Just three days back Pastor John spoke to us once more about the true freedom that we have in the Christ. Freedom is the opposite of slavery, so if we hold freedom in the Christ as the greatest good, and one that we don't have except that...
Except that we are naturally slaves to any number of earthly entities or phenomena or things. We respond to their stimuli, we give in to their demands so that our basic cravings will be satisfied. That fellows is slavery. Really now: who among us escapes slavery – of his own power?
So then, fellows, here is the famous question: if we - each of us - is a slave to something, just what are YOU a slave to? Think about it and discuss this amongst yourselves, discuss with your family members.
Then, read from the Apostle Paul's Letter to the Colossians, chapter 1, verse 13 “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves,”
So then, fellows, if you understand that your slavery of whatever type or kind is within the dominion of darkness, and if you believe in Jesus the Christ as your savior, your redeemer from the slavery, from the sin, from the darkness, then you are brought into His kingdom. That's
Freedom in the Christ!
Pastor John expounded upon this point at length. He read from the Letter to the Galatians chapter 4, verses 8 and 9: “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?”
As Paul says, it is possible to be misled, to drift away from the Truth. It is possible fellows to lose the salvation we have gained from slavery, from the dominion of darkness, if we don't constantly stay in the Word. Let us face it: we are by our innate sinful natures prone to stray. Like (stupid!) sheep. Yes, it is an unflattering comparison, but the (sad?) reality is our inner natures are not fundamentally different. That's why the Christ relied so heavily on the shepherd metaphor during His three years of earthly ministry. So then, as well as weekly worship, we need daily quiet time – QT - fellows, reading the Word of God, and thinking about it, meditating on it. Breakfast is secondary.
Pastor John went on further in Galatians, chapter 5, the first six verses: “ It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”
Again, Paul was reminding the Galatians that you cannot EARN salvation – not through trying to adhere to the Mosaic law or any other rule book or set of good deeds. Otherwise the Christ died on the cross in vain. Should we be so forgetful? And we must not imagine that the particular set of human weaknesses that each of us has makes any of us ineligible for salvation, anymore so than the prostitute or the tax collector of Jesus's earthly ministry. Pastor John read from Paul's second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 12 verse 9: “But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."