The Price of Liberty

Scripture: John 8:31-36, Daniel 6:7
Date: 07/04/1998 
This Independence Day sermon looks at what the Bible says about liberty. Freedom is a fragile thing. We know from history many great nations have come and gone. If we are not governed by certain moral values, then our liberties will be abused. It critical question will one day face is, "Do we obey the commandments of God, or the commandments of men?"
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Note: This is an unedited, verbatim transcript of the live broadcast.

Morning. Happy Independence Day. Today I’d like to talk about the price of liberty and of course you know the words liberty and freedom can be interchangeable. The Bible is a book that talks about liberty. A lot of people in the world are in bondage. One of the greatest stories in the Bible is the story how God liberated a nation. And the Gospel is all about how God liberates us from slavery. I won’t say more about that now but there are a number of kinds of liberty that are addressed both in the Bible and other places. First of all let me talk about politics. I mean, this is the Forth of July and we are very thankful for the freedoms we enjoy here. For the record I’m going to say some things that could be interpreted as difficult. I hope nobody sees it as unpatriotic but for the record let me tell you I was born in California. I’ve traveled around the world. I could live anywhere I want and I don’t want to go anywhere. I love America. I am so thankful for the freedoms we enjoy, but having said that there is an erosion taking place of some of our freedoms. Freedom is a very delicate thing and our Founding Fathers knew that. Matter of fact I was looking once again at the Gettysburg Address and Lincoln, in his opening remarks he said, “Now we are engaged in a great Civil War testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived” (conceived in liberty) “and so dedicated can long endure.” We know from history a lot of great nations have come and gone and the Founding Fathers when they established this republic… you realize we have a republic. We don’t really have a democracy. The constitution ensures that we have a republic. A democracy means when everybody gets together no matter what they vote you do what the majority wants. Our constitution establishes that there are some things, it doesn’t matter how we vote, that are certain rights that are reserved. You understand what I’m saying? So we’re technically a republic. We use a democratic process in other areas. Democracy means people rule. It’s ok to have people ruling if the people are ruled by conscience, by morals. When the people have no self-control they will vote immoral things and then you’re on a road to ruin. Now there are a number of very bright people in our nation who recognize this trend and are frightened by it. The trend is that if we are not governed by certain moral values then our liberties are abused. You’ve heard, you know, in the name of the freedom of speech they’re using that as the right for indecency and pornography. Well, I don’t think the constitution was ever designed to protect filth. You know what I’m saying? And in the name of… well, I’d better not get on too many of these subjects here because I’ll get away from my main theme. Because a lot of the people in the country are concerned with the epidemic crime explosion do you know that we’re building prisons at gangbuster rates and we can’t keep up with the new prison population and they’re releasing prisoners who have life sentences after fifteen years because they don’t have anywhere else to put them there’s so many more life sentence prisoners? They can’t keep up with it. The death penalty. Most states are reenacting it where it had been set aside before. Not just because they’re trying to detour crime but it’s one more way to deal with overcrowding. I mean it’s there’re really some serious problems. Religious leaders in our country are saying… Now this is what frightens me. The solution is we must get the law of God back in our constitution. Now that sounds good and it also scares me. Let me tell you why. I am thankful for the freedoms we enjoy. God has blessed this country above every other country. The reason He blessed us is this country was built on the two lamb-like horns: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, a kingdom without a king, religion without a pope where the people could choose their government, they could choose their religion. And these freedoms have just helped us explode with growth. You just need to look here in our congregation. It’s a pretty good reflection. We’ve got people from every stripe and type. We must have fifty different language groups represented in this congregation now, and yet we’re able to work together and worship together and love one another. That’s what America is all about. It’s a great country. And I don’t want to go… I don’t plan on going anywhere; you know what I’m saying? But prophecy tells us that this nation conceived in liberty will not long endure. I’d like to direct your attention to some of those prophecies. For instance, just as a foundation for Revelation you read in Daniel chapter 3 there is a political king who made a religious law. Nebuchadnezzar said, “When you hear the sound of the horn, the flute, the harp and all the music you need to fall down and worship my image and if you do not fall down and worship my image you will be killed.” Well, they had to decide, do we obey the commandments of God which said don’t worship graven images, or the commandment of the government? The government made a law that conflicted with one of the Ten Commandments. Then you go to Daniel chapter 6 verse 7, “All the governors of the kingdom and administrators and princes make a firm decree whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days except you, oh