Christian Liberty

Galatians 5:13-16

If you would please, take your Bible and turn to Galatians chapter 5:13-16.

>In the Bible, Satan is called a liar.

He is called a thief...he is called a slanderer...

Heís called an accuser and heís called a murderer.

But no where does the Bible ever speak of Satan as a creator...

Because heís not a creator.

He can lie and cheat and slander and accuse...

And cheat and steal and kill...

But he cannot create anything.

>Let me tell you what he does do.

Though he cannot create anything...

He will take the things God has created and will twist them for his own purposes.

We can all name areas where heís done that.

For example, heís done that in the area of sex.

Sex is a gift from God.

It was created by God and placed in marriage for a man and his wife.

One reason for sex in marriage is for the procreation of the human race so that children will be born.

You would not be here had God not created sex.

Also God gave it to a husband and his wife for the purpose of sharing love and intimacy and companionship.

So God created sex.

Thereís not anything dirty or immoral or wicked about the sex that God created.

>But what has Satan done?

He has taken that gift of God, that creation of God...

And has twisted it for his own purposes.

Therefore, we have pornography which is one of the biggest problems in our world today.

We have teenage girls walking the streets selling their bodies.

We have a barrage of filth coming over television now more and more...

Not even just on "pay per view" channels, but on regular channels.

The perversion of sex in which man is made to live like an animal...

Is the twisted perversion of a creation of God.

>Think about medicine.

Medicine is wonderful.

Thank God for medicine.

There are many people who are alive today...

Who years before would not have been alive because of medicine.

When I was a little boy I had a first cousin who lived in North Carolina.

His mom and my dad were brother and sister.

His name was Steve Bailey.

Steve was about my age and I was four years younger than him and I loved him.

I enjoyed being around him when we would go up there or they would come to our house.

And I remember when my other said, "Steve has polio".

Iíd never heard that word.

I didnít know what polio was.

Ií glad that hardly anyone ever dies of polio anymore.

Iím glad that God gave to a man named Jonas Salk the wisdom to create a serum...

That could be injected into our bodies that would give us antibodies that would fight against polio.

There was a day when smallpox was the most dreaded disease on planet earth.

But I can stand before you this morning and tell you...

There is not one known case of smallpox anywhere on the face of the earth today.

Nowhere, because of medication.

Many of you who would have been dead because of heart problems...

Are able to live normal lives because of medication.

Medicine is a gift from God.

>But what has Satan done?

He has taken that gift and twisted it and perverted it and made the word "drugs" an ugly word.

Medication that is used to heal is now being used to destroy...

Because Satan has turned a generation toward the abuse of drug addiction.

What a tragedy.

>But not only do we see Satanís perversion of Godís creation in the area of sex and medicine...

We see it even in the scripture itself.

God has given to us a perfect word, a word that is trustworthy...

A word that is sufficient to strengthen and up build our lives.

>But what has Satan done?

Heís taken the very word of God and twisted it, perverted it...

And today there are some who are teaching false ways of salvation...

And they quote Bible verses to support it.

There are some who are teaching a Satanic health and wealth prosperity gospel...

And they are using scripture verses to support it.

There are some who are teaching unbiblical, so-called experiences of the Holy Spirit...

Using the scripture to support those false views.

Satan has taken Godís creation in sex and medicine and scripture itself...

And twisted it and perverted it for his own purpose.

>But I donít know of any area where Satan has had greater success at doing that...

Than in the area of Christian Liberty.

The Bible says there in verse 13: You my brothers have been called to be free.

What is Christian liberty?

Christian liberty is simply this.

It is the freedom that we have in Jesus Christ.

Freedom.

You see Jesus makes a person free, but Satan hates freedom.

Satan hates liberty.

Satan has only one purpose and that is to keep people or to put people in bondage.

He is a slave master, and he wants people to live in slavery and in bondage.

And I tell you this morning, if youíre not a Christian, thatís exactly where you are.

If youíve never genuinely met Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of your life...

If youíve never been born again...

Youíre exactly where Satan wants you because youíre enslaved.

You say, "Wait a minute preacher...

Iím not enslaved...

Iím free and 21 and Iím free."


No, youíre not free.

Youíre enslaved.

The word of God teaches the enslaving power of the world and the flesh and the devil...

And every man and woman and boy and girl who is not in Christ is in bondage today.

You may not know it, but you are.

You may not even feel it, but you are.

Youíre in bondage.

>But not only does Satan want lost people to stay in bondage...

