Read Microsoft Word - jn8 31s _3_.doc text version

1

REAL LIFE FREEDOM JOHN 8:31-36 (Reformation Weekend) Children's Sermon: Choices ­ when we have them we feel good because we are experiencing freedom. When we choose wrongly, however, the consequences can undo any good what we felt. Choices are God's gift of freedom ­ consequences grow us and lead us back to Jesus through forgiveness. Intro.: We arrived home from an out-of-town visit on time. Because checked in luggage is scrutinized so carefully, there are so many checked in bags that it takes much longer than it used to at the baggage claim. But we arrived home at about 7:45 pm ­ and that's when it happened. We were locked out. The garage doors, which we have always used to enter our home, just wouldn't work. Neither Chris nor I had keys with us and our niece, who is living with us, wasn't home and couldn't be reached. So, we called a locksmith. Four and one half hours later, we stepped through our front door. We had paced, sat, fought off bugs and watched as the daylight gave way to night... all because we were locked out of our own home. I. Beloved people of God, Jesus has said, "If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." So, What is Freedom? A. The first aspect of freedom that is important is that we understand what we are Free From. 1. The very concept of freedom implies being set loose from something. 2. Jesus tells us that we are Free from Sin. 3. But what is sin, really? 4. There are three biblical aspects of sin that we can identify. 5. First, sin is Bondage to Self-Centeredness. a. It's an amazing thing to experience being locked out of your own home. b. On the one hand we discovered that our "high security" lock really was one!

2

c. On the other hand, no matter how philosophical I tried to be, I couldn't get past myself ­ my anger at being so inconvenienced. d. That's the problem with sin ­ it locks us into ourselves. e. Worse than that, when we sin we usually set up consequences that lock us away from others ­ especially those we love. f. Jesus has come to set us free from this bondage to self-centeredness. 6. Secondly, sin is Addiction to Immediacy. a. The power of temptation is that it holds the future hostage to our immediate desire. b. How many marriages have been lost because of an immediate desire? c. How many professional futures have been sacrificed on the altar of immediate success or gratification? d. How many families have been destroyed by the immediate pleasure of drugs or alcohol? e. Jesus has come to set us free from our addiction to the immediate. 7. Lastly, sin is the Tyranny of the Senses. a. Pacing on the driveway before our locked home, I remember taking a deep breath and seeing my wife. b. My own feelings of frustration and helplessness were reflected in her ­ and I had the chance to reach out and care. c. In a moment of grace, the tyranny of my own feelings was gone... it was one of the few moments of real freedom for me while I waited to enter my house. d. How many of us can look back on a wonderful moment of grace when the slavery to our own senses was suspended and we were able to reach out and care? e. If you have had that experience, you'll know the truth of what Jesus says when he promises to set us free from the tyranny of the senses. B. The freedom Christ offers is also about being Free For something.

3

II.

1. The first gift of freedom from Christ is the freedom for Relationships that Work. a. The truth is that you simply can't have relationships that work unless you are willing to get beyond yourself. b. The tragedy of the breakdown of marriage and the family in our time symptomatic of an addiction to immediacy and bondage to the senses. c. Relationships that work can only be grown when we see the other as a real person ­ not just someone to meet our own needs. 2. The second gift of our faith is freedom for Character. a. Character is the consequence of personal growth. b. We grow as persons when we are able to reflect on what we have experienced or learned and apply it to our lives. c. Growth is simply not possible when we are locked into self-centeredness, immediacy and our feelings. d. When Jesus promises that he will set us free, he intends to lift us out of ourselves and free us for such reflection and growth. e. Character and personal growth are essential for discovering work that matters. f. In that moment when I truly saw Christine, I was able to choose what really mattered ­ my wife, not the time lost while that lock was being replaced. 3. Lastly, Jesus invites us into freedom for Discipleship. a. Following Jesus Christ is the greatest adventure possible! b. Every day we discover the treasure of blessings and a life with God. c. Each day we have the possibility of having our lives lined up with the eternal plans of our Heavenly Father. d. When we follow Jesus the Christ, we discover a significance that endures, a purpose that moves like a fresh wind to free us from sin and a power for life that will carry us into forever. e. To be a disciple of Jesus is to discover real freedom! True Freedom is Christ.

