Text: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Freedom is a pretty amazing thing. When is the last time you have considered what your life would be like if you lived in Iran instead of America?
As Christians and Americans we enjoy a double portion of freedom. We have all the liberties associated with America and if that isn’t enough for you we have even greater Christian freedom. As Americans, we are theoretically free to say what we want, free to travel wherever we want, free to work and live wherever we want. As Christians we are free from the condemnation associated with sin, we are free from the demands of the law because it has been fulfilled for us. We are free to use all of God’s creation his glory. We are free to enjoy the blessings God offers through this world.
Paul reminds us today that though we are theoretically free to do as we please, in reality we are bound by the law of love to consider how our choices will impact those around us. For the Corinthians eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols was pricking the consciences of some newer Christians. Paul wrote that even though the strong Christians knew that there was nothing special about the meat because there is only one God they should refrain from eating that meat for the sake of the weaker Christians.
Even though we do not see meat being sold at the Winn Dixie that has been sacrificed to idols we too can learn from this chapter in 1 Corinthians. The broad rule that God establishes here is that we are to avoid offending the consciences of other Christians even though we may be theoretically free to do the offending act. This will look different in every life and in every situation. The overriding rule: Let the love of Christ be reflected in all you do. Never forget that in Christ we are free from sin. We are free to love and serve those around us as Christ loved us. Borrowing from elsewhere in the Bible; consider others better than yourselves.
Prayer: Heavenly Father fill us with the love of Jesus. Let his love for us pour out on the world around us as we seek to bring glory to your name in all we do. Forgive us when we focus too much on what we want. Help us to see how we can help others see your love at work in our lives. We praise you for our freedoms in Christ. Amen.
Text: Galatians 5:1-6
Don’t you just hate the opinio legis?
Opinio Legis is a title for that part of each of us that wants to have some part in our salvation. The part that wants to earn heaven in some small way. Jesus offers us salvation free and clear, no strings attached. Since Jesus left this earth humans have been saying, “Yeah, salvation is free, but you have to do ____ (fill in the blank) to make it mean something to you.”
When Paul wrote Galatians these people were saying, “Yeah salvation is free, but you have to be circumcised to make it mean something to you.”
When Martin Luther started the Reformation the Roman Catholics were saying, “Yeah salvation is free, but you have to do penance, buy indulgences, go to confession… to make it mean something to you.”
Today many churches are saying, “Yeah salvation is free, but you have to accept God into your life to make it mean something to you.”
Paul says to all of these false teachers, “Mark my words! If you let yourselves be circumcised (do penance, believe you have to make a declaration to God), Christ will be of no value to you at all.” The Bible is very clear, either Jesus did it all or we are still dead in our sins. Either we are saved by Christ or we have to keep the whole law of God all day every day.
Jesus offers forgiveness free and clear, no strings attached. “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slaver (to circumcision, to penance, to making a choice, to the law).” We are free in Christ, the only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love.
Prayer: Heavenly Father forgive us when we are tempted to doubt the all sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice for us. Give us the strength to live our lives in the joyful freedom that comes with our forgiveness. Embolden us to express our faith in you through our every act. Help us to live our lives in love, love for you and love for others. Amen.
Rejoice in Your Freedom!
1. To know the truth
2. To hold the truth
3. To share the truth
Text: John 8:31-36
“What is truth?” Pilate asked Jesus. Before him stood a murderous band of Jews howling for the death of their archenemy Jesus. It was quite the predicament. It appeared to Pilate that this Jesus fellow had done nothing wrong. Then again, Pontius Pilate and the Romans weren’t exactly friends with the Jews. It was not long before this that Pilate had massacred a group of Jews. If he let Jesus go, the Jews would not have been happy. Pilate wanted some answers. He wanted the truth.
He hasn’t been the only in history that has pursued the “truth.” Do a Google search for quotes about truth and you will find yourself reading material to last you weeks. Everyone seems to be looking for truth. Many write about and discuss truth. But no one seems to find it. Some might just say, “There is no such thing as truth.” Read the rest of this entry
20th Sunday after Pentecost
Thanks Be to God!
1. You’re free!
2. You’re a slave!
Text: Romans 6:15-23
The year: 1861. The setting: The deep South. The location: a cotton plantation in rural Georgia. Your job: a slave. Freedom is a foreign concept. The shackles on your hands and your feet prove it. The deep gashes on your back prove it. All day long you are forced into rigorous labor—picking cotton in the field, churning butter by hand, obeying every beck and call of your master. All night long you are chained up so that you cannot escape.
If you should slow down in your work during the day, the whip slashing your back or the rod smashing your head quickly would remind you that you are a slave. You aren’t free. If you should try to escape during the night, the knife blade or the gunshot would teach you a lesson you will never forget. You are a slave. You aren’t free.
There is no regard for humanity. You are slave. There is no freedom. You are a slave. There is no escaping. Ever. You are a slave. Whether you make a run for it or you stay and do your duty, you are doomed and destined to death. Slavery results in death. Read the rest of this entry