FREE TO SERVE OTHERS
"You, my brothers, were called to be free.
But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature;
rather, serve one another in love."
The Scripture says you were called to be FREE! Woohoo, that means you can do whatever you want! Well, not exactly; the truth is that not everything the world calls freedom is actually freedom. Yes, we live in a "free country," but don't try to use that as an excuse when you get stopped for driving 60 mph in a school zone. We have laws in this free country that you have to obey. There are right and proper ways to exercise your freedom. And that's the way it is in God's kingdom too.
I want you to notice how Paul started this statement, he said: "You, my brothers." He wasn't directing this message to just everybody. He was writing to believers, to the church, to those who were called by God and who are born of the Spirit. To THEM he says: "You were called to be free." You see, biblical freedom is a God thing. It is only available to those who are in Christ. And like every other gift of God, your freedom is a gift with a purpose. We'll address that purpose in a moment . . .
First, let's think a little more about the other kind of freedom, I'll call it "willful freedom," living according to the desires of the flesh. Think about this, is a drug abuser free? Is a thief free? Is a liar or an adulterer free? Jesus said no. He said: "Anyone who sins is a slave to sin." And by definition, slaves ARE NOT free. In Proverbs 5:22 GWV we read: "A wicked person will be trapped by his own wrongs, and he will be caught in the ropes of his own sin." Being trapped and tied up isn't freedom! You see willful freedom is a deception. It is far far away from the freedom promised to those who are in Christ. In fact, it is a counterfeit freedom that leads people away from the very things that satisfy and elevate the human soul. It is freedom from God. And freedom from God is freedom from grace, and freedom from hope, and freedom from peace, and freedom from joy.
So why has God set us free if not so we can do what we want? The answer is that God has set us free so we can do what HE wants. Our text says: "Do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." That other kind of freedom is nothing but self-indulgence. Godly freedom is just the opposite. Loving service is putting the needs of others first in your life. In Php. 2:3 Paul wrote: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." That means the needs of others become more significant, of higher importance than your own needs. God has freed us from bondage to selfishness and set us free to love our neighbors. And that is the calling of God and the way we honor Christ! Can I hear an "Amen?"
Pastor Keith Andrews