Freedom in Christ - 2017

Scripture: Galatians 5:1-15, Romans 8:1, Hebrews 2:14-15
Date: 09/09/2017 
Lesson: 11
"What does Paul mean when he speaks about “freedom,” which he does so often? What does this freedom include? How far does this freedom go? Does it have any limits? And what connection does freedom in Christ have to the law?"
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Good morning, friends and welcome to Sabbath school study hour coming to you here from the Granite Bay seventh-day adventist church near Sacramento, California. I'd like to extend a very warm welcome to those who are joining us across the country and around the world - our online members - thank you for tuning in to study with us. Also, those of you who are watching on the various television networks, thank you for being a part of our study time, and to the members and visitors right here at the Granite Bay church. I also want to extend a very warm welcome to our afcoe students. Afcoe is the Amazing Facts center of evangelism.

We have a four-month training program and I understand that we have a number of our afcoe students who are here this morning and they're starting four months of special evangelism training. So, afcoe students, just raise your hands. There we go, look at that. Welcome to the Granite Bay church. It's going to be your church home for the next four months, so welcome.

Good to see you here. Well, we've been studying through the book of Galatians for our lesson study. Today we find ourselves on lesson #11; it's entitled freedom in Christ and, for our friends who are watching, if you don't have a copy of today's lesson, you can download the lesson by going to the Amazing Facts website - just You can download lesson #11 entitled freedom in Christ and you can study with us. We also have a free offer that goes along with our study for today.

It's an Amazing Facts study guide entitled is obedience legalism? And this is our free offer for those in North America. If you'd like to receive this, just give us a call on our resource phone line, it's -788-3966 and you can ask for offer #706. That number, again, is -788-3966 - ask for offer #706 - we'll be happy to send this to anybody here in north America. If you're outside of north America, just go to the Amazing Facts website. You can look that up right there online and you can read it for yourself.

Well, before we get to our study, we always like to begin by lifting our voices in song. I'd like to invite our song leaders to come and join me on stage and they'll be leading us in singing this morning. (Soft piano music) thank you, Pastor Ross. It is our pleasure, always, to sing with our audience right here in our sanctuary and with all of you that join us around the country and across the world every week to study and sing together praises to our God. We're going to sing about knowing not the hour.

We need to be ready every single minute of every single day, because we don't know when our time is up. We're going to sing hymn #604 this morning - we know not the hour - we'll sing all three verses. At this time, Pastor Ross will lead us in opening prayer. Let's bow our heads for a word of prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, what a privilege to be able to gather together to study your word this morning.

Thank you for the hope that we have that, yes, Jesus is coming - and he's coming soon, to take us home. Father, we thank you for that great hope that burns within our hearts. We also thank you for the grace that has been provided so that we could be found in you and have that hope of eternal life. Bless our time today as we talk about this grace and this promise that you have extended to all of us, if we would but come to you. You will work within us both to will and to do according to your good pleasure.

So we commit this time in your keeping. In Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson today is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug. Welcome to Sabbath school. You know, before we get into the lesson today, I want to make an announcement about something very exciting that is coming and I think that our studio is going to play a quick video for you and then I'll say more about it.

Five hundred years ago, God used martin luther to inspire a great reformation, calling people back to the foundational teachings of Scripture; however, in the centuries that followed, the church has slipped off the bedrock of truth into the valley of Lukewarm worldliness. That's why, this fall, I'll be presenting a brand-new nine-part series called foundations of faith - a perfect series for anyone seeking a personal revival and renewal in their relationship with Christ. Please plan, now, to join me in person, online, or on television and be sure to invite others to join you as well. The reformation continues. So we're just now beginning to let people know and - here at the Sabbath school, you're knowing early - and those who are watching live, because this program is recorded three weeks in advance of when it airs on satellite television.

And by the time this airs, this program's only going to be a couple of months away. We're letting people know about something very exciting that's coming. It's going to be an international revival event that's will be broadcast live from the general conference headquarters. And, with everything happening in the world and here on the - the anniversary - 500-year anniversary of the celebration of the reformation or the commencement, I should say, of the reformation, when a number of churches, now, are saying the reformation is over and that we really didn't need to have a reformation, and with the turmoil you see in the world today, in Christianity - things that are even happening politically, the threats of war, even a little turmoil in our own church, we need to get together and pray and have this revival series. So we're going to be looking at, again, the foundational teachings of Christianity.

It's called foundations of faith. It's from November to the 11th. If you go to the Amazing Facts website you'll find more information there. We encourage you to sign up. If you're part of a church group that wants to come together and watch it, it'll be on hope channel, 3abn, aftv, streaming on youtube, Facebook, and all the mediums - so it's going to be going far and wide.

