Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Friday, July 8th. God offers more than relief from destructive patterns, He offers a solution to any addiction. Today, you'll learn how to get out of bondage and find freedom from enslavement to sin. Freedom is the privilege and the power to do what is right and what is good.
It is the absence of coercion and confinement and restriction, and it speaks of the liberty of the mind and of the feelings and the actions of a person's life. On the other hand, enslavement speaks of bondage and confinement and restriction. Now, oftentimes people want to deny the very possibility of being enslaved by anything. And so they either deny it or ignore the fact that they can be enslaved by sin. And so, as we've said before, and I want to repeat again today some things, but for the benefit of those who've not heard, sin by its very nature is an enslaver. That is the goal of sin, to so enslave us, so dominate us, so control us that you and I can neither believe nor trust nor serve the Lord as God would have us to do so. And as a result, a person's life can be absolutely destroyed by many, many different forms of sin. And so the question comes, how does a person, once they discover that, once they realize there's something going on in their life, how do they escape, how do they walk away, how are they delivered and redeemed and freed from the enslaving power of sin?
So what I want to talk about in the rest of this message are things that I think are helpful in bringing a person out of that. Well, certainly the first step in freedom from any kind of enslavement is to place the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. That is, if a person has never been saved, then, my friend, there is no power within you strong enough to free yourself from the enslaving power of sin, no matter what the object of that enslavement may be or what the cause of it may be. And so the first step is always placing our trust in Jesus Christ. You cannot avoid the Savior. You cannot avoid Him and get to God.
You cannot ignore God and be freed and liberated in this life to have peace and happiness and joy and the contentment that is ours even in the midst of troubles and trials and heartaches. That indeed is always the first step. The second step is this, and that is to admit it. And oftentimes that is the most difficult step for most people, to admit the fact that there is some form of bondage, some form of control, something that is dominating their thinking and dominating their life. And oftentimes when a person is not able to identify what it is and they just say, well, I just, I feel bad or I feel tired or I feel weary, so they go to the doctor and they say, here's how I feel.
There's no kind of medicine that will satisfy what we are talking about. Enslavement to sin demands a relationship with God, demands a relationship with Jesus Christ. And so one of the things we have to do is to admit the fact that something is wrong, it's not right, and not deny it. A third thing that is so important is to realize that it is a spiritual problem, that it's a relationship between God and us. Anything that separates us from doing the will of God is a spiritual problem. Anything that so controls the human body and the mind, the emotion and the will, to so dominate us, to keep us from being what God wants us to be, isn't just some social ill. It is dealing with a relationship with God.
It is a problem. It is a spiritual problem that has to be admitted and has to be dealt with. Now, when a person indulges themselves in whatever it might be and they can just keep ignoring that it's a spiritual problem, they will seek every solution possible rather than to face the fact that they need to face God with it. And oftentimes good people, good people find themselves for some reason or the other, something motivated them to get involved in some kind of addiction or some kind of drivenness that they begin to feel themselves controlled by. They want out, can't get out, don't know how to get out. And yet oftentimes deny it, oftentimes deny that it has anything to do with our relationship to God.
It's just something they get into. No, it has to do with our relationship to Him. And part of the solution is acknowledging the fact that God is involved in that. This is a part of my relationship to Him. So whatever keeps us from becoming what He wants us to be, we need to look to Him to look to at least part of the solution.
Now, let's deal with the fourth thing I want you to notice here, and that's tracing it to its root. What is it that causes people to become addicted to things? What is it that causes people to be driven? What is it that causes people to become enslaved to attitudes or habits in their life or actions in their life that when they first started, of course, it was just one action or one thought or one idea, and now they have become enslaved.
What is it that causes that? God wants us to be free. Jesus said He came to set the captives free. And this does not mean just people who are behind bars. There are many people who've never been behind bars, never had a handcuff on their wrist.
And yet they are absolutely imprisoned, absolutely captured, absolutely dominated, absolutely enslaved by some form of sin or some emotion that has caused sin in their life. And so what we have to ask is, what is the root cause of this and whatever the root cause is to begin to deal with it? Now you say, well, can I deal with that by myself? Oftentimes a person can if they will just admit it and look at it and trace it and find it. Sometimes you may have to find someone or it'd be helpful to find someone in whom you have confidence. You could say, well, look, I believe something's going on in my life.
I can't figure out what it is. I need to talk it out with somebody. Just let me talk it out with you and tell you what I feel. A very discerning, godly person can probably help you if you do not think you can do it yourself. And so I'm never saying that you should not ever consider a counselor, but I would say this. Never go to one who's ungodly. Never go to an ungodly counselor because they'll cause you far more trouble, far more heartache, far more burden, far more enslavement.