King, will be passed into the den of lions.” They’ve got to choose between obeying the first commandment that says do not have other gods, one of the Ten Commandments, and the government’s commandments. It’s happened many times in history. Now I want you to notice both of these laws dealt with one of the first four commandments. Revelation chapter 13 verse 15 says, “he was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” And of course you remember the last verses in Revelation 13 talk about him causing “all small and great, rich and poor, free and bond to receive a mark. Those who do not receive the mark cannot buy or sell” and there’s an ultimate death penalty. Now I believe that America someday, I don’t know when, but someday America is going to make religious laws that will tell people when and how to worship. Now I’ll tell you what the problem is, a lot of people don’t understand a very simple principal. God deliberately designed that the Ten Commandments were divided. The Bible says they were written on two tables of stone. That’s in Deuteronomy chapter 4. You know somebody brought something to my attention recently, it’s a little trivia. It says they were written on the front and the back. Well, I knew that. I used to think maybe the first four were on one stone and the last six were on the front and back of the other stone. Then someone said, “No, Doug, I don’t think that’s the way it is.” The Ten Commandments were a covenant that God made with the people. The place that God met the people was the sanctuary. Every contract that’s written, even in the ancient world, there were two copies. One kept by each party. We do that today. We make things well usually in triplicate. One for you, one for me, one for the lawyer, right? But at least each party gets a copy. And they were saying there were two tables of stone, the first four on one side of the commandment, the last six on the other side and they were a duplicate that were placed in the Ark of the Covenant. Now I’d never heard that before and I can’t really prove that right now. I think there’s… it does say they’re written on both sides. You know whenever you see the Ten Commandments on the wall you see all ten on one side, right? You ever go to flip it over and see what’s on the back? Well the Bible says they were written on both sides. So it could be there are two copies. In any event, God divided the first four from the last six, you know why? No government can survive without enforcing the last six commandments. No democracy or republic should ever enforce the first four. Now that is so important for you to understand and I hope that you will spread this message to everybody you know because I’m hearing some really convincing sermons among other Christians on radio and TV saying, “We’ve got to get back to God! America was a godly country! We had morals! We need to keep the Ten Commandments! They need to be in our government, in our policies, in our constitution!” That sounds really good and it scares me, you know why? They don’t understand you’ve got to divide them. As soon as a government starts telling people how to keep the first four you’re then telling them how who, where, how and when to worship! And we should never do that or we’re doomed. That doesn’t give us freedom. What that gives us is religious tyranny. And, friends, it’s going to happen someday, but as it says in Daniel I want to “prolong our tranquility” as long as possible. So we want to preach the truth. We want to see if we can extend the time that we preach with freedom, but someday that’s going to happen. No government can survive without enforcing the last six. What happens if a government says it’s ok to lie, perjure? What happens if the government does not respect parental authority? Well, we’re seeing what happens, aren’t we? When the government starts saying, “We’re the mom and dad.” And they start telling you how to raise your kids and your neighbor picks up the phone and say, “I think they spank their children.” And they barge in with police and take your kids away because you spank your kids. Well, you’ve got chaos when that starts happening. What happens to a government when they don’t enforce that you’re not supposed to covet your neighbor’s goods? You know what you have? You have a legal system where the courts are completely congested with everybody suing everybody for everything and anything. Do we have that today? Yeah. Because everybody is coveting everybody’s everything. They decide whether or not they’re going to sue… I heard that a man down in southern California, he’s a vegetarian, somebody at Taco Bell accidentally gave him beef in his burrito so he’s suing them for millions of dollars. Ah, get a life! You know? You’ll live through it. It’s happened to me. I’ll live through it. But it’s greed. Everybody’s… and judges ought to throw that stuff out of court. You know but the thing is, we’re not enforcing the last six commandments. What happens when the government does not respect the institution of marriage? Should the government get involved in marriage? Yes. It’s a civil arrangement. Families are the cells that make up a nation. When a family is not protected and respected it dissolves. And when governments make it too easy to get married and get divorced then people stop getting married at all. You know what they’re doing now? The government is making a big mistake. They’re saying if two people live together for a couple of years then they get the rights of marriage without being married so the government says, “marriage doesn’t really matter. Just living together is all that matters.” They’re endorsing shacking up when they do that. What happens to the institution of the family when the government does not respect that institution? You see what I’m saying? When you go through those last six commandments… what happens if the government