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Limiting our Freedom in Christ - Bible Survey Part 8

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
August 30, 2021 7:00 am

Limiting our Freedom in Christ - Bible Survey Part 8

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Let's review what we said last week. Last week we said. First of all, that the apostle Paul wrote the letter to the Galatians and 48 A.D. it was his earliest New Testament letter and he wrote it to confront false teaching that had crept in to the churches that he had started on his first missionary journey and were talking about the cities of Pergola city in Antioch I Coney on list draw in Derby, and after Paul left of these fledgling young churches. False teachers name Judaizers came in and they began teaching a false plan of salvation and we saw. Second of all last week that this false plan of salvation. They were teaching. It's not in the Bible. It's not the one Paul and the other apostles preached that the difference was these Judaizers preached that salvation came by. Yes, relying on the blood of Jesus, but also by attaching that to human works, they came to these young Gentile believers in Galatia and they said hey you've trusted in the blood of Jesus on the cross that way.

But it's not enough. In order to go to heaven in order to really have eternal life. You now have to become Jewish and you have to keep the Old Testament law and Paul here in the book of Galatians rights to defend the true gospel to these Galatian believers to defend God's true plan of salvation is found in the Bible, namely that salvation comes by relying on the blood of Jesus shed on the cross to pay for our sins. Plus no human works of any kind now.

Then we saw third that these Judaizers were not just teaching that human works form the basis of our salvation. They were also teaching that human works forms the basis of our ongoing relationship with God even after were saved and born again and become Christians. And so Paul also addresses that error in the book of Galatians, he says. Galatians 326 four. Through faith in Jesus Christ, you are what's the next word that's wimpy. Come on, what's next word you are all sons and daughters of God. Folks, is it possible for you to put your faith in Jesus Christ and not be a son or daughter of God. Is it no were all adopted into the family and therefore Romans 614 as an adopted child of God.

Paul says you are not under the law, you are not under a human performance system with God, but you are under grace. As I told you last week.

My children don't have to perform in any specific way in order to earn my love and favor or keep my love and favor. They have my love and my favor and can never lose it by because their family because their mind and in the same way we become adopted children of God minute we trust Christ and therefore we don't have to earn God's love and favor we don't have to do human works to keep God's love and favor we have God's love and favor and we can never lose it because we are family. Yes, this is why Romans 839 says nothing in the creation, not even your bad human performance, shall be able to separate us from the love of God that in Christ Jesus our Lord. And that live finally to our fourth major point from last week and that is as a follower of Christ I can do anything anything I want without it ever endangering the family bond of between me and my heavenly father. The apostle Paul referred to this as our freedom in Christ and the Bible tells us to rejoice in this freedom to stand firm in this freedom. Galatians 51. It was for freedom that Christ set us free.

The Bible says therefore stand firm in that freedom and do not let your self be subjected again to a yoke of bondage and by yoke of bondage.

What Paul means is, do not let yourself again be pulled back in to a relationship with God that is based on human performance.

Now I know what I just said a moment ago bother some of us that we can do anything we want without endangering our family bond of with the Lord Jesus Christ and I know there are some of us at our different campuses were sitting out there going now know that's not right. I don't know why it's not right, but that can't be right. Well, I'm sorry. It is right, but I understand your concern. I understand the concern that when you tell somebody that they're gonna run with that ball and they're going to get involved in doing lots of things that will maybe they got no business doing because they say why I'm free in Christ not do anything I want to do and I share that concern with you and that's why we need to add some balance to what we said last week what we said last week was true, but it's not everything the Bible has to say about how we exercise our freedom in Christ. And here's the balance.

Reading here is while it's true that we have this wonderful freedom in Christ. It is just as true.

Hear me now that God asks us in the Bible to limit that freedom at certain times and under certain circumstances. And that's what we want to talk about today. We don't want to talk today about enjoying our freedom in Christ.

We did that last week. Today we want to talk about limiting our freedom in Christ. Are you ready to do that okay now member.

