The Message That Will Change Your Life

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On New Year. So a little bit of a treat. But if you’ve not been introduced to that ministry, that was Joseph and Sundry. His wife last name is Thomas. They’re missionaries that we support in India right now. They were outside of the orphanage, which is one of the several things that they do in India. It’s got around between 60 to 70 girls in that orphanage. And he just having people from our church not only support, but to go over there and be physically present has impacted his life in such a way that he wants to. Thank you. We’re going to dismiss ten, 11 year olds for their class. And I want to invite you this morning. I’m going to let you know we’re going to teach a concept or a thought that I think is important to the idea of what new means. I know sometimes we bring up the new word New Year and some of you are like, This is the time where I set my goals and some of you are like, Man, treat every day the same. Who cares if it’s a new year, it’s another day and all that’s fine, but we’re going to talk about new anyway because this foundation we’re going to lay for us this morning is one for you and your Christian life. No matter where you are. It is a springboard into how to think through things in a healthy way as it relates to your relationship in Jesus.

So I’m going to look at a few passages. I’m going to tell you where those are in case you want to turn there and mark in your Bibles, it’s going to be up on the screen. I would encourage you to at least start in this passage that we’re going to begin together. And if and if you’re not comfortable flipping through scripture, you can look to the screen, make notes. But all these passages are significant, powerful passages that relate to what I want to get across. And so I don’t want to downplay the significance of Scripture at all to us and how important it is. And so first Corinthians chapter two or not, first Corinthians scuse me, first Peter. Chapter two is where we’re going to start, and then we’re going to go to Mark chapter ten and then Exodus chapter six. And that will give you a good summary of anticipation of how we’re going to build through this process. And I’m going to use it in talking about newness of life. I want to set the framework for us to really experience freedom. When you talk about the word freedom, it’s often associated the words often expressed because something in our lives we felt trapped or we feel we didn’t quite achieve what we needed to achieve because there was some sort of obligation or something that held us down, kept us from a lack of opportunity.

It could have even been ourselves. But we want to think about freedom in the sense of what God desires for us in in this life and when we talk about freedom. I’m going to do it in a very odd way. Because first, Peter, chapter two does it in an odd way. He uses these two words that I would say probably when we think about freedom, we would not categorize the word bondslave as associated with freedom. In fact, we would say this that’s probably the opposite. But when we we talk about it in a biblical sense servant, some translations use the word servant. Other translations use the word slave. Slave is actually more accurate to the biblical translation, but because of of the way we have preconceived ideas in America, I think some translators choose the word servant because we we put certain baggage on the word slave or bond slave. That wasn’t necessarily the way they expressed it in biblical terms. So servants probably more accurate for us without being able to define exactly the way that slavery was used in the in the New Testament. So servant is probably a more accurate word. But either way, when you talk about freedom in the same sentence of you expressing freedom, I’m going to go out on a limb and say you probably didn’t use servant in a good way. On the back end of that, if you use servant of at all, how in the world when you look at a passage like this, how in the world can you use the word freedom with with a thought like servant or bond slave? How does that even go in scripture? How do we find what we are being expressed in this passage for us to live out? I mean, can I make sense of it? I’m going to try to do that.

All right. But I want to say this about freedom. Obviously, it’s significant to us. It’s important because it’s an expression that Peter uses in this passage for believers. He says, act as free men or women. It’s just including mankind. And do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond slaves of God. Freedom in this past is according to the way that Peter is directing us. And whether you have a biblical context to this or not, we would probably all agree freedom is crucial to building a healthy life. Freedom happens to be even culturally a popular word in speech. You want to gain some momentum in any sort of scene on a stage or a political arena or just use the word freedom. Right? It’s a it’s a popular term for us. People like it, but it’s something that oftentimes it’s not always easy to live. Whether people, groups are oppressed or even in our own lives. We have certain bondage that we might experience.

You know, usually when we use the word freedom to what we often express as we’re using the word freedom, because what we want to experience is liberation. And so I’ll say I’ll talk about freedom because we’re understanding within the context of freedom that there is something that isn’t free. And what it needs is liberation. And usually when we’re speaking about freedom in that type of context and the idea of liberation, we’re oftentimes looking at the the bondage that exists, not so much the the transition that happens after that. And so the the use of freedom in that way deals more specifically with with the problem of bondage and sin than it does in the fullness of living out freedom, because there’s no guarantee. Just because you liberate someone. That they’re going to be able to walk then in freedom. In fact, the next thing they enter into could then bring them back into bondage again. And so when we use freedom in the sense that we want delivered from when I when I talk about freedom in my own life or I’ve used an expression close to that, or maybe even in your life, you would say, yeah, it’s usually because there was something that was keeping me from where I felt like I needed to be and I just wanted to be liberated from that. Now, sometimes when you think that way, those things you want liberated from are probably healthy things to leave behind.

