Freedom as an excuse

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Live as free people, not using your freedom as a pretext for evil, but as God’s slaves. 1 Peter 2.16

The concept of freedom can be a selfish one. The world’s concept of freedom is that one can do as one wants no matter the consequences to others. Freedom is often used as an excuse for wrong behavior.

Peter wrote to live as free people. But, this freedom is one that allows us a choice to fear God and respect him. If we have respect for God, we will obey him.

In obeying God, he wants us to live in submission to government authorities as long as they do not go against God’s will. There is a reason for this. God wants his people to live correctly, doing good so that foolish people, who speak ignorantly, will be silenced, 2.15.

Choice. Christians choose to be God’s slaves. We choose to obey rather than to rebel. We choose to do good to others rather than to cheat them or tear them down. We choose to share the gospel with others rather than to hoard it for ourselves. Our freedom comes in the choice.

#risingjoy #1-Peter #freedom

The best thing we can do for others

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5.13

In Christ, we have been freed from serving the Law of Moses. But, Paul warned the Galatians that the freedom they had in Christ was not a license to do whatever they wanted to do.

We live by the Spirit. The Spirit wars against the desires that we have that lead us to sin. So, if we are living by the Spirit, we will not commit the acts that our flesh may desire. Paul listed the desires of the flesh in Galatians 5.19-21. He warned that those who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of God! Therefore, our freedom in Christ is not a license to do whatever we desire.

Paul wrote in 5.14, that in essence the law under Jesus can be summed up as “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus taught this in Mark 12.30-31. The important things are to love God first and your neighbor.

If we are obeying these commandments, we will only want what is best for others and would not want to harm them in any way. The best thing that we can do for others is to help them understand the Bible and live it out in their daily lives.

#risingjoy #Galatians #freedom

Alienated from Christ

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery. Galatians 5.1

The Galatians were in danger of being alienated from Christ. There were some who had slipped into their ranks and began teaching that to be a good Christian, you also had to obey the law of Moses.

Paul made it very clear that if you obeyed one aspect of the law, then you were obligated to obey all of it. This had been impossible to do. With the coming of Christ, people were free from the law since Christ had fulfilled it. He offered himself as the perfect sacrifice given once for all of mankind. However, only those who accept his sacrifice and obey his commandments will receive the benefits of it. Paul wanted the Galatians to understand that they were freed from the law of Moses.

In Christ, we have freedom that was not seen under the law of Moses. The Israelites had to make sacrifices constantly. There were feasts and days that had to be celebrated. If they were not celebrated, the Israelites would be forced out of the camp.

The freedom that we have in Christ is seen in the one act of baptism where we have contact with the blood of Jesus. There is only one feast that is celebrated, the Lord’s Supper. During the Lord’s Supper we are reminded of all that Jesus has done on our behalf and it is to help us to remember that on a regular basis.

Paul’s instructions to the Galatians were to stand firm against those who were teaching error and not to fall prey to them. The same instructions apply to us today regarding any teaching that is not in agreement with God’s word. We are to stand firmly against it.

#risingjoy #Galatians #freedom

Where the Spirit is present

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3.17

The Jews did not accept Jesus. They still adhered to the Old Testament. There were men teaching that to be a Christian, you had to obey the old law as well.

Paul wrote comparing the two covenants. The old covenant was glorious. Moses covered his face, which shone, with a veil after coming from God’s presence. The old law, even though glorious, produced death, 3.7.

The new covenant under Christ is even more glorious because it produces righteousness, 3.9. God, Jesus and the Spirit are one. Where one is present, they are all present. When a person obeys Jesus, they receive the gift of the Spirit, Acts 2.38. That person also receives the presence of God and Jesus in their life, John 14.23.

At the same time that someone receives the Spirit, the Bible teaches that they are set free from the old law, Romans 8.1-2. You are set free from fear, 2 Timothy 1.7. You are set free from sin, Romans 6.18. You can proclaim with boldness the salvation that God has given to man.