Satan wants saved people to come back under bondage.

Now that doesnít mean that a saved person can ever be lost.

But it does mean that a saved person can be enticed to live in such a way...

So that their witness for Christ will be null and void and theyíll have no impact on anyone else.

Folks, weíve got a world full of Christians like that.

I mean they couldnít win a tadpole to Jesus because theyíve lost their testimony.

Theyíve lost their witness.

>Now there are two primary ways that Satan tries to get Christians back into bondage.

One of those ways we saw in verses 1-12 when we looked at them a couple of weeks ago.

In verse 1-12, Paul talks about legalism.

In other words, it is for a Christian to come back into a system of regulations and rules.


It robs us of the fellowship that we have with Jesus.

It robs us of joy, and we are simply to live out our Christian life by crossing Ts and dotting Is...

And doing the dos and doníting the doníts.

We measure our spiritual life by how many things we donít do.

I donít cuss...I donít chew...

I donít drink...I donít commit adultery.

Well neither do bats and birds.


But thatís no way to measure a spiritual life.

Thatís legalism...it puts us back in bondage.

>But in the verses Iíve read for you today Paul talks about he other end of the spectrum.

Not only does Satan try to get us in bondage with legalism...

He tries to get us in bondage with liberteenism or a license for sin.

You see there are many today who think that the gospel of grace that gives us liberty...

Is a license to sin.

And that just puts the believer back in bondage again.

When you think your freedom gives you the privilege of sinning...

Then you end up in bondage again to sin.

>There are four things I want to share with you very briefly from this passage of scripture.

#1 Ė the call to freedom.

The call to liberty weíve received.

Look in verse 13: For you my brothers have been called to freedom.

The call that we have received.


Weíve been called to liberty or to freedom.

Now this is a reaffirmation of what he says back up in verse 1.

Look in 5:1: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

He says, "Stand in the freedom which Jesus has set you free in."

You are free to be free.

And then in verse 13, he says we are called to that.

>Why are you a Christian today?

Because the Holy Spirit of God called you to be saved.

The Bible makes it very clear that no one can come unless the spirit draws him.

Youíre not a Christian just because one day you woke up and decided...

"Well you know, I think today would be a good day to be saved."

No.

You came under the preaching or the teaching of the word of God.


Maybe you heard it from a pastor.

Maybe you heard it from a SS teacher.


Maybe you heard it from a mother or a daddy.


Maybe you heard it from a friend.


But somebody shared with you the gospel.

You heard about sin and you heard about judgment...

And you heard about heaven and you heard about the blood of Jesus...

And you heard about the forgiveness of God.

These truths were impressed upon your heart, and then the HS of God began to convince you they were true.

You see, there are a lot of people that hear the same things and yet they donít believe them.

They hear that God is real, but they donít believe that God is real.

They hear that thereís a heaven and a hell, but they donít believe that thereís a heaven and a hell.

They hear there is a judgment, but they donít believe there is a judgment.

They hear thereís something called being saved, but they donít believe thereís anything called being saved.

Theyíve heard those things, but you, youíre different.

If youíre a Christian this morning, you heard those things...

And then the HS of God began to drive them in your heart that those things are absolutely true.

I cannot convince you that he was raised from the dead and that he sits at the right hand of God...

And that heís able to save to the uttermost those that will come to him by faith.

I cannot convince you of that.

But Iíll tell you, when the Holy Ghost gets on your case, heíll convince you.

You see, thatís the HS of God calling you to be saved.

But this same HS that called you to Jesus Christ whereby you were saved...

This same HS has called you to be free.

We have been called to freedom.

>Now what has he called us to be free in?

What are we free to do?

Well Iíll tell you.

Weíre free from condemnation.

Isnít that good?

Romans 8:1 (put it in your margin) says: there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.

Weíre free from condemnation.

Weíre free from the penalty of sin.

I donít go to bed at night wondering if Iím going to wake up in hell.

I donít wake up in the morning wondering if Iím going to be killed during the day and go to hell.

As a born again Christian Iím free from that dread of hell.

Thatís enough to be saved for.

>But Iím free from something else.

Iím free from the bondage of sin.

Iím no longer enslaved.

Iím no longer shackled by the power of sin.

Thank God for that.

Iím no longer driven and forced and manipulated and shoved...

Into doing things that I do not want to do because of the power and bondage of sin.

Jesus set me free from that.

Iím no longer a slave.

>He freed me from the fear of death.