Other times it might be you giving up on something that you shouldn’t be giving up on. Right? But. But usually in the context of that, when we use freedom, we’re using it in the idea of liberation, but not the full expression of what freedom is. But I want to be careful when I use the word freedom, because what I don’t mean by the word freedom is autonomous independence. I think that’s actually impossible. And if you play that thought out to its fullest, autonomous independence isn’t really freedom, it’s more anarchy. Because even in the context of a culture, when we describe our nation as a free nation, there are certain things that we would submit to. And so that the holistic part of the group that makes up our country could experience freedom together. There are certain rights we give up because if we if we all lived autonomous and did whatever we wanted, we could continuously violate one another by our own freedom that we’re trying to live out in our own lives. And so there’s certain ways that we structure ourselves in relationships to one another so that we can experience freedom together. And so autonomous independence really leads to anarchy. But I don’t think that’s where freedom finds itself. Let me tell you why. I don’t think living autonomous independence. Is really, truly freedom. Because we as people, as soon as you find yourself free, we’ll go to find something in life to give you worth, purpose, value and meaning.

And so as soon as you’re liberated from something, being able to experience that freedom, if that freedom isn’t leverage in a place that is healthy. Then you’ll find yourself being placed under bondage in something else again, because you are looking for something in life for which you could belong to in order to have purpose, value and meaning. And so when you’re just wandering in this world trying to figure those things out, what we find ourselves in is trap after trap, maybe a moment of something that expresses to me that I’m worth something, but in the end just captures me and will not release me. And so freedom when we use the word freedom, it’s not it’s not autonomous independence, because what we recognize in freedom is that we as people were created to belong somewhere. And when we find that healthy place for which we are to belong, we find our identity, shape, our meaning and purpose within it. And so freedom is intended to be expressed in the place for which you were created to belong. And so if we back up from this verse for just a moment and see what what Peter is saying in this passage, he really culminates his thoughts leading into verse 16. But if you back up from this, what he’s doing in verse nine and on is he’s he’s helping us in the free men that we are or free women that we are.

He’s helping us find the place for which we were intended to belong so that we can shape our identity and live in the freedom for which God has given us. And so this is what He says in verse nine. You’re going to have to give me a quick show. And in verse nine, he says. But you. You’re a chosen race. A royal priesthood. Holy nation. A people for God’s own possession. See this? He’s shaping identity. These are the things that you may proclaim the Excellencies of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. See, the temptation, the reason, the reason I think the Bible chooses to say things to us is because sometimes within our nature, we often choose to believe the opposite to be true. I think our hearts naturally stray from God. We have to be active to pursue God. And so I would say with what Peter is expressing here, that the the tendency within our own nature is to not live in this freedom that God’s given us and this identity. And so he’s he’s wanting the church to to recognize their position in God so that we can continue to shape ourselves in that. And so he says in verse ten, for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God.

You had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you, as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lust which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may, because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. So he’s he’s helping us create this this picture for where we belong. And I just want to highlight just a couple of words that he says here. Because because he’s not saying that you’re you’re going to become this or or this is this is your goal. What he says in this passage, verse nine, verse ten, he uses these words as active words. This word for are. He’s saying to us, this is actively as belonging to Jesus. Your continual position in him, this is who you are. In case you get lost on the journey, in case you lose perspective, in case you feel like you’re not worthy. In case you don’t think that you’re accepted, this is who you are. And one of the important things I think he does with this are is then he attaches it to you, which becomes really important to understanding freedom because it’s about everything that I just said and autonomous independence. This word you are is your. And so what it’s saying for us is this isn’t your freedom, an autonomous independence.

This is the church together being shaped in the identity of Jesus. This is what God is working out in all of us. You want to find a place where you belong. You want to find a place where you have purpose, meaning and worth. It’s God’s people being shaped in this identity. And what Peter is encouraging us for in this passage is this when we’re free. It’s then that you can live for the purpose for which you were created. When you choose to live in this identity. Then it shapes the trajectory for the way you conduct yourself in this world. You don’t have to go on a quest for purpose and meaning. Because Jesus has already given it to you. Now you live it out. Jesus, Mark. Ten. Tried to explain this to his passage, and this is the way I want to approach Mark ten. So I’ve talked a lot about freedom, and now we need to connect the dot. How in the world do we draw this to slavery? You know, like if you if you say to yourself this morning, I agree, I agree. I’m holistically in with Jesus, I give my life to him, but how could I ever convince someone else that this is what they need to do to when it comes to Christ? Like, where does where do those dots connect? How can I go on this journey? What scriptures are important? Well, Mark ten Jesus is sharing with his disciples and and He gives this proclamation for what He’s going to do in verse 32 and this verse for when I look at this verse, I feel like everyone’s concerned for Jesus because they feel like he’s going to have like this Ronda Rousey experience just a couple nights ago, if you even get that cultural reference.

But but in verse 32, look what it says. They’re on the road going to Jerusalem. Jesus is near death here. They know people are out for Jesus and now they’re they’re on the road going to Jerusalem and Jesus was walking ahead of them. It’s not like, Hey, you guys, check it out for me, okay? But Jesus was walking ahead of me and look and they were amazed. And those who followed were fearful. It’s like, you go on. You go on ahead, Jesus. Like, oh, that’s incredible. And I’m going to pretend like I don’t know you as soon as the crowd jumps you. So they’re all fearful. And again, he took the 12 aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to him. And then in verse 33. Saying, this is Jesus, Behold, we’re going to Jerusalem. And the son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes. And they will condemn him to death. And we’ll hand him over. The Gentiles. Now, Jesus, in this passage, referring to himself, he’s actually talking about himself in third person.

I don’t know if you caught that, but when he when he’s referencing himself, it’s kind of it’s kind of bizarre. Why would Jesus do that? The reason Jesus is referring to himself in third person has to do with the phrase of the son of man. He’s actually quoting scripture, showing how he is the son of man as it records in Scripture, which actually the son of man points more to the deity of Christ than it does the humanity of Jesus. But there are two passages that do both. In Psalm 814, it talks more about the humanity of Christ and the Son of man. But in Daniel chapter seven, verses 13 and 14, you see the son of man is actually God become flesh. And so Jesus is putting this title on himself to show he is the fulfillment of Scripture. And like any, any great disciple, any any dude, it’s like they don’t even know what to do with that man. That sounds heavy. And so they just change topic. They don’t even they don’t even engage in this conversation like, Jesus, that sounds horrible, you know? But they just say this, James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus and they said to him, Hey, can we sit one on your right and one on the left in your glory? Like their question.

Their question. Oh, Jesus, you’re done. That’s. I feel so bad. Let’s just pray about this together. It’s. Oh, man. Hey, can we be first in your kingdom? Like, it’s totally, totally misses what Christ is trying to say here, But they’re they’re more interested in in their position. Right? This is where it gets important to servanthood and slave. But they’re more interested in how they can get to the top. And then Jesus says this. He uses it as a teaching moment, as all good teachers would. He says, calling them to himself, Jesus said to them. You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you. Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. Now you listen to that and you’re like, That really doesn’t explain to me why, but it just tells me that that’s what I should do, right? But then Jesus says probably the most important thing. Verse 45. For even the son of man. Did not come to be served. But to serve. And to give his life. A ransom for many. The way you can really see. I’m going to jump back to this person in a second. But the way you can truly see if someone is free.

As if they’re using. Their giftedness in the freedom. To leverage for the benefit of other people. Meaning it’s only free people that can help those that are in bondage find freedom. And that’s what Jesus is saying about his life here. I’m free. You’re not. I’ve come to give my life that you can experience freedom. That’s. That’s what makes freedom continue on. That’s what births freedom Is that when someone else is willing to lay down their life for the benefit of other people in bondage. But what Jesus does here is something, something significant as he points to the reason of his servanthood. And this is what leads us to servanthood and emulation of Christ. He chooses to use a a popular or not a popular expression, but a common expression. See, in our language today, when we talk about financial transactions, we have we have several words that we we have that relate to any sort of financial transactions, whether it be to purchase, to deposit, to, to get a loan, to get get a receipt to pay down a debt. There’s all sorts of words that relate to financial transactions. In Jesus’s culture the same thing. And Jesus chooses to use this particular word related to financial transactions in order to create an image within our mind. He uses the word at the very end of this phrase and to give his life a ransom. For many. This word for ransom in Jesus’s culture was used for the purpose of purchasing Purchasing a Slave.

And so when he uses this expression to his people and the disciples that he’s explaining his purpose to, they would have immediately understood what Jesus is associating his life for and what He’s saying about this ransom. Normally within his own culture, when someone would pay the ransom for a slave, they would pay some sort of money. But what Jesus is saying about this ransom is that he himself would be the ransom. Now he’s not proclaiming that he would be the ransom sort of as a as a worst case scenario. Like I don’t I don’t have any other options here. Like this is my last resort. And so I’ve just got to do this. But rather Jesus is laying his life down to be the ransom, because this was the plan from the beginning to set people free. Wasn’t because the opposition was so difficult. Because Jesus, is that great? And to paint the picture really more fully in our mind exactly what Jesus is saying here. Jesus is also carrying this, this, this word ransom from a particular storyline so that for the Jewish people it would it would just saturate them. And the beauty of what Christ is saying. And when Jesus is using this word ransom, it’s a fulfillment of everything that God told the people of Israel as he brought them out of bondage in Egypt.

In Exodus, chapter three. If you’re familiar with the story of Exodus, it’s it’s the story of of Moses being called to go before Pharaoh and and set the captives free. To see Israel brought out of slavery. And so in chapter three, God meets Moses at the burning bush. And in verse 14, he he commissions Moses to go back to Pharaoh all the way into Chapter four. And then Moses goes before Pharaoh in chapter four and verse 18. But when you get to the chapter five about the midway through Chapter five, what you find out with Moses’s initial encounters with Pharaoh is they didn’t go the way that he wanted them to. And so Moses comes back to Pharaoh distraught. In Chapter five, verses 22, he asks the question, God, why did you why did you send me before Pharaoh? The people were better off before I even came here. And then. God. Pulls back the curtain. He paints for Moses. This beautiful picture. And he lets Moses sort of see on the inside. What he’s working for. Our goodness. So as we trust in God with our lives, we don’t always know how things will end up. And the long term we do. But. But we’re just trusting him each step of the way to be there to provide. God is faithful. God is faithful to us. But he says in Exodus, chapter six, as he starts to pull back the curtain in verse two, But then in verse, verse six, he goes from here and he says, Say therefore to the Sons of Israel.

I am the Lord. I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgment. Then I will take you for my people and I will be your God. And you shall know that I am the Lord, your God who brought you from under the burdens of the Egyptians. Jesus in this passage or the Lord in this passage, as He’s explaining to to Moses, he uses this phrase to kind of identify what he desires to do for Israel. Who is their slaves? They’re in bondage. They’re not free. And he gives these I will statements. And when you notice the first the first two that he gives deals with with the liberation. But then the next to deal with the identity, which really is all of what freedom encompasses. And so he says, I’m going to set you free from the burden of the Egyptians. I’m going to deliver you from their bondage. But but liberation isn’t the fullness of freedom. It’s just being set free from what held you in bondage. It doesn’t guarantee that you’re not going to continue to be free from the things that can bond you. And so then he says this.

I will also. Redeem you. This word for redemption in Hebrew literature is rich with meaning. It’s a word when you look into it, it deals with and focuses on preserving. It focuses on restoring. And that’s possible, this redemption, because it’s done by someone who has the means to do so. The value of the thing redeemed is determined by the price someone pays for it. And you think of Jesus. Who paid the ransom. With his life. And when you study this word redeemed. What you find in Hebrew is that it comes from the same word cluster as the word for ransomed. And so when Jesus is walking on this road with his disciples and he’s explaining to them the the fullness of what he’s desiring to accomplish, he uses this word ransom, to draw them back to the history of Israel in which they lived at a time in bondage, to understand in their own lives exactly what Jesus was going to do and how him being a servant is what led to the freedom of all people as they trust in him. And so the focus of redemption. It’s not just about what you were bought from. The focus of redemption. Finds its fullness in what you were bought for. So when you talk about the word freedom and what it means in our lives to live in the identity of that freedom, to just stop on what you were set free from is to sell it short of what it’s intended to do.

Because what God’s desire to do in you is to set you free for what you were created for. Not from. And so Peter is shaping this identity for us. And so when you see why you were made and how to be free and what Jesus gives us, we begin to want to serve in it. When the the disciples wrote the New Testament. When you read their Epistles as they are writing letters to the church, almost all of them start this way. Servant of the Lord or slave of the Lord. And I think their intentions for us is not to oversell the redemption and ramps and that Jesus has paid for us so that we can truly see what it means to shape identity. Because when you ask anyone in history at any point, if you say to them, Do you want to be a slave? No, Lord, no. I don’t no one’s going to sign up for that. But when you see that Jesus becomes that place of saturating your life so that you find freedom in here so that you can truly live for why you why you were created. What the disciples are doing is saying, as much as I can give all of my life for this. I am laying it down. And you ask the disciples if if you could just think of a word that expressed the totality of laying all that you are down to experience this freedom, What word could you use to express it? Bondservant.

Servant of God. A slave to him. Because it’s when I find the reason for which I am created and I am mastered by it. That I live in that freedom. We begin to want to serve in it. And this becomes important because it really answers for us the question why do Christians do good works? I get this? I get asked this in Utah a lot. Good works don’t lead to your salvation. How do good works not lead to your salvation? Why would you do good works then? Do you know? Paul was asked that same question. When he talked about the liberation that Jesus brings us, the freedom in him that we now have, in the identity that we receive in him, the people’s reaction, because the goodness of Christ that sets us free totally because of Jesus, because we were slaves, that could not set ourselves free. The question came up then why do we do good? Romans Chapter six. That’s how it starts. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? What they’re saying is, if God’s grace rescued us from our sin and it doesn’t matter that what we did to save ourselves, rather God’s grace is the thing that rescues us. Why don’t we just go on and keep on living in sin? So that demonstrates just how good God’s grace is.

I mean, that’s the question. Can we continue in sin so that grace may increase? And he says in verse verse two. And may it never be. How shall we who died to sin live in it. Meaning? How shall you who’ve been set free? Go back to the thing that bound you. Why not live for what you were created for? They ask the question again in verse 15, What then shall we sin? Because we are not under law but under grace. May it never be. Freedom means we live in the new identity. The identity you were created. To live out. Why? Why do you use the word slave? Why? Because we see how we’ve been given freedom. We were ransomed. And redeemed from something. But more importantly, for something. And living in that identity and shaping our lives in that purpose, we find the full potential for which we were created. I believe this. That life change for any of us. Doesn’t happen. Until we first see why. Why would I want to change? Why would I want that? Why would you want to fall? Follow Jesus as he is your master. Because he set you free. Because you find the reason for which you were created. The freedom to live. The beautiful cost he paid for your ransom and the opportunity to find identity where you belong.

You were bought from. But you’re also bought for. When you discover why, then the question becomes for all of us. Who do you want to be? In the Christian life isn’t about what you’re trying to avoid. It’s not a set of rules about what you’re trying to avoid. The Christian life is about who God wants to transform you into and who you are to become. All of that. All of that is experienced in the freedom of a relationship with Jesus as you walk with him. It is impossible. It is impossible not to belong to something. And to deny Jesus means you will go somewhere to find worth, value and meaning. Purpose. But what Jesus points to in this scripture is that the greatest worth, the greatest value any of us could ever have happened at the ransoming and redeeming that Jesus has brought? Because because the ransom that he’s paid and the redemption that he’s paid the worth of you is determined by the value for which you were purchased. And it was done by his life. Which makes. This last slide. Beautiful for me. And I’m sure for you. Because this is the picture of God’s people gathered around his throne and it says this. And they sang a new song. And God gave them a new song to sing in that freedom and the liberation. You’ve been there in your life, right, where you’ve experienced something that was just so heartwarming, something that opened up new opportunity in your life, and you were like the sound of music dancing around and you can’t even carry a tune.

By the way, I appreciate you letting me do music this morning, whatever happened there, but a new song. And this is what they sang because the freedom they experienced in Christ. Worthy are you to take the book and to break its seals for you were slain, ransomed and look and purchased for you purchased for God with your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priest identity to our God. And they will reign upon the earth. Here’s my hope. I hope every time you pick up the Bible that everything we talked about this morning colors everything that you read in Scripture, because the theme of everything that’s been expressed is about us finding identity in everything that this is so that we can live to the fullness of which God has created you. And when you think about freedom. You see freedom not just as an escaping from something, but a living in something and knowing that we’re going to belong to something in this world, that what better could our hearts be longing for? In Christ. And if you live that this year. Incredible year. But if you live that every day. Look out. Because of what God can do through you. Let me close in a prayer.

Christmas, Part 3

the Body of Christ