Have you obeyed the Lord? Have you been set free?

#risingjoy #2-Corinthians #freedom

Hindrance to the weak

“But be careful that this liberty of yours does not become a hindrance to the weak.”

1 Corinthians 8.9

The Corinthians were arrogant and independent. They insisted on exercising their freedom, to the detriment of their brethren. Paul pulls them back to examine their impact on the weak.

How does my use of freedom affect others? Are my actions making others stronger or weaker in faith? Am I aware of how others interpret my words and actions?

#votd #1-Corinthians #freedom

Cut out the middleman

This has huge ramifications for freedom of information. People, please heed this article.

Has a website earned your trust? Visit that website directly and regularly, not just when Zuck decides to put them in your feed, not just when you enter a search and Google decides to spit them back out as a valid option. What sites have earned your trust? Go visit a few right now, and remember to visit them every day. That way you can push back against the centralization of the internet. —Adam Ford

See also this quote by the same author, and link.

#internet #freedom

Freedom: Psalm 119.45 VOTD

“I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.”

Psalm 119.45 NIV

Freedom of movement and security within his space come from seeking the word of God.

Some believe God’s commandments are restrictive. In fact, they are the means to true freedom. Christians should be clear on this.

#freedom #Psalms #VOTD

mm

7-4-2017 Freedom To Obey Christ

There is no such thing as complete freedom. The American Revolution cast off abusive law for the freedom to establish our own law. Since sin is universal, Jesus’ Gospel invites all everywhere to cast off their shackles of sin for the freedom to serve under Jesus’ Law. “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:16-18 NKJV). No one can be freed from sins to do as they please. Liberty is not license or lawlessness!
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#freedom, #liberty, #license

Abundance: 1 Corinthians 10.25-26 VOTD

“Eat anything that is sold in the marketplace without questions of conscience, for the earth and its abundance are the Lord’s.”

1 Corinthians 10.25-26

As proof that Christians are free to eat all foods, Paul quotes Psalm 24.1 that all belongs to the Lord, meaning that nothing actually belongs to idols.

According to the context, how is a Christian’s freedom to be used?

#freedom #abundance #VOTD

The shallow nature conscious of its weakness and…

The shallow nature, conscious of its weakness and insufficiency, is always trying to advertise itself and make sure of its being appreciated. The strong nature, conscious of its strength, is willing to wait and let its work be made manifest in due time. Indeed, the truest natures are so free from all self-consciousness and self-consideration that their object is not to be appreciated, understood or recompensed but to accomplish their true mission and fulfill the real work of life.

A.B. Bruce

#freedom, #strength

mm

5-30-2016 An Annual Memorial

Memorial Day started as Decoration Day for the graves of those who died in the War Between The States.  It became a federal holiday in 1971.  Remembering the war dead each year should remind us how precious is our national Freedom.  Have you noticed, there is no “memorial day” for enemies?  David reminded Israel, “O enemy, destructions are finished forever! And you have destroyed cities; Even their memory has perished” (Psalm 9:6 NKJV).  It has become devoted to baseball games, racing, grilling, and traveling.  For Christians, the Lord’s Supper is to “proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26 NKJV) every “first day of the week” (Acts 20:7 NKJV), which keeps it fresh!  We don’t decorate Christ’s grave, we celebrate His victory, and ours: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#christs-grave, #freedom, #lords-supper, #memorial-day, #victory

Jesus taught religious freedom

“Jesus taught religious freedom.” An article by this name with audio has been added to the Old Paths Archive.

May the Lord bless you.

Roy Davison

#audio, #bible, #freedom, #jesus

Free but a slave

“Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone to win as many as possible”1 Corinthians 9:19.