Please be praying for the foundations of faith event. So we wanted to let you know about that. Again, welcome to Sabbath school. I want to welcome those who are watching on satellite. Welcome the - we have a number of online members around the world, folks that maybe have no local church that they can attend and they are members of the Granite Bay church that are online members - I want to welcome them.

I enjoy hearing from them through the week and we're continuing our study in Galatians. Today we're on Galatians - or lesson #11, I should say, dealing with Galatians chapter , verses 1 through 15, and the title of the lesson is freedom in Christ. Now we have a memory verse, and the memory verse is from Galatians 5:13 and, if you'd find that - if you want to read it right out of your lesson book, it's from the english standard version - Galatians :13 - are you ready? "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." Through love serve one another - now, you know what I'd like to do? As our custom has been - we're breaking up different parts of Galatians as we study. Today, our assignment is to study and go, kind of, piece by piece through Galatians , verses 1 through 15.

I'm just going to read it - try and do it without comment. Now, in theory, when we get to the end of this quarter, we'll have read through the whole book of Galatians, even if we take a few moments at each Sabbath school class to do it. But why don't we look there - Galatians 1 - I'm sorry, Galatians 5, verse 1 - and I'll read it for you - through verse 15. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed i, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.

And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. You ran well.

Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is. And i, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off! For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!" Powerful words. Paul does not, as they would say in the boxing metaphors, he doesn't pull any punches in what he's saying. And just, for those who maybe have joined us - we have some visitors here - there's always new people online - Paul, in Galatians, is addressing a problem. He had gone into the regions of galatia, he had established some strong biblical churches, they were thriving, and then some, very likely, Jewish converts to Christianity, went in, found out the gentiles were neglecting to keep some of the Jewish ceremonial laws - they weren't practicing or urging circumcision on their children, and he said, 'this is no good. You can't do that.

' And so they began to push them to be circumcised and to start practicing the Jewish ceremonial laws. And the church in Jerusalem had said that's not required. And so, basically, it was a distracting heresy that had come in and it really angered Paul. Instead of believing that they were saved by faith in Christ - they now were - somehow believed that they were saved by things that they did - operations and procedures and - it's like saying, you know, if you go get this tattoo, you'll be saved. Well, are we saved by a tattoo? And so, in the same way, he's saying, 'you're not saved by this'.

Or, another problem they were having is the Jewish believers in Christ, who had begun to infiltrate these gentile churches were saying, 'you can't eat any of the meat that's sold in the Markets of galatia because, you know, the pagan butchers offer it to idols before they sacrifice it. So you're supporting idolatry if you buy any of your lamb, chicken, or goat in the local Market - you become an idolater.' Well, they hadn't even thought about that. And, up until then, they were going, 'what?' And so they were putting all these laws on them. Now, let me just get you to bring this up into modern terms. As a Christian, is it okay to drink orange juice? Yes.

Okay. How many of you buy orange juice at the supermarket? Okay. Do liquor stores sell orange juice? Yes. How do you know? (Laughter) yes, they do. I know that.

If you want to make a screwdriver, it requires orange juice and vodka. Don't ask me how I know that, but it goes way back, I promise you. Do you buy your orange juice at the liquor store? Do any of you feel a little bit - if, for some reason, you have to go - you know, there are a few things at the liquor store - they sell some convenience things - let's all admit it, sometimes you rush in there and you might grab something. But do you ever feel good doing that? You know, you go in - like bars on the windows, you know, and there's cameras everywhere - it never smells good out front, and you don't want to go. But you buy your orange juice at the supermarket.

Do you know, the supermarket sells liquor too. So are you supporting alcoholism when you buy? But you're supporting a business that is not only selling alcohol, it's selling tobacco. So, if you buy your groceries at the local supermarket, you are supporting alcohol and tobacco. Now, there are people whose consciences are so austere, they think that way. And I don't know where they're buying anything, but they struggle like that.

Their conscience is very sensitive. You know what I'm saying? So you can make those arguments. How many of you would, if you invest in stocks, would you invest in a tobacco stock? How many of you would do that? Glad to hear it. I wouldn't either. Don't do it.

That's not good. How many of you have your money in the bank? How do you think a bank makes money? They invest in stocks. Do you know your bank probably is invested, in part, in some stocks that would be called 'sin stocks'. There are stocks that have things to do with the entertainment industry or they have to do with tobacco but, at some point, you've got to have freedom in Christ where your conscience is not constantly worried about - I like thai food. I like chinese food.

