The LAW of Freedom

Law Freedom

Sunday 02/09/20

Series: Do we Really Believe?

Message – The Law of Freedom

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The LAW of Freedom

We’ve kicked off the new year with the question – 

Do we Really believe? 

 – “How am I living like I believe His words are true?”

Now, over the past five weeks we’ve had the following messages illustrating and enforcing these truths and their implications:

  1. In our Midst – Jesus is walking amidst His global church and His individual local churches. He is scrutinizing their walk – Are they walking like they believe His words and commands are true and important?  
  2. Why do we Gather? – Since Jesus’ attention in Revelation seemed to be His church… We focused our attention there. God’s stated purpose for the local church is to stir us up towards Maturity in Christ and training in ministry.
  3. The Purpose of the Gospel is Life and Peace God was NEVER about behavior (righteous acts) but about oneness – life – to know and be known. But that without Agreement – there can be no union of walking together Galatians 3:21, “(21) Is the law therefore contrary to God’s promises? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly be by the law.” Amos 3:3,  “How can two walk together if they are not agreed?” so there is a direct relationship between the message and purpose of the Gospel and that of the church. Maturity in Christ which requires righteousness and training in ministry which requires surrender in agreement. 
  4. Worship is how you walkWhere we began to see all of this come together. 
    1. Is  the message of the Good News alive in me?
    2. Am I intentional about being matured into His likeness and being trained for ministry work when we come to church? 
    3. Do I come prepared to hear and with a heart already tuned for obedience? Are we coming with expectant hearts eager to grow, ready to learn and change and be further equipped? Are we hungry to minister as His representatives?
    4. Are we seeking to live lives of agreement through surrender to His words and ways? Are we intentional about even discovering and remembering what He says? 
    5. Do we truly desire the Glory of God which is Christ’s likeness within and the knowledge of union with God being ministered without…FIRST to our brethren and secondly to the world?
    6. Is my worship of God sincere? When I am tempted to think of something else, other than God as the source of good – to be drawn away in allegiance after it instead of to my Lord…what is my pattern? Do I typically consider it Joy in union and pass the test or do I fall?
    7. Am I quick and intentional and prompt in my hearing the word or am I quick with my own will, opinions and siding with my emotions?
    8. Is my worship merely outward in external acts with no heart or is it permeating my heart so that my devotion to God is what comes out my mouth – being the thing which is MOST abundant in my heart?
    9. In other words, am I doing what is necessary to have a heart which lives like I believe His words are true? What letter is Jesus crafting for me right now? Well done? You have forsaken your love for me? You have grown lukewarm? You are easily sidestepped from the hope of the gospel…what?

James tells us to be QUICK to hear these words of Christ – meaning “let everyone be READY to hearprepared to hear…prompt and intentional in hearing!” 

It is the New Testament equivalent to – SHEMA! 

“(22)  But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

If you hear but do not live like you believe it is true you are deceiving yourself into believing you are a true worshiper of God.  I don’t know about you but to me those are sobering words.

“(23)  Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror;” 

Whose face is he seeing in the mirror? HIS OWN!

“(24)  for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was.”

He is revealing that You are like Him, but if you forget who you are – you will live by how you feel – which is influenced by MANY things other than just God.

Turn to 2 Cor. 3:15-18,

“15  Yes, to this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their hearts. 16  But whenever the heart of the nation shall have returned to the Lord, the veil will be withdrawn. 17  Now by »the Lord« is meant the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, freedom is enjoyed. 18 And all of us, with unveiled faces, reflecting like bright mirrors the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same likeness, from one degree of radiant holiness to another, even as derived from the Lord the Spirit.”

“(25)  But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts–this person will be blessed in what he does.”

Perfect law of freedom…What is this?

It is -> the LAW of Life in Christ!

Rom. 8:1-17, “(1) Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus,  (2) because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  (3) What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering,  (4) in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

(5) For those whose lives are according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those whose lives are according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit.  (6) For the mind-set of the flesh is death, [so repent – change your mind] but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.  (7) For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so.  (8) Those whose lives are in the flesh are unable to please God.

(9) You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.  (10) Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (11) And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you. 

(12) So then, brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, (13) for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (14) All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. (15) For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”  (16) The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, (17) and if children, also heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ–seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”

2Thess.3:3-5, “3  But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen and guard you from the evil one. 4  We have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do what we command. 5  May the Lord direct your hearts to God’s love and Christ’s endurance.” 

“(26) If anyone thinks he is DEVOUT and DEVOTED to God without controlling his tongue but deceiving his heart, his religion is useless!  (27) Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Summary points:

  • Who we are is Spiritual not natural.
  • God’s word as seen through the veil of the flesh is condemnation
  • God’s word as seen through Jesus is restoration
  • The Spirit’s Law is intimacy and union with God in and through Jesus!
  • We walk in THAT law, by how we think!

God Bless!

I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!

If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.

If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.

Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!