Freedom Isn’t Free

June 30th, 2019

Message Title: Freedom Isn’t Free
Theme: History is Our Story
Season: Ordinary Time
Color: Green
Main Text: Galatians 5:1, 13-26,
Scripture Reading: Psalm 16
RCL Scripture: 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14, Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20, 1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21, Psalm 16, Galatians 5:1, 13-25, Luke 9:51-62
Focus: Paul reminds the Galatians that we are not bound by a law but are free in Christ. 
Function: To acknowledge our freedom, to not enslave others, and to see the responsibility of our freedom. 
Other Notes: (4th of July this week) CAMP SUNDAY

SCRIPTURRE READING: Psalm 16 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” 3As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. 4The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. 5The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 6The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. 7I bless the Lor who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 8I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 9Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. 11You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

LORD’S PRAYER

I have missed you all. The American Baptist Churches USA had an amazing Biennial in Virginia Beach. I look forward to sharing about what I’ve learned and brainstorming new ideas with you about the ministry of Liberty in Tipton County. The next Biennial is in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2021, anyone is welcome to attend the Biennial and participate in the classes and discussions. This is your announcement to start planning now. 

HISTORY: Two weeks ago, we talked about how the church in Rome was divided between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians. The Jewish Christians wanted the Gentiles to become Jewish in order to follow Jesus and Paul wrote to them about how that wasn’t necessary. 

Today we are in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians and will see many parallels to the Roman church. MAP-3

The Galatians were predominantly Gentile churches that Paul had started. After Paul had left them a group of Jewish Christians came to them and told them that Paul had not given them the full message of salvation. The full message of salvation was to become Jewish (by circumcision of the men) and to submit to the laws of Torah. Only by following the laws of Torah would they be saved. Some of the families in Galatia fell into this trap. (TBP)

Paul writes a letter to clarify: 1. He has authority to share the Gospel and has told them the FULL gospel, 2. They are not slaves to Torah because Jesus has freed them from that yoke, and 3. Their freedom from the law does not mean they can behave full of sin but instead should be led by the Spirit of God to be transformed. (TBP)

TRANSITION: Today we will wrestle with Paul’s words on the topic of freedom and what that means for us. 

GOD: Galatians 5:1, 13-26

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery13For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another., 16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

  1. Dicotomy of Slavery Vs Freedom
    1. to keep you from doing the things you want to do
      1. “Works of the flesh”
        1. “who do such things…”
          1. Peripateo (to walk perpetually in these things)
        2. “Sins ‘associated with heathen religions’ make up [this] section” (EBC)
        3. “Thus, both the practice of worshiping false gods and using drugs to enhance mystical worship experience are included as part of what it means to live according to the ‘acts of sinful nature.’” (EBC)
        4. “indicating self-seeking or working for one’s own gain at the expense of others, the antithesis of love” (EBC)
    2. led by the Spirit, you are not under the law
      1. “fruit of the Spirit”
        1. Flourishing faith through the embodying God’s love leads to flourishing relationships and communities

APPLICATION: To acknowledge our freedom, to not enslave others, and to see the responsibility of our freedom.

  1. This dichotomy of Slavery vs. Freedom reminds me of our origin story. Our origin story in Genesis 1 says that God built creation and declared it very good. God commissioned Adam and Eve for the good and holy work of caring for the world. But that didn’t last long because they chose their own selfish desires over the good intentions God had for creation. 
  2. Curses were placed on creation in our origin story, tension between humans, tension between humans and creation, and a disconnect between humans and God. Some Christians want to live in the cursed version of creation, following the Torah (which cannot save us) and ignoring the salvific work of Jesus. 
  3. What is freedom for? (PF?)
    1. Freedom is for flourishing faith
      1. Love God
    2. Freedom is for flourishing relationships & communities
      1. Love Others
  4. Now what?
    1. We are to live out the blessing of creation not the curse of the fall
      1. Division is of the fall
      2. Unity is of the blessing
    2. We are free in Christ, not bound by the law
      1. To expect people to act out their faith exactly like us is to mimic the Jewish Christians’ demands. 

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