Levels of Liberty

2 Cor 3:17-18

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. NKJV

Liberty is a relative thing for only God is completely free.

Ps 135:6 Whatever the LORD pleases He does, In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places. NKJV

Eph 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, NKJV

We might consider ourselves to be free and not be able to do all that we wish.

Many of the early settlers to this country came here for freedom. Not a freedom to choose their own occupation or to freedom to live as they wanted. Many came to be able to worship in the manner they believed was best. Baptists have always been proponents of liberty of conscious, that is the right of every man to come to his own understanding of God and to define his own relationship with his Maker.

A little bit of history for all of you if you do not know it: each of the early colonies had a state supported church. Everyone paid taxes and those taxes paid the clergy and kept up the church buildings. Now if you happened to live in a colony that had the Church of England as the state church then you supported that church weather you wanted to or not.

The Baptists felt that was wrong. They felt that support of the church was to be voluntary and not compulsory. And in may places you were not only required to support the state church with your money but you were required to worship there on a regular basis. So Baptists along with other independents were persecuted here in America. It was not until 50 years after the ratification of the constitution and the bill of rights(1) that the state church came to an end and people were free to worship as they wanted to. And Baptists were very much involved in bringing that to pass.

It is kind of interesting that many of the Puritans who came to this country to escape persecution by the Church of England established state churches of their own and then persecuted those who would not go along with them.

As a matter of fact the first place is the new world or any where in civilized world as far as that goes where religious liberty was embraced by the government officials was when the Baptists established the small colony of Rhode Island.

But so much for history.

We are free today in the sense that our founders wanted and more so. For they never intended that freedom would be used, as it is today as a licence to sin. By a 5-4 decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Child Online Protection Act, which was signed into law in 1998 as an attempt to shield children from online pornography. All because they think the framers of the constitution would protect pornography under the free speech provision.

Freedom does not mean I am able to do whatever I want to do. That's the worst kind of bondage. Freedom means I have been set free to become all that God wants me to be, to achieve all that God wants me to achieve, to enjoy all that God wants me to enjoy. Warren W. Wiersbe (1929- )

  1. There is a freedom of choice.
    1. We all have this.
      1. Some people choose not to get a job.
      2. Some people choose to abuse their bodies with drugs and alcohol.
      3. Some choose to go to school.
      4. Some choose to be teachers or construction workers.
    2. But there is a problem.
      1. We are limited by our nature.
      2. We our limited by our income.
      3. We are limited by our abilities.
      4. In other countries there may be limits put on the people by the government or by religion.
  2. There is also a freedom of will or volition.
    1. No one says we must choose this occupation or marry that person.
    2. We are truly free to make those choices as we want.
    3. But once again we are limited by our nature in the area of our obligation to God.
      1. We are sinners by nature.
      2. We choose sin instead of obedience to God.
  3. We have freedom of thinking or mind.
    1. No one tells us what we must believe unless it is the educational system that says you must believe in evolution.
    2. We can believe in Buddha or Mohammad or Jesus or in America we can believe in all three as some do.
  4. But Jesus and Paul spoke of a spiritual freedom that is only found in Jesus Christ.
    1. Many in our nation have come to believe that our founders set up our constitution so we could engage in any type of vice and sin that suits us.
      1. Gal 5:13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! NKJV
      2. He that is good is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king. Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
      3. Men must be governed by God or they will be ruled by tyrants. William Penn (1644-1718)
    2. Jesus said that only those who He set free from sin were really free.
      1. John 8:31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." 33 They answered Him,"We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, 'You will be made free'?" 34 Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. NKJV
      2. We can be set free from the power of sin in our lives.
      3. If we know Jesus as our Savior we have been set free from the penalty of sin.
    3. But the truest freedom will be when we get to heaven for then we will be free from the very presence of sin.
      1. There will be no more temptation to sin.
      2. If we were truly free we would never have regrets for decisions we have made.
      3. In heaven there will be no more regrets.

The greatest regret for you could be if you do not accept the gift of God's Son for your soul's salvation. What a day to be set really free. Will you give your life to Him today as we pray. 

 This message was preached at FBC Toulon,

by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com  

 

 

 

1. http://www.khouse.org/articles/currentevents/20000501-219.html