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  • Sep3Mon

    Pursuing Freedom In Love

    September 3, 2018

    Sharon and I had the opportunity to connect with a couple who were dealing with an evil presence in their home this past week.  As we prayed, the Spirit brought to Sharon’s attention the parable of the house swept clean in Luke 11;25; Matthew 12:44  It is about a man who experienced freedom from demon oppression only to find himself once again possessed by seven demons!  As we studied this passage what became clear is this.  It’s not enough just to have you spiritual house clean, we need our house to be filled with the Holy Spirit and with the truth of God’s Word!  It was in sharing this revelation that brought great freedom and understanding to the couple.  We did pray the presence and the name of Jesus over every room in the house, but it is the ongoing plan to saturate ourselves with His presence that will give us the continued freedom we long for. 

    Luke 4:18-19, Jesus said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”

    As followers of Jesus, we are an extension of Jesus’ mission!

     

    Experiencing The Freedom From Sin To Serve In Love  5:13-15

    In Galatians 5, Paul starts off by saying Christ has set us free, freedom from all the religious rules and laws.  The gospel of grace is a call out of prison to sin, the debt has been paid!   However, in verse 13, he brings the argument full circle when he shares that we weren’t meant to walk from one prison of self-effort to the prison of being self absorbed!

    So, what we need to know now is that this new freedom was always meant to move us from a self-preoccupation to being so aware of the needs of others.

    When Christ redeemed us we became a new creation; however we are always going through the process of becoming less of self and more like Him!

    The flesh or as the NIV translates “the sinful nature,” is not our actual body, but rather that impulses in us that encourage rebellion against God. Paul uses this term eight times in 5:13-6:10. C.S. Lewis calls it “the inner cesspool” that breeds snakes of evil!

    If you are a fan of Lord of the Rings, it is like the “Gollum” inside you. Before you are Christian, all you are is flesh. You are a walking mass of a heart ruled by you, rebelling against God. It is everything you apart from God intervening in your life.  “We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious. They stole it from us. Sneaky little hobbitses. Wicked, tricksy, false!”

     ·It cannot please God (Rom 8:8)

    · In it dwells no good thing (Rom. 7:18)

    · Do not put confidence in it (Phil. 3:3)

    · Do not make provision for the flesh (Rom. 13:14) by feeding it the things that it enjoys.

    And once we become followers of Jesus, the law is no longer an external thing we try hard to obey, but God will now write it in our hearts, and that means the divine enablement to obey God and forgiveness when we fail to trust Him. So you have now all the resources you need to live and love, remember you are heirs of God

    But it doesn’t come automatically. Notice v.15. The flesh works against this and so he says when you are not living in freedom, you become like an animal and mutual destruction is always the result.  The flesh is always wanting to rear its ugly head and demand its own rights, especially when offended.  It also uses resentment towards others as a license to act out in sinful behaviours.

    Paul makes it absolutely clear that we can’t tolerate this kind of behavior or else it will destroy us!

    "Lord, bend that proud and stiff necked I,
    Help me to bow the head and die;
    Beholding Him on Calvary,
    Who bowed His head for me."  Roy Hession, Calvary Road

    Serve” here means render service to, to do that which is for the advantage of someone else. He is placing service over against selfishness, the positive over against the negative. 

    We are moving from being self-centered to others-centered.  It means I actually look for ways for others to have a better advantage and more clear picture of Jesus love through me. 

    • It is why you stop your car on the way to church to help someone in distress.
    • It is why we have people here who will wake up early to set up the church to make coffee, to clean the building, to set up chairs, to lead in worship music, love on your children during the service so that you can experience the beauty of Jesus’ love.

    We experience freedom when we are led by the Spirit and not driven by the flesh 

    Galatians 5:16-21,24-26

    The Christian life is a habitual, constant, moment-by-moment intentional and deliberate choice to be in tune with the Holy Spirit.  Robin Koshy

    There is a real emphasis here to focus first on living by the Spirit.  I really believe that’s important to recognize.  It is when we are walking deliberately, moment by moment, with the Spirit of God that the desire to gratify the sinful nature will pale by comparison, they just don’t satisfy.