Our memory verse. Galatians 513. Let's say it together for you were called to freedom, brethren only. Do not turn that your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh into an opportunity to sin into an opportunity to injure other people into an opportunity to disobey God and to indulge your sinful nature. Now there are two ways that churches in America try to help Christians keep this verse. Two ways churches try to make sure that we don't turn our freedom into an opportunity for the flesh. The first way is by legislating a list of do's and don'ts that Christians must adhere to it where to be regarded as good Christians. We call this legalism. Christians aren't allowed to go to movies were told were not allowed to play cards were not allowed to cut the grass on Sunday were not allowed to gamble were not allowed to listen to secular music were not allowed to wear two-piece bathing suits were not allowed to wear short skirts were not allowed to dance were not allowed to get a tattoo were not allowed to drink alcoholic beverages and God help you if you have a cigar. Oh my gosh, now many of us grew up in church is just like this or we know people who grew up in churches just like this and the problem with legalism. The problem with this works approach to the Christian life is not that it's on effective. I mean, you keep preaching this and telling people this and you can kill people in the living like this. And the problem with this approach is not that it's risky. It's very and is very not risky you keep people living in a little box and there's not much risk to it. The problem with this approach is that it robs people of their freedom in Christ. It does what Paul says not to do. In Galatians 51. It puts us back under a yoke of bondage. He puts us back into a performance-based system with God. A performance-based relationship with God and it turns the Christian life into something that is drudgery and that is joyless and has no spontaneity to with an even worse, it gives people who are watching nonbelievers.

It gives them a horribly distorted view of what the Christian life and Christianity are all about you that people like this. They say this is an FYI I have to live like this to be a Christian.

I you know all these rules, you know, don't smoke or custard drinker to or hang around with them which do you know what all this other stuff if that's what being a Christian is. I don't want to be one you met folks like that yes all right. Well, this is not the Christian life, not the one God designed but yet that's what a lot of people think because of running in the people who were living under legalism. Now, the vast majority of churches in the vast majority of Christian organizations in America use this method to try to keep their sheep under control. I love you Charles when Dall said Chuck said about his book, grace, awakening about this he said there are grace killers on the loose. Instead of giving people permission to be absolutely free and cries. They project this grim faced list of do's and don'ts, which results in believers spending their whole life in another way to do this is another way to help us not turn our freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, and that is by giving believers. God's principles in the Bible for when they are to limit their freedom in Christ.

We call this Bible teaching.

We call this discipling people we call this building mature Christians and this is how we do it at McLean Bible church now, is it riskier sure it's riskier you give people principles and asked them to apply them in a mature way to limiting their liberty. And there's always the chance to go to make a mistake, there's always the chance for going to go too far, but that's the risk you take to raise mature people pay your children when you let him go out and take the risks of trying to grow up there liable to make some mistakes. Your other option is lock them in a room and slot food under the door the rest of their life now it's safer to lock him in the room but you're not going to produce a mature human being right God's out to produce mature Christians and so this is what we're going to talk about today, we're going to talk about these principles that God gives us, and there are six of them in the Bible that we are to use as soon if you don't notice to visits like a coffee filter that we are to run our actions through and if our action that were contemplating gets caught in this filter like coffee grounds doing a filter, then God is saying to us, limit your freedom here. Don't do it if something your thinking about gets through all six filters and doesn't get caught that praise the Lord go do it and have fun. And may I remind you, by the way you depending on where you're living and who your keeping company with this can change some things that are not appropriate in certain places with certain people in a different place with different people will be fine with me so you can always come up with one rule this good for everything. We gotta be constantly going through this process you say are long would you get to the six things are on their on our now are operating verse is this first Corinthians 1023 all things may be lawful for me, we understand what that means now.

Right there. We can do it without losing our relationship with God.

We we understand that, but not all things are profitable. In other words, just because I have the freedom in Christ deduce anything I want without losing God's love or God's favor does not mean I should do those things in here come the principles to help me figure out when I should and when I should number one principle number one is is this thing on thinking about doing intrinsically offensive to God's holiness is its sin. Is it just plain wrong. Does God say straight up in the Bible just don't do it. Were talking about adultery and pornography and lying and cheating and stealing and lusting over women with our eyes, or man what were talking about breaking our word breaking our legal contracts and agreements with people criminal activity whatever the of the apostle Peter said as obedient children, like the holy one who called you be holy in all your behavior. For it is written, you shall be holy, for I am holy folks as followers of Christ as children of God through Christ.

God wants us to pursue holy behavior in our life. And when we don't he disciplines us as his children. Hebrews 12, six, and sometimes he allows the bad consequences of our sinful behavior to come upon us. Galatians 67 and either one of these options is discipline or bad consequences. These are not profitable things you do not want to volunteer for God to discipline you. This is not profitable. You do not want those bad consequences coming on your life unprofitable.

Therefore, God says you might have the freedom to do these things but don't second principle second sill second coffee filter is if I do this, will it harm me physically. First Corinthians 619, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you received from God and you are not your own.

You were bought with a price.

Your body does not belong to you, my friend. Hope you realize that your body belongs to God. He bought it on the cross. Therefore honor God in your body. There are lots of things you and I have the freedom in Christ to do but that are harmful to God's property.

