Independence Day

Do you know the significance of these dates?

  • Jan. 1 (Haiti – from Great Britain)
  • Feb. 12 (Chile – from Spain)
  • March 25 (Greece – from the Ottoman Empire)
  • April 18 (Zimbabwe – from Great Britain)
  • May 20 (Cuba- from the United States)
  • June 1 (Samoa – from New Zealand)
  • July 1 (Rwanda –from Belgium)
  • August 24 (Ukraine from the Soviet Union)
  • Sept. 16 (Mexico – from Spain)
  • Oct. 10 (Fiji – from Great Britain)
  • Nov. 9 (Cambodia – from France)
  • Dec. 6 (Finland- from Russia)
  • Dec  12 (Kenya – from Britain)

How about this one – July 4th – We all recognize that today July 4th is a national holiday known as Independence Day in the United States.  These other dates are also a partial list of the many Independence Days that are celebrated around the globe.

  • We may not have recognized these other “independence days” because they we not citizens of these other countries and these days do not carry any special significance to us, as Americans.  But July 4th is a day of celebration in America (fireworks, picnics, parades). We spend the day contemplating the value of our freedom and the historical events that brought it about. Free people recognize the value of freedom from oppression.  Free people celebrate their victory over tyranny. Free people remain free by not forgetting their cost of their independence.
  • So we too, as God’s spiritually free people, must never forget how we gained our independence from spiritual oppression and tyranny.  It is God who has made us free.

I.  The Road to True Freedom: Over 2000 years ago,  Jesus stood in His hometown synagogue and asked for the scroll containing the words of Isaiah, the prophet, who had lived seven centuries before. Jesus read:  The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (Isa 61:1) AS God’s Annointed One, Jesus came to earth to set people free.  The bible is a story of liberation. But how would God provide true freedom?

A.  Revelation, not Revolution: – Often the road to national freedom involves political revolution – where the oppressed take arms and rise up in rebellion against the established authority. As much as we cherish our freedom as Americans, God has never called upon us to pursue revolution or insubordination to secure it.  Even in the most oppressive society Christians are called upon to submit to those in power. How is it then, that God’s people can be free?  The freedom that God provides is not political freedom granted through civil law, but spiritual freedom granted through justification and sanctification of the spirit.  It does not come through revolution, but revelation.  God liberates us through His word.

1.    John 8:31-3731 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 33 They answered Him,”We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. Abraham’s Seed and Satan’s 37 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. Jesus’ enemies were unwilling to admit their enslavement, declaring that as Abraham’s children they had never been in bondage to anyone. That statement, of course, was historically incorrect. One of the most pronounced episodes of Israelite history was their 400 years of enslavement in Egypt.  The Lord willing we will look back at that episode of liberation tonight. Even as Jesus spoke the Jews were under Roman rule.   But how does the truth make us free today?  The revelation of scripture is comprised of several books written by 40 different men over a period of 1500 years. But by the Spirit of God, it is a single message.  It provides the necessary truth to lead us out of the bondage of sin and into true spiritual freedom.

B.  The Revelation of God’s Love: After Joseph was carried away as a slave to Egypt, do you think he ever wondered why his father did not come to rescue him? Did he ever begin to question if his father really loved him?  Of course, we know that Jacob did not know that Joseph was being held captive. So, even though he loved him, he never came to his rescue. But God both loves us and knows our predicament.  1 John 4:9-10 – In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. This love is unconditional. God loves us even when we sin and turn away from Him.  Rom 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1.   The truth that God loves me is liberating. Because of what Jesus has done for me, and taught me, I am free to love others unconditionally. I do not have to be afraid to serve and forgive others. I do not have to be in bondage to my emotions (expressing love only to those for whom I have a warm feeling). I am free to even love my enemies.

C.  The Revelation of Satan’s Tyranny: Can a person be enslaved and not know it? That would seem unlikely in the physical sense. But many today are in bondage to sin, captured by Satan, and are not aware of it.