When some counselor says, well, you just need to go out and just have yourself a flinging and just blow it all out and just get rid of all these old guilty feelings you have. All they're doing is saying, jump into full born slavery because God never intended for us to live that way. And so we have to ask ourselves if there is something there that we're willing to deal with, then be willing to deal with it and ask God to give us direction how to move out of that which He's certainly willing to do it. Sometimes it's emotional dependence that a person has. And there are all kind of books been written on codependency, people being dependent upon each other and therefore rather than being dependent upon God.
And so whatever causes that drivenness, we have to deal with that. Otherwise, we just live enslaved. Now, I think another point that's so very important here is this, and that is a person must choose to be free.
God isn't going to make you do something. You must choose to be free. That is, you must be willing to acknowledge, willing to admit it and make a choice. I want to be free of this. I want to be set free of this emotion that binds me. I want to set free of this action, this habit in my life that I can't break out of. I want to be set free of what has dominated and controlled and driven my life all these years or however how long it might be. I have to choose. And a person who does not choose, it will never be free. It is a choice that must be backed up by determination and a sense of absolute certainty in their heart.
Yes, I want to be free. Now, here's the problem. Oftentimes, a person is pulled in two directions. One of the two desires is going to conquer and is going to win. Either my desire to be free will become so strong that I am willing to let go of this, or my desire and need for this will be so strong I am willing to yield to myself and willing to surrender to the enslavement has dominated and controlled and conquered my life.
And that is exactly where so many people are. And so they will say, I've tried and it didn't work. No, it would have worked had they been willing to make a choice. It is always a choice. Now, sometimes that choice is at the end of a period of sickness or failure in life, whereas a person comes to the end of themselves and God lays them out absolutely. And there's no other place to turn. They finally say, Lord, I surrender.
I give it up. And usually that is where many, many people have to come to, especially if they have some strong addictions like alcohol or drugs or whatever the addiction may be. They have to come to the place of absolute total hopeless and helplessness.
And then they're willing to say, I'm willing to give it up. But as long as we can hold on, oftentimes we will. And so a person has to make a choice. Am I willing to choose freedom and liberty?
Is that really what I want in life or do I want something else? And I think the lack of the willingness to make that choice usually, as we said, the Lord will send us to the bottom. Or what we'll end up doing is even hating the very thing that incarcerates us. We hate it, but you know what's amazing? Even though we may hate it, we hold on.
And I'll remember one of the illustrations that one of my counselor friends gave me some time ago. And I think he probably wrote this in a book that someone he had dealt with for a long, long period of time. And finally he just confronted them. And this woman who was so full of bitterness and hatred about things that happened in the past, she walked over to the window and she screamed out, I can't give it up. It's all I've got. All she had was her hatred and bitterness and resentment. She lived with it so long. It's so dominated and controlled her life.
If she gave it up and forgave the other person, then what would her life be? We don't realize how seductive, how cunning the enslavement of sin and attitudes can be in our life. And so what we have to ask is, do I really and truly want to be free? Am I willing to lay it down?
Am I willing to walk away from it? And then the next thing I want you to notice is this. A person must believe that God can set them free. As long as I believe that it can't happen, it won't ever happen. I must believe that God can set me free. Jesus said, I came to set the captives free. He says, if you know the truth, the truth will set you free. There's not anything in this world that you can't be set free from if you're willing to believe that God can set you free. And I think this is where many people get hung up.
They say, well, I've tried. I've been to church. Oh, I heard that sermon. We're not talking about listening to sermons.
We're talking about making a choice. We're talking about placing our trust, our faith in God. And of course, you remember in Jude twenty-four what he says. He says now to God who is able to keep us from falling. You remember, for example, in Hebrews chapter two and verse eighteen. Now that Jesus who is able to come to our rescue, God is in the business of setting the captives free.
That's what he said. I came to set the captives free. Not just talking about people behind barbed wire and walls and bars, but people who are living in captivity.
On the outside, they smile. On the outside, they appear to be free. On the inside, they're slaves.
Slaves to some form of sin or emotional bondage. Then, of course, Jesus said the truth will set you free. What is this truth that will set you free?
The truth that sets us free is this. Coming to an understanding of who we are in Christ Jesus. Who are we? We're the sons and daughters of an unconditionally loving Father. We are part of God's family. We are loved absolutely and completely and totally. He says we are to accept ourselves as He has made us.
That is, we're the sons and daughters of God. Members of His family. I'm to understand who I am in Him. Forgiven and loved and secure eternally. Who He is in me.
Who is He in us? He says I came to abide in you and you abide in me. Every single one of us has the Lord Jesus Christ living on the inside of us if we trusted Him as our Savior. And so what is the truth that sets me free? It's understanding who I am in Him. It's understanding who He is in me. That you and I have Almighty God, the one who spoke this universe into being. The one who has absolute, infinite, unlimited, inexhaustible power to do anything and everything within us that is absolutely needed.
