Life and Liberty: Messy and Marvellous – Session 2 – Ps John Bendixen (WTB)
Scripture reference: Galatians 3:10-14 (AMPC); Galatians 3:26 (AMPC); Galatians 4:6-7 (AMPC); Galatians 4:19-20 (AMPC); Galatians 5:1 (AMPC); Galatians 5:13 (AMPC)
Hallelujah, praise You Jesus. Thank You Lord for the light, we choose to walk in the light, in everything we say, everything we do, everyday, every way, we walk in the light. Thank You, Lord, that You’ve called us into light, out of darkness. We choose to walk in Your marvelous light. I pray today, Father, that we are ready to hear and receive and receive into our hearts and flow with, the things that You have for us, that we can grow and that we can show the fruit and the life of God, in everything that we do because we walk in the light. Thank You, Lord, in Jesus’ name. I pray, Father, that everything that is said and done today, will be done under the anointing and by the leadership of the Holy Spirit and that no man is glorified or honoured except Jesus. Thank You for that, in Jesus’ name. Amen. Amen.
Praise the Lord. It’s good to be in church. [Pastor John sings] Always, always, always, always. You know, church is not just on Sundays. Church is wherever you go because the Church is in you and you are the Church. Hallelujah. You are the Church.
The title of my message today is Life and Liberty: Messy and Marvelous. I’m going to talk to you a little bit about life and the meaning of, or some dictionary versions of life and I’m going to talk about liberty for a bit and if the Lord is willing and it is good by the Holy Spirit, then for some time to come we’ll be touching on this subject. Because I believe it is very important for us to actually understand what God has for us and how we should be living.
Maybe you guys need some more lights so that you see more scriptures that I’m going reading. It’s just my way of telling them, to put the lights up, so I can see your face.
Life; as the dictionary version puts it, there are different ways of understanding life according to the dictionary. The one that I like very much is; life is vitality, vigour and/or energy. There is another dictionary version of life, which is the human life that is living and just self existing. So, you are just alive, as a human being and self exist. Well, anybody can do that, to some measure depending on your circumstances and even the poor, the very, very poor, have generally found a way to exist. Generally.
I mean, there are some really, really poor people in the world, that are dying from hunger and impoverishment. For the most part even poor people, find a way of existing, but that is not the kind of life that God wants us to live. He wants us to live a life that is full of vitality, it’s full of vigour and it is full of energy. Amen. Amen. Hello. Amen. Just making sure that you are all here, today.
So, liberty is the state of being free within society, from oppressive restrictions, imposed by authority or one’s behaviour or political view. So, in other words the state of being free within a society, this is liberty, you are free from within a society, from oppressive restrictions, imposed by the authorities of that society, on one’s behaviour or one’s political view. So, that is one description of liberty. This description of liberty and the dictionary says, there has to be an authority in any society. Because there have to be rules that allow the humans to live together. Right? A society that has no rules, is in chaos and actually they have no liberty, because everybody has to live for themselves to survive. There has to be rules to society, for everybody to live in freedom, but if those rules become oppressive so that you cannot live the way you want to live and express the political view the way you want to, then that is to consider the infringement of liberty.
Other definitions of liberty are; the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. A right of privilege, especially one that is given through legislation. We have certain privileges in our country, that is given to us by legislation and so we live with freedom, within those rules and legislation of our society.
Or liberty, could mean the power of scope to act as one pleases. The power and scope, to act as one pleases, in other words just do whatever you please. That could be another definition of liberty. The person’s freedom from control by fate or necessity. So, in other words, some people think that their lives are controlled by fate. What they are actually saying is, there are external forces that are at work in the human state, for which they have no control over and there is absolutely no way that they can regain control from those forces that can actually cause fate to be driving their future. Then obviously they are not free. Fate is driving their future, and of course there are some people that have a lack of resources, and so the need or necessity will constrain their choices. Those are the dictionary versions of what liberty is.
Now, I want to say that, all of these things are all good and well within the human framework, but you will see, as I minister a little bit on this subject today, that if you want to have life and liberty in God, these rules are to be likely understood. Because the rule of liberty has actually got very little to do with who governs you and how much freedom they give you to live.