Have you ever gone into one of those restaurants where somewhere near the cash register they've got a little buddha with incense burning? Are you supporting the worship of pagan Gods if you get your - your lo mein, or whatever it is, that you get there? Now, suppose you're with a brother or sister and you say, 'let's go out to eat.' They say, 'great.' You say, 'I know this great restaurant.' 'Great.' You walk in the lobby and there's the chinese food and they've got a picture of buddha on the wall and they say, 'oh, brother doug, we can't eat here. They worship idols.' What do you do? If it offends your weak brother's conscience, you say, 'oh, let's go to subway.' (Laughter) 'let's go somewhere else.' Right? Where you're probably not going to see any idols on the wall. Wouldn't that be the thing to do? Now, when they're not around, you're going right back to that restaurant. You see what I'm - these problems were happening back then in Paul's day, where highly sensitive - that's why Paul says in Romans, 'look, for he whose faith is weak, just eat vegetables.' It had nothing to do with vegetarianism, it had to do with eating things offered to idols. And some of the very sensitive Jewish believers, they said, 'oh, Daniel wouldn't eat anything that was defiled by Babylon and' - they'd misapply that verse - and they said, 'we can't either.

' Daniel didn't because it was unclean food. And so, these were some of the problems they were having in galatia - they were losing their freedom because these legalistic Jewish believers - now, there were some Jewish believers that had the victory, just like Paul did - they were free in Christ, but the ones who were still saying, 'we need to adhere to these ceremonial laws, they were bringing that into the churches of galatia and they totally stopped growing. They started just falling - you know something, I found, there are different heresy groups in every church. There are groups - I remember, there was a group, they were called eleventh-hour adventists - I don't even know if they exist anymore - haven't heard from them lately - and they went around and they were urging people to keep the feasts and the men had to grow beards. I'm ashamed to say I did a study on beards just to deal with it.

Then there's other groups, they're mixed up on the trinity. Then you've got groups called shepherd's rod and - where was i? I was just preaching somewhere and they came. They stood outside where I was preaching, they handed out literature. Something you'll notice about these groups, they never win souls off the street to Christ. They infiltrate existing churches and try to draw over existing believers.

You will never see them out there trying to win just some pagan lost person to Jesus because those people out there - you're never going to get those people out there to believe some of these kooky things. But the devil sends them in to get the churches so preoccupied with these little things that they stop sharing Christ with others. They lose their freedom. And I don't know too many churches that are immune to this kind of distraction. Well, that's what was happening.

Paul said, 'look, you're losing your freedom. So, with that long introduction, let's get back to our study now. First section: Christ has set us free - set us free from what? What does it mean to be free? Someone's going to read for me, in a moment, John 8:36. Who has that? You will? Okay, just hold one moment and I'm going to read a couple of verses. First, Luke 4:18, when Christ stood up and started preaching, what was the first thing he said? This is in his hometown of nazareth, "the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.

.." So one of the things Jesus came to do is to set people free. The whole Bible is the story of a nation who is saved from slavery and brought to their own land. They're saved from slavery to pharaoh so they can serve the Lord. Now, did God save the children of Israel from slavery? Yes. Did he set them free from slavery so they wouldn't have to serve anybody? No.

You remember what Moses said to the pharaoh? 'Let the children of Israel go that they may serve me.' So everybody's going to serve somebody, but he - and, you know, when the children of Israel stopped serving God and they started serving pagan Gods, the Lord said, 'look, I'm going to withdraw my protection from you and you'll find out what hard labor is. I'm going to let these other nations conquer you and you'll serve them, and you'll say, 'oh, I wish we could serve the Lord again. It was much better.' So whenever they were overcome by the philistines or by the Babylonians or by the assyrians or by the moabites or whoever it was, God was basically saying, 'so you think it's hard serving me?' I'll let you serve them for awhile. Let me know how that goes. But you either serve the Lord - didn't Jesus say, 'come after me.

Take up my cross. I'm meek and lowly. You'll find my yoke' - what is a yoke? It's an instrument of service. So when you follow Christ, you are yoked to Jesus - you serve with Jesus. But he says, 'my yoke is' - what? It's easy.

'My burden is light.' How much easier was it for the children of Israel to be going through the land of the wilderness there, on their way to the promised land, with a God that loves them? He feeds them bread from heaven. They're not tromping down under the hot sun, making bricks for the Egyptians anymore. Remember it kept saying, 'the hard labor'? The pharaoh made them serve with rigor. He said, 'I'm going to increase your work - you've got to make bricks without straw, now' and they tried to grind them down so they wouldn't grow. You remember? He said the children of Israel, they're multiplying, if they join our enemies we're done for.

