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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 in 48 AD. 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 we're talking about the cities of Perga, Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derby. And after Paul left these fledgling young churches, false teachers named 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's great, 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 writes to defend the true gospel to these Galatian believers, to defend God's true plan of salvation as 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 we're saved and born again and become Christians. And so Paul also addresses that error in the book of Galatians. He says, Galatians 3 26, for through faith in Jesus Christ you are, what's the next word?

That's wimpy, come on, what's the 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. We're all adopted into the family and therefore Romans 6 14 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.

Why? Because they're family, because they're mine and in the same way we become adopted children of God the 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 8 39 says, nothing in creation, not even your bad human performance shall be able to separate us from the love of God that's in Christ Jesus our Lord. And that led 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 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 5 1 it was for freedom that Christ set us free the Bible says therefore stand firm in that freedom and do not let yourself 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 bothers some of us that we can do anything we want without it endangering our family bond with the Lord Jesus Christ and I know there are some of us at our different campuses who are sitting out there going no no 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 gonna get involved in doing lots of things that well maybe they got no business doing because they say well hey I'm free in Christ I can 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 you ready here it 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 so are you ready to do that okay now remember our memory verse Galatians 5 13 let's say it together for you were called to freedom brethren only do not turn there 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 if we're to be regarded as good Christians we call this legalism Christians aren't allowed to go to movies we're told we're not allowed to play cards we're not allowed to cut the grass on Sunday we're not allowed to gamble we're not allowed to listen to secular music we're not allowed to wear two-piece bathing suits we're not allowed to wear short skirts we're not allowed to dance we're not allowed to get a tattoo we're 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 churches 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 guilt people into living like this and the problem with this approach is not that it's risky it's very it's 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 5 1 it puts us back under a yoke of bondage it 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 it and even worse it gives people who are watching non-believers it gives them a horribly distorted view of what the Christian life and Christianity are all about I mean you've met people like this they say this is if I have to live like this to be a Christian I you know all these rules you know don't smoke or cuss or drink or chew or hang around with them which do you know and all this other stuff oh if that's what being a Christian is I don't want to be one you've 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 into people who are living under legalism now the vast majority of churches and the vast majority of Christian organizations in America use this method to try to keep their sheep under control I love what Charles Swindoll said Chuck said about in his book grace awakening about this he said there are grace killers on the loose instead of giving people permission to be absolutely free in Christ they project this grim-faced list of do's and don'ts which results in believers spending their whole life in bondage now there's another way to do this there's 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 ask them to apply them in a mature way to limiting their liberty and there's always the chance they're going to make a mistake there's always the chance they're going to go too far but that's the risk you take to raise mature people hey your children when you let them go out and take the risks of trying to grow up they're liable to make some mistakes your other option is lock them in a room and slide food under the door the rest of their life now it's safer to lock them 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 sieves if you don't know what a sieve is it's like a coffee filter that we are to run our actions through and if our action that we're contemplating gets caught in this filter like coffee grounds do in a filter then God is saying to us limit your freedom here don't do it if something you're thinking about gets through all six filters and doesn't get caught hey praise the Lord go do it and have fun and may I remind you by the way you've depending on where you're living and who you're 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 you with me so you can't always come up with one rule that's good for everything we've got to be constantly going through this process you say all right long would you get to the six things all right I'm there I'm there all right now our operating verse is this first Corinthians 10 23 all things may be lawful for me we understand what that means now right that we can do it without losing our relationship with God we understand that but not all things are profitable in other words just because I have the freedom in Christ to do so anything I want without losing God's love or God's favor does not mean I should do those things and 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 I'm thinking about doing intrinsically offensive to God's holiness is it sin is it just plain wrong does God say straight up in the Bible just don't do it we're talking about adultery and pornography and lying and cheating and stealing and lusting over women with our eyes or men we're talking about breaking our word breaking our legal contracts and agreements with people criminal activity whatever the 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 6 and sometimes he allows the bad consequences of our sinful behavior to come upon us Galatians 6 7 and either one of these options his 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 sieve second coffee filter is if I do this will it harm me physically 1st Corinthians 6 19 your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you whom you've received from God and you are not your own you were bought with a price your body does not belong to you my friend I 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 don't do it do you have the freedom in Christ to smoke three packs of cigarettes a day yeah you do but smoking related illnesses kill more people in our world than any other single cause 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 or what she thinks about it friends you're hurting your body