In the Old Testament, God provided instructions for the slave who wanted to serve his master for life. He was to go to the doorway and allow his master to pierce his ear with an awl. Continue reading

#freedom, #mission, #salvation

Choosing whom to serve

In yesterday’s e-bulletin, I mentioned the choice that Joshua made to lead his family in service to the Lord (Joshua 24:15). In truth, every person faces the choice every day of whom they will serve. God made us creatures with choice. In making us creatures of choice, he also made us creatures of responsibility. That is, only humans, out of all of God’s creations, are accountable for their actions.

Our slogan, ‘Everyone must do his own work,’ is based on the idea that I alone am responsible for my actions. 2 Cor. 5:10 and John 5:28-29 are personally responsible for the outcome of our life and the location where we spend eternity.

Joshua gave the people of his day a choice: the gods their fathers had served or the gods of the land in which they dwelled or the God of heaven.

Our choices today are also heavily weighted, by sheer number, on Satan’s side. We can serve ourselves through pleasure, comfort, money, convenience, recreation and a host of such matters. Jesus described those who serve these things as rocky and thorny soil. The gospel is received with joy, but worldly desire and comfort soon create a path back to self-serving living.

I believe that some folks get the idea that because God gives us the ability to choose, it means that he gives us the freedom to choose as we want. If that were the case, no responsibility would attach itself to our choices.

Brothers and sisters, our ability to choose sin does not give us freedom to choose sin. As a matter of fact, “the wages of sin is death.” Each of us will give personal account of our own work. So, no matter what others may be doing, I pray that you will always choose to do right.

Everyone must independently do his/her own work.

Mike Glenn

#choices, #freedom, #responsibility

Long May Our Land Be Bright With Freedom’s Holy Light

An American patriotic hymn’s final verse is a prayer:
“Our father’s God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King.”

When we sing this prayer, written in 1832 by Samuel Smith, we remember passages that talk about Christ’s concern for freedom. When Jesus preached in his hometown synagogue in Nazareth, he read a passage from Isaiah 61:1-2:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18,19). He chastised religious leaders who attempted to go beyond the word of God in binding additional requirements on God’s people. He modeled how freedom works best when exercised with discipline and respect for others. Jesus could converse with people whom others disdained because of their lifestyle because he could see their potential for being God’s people. He could forgive people who tried to hurt him and even people who had committed adultery, but express anguish over others who tried to deny help to suffering individuals because of religious laws. Jesus understood, as they did not, that submission means giving up my desires and wants to serve another, not making another into a clone of myself. Freedom does not mean doing whatever one wants. The same biblical chapter that begins, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” also warns that those who engage in the acts of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God, and concludes, “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying one another” (Galatians 5:1, 19-21, 26). Freedom is messy. Sometimes I am bothered by something I observe in a congregation, but when I search the Scriptures, pray, and perhaps check out the history there, I realize they are merely exercising their freedom in Christ. That sometimes is hard for me to admit, because I thought initially that they were wrong and needed to be corrected. On the other hand, some times what people do or tolerate is wrong and should be corrected (Note Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, whom the apostle corrected on several issues. Christ’s letters to the seven churches in Asia (Revelation 2 and 3) also emphasize that there are limits to individual and congregational freedom in Christ. What helps me is to imitate what Barnabas did at Antioch and look for the grace of God at work (Acts 11). Freedom, whether in our nation or in the church, may make us uncomfortable, but so long as it is in harmony with the word of God, we rejoice because we too are free in Christ.
We celebrate the beginnings of our nation’s independence and its continuing quest for freedom for its citizens. We moan because someone else’s freedom conflicts with our own. We worry when our freedoms (both as citizens and Christians) seem to be threatened. Let’s keep singing and praying that God will protect us and our nations (for those who live elsewhere), that he will use us to bring liberating light into the lives of our neighbors and our enemies, that we will grow in love and in disciplined use of the freedoms God has given us.

#barnabas, #freedom, #grace, #hymns, #jesus, #obedience, #paul, #prayer