So they tried to kill them off by working them to death. But the more they oppressed them, the more they grew. Which, by the way, is still true with Christianity. It seems like, in times of great persecution, the church thrives. Have you ever noticed that in history? So the whole Bible story is one of saving a nation from slavery to the enemy, that they can serve God with joy.

John 8:32, "and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Go ahead, read for us, then, the next verse, John 8:36. "Therefore if The Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." Now, when the religious leaders Jesus was speaking to heard him say that, that really bothered them and they said, 'we're Abraham's children. We've never been slaves to anybody.' Jesus told them, 'for one thing,' - he said - 'you're not children of Abraham because you're trying to kill me. You're children of your father the devil.' But he went on to say, 'whoever sins is a slave of sin.' So the Lord wants to set us free from the bondage and the slavery of sin. Look, for instance, at Romans chapter 6, verse 6, "knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

" You know, one way a slave is set free? Through death. When we are dead, we are free from sin. How do we find freedom from sin? I am - it's not I that live but Christ lives in me.' 'I am crucified with Christ.' Jesus said, 'come take up your cross and follow me.' When we are crucified with Christ we die with Christ. We no longer have to live lives of sin. Do you notice that - have you ever been to a funeral and, you know, the coffin is there in the front and people get up and then they say all these things about the deceased? And I've seen some interesting testimony services.

I'm always a little nervous at funerals when you open the floor and say, 'would anyone like to say anything about our beloved brother or sister?' Because you never know what people are going to say. Most of these folks are not trained speakers. And I remember, I was at this one Christian - ostensibly Christian - funeral. Everybody thought this gentleman that was in the coffin was just a wonderful person. And then they opened the floor and one buddy got up and said, 'boy, you know, we used to have so much fun when we went out fishin' and drinkin'.

' And 'boy, could he tell some jokes.' And he started talking about his jokes and we're going, 'oh - can you hurry this up, please?' Everybody was a little bit mortified. But you know what? The guy in the coffin didn't complain. (Laughter) it didn't embarrass him at all because he was dead. No matter what you say about the person who's dead, they're never offended because they're dead. You know, if you're easily offended because of what people say, you're probably not crucified with Christ.

But when you're crucified with Christ and you're meek, you just say, 'oh well, you know, that person's dead. You can throw rocks all you want.' It's very liberating when you're dead - when you don't live unto the flesh because you're crucified with Christ. That's where you find that freedom. Corinthians 6:20, "for you were bought at a price;" - this is another way we're freed. Not only are we freed because we're crucified with Christ, we've been redeemed.

I was writing an appeal letter this week and I did - the letter's about redemption - and I did a little search - I wondered what the highest - highest ransom ever paid for somebody kidnapped. Anyone want to venture a guess? You remember when patty hearst was kidnapped? I think he paid - randolph hearst paid like two million dollars. And then the getty - getty son was kidnapped in italy and, again, he paid several million dollars. Well, a few years ago The Son of a hong kong billionaire was kidnapped and they paid million dollars. I don't know how you get all that in cash.

Maybe they took credit cards. I don't know how you do that, but a hundred - that's the highest ransom that was ever paid 135 [million] dollars. The question is, was The Son worth it? He was to The Father. How much was paid for your ransom? More than 135 billion - or million, rather? It was 135 million dollars - he was a billionaire. Are you worth it? We are to The Father.

Think about what you're worth. And he did that - now, does a father pay that ransom to lock The Son in a room somewhere else so he wouldn't be kidnapped? Or does he pay the ransom to set him free? Why does God pay this ransom? To set us free. Now, I know it might seem like a contradiction, but the true freedom only comes to those who are Christ's slaves. True freedom in life will only come to those who are slaves to Jesus. How does Paul begin all of his letters? Paul, servant of Jesus Christ.

If you look at that word 'servant' there, it is the same word that is used for 'slave'. But most of the english commentators, understanding that that's a very volatile word, they used the word 'servant'. But it's not - Paul is not the employee of Jesus. The way he puts it down, he says, 'Paul the slave of Jesus'. Was he a willing slave? Yes.

He loved his master. It's by choice. Galatians 5:1, let's start plowing our way, now, through these verses that we've been given. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." Now, when he says 'stand fast', Paul, in verse 1 - chapter 5, verse 1 - he is referring back to what we read last week. You realize that there's no verses - there's not chapters in the original.

