Freedom in Christ (Galatians #18)

Text: Galatians 5:1

Christian liberty, what does that mean?  Does it mean you can do anything you want to?  Does it mean you have to abide by certain rules and as long as you do you’re free?

Liberty is a legal term.  It means a Christian’s relationship to the law of God is that it has been satisfied in Jesus Christ.  Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.  That doesn’t mean the law was bad or evil, to the contrary, the law is what brings you to Jesus Christ.  The law cannot justify, but that doesn’t make the law evil.  Justification was never the purpose of the law.  The law only exists to point out sin.  Now, do you need sin pointed out after you’re saved?  Of course, but how do you identify what is right to do and what is wrong to do?  Here are some principles for the Christian.

The test of expediency (1 Corinthians 6:12)

  • Expedient means useful or profitable toward an end.  It is something that will hasten the desired outcome.
  • If I’m going to run a race for the purpose of winning the race, then it is not expedient to sit on the couch, eat Doritos and play video games for six months until the day of the race.  Now, there is no law against me doing that, but those things will never bring about the desired effect.
  • The desired outcome for a saved child of God is that he or she would bear fruit.
  • When your desire is for something to be fruitful you will do the expedient things to make sure that happens.  Now, some of you have no desire to be fruitful, but I’m talking to you all who have a desire to be fruitful.
    • You’ll protect that plant or animal.
    • You’ll make sure it’s fed and watered.
    • You’ll probably give it special nutrients to ensure growth.
  • None of these things are laws, but they are expediencies; they hasten the desired outcome.

The test of enslavement (1 Corinthians 6:12)

  • Does this thing pass the test of enslavement?  Will this thing become a weight that will hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in my life?
  • Maybe a financial decision.
  • Maybe a decision about television or what you put in front of your eyes.
  • Maybe a decision about diet.
  • One thing I’ve noticed about the flesh is that it has the ability to become addicted to almost any fear, any appetite, almost anything.
    • Weird addictions from a lady addicted to eating hair off of her cat.
    • To seemingly normal addictions like sugar or coffee, or hunting, or adrenaline addiction.
    • To addictions that most folks would find harmful like drug addiction.
  • The point is that the flesh can become addicted to anything that it finds gratification or comfort in.  That thing doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, but if it becomes your master, then you’re enslaved to it.
  • Balance is often the key to avoiding enslavement.

The test of evangelism (1 Corinthians 9:18-19)

  • Will this make soul winning easier or harder?  Does this pass the test of evangelism?
  • You may choose things that make evangelism nonexistent.
    • Maybe it’s a character problem.  Everyone knows about the fallen Christian who ruined his testimony and scattered the flock.  And in doing, he tainted the reputation of Jesus Christ.
    • Maybe it’s an availability problem.  What about the Christian who doesn’t have any major sin in their life, no major character flaw, but really has never won anyone to the Lord.  And is basically never available to talk to others about the Lord.
  • The Holy Spirit has to be given an opening to work
    • Loving someone.  Care = Opportunity
    • Living right.  Right living = Opportunity.
    • Selfish decisions and ruined testimonies = grieve the work of the Holy Spirit.
    • It may draw a crowd, but does it help EVANGELIZE!
    • Football stadiums are full of crowds, but when the game’s over the people leave.
    • What you win them WITH is what you win them TO!

The test of edification (1 Corinthians 10:23-24)

  • Does this decision pass the edification test?
  • This is the principle of others.
  • Paul told the Philippians that it was better for HIM to go be with the Lord, but it wasn’t better for THEM that he go.
  • Something may be good for you that is going to be bad for someone else.