Sunday, June 30, 2019

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Freedom from Sin

In just a couple of days, Americans will be celebrating 243 years of freedom. On the 4th of July in 1776, the people of thirteen colonies declared in one voice their freedom from England and the oppression that they were under. Each year, since that moment, we as Americans continue to remember and celebrate our independence. We enjoy backyard cookouts, fireworks and watching parades. However, there is another freedom that we as Christians celebrate daily. It is our freedom from sin. It is that freedom that not only sets us free from sin but also the wages of sin which is death.

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we are free and can enjoy a life that is devoted to serving the Father and not the horrible task master of sin. Jesus, in John 8, tells us, “34 I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

As long as we are slaves to sin, we can never be a part of a family. The only way for us to be truly free from sin is to accept Jesus as our new master. It is only through him that we can truly be free. But, you are thinking, “If I accept Jesus as my master and savior, aren’t I just exchanging one master for another?”

Remember what Jesus says in Matthew 11. He tells us, “28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

The yoke and burden that we take upon ourselves from Jesus is light. It is not there to add weight. The yoke of Jesus is there to guide us along the path of righteousness that has been set before us. The burden that we carry is something that we joyfully bear because it is truly light. What we carry is not a heavy, burdensome load. Rather, it is the joy of salvation and love in our hearts. 

Just as our nation is based on laws in order to preserve our freedom and to keep things moving smoothly, we, as Christians, have laws that are used to guide us along and keep us from falling prey to sin. Freedom does not mean that we can just go anywhere we want. There is a shepherd who guides us to green pastures and streams that restore our souls.

Later in the Gospel of John, Jesus says in chapter 10, “11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.

The good shepherd not only guides his sheep to the best pastures and watering spots but he also defends and protects his sheep even if it means laying down his life for them. Jesus tells us that a hired hand who has no vested interest in the flock and is only interested in money will easily run when there is danger. He will not sacrifice his life for the sheep and will just leave. Jesus is the good shepherd. He is ever present and remains with the sheep and defends them even if it means laying down his life. Jesus died on a cross as a sacrifice for us so that we are not doomed to hellfire and damnation. He laid his life down for his sheep.

Later in John 10, Jesus says, “14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.

When Jesus calls us, we know his voice. We respond to his gentleness and tenderness. We know that he sacrificed his life for us so that the wages of sin could be paid and our debt wiped away. We were freed that very moment when we accepted Christ Jesus as our Savior and Lord over our life. Sin no longer owned us. We were freed from that heavy burden.

When I think of how heavy a burden sin is in our lives, I think about the scene in Charles Dickens’ story, “A Christmas Carol,” when Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s old business partner who passed away comes to visit Scrooge. During the visit, Scrooge sees the chain that Marley’s spirit carries and asks him about it.

Marley replies, “I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it."

Like Marley, we, too, have a choice. We can continue to build our heavy burden and allow sin to weigh us down like chains that we continue to forge by our disobedience to God’s will and law. We can continue to add links and be burdened with each ounce and pound of weight that is heaped upon our shoulders. We can continue to remain a slave and not part of a family.

Or, we can break the chains by crying out to Jesus and asking him to lift the burden of sin from our shoulders and free us from the horrible task master of sin once and for all. We then can take on the yoke that guides us daily and accept the burden that is a whole lot lighter than those links of sin that drag us down and that we carry daily.

As you celebrate the 4th of July, think about your spiritual freedom and celebrate it daily. When you realize that you received your independence from the sins of this world and are truly free because of the love of the “Good Shepherd”, you can definitely stand firm in His grace.   

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

No comments:

Post a Comment