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II Corinthians 3:17 NIV

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

This message today will be too evangelistic for many. Because it will ask you to make a moral decision and do some self-analysis.

Liberty is probably the most cherished and treasured concepts that we as Americans hold dear. Liberty is the bedrock of our American way of life. It is true that we have not always lived up to the ideal that the word implies. Examples of our shortcomings are many, yet it is the cornerstone of the dreams and aspirations of every American, no matter one’s social economic status, sex, race or nationality or political affiliation.

Liberty is a term that has become encrusted with a variety of erroneous interpretations. Many of them dilute and distort the meaning of what it is to be free.

For the Anarchist, it means, “Do anything you want.” There is no authority for which accountability is required.

A Wiccan variation of this says, “Harm none, and do what you will.”

A Hedonist believes that freedom is liberty to seek pleasure and avoid pain.

Stoics believed that the soul and body are enemies, therefore the “freedom to commit suicide is a virtue.”

Yangism from China means “the freedom to be selfish.”

True liberty is the freedom to fulfill those God-given abilities and our human objectives which uplift and encourage human friendship. Liberty does not mean that we can do whatever we feel like. “Liberty bears fruit in responsible behavior and citizenship.

Note these affirming witnesses:

Ben Franklin said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower: Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed — else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.”

Nelson Mandela: “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

Each of these affirmations confirm that with liberty comes certain clear cautions.

There is another liberty that comes to us like a comet through the night of spiritual bondage. It is a liberty greater than the one declared in our own Declaration of Independence.

In three succinct verses the Gospel of John, Jesus described this freedom. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). And again he says,” So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36). In the third verse he declares the tyranny from which we can be set free. “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”

The Bible tells us that every person, at some point in life, knows himself/herself to be subject to this tyranny. Our physical slavery is preceded by spiritual slavery.

Freedom is a great political, social and personal achievement. But if one is still a slave to the dictates of sin, he/she is not free.

What addictions enslave you?

What emotions enslave you (anger, hate, resentment)?

What prejudices enslave you?

What debts enslave you (credit cards)?

What entertainments bind you?

What relationships enslave you?

What traumatic memories hold you captive (emotional bondage, abuse)?

Liberty cannot come to full fruition outwardly when it is not possessed inwardly. When we have properly dealt with sin in ourselves then we can address it in others. That is when liberty becomes powerful and unstoppable. That is when liberty has creative and restorative ability. Anything that keeps you from loving God and your neighbor is sin to you.

Before the Civil War people in slavery wanting to be free were told, “Follow the North Star.” Close to Indianapolis Indiana, Conner Prairie has a special reenactment entitled “Follow the North Star.” Visitors get to experience for themselves the “Underground Railroad” and the desperate journey for freedom through the Indiana countryside.

To all those enslaved by sin be encouraged to “Follow the Star.” The Star (Jesus) will lead you to authentic freedom. Liberty from sin is what really matters. It is foundational to all other liberties one may pursue. Without freedom from inner bondage, outer freedom is an illusion.

Revelation 22:16 says “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

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