God’s Declaration of Freedom
July 2, 2018

July 4th Sermon
God’s Declaration of Freedom

With all of America’s imperfections and contradictions, July 4th, or Independence Day still represents one thing that all people can celebrate, and that is, Freedom.

Freedom is one the great blessings we have as a country.

We have political and personal freedoms, that which was fought for, and continues to be fought for, as outlined in the first couple of sentences of the Declaration of Independence.

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them … We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

From this the Bill of Rights was established, and the three amendments that speak directly to these freedoms the most are …
• The first amendment, which is the freedom of religion, speech, the press, and to assemble peacefully and petition the government over grievances.
• The second amendment, which is the freedom to keep and bear arms.
• The fourth amendment, which is the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures,

The Declaration of Independence is written in a language of the feelings, emotions, and thoughts of the people during that critical time in our nation’s history. It expressed the frustration the people were feeling over these very matters that kept them captive to England, along with their desire and resolve to be free.

It is probably one of the most recognizable symbols of what freedom is all about. But the one thing that this freedom is based upon, and that which is brought out loud and clear in the Declaration itself, is in one thing that is missing in our celebrations today. It is the fact that true freedom can only be found in and can only come through God.

Again, listen to these words. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

And yet, while people can be political and personally free, there is a great bondage and captivity that most people are in, that none of these other freedoms can touch. And that is the bondage of and captivity to sin that has ensnared and imprisoned the human race.

The Bible clearly speaks to this, and while political and personal freedoms are important, they are not the most important. Rather it is the reality of God and the freedom He provides.

But the Bible doesn’t leave off there. It also talks about our need to use this freedom responsibly.

The Apostle Peter brings this to the forefront when He said, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1 Peter 2:16)

Paul also brings this out in his letter to the church in Galatia.

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)

As believers, therefore, we are called upon to use our freedom to further God’s agenda and His will, which is brought out in the Great Commandment, which is to love the Lord God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and to love others as ourselves, or to love others as we ourselves want to be loved. So, it is in this love for God and others that we are to let the world know of God’s unconditional love through the sending His Son, Jesus Christ, or that known as the gospel message, which is the Great Commission.

Consider also the Jews who God delivered from their Egyptian bondage. They sang and danced for the joy that was in their hearts. But not long thereafter the Lord gave to them the Ten Commandments, which was a description, if you would, of how they were to use their newly found freedom responsibly. In other words, they were held accountable and to a higher standard as free people.

Freedom, therefore, has boundaries. No one is free to break the law. Yet this is something so many balk at. They say, “I’ll be ruled by no one.” But in their attempt to throw off all restraint, they have only found another form of bondage.

True freedom begins with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; since it is through Him that all things have been created (John 1:3). Therefore, our freedom, in fact, all freedom, flows from Him. He is the source of all freedom, and life outside of that personal relationship with Jesus leads to all sorts of bondages, because true freedom and sin cannot co-exist.

“And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:18)

Notice the wording here. It says we’ve been set free from sin, not free in sin or free to sin, but free from sin. Peter goes on to say that sin is what brings us into bondage and that people are actually slaves to whatever sin has mastered them (2 Peter 2:19).

But then I love what Paul says, that if it is the Lord God who we are mastered by, then we are free from sin and slaves to God, and the outcome of such servitude is a life of holiness that leads to eternal life.

“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” (Romans 6:22)

And so freedom has its boundaries, and these are found in God’s word, which lays out for us God’s will and way that brings real and true freedom, as Paul goes on to say in Romans 8.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)

And while Paul speaks a lot about our freedoms in his letter to the Roman Church, it is his letter to the Galatians that may best be described as our Declaration of Freedom.

A spiritual war was brewing, not unlike the American war for independence from the oppressive rule of England and it’s monarchy.

The war was waged as false believers, wolves in sheep clothing, infiltrated the church desiring to put the believers back into slavery and into bondage to the law, rather than being free from the law to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (Galatians 2:4).

And so Paul tells us to stand firm in our freedom, so we don’t get sucked back into being slaves again to sin and death.

“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.” (Galatians 5:1)

In our time remaining, what I’d like to do is to look at four things that the Scriptures speak about that bring us freedom.

Jesus

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

As I said earlier, Jesus is the source of freedom, and when we turn from sin to Him, accepting Him as our Savior and Lord, then we will experience spiritual freedom, where the chains and shackles of sin and death no longer hold us down.

“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.” (Galatians 5:1)

And while it speaks of our slavery to sin, if it wasn’t for the law, then we wouldn’t even know that we have sinned.

“Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20)

And so the slavery that is being talked about is slavery to the law, which leads to sin, and thus death, as Paul said that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

You see, the law in and of itself could never justify anyone, that is, it could never make a person right with God, it could only lead us to the one who can, and that is Jesus Christ.

To the Jews in Antioch Pisidia, Paul made this declaration.

“I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38-39)

This was the mission of Jesus’s first coming. Jesus confirmed it by quoting the prophecy from Isaiah about Himself and of the mission of the coming Messiah.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18; cf. Isaiah 61:1)

When Jesus said that it is the Son of God who sets people free, He was responding to the religious leaders who were saying that they were children of Abraham and slaves to no one, that is, they were already free.

Does this sound familiar? It sounds like so many in America today. They say that they are free and no longer slaves or bound by anyone.

But Jesus made it clear that every one who continues to sin is a slave to sin, and therefore the only way to freedom from sin is through Him.

And so, for those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, it is through Him that we have been set free from the law of sin and death. And so this July 4th, let this be the reason for our celebration.

Now, in this same passage of Scripture, that is, John chapter 8, we see the second thing that brings us freedom.

Truth

Right before Jesus said that He was the one who set’s free, He said that when we believe and obey His teachings, that is when we’ll know the truth, and the truth will set us free.

In John 8:31, Jesus said to His disciples that they if they abide His word then they were then His disciples

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

This reveals that Jesus is not only truth personified, but also his teachings are truth and that we can trust them.

In His prayer for us to the Father, He asks the Father to sanctify us, that is, to make us holy through the truth of the word.

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17)

And so we need to learn what the scriptures teach, along with obeying what they say. Then they will free us from the bondage of sinful habits and behaviors.

It was through the truth of God’s word, and in obedience to it, that the Psalmist placed his hope.

“Never take your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws. I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.” (Psalm 119:43-45)

Now the word, “truth,” in the Greek language not only refers to what is true as compared to what is false, but also what is real as opposed to what is fake.

And so Jesus and His word are truth, and it is this therefore Jesus and His word that sets us free.

The third thing the Bible says sets us free is the…

Holy Spirit

In speaking again about the law and how it covers and keeps the human heart in bondage, Paul says that that is not the case when someone comes to the Lord. He says,

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)

In his letter to the Roman church, Paul talks about a new law, the law of the Spirit, and it is the law of the Spirit that brings us freedom over the law of sin and death.

“Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

This may be why Paul tells us to walk in the Spirit so that we don’t fulfill the lust of the flesh, and when we’re led by the Spirit we’re no longer under the law. And then he not only lists out 17 sins, but all sin when he adds these words to the end of his list, “and the like” (Galatians 5:16-21).

And so, it is through the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit that we will be free, because as Jesus said that He, the Holy Spirit will speak directly from the Father and the Son, and thus guide us into all truth (John 16:13).

And so we are set free by Jesus, who not only is the truth, but speaks the truth, and then by the Holy Spirit who then leads us and guides us into that same truth.

But there is one more thing that sets us free, but nowhere in the Bible does it state that it sets us free, but when we experience the power of it, it is truly liberating.

Forgiveness

Freedom from all that is holding us back and that keeps us bound is found in forgiveness. Not just forgiving others for their wrongs and sins against us, but also Jesus forgiving us for the wrong and the sin that we have done against Him.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Forgiveness has to power to release us into freedom and happiness. It has to power to move us forward unchained from the past and the pain of what others may have done. But when we choose not to forgive then unforgiveness binds us and holds us captive making us miserable, unhappy, and trapped in an unending cycle of bitterness and anger.

Forgiving others and being forgiven by God helps us find freedom from the past and a peace that only can come from God. It heals us and sets us free.

Studies have shown that people who are unwilling to forgive withdraw into their own little prison and become captive to the very person and situation that has so hurt them.

And while psychology talks about all these various ways to find freedom from the past hurts, there is only one way that we can truly be delivered, and that is through forgiveness.

Forgiveness, therefore, sets us free and help us move forward into a much healthier place and unchained from the past.

And so this morning, be like the Psalmist who cried out to God to be set free.

“Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.” (Psalm 118:5)

Conclusion

Let me end by saying that we are only free when we have that saving relationship with Jesus Christ. We may live in the land of the free, but despite all our political and personal freedoms, without Christ we’re more a prisoner than those who are in prison.

Jesus wants us to be free today! Let’s therefore give Him our lives, and let this July 4th be a day of real and true freedom.









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