If you look in chapter 4, verse - let's read verses 30 and 31, "nevertheless what does the Scripture say? 'Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for The Son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with The Son of the freewoman.'" - Talking, again, about Isaac and ishmael - "so then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free." - Now you transition into chapter 5, "stand fast therefore in the liberty" - in that freedom - "by which Christ has made us free," - see, he's referencing back to that former verse, so we are no longer children of the bondwoman. We're no longer under the old taskmaster. And reading on in verse 3, "and I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law." Now wait, what it Paul saying? Does that mean that you have fallen from grace if you were born and, because of the hospital you were born in, and your parents preference, speaking to the males among us, if you were circumcised, does that mean you cannot be saved? Is Paul speaking against the act of circumcision or is he speaking against circumcision as a means of salvation? He's speaking against it as a means of salvation because Paul, of course, was circumcised. And Paul, later, circumcised Timothy so it would not be a stumbling block for the others he was preaching to. So Paul was not saying there was anything inherently wrong with circumcision, he's saying, 'if you people in galatia are thinking, 'oh, I better get circumcised so I can be forgiven by Jesus' you have fallen from grace'.

And that's a pretty strong statement. 'Fallen from grace' is not like a theological hiccup. Fallen from grace - it says, "you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace." Can a person be in heaven who has fallen from grace? Yes. How are we saved? We are saved by - grace. Grace through faith.

So, if you've fallen from grace, you're lost. So, do you understand how strong the words are that Paul is using to the Galatians? Matter of fact, Galatians is probably the strongest language Paul employs anywhere in any of his writings. You just look at some of the statements that he makes where he said, 'look,' 'listen to my words,' 'i, Paul, am telling you,' 'if you're hearing any other Gospel,' 'fallen from grace,' 'who has bewitched you?' I mean, Paul, you know, he - he really gets on the edge of being as emotional in his letter as he can be. He says some pretty strong things to the Corinthians in Corinthians, too, but this is probably the strongest. Paul was saying, if a person is circumcised as a means of thinking they're obtaining salvation, they have missed the whole point of Christ's coming.

Pretty strong language. Hebrews 2, verses 14 and 15, "inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared in the same," - speaking of Jesus - "that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release" - set free - "those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." What is another way that Jesus sets us free? Well, he sets us free through the Gospel. He sets us free from sin. He sets us free from fear. Many people spend their lives in fear.

They're always worried about dying. They don't know what the future holds. You know, when you're in Christ, and you're in a saved relationship with Jesus, Christians don't die. Christians go to sleep. You have nothing - are you afraid when you go to sleep at night? You pray that prayer, 'if I die before I wake' you're worried? You can sleep peacefully as a Christian.

I want to read something to you from the book acts of the apostles. "Paul had ever exalted the divine law" - we're going to talk about righteousness by faith, here - "Paul had ever exalted the divine law. He had shown that, in the law, there is no power to save men from the penalty of disobedience. Wrongdoers must repent of their sins and humble themselves before God, whose just wrath they have incurred by breaking his law and they must also exercise faith in the blood of Christ as the only means of pardon." That's very important. She says it is only through faith in Christ - that's the only means of pardon - "the Son of God has died as their sacrifice and has ascended to heaven to stand before The Father as the advocate.

By repentance and faith, they might be freed from the condemnation of sin through the grace of Christ, being able, henceforth, to render obedience to the law of God. Now, that's very important. Some people think that we get grace so that we don't have to obey when, in reality, God gives us grace to obey. Have you ever heard people say, 'well, we're saved by grace. We don't need to obey'? Yes.

That's a contradiction. Paul is not saying that. He's talking, in Galatians, about anybody who thinks they're justified by keeping any law. Nobody's justified by keeping any law. But, breaking it down a little farther, the specific problem that he's addressing is the ceremonial laws and circumcision.

Some people have tried to use Galatians to say we don't need to keep the Sabbath day. How many times does the word 'Sabbath' appear in the book Galatians? Not at all. How many times does the word 'circumcision' appear in the book? About a dozen times, I forget, but it's quite a bit. And so the big issue - there's no question about what the big issue was there. It's talking about the ceremonial laws of Moses.

It's not talking about the ten commandments, saying we're free to break the Ten Commandments. Alright, next section. Someone's going to read, for me, Romans 6:14, but I'm going to read, first, Romans 6:12. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey it in its lusts. Alright, this is very important and I'm praying that I can say it carefully so that there's no confusion.