does not respect the idea that you can’t just take your neighbor’s goods? Right now I heard about a young person that was breaking into a school to steal computers, walking across the roof he fell through a skylight. Instead of being prosecuted he sued because it was an unsafe roof and he won! “What were you doing up there?” “Well, I was stealing, but they ought to make the roof a little safer.” And he sued them and he won! So instead of protecting people and their possessions the government is protecting the criminals. Do you know how many criminals are suing right now because their sandwiches are stale or something? And they have the right to sue. Things are distorted. And because of these outrageous injustices religious leaders and political leaders are saying “we need to get the Ten Commandments back in our government.” And it sounds so good because they keep referring to the last six, but you know what’s going to happen? The pendulum very rarely stops dead center. It swings too far the other way and I’m predicting, friends, based on the prophesies in God’s word, not because I’m a prophet, that the day is going to come, something will trigger it, where people in this country are going to be so disgusted and outraged with the decadence and the lawlessness that in a sweeping move of legislation they’re going to enforce not the six last commandments but all ten, and the next thing you know somebody is going to be telling us when to worship, how to worship, and who to worship. That’s the first four commandments. That’s what happened in Daniel chapter 2 and Daniel chapter 6 and Revelation 13 and you and I need to understand that. Now I meet some Seventh-Day Adventist Christians who because they know that they don’t think the government should get involved in the commandments at all. That’s wrong. That’s the other extreme. You know what I’m saying? We need to know what that balance is and educate people about that. Well, I’m thankful for the political freedoms we enjoy right now. They’re threatened. When people have to lock themselves in their homes and put alarms on their cars when they walk in to buy a loaf of bread. I got a call from one of our church members this week. He’s not here today. He’s preaching somewhere else. I’m glad we’ve got so many ministers in our church. Someone stole his car yesterday. That’s really disconcerting when you walk out and your car is gone. And his was such a big car. You really notice when a big car is missing. Suburban disappeared. And so that the citizens become prisoners in our own homes. Bars on the window, alarms on the door because the laws start protecting the criminals. Folks are going to get so fed up one of these days they’re going to do some sweeping legislation and they’ll enforce all ten commandments. Well, there are different kinds of bondage. Not only is there political bondage, but there’s financial bondage. Some people are living in a free country but they’re not free because they’re in bondage financially. Right now Americans owe more money individually than the national debt. We are in debt up to the gills. And the credit cards… if you pay your bills. Even if you don’t pay your bills. How many of you get mail on a regular basis somebody is trying to sign you up for a new or better credit card? Raise your hands. Look at that. You know why? Because they want the interest. I was talking to someone just a little while ago and it had never occurred to them that their credit card is so high they keep looking at the minimum payment due and they’re so happy about the minimum due that minimum payment due is almost entirely interest. You can go on forever making that minimum payment and never pay it off. And there are people in debt financially. They’re not free. They’re in a free country. They may be physically feeling ok. They may be Christians but they’re in bondage because of their finances. You know the Bible tells us that the borrower is a servant, a slave to the lender. And as Christians we’ve been counseled as far as possible to avoid debt because you enslave yourself doing that. You know the Bible tells us in II Kings 4:1 a certain widow, her husband took out a loan and then he died and this woman, the widow, comes to Elisha and she says, “The creditor is coming to take my two sons to be slaves.” And you know I think we need to be real careful because some of us, our children are not learning how to manage money because the parents are not setting a good example. Parents walk into the mall and they see something they want and they toss a piece of plastic on the counter and they run it through and we type in a PIN and we walk out with whatever it is we desire. And the kids think all you need is one of those and they don’t understand that you’ve got to work eventually to pay for that. They think buying is easy. You need a little piece of plastic. Some of us have paved the way for our children to be enslaved because we’ve not taught them to be financially free. Another reason there is a lot of financial bondage is because we’re living under the illusion that we’ve got to have everything and that we are deprived or suffering if we don’t have a VCR and all the accessories. And it’s not enough to dry our hair with a towel. We need the electric hair dryer. It’s not enough that we’ve got a stove, we need a microwave because stoves take too long. You know what I’m saying? We automatically assume we’ve got to have some of everything because that’s considered the normal lifestyle and I’d like to suggest to you that if you don’t have the money don’t buy it even if you think it is the norm. You missed a good chance to say “Amen” because I just spoke the truth, friends. Some of you are shocked. You just saw yourself in there somewhere. I was listening to Larry Burkett. You ever listen to him? He’s got the finance… does a good job! You know his mother is a