And the third bit of knowledge I need, the truth I need to know is this. What I have in Him. What do I have in Him? Have a relationship with God the Father. Have the promise of answered prayer. Have the promise that everything I need, He says my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. If I need freedom, God is the giver of freedom.
If we have material need, He's the giver of that. What is the truth that sets me free? Understanding who I am in Him. Understanding who He is in me.
Understanding what I have as a result of that relationship. Now, so what's my part? Turn, if you will, to Ephesians chapter four and listen to what he says here. This is the terminology he uses. He says, for example, fourth chapter of Ephesians. Look in the twenty-fifth verse. He said, now, therefore laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one to another and be angry yet do not sin. Move down to the thirty-first verse. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you. Put it aside, he says, put it away from you. Turn to Colossians chapter three for a moment.
And here again, listen to what he says. In the third chapter, he said, look in the fifth verse. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and greed which amounts to idolatry. For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come.
And in them you also once walked when you were living in them. But now you also put them all aside, anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie one to another.
Since you laid aside the old self. It's interesting that Paul's idea and Paul's word to us when it comes to dealing with these things is lay it aside. Put it aside. Now, what does that say? It says that freedom is a choice that you and I make. It is a choice we make. And what we do is we walk away from or we lay it down.
Here's a person, for example, who is involved in some habit in their life. He says, lay it down. If it were not possible to lay it down, Paul would have gone into much greater detail and many other ways in dealing with all of those things.
If you read all the things that Paul describes as sin, for example, what does he say? He says, lay it down. He says, put it aside.
He does not say that you've got to go through this trauma to do it. He says, lay it down. Put it aside.
Because the Spirit of God who is within us will enable us if we so choose to lay down, to put aside, to deal with those things that may have their roots way, way, way back on in our life. Put it down. Lay it aside. Deal with it.
Face up to it. And then I want you to notice, if you will, in the third chapter of Ephesians because here I think is another issue that's very important. And that is not only must we lay it aside, but we've got to believe that God will do exactly what He says He will do. And that is He will set us free.
We really and truly want to be free. Look, if you will, in this third chapter of Ephesians. He says in verse twenty, now unto Him who is able to do what? To do exceeding abundantly beyond all that you ask or think according to the power that works where?
Within us. He says, now look, if you want to know whether God will set you free or not, He says, look at this. He says, now unto Him who is able to do what? Exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. If a person wants to be free, they've got to think, I want to be free.
They've got to ask God for freedom. He says He's able to do above, exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. He says, according to, that is by the power that works within us.
What is He saying? That every single believer has within himself or herself the power of the Holy Spirit. No matter what has dominated you, what has controlled you, what has enslaved you, if you are a child of God, you have within you, the person of the Holy Spirit who will release you from that slavery, who will enable you to become the person God wants you to be, who will set you free. You say, well, I've been this way all my life, God will set you free. Well, this is something that just developed a few years ago, God will set you free. Well, this is something I got into, I didn't mean to, God will set you free. This is something that's been going on, I don't know where it started, God will set you free. This is something I chose to get into, God will set you free.
Why? He says, according to the power that works within us. You do not have to live in bondage. You do not have to live in slavery. You do not have to be incarcerated, dominated, controlled by any emotion, any thought, any action, any habit, no matter what it is. The big issue is, do I want to be free? Second, the big issue is, do I believe that God will set me free? And thirdly, am I willing to choose freedom by faith in Almighty God? You say, well, but suppose I do that and then I slip, what do I do? You confess it to Him, you thank Him for bringing you to the realization that you are an absolutely inadequate yourself and trust Him for setting you free and keep moving. There is nothing in the world like freedom that comes in knowing Jesus Christ as your Savior, knowing Him as the Lord and Master of your life rather than being enslaved or mastered or lorded over by any emotion or action or habit that you may have.
And I want to invite you, if you've never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, to ask Him to forgive you of your sin and tell Him that you're placing your life in His hands. And whatever enslavement may be dominating your life, you're telling Him today that you want freedom, you want liberty, you want to be set free, that you're making a choice for freedom. You're making a choice for liberty. You're making a choice to start living your life to the fullest.
You are tired, you are sick, you are fed up, you are through with living in bondage to these emotions that absolutely dominate you. You choose the freedom that comes in the person of Jesus Christ. And my friend, you'll be surprised at what God can begin to do in your life if you will make a choice. Believe Him for it and remember what He said, unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that you ask or think according to the power that works within you. Your freedom is yours for the decision and the believing and the receiving in Jesus Christ. Thank you for listening to part two of Freedom from Enslavement to Sin. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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