God says don't do it it's not your property to damage 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 weight 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 gonna slow me down spiritually hey you know I'm a baseball fan and I've been watching baseball all my life and you know how you you look and you see your baseball player in the on-deck circle and they got this big donut on their bat you know what I'm talking about this extra weight and they're swinging it around and loosen it up with this thing yeah you know but you know what in 50 years of watching baseball I have never ever seen a batter walk up to the plate with the donut on his bat have you of course not when you walk up to the plate you want to have as little weight as possible slowing your bat down and the same is true in our Christian life we're running a race we want as little weight as possible slowing us down and turning our race for Christ into a crawl for Christ we don't want donuts on our bat and we don't want barnacles on our boat spiritually now let me go from preaching to meddling 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 convince 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 non-believer who's 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 are they free to do it yes is it profitable no you got the idea don't you everybody understand but while I'm meddling 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 it's two consenting adults this is a victimless act well that is not what the Bible says to the contrary the Bible says flee sexual immorality every other sin a person does is outside their body but the person who commits sexual immorality sins against their own body you say Lon what does 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 both people involved in a special way now can God heal these wounds yes can God restore to us these years that the sexual locusts have eaten 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 who are 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 it right now just walk away I mean as long as I'm meddling 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 5 22 says avoid all appearance of evil Romans 14 16 says do not let the good that you're doing be evil spoken of I had a guy come in my office a while back and he was living it as a fiance's 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 fiance'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 who when they see you come walking out of your fiance's apartment at eight 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 fiance'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 yourself an apartment or a hotel room or sleep on a heating grate 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 it give off the appearance of evil to other people if so God says don't exercise that freedom number five this thing we're thinking about number five will it hurt a fellow believers Christian walk Romans 14 21 says it is not good to eat meat or drink wine or do what's the next word anything 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 wear 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 complicate and hurt his walk you are misusing your freedom in Christ you say well what do you what do you want me to do dress like a nun no I don't want to do to dress like a nun you know exactly what I'm talking about come on now I don't need to spell this out for you you know what I'm talking about and fellas how about if we have a friend who's in AA and we invite him over one night with a bunch of other guys to watch March Madness and we break out the beers for everybody but we say to him oh but we know you don't really want one of these well sure he wants one why do you think he's in AA of course he wants one but he's trying hard not to have one for his own spiritual well-being and you sitting there drinking beer while he's sitting there trying to control himself is misusing your liberty in Christ drink iced tea or don't have him over you with me all right now listen the measure of a mature follower of Christ is the attitude that says I care so much about my fellow Christians walk that 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 non-believers Colossians 4 5 says walk in wisdom when it comes to those who are outsiders and in 1st 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 none of these rights 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 non-believers 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 or 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 well why should I allow some non-believer to put artificial limits on my freedom in Christ well the answer I hope is like the Apostle Paul we believe that that person's soul is more important than any freedom that you or I might exercise I hope we believe that and 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 the holiness of God is it just plain sin and wrong number two will it harm me physically number three will it help me spiritually number four will it cause people to think I'm doing something wrong even if I'm not number five will it hurt the spiritual walk of another brother and sister in Christ and number six will it compromise my evangelistic platform with non-believers you say whoo Wow long I mean if I pass something through all of these coffee filters there are a lot of things that aren't going to make it through there's a lot of freedom that I may have but I shouldn't use bingo bingo that's exactly right remember if you don't get anything else today get this last sentence God measures 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 a 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 who they run around like a libertine doing everything you can imagine and they they they 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 they're a baby Christian who somebody just explained to them their freedom in Christ and they're 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 because there are reasons God tells me not to and I care so much about God and in my love for Christ that if he gives me a reason not to do it I won't do it 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 one two three very good okay now because we're happy time but just let me say in closing the so what of all this is very simple friends you and I if we're followers of Christ it's incumbent on us to go back now that we got these filters and start taking the things we're doing in our life and running them through these filters and seeing 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 said Lon you need to do that too 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 can enjoy your Liberty but you can also know when not to use it that is the balance we're trying to achieve and when you don't use it let me close by saying this it's 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 limit it and you're doing it not as unto the preacher and not as unto the church but you're doing it as unto Christ you with me make sense all right let's pray 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 of 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 and God's people said you
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-11 13:18:10 / 2023-06-11 13:28:28 / 10

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