In the words of Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, "ALLLL-righty then!!!"
Yesterday was the 4th installment of our "Ultimate Resolutions" series. Did you notice that this week's topic was the reverse of last week's topic? Where last week ("Hold Loosely") was all about making sure WE aren't holding too tightly to THINGS, this week ("Live Free") was all about making sure THINGS aren't holding too tightly to US.
For our study, we carved out a section of a larger debate in John 8 between Jesus & the Pharisees. (You ought to take 3 minutes right now & read the whole chapter to get a sense of the growing tension that led to Jesus' murder.) Our focus was on the freedom or liberty in Christ that's available to every one of us.
There are a number of things bumping around in my head & heart from this week.
- Spiritual Bondage
— We took on 3 types of spiritual slavery that the Pharisees lived in 2000 years ago, and so many people live in today. (1) Slavery to Sin. (2) Slavery to the Law/Rules/Regulations. (3) Slavery to Fear. I TOTALLY think that people live so much of their lives in bondage (just like the Pharisees did) and don't even know it. It's the only state they know. They don't even know what they're missing!
- We Don't Need More! — If you know Jesus, you are ALREADY free. Totally free. Completely free. You don't need to be freed. Once you're freed (100% free in Christ), you can't become more free!
- Why Am I Free? — Great question. You've got the spirit of freedom (2 Cor 3:17), the perfect law of freedom (Jas 1:25), you're free from all people (1Cor 9:19), a child of a free city (Gal 4:26), you have a calling of liberty (Gal 5:13), and you now stand in a freedom created by Christ (Gal 5:1).
- Too Much Testosterone — I told my story from years ago at Stanford, when my friend Lambert Dolphin (Christian, Mentor, Doctorate from Stanford, Geophysicist) gave me a book by Hannah Whitall Smith called "The Christian's Secret to a Happy Life." I really regret that I didn't read the book for a long time. Why didn't I? (a) The cover was too pink & frilly, (b) the title wasn't manly enough, & (c) I was too immature to see past that. But it was a FAN-TAS-TIC book. You can read the book for free here. Jump over to page 41 if you want to read the quote I used.
- A Tough Section — This was a tough section to break down because it isn't a teaching time. It's a back-and-forth debate!
- U2 in the House — Is it just me, or did the opening of the last song in our worship set ("I Am Free") sound just like U2? Who else beside me thinks Pastor Ben was start to channel Bono? 🙂
- 2 Weeks to Go — In just 2 weeks, we're bumping our services back 30 minutes & offering a continental breakfast to our first service to shift people away from our 2nd Service.
This Wednesday, you've got to join us for our study of anger…no, not a "How To" course! :-) We'll be looking at Moses' anger in Numbers 20. Then next weekend, we close out our "Ultimate Resolutions" series with the story of the Good Samaritan.
P.S. Are you living totally free? Free from sin? From an oppressive Christian experience of duty & obligation? From all your fears?