I’m going to read to you a passage of scripture out of the Book of Galatians, but if you read through the whole of the New Testament, there are many scriptures where the apostles right to a group of people, for example, Peter writes to Jewish Christians, in Jerusalem and in other parts of the world. The writer which is probably Luke and Paul, a combination of the hebrew’s rights and Apostle John writes, he says; even though you may be a slave don’t seek to make yourself free from being a slave as a Christian, because in Christian you have absolute freedom and liberty. If you are a slave to a Roman, don’t take your liberty as a Christian, to be free from your enslavement and run away and become an outlaw. Fulfill your obligation as a slave but in the freedom of Christ. The freedom that you have in Christ, is a much superior, much greater level of freedom than some of these definitions of what liberty is.
I am going to read to you from Galatians 3 verse 10, and the Amplified Bible goes so far… and just bear with me, as I read you some of the scripture, 10 And all who depend on the Law [who are seeking to be justified by obedience to the Law of rituals] are under a curse and doomed to disappointment and destruction, for it is written in the Scriptures, Cursed (accursed, devoted to destruction, doomed to eternal punishment) be everyone who does not continue to abide (live and remain) by all the precepts and commands written in the Book of the Law and to practice them (Galatians 3:10 AMPC).
So, I want you to understand that the Apostle Paul is writing to the Galatian Christians, some of them are Jews, some of them are Romans, or people that come from different walks of life. What had happened in Paul’s absence, is that some devoted Jews that had become Christians, had come into the Christian world and said it’s ok for you to be both Jew and Christian, but you should at least adhere to all the rules and the rituals of the Jewish faith. Because as a Jew you need to remain doing the Jewish rules. As a Christian you are free to worship the Messiah, you are free to worship Jesus Christ as the Lord, but you should at least still adhere to the rules. So, in one way it makes sense; if someone was to come to you and say, “Hey, you know, you are Zulu or Tswana or Afrikaans or English, and so you are free to actually worship Jesus as you want to, but you must obey all the rules and cultures of your traditions.
As long as you do the traditions, you can be free to worship Jesus as you want to, but you must keep to the traditions. Why would you not anyway want to keep to the traditions, when you are free to worship Jesus. That’s what happened, is that these Jews came in, these devoted Jews and said, you must live by both sets of rules.
Paul is clearly saying here, if you still want to live by those rules, you are doomed. Verse 11, 11 Now it is evident that no person is justified (declared righteous and brought into right standing with God) through the Law, for the Scripture says, The man in right standing with God [the just, the righteous] shall live by and out of faith and he who through and by faith is declared righteous and in right standing with God shall live. (Galatians 3:11 AMPC). In other words, the rules of your culture, the rules of tradition, and the rules of the law, have no place in your living with God; you live by faith, if you live in God.
12 But the Law does not rest on faith [does not require faith, has nothing to do with faith], for it itself says, He who does them [the things prescribed by the Law] shall live by them [not by faith]. (Galatians 3:12 AMPC). So, in other words, there were many, many rules laws that from the laws, the 10 commandments, the law of Moses, the levitical law there were a whole lot of rules and laws that you had to abide by, as a Jew. You just couldn’t live by those rules. So, how did it get to that point?
Well, it got to that point because through Adam and Eve, they chose to make themselves Gods, and so they said, “We will set the rules, as to how we relate to God.” Then God said; Okay, I am going to give you a set of rules, now you must live by these set of rules, which you can’t live by. The very fact that you want the rules to live by and that you need the rules to live by, because you’ve chosen to actually make yourself equal to God. Those rules will show you that you can not be God. Neither are you equal to God because you can’t keep the rules.
Because if you were God, you could keep those rules, but now those rules will prove to you that you can’t keep those rules. So, therefore those rules will prove to you that you are not God. The only way that you can be free from the breaking of those rules, is you’ve got to have a blood sacrifice. Every time or every year you have to do a certain amount of blood sacrifices because you couldn’t keep the rules because every man wanted to say that I am God, to himself, and I can run my life, as well as God can run my life. Okay, if you want to run your life as well as God can run your life, then you must abide by all the rules. Because you are showing yourself to be equal to God, so you can’t.
