A Note on This Week’s Message…
In the flickering glare of the fanatic flames that threaten to consume the heart of our nation, Jeremy Stopford has submitted a sermon that he preached many years ago. In it, he quotes a post-Civil War prayer made by Robert E. Lee:
“May God rescue us from the folly of our own acts, save us from selfishness, and teach us to love our neighbors as ourselves.”
In a sense, Lee’s prayer began to be answered before he asked, when his Army of Northern Virginia lost the last great battle of the Civil War. America began its ascent from the evils of slavery, and God helped us to start up what has become the long road to equality. But now people are sowing the dragon’s teeth of hatred and division. We must ask ourselves whether selfishness and hatred will keep us from ever attaining that goal?
In light of current events, and the attempts by some to erase the facts of history, we should ask ourselves whether we are now producing a climate where similar things can again occur.
The Jewish people wisely build Holocaust Museums because they do not want the evils that befell them and millions of others to be forgotten. George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” A word to the wise is sufficient.
“Would You Be Free?” (John 8:31-36)
Originally preached on the 4th of July weekend, July, 2009
By Pastor Jeremy Stopford
TODAY’S FUNNY: “4th of July SPECIAL”
The Fourth of July was coming up, and the nursery school teacher took the opportunity to tell her class about patriotism. “We live in a great country,” she said. “One of the things about which we should be happy is that, in this country, we are all free.”
One little boy came walking up to her from the back of the room. He stood with his hands on his hips and said, “I’m not free. I’m four.”
This weekend we have celebrated the 233rd birthday of our great nation.
Today’s sermon title is taken from a cry from the post Civil War era. One of the great southern generals of that war, Robert E. Lee, a godly man, said this: “May God rescue us from the folly of our own acts, save us from selfishness, and teach us to love our neighbors as ourselves.”
Out text today would teach us that true freedom comes at great cost – not only to our Savior, but to us was well. At the end of the message I will ask you the following question; “are we willing to pay that price?”
PRAY for God’s blessings on this ministry today
Scripture Reading, John 8:31-36
31 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.“
#1 TRUE FREEDOM COMES FROM ABIDING IN THE TRUTH (8:31-32)
“Those Jews who believed in Him” – that was their “profession of faith”. Have you made a “profession” or do you have a “possession” of faith? There is an HUGE difference. There are many “professors”of Biblical Christianity. Our churches are filled with “professors”. But the narrow road has the only “possessors” of faith. So, are you a professor or a possessor?
Jesus challenged the professors of faith to prove their possession by their abiding – NOT in the temple but in the TRUTH! What priority does this Book have in your life? What priority do its instructions have in your life? What priority does the Lord Jesus and His Lordship on display in EVERY area of your life have in your life.
Note the dynamic teaching on this subject in John 15:1ff:
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”
If true freedom comes from abiding in the truth, are you free? IF NOT, Jesus is saying you are in bondage still!
#2 TRUE FREEDOM CAUSES DIVISION (8:33)
Jesus’ words caused the Jews to cling to their heritage of a works-oriented religion rather than to the freedom that is in Christ.
A simple truth created a division, which is still created today! Are you clinging to the cross, or to membership in First Baptist? To the cross, or to anything else?
Then Jesus says, you are in bondage and not free!
Listen to the sobering truths of Galatians 2:16-20:
16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. 17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave Himself for me.
#3. TRUE FREEDOM CLINGS TO THE SON, NOT TO SIN (8:34-36)
This point comes down to one thought: do we love the Son of God, or do we love the sin of man?
How can we tell?
To what or Whom are you in bondage?
Does your world revolve around yourself and your lusts, or does it revolve around the Son and His Lordship, His glory?
THE BIG QUESTION!!! Are you in bondage to sin, or free in Christ?
The answer tells not only your eternal, but your daily joy!
Are we willing to pay the price that boldly states, “The Lord Jesus ALONE is my Hope – I am free in Him!”
Close in prayer