How Much Freedom Do You Have?

The Freedom Found In Christ Can Be Lived Out By The Power Of The Holy Spirit

Dan Franklin
May 1, 2022    42m
The question is not whether believers of Jesus have freedom; it's what will we do with the freedom found in Christ? The right way to use this freedom is to be guided by the Spirit of God to serve other people in love by loving your neighbor as yourself. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Intro: [00:00:00] Hey, there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:19] Amen. Good morning. It's been a great morning so far, hasn't it? We got to sing to Jesus. We got to commission our Go Teams for the first time in a few years, get that going again. And today we're going to be talking about freedom. Who likes freedom? All right, everybody loves freedom.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:38] I was thinking back about this, I was remembering back to when I was getting ready for my college graduation, and just the anticipation of what it was going to be like once I finished that final semester, and suddenly I was like, I can read whatever I want, or nothing, I'm not going to go to class anymore. And I just remember counting down, so I was like, all right, last semester, and then last class, and last papers, and last assignments, and last tests, and finally, getting ready to experience that freedom. And I know some of you right now are like, I'm right there because high school or college is coming to an end, or you're just looking forward to summer break and you're just like, all right, just another month, just a few more weeks. Some of you, you're not even looking forward to that, but you're like, I do that every week when I look forward to Friday, where it's just like a little mini graduation on to a weekend. Or you're looking forward to this summer because maybe you haven't been able to take the summer vacations you've wanted in a few years, and you're like, oh, this summer we're finally going to get away for a good vacation. Those things tend to represent freedom for us.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:45] And in the United States, we not only love freedom in that way, we love freedom in the bigger ways, where we're talking about freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom from tyranny, which I like to talk to Andy about, any time we talk about the American British thing. You know, freedom from government intervention in all of our lives, we like freedom. The question is not whether or not we like freedom. the question is what are we going to do with the freedom that we have? And that's the same question that we get to deal with in our passage this morning.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:21] Now here's the deal. If you're looking up on the screen, you see that we're starting a new series today. The series is called Walk by the Spirit, and what we're going to be doing today and the four weeks that follow, is we're going to take five Sundays to go through fourteen verses in the book of Galatians chapter 5. We're going to end up, by the end of the series, we're going to have gone through verses 13 through 26, kind of the second half of Galatians chapter 5, which is all about what it looks like for believers in Jesus to walk in the power and in the fellowship with the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, the one that God has sent to dwell within us.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:05] But the curious thing, and you may have heard it when Scott read the passage earlier, in the passage that we go through today, there's no overt mention of the Holy Spirit. That's going to be starting next week that we're going to get into the really clear teaching on the Holy Spirit, but even though the Holy Spirit isn't spoken of overtly in the verses that we're going to go through, he's almost sort of lurking behind the background of what we're talking about, because we're talking about freedom. And throughout the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is highly connected to the idea of freedom, to the point that in Second Corinthians chapter 3 verse 17, the apostle Paul says, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." The Spirit is connected with freedom, so when we're talking about freedom, the Spirit is sort of lurking behind there saying, yep, you're talking about what it's like to walk with me.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:04] And what we're going to see in the passage that we look at today, is we're going to have the Apostle Paul declare to us, you are free. Do you like freedom? Do you love freedom? Do you want freedom? Paul is going to say, you are free. The question for those of us who are believers in Jesus is not whether or not we are free, the question is, what will we do with our freedom? And what Paul is going to layout today, as he's gearing up to talking about just day in, day out, what does it mean to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, he's going to tell us there are two ways that we can respond to the freedom that we've been given. We're going to keep it real simple today, two ways that we can respond to the freedom that we've been given. He's going to talk about a wrong way and a right way, and that's the whole passage today, a wrong response to the freedom we've been given and a right response to the freedom that we've been given.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:01] So, by the way, if you're not already there, Galatians chapter 5, verses 13, 14, and 15, that's where we're going to be in your Bibles, on your phones, however you're going to follow through, I'll have the verses up here on the screen.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:11] And we start with the wrong response to freedom, and we get that in verse 13. Paul here writes, "You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free." And so this is just the starting statement, the statement of freedom. If you're a believer in Jesus, that's who he's talking about when he says, brothers and sisters, if you are a believer in Jesus, you have been called to be free. Being called into a relationship with Jesus wasn't a call to slavery, it was a call to freedom, you are called to be free. And throughout all of Galatians, Paul has been trying to make this point, he's been trying to drive this home, that as believers in Jesus, we are free in ways that we weren't free without Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:06] Now let's delve into that, let's just pause for a minute and talk about what does he mean, that we're free? And he means that we're free in two ways. The first is this, and this one is the most important, what Paul means is that we are free from condemnation. We are free from God ever saying to us, you tried hard, but you didn't do enough, so I'm sorry you have to leave. We're free from thinking about the final judgment and having the anxiety and the fear hanging over our heads that God is going to say, I don't want anything to do with you. We are free from ever wondering if we're going to have to pay for our own sins. And here, maybe best of all, we are free from ever wondering if the God of the universe is going to stop loving us, because we know that's never going to happen. With what Jesus has done through his sacrificial death and through his triumph and resurrection, Paul says, you are free from ever having to wonder about that. You're free from the anxiety of all right, I messed up, is God done with me now? You're free from all of that, you're free from ever wondering if God's love is going to run out. Where he sends you away, and he says, all right, I'm finally done with you, that's never going to happen, you are free.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:33] I don't want to just sort of run past that because I believe probably for some of you, whatever happens in the rest of the message today, this is the most important thing God has for you today, is just for you to really own the idea that you're free from ever having to worry about being condemned because of your sin. Because maybe for some of you, that's your daily reality, you just feel haunted by things in your past or things in your present. And you keep wondering, you're like, I think I'm okay, I think I'm doing enough, have I done enough? Let me tell you, the answer is no, you haven't. You haven't done enough, you never will do enough, Jesus did enough. You are redeemed, as he says back in chapter 3, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse." That means that Jesus bought us back from slavery, and now we are free. So before even going any further, I just want to pause, because, for some of you, this is the main message you need to get today, is that because of what Jesus has done, you are free from the slavery of constantly wondering if God's going to stop loving you.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:44] So I'm actually going to ask us just to pause, I'm going to ask you if you would just take a posture of prayer, maybe that's closing your eyes, maybe that's bowing your head. Let's just pause for a minute in a posture of prayer, because some of us just need to own this and take this in and bring our gratitude to God in this. Father, thank you so much that in Jesus we are free. