Suppose today instantly you could go to any country on earth to ask this question: "Would you like to have freedom?" This is the only question you ask--you literally conduct a one question interview. The only requirement: you must ask this question to people in different nations in different circumstances.

If you went all over the world asking that question, what answer would you expect? Many of us would expect the answer, "Yes! I would love freedom! Freedom would be a wonderful blessing to my people!" Most of us would be shocked when some said, "No! Freedom is terrible! Freedom would be an awful experience for my people!"

If you conducted this one question survey, you would be shocked. We have lived in a free society for generations. In this society, our concept of freedom is formed by our lifestyles. We cannot imagine two things. First, we cannot imagine life without freedom. Second, we cannot imagine anyone not wanting our concept of freedom.

In 1972 while en route to the mission field, Joyce and I had the joy of stopping in Rome for a few days. I remember a conversation with the manager of the older hotel we stayed in. Europe was experiencing some difficult economic times. He said, "We would be much better off if we had a Mussolini in control. At least we would know what to expect." Mussolini was a fascist premier in Italy who entered an alliance with Hitler.

While on the mission field, Joyce and I witnessed a national election. We lived in a society that had no birth records, no death records, and no voter registration. The president of the country submitted the names of the people to serve in his congress. There was only one party. The voter agreed or disagreed with the president's choices.

After voting, the voter had a hand stamped. The voter promptly went to a water hydrant and washed the ink off. We asked a friend what kept a person from voting a second time. He looked at us blankly and asked, "Why would anyone do that?" He explained, "We are a one party democracy. We are not ready for two party democracy."

Suppose everyone agreed on a good definition of freedom. With that agreement, this is my question: "What is the price of freedom?" This month vividly reminded us of this truth: the price of freedom is blood.

  1. Read with me Galatians 5:1 then 5:13-15.
    Galatians 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
    Galatians 5:13-15 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
    1. When Paul wrote these statements, there was no freedom in the world of the Roman empire.
      1. Though the word "free" was used commonly in regard to a certain kind of people, it did not refer to the freedom you and I take for granted.
      2. The most significant form of freedom in the first century world was freedom from slavery.
        1. The man or woman who was a slave had no rights, no civil liberties.
        2. The typical slave was accustomed to having an owner tell him or her what he or she could and could not do in every circumstance.
        3. To the majority, being free meant not to be a slave.
    2. Paul was not speaking politically but spiritually.
      1. According to Paul, a person could at the very same moment be a slave physically and be spiritually free (see 1 Corinthians 7:21-24).
      2. A person literally could be a slave and at the same moment be free in Christ.
      3. The freedom Paul spoke about had nothing to do with our 21st century American concept of free existence in a free society.
    3. What was Paul talking about?
      1. Almost every form of religion in Paul's day enslaved its followers.
        1. A follower had to know the correct rites.
        2. A follower had to know the correct traditions.
        3. A follower had to know the correct process.
        4. For any religion to be effective in a follower's life, he or she had to do things just right.
      2. Judaism, the Jewish religion, had very much become this kind of religion in the first century.
        1. "You must be circumcised."
        2. "You must offer the right sacrifices."
        3. "You must keep the correct holy days."
        4. "You must follow the correct Jewish traditions."
        5. "Only then can you have a proper relationship with God."
      3. Some Jewish Christians insisted that Christians who were not Jews do things the Jewish way.
        1. Paul said that it was totally unnecessary for a Christian who is not a Jew to do things the way Jewish Christians did them.
        2. God gave Jesus to free everyone.
        3. God gave Jesus to do more than free from sin those who trusted and obeyed him.
        4. God gave Jesus to free people from the way things were done in their past.

  2. Paul said God freed you as Christians so that you can serve each other in love.
    1. That sounds like an oxymoron (a combination of two statements that in no way go together).
      1. God freed you to serve?
      2. If you are free, why do you have to serve?
      3. If you serve, does that not cancel your freedom?
    2. Paul said your freedom is found in love, not in irresponsibility.
      1. If you define freedom as having no responsibility, the end result is that your freedom will destroy other people.
      2. You will even feel justified in destroying others in the name of freedom.
      3. Love for others will not permit you to do that.
      4. That is why love is the source of freedom.
    3. So you say, "I don't understand that." Allow me to try to explain.
      1. If you hate me, I do not have to hate you back--that is freedom.
      2. If you slander me, I do not have to slander you back--that is freedom
      3. If you are bitter against me, I do not have to be bitter toward you--that is freedom.
      4. No matter what evil you do against me, I am free to do good toward you.
    4. If you still have trouble understanding that, look at Jesus.
      1. They spit on him; he did not spit back.
      2. They slapped him; he did not slap back.
      3. They cursed and mocked him; he did not curse and mock them.
      4. They used their power against him, but he did not use his power against them.
      5. They killed him, but he forgave them.
      6. They were slaves to evil, but he was free in God's love.
    5. The freest person to ever live on this earth was Jesus.
      1. Nothing in this world enslaved him. Evil never motivated him. Not even death dominated him.
      2. Our issue is this: do we want freedom?

  3. There are some basic realities we need to understand about spiritual freedom.
    1. Reality one: not everyone wants spiritual freedom.
      1. Some like to be slaves to their desires.
      2. Some want the pleasures of indulgence even if indulgence means slavery.
    2. Reality two: some have a wrong definition for spiritual freedom.
      1. They think spiritual freedom means irresponsible thinking or irresponsible behavior.
      2. They think spiritual freedom means indulgence without any form of restraint.
      3. They think freedom means doing whatever it takes to be "happy" right now.
    3. Realty three: some use a wrong definition of freedom to gain and exercise control.
      1. To them, freedom means seeing it their way, doing it their way, surrendering to their traditions, allowing them to "call the shots."
      2. This kind of people are not interested in your being free, but are interested in their being in control.
    4. Reality four: spiritual freedom is expressed by serving in love.

Romans 6:20-23 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This week I saw and heard an interview conducted with a member of the civilian reconstruction team in Iraq. This is the team that entered Iraq after the fighting and do two things. First, they are to help Iraq "get up and running" again. That includes things like getting the utilities back on, getting the kids in school, getting the hospitals running, and returning the basics of life back to normal. Second, they are to move that country toward a democratic society.

This person talked about the challenges they confronted. One particular part of the interview caught my attention and fascinated me. As this team began to contact people in southern Iraq, people often ask, "Why are you here?" He shared his answer, and in his answer was, "To give you freedom." His comment: "People who have never had freedom do not even understand what I mean." "To give you freedom" was an answer with no meaning.

Lately as we watch funerals, hear taps, and hear twenty-one gun salutes, we should have not doubt about the price of freedom. Were we to attend one of the funerals for a service person killed in Iraq, and were we to ask his or her family, "What is the price of freedom?" the family could tell you. In tears, they would say, "The price of freedom is blood."

This morning I want you to understand that each of us can be spiritually free. Each of us can be sanctified, purified, forgiven, and spiritually liberated. That can happen in each of our lives because God paid a price. I hope each of us realizes that the price of our freedom is blood, the blood of the sinless, innocent Jesus.

My question to you: do you know what spiritual freedom means? Do you understand what God has done? Do you understand why Jesus died?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 20 April 2003

Study Along With David Chadwell
A Worship Worksheet For Older Kids
April 20, 2003

If you went all over the earth asking people if they want to have freedom, what do you think the answer would be?


We cannot imagine life without ________________________.

What is the price of freedom? _______________________________________________

When Paul wrote Galatians there was no freedom in the world of the _____________ ______________.

The most significant form of freedom in the first century was freedom from __________.

According to Paul, a person could be a ______________ and at the same moment be _________ in Christ!

The freedom Paul spoke about had nothing to do with our 21st century American concept of freedom.

Paul said that ______ freed you as Christians so that you can __________ each other in love.

There are ______________ __________________ we need to understand about ____________ ___________________.

Reality one: not _______________ wants spiritual freedom.

Reality two: some have a ______________ _________________ for spiritual freedom.

Reality three: some use a wrong definition of freedom to ________ and ______________ control.

Reality four: spiritual freedom is expressed by ____________ ___ _______________.

David wants you to understand that all can be _______________ _________________!

provided by Gary Brown

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