Now death is very real.

Iím going to die if Jesus doesnít come back soon.

Iím going to die one day.

And I donít know how Iím going to die.

I may be run over by a Volkswagen.

I may be run over by a tank.

I donít know how Iím going to die.

I may die of old age.

I may die of heart failure.

I may die of cancer.

I donít know how Iím going to die.


I donít know where Iím going to die.

I may be in the pulpit...I may be at the house.

I may be in the truck...I may be at the hospital visiting one of you.


I donít know where Iím going to die.

I donít know when Iím going to die.

I donít know if itís going to be tomorrow or 10 years from tomorrow...

Or 100 years...well I wonít make it that long.

But I donít know when Iím going to die.

I donít know how...where...when Iím going to die.

But I know Iím going to die.


But I tell you, Iím not afraid of it anymore.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints...

And I donít have to be afraid of anything that is precious to God.

Boy I tell you, when you get saved, you take away some of the biggest clubs the devil can use against you...

And the fear of death is one of them.

As a born again child of God we do not have to be afraid of death.

Now that doesnít mean I wake up every morning looking forward to it.

It doesnít mean I wake up every day praying for it to happen that day.

But it does mean that I donít have to live in the fear and dread and wonder about it.

I donít have to eat my fingernails and chew my knuckles.

I donít have to do that because Iíve been called to freedom.

Iím free from the curse of sin.

Iím free from the bondage of sin.

Iím free from the fear of death.

>But Iím not only free from some things, Iím free to do some things.

Iím free to love Jesus...just to love Jesus.

And it doesnít matter where I am.

If I just want to say, "Well praise God!" I can do it.


I can be standing in line at the bank or standing in line at Burger King...

Or in the middle of a crowd of people at a football game and if I want to say,

"Well glory to God! Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus!"

Itís nobodyís business.

Iím free to do it...Iím free to love Jesus.


>Iím free to love people.


Isnít it wonderful to be free to love people?

To be able to go up to somebody and tell them, "You know, I love you"...

Without wondering about, "Well are they gonna think youíre some kind of a strange character or nut."

Just to be able to say, "In Jesus, I love you."

To tell a lady...to tell a man...to tell a little boy...to tell a little girl...

"Honey, I love you."

It doesnít mean Iím a pedophile.

It doesnít mean Iím out to molest them.

It just means that in Jesus Iím free to love people.

Weíll talk more about that in just a minute.

In Jesus Iím free to walk in the freedom and liberty of the spirit.


You see thatís what Christian freedom is.


Weíre freed from some things, but weíre freed for some things as well.

And Satan hates it.

>But notice a second thing.


And these other three are going to be very rapid.


Not only do we see the call that we have received...

Notice the contamination we must avoid.

Look in verse 13: You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the sinful nature.

He says, "Do not use your freedom to indulge in sin."

He says, "There is a contamination to be avoided."

>In the KJV that word "occasion" is an interesting word.

It is only used in the NT by the apostle Paul.


No other NT writer uses it.

And hereís what it literally means.

It literally means "a military base where strategic battle plans are laid out and decisions are made."

Now thatís what the word "occasion" means.

A military base where strategic battle plans are made or strategies are determined for the conduct of warfare.

Paul says, "Do not let your freedom become a base of determining a strategy for sin."

>You see, if you have the idea, "Well now man, Iím free. Iím in Jesus...


Iím free...I donít live by rules and regulations.


I live by the power of the HS. Iím free in Jesus."

And then you use that freedom to say, "Well now, you know, if Iím free it really doesnít matter who I sleep with.

If Iím free it really doesnít matter what I drink.

If Iím free it really doesnít matter where I go.

If Iím free it really doesnít matter what I do."


And if we use our freedom as a base to plan and execute strategies for sin...

Then we have contaminated Godís purpose in Christian liberty and freedom.

So Paul says, "Donít use your freedom as an occasion to plan to sin."

>That phrase of verse 13, "to indulge the sinful nature."

It doesnít refer to this leather substance that keeps our bones from all over the floor.

The word "flesh" means the whole sinful nature of mankind.

It refers to that base self, that old man, that sinful man...

That old nature that you had when you were saved, and still do have.

When you got saved, that old man was not eliminated.

He was not put out to pasture.

You still have to deal with him, but weíre no longer enslaved to him.


And we donít have to use freedom to satisfy him.

>Notice a third thing in this passage of scripture.

Not only the call weíve received and the contamination we must avoid...