God is calling us to be like Jesus. Jesus is perfect. I think most of us are here because we've made a decision to follow Jesus, but how many here believe that we're perfect? So, seeing no hands, I'm assuming that you're in the same boat I'm in. But does that mean you're not a Christian? What is the difference between those that are out there in the world and those that are genuine Christians? A Christian is not a Christian because of the occasional good deed or the occasional misdeed, but it's the habitual words and acts. Before you are saved, sin has dominion over you.

Sin rules in your life. We are holden by the cords of our sin. After you are saved, it doesn't mean you will never sin, it means that sin no longer has dominion over you. Your life is not governed by this slavery to sin. You have been set free.

When a country is held in bondage by a despot, and he's on the throne, and then another country comes and liberates them - when America went into France during world war ii and the nazis had occupied the country and there were terrible things that were happening there, the allies came in, they liberated the french, the nazis no longer had dominion - they no longer had rule - they were driven out. And that means, from that point on, the french no longer needed a police department for the occasional criminal. Is that what it meant? The people were free. They'd been liberated from the dominion of the nazis, but it didn't mean that you didn't, occasionally, have some petty thief or a crime. Do you see what I'm saying? Who is on the throne in your life? Once you're saved, Christ is on the throne.

Go ahead, read, for us, that verse - Romans 6:14. "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Sin is not ruling. It doesn't have dominion anymore. And, again, you read the - verse - sin does not reign - it doesn't have control.

So if you're a Christian and you know that Jesus is the Lord of your life, but you occasionally sin - it doesn't mean I'm justifying it; God wants you to get the victory over all those things, but it doesn't mean you're not a Christian because, otherwise, who here is a Christian? Do you see the difference we're talking about? Who has dominion? Who is the Lord? Who is guiding your life? When you wake up and you want to know what to do, whose will do you pursue? Do you say, in your life, 'Lord, your will be done. I want to follow your will. I want to look in Your Word and find out what you want'? He is your Lord. The devil is no longer your Lord. You're not living because of selfishness.

You're not being driven by pride and the typical things that drive the lost in the world. Romans 8:2, "for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." All of us should be able to claim that experience, amen? Referring back to Galatians 4, verses 3 to 5, it says, "even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." Now, does The Son still need to obey their father? Does The Son still serve their parents? If they're good children, they know how to do some chores, but there's a family relationship. So we serve the Lord, but we do it as children. You remember we studied, last week, the prodigal son? What did that prodigal son say? My father's servants are eating better than me.

' And he comes back and he says, 'father, make me as one of your hired servants.' He says, 'no, I'm adopting you back. You're my complete son.' The other son - the older brother - he says, 'all these years I've served you.' So, do sons serve? Yeah. So, Paul is saying, 'look, you've been adopted. Even though you are gentiles, you are adopted into the family. You become part of the stock of Israel.

' I remember, one time, hearing about a teacher in a Sunday school class and she was registering - new season - and two boys had just joined the class and they were brothers. She asked for their birthdays - she wanted to always write down their birthdays so she could celebrate their birthdays when the time came, and they said, well, we're both seven. One of them said, 'my birthday's April 8, 1976 and my brother's is April 20th, 1976.' And the teacher didn't have to think very long before she thought, 'well, no, that's impossible.' 'No it's not', answered the quieter brother, 'one of us is adopted.' Without thinking, the teacher said, 'which one?' The boys looked at each other and smiled and said, 'we don't know. We asked our father and he said it's been so long he can't remember and he loves us both.' (Laughter) and that's how it is with the Lord. He adopts us and he looks upon us as his children.

He looks upon us as his own sons. He loves us the way he loves his own son. Amen? Next section talks about the dangerous consequences of legalism. In a moment someone will read, for me, Galatians 6:15, and I'm going to read Corinthians 7:19. Notice how many times you're going to find this phrase - at least five times in the Bible, maybe more, where it says "circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing," - I Corinthians 7:19, "circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing," - but every time Paul says it, he then follows that statement with something different.

None of them are the same, but he'll make that statement and he makes, then, after that statement, another statement that's unique. He says "circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters." Now, the reason that's so important - I mention it first - first of all, it's listed first - 1 Corinthians 7:19 - it's because some people say, 'we're under grace, we're not under the law. We don't need to keep the commandments.' They take Galatians to mean, because Paul speaks against the law there, we don't need to keep the Ten Commandments. Paul is talking about the ceremonial law, principally, in Galatians, right? Because why else would Paul say, 'circumcision doesn't matter, uncircumcision doesn't matter, what matters is keeping the commandments.' But what commandments is he talking about? Must be talking about the moral law there, right? Alright, next one is Galatians 5:6, "for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love." - Isn't that interesting? One time he says, 'keeping the commandments', the next time he says, 'faith working through love'. Does that sound like two opposite extremes? No, not for a real Christian.

