratify my own fleshly five senses, my own natural lust. I have ceased to love my brother and have begun to love myself. I have stepped beyond the boundary of love and have made my liberty, my license to sin against my brother and therefore to sin against God.

Now look at this. Liberty plus love equals service to my brother. Liberty minus love equals slavery. The man who feels like he has liberty but has no love and concern for his brother, you know what he's going to do? He's going to degenerate right into sin.

And here's what I've been saying all along. Listen, we don't, watch this, we don't obey God because we're scared to death. We don't obey God because we're fearful. We don't obey God because we're afraid we're going to be punished. Nor do we live in the Spirit because of what other people will say. We live in the Spirit and we obey the Lord motivated by what? Love for my brother in my daily life and love and devotion to Jesus Christ. That's what motivates me not to do some things.

Not because I think, oh, God's going to wipe me out if I do that. And so what does he do? He turns this whole theological argument, whole philosophical argument, his whole four and a half chapters. Now he says the basis of your liberty and your relationship to each other ought to be love. All right, now if you'll move on, if you will, down to verse 15. He says, or verse 14, and you know the truth of this. He says, for all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this thou shalt love thy neighbors thyself. Now here he's using the law in a different term. He's not keeping the Ten Commandments.

That's not the idea. But he says the law of God, you could wrap it all up in one thing and that's love. But look, if you will, in verse 15, he says, but if you bite and devour, these two words were used of animals fighting one another. He says, but if you begin like animals to bite and devour one another, watch out, caution, watch out, he says, that you be not consumed one of another.

Now how many churches do you and I know? People start biting and devouring one another. And what happens? You've got the biggest, most ungodly mess that must grieve the heart of God all over heaven. Biting and devouring one another because they disagree. Fighting among themselves, strife and envy and jealousy.

He says, and you see, this is what they were about. In fact, they were in the process of getting into that in the Galatian churches. And that's why Paul said that. Verse 16, he says, But this I say then, walk in the spirit and you'll not fall through the lust of the flesh. The lust of the flesh, the lust, the flesh lust against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh.

These are contrary the one to the other so that you cannot do what you would. But if you be led of the spirit, you're not under the law. He says the flesh lusted. That means it's like lust is desired of control.

It is a deep, all consuming desire that dominates and controls and rules the human heart. He says, walk in the spirit and you'll not fulfill. That is, you won't yield to, you won't comply with, you won't surrender to, you won't fall under the old five senses. And all of us have this thing, the sin principle within us, these five senses. We're tempted from without. We have the spirit of God, a new life living within us. So when we're tempted and tried, we're tempted from without. And we all have to deal with that.

Never be a time we won't have to deal with it. There may be areas of life in which you get lasting victory, but the five senses are still there. He says now the flesh, these five senses we have to deal with. He says the spirit of God who is within us wants to respond through us the life of Christ so that we exercise godly behavior and character in every facet of our life.

That's on the inside. On the outside is the flesh. And the flesh wants to be gratified and satisfied. And inside the spirit of God, knowing the need of your life, wants to satisfy that need in a godly manner. So the spirit says, I will satisfy that need in a godly manner. The flesh says, I want to satisfy this need now in my way right now.

Now listen to what he says. He says, verse 17, the flesh gets out of control. Deep desires, commands, demands against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh. And these are contrary. They are at enmity one to the other so that you cannot do things you would. And you see, one thing you cannot do is you cannot walk in the flesh and obey the flesh and obey the spirit at the same time.

There is no way. So every time a decision comes, we can choose to do one or two things. Not only can we do. The Holy Spirit within me has empowered, within us, has empowered all of us to obey God when? The spirit of God within you. Listen, that's not the scripture saying Colossians that when Jesus Christ was crucified, he stripped Satan of his power, stripped sin of its power. The spirit of God is indwelling us so that every single time you and I have a decision to make, we have the privilege of obeying God. The flesh cannot take control unless you and I give the flesh control.