Seventh-Day Adventist? He learned a lot of his principles reading our books. I heard that from Ed Reed. In any event, he said something that arrested my attention. He said, “At what point do you say, ‘Lord, you’ve given me enough. From this point on everything you give me I’m giving away’?” I thought, “Well, there’s a novel thought.” That God would bless you with what you need. I was at a camp meeting this last week. It was at a Baptist convention campground. They had a bookstore there. I went to the Baptist Bookstore and I bought a book on the life of Hirum Edson… No, no, no. Judsen… who’s the guy who went to China? It sounds like Babylon out there! Come on. Hudson Taylor! Thank you! The Inland China Mission. That’s it. I was hearing Hirum Hudson all kinds of… In any event, Hudson Taylor. I’m reading his autobiography. Obviously I’m not very far into it or I’d know his name better. But in the second chapter he talks about in preparation for mission service, he said, “I became convinced from reading the Bible that I should give a tenth of what I have to the Lord.” He starts doing that and then he says, you know, “I went through my house and I found out I’ve got so much stuff that I don’t need that others would be blessed by that I’m not using that I gave it away.” And he began to really evaluate his life and he found out he was able to live with so much less than he thought he was able to live with and he was so blessed because he was giving away over fifty percent of everything he earned. He was getting such a blessing he walked around just basking in the joy of the Lord and liberty. He had no debt. He wasn’t cumbered with things and he felt so free in God’s spirit. I thought, boy! There’s an idea. Some people are in bondage not only to debt but to stuff. I remember James Dobson said one time in one of his books that you can become a slave to your things so you spend all your free time taking care of your things. Spend your holidays greasing and oiling and polishing your treasures that enslave you. And I think there is a connection between people who are in bondage financially and in bondage politically. When you’re in bondage financially it makes it very easy for you to become enslaved politically. When these laws change and you cannot buy or sell it’s important that God’s people are free financially or you will be enslaved politically. You see what I’m saying? The two are connected. Some people are in physical bondage and what I mean really is medical bondage. You know the Bible tells us that some people have been made sick by even the Devil. Sometimes it’s people have been in bondage medically by a bad lifestyle, but Jesus healed a woman and He said in Luke 13:16, Christ put it this way after He healed this woman who had been bent over for eighteen years. Some people argued He shouldn’t do this on the Sabbath Day. Jesus said, “So ought not this woman being a daughter of Abraham whom Satan has bound, think of it lo, these eighteen years, be loose, be liberated on the Sabbath day.” I’m glad that Christ came also to liberate people from medical bondage. As I look through some of the different ways that people are bound… let me read one more. Physical bondage. Some people are physically incarcerated. They’re chained up in dungeons. They’re in prison. I know how that feels. You know what’s especially hard is when you’re in a prison by yourself. I’ve been in jail (not visiting people) and it’s an awful feeling to know that you can’t come and go as you please. Now I won’t do it but I could walk out the door right now. And because I know I can do that, I won’t do it, I’m content. It would probably disrupt services a little bit. I think I might just try it though just to prove that I’m free. Some of you don’t look like you believe me. Look how free we are in this country! Sun is shining out here! Hey! This is nice. I think I’m just going to go to the lake. I’m back. But I did that to illustrate something. Free. You know I’ve been in situations before where you can’t do that. Not only that, you’re chained up or you’re locked up in this room and there’s very Spartan furniture. I won’t elaborate. And nobody to talk to. You’re just excited when the guard comes by and gives you a meal. The meals aren’t very exciting but you’re so lonely. To have freedom to come and go? Some people are in prison. Some people are in prison and they don’t deserve it. Some people aren’t in prison and they do deserve it. So there’s all these different kinds of bondage. Now I’ll tell you why I wanted to include that one. Some of the richest people in the country are the ones who have learned the price that people would pay for liberty. Are you listening to me? That’s our sermon “The Price of Liberty”. For the liberty you and I enjoy in this country people paid, how did Lincoln put it? “Those who gave the last full measure of devotion that you and I might be free.” Jesus said, “No greater love has a man than to lay down his life.” Some people gave their lives so that you and I could enjoy physical or political freedom. Founding Fathers… we have no idea how they suffered. Some of them lost their children, they lost their estates, their possessions when they signed that Declaration. But financial bondage, you know some people have become rich because they promise people liberty from debt. You know they’ve got all these companies now that say, “Are you in debt? You call us up and we’re going to help you get out of debt.” Now there’s one more price you have to pay to have them help you get out of debt. And they don’t just pay your debts by giving them $39. You give them $39 and they’ll help you with a plan or they’ll consolidate all your debts and increase the interest, but instead of paying lots of people you pay one but you’re paying more. And people are so hungry to be liberated from a financial bondage they’re in that these people