Freedom Aint Free!
(Gal 5:1) Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
As I enter into this message today on freedom I have to first recognize perhaps the most famous speech on freedom in history. In 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and gave his famous “I Have A Dream Speech!” Many if not all of our for fathers have been unjustly oppressed. Myself, come from a heritage of both Native American and Irish ancestry. I know some of you here are of African American. Some here are of Polish ancestry and Scottish ancestry. Some may be of Jewish ancestry. I dare say no matter what your ancestry, your forefather’s were at one time oppressed if not enslaved.
I am here to tell you today that we can celebrate for He who the son has set free is free indeed. Today and as we go into this 4th of July celebration we can celebrate our freedom from oppression both physical and spiritual. You can be set free today from fear, and depression. You can be set free today from generational curses that have been hunting and haunting you for years and years. You can be set free today from your own personal condemnation. Today is a day of celebration. Today is a day of freedom.
Yet I have chosen the passage from Galatians for a purpose today. And that purpose is one that is as relevant today as it was two thousand years ago when it was first written. You might remember the saying from Jim Jones that we need to learn from history or we are bound to repeat it. We need to not only gain our freedom but we need to appreciate it and remember how much it cost, and continue to fight for it. For as soon as we become complacent and turn our back on the enemy he will once again put the chains of oppression upon us again.
So get ready today to be set free and get equipped to remain free.
I believe the first thing we need before we can be set free from anything is to realize that we are in bondage. What am I talking about? Does not a slave know that she is a slave? Well, yes but they might not mind it all that much, or they might not think there is any alternative. Too often in our spiritual bondage it is the former that keeps us slaves to our sin. Many people are content to remain addicted to prescription drugs or alcohol, especially the functional alcoholics. Too often men are content to remain in bondage to pornography, thinking “after all, who is it hurting?” Too many people will continue in their depression and negative thinking because it has become a way of life for them. We have become accustom to calling our slavery to sin as a “life style.”
Before you can be set free you must know that you are in bandage. You have to see the ugliness of sin before you will even try to escape it’s grasp. Then far too often we realize the depth of our predicaments and because of the apparent impossibility of the situation we accept it and “learn to live with it and even become accustomed to it.
I am telling you that you can be set free and there is a better life waiting for you once you break the yoke of oppression. And what is it that breaks the yoke? It is the anointing!
(Isaiah 10:27) And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.
OK, so what exactly does that mean? First, I am sure you know what a yoke is right? No, not the yellow part of an egg. I remember being brought up on a farm seeing these big leather collars that would go around the horses neck and rest on their shoulders. We had two work horses. By the time I was born they were both too old to work anymore, plus we used tractors to do the work that the horses use to do. But the yoke was the instrument used to attach the weight of the load onto the beast of burden. So as you forced the horse or ox or slave to pull they would be burdened down by all this weight around their shoulder upon this yoke. Remember where Jesus said “come unto me all thee who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Let’s look at that passage real quick:
(Matthew 11:28-30) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Why would we want to put on His yoke? I thought we were trying to break the yoke of bondage? It goes back to what I talked about last week Last week I mentioned in my Sunday Morning sermon a song by Bob Dylan. It says “You have to serve somebody. It might be the devil, or it might be the LORD but you have to serve somebody.”
The fact is “NATURE ABHORS A VACUUM!”
So the only way you are going to be set free from one burden is to put on another. The only way you can over come a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. I often wondered why God made me to be so compulsory to addictions. I mean if you can become addicted to it I was into it. And I am not alone! And neither are you. “There are thousands of others like you!” God gave us this bent towards addictions so that we would become addicted to Him. There is a song about being addicted to Jesus. If you want to be set free then get addicted to Jesus.
Yes, I know a lot of you do not want to be known as a “Jesus Freak.” You might hate right now, having a mundane and boring, luke warm life. And you wonder why you don’t experience this “abundant life” that Pastor Bob is always talking about. But at least people aren’t looking at you strange. Or are they anyway? Get on fire for God. Get excited about the things of God. Get out of the mold and break free from the mundane and be the man or woman that you were created to be. You were created to be a praise to God’s glory. You were made to shine. You were built to light up the world. So what is holding you back?
Your own insecurities?
OK. I have rambled enough. Let me get back to the “I HAVE A DREAM “ speech. What made it the most famous freedom speech in history? It spoke the truth. And it was balanced with a clear vision of the future. It talked about the reality of the oppression of the day and it gave a vision of the reality of the future. Let me give you a couple of examples:
“Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.”
That was indeed the situation in America in 1963. Now, I realize that this speech may incite some intense emotions in a lot of you but it is only by arousing those emotions that you will be able to see where you are today. We all need to see where we have come from, where we are right now and where we desire to be in the future.
In some sense we can compare that time to the Israelites in the wilderness. They were promised freedom from the Egyptians but only found themselves wondering around in the wilderness. They were still not free. They were not free from their own personal slavery. Too often we put ourselves in chains Too often we keep ourselves down. We need to realize that there is a better way. We need to have a dream!
As Dr. King went on He first told us that now was the time for our freedom. Don’t just let this be an emotional game. Make it a reality.
“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.”
And before he gives us the vision he balances it with reality. Because we can not run amuck. We can not be carried away with emotion. In our quest for spiritual freedom we must realize that there is narrow path and wide it the path to destruction. Listen to the warning that Dr. King gave that day in Washington D.C.:
“But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.”
We need to do all things in order. We need to do all things for the glory of God. Paul reminds us that all things might be legal for us but all things are not expedient.:
(1Co 10:23 KJV) All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
(1Co 10:23 BBE) We are free to do all things, but there are things which it is not wise to do. We are free to do all things, but not all things are for the common good.
(1Co 10:23 CEV) Some of you say, "We can do whatever we want to!" But I tell you that not everything may be good or helpful.
Now what happens for too often in our lives of the status quo we stop there, balanced without a vision. Excited only to be quenched. God does not want to put out your fire, he wants to direct it.
Let’s go ahead and read the great vision of the I Have A dream speech and glean from it the vision that God has for our spiritual lives.
“Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."”
God has a dream for you also. A vision of you being joint heirs with Christ. A vision of you sharing in shining forth His glory. A vision of you being filled with the fullness of God. A vision of you
Being in Christ as Christ is in the Father and the Father is in Christ. A vision of you being set free from your own insecurity by His never-ending- unconditional eternal love. Perfect love cast out fear.
It is time to rise up. It is time to go forward. It is time to walk in strength and victory and never turn back. It is time to be free and in that become more than conquerors. It is time that you got real with God and turned every area of your life over to him. All your fears, all your insecurities, all your hopes and dream. It is time to wake up out of the dream and be free.