Saturday, July 6, 2013

Freedom in the New Testament-Freedom Sunday Series

“Freedom in the Bible”-From the New Testament
First Sunday-Freedom Sunday Series
By Media Pastor  Rev. Keith Kiper
Galatians 3:28
Common English Bible (CEB)
There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
God the Creator placed in man and woman the capacity for free choice at the very beginning when He placed them in Eden. God gave Adam and Eve the freedom to choose between good and evil. We have recorded in our Bibles the results of both good and bad choices over the centuries. As created beings, we possess that same freedom to choose today. During  the next few Sundays in July, we will take a closer look at slavery in the past, and at the scourge of modern human trafficking.
Today let us look at what it means to have freedom in Christ. Sin can be the greatest master when we become enslaved to sin. We are all born into sin, we have no control over aspect. Christ’s death and resurrection offers  freedom to live again through the new birth. We celebrate this every year especially on Resurrection Sunday. Did you know that as Christians we can still become enslaved. We can be enslaved to religious customs, to focusing on how things used to be. History should be a guiding post, not a hitching post as someone well said. We can even become a slave to the law.
Galatians 5:1 tells us: “ Christ has set us free for freedom. Therefore, stand firm and don’t submit to the bondage of slavery again.”
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees in Mark Chapter 7. The Pharisees had a form of ritualistic washing where they would wash from the hands to the elbows. I always think of Norton from the Honeymooners when I read this. Listen to what Jesus tells them when they criticized His disciples:
 You ignore God’s commandment while holding on to rules created by humans and handed down to you.” Jesus continued, “Clearly, you are experts at rejecting God’s commandment in order to establish these rules. 10  Moses said, Honor your father and your mother,[b] andThe person who speaks against father or mother will certainly be put to death.[c] 11  But you say, ‘If you tell your father or mother, “Everything I’m expected to contribute to you iscorban (that is, a gift I’m giving to God),” 12  then you are no longer required to care for your father or mother.’ 13  In this way you do away with God’s word in favor of the rules handed down to you, which you pass on to others. And you do a lot of other things just like that.”
Freedom in Christ means we are to be salt and light, and not just within the four walls of the church building.
John Wesley said; "When I speak of building an house for our great God, let none think I mean to comprehend God [contained] within it, for He is infinite." (Notes, 2,6)
Galatians 5:13-14
Common English Bible (CEB)
13 You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. 14 All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.[a]
There are many ways we can love our neighbor as ourself. Who is our neighbor? The parable of the good Samaritan should answer that question for all of us. Would not the enslaved children of the world be our neighbor? Wouldn’t the immigrant coming to our country hungry and looking for opportunity be our neighbor? Would the good Samaritan care how he got here? Remember our families were all immigrants from a foreign land . Maybe God is providing us with the greatest opportunity for evangelism in our lifetime. Please pray about this. Go to or our website where you can read the Wesleyan Position statement on this. Don’t let the us or them politics influence what God wants to do. Finally, Acts tells us:
Acts 13:38-39
Common English Bible (CEB)

38 “Therefore, brothers and sisters, know this: Through Jesus we proclaim forgiveness of sins to you. From all those sins from which you couldn’t be put in right relationship with God through Moses’ Law, 39 through Jesus everyone who believes is put in right relationship with God.

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