make a lot of money. Some people are in political bondage and why do you think that millions and billions of dollars are raised every year for campaigns that promise people extended or greater freedoms, right? Isn’t that the politician’s favorite cry? “More freedom! Extended freedom! Protected freedom! Vote for me! Send your money.” And people pay the price. Now this is really sad, but medical bondage. Fortunately most physicians are people of scruples but you know there are some that are not. They promise people “for a price” that they can take care of their problems. You know the Bible speaks about that woman who was bleeding for twelve years. She spent everything she had on doctors. She wasn’t any better, but she grew worse. She was ready to spend it because when you’re sick… I don’t know about you, I guess I’m a wimp, but I had a hay fever attack one time and I think I was at an airport. You ever go to the drugstore in the airport there? It’s pretty, you know the magazines, it’s a pretty sparse selection. They’ll sell you like one allergy pill in a package, $3 for one pill, but you know what? When your nose is running and your eyes are itching and you’re getting ready to sit next to someone on a plane that thinks you’ve got some deadly disease you’re desperate and you’ll pay $3 for one pill! I listen on the radio and they’ve got all these infomercials now that are promising people more energy. They’re promising people longer life. They’re promising to take care of their diabetes and all their problems and a lot of pharmaceutical companies are billion dollar industries. You know why? Because people would pay almost any price to be liberated from medical bondage. You ask a person that’s got arthritis how much they’d pay if they could take a pill that would make all the aches and pains go away and help them move freely. They’d give everything to pay for that liberty. I don’t think we appreciate sometimes when we do have health. My grandfather who is now eighty-eight years old has said all my life, “If you’ve got your health, Dougie, you’re a millionaire.” If you’ve got your health, you’re rich. I call him up. My grandfather struggles with one medical condition and when I talk to him he says, “But you know I’m eighty-eight. There’s guys here at this,” (he lives in a retirement center) “sixty years old and they’re using a walker. I ride my bicycle. I still hear. I still drive. I can see.” And he talks about all these things and he really is in amazing condition. Makes me feel pretty good. I hope I’ve got his genes. He’s an amazing… he’s bald too so I hope I do have his genes. But he’s got this one problem and he’s spent lots of money trying to take care of that one problem. Then you’ve got the physical bondage, people in prison. You’ve heard of bail bondsmen? They make their fortune getting people out of jail. Sometimes they get them out of jail just one day early. Jail is such a depressing place to be that some people will pay. You know the bail bondsman, no matter whether you’re guilty or innocent, he keeps ten percent of whatever your bail is. And they make you, if you haven’t got money to supply it, they make you give them the title of your car, your house. They don’t just trust you. Not in their industry with the people they work with. They get guarantees. You wonder how I know so much about this, right? They get guarantees and people are willing to sign over their house to a bail bondsman to get out of jail a little early because freedom is so precious. We don’t appreciate sometimes how precious that freedom is. But you know of all these different kinds of bondage; financial bondage, political bondage, medical, physical bondage the worst bondage is spiritual bondage. And the whole world is bound spiritually and Jesus came to set the captives free. I told you the Bible is a book that talks about liberty. Luke 4:18 Christ began His ministry. He had His inauguration speech as He began preaching. He went back to His hometown and opened the Bible after His baptism. And He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me. I have been chosen by the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel to the poor. He sent me to heal the broken hearted to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind. To set at liberty those who are oppressed.” And the word oppressed in Isaiah there, “Those who are bound.” Jesus came to set the captives free. Now, the Lord can help you with your finances. There’s principles in the Bible, but that’s not the primary thing. We know that Jesus helps with medical things. He has healed me and I’m sure many of your physical. He’s probably healed you and you don’t know it, physically. The principles in the Bible offer us political liberty. You know when Moses led the people out of slavery and he gave them their civil laws he said, “The other nations will look at you and say, ‘Where is there another nation that has such good and righteous laws?’” They had great freedom! You notice it says all through the book of Judges, “Every man did what was right in his own eyes.” That’s not always an indictment. That meant the people were free as long as they had God as their ruler. God of freedom. And not only that the Bible tells us that Jesus even physically, He opened prison doors. He did it for Paul and Silas, did it for the apostles, did it for Peter, did it for Joseph. But the main reason Christ came… if you’re financially free, if you’re living in a country where you’re politically free, if you have no physical aches or pains and you’re medically free. If you’re able to come and go and you’re not in prison, if you’re spiritually bound you are in the worst state. Spiritual bondage is the worst kind of bondage. I know because I’ve talked to people who are in prison and they say, “I am freer now in prison with Jesus forgiving my sins than I was on the outside as