    We have two guys that we have worked with in particular at Church at the Manor.  We will call them Dale and Don.  For Dale, his whole consuming focus was to stop his smoking habit. When we met we would take time to talk about spiritual things, but it would always come back to his frustration to give up his habit.  I told him the focus here is wrong, stop worrying about this habit and start focusing on just allowing Jesus to fill you up with His presence, soak in worship music, dance before the Lord, read His Word, let it penetrate your heart. On the other hand, Don, also had a strong addiction to crack cocaine, but knew that his focus couldn’t be on the habit, but needed to be squarely placed on His walk with the Lord.  It was for that very reason he placed verses by his bathroom mirror, on his fridge, wherever it would be in His face.  He was so passionate first about His walk with the Lord that he made the decision to go to Teen Challenge as well and I would say Don is experiencing the greater freedom because his focus is in the right place… walking in the Spirit.

    The “not” is a double negative here meaning, “You will ABSOLUTELY NOT gratify the desires of your flesh. It can be also be translated, “NO NEVER,” so it’s very emphatic here.

    When you experience the power of the Holy Spirit working in your life, when you follow through on His promptings, it is an exciting adventure.

    It is in those times that I am living out of His presence that I have the most grace, love and patience with other people.

    When we get disconnected from the Source, living in the Spirit, that is when we become so vulnerable!  What happens next is so easily is that our natural learned (selfish) tendencies take control. Self-entitlement kicks in. False comforts appear like true comforts. A demanding spirit enters our soul and discouragement sets in as well.

    I wonder if some of us read this verse backwards? Do we live as though if we try hard NOT to gratify the desires of the flesh, we can walk by the Spirit? That is not what Paul is saying. The solution is not to pit our will against the flesh, but to surrender our will to the Holy Spirit. Putting up a “Just say no” campaign against sin will not work. It is not saying no to the flesh that Paul encourages. It is saying yes to Christ. It is responding continually to His love  Robin Koshy

     

     “walking with God is a moment by moment awareness of God’s awareness of you.” Tim Keller

    Anyone struggle with an approval addiction?  If I’m continually going for the likes and seeking the affirmation of others, it will always let me down. What I believe God our Father wants you to know is this.  “Focus on being alive to my approval. You belong to me. Your worth is in me. Your significance is in me and as you do that, their approval won’t have any hold on you.

     Remember Galatians 1:10

    We experience freedom when our lives bear the fruit (essence) of what we believe.  Galatians 5:22,23

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

    I love the honesty in the way Jon Courson describes it: “Jesus said, ‘Here’s the key to bearing fruit: Stay close to Me. If you cut yourself off from Me in any way, at any time, you won’t bring forth fruit. If you abide in Me, fruit will come supernaturally, naturally.’ Looking at my apple tree, I notice that when the branches abide, when they simply cling to the trunk, blossoms come forth, and fruit is produced. I never see the apple tree struggling, sweating, or red in the face. Yet I do see Christians straining and striving, grunting and groaning because they fail to understand that the secret of fruit-bearing is not to try to figure out how to make fruit. The secret of fruit-bearing is abiding, just hanging in there with the Lord.”

    Love here is not the feeling, but sacrificial action, self-giving service.

    Joy is inner gladness, a supernatural delight in the person and plan of God despite circumstances.

    Peace is the presence of Lord, not just the absence of trouble. It is the inner tranquility of the Lord (Phil. 4:7, John 14:27).

    Patience has to do with tolerance and long-suffering that endures injuries inflicted by others, the calm willingness to accept situations that are irritating or painful.

     Kindness is tender concern for others, to treat them as the Lord would.

    Faithfulness is dependability, “Well done good and faithful servant.” You did what you said you would do.

    Gentleness is someone who is submissive to the will of God (Col. 3:12) and teachable (James 1:21), and takes consideration of others (Eph. 4:2). Such a person does not have a sense of entitlement. 

    Self-control is restraining passions and appetites.  

    Robin Kolby

     

    All the fruit of the Spirit – notice it’s singular.  The Holy Spirit enables us to possess them all.  We don’t get to pick and choose.

    The fruit of the Spirit all are an expression of love and there’s a neat parallel to 1 Corinthians 13

    Love  - love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited

    Joy – love finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth

    Peace – love does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, does not keep a record of wrongs

    Kindness- love is kind

    Patient – love is patient

    Faithfulness – love believes all things

    Gentleness – love bears all things

    Self Control – love endures all things, love never fails.

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