Celebrating True Freedom

June 30, 2024

Book: Isaiah, Luke, Romans

I can see the fireworks exploding in glorious brilliance in the night sky. I can smell the hamburgers and the hotdogs being seared to perfection on the grill. I can see the grandkids running around the backyard with sparklers streaming in front of them. I can taste the ice cream and see the s’mores smearing chocolate and marshmallow all over the grandkids excited faces.

What in the world am I describing? This is the typical Melton family 4th of July celebration. This is how we choose to celebrate the fact that we are free and live in a land that is free.

In just a few days there will be nationwide celebrations, festivals and fireworks, concerts and parades, family cookouts and hotdog eating contests. And, let me be as clear as I can. It’s good to celebrate the freedoms, we, as Americans, enjoy and to strive to maintain the freedoms we enjoy. We should be thankful for the freedoms we have. We are free to vote. We are free to live where we choose. We are free to make a living however we desire. We are free to speak the convictions of our hearts. We are free to go and to do and to speak and to believe.

But, as Christians, who live in America, we need to make sure that we do not equate the freedoms that we enjoy in this country, with the true freedom that only comes through Christ. The freedoms that we enjoy in this country are wonderful, but the freedoms that man gives are temporary. How do I know this to be true? Because the freedoms that man gives can be taken away. “The freedom that comes only from salvation by grace through faith in Christ – can never be taken away.

So, let’s explore for a moment this morning, the idea of celebrating true freedom, so we can ensure that we don’t get distracted and focus on physical freedom rather than true freedom.

Big Idea: True freedom is a gift that comes to us from Christ and it must be lived in and shared with those around us if we want them to experience true freedom.

Definition of Freedom:

  1. the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint:
  2. exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
  3. the power to determine action without restraint.
  4. political or national independence.
  5. personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery:

Let’s take a look at true freedom, Turn to Isaiah 61:1.

Isa 61:1-2 (ESV) The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; [2] to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;

Why do I take us to this passage in Isaiah to talk about true freedom? Because Jesus said these words find their fulfillment in him!

Luk 4:16-21 (ESV) And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. [17] And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, [18] “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, [19] to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” [20] And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. [21] And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

  • Celebrate the Giver of True Freedom.
  • This verse is a trinitarian statement. The Holy Spirit of the Lord God was upon Jesus to empower him to accomplish the mission of bringing salvation.
  • Jesus was anointed (set aside).
  • To bring good news to the poor (think “poor in spirit”)
  • To bind up the brokenhearted (bind up is a term of healing. Only Jesus can heal the brokenhearted)
  • To proclaim liberty to the captives (we are all slaves to sin and only Jesus can set us free)
  • If we really want to celebrate true freedom, we must celebrate and rejoice in Jesus. We are poor, without hope, in this world. We are broken and only Jesus can bind up the wounds of our soul and bring healing. We are bound in sin. Slaves to our sinful heart and Jesus alone can break us free from our captivity and throw open wide the prison doors.
  • This verse has ties to the Day of Jubilee in Leviticus 25:8-10. Almost the same wording is used.
  • Lev 25:8-10 (ESV) “You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years. [9] Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. [10] And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan.
  • The Year of Jubilee in the Old Testament is a foreshadowing to the liberty that Christ gives to all who will believe in his atoning work on the cross.
  • There is no true freedom apart from the atonement of Christ.
  • Also, recognize that the freedom Christ gives can never be taken away.
  • Jhn 8:31-36 (ESV) So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, [32] and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [33] They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” [34] Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. [35] The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. [36] So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
  • The freedom that Christ provides sets us free from the slavery of sin and brings us into the freedom of becoming a son (or a daughter) of God.
  • Rom 8:15 (ESV) For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
  • The freedom that Jesus gives is not like the freedom that man gives. Since the freedom Jesus gives cannot be taken away, it is not contingent. We have been declared “free” in Christ. Because of who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for you, you are free. In Christ you are free indeed. No government can take it away. You are free to live for Jesus. You are free to worship Jesus. You are free to love Jesus. You are free to serve Jesus. You are free to talk about Jesus. No country, no leader, no military, gave you “true freedom”. Therefore, they cannot ever take the freedom away that you have in Christ.

  • Live in the Gift of True Freedom
  • Gal 5:1 (ESV) For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
  • Gal 5:13 (ESV) For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
  • Rom 6:6-7 (ESV) We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. [7] For one who has died has been set free from sin.
  • 1Pe 2:13-16 (ESV) Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, [14] or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. [15] For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. [16] Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
  • Rom 8:20-21 (ESV) For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope [21] that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
  • Free from sin.
  • Free to love.
  • Free to serve.
  • Free to do good.
  • Christians were never promised earthly comfort or freedom.
  • In fact, living in the freedom that Christ gives is going to bring you in opposition to the people and the systems that provide your earthly freedom. It is impossible to try and live in the freedom of an earthly kingdom while at the same time living in the freedom of Christ’s kingdom. They are opposed to one another. Our calling, quite simply, is to take up our cross and follow Jesus. “If the world hates you”, he told his disciples, “know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
  • If it’s God’s will that we should lose our earthly freedoms, this does nothing to take away our assurance of salvation nor prevent us from loving God and neighbour.

  • Share the Good News of True Freedom
  • Isa 61:10-11 (ESV) I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. [11] For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.
  • The same first person nature that the passage began with now closes the passage. Many scholars believe that we should read this as the same person talking that started the passage. If that is true, then just as Jesus applied the beginning of the passage to himself, we can also apply the closing of the passage to him.
  • The Lord God has clothed Jesus with the garments of salvation and covered him with the robes of righteousness. All people, nations, tribes, and languages who come to Christ and are clothed in his salvation and in his righteousness, they experience the true freedom that only he can give.
  • This is the freedom provided by the good news of Jesus Christ.
  • The Lord’s focus has always been to bring salvation and righteousness to the nations.
  • Luk 24:46-48 (ESV) and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, [47] and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. [48] You are witnesses of these things.
  • Point others to the freedom that can only come from a relationship with Jesus Christ. Focusing on any other freedom is only a temporary fix.