a slave to the devil and walking around at my own will.” I know people who will tell you, “Yes, I might have some financial challenges now, but I’ve got Jesus and I’ve got peace in my heart.” “I might be living in a country where I don’t enjoy religious liberty, but I’m liberated in my heart and that’s the most important kind of liberty.” Christ is the great liberator. He came to set us free. Now that’s often misunderstood. People are bound by their sin. Proverbs 5:22 says, speaking of a wicked man, “His own iniquities entrap the wicked man and he is caught in the cords of his sins.” The Bible says you and I should be liberated from sin. Paul said, “Once you are saved,” in Romans 6:14, “sin shall not have dominion over you, and you are not under the law but under grace.” “Jesus answered and said,” as we heard in our scripture reading, “Most assuredly I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave to sin.” Now Paul said some things that are misunderstood in Galatians. For instance Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not become entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Some think that Paul is saying that God set us free from the law. Well it is true He set us free from the curse of the law. When you’re saved you’re no longer under the death penalty. You’re no longer under the law of your carnal nature that is in control. The Spirit is now in control. Some people think that being a liberated Christian means you are free to disobey God. Have you heard this before? Christ did not come to buy us a license to sin. Sin is what enslaves us. He came to save us not in our sins but from our sins. Amen? For you, Galatians 5:13, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty only…” Now liberty is a very delicate thing, politically and spiritually. It must be balanced. “Only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” I’d like to read a quote from Dr. A. J. Gordon. “Many Christians made the apostles word, ‘if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves,’ the unconscious justification for a low standard of Christian living. It would almost be better for one to overstate the possibilities of sanctification in his eager grasp after holiness than to understate them in a complacent satisfaction with the traditional unholiness. If we regard the doctrine of sinless perfection as heresy we regard contentment with sinful imperfection a greater heresy.” Is that too deep? Do you get that? Some Christians are thinking that because we say that if anyone sin we have an advocate with the father we have a lot of scriptures we seize upon and memorize to justify sin. We ought to be just as zealous to talk about the scriptures that tell us Christ came to liberate us from our sins. Amen? The law of God is not there to enslave, but when you have the spirit of God the law becomes liberating. Turn in your Bibles to James chapter 1 verse 25. James 1:25. Here it says, “He who looks into the perfect…” Do you get rid of or change anything that’s perfect? No? “…the perfect law of liberty and continues in it is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work. This man will be blessed in what he does.” The perfect law of liberty. Well, what is that law of liberty? That must be some different law than the Ten Commandments? No, you read James 2. You read verse 11 and 12. “For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’” What law is that? What category? Ten Commandments. “He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery’ also said ‘do not murder’.” That’s another one of the Ten Commandments. Now if you do not commit adultery but you do murder you are a transgressor of the law and then he goes on to say, don’t just be a hearer of the law, “So speak and do as though you will be judged by” the law of what? “…the law of liberty.” Now how is the law liberating? You realize the same law that says if you steal you go to jail is the same law that is supposed to protect your goods. The same law that’s supposed to put the killer and that violent person behind bars is the same law that makes it safe for you to walk down the streets. The law is liberating to those who have the spirit of God and the power of God to obey it. It’s a curse to those who disobey. I did a study at prayer meeting this week. I hope you come to prayer meeting. I’m going when I’m here every time. Even though the weather is warm and the days are long I hope you come to prayer meeting. We had about a hundred people last week and it’s a good group. How many of you come to prayer meeting at least some of the time? Isn’t it a blessing when we get together? We got a great spirit there. You ought to try it, you’ll like it. Tuesday night seven o’clock. During prayer meeting we were talking about this principle that whoever falls on the law will be broken. When we surrender to Christ and we’re humbled like Peter fell on the rock in Gethsemane, we repent, we’re broken. But on whoever the law falls it will grind him to powder, the rock. We’re either on the law as a foundation, we’re broken by it, we’re converted or it’s on us in judgement. I don’t want to be under the law, amen? I want to build on it. Those who are building on the word of God when the flood comes the house does not fall down. They’re at liberty. Those who disobey are under the curse. Everybody here is somewhere in relation to the law. It’s either hanging over you as a curse or it’s under you as a foundation. Amen? Now Psalms 119: 44 the law of liberty, “So I shall keep your law continually forever and ever and I will walk at liberty.” Who here wants to walk at liberty? “Because (or for) I seek your precepts.” I remember after I vandalized a Laundromat in Brooklyn sirens.... You didn’t know I did that. I have a lot of stories I haven’t told you yet. No reason at all, just we vandalized a Laundromat, a friend and I. And sirens