Bible Book: Luke 4 : 18

Author: Alan Stewart

Subject: America; Liberty; Freedom; Independence Day



Since the formation of America as a nation, we have proudly carried the title of "leader's of the free world." In our generation alone, we have played significant roles in historical movements of freedom. There was the crumbling of the Berlin wall which divided a nation. Then we watched as the grip of Communism was loosened over Russia. In recent days, Iraq has officially become a free, sovereign nation. However, one has to ask, are we still the nation who understands the laws of freedom well enough to teach others how to sustain themselves within freedom who have never experienced freedom?

I am reminded of the story of two caged birds who sat in the window seal of their homes looking at one another and longing for freedom. One day, one of the owners forgot to lock the cage door and his bird was set free. He flew out into the open air and began to taunt the other bird boasting of his freedom. The still caged bird desired to have such freedom, but began to observe how careless his friend lived with freedom. Within a few hours, his friend had been shot by a boy's pellet gun, had his wings clipped by a cat's paw, and his feet were deformed from walking on the hot pavement.

Freedom not only left him unrecognizable, but it left him as an example unworthy to be followed.

Freedom. What a wonderful word that is. There are those who believe this is an American word. However, it is a distinctly Christian word upon which America was founded. In Luke 4:18, Jesus quoting from Isaiah 61 said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon set at liberty them that are bruised..." Jesus brought the message and gift of freedom not just to America, but to the entire world. It is a word filled with hope and possibility, and fashioned with honor and potential. But have we forgotten this is also a word found with harm and problems? In our desire to "preserve freedom," we have watered down its truths, and thus have handed our children serpents for toys and stones for bread. What is freedom really all about?

I. Freedom Is A Privilege Of Responsibility

Freedom is a privilege of responsibility. It is obvious the early church was losing sight of this principle as Paul and Peter both admonished them not to use their freedom maliciously by letting their freedom become a stumbling block to others.

Freedom is not the power to do what you want to do. Freedom is the privilege to do what is right!

We have wasted so much time trying to politically designate what is right and what is left that we cannot discern what is right and what is wrong!

In John 8, Jesus offered freedom that only came with truth. However, the people took freedom to mean "to go unrestrained at pleasure." For better than 400 years the children of Israel cried for freedom from Egyptian bondage. It came with blood, sweat, tears, and plagues. Freedom always comes with a price. It is neither easy nor cheap. But, when freedom is mishandled it will always exact a price! The same ones who cried for freedom were found as carcasses in the wilderness of their freedom.

II. Freedom Is A Passion To Release

Freedom is a passion to release. Throughout the Old Testament, the word "free" meant "to show oneself willing", "to offer oneself spontaneously", "to be voluntarily generous." In the New Testament, Paul refers frequently to salvation being a "free gift." Sadly, in our generation freedom has come to represent our selfishness to obtain, what others owe us, and even our right to steal.

When freedom has been disgraced there is an innocence that is lost. Adam and Eve lost a perfect world.

Cain lost God's presence.

Demas lost his testimony when freedom was focused on "what's in it for me?"

Freedom is never as real and as pure as when it spreads its wings and gives shade to make life better for others.

III. Freedom Is A Pursuit To Rescue

Freedom is a pursuit to rescue. In 2 Corinthians 3:17, Paul writes, "...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (freedom)."

While our nation enjoys unprecedented freedom that came from battles fought and blood shed, we must never forget the root cause of our freedom...the presence of God! Have we in our pursuit of world peace and freedom failed to maintain the momentum of our pursuit of God? You cannot have one without the other. Israel's freedom produced a golden calf, and it became the instrument of their punishment. Our pursuit will determine our peace, pleasure, or punishment.

Is there still time to teach our children the true meaning of freedom? History holds its breath, and destinies are paused with restlessness. Freedom is no longer ours to is ours to lose.

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