You understand keeping the commandments is faith working by love. See that? Let me give you one more - Colossians 3:11, "where there is neither Greek nor jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all." There, again, he says 'circumcised/uncircumcised that doesn't matter - Greek/jew, doesn't matter, but Christ is all in all.' So the big emphasis with Paul - that's why he uses these strong words, 'look, listen, Mark my words, i, Paul, say to you' - he is letting us know he doesn't want to miss this important point: don't lose your freedom that you have in Christ. Alright, next section: liberty not licentiousness. Now Paul says, in Galatians chapter 5, verse 13, "for you, brethren, have been called to liberty;' - it talks about us being free - "only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." One of the false doctrines they had going around back then that's reappeared many times in history, is the doctrine of the nicolatians - 'the thing which I hate'. You've heard - Jesus refers to this in Revelation - what is the doctrine of the nicolatians? The way we understand it - it's not recorded in the Bible - but we do see, in acts chapter 7, there was a deacon named nicolas of antioch - you'll look at the different deacons - there were seven - one of them was stephen, one of them was Philip, one of them was nicolas.

Church history tells us nicolas apostatized. He didn't just leave, he began to teach a Gospel and, basically, just say, 'because we are saved by grace and because we are free in Christ, and because we are spiritual creatures, don't get the Spirit mixed up with the flesh. Whatever you do with your body, that's one thing. You can do whatever you want with your body, it won't matter - the body's the body - just as long as you love the Lord with your spirit and your mind.' And so they began to use that as a license. They says, 'we're free in Christ'.

They said, 'don't worry about the Bible' - and they began to do all kinds of sinful, despicable things with their bodies - living very immorally - but they said, 'oh, but we're - in the Spirit we're pure.' Ellen white dealt with that - she dealt with a similar heresy, and we still have it today, where people said, 'oh, we're saved by grace. Because we're saved by grace, don't worry about obeying.' If you talk about obeying, what are you accused of being? A legalist. A legalist. Nobody wants to be accused of being a legalist. You know, if you say, today, that you think that homosexuality is - behavior and practice - is inappropriate, if you say that you believe that men should marry women and women should marry men, you will be called a homophobe.

They've got a label for it and it's designed by the media to intimidate you. Now, what is a phobia? Fear. A phobia is something - it's not just a fear, it's an extreme fear. I don't pick up black widows. I was in an old building the other day and I looked around for black widows because I'd see them there before but, you know what? I do not have arachnophobia.

Do you know what arachnophobia? Arachnophobia is a person who is so scared of spiders that they see a spider, they scream, the jump on a chair, they call the exterminator, and they can't even look at them on television. There are all these different kinds of phobias. I'm not - I don't have arachnophobia, I just don't pick up black widows. So to say a person is homophobic because you say you believe in traditional marriage, that is slanderous - trying to intimidate - well there's a different kind of Christian slander today where you call a person a pharisee - you call them a legalist if they talk about obedience - 'legalist!' 'Pharisee!' - 'Oh, I'm sorry. Not me, please don't call me that.

' And everybody's afraid of saying the truth because they're going to get called a name. And so, if we - they've got the whole list of these pc names that people are called because you tell the truth. That's just amazing. Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah, I was talking about this false liberty. Let me read something to you, here.

Talking about the false freedom - 2 Peter 2:18 - Peter talks about this mindset, "for when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption;" - so even back in Peter's day they had people in the church that said, 'we're free in Christ.' But he talks about their corruption - the lusts of the flesh - lewdness in the church - but they're free in Christ. So the devil - this is an old tactic - "while they promised them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning...but it has happened to them according to the true proverb: 'a dog returns to his own vomit,' and 'a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.'" Liberty, not licentiousness - freedom in Christ is not freedom to sin. It's not freedom from law, because you're not saved by the law.

Romans 2:13, "(for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;" - who said that? What Bible writer wrote that? Paul. Paul - Romans, right? So everybody who tries to get Paul to say that, because we are righteous through faith, that means that when you're righteous through faith, you don't obey - let me read it to you again. "(For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;" - we are judged by our works because, if you are saved by faith, you will obey. So you can look at the obedience and see if they're saved by faith. Kind of like a pastor can look at the giving patterns in a congregation to tell how healthy they are, spiritually.

If a congregation is stingy, they don't understand the sacrifice of Jesus. The giving is a thermometer that shows what's happened in the heart. Amen. And that's how it is with the law and the commandments. If you're obeying, it's an ev - not to be saved, but because you love the Lord.