13 Christ purchased our freedom [redeeming us] from the curse (doom) of the Law [and its condemnation] by [Himself] becoming a curse for us, for it is written [in the Scriptures], Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree. Jesus gave Himself, the only one who could keep the law, and He said, now you don’t have to worry about keeping the law, you just have to believe in Me. When you believe in Me and you receive Me, I give you the faith to live with Me, that’s true liberty.
14To the end that through [their receiving] Christ Jesus, the blessing [promised] to Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, so that we through faith might [all] receive [the realization of] the promise of the [Holy] Spirit. (Galatians 3:13-14 AMPC) How do you receive the life of God? You must receive Him by faith and then by that same faith you have the promise of the Holy Spirit. Why do you need the Holy Spirit? Because the Holy Spirit is the one who creates the desire in you to live free. The Holy Spirit is in you to live free from rules, obligations, cultures, societies, gives you the liberty to live free. Even when Paul was in prisoned, he was still free to praise. Even though he was in chains, his physical body was restrained, but he was still living free because his freedom was in Christ. His measure of liberty was not whether his body was in chains, his measure of liberty was what he had with Christ.
He could also say, I have learned in whatever situation to be content, whether I have nothing or whether I have plenty because my freedom is now bound to a set of circumstances, my freedom is in Christ. My freedom is not bound by a set of rules, and regulations, and laws, my freedom is in Christ.
Galatians 3 verse 26 says, 26 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. Which is why I always say, “I am a son of God.” Because, 26 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God in faith. (Galatians 3:26 AMPC). Your liberty is about your possession in Christ; it’s not about a set of rules. In Galatians 4 verse 6, 6And because you [really] are [His] sons, God has sent the [Holy] Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba (Father)! Father! 7Therefore, you are no longer a slave (bond servant) but a son; and if a son, then [it follows that you are] an heir [c]by the aid of God, through Christ. (Galatians 4:6-7 AMPC) I want to read one more scripture to you and then I am going to talk a little bit. Galatians 4 verse 19, He says, 19My little children, for whom I am again suffering birth pangs until Christ is completely and permanently formed (molded) within you. 20Would that I were with you now and could coax you vocally, for I am fearful and perplexed about you! (Galatians 4:19 AMPC).
Why was he fearful and perplexed about you? Because these jewish people that had become Christians that were concervative and said that they still had to keep the rules, they were very persuasive that you should at least keep the rules and traditions of your forefathers and you can worship Christ at the same time. Paul says, hay this is not the right way that you should live, because you cant live in slavery and freedom at the same time.
So, if I can use our natural world as an example to this, as… if you are a parent and have children, if you are not a parent, at least you are a child because you are here. So you are someone’s child, you know. So, if you are not a parent then you are a child, at least. In one way or another, you can understand this. If you are a parent and you raise your children, here is what you are doing as a parent, you are wanting to raise your children, into a set of circumstances in life, that you want them to at very least look like you, behave like you, and do the things that you want them to do.
Well, every parent is doing that whether you think you are doing that or not, because it is inherently built into a parent, that even when you are only just walking around the house living life with your children, your children are imaging themselves on you, and your behavior is imaging your children. You are imaging your children just through your behavior.You are doing that in your life, so that your children will look like you.
Obviously, what you want them to do is understand your values, your things that you have about you, and you want them to live equal to you, or do better than you. Then if you are in a place, where you can recognize there are some things about your life that your children can do better than you, then what you are going to do is you are going to try and persuade them, you are going to push them, you are going to, in some instances make demands, that your children actually live better than you. Good parents will do this, and in some cases you want your kids to supersede, the circumstances that you find yourself in, you want them to have better circumstances, have a better life, have more opportunities and better, than you had, right?
Well, that implies, number one in your household that they must do the things you tell them to do. Certainly when they are very small, they must do the things you tell them to do. As they grow older you will still be telling them what to do, you will be showing them what to do, and you will be leading them what to do, so they will become at least you. If you are someone that has got very scarce circumstances and you have very little by way of earthly possessions, your kids are still growing up around you and within those circumstances you are still teaching them to be what you think they should become, at least in those circumstances. You are still going to persuade them that they can do better than you did. Come on, I’m not talking off the wall here.
