TEXT: JOHN 15:10-13
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Freedom and power, and the contract between us and God. These are crazy times in which we live! Who would have thought they would become as they are? It challenges us! If we as citizens try to make sense of the “discussions” going on around us, about race, privilege, and obstacles, we often would choose to view “the cup as half full”. But these times really do challenge us this way as we wonder if the future really will be better than the past. We make progress, 2 steps forward, and then 3 steps back. Sometimes that’s difficult and weighs on us. But in the midst of the craziness we hope to leave you with something encouraging. We will try to put “this” into context, but I’m going to have to challenge your thinking, so one way or other “stay with me,” because I have some serious thoughts for us. It’s part of the role of a pastor to help to put a context around these issues that surround us, that would translate down to the way we live in a personal way. The greatest wisdom one can use, is of The Spirit, and The Word! Ultimately that which will deliver the peace and make sense of this world’s craziness, is what is part of this message. To interpret these very difficult things from the gospel’s perspective. This sermon is about freedom, which the subject surrounds this time of year, in addition to the thought of power, and the relationship between those two things, then also the contract between us and God. Between humans, and heaven. Our thoughts additionally are about the civil contract between citizens and their government, and the relationship between citizens. There’s a lot of discussions around those civil contracts. If we as citizens interpret and try to make sense of these civil discussions of race, privilege, obstacles purely by entering that civil arena tit for tat, point and counter point discussions, we as Christians lose! For our opinion is no better than the next one’s opinion! So on social media, our conversations, the way we think, our personal thoughts, …if we’re trying to make sense in social and political ways, as Christians we’re lost. What a privilege we have instead to make sense of the world using the gospel! There is no greater knowledge, and wisdom than to use the gospel to make sense of these things. That’s why this morning we’ll talk about freedom, and power, in the context of making sense of these very difficult discussions today.
What enforces and gives us liberties of freedom? There are 4 different ways to think and look at a civil, and social perspective. What enforces and gives us liberties of freedom? A social contract but also a heavenly one. 1) Law and Freedom with no Enforcement = Which is Anarchy. People have ideas about personal freedom, but no one enforces the law. Everybody gets to do what they want to do. Bad, and it doesn’t’ work! 2) Law and Enforcement, but no Freedom= Despotism (Dictatorship). 3) Enforcement but no Freedom nor Law.= Barbarism. And enforcement without any rights, results in no freedom. 4) Enforcement with Freedom and Law. Freedom only because of enforcement of what’s right and what’s wrong.= Republic (or Theocracy?) If you think in terms of how God looks at contracts, I wonder, if that’s not also Theocracy? A Theocracy is the government of God, which is ultimately the Kingdom of God. Which ultimately we are a part of if the Lord saves us, and we are citizens of that heavenly country. So a Theocracy is similar to a Republic because we have freedom. The freedom we have is in Christ, because He delivers us from Dictatorship, Barbarism, and Anarchy! Not just in a civil sense, but also a spiritual one! God’s justice frees us! Freed only because the Lord has a divine justice for enforcement, because we submit or agree to it. Those things that divide us from God, He frees us in His justice, when we place our lives in His Hands. Only because the Lord has a divine justice, judgement, or enforcement, that we submit to! You could potentially find yourself in any of these 4 arrangements (or contracts). These thoughts brought are not intended for politics, but to orient you for this lesson.
We go now to the text, John 15: 10-13. Can you see the “law” here in this text? (See above.) Christ is talking about commandments and His love. Verse 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. What is the end goal here that He has for us? Joy! We can’t just talk about arrangements with governments without talking about the goal! What are we trying to get to? The Lord is trying to get us to a complete Joy! A full joy! He asks us to get there by keeping His commandments! Jesus is our Joy. Satan wants to drain your cup of Joy in Jesus. But if you obey His law it will get you to freedom! And that freedom will result in Joy! The 23rd Psalm says “My cup runneth over!” To be happy! And even if things go wrong, the happiness will be in the joy you have to serve God! 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. A lot of greater love is missing right now! If you don’t invite God into your discussions of civil and society questions, you will have a self centered life. That doesn’t work with God! What a greater opportunity we have to introduce a greater love! In all my conversations and discussions. So you might ask, brother, how do I make sense of this civil unrest, the virus, the difficulties? Each week seems to get crazier! How do I make sense of all this? God says, in the middle of all this, …”that my desire is that your joy may be full! Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Power is necessary for freedom! Not as a “taker” of freedom from another. For again Jesus said, “All power is given unto me …in heaven and in earth.” If I want to be part of something that changes me, for me to the better, then I want to recognize as a disciple of Christ that He has all power! So I would like Him to be in the room to be part of the discussion! And not leave Him out! Jesus is the One with all power. You can argue, but at the end of the day, Every knee shall bow!. “For it is written, As I live saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Romans 14:11 For Jesus is Lord, and He has all Power! So I might as well invite Him into the room of discussions! Ask “Him” …what do You think I should be doing? No “buts!” Because Jesus has all Power!
Freedom, and Power