Read, for me - someone's going to read Romans 6:1 and 2 - manjeet? Oh, let me read one more verse and then you. Romans 3:8, "and why not say, 'let us do evil that good may come'? - As we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just." People saying, 'oh, well, because we're saved by grace, let's just do more evil - we'll have more grace.' Crazy thinking, isn't it? Go ahead, read, for us, Romans 6:1 and 2. Romans 6:1 and 2, "what shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" And sin is the transgression of the law. How shall we who are saved from our lawlessness turn back to lawlessness and claim we're doing it in the name of grace? Very simply, should Christians be obedient? Absolutely.

Is obedience legalism? No. Why are you doing it? Paul wasn't saying circumcision was bad, he said, 'if you're being circumcised because you think you're earning salvation, you have fallen from grace. If you're keeping the Sabbath because you're earning salvation, you've fallen from grace. 'Pastor Doug, how dare you?' - It's the same principle, isn't it? If you're doing any of these laws because you think you're saved by doing the law, you don't understand, you're already - you're on death row because of your sins - you've all sinned, the penalty is death. You are saved by grace.

If anyone's saved, it's going to be only by grace, amen? Amen. Romans 6:15, here's another one, "what then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?" - God forbid! - "Certainly not!" 1 Corinthians :9, "but beware lest somehow this liberty" - this freedom - "...become a stumbling block to those who are weak." Go to the chinese restaurant and that buddha bothers them, go to a different restaurant. Don't offend your weak brother. Peter 2:16, you're "as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice," - have you seen that done before? I've - I have known of pastors that went and bought a beer at the local 7-11 and one of their members said, 'pastor, why would you?' - 'We're free in Christ.' 'But that's a drug that people get addicted to that destroys lives. Why would you do that?' - They say, 'oh, but I'm free in Christ.

' Using liberty as a cloak for vice. If you don't know it, alcohol is a vice. You still with me? And then it talks about - fulfilling the whole law is our last section here, and I want to read Galatians 5:13-15, "for you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh but through love serve one another for all the law is fulfilled in one word," - he doesn't use one word, he means one statement - "even in this: 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!" When he talks about biting and devouring, he's making an allusion to these beasts of prey that fall on and devour one another and he's saying that, in the church, they had become so contentious over this issue of the ceremonial law and circumcision, he says, 'you're just devouring one another - the devil's got you all turning on each other over this issue. You've lost your freedom. You need to go back to the freedom you had and be sharing the Gospel with the lost out there.

Paul sums this up again in Romans 13:8, "owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, 'you shall not commit adultery,' 'you shall not murder,' 'you shall not steal,' 'you shall not bear false witness,' 'you shall not covet,' and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" Is Paul saying that it's okay to commit adultery as long as you just love each other? Or is he saying, 'if you love each other you will not break those'? They're all summed up in loving your neighbor. So I think that you get the point. Listen friends, I want to remind those who are watching, if you missed it at the beginning, by the way, you might be wondering what's happening up here on the set. If you tuned in late, we're recording our Sabbath school this week, right in the midst of a special amazing disciples seminar - you'll find out more about that at the Amazing Facts website - teaching people how to make disciples.

But, if you didn't know about our free offer, it's is obedience legalism? - Is obedience legalism? - A great study - just call the number on your screen - -788-3966. We will send it to you for free with the promise you'll read it and then share it with somebody else. God bless you, friends, we are out of time for today's study. We'll study His Word together again next week. Hi friends, this is Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Would you like to hear an amazing fact? More and more of the world is turning, now, to natural forms of energy to try and find their power and they're resorting to things like the wind farm that we have here in jamaica at wigton. You know, I remember years ago, my wife and I going to visit the big island of Hawaii and we were amazed at all the potential there for natural power, but they weren't using it. There at the south part of the island there was volcanic activity. You can make geothermal power there. If you went to waimea, the wind was constantly blowing, but they had no windmills there.

If you went over to kona, sun always shines - solar electric - but they didn't have very much solar electric there. And if you went to hilo, it was always raining - hydroelectric. And in spite of all that potential for power there on the big island of Hawaii, they were powering the island back then with dirty diesel generators. It made me think about how we sometimes waste the power of God's Spirit that he's making available to us. And each of us can have that spirit if we simply ask.

You can read in Zechariah chapter 10 - what do we do? 'Ask of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain and he will send flashing clouds.' Jesus also said, in the book of Luke, 'if you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to them that ask?' When you look in the book of acts, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, it says there was a sound of a mighty rushing wind. And that power that launched the church back then can still power your life today, friends. So why don't you ask Him?

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