were going up and down the street. We were ducking in and out of alleys and doorways and hiding. We were not walking at liberty. You know why? I was under the law. I don’t worry about that anymore because I’m not in Brooklyn. They’re still looking for me, I guess. But I walk at liberty now because I don’t vandalize Laundromats anymore. You know what I’m saying? It’s that simple. Your conscience doesn’t bother you and you’ve got freedom. Now not only is that true with civil law it’s true spiritually. When you know that you’re abiding in Christ and you by God’s grace are willing to do His will you’ve got a peace. You don’t have to worry about what’s happening in the world or what’s happening in the government, the financial market or even your physical health might deteriorate (which it’s going to do if you live long enough). You don’t have to worry about that because you’ve got liberty spiritually. Now what was the price of that liberty? Highest price. You think people pay a lot for medical treatment. You know my brother paid fortunes for these treatments to help him breathe a little longer every day just prolonging this life. What would you pay for eternity? The price paid for your eternal life was the highest ransom ever paid for anything. Now I heard that… I wish I had that fact at my fingertips here but one of the most expensive ransoms ever paid was paid by a millionaire in South America to get his son back. And I understand that to prove how serious they were the kidnappers cut off his ear and sent it to the father. That father basically liquidated everything he had to get his son back and his son came back still shy one ear. Was it worth it? The father thought so because he loved his son that much. The Lord closed the bank account of heaven. He completely liquidated the bank account of heaven when He sent His Son. God was poured into His Son. God the Father paid the greatest price. God the Son paid the greatest price. All the angels paid a price in watching their commander leave. For you, for your liberty a tremendous price was paid. Now what would you think of somebody who tossed aside that bill of sale? There’s a true story that in Virginia there by the coast there was a slave auction going on back before the Civil War was over and a man was walking by the auction block and he saw one of his neighbors who was a cruel and abusive slave owner bidding for a pretty young slave girl. And his neighbor who was a farmer was a Quaker wasn’t a rich man but he knew how this man treated his slaves and he knew what the future of that girl was going to be and so he stepped over to the bidding area and he began to bid for the young lady. And the bidding went up and pretty soon he outbid this abusive plantation owner. He received the bill of sale. He walked over to this young slave girl. He handed her the bill of sale. He said, “You’re free to go.” He had purchased her freedom but he had basically liquidated his account to do it. Now what do you think it would do to that Quaker gentleman if she took the bill of sale and she threw it down on the ground and stomped on it. Or worse yet walked over and handed it to that abusive plantation owner? What do you think it does to heaven and Jesus when after He has paid so much for our liberty when we spurn it? With His own life. That really hurts the Lord. Now there’s a true story that in England… I want to get the name right since I’m telling a true story here. William Dixon was a widower who lived next door to this family that had a child and a grandmother lived in the house and the house caught on fire one day. And all these primitive fire engines came you know and they used to pump the water and they weren’t getting the fire out and pretty soon the boy who was about an eight year old boy appeared in the upstairs window calling for help. And they said, “Jump!” He was afraid. He wouldn’t jump. Mr. Dixon, he knew the boy. He liked the boy, next door neighbor. He grabbed on to the gutter pipe that went up the side of the building and he climbed up the gutter pipe and he rescued the boy, climbed half way down, dropped him because his hands were burning. The pipe was red hot. But he saved the boy and he was ok but he badly burned his hands. Well it turned out the boy’s parents died in the fire from the smoke. Shortly after the fire the grandmother died and the town was trying to decide what to do with the boy who was now orphaned. And they had a hearing and a nice family showed up in court and they said, “We have no children and we’d like to adopt the boy.” And they had a good family and a nice home. Mr. Dixon really wanted to adopt the boy. He loved him. He knew him for a long time. This other family didn’t know him. So he went into court and they said, “What do you have to offer?” All he could do is he held out his hands which were now scarred and deformed from what he’d paid to save the boy. This is what Christ does for each of us. He just, He says, “You know, I paid for your liberty. Everybody is gonna serve somebody. You can either serve Me, take My yoke upon you and be free or you can serve the other master.” And I, I pray that everybody here will accept the ransom that Christ has paid for our redemption and say, “I’m willing to serve Him. I want to be free indeed.” You know the Bible says, “Jesus came to make you free” and “if the Son makes you free you’ll be free indeed.” Whoever sins is served a slave to sin but Christ came to set us free so sin does not have dominion over us anymore. My God is big enough to do that. Let me take a vote. How many believe that the Devil can enslave people? You believe that? By sin. Do you believe Jesus is powerful enough to liberate people from the sins that bind them? Amen. I’m glad to hear that. If you believe it, reach for your hymnal. We’re going to sing about being redeemed. Number 338. Lets stand together as we sing.

