Galatians = great chart of Christian’s liberty (freedom)
Grace Awakening by Chuck Swindoll
Isn’t Grace Risky?
The Killing Fields movie – quite a movie
True story of NY Times report in Cambodia – closest asst. was Cambodian captured by regime (torturous cruelty).
Endured unbelievable suffering while escaping.
Beaten, imprisoned, mistreated, starving he sucks blood from an animal in a field.
He plans, he runs, he sinks in a swamp – a grave swamp.
He survives, steps out into a clearing, looks down and sees the Cambodian border, a refugee camp, a hospital, a flag, and a cross. Hope is awakened.
He finally makes it to America and reunites with his friend – because he’s finally free…
Gospel = gospel of grace
Tragedy = some still live in death like swamp of legalism, negativism, etc.
Has church snuffed out your joy, hope?
You’ve almost reached the border. The flag and the cross are just over their. You’re just about free.
Gal. 5:1 = It is for freedom Christ has set us free. (for FREEDOM)
Wars are sometimes fought to prevent citizens from becoming slaves of enemies who might take away our freedom.
Patrick Henry – we must fight. Give me liberty or give me death!
Later, Civil War – black freedom.
“Where slavery is, there liberty cannot be. Where liberty is, there slavery cannot be.”
Swindoll, “It’s amazing that we (US) will fight other nations for our national liberty, and we will fight our brothers for those within our borders (slaves). But when it comes to Christianity, we give up our freedom without a fight. Legalism = intimidates us, try to follow their rules, surrender to their agenda.”
1963, S. Lewis Johnson – Paralysis of Legalism – serious problem in church today = legalism (same in Paul’s day).
Legalism takes away the joy of the Lord.
Then, his power for vital worship and service goes with it. Then, the Christian becomes joyless, gloomy. We become a miserable parody of Christianity.
Visit many churches today.
Major enemies of Christianity today?
#1 = Legalism
It kills pastors, congregations, people.
Rigid “Dos” and “Don’ts” kill the joy and spontaneity of those who wish to worship.
If you’ve never experienced legalism, it’s very rare…
Freedom (in church and out) is worth fighting for.
Liberty of Obedience (Elizabeth Elliot) – man wants to forsake world and follow Christ. “What must I forsake?”
Foolishness = trying to please God by following man-made rules…
“Give up colored clothes, don’t sleep with a pillow, sell your music, don’t eat bread, no warm bathes, can’t shave your beard = shaving is lying against Jesus – are you trying to improve his work?”
This is the answer given in most Christian schools of 2nd century.
Are 20th century Christian rules just as absurd?
We can’t laugh at the 2nd century grace-killers before we observe our own “Dos” and “Donts”
How can they enter our conditional love and feel accepted in our church? More importantly, who gave us the authority to make such rules?
We are unqualified to make such rules, but all are loved by our Father.
We must RISK grace! Or we will be stunted in our growth.
When will we learn? God delights in choosing the UNworthy, and making them worthy.
Last time, Romans 6, three words:
Christians need reminders, we are forgetful.
1) Knowing (revelation of HS) – our old self was crucified with Christ, we are dead to sin
2) Considering – you are dead to sin, alive to Jesus – THINK about it. Calculate it as True.
3) Do NOT let sin rule your body so that you obey its lusts.
But, when you DO fail (you will), God forgives us as his dear children.
These truths work out.
Ex: Young woman – burdened by shame.
Couldn’t look him in the eyes…
She had had many lovers. Had been a Christian for 3 years, was interested in Christ, but her past returned to haunt her. Satan had brought her shame back to mind, brought anxiety that she would fall back into that lifestyle.
She obviously loved the Lord, but didn’t understand Romans 6 – grace, freedom, her SECURE position in Christ leaves NOTHING to fear, NOTHING to be ashamed of.
Romans 6: Know, Consider…
She often reminded him of her past, intensified her guilt. Her old master didn’t want to let her go – he was using fear to keep her in prison.
But the pastor continually reminded her of grace, her position, and need to see herself as free in Christ (x6). FINALLY, she GOT it! She forgave herself. Giant step toward accepting grace.
God forgives us.
We should also forgive OURSELVES.
The truth finally became relevant. She was aglow with joy and radiance.
“I’ll never forgive myself.” Ever said that? UNsay it. Forgive yourself. Experience grace, freedom, joy.
“I wish I was dead.” You should UNsay that also. God wishes you alive!
Ps. 118:17 “I shall NOT die, but LIVE, and tell the works of the Lord!”
This lady had transformed (in her own mind) from a slave to a free woman.
INstead of beginning the day with “my shame, my sin, my failure” she began with “His grace, His forgiveness, His life.”
By Friday – she shined with joy and “yes” to grace.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight…”
“Let the words of Christ dwell in you RICHLY…”
v. 13 (Romans 6?)
“Do not present your body as instruments of sin, but present your members to God…Sin shall NOT master you. You are not under Law, but under Grace.”
I want to say, change is easy.
It is not.
Old habits are difficult to break.
Thinking correctly takes courage.
Satan won’t back off easily.
Legalists also won’t back off easily.
Grace-killers are determined to keep their slaves today.
Leave slavery and ignorance – you need courage and inner resolve. Pray that God will give you an abundance of both. YOu are not alone in your quest for freedom.
A Grace Awakening has begun in the hearts of God’s people.
16th US Pres. Abe Lincoln – (sounds like Capt. Ahab in Moby Dick)
“We are like whalers, on a long chase. We finally got the spear into the monster, but we must watch how we steer. Or with a flop of his tail, he will send us into eternity.”
Prophetic – this increased the struggle of the Civil War.
Such a warning is necessary. You WILL encounter battles, now that you want to be free in Christ. (battle will intensify)
But, there is HOPE. You’ve got the spear into the monster. Christ will aid your steering.