Free In Christ

New Series- 

Free in Christ

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Welcome! 

To be free from something means to be released from its hold or authority, or to be liberated. 

As believers, we are free in Christ. We’re going to spend some weeks talking about what this means for us and how we live free in Christ. Let’s pray. 

Israel was liberated from slavery in Egypt and the oppression of that government as God made a way for them to escape through Moses’ courage and leadership. 

Physically they were free from that rule, but it would take many years, an entire generation, in fact, to live free in their hearts as a people of God. Some of you might not enjoy the reading of Leviticus or Deuteronomy and feel it’s just a bunch of rules that don’t apply, but if you look at it as such, you’re missing the heart of those books. Those recordings are laws graciously set in place by God to help Israel learn how to live free from generations of oppression and a slavery mindset; they were laws to teach them how to live set apart as God’s holy people, how to care for one another, how to treat others with godly love and how to live a lifestyle of worship to God. Those laws were put in place to protect and care for the people of God and to help them learn to break free from the bondage that was deeply ingrained into their thoughts. 

Have you known someone who has lived in an oppressive environment, maybe you have at one point, and they or you were finally free from that situation, but the mindset and tendencies in how you think and behave linger for years later still kept in bondage in some ways? 

From the outside looking in, one might think, why do they keep doing the things they do? Why do they respond that way when they don’t have to any longer? They are free from that stronghold-to live a whole new life! Why do they continue to live as if they are shackled and bound in chains? 

Well, as Believers, we too are set free! We are free from our sin, free from our past, free from our mistakes, free from our regrets, free from the bondage of fear and worry, and free to truly live every single day of our lives in joy and peace. Free to step into the calling that God puts on our life-no matter how crazy it sounds to you or anyone else. 

Are you living free in Christ? Or are you still carrying around chains? Do you still put on the shackles of fear, worry, shame, and regret? 

Through my studies, I have become passionate about understanding this truth of being free in Christ. What we need to know is this is a truth, not an idea, and not a concept. Truth. 

What I have found in my years of following Christ is there are far too many Christians who do not know or believe this truth. Far too many Christians have indeed been set free but do not live it. Instead, they go through life still shackled, still in bondage and they miss the freedom Christ desires for all to have. 

I want to encourage you to come to worship with an open heart. Come ready to learn. Come ready to set aside what you once knew or thought you knew and hear what God desires for you to know. My hope is we all first receive this truth that we are indeed free in Christ, and from there we begin to step more fully into this freedom, so we might experience the fullness of God more and more in our lives. If you are there in the glory of His freedom at work in your life, you know how wonderful it is. I’m asking you to encourage others around you to embrace this gift as well- lovingly, gently, and with compassion. 

It’s time to break the chains that bind you. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed! It all begins in our hearts. 

Romans 8: 1-12 NLT                                                                                                    

  So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. 12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.

  • Free From Our Past   

Romans 8:1      So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus                             

This is truth for all believers. It’s not because of anything we did or because we on our own are so righteous. We’re not and we know we’re not. It is everything to do with what Christ did for us on the cross, overcoming death and rising up from the grave in glory. As we believe in who Jesus is and what He did, we are invited to live under His covenant of grace. 

The wages of sin is death-so each of us apart from Christ had a death sentence. I’m not talking a physical death. I’m talking a spiritual and eternal death. But praise God, through Christ, our debt has been paid. He did what we could not do and we are not condemned! There is much to praise in this truth! 

Yet so many of us wrestle with feelings of condemnation for what we have done. The more we come to know God and His holiness, the more wretched we appear as we look in the mirror. Right? But here is the thing. God doesn’t look upon our wretchedness. He looks at us and He sees His Son’s blood that is spotless covering us, purifying us, and imparting His righteousness to us. He sees Jesus and it’s beautiful to our God. 

So no matter what you have done, no matter what kind of lifestyle you have lived, no matter what wicked thoughts you have entertained, as you receive Jesus as your Savior and ask forgiveness of your sins, it is all forgiven and left in the past. 

When we believe in Jesus, we believe our old self (the sinful nature apart from Jesus) died on that cross with Him. He took the sins of the world to the grave with Him. There is power in placing ourselves there.                          

Romans 6:6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.     

This is the truth that we must determine to believe.  Do you see yourself free in Christ? Do you see yourself forgiven and made new? 

Are you drudging up the past? Are you bringing things to mind as a sort of punishment for your wrongdoing? 

Remember we have been talking about learning to discern the voices speaking to our hearts and in our thoughts. The Holy Spirit will always, always, speak the truth in love and in encouragement to build us up. 

The enemy will remind you of all you have done wrong and beat you down, saying who do you think you are, you’re not worthy of God’s love or grace, you aren’t fooling anybody with your so-called Christian ways, you will always be the same-just look at your past. Condemnation piles up all around you. We put the shackles back on as we listen and let shame and guilt wash over us. 

But here is Truth for ALL who genuinely repent of their sins and ask Jesus to forgive and be their Savior. We are under a covenant of grace and God says,          

Hebrews 8:12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. 

God is always looking forward-where He’s taking you. He sees how He’s building you to become the fullness of who He created you to be. 

The Holy Spirit will convict us as we have discussed, with current sin issues and redirect our path. He will say I see you’re struggling, and now let’s move forward. Here is the path and I’m right here every step of the way. 

I know some of you need to not only hear this today but receive this truth: 

God has forgiven you; it’s time for you to forgive yourself. 