All right, listen, he says so. But if you be led by the spirit of God, you are no longer under the law. And just what he was saying in this whole big passage, the big thing that Paul is saying in the Galatian churches is, listen, you don't have to live under the law anymore, trying to live up to God's expectation, failing constantly. Now you have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit. You've been free to be the man and the woman God wants you to be.

No longer entangled by the do's and the don'ts of and the ritualism of the law. But you've been freed from all of that, not to have license to sin against God and to deprive your brother of a beautiful example of Christ's likeness. But in love, we are to enjoy our freedom in Christ Jesus.

We're going to wrestle with the flesh, but he sent the Holy Spirit as the one who is to guarantee us victory over the flesh. As a believer, I don't have a right in the eyes of God. Because I'm freed and walking in grace and knowing that I'm heaven bound, I don't have the right to do anything that would cause you to stumble in your Christian life. You said, but now wait a minute, I know some folks, man, they stumble over a net.

Well, I understand that. And what you have to ask is, are you really causing them to stumble? Or is it they just don't agree with you about your relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you causing them to stumble? And see, I cannot tell somebody else what or what may cause them to stumble. But I can simply say this. You cannot live up to everybody's expectation.

There's no there's no way to do that. So we're not talking about living up to their expectation. We're not talking about pleasing everybody who is a Christian.

There's no way for us to do that. But we have a liberty in Christ Jesus to live our life, to become the total people He wants us to be. And God Almighty through His Spirit will guide us into the activities that we ought to become a part of, the things we ought to do, the relationships we ought to develop. And in so doing and so abiding in His will and following His leadership, we're not going to cause our brother to stumble.

If your motivation is right towards someone else who may not agree with your liberty, I'll tell you what will win them. Your loving devotion and service to that person will convince and persuade them there is something about your life they cannot explain. That what you may feel freedom to do, they may not feel freedom to do, but they will say.

But there is something about her spirit that I just cannot deny. And see, love will tear down the walls that separate us from other people because of some idea or ideas they have that Christians ought to walk around in black suits, never smile, and not enjoy their Christian experience. On the other hand, there are those who believe that their Christian experience and their grace allows them to indulge themselves, to gratify the flesh, to satisfy the flesh, and to indulge in things that are unquestionably, unquestionably in direct opposition to what the Word of God says. And I think whenever there's a question and you and I go to the Word of God, then there's no question about it. There's some things, if I love Jesus Christ, I will not be a part of.

There's some things that I would not be a part of that somebody else may not understand. But the issue is that you and I are committed to walking in His Spirit and at the same time being sure we are motivated by love to Him and love toward each other. And in that way, I have liberty, but I will not use my liberty as a license to sin against God based on a relationship that cannot be broken, and it cannot be broken. You and I are locked in eternally in a relationship with God the Father through His Son, can't ever be broken. But that does not give me license to sin against God because if my heart is right, listen, if my heart is right, I'm going to serve Him and obey Him, motivated by love, and I'm going to help my brother because I love him. I will not deliberately do something against the Word of God to cause my brother to stumble. Now, the teaching of the Scripture is the final authority of what is right and what is wrong. The interpretation of the Scripture is what gets us all confused and on each other's back. You must abide by the Spirit's leadership in your life.

But let me just say one thing, and I've said it again and again and again. What you have to ask is, Lord, if I indulge in this or if I perform this or if I develop this relationship, does that really indicate my love and devotion for you? And does that really indicate my love and devotion for others who know me as a child of God? And I believe if you really mean business for God, your answer to yourself by the leadership of the Holy Spirit, that you, listen, not out of fear, you will willingly set the limitations of your life only limited by love for Jesus Christ and love for your brother. Thank you for listening to Liberty Not License. As In Touch Ministries continues to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, we'd like to encourage you to visit our 24-7 web radio station. Join us anytime at InTouch.org for great biblical teaching and encouragement. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-30 08:01:37 / 2023-03-30 08:08:49 / 7

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