And God says go do it. Do you have the freedom in Christ, smoked three packs of cigarettes a day. Yeah, you know, but smoking related illnesses kill more people in our world than any other single because it damages God's body don't do it.

Do you have the freedom in Christ to come home and drink a pint of whiskey every night before you go to bed yeah you do, but just ask your liver what he thinks about that nor what she thinks about it.

Friends, you're hurting your body. God says don't do it. It's not your property to dammit limit your freedom if it's going to hurt your body. Number three. If I do this third coffee filter will it help me spiritually.

Hebrews 12 says, let us throw off every way and the sin that so easily besets us so we can run with endurance the race that is set before us. So here's the question we need to ask, will this action that I'm considering will it help make me a better man of God a better woman of God or is it just extra weight. That's going to slow me down spiritually paying on the baseball fan and watching baseball all my life, and you know how you are you looking you see your baseball player in the on deck circle and they got this big doughnut on their bat. You know what I'm talking about this extra weight in their swinging it around and loosen it up with this thing. Yeah, you know what I you know what in 50 years of watching baseball. I have never ever seen a batter walk up to the plate with the doughnut on his back. Have you, of course not. When you walk up to the plate you want to have as little weight as possible. Slowing your back down and the same is true in our Christian life where running a race we want as little weight as possible, slowing us down and turning our race for Christ and will crawl for Christ. We don't want doughnuts on our back and we don't want barnacles on our boat spiritually.

Now let me go from preaching the Medlin if I can and say this, there is no way that a follower of Jesus Christ can go to see movies with nudity and explicit sexuality and convinced me that this is helping them spiritually. Are they free to do it in Christ.

Yes. Is it profitable no there is no way a follower of Christ can be dating a nonbeliever whose encouraging them to disobey God and do things that they know are not pleasing to God and tell me that this is helping them spiritually and are they free to do it. Yes.

Is it profitable know you got the idea, don't you body and stand while I Medlin let me go one step further and talk about sex outside of the bond of marriage. I've had so many believers tell me that they believe that as long as its two consenting adults. This is a victimless act that is not what the Bible says to the contrary, the Bible says Lee sexual immorality. Every other sin. A person does is outside their body, but the person who commits sexual immorality sins against their own body salon.

What is that mean folks I don't know exactly what it means, but it's obvious that whatever it means it's telling us that sexual sin wounds up both people involved in a special way. Now can God heal these wounds yes can God restore to us the recent years that the sexual locus to Eaton in our lives. Yes, but folks if something is this spiritually unprofitable that it damages you and me in a special way. Why in the world would we do it to begin with, and some of us were listening to me right now are in relationships that are sexually active outside of marriage and let me just say to you, God says limit your freedom and get out of right now just walk away.

I mean as long as I Medlin why not point number four. If I do this fourth coffee filter will it identify me with unrighteous things, even though I may not actually be doing anything wrong.

Hey, first Thessalonians 522 says avoid all appearance of evil. Romans 1416 says, do not let the good that you're doing. Be evil spoken of via God come in my office a while back and he was living. It is a fiancées apartment, but he said but I'm sleeping on the couch and he saw the look on my face and he said wait a minute.

He said there is not a single verse anywhere in the Bible that says thou shalt not sleep at your fiancé's apartment.

If you're on the couch. I have freedom in Christ in this area and I said yes you do. I said but Sir, there is not one single person living in that apartment complex when they see you come walking out of your fiancé's apartment at 8 o'clock in the morning is going to believe or think that you slept on the couch now.

Do you really want to do that to your fiancé's reputation. Do you really want to do it to your reputation as a follower of Christ. Even if I accept the fact you're telling me the truth that you really do sleep on the couch you're giving off the appearance of evil and God says, go get your self out apartment or hotel room or sleep on a heating great downtown. I don't care but get out of that woman's apartment look.

Many times we can exercise some freedom in Christ. Really, with a pure heart. But the question is will he give off the appearance of evil to other people.

If so, God says don't exercise that freedom. Number five this thing were thinking about number five will it hurt a fellow believers Christian wall.

Romans 1421 says it is not good to eat me or drink wine or do what's next word and need thing that causes your brother or sister to stumble. Ladies, do you have the freedom to wear a really short skirt yes you do, do you have the freedom in Christ to go to the beach and where really skimpy two-piece yes you do, do you have the freedom to wear revealing clothing. Yes, you do.

But there is not a normal Christian male in existence for whom doing that isn't going to stir up impulses that he's trying really hard to control for the honor of Christ in his life. And when you do that and you will complicate and hurt his walk. You are misusing your freedom in Christ is, it will be what he wanted to dress like a nun. No, I don't want to do to dress like a non-you know exactly what I'm talking about more not only dispel the self. You know what I'm talking about and fellows about if we have a friend is in AA and we invite them over one night with a bunch of the guys to watch March madness and we break out the beers for every body.

