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What Christian Freedom Is All About (2 Peter 2:19)

Sermon on Sunday 17 November 2019 by Brother Gaius

God created flesh and blood. He gives us a choice. That is our freedom. We can choose to be with Him, or go with the world. He wants us to make a conscious choice. He wants us to be very clear why we are going to Him. It is not because we are under threat if we do not follow Him. His grace is upon everyone, even the unbelievers. Freedom is a powerful thing - you can use it for good or you can use it to harm others.

2 Peter 2:19 - They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

'They' refer to false prophets and false teachers. The opposite of freedom is slavery. Slaves have no choice. They have to obey their masters.

In the old testament's book of Exodus, the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. The Lord gave them Moses - to deliver them, to give them freedom. They became a people who were free in the promised land. But the people later met obstacles and lamented, instead of being thankful for being delivered. For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness (Exodus 14:12). Later on, the Israelites complained when they had no food. Would that we had died in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full (Exodus 14:12). We do this too. When we meet challenges, we sometimes compare our situation with another and complain. 

God gave them freedom, but the Israelites went back to their old ways, using their human wisdom. They missed the blessings. They missed the freedom of God. The Israelites may have come out of Egypt (seemed to be free), but Egypt remained in their minds (remains in slavery).

Romans 8:5-8 - For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

We have this constant challenge in our lives. We are tempted by the things of the flesh. But when there is God in our lives, there is life and there is peace. When the blood of Jesus covers us, our sin is covered. 

2 Peter 2:1 - But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with stories they have made up.

2 Peter 2:14 - They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!

God hates adultery and greed. Jesus is like the bridegroom and we are the bride. God wants a one-to-one relationship. We are not to worship other Gods but only one God. Also, you cannot serve both God and money. 

2 Peter 2:19 - They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

Whatever you allow to overcome you, will enslave you. We cannot be spending so much time on something that we neglect our time with God. It can be TV, computer games, gossip, etc. Don't be addicted to something. The freedom that something promises us is not real freedom. It leads us to addiction, being controlled by things of the flesh.

2 Peter 2:20 - For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

When you are entangled in something, it is hard to break away. If we know Jesus, we should not go back to our old ways.

What is Christian freedom all about? How do we overcome addiction?   

2 Peter 3:17 - You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.

1. Stand firm against the flesh

When we stand firm, His grace is enough to see us through. Exodus 14:13 - Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord. Ephesians 6:13 - Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. We are not told to launch an attack, but to stand firm. 

When Christ set us free, remember to stand firm. Do not submit to the flesh. Galatians 5:1 - For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:19-21 - Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Numbers 14:9 - Only do not rebel against the Lord.

2. Submit to the Holy Spirit

Submit to the Holy Spirit and not the flesh. Galatians 5:22-24 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is not law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

When we submit to God, when we are obedient, this pleases God. We live in the Spirit, and not in the flesh.

3. Serve on another in love

Galatians 5:13-15 - For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbour as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. God gave us grace so we must give grace to others. God gave us freedom so we give freedom to others. We are a vessel through which God's love flows to others. 

Think of it as taking a train. It will definitely lead us to the place we want to be - eternal life. The train track is the word of God. If we stick to the commandments of God, we just need to go forward. We don't need to worry. That is total freedom. When Jesus sets us free, we are truly free. 

John 8:31-32 - So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

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