But notice thirdly the conduct that we ought to manifest.

Look in verse 13, the last phrase: rather, serve one another in love.

(Verse 14) The entire law is summed up in one single command: love your neighbor as yourself.

(Verse 15) If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

>What is the conduct that weíre to follow as free born again Christians?

It is one of love.

Not lust, but love.

What is love and what is lust?

Love is based on giving...lust is based on getting.

Teenage girl, when that teenage boy says to you, or teenage boy when that teenage girl says to you...

"I you love me you will do this, this and this."

Thatís not love.

Thatís lust.

Theyíre not wanting to give you anything.


Theyíre wanting to get from you everything.

See? Love gives.

"For God so loved that he gave..."

Love gives...lust takes.

Love gives...lust wants.

Lust demands...lust does all those things.

Love never does those things.

>What is the conduct of the life of a Christian that is free in Jesusí love?

I tell you, the word love is a strange word.

Itís a much overused word.

We use the same word...we talk about...

"Well I love my wife. I love my grandchildren...

I love my sons...I love my car...

I love my house...I love my job...

I love to go fishing with worms...

I love to eat rutabagas and turnip greens."

See?

Weíve used the same word to describe our affection for worms and turnip greens...

That we use to describe our wife and grandchildren.

Love is a very overused word.


Itís a misunderstood word.

Today love has this concept of ooey gooey mushy...

Sort of like when you step down into a bucket of worms barefooted.

You just feel that sort of oozing through your toes.

Thatís what love is to a lot of people.

Itís some ooey gooey something.

Itís like a trap...we fall into it.

"I fell in love...well, preacher, we just fell out of love with each other."

Love is not some ooey gooey, sticky icky emotion.

Love is an act of the will.

You love whom you will to love.

And you donít love whom you will not to love.

Some people we will to love them because theyíre a lot like us.

They like the same things we like.

They enjoy doing the same things we do.

They root for the same football team we root for.

Therefore, we choose to love them.

But there are some people that are different from us, and oftentimes we choose not to love them.

Some folks donít love a man because he is a black man.

And there are some that wonít love me because Iím a white man.

There are some that donít love me because Iím a fat man.

There are some that donít love me because Iím a loud man.

Not many people love me...but you see, we love whom we will to love.

Itís not some ooey gooey, icky sticky thing.

"In love serve one another. Love thy neighbor as thyself."

Love him.

Why?


Because thatís why Jesus set you free.


In bondage I cannot love that person.


In my prejudices, in my likes and dislikes I may not can love that person.

But in Jesus Christ Iíve been made free to love that person.

Thatís the conduct.

>One last thing.

The call we have received, the contamination we must avoid...

The conduct we must manifest, but finally the course we must follow.

In verse 16 he says: live by the spirit.

In the NT, this indicates the course of somebodyís life, the direction that youíre traveling.

Live in the spirit...donít live in the flesh.

Why?

Because that puts you back in bondage.

As a Christian, you start hating people.

Youíre back in bondage.

As a Christian you start sinning.


Youíre back in bondage.

As a Christian you start lying.

Youíre back in bondage.

He says, "Donít live that way. Donít follow that course."

He says, "Follow the HS of God. Live in the spirit."

Live in freedom, the life giving freedom of the Holy Spirit of God.


Live that way.

Live under the control of the Holy Spirit.

>Youíd be surprised how many folks ask me things like this.


"Bro. Joe, is it okay to do this?

Bro. Joe, is it okay to go here?

Is it okay to have this?

Is it okay to wear this?

Is it okay to buy this?

Is it okay to talk like this?

Is it okay to watch this movie?

Is it okay to....?"

I donít know why they call me and ask me that stuff.


But they do.

Iíll tell you this.

You walk in the spirit and you wonít have to bug me, amen?

You do what God tells you to do and you donít have to bother Bro. Joe with it.


Iíll never contradict him.


But Iíll tell you this, if he doesnít tell you to do it youíd better not do it.


If he doesnít tell you itís okay to go, you better not go.


If he doesnít tell you itís okay to have it, you better not have it.

Because anything you do, anyplace you go, anything you have thatís out of the will of the HS of God...

You know whatís gonna happen?

Youíre gonna be in bondage all over again...


And thatís exactly what Satan wants you to do.

>The call we have received is to freedom.

The contamination we must avoid is "Donít let freedom be a license for sin."

The conduct we should manifest is love.


And the course we are to follow "live in the spirit."

May God help us do that.


Letís pray.