1.  The revelation of God’s word is liberating because it tells me I am a slave.  In John 8:34 “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.” God wants me to know the full tragedy of my choice to disobey. Sin is not just a single isolated event. My decision to serve the flesh becomes a commitment.

  • Rom 6:12-18 – 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. From Slaves of Sin to Slaves of God 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. Satan has easily convinced us that doing what we want is real freedom. The truth is that it is bondage. We are captured by our own lusts, and imprisoned in a confining world of serving ourselves.  In the end, it leads to death – separation from God.
  • James 1:14-16 – But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
  • Law is the instrument through which God has made known my position as a slave of sin. The law is designed to condemn those who are guilty.  Consider Paul’s words in Rom 3:19-20Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

D.  The Revelation of Christ’s Ransom: Law alone could never set me free. I am in need of redemption through the work of Christ. Rom 3:21-26 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. This is what makes the gospel good news.  Paul says God set forth Jesus’ blood as propitiation. That word is hilasterion (hil-as-tay’-ree-on) in the Greek. It means an atoning victim, or one that satisfies or appeases.  The glorious thought revealed is that the blood of Jesus satisfies the debt my sin incurs.  Another N.T. word that describes Christ’s work to set me free is “ransom”.  1 Tim 2:5-6 – For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,  – A ransom is a redemption price, a sum paid to set one free.  (an atonement)  The blood of Jesus justifies the sinner – it makes him innocent in the eyes of God.

1.  A couple of conclusions are essential here:

  • The blood of Jesus is the only way to be innocent before God. We cannot erase the guilt of our sin. We care not blameless.  Rom 3:10-12 – There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”
  • The blood of Jesus is sufficient to cover every sin. It is sufficient.  Heb 10:14For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
  • The blood of Christ will not cover every sin. By this we mean that even though Jesus died for every person not everyone will be saved.  The freedom that Jesus provides is conditional upon faith and obedience.  Hebrews 5:8-9  – 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him – The Bible clearly teaches that a person can reject Christ and remain in bondage to sin.  In the dialogue of John 8, Jesus condemned the Pharisees as the children of the devil, who refused to listen to the words that could make them free.  It is also possible for those who once been set free to return to the slavery of sin.  Heb 3:8 – Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; Heb 10:26-29 26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,  27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.  28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? Galatians 5:15 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

E.  The Revelation of My Responsibility: The truth sets me free by making known to me my personal responsibility to obey God.  One of the primary tenets of God’s scripture is that every person is accountable to God.  Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent. Cain rejected his responsibility to be his brother’s keeper – but God rejects every indication of our irresponsibility and demands obedience.

1.  In fact, throughout the scriptures, God’s blessings are contingent of man’s obedience.  Deut 11:26-28 Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known. God is consistent here.   2 Cor 5:9-10 – 9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

2.  What does this mean to us? How the sinner is made free? Return to our text in Romans 6, where Paul is discussing the enslaving power of sin vs. the freedom provided by Christ. (read from the end of chapter 5 right into chapter 6)    Rom 5:19-6:7 – 9 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,  6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.  7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.

a.   Paul declares that these Christians should not continue to practice sin because they have been made free from sin.  Those who have died have been made free from sin. (old man was crucified with Him).

  • Both Jesus and the sinner has to die – The sinner is said to die with Him.
  • How does the sinner die with Jesus? –  vs. 3 – do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

b.   As the sinner dies with Jesus, so he is also buried with Him. –vs. 4-  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death. This indicates how the sinner contacts the blood of Jesus. He is buried by baptism into the death of Christ. This is not mystical. It is the result of saving faith.

c.  As the sinner is buried with Christ, so he is also resurrected to a new life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,  6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.  7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.

Conclusion: Every first day of the week the Christian celebrates Independence Day. It is a remembrance of all that Jesus did to set me free from my sins. It is a remembrance of His body that was given for me, and His blood that paid for my release.

  • Would you be free from your burden of sin?  There is power in the blood, power in the blood.
  • Have you been baptized into the death of Christ?
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