4

A. Abraham Maslow discovered in the hell of Auschwitz what real freedom was. He notes that there were some who rose above the deprivation and horror. These were the persons who, seeing another in greater need than they, would give their scrap of bread away. These were those who refused to succumb to the tyranny of desperation and the abuse of guards and prisoners alike ­ and went out of their way to speak words of comfort and touch the broken and dying with a moment of human kindness. Maslow discovered that, when it appears you have no choice, you can still act as if you are free. You can choose your attitude ­ and your soul can still be free. B. The fires of the Reformation swept across Europe because human hearts were dry and combustible; longing for Spiritual Freedom. 1. Freedom Of the Heart is that wondrous ability to soar free when our circumstances would chain us to the present. a. Abraham Maslow discovered that kind of freedom ­ and it changed his life. b. Martin Luther discovered that very same freedom ­ as did the other reformers ­ and the world changed. c. That is the very same freedom that our God invites each and every one of us to find in Christ. d. This is the freedom that nothing can strip away. 2. Spiritual freedom is also Of the Mind. a. Standing before the Diet at Worms where he was being required to recant of his writings, Luther is reported to have said, "Unless you can show me by Scripture or right reason, I cannot recant." b. Luther was claiming the biblical truth that in Christ I am free to think. c. I know that sounds crazy, but think with me. d. Is it any wonder that the so-called Christian West is the source and guardian of intellectual freedom? e. I know this hasn't always been present, but our faith will not tolerate intellectual stifling long ­ and history proves it. f. Jesus Christ would set us free indeed for thinking. 3. Spiritual freedom is also Of the Attitude.

5

III.

a. Today God has given each of us a remarkable gift ­ life to be lived. b. How will you live it? c. Luther, freed from the bondage to self-inflicted guilt by God's grace, chose to live life fully. d. The Reformation principle of sola fides is the invitation to live fully in the joy of our faith. C. The freedom of the Reformation is the Freedom of our Hope. 1. Hope and pessimism cannot co-exist. 2. In Christ we have inherited an eternal hope ­ you can't get any more optimistic than that! 3. Through our hopeful faith we can Face our Stuff. a. That's what confession is all about ­ and apologies and forgiveness. b. When we face our stuff and take responsibility for it we have the possibility of growing again - which is why most Lutherans practice weekly repentance in worship and daily individual repentance. a. You can't experience a new beginning if you can't let go of the past. b. There is no such thing as a fresh start if you are still prisoner to the past. c. Whatever would hold you back, Jesus Christ is here to set you free from it. d. Let us pray: Lord Jesus, we want new beginnings but there are some of us here today that really don't believe it's possible. Send your Holy Spirit in this very moment and set them free. Amen 4. The freedom of our faith is for New Learning not Old Failures. Beloved and free people of God, the Reformation Invitation is once again set before us today. Will we take it? A. Linda and Peter Biehl gave up their fashionable upper-middleclass home and moved to South Africa in order to complete the work their daughter had died for. Amy Biehl, won a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to South Africa and help in the antiapartheid movement. Caught in a riot in 1993, Amy was murdered by a black mob. After the elder Biehls arrived in South Africa they learned of the tragic consequences of human bondage through apartheid ­ and they met two of their

6

daughter's killers. These two men shared their heart-felt sorrow and remorse for what had happened to their daughter, Amy. That's when it happened. Amy's parents became friends with two of their daughter's killers. These two men asked if they could make atonement for what had happened by doing public service for a foundation the Biehls established in Amy's name. As they worked with these two men, the Biehls not only forgave them but grew close enough to them that the two men would eventually call Linda Biehl "mom". The outcome of this unlikely, but true, story of forgiveness and reconciliation is that both Peter and Linda Biehl "reported that they felt happier and more at peace after forgiving two of their daughter's killers. (Gregg Easterbrook, The Progress Paradox, pages 228-29) B. The Reformation invitation is simple: Have Confidence in Christ. 1. The incredible story of Peter and Linda Biehl stands alongside countless others just like it to remind us that Jesus Christ tells us the truth. 2. When Jesus commands us to forgive ­ he does so in order to give us a life worth our living. 3. When we are called to freedom from sin it's not just to keep us from having fun ­ it is God invitation to a life of blessing to us - and through us to others. 4. The power of the Reformation is the power of God active within and among us... and together with the Holy Spirit, we can change the world. 5. That's why God never calls us to walk the journey of faith alone - we are called to be a part of God's Church. 6. Alone we can each touch the lives of a few ­ and we are called to do just that. 7. But together as Christ's Church we can touch the lives of millions. a. When you came to worship today, did you hope to meet God here ­ he is as close to you as the air you breath? b. Did you come knowing that your presence would be a gift to someone else ­ it surely is?

7

c. Are you willing to write a note of forgiveness to someone who has wronged you and, thereby, claim the freedom of Christ? d. Would you be willing to identify just five people this week for whom you will be in daily prayer ­ and write them a note telling them that? e. It could be a prayer of encouragement or for healing ­ or a prayer of thanksgiving for how they have touched and blessed you. f. Will you do it? 8. One of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther is: You can serve God willingly... or serve God anyway. 9. By the power of the Holy Spirit we choose to serve God as best we can and we know that we will be the first to be blessed as we practice our discipleship as stewards for Christ's Church ­ just like Peter and Linda Biel. 10. If you ask them - or anyone you know who is living their faith actively in the Church... they'll tell you it's true ­ God blesses the disciple first. 11.Let's keep the Reformation spirit alive as we grow in discipleship. Amen

Information

Microsoft Word - jn8 31s _3_.doc

7 pages

Find more like this

Report File (DMCA)

Our content is added by our users. We aim to remove reported files within 1 working day. Please use this link to notify us:

Report this file as copyright or inappropriate

108361