Here is the thing, that as a parent, you are always limited in who you are, to give them what they can become. To some extent, as a parent you are culturally, socially and financially, predetermined what you want for your children. From generation to generation, there are some things that we as parents want to break free from in tradition, because we recognize as we grow up that those traditions were not helpful to me, so I want my children to grow up free from those traditions, from those cultural values. But I want them to have some of those cultural values because they are inherently good, and in my social structure there are people, that, when I present my children to those people, they are going to demand that my kids at least look like they are living in that social structure.
Don’t shout me down because I am preaching good, I don’t care whether you are Zulu, Tswana, English, Afrikaans, French, Portuguese – those cultural things have an impact on the way you raise your kids – your relationships with other men, your relationships with other women depending on your gender, would cause you to have different influences that impact you in the way that you raise your children, because subconsciously in your society you think, “If my child behaves like this in that situation, then I am going to look bad. They are going to look bad, and I am going to limit their options within a cultural world, for what they can do.” Even though you are saying I am teaching them to live free, you are constraining them to be bound by rules, regulations, and social demands. Hey.
The overriding thing about it is, you think you know best for your kids. I know that there are a lot of parents that send their kids to boarding schools. Sometimes those away from home, sometimes those things are out of their control, if they want their kids to have an education. They live in places where they have to send their kids to boarding schools. Well, the danger of that is of course, you are not there to image yourself, so someone else is going to image them, generally speaking and it will be a combination of teachers and the other kids, that will image their lives.
If you go into university and you are away from your parents most of the time what’s going to happen is the professors, education system, learning system and the people that are involved in that learning system, are going to image your kids. They are going to impact your kids, they are impacting your life, they have impacted your life.
The wonderful thing about Jesus, is that He makes no such demand on you or me. He says, “I’ll tell you what I am going to do. I am going to come and die for you, and all of the rules and regulations, from the law that says you are God, that prove you are not God, that law, as well as all the rules of society in Me, they are taken care of. You die free, I die for your freedom. Now in this freedom, I know you can’t even live up to the freedom that I have given you, so I am going to send you the power of the Holy Spirit, to help you understand how free you are in Me.” That’s amazing.
In every father and mother, there are things that they have for their children, that are desires, there are hopes, there are dreams, there are expectations, there are things, that parents have for children, that they want them to achieve, and so they take their circumstances and their cultures and their value systems and they say, “Here is at least the image of what you should become, and my dreams and my hopes and my desires for you is everything of this, plus. Because now I have extra resources that I can help you become what you want to become.” Unless your child comes and says, “Dad I don’t want to be any of those things, I want to do this.” Then there becomes a confrontation because the expectation and the image of what you have set your child to do, now there is a different desire in them. Now you have spent all your life imaging them to become something, that hopes and dreams and desires you have for them.
Now the thing about Jesus, and it is all about performance, it is all about expectations, it’s all about the do’s and the don’ts, the rights and the wrongs. Come on now. The reason that I am actually going to so much length to tell you about this is because we take that same set of ingrated life and living, and we think God sees us that way, and we think God is demanding on us, the way we raise our kids. If you are a child then you have those expectations coming from your parents, you think God is like that. God says, “I am not like that, what I have done, I have actually given you life for free, and I have given you the Holy Spirit, that will guide you to the best life that you can live by the Holy Spirit, and I have put the Holy Spirit in you to help you become the best person that you can be, all based on the scope of what I have purposed for your life before you were born. I’m not going to demand anything from you, I’m going to place desires in you, if you will let Me.” Then you live by the desires that come out of your spirit, free of everything else to pursue the purposes that God has for you.
Your purpose, and your desire does not necessarily come from a set of talents that you have, or a set of gifts although that might have an impact, but it might be something completely different that God has for you. God will lead you by the Holy Spirit, what He wants for your life, because what’s the point, if He is given you all this stuff and you want to pursue your own agenda with your own emotions, your own desires, your own everything. You pursue your own agenda in life and you get to a place in your life where you say, “Well, I wonder what is that all about? I have made all this money, I got all this status. I’ve done all these things and I don’t know if this is the plan that God had for me, at all.”
Huh! How about that? Well, this a wonderful thing because it doesn’t matter where you find yourself in this spectrum of life at any given time and that spectrum of life, you can ask for forgiveness and you can repent from yourself will, of the driven nature of the way you live life, and you can hand it over to Jesus and then His desires will begin to guide you and lead you. He redeems time.