You never appreciate freedom more than when you have been enslaved. You know how good it feels to make that last payment and know you don’t owe anybody any more. That’s a reason for shouting, right? If a person had been a slave all their life and suddenly they’re set free, they’re shouting, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty I’m free at last!” Right? If you’ve been in jail twenty years and you walk into the sunlight and they hand you your civilian clothes that’s a good feeling. I’ve not been there but I’m sure it’s a good feeling. Or have you been racked with pain and then you have that surgery and the pain is gone. I’ve talked to some of you who said, you know, I was struggling for months or for years and procedure or medicine or something and it’s gone and, “Oh, it’s so nice to be able to move around without pain!” Now if that’s true of medical, political, physical liberation how much more true is it when you’ve been crushed with a burden of sin, when you’ve been in bondage by habits and superstition to have Jesus break those shackles and say, “I’m free! I don’t have… Sin doesn’t have dominion over me anymore. I might have problems but it’s not on the throne. It’s not controlling me any more.” That’s something to proclaim. Amen? If you have not experienced that liberation from sin that Jesus paid to provide and you’d like to have that right now you can get it by asking. Would you like to come to the Lord just like you are and say, “Lord, I want to be free. Will you make me free?” I can’t do it. The Bible says, if the Son does it, you’ll be free. You come to Him just like you are and you receive it by faith. If you’d like to accept that redemption, that freedom, that liberty, I’d like you to come as we sing the second verse. We’d like to have special prayer. Come to the front here and we’ll pray with you.

You know in the Levtical Law… I’m glad you’re used to my stopping between every verse and preaching. In the Levitical Law, in Leviticus 25 verse 10 they had something called the Jubilee and at the end of seven seven-year Sabbaths, which is forty-nine years, they used to proclaim liberty throughout the land. The debts were forgiven. The property was restored. The slaves were released. That’s where you get the word jubilation. It’s a cause for rejoicing. You know Jesus is going to come soon and He’s going to set us free from everything. There will be no medical problems. Amen? Nobody will be in debt. I hope you don’t say, “Well, He’s coming soon so I’m going to get in debt now.” That He’ll liberate us from those debts. There’ll be no physical problems. The captives will be set free. The prisons will be opened up. Ought to be wonderful. The captives will be liberated. Time of Jubilee. But you know, the Lord offers us that even now. Not only does He offer you forgiveness for sin God still helps us with our physical problems, doesn’t He? Jesus cares about our financial distress. Jesus cares about some who may be, some of us are in bondage with anger. I didn’t talk about all the ways that people are enslaved. Some are in bondage with different vices and habits that control them. Whatever your chains might be Jesus is in the business of breaking the shackles. As we sing the last verse, you know what it is. You might have some area in your life, physical healing. Might even some of you may even have the political problems. Whatever it is you can come now and bring your problem to Jesus and ask Him to set you free in your mind and heart. Would you like to do that? As we sing the last verse, if that’s your desire, come.

I can’t think of any better way to celebrate Independence Day than to praise God for the independence He offers us in Christ. Amen? You know I think it’s interesting how many weddings they have in June but not too many people get married July 4th, huh? They don’t connect that with independence for some reason. But we can be independent from sin from bondage through Christ and thank God for the freedom we still enjoy in this country, Amen? And we ought to work together to prolong that as far as possible.

Father in Heaven, we do praise you, Lord. We want to thank you first of all for the liberty that Jesus the great liberator offers us. Lord, He’s paid a price that we’ll never comprehend that we might be forgiven, that we might be free. And Lord, I ask that we can have even a glimpse of how much He loves us individually and how much He paid that each one of us individually might be free. Help us to appreciate that bill of sale He’s pressed into our hands at such a cost. Lord, we thank you for the freedom that we enjoy in this country that people have provided with their own blood. Lord, I pray that we’ll never presume upon that. I pray, Lord, you’ll also give us wisdom to know how we can be free other ways. We all would like to enjoy physical freedom as long as possible, medical health, financial independence. And, Lord, especially, Lord, we want to be free from the shackles and chains and superstitions that bind people in ignorance. I pray, Lord, that our minds can be liberated by the light of Jesus. As we go from this place I pray that we can experience that peace and that liberty in Christ. And, Lord, we ask that you will extend our tranquility in this country that we might continue to share the Good News. In His name we ask. Amen.

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