You are doing yourself no good to stay bound to guilt, shame, and even hatred for things you have done or said. That is playing into the enemy’s schemes to make sure Christians never fully understand the freedom they have in Christ. When you withhold forgiveness that God has already extended you, you are helping the enemy’s cause. You are hurting the kingdom of God because you are choosing to live in your past and are not stepping into the freedom Christ died to give you. 

Ponder that Jesus gave His very life for you. His life. Not so you can live bound to the guilt of your past, so you could live free from your past-fully forgiven, redeemed, and made new. 

Listen not one of you is worse than Saul who became Paul. If Paul could let go of all he did, leaving it in the past so he could humbly embrace all God was calling him to be, then so can you my friend. It simply gives you more to praise God for-His incredible mercy and grace in your life. 

Be free from your past so you can walk freely with Christ.                                                                                                           

  • Free From Shackles that Bind                                                                           

Romans 6:14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.

Before we believed in Jesus, sin was absolutely our master. You might not like to admit that, but simply look back on your life and see where your thoughts went, see how you behaved, see what consumed you- the desires of your flesh. The flesh is hostile to God.  In Christ, sin has no more dominion or power over us. It might surprise some of you what sin also includes; acting in fear or not acting because of fear; stewing in worry, not believing. 

We are truly free in Christ, yet we end up putting our own shackles back on. We give sin control over us. 

We choose to shackle ourselves to fear-I’m not talking about a healthy fight or flight fear when there is a bear in front of us-that’s a good fear to have….I’m talking about a fear of all the what if’s that could happen in life that keeps us from living as God calls us to. 

How many of those what if’s actually transpired in your life? How much wasted time, energy and emotion have you spent on these what if’s instead of doing what God asked you to do by faith

We shackle ourselves to worry and believe it makes us more loving and caring because we worry so much about others. I know this idea of worrying gets handed down from generation to generation and I don’t mean to dishonor any loved ones-but worry is not of God and it is not something to aspire to become-a master worrier. That’s not a thing and it’s not part of God’s kingdom. It makes the worrier feel awful and exhausted; it doesn’t change any situation ever to worry excessively about it and most importantly, it diminishes our faith in God. You know what changes outcomes and people-including you- prayer. Prayer changes and strengthens our faith. 

We shackle ourselves to anger, bitterness, resentment, envy, and doubt. 

We can all do it. We must have awareness though and develop maturity in our understanding of when and why we are doing this. We have to take notice and say wait a minute, I’m a child of God. I am free in Christ. Why am I putting the shackles of fear back on in this situation? Why am I shackling myself to worry? Why am I thinking so negatively? Why am I letting anger consume me? What should I be doing instead? 

This is where we start. The Holy Spirit convicts our hearts and reminds us of the truth-“you have been set, free Child! Why are you still living in bondage?”                             

 2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

So what do we see so far in these Scriptures? In Christ, there is no condemnation. Christ paid the penalty. Christ satisfied the just requirement of the Law because we cannot. We have the same Spirit of God living in us who raised Christ from the dead. Our old self died with Christ. Sin is no longer our master and we live under a covenant of grace. And where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom! 

 

This is the key to many Christians do not understand or fully embrace. Oh that you will receive this to the fullness Christ desires for you. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom! 

 

Jesus will break every chain, every stronghold in your life and remake you into His glorious image! But you must tune to the Spirit within you as your guide, your power, and your truth. This is where there is freedom! 

 

You will remain shackled in your thoughts and your habits until you fully surrender to the Spirit to guide your heart and mind. Freedom in Christ is a peace that is not of this world. It is the courage to step into all that God has for you. It is a strength to walk away from past temptations. It is living life abundantly, experiencing the fullness of joy God desires to bless you with. 

                                              

  • Free to Live Anew                                                                                      

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.                         

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Let us receive His free gift because it comes from love. Imagine saying to your spouse or a child who went to incredible lengths to make you a special gift tailor-made for you, putting all their heart into it and you said that’s really nice but I don’t want it. You keep it. 

Heart crushed… I would hope none of us would do that. Yet this is exactly what we do to Jesus when we choose to live in bondage and leave dormant the priceless gift of the Holy Spirit as the power of freedom at work in us. 

 

Conclusion:  In Christ, we have been set free from our past; our sins are remembered no more. We have been given new life and we are under no obligation to do what our sinful nature desires. Let every shackle fall and may we step fully into all we are with Christ in us. 

 

Pray.     

Communion: All can join in- 

Let us not take this lightly as we share in communion and remember what our Lord and Savior did for us. Let us come humbly before Him, recognizing we are lost without Him, but absolutely found and set free in Him! Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom indeed! 

 

Let us repent today if we have been trying to live independently of Christ and invite Him to be our guide through His Spirit in every facet of our lives. Let us repent if we have let sin continue to have power over us and let us receive the truth that sin is no longer our master-thanks be to Jesus! Let us repent if we have withheld forgiveness for our past and continue to punish ourselves when God has already forgiven us. Let us see that sin buried in the grave today-to be remembered no more. Let us embrace the new creation we are in Christ and give thanks that through His Spirit He is transforming us from glory to glory and we can boldly step into all He has for us, because if God is for us, who can be against us? Let us give thanks for all the ways He has already transformed us. 

 

We read in the Gospels: 

 

The bread

Matthew 26:26 26 As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.”

 

The wine

Luke 22:20 After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. 

 

Lord Jesus by faith, we partake in this sacrament and believe that by Your body given as our sacrifice and Your  blood shed to atone for our sins, we have been forgiven, redeemed and set free to live as the new creation we are with Your Spirit as our guide. Help us to live in the freedom You paid such a high price for us to have.

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