I’m saying this, to you because often times, as a parent you have a relationship with your child and as a relationship with your child you want to have a control, you want to have an influence, you want to have a specific say, you want to push them in a direction, you want to pursued them. You want to have a different, you want to have things that you want for your children, and so you, as a parent think God is watching you the same way that you are watching your children, when actually God’s not treating you the way you treating your children at all, because the pure love that God is, is that He died for you and He doesn’t drive you, He leads you. It is a very big difference. He’s not trying to control you, dominate you, demand from you. He’s going to love you, and lead you. Praise the Lord.
This freedom that we have is so great, that in fact, Galatians 5 verse 1 says, 1In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off.] (Galatians 5:1 AMPC) Don’t exchange one set of freedoms or rules for another set of freedoms and rules. Live free in Christ. This freedom is so complete that He had to write to them later on in this same letter in chapter 5 verse 13 and said, 13For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another (Galatians 5:13 AMPC).
In other words, this freedom is so great that you could almost do anything you choose under the banner of, I’m free in Christ, and He says, if you do that, you are still setting, another set of rules, and those rules are, I’m still a law to myself. In order to be free from the law to yourself, you must serve one another, out of love and as you serve one another, you become free of that law to yourself and that God-like status that you see yourself in.
I’m going to close off the message today by using marriage and intimacy in marriage and I know there are kids in the auditorium and the meeting, so I will be careful. I want to use intimacy as an example. If a husband and wife, they get married, and they are wanting to exercise their marriage rights to be intimate.
There is a possibility that in the relationship one or the other and often it is the woman. I’m going to just use a woman for the moment, just because often it is that way, she might feel that she is obligated to have intimacy with a man, her husband, because the marriage contract and the relational part of the society demands that this is the way it should be. So, then you are enslaved to a set of standards and a set laws of performance in the marriage relationship and set of rules and rights that say you must do this in the relationship.
So, those rules, those laws and those performances dictate how you operate in your levels of intimacy. If your intimacy is not based on performance, which in other words, what I can do for you, rather if it is based on, “I love you, therefore I serve you.” Then you take performance out of it and you can have a situation where you are intimate out of serving each other, out of the love of God, rather than performing for each other.
The minute you’re in a relationship, where you’re not performing for each other, but you’re serving each other, then it no longer becomes a contract, it becomes a liberated lifestyle. That’s how we need to live in our relationship with God, it is not a contract that we with God that once we saved there are certain things that we must do and mustn’t do, and the frequency of what we do and we don’t will, will determine whether we are in a good place with God or not, like some marriage contracts have.
But if we, in our place where we are serving God and we are free to love Him because He’s drawing us to love Him, then we serve Him. Then our contract is not whether we did good or did bad today, we did right, or we did wrong today, or we lived up to an expectation today or not, we are free in our service to Him. Our love with Him and as we just keep on loving Him and serving Him the love draws us to a higher level of intimacy.
Then the performance of what happens, right or wrong is irrelevant, it’s just about serving each other, and serving Him in intimacy, performance is ruled out of it, taken out of it. So, therefore there’s no more rules, there are no obligations, there’s no more rights or wrongs, there’s no more any, there is just as He draws me, I love Him, I serve Him as He draws me, I love Him and serve you, and so, we grow. Marriages can grow for forty, fifty, sixty years in marriage because it’s no longer based on performance. It is based on serving. It’s based on the love of being together. It’s based on the joy of what we find in each other as we serve each other not based on a set of outcomes of physical performance, which is always doomed to fail, at every level from the way you raise your kids. I promise you, I don’t care how good you are raising your kids, you are failing somewhere. I don’t care how good you are as a child, you are failing somewhere. You might not think so, but that will be revealed in time to come. There is something that you are failing, cause what you are doing is based on performance, but if you have what you’re doing is based on the love of God to serve then you are liberated and free to live in the ways that God draws out of you.
It’s good teaching. I’m out of time. Stand up please. Put your hand on your chest. I’m a son of God. Thank You, Jesus, that You help me, and wherever my relationship with You, is based on rules, performance, expectations that You free me from myself, and I am free to love You and serve You and live with You every day of my life, in Jesus’ name, amen.
May your week be full of joy, full of provision, full of protection and full of the blessing of God, in Jesus’ name. Amen. Okay, bye everybody.