But we say to him, but we know you don't really want one of the was sure he wants one. Why do you think is in AA. Of course he wants one, but he's trying hard not to have one own spiritual well-being and you sitting there drinking beer while you sit there trying to control himself is misusing your liberty in Christ drink iced tea or don't have them over with me all right now this is the measure of a mature follower of Christ is the attitude that says I care so much about my fellow Christians walked up. I will set aside any freedom I have rather than hurt their walk in Christ. That's maturity. Finally, number six, last coffee filter.

If I do this, will it hurt my platform for evangelism with nonbelievers. Colossians 45 says walk in wisdom when it comes to those who are outsiders in first Corinthians 9. I love this.

The apostle Paul in the first few verses lists right after right liberty after liberty, freedom after freedom that he has as an apostle in Christ and then he says this, verse 12, but I have used up none of these right watch why Paul because I don't want to hinder the gospel of Christ friends. Once you go public for Jesus. Believe me, people are watching you like a hawk. And those people nonbelievers.

They have expectations as to how a Christian is supposed to act.

Doesn't matter if those expectations are right or wrong doesn't matter whether you like those expectations are not but they're going to judge you and me by those expectations that are often deeply held, and if we don't respect that we are liable to lose the freedom to share Christ with them. You say will why should I allow some nonbeliever to put artificial limits on my freedom in Christ. Well the answer. I hope is like the apostle Paul. We believe that that person soul is more important than any freedom that you or I might exercise. I hope we believe that that's why Paul said he limited his liberty, lest he hinder the gospel with people who were watching who were unbelievers, so that's it. Let's summarize in the Bible God gives us six sieves, six coffee filters to pass every contemplated exercise of our freedom in Christ through here they are number one will it offend of the holiness of God is just plain sin and wrong number two will it harm me physically. Number three will it help me spiritually. Number four would cause people to think I'm doing something wrong, even if I'm not number five would hurt the spiritual walk of another brother and sister in Christ, and number six will it compromise my evangelistic platform with nonbelievers. You say how long I mean a bypass sum through all of these coffee filters are a lot of things that are going to make true there's a lot of freedom that I may have but I sure knew bingo bingo that's exactly right.

Remember, you don't get anything else today.

Get this last sentence God measure spiritual maturity, not by how much of my freedom in Christ, I insist on exercising but by how much of it. I'm willing to defer exercising when God asked me to for the sake of the brother and sister in Christ for the sake of the gospel for the sake of the holiness of God for the sake of my own benefit, and you know many of us have met people I know you have cool they run around like a libertine doing everything you can imagine, and that they that they boast that. How about how mature they are because they understand their freedom in Christ, may I say to you that person is not a mature Christian there a baby Christian was somebody just explained to them their freedom in Christ and are going nuts with it.

The mature Christian is the person who says hey I know I got all those freedoms, but you know what I don't use a lot of cause your reasons God tells me not to. And I care so much about God and my love for Christ that if he gives me a reason not to do it. I won't do. That's a mature Christian and that's what God's trying to make you and me into now we don't have much time so we have to do a really quick so what here we go. 123 very good. Okay now because what happened. I would just let me say closing the so what of all this is very simple.

Friends, you and I were followers of Christ it's incumbent on us to go back now that we got these filters and start taking the things were doing in our life and running them through these filters and see if when they come out of the bottom, they still come out and you know God really spoke to me as I was working on this message about my own life and salon. You need to do that to because you've gotten sloppy. We don't mean to get sloppy. We don't mean to get lackadaisical, but sometimes you know we just do. And so it's good to go back every once in a while and run things through and if it doesn't make it through.

Then limit your liberty be a mature Christian who exercises your liberty in a responsible, godly way. This is God's goal for us.

And now that you got both sides of the coin you could enjoy your liberty but you can also know when not to use that is the balance were trying to achieve. And when you don't use it. Let me close by saying this is not because some preachers telling you you're not supposed to. It's because you really understand why and when God is asking you to limited and you're doing it, not as onto the preacher and not as under the church, but you're doing it is on the Christ you with me make sense. That's for heavenly father, thank you for giving us good solid biblical teaching over these last two weeks on the freedom that we have in Christ and remind us that even though we are free not all that freedom is meant by you to be exercised so give us wisdom to know when and how to use our freedom help us use it in a way, Lord, that you would be proud and not use it as an opportunity for the flesh, and we pray these things in Jesus name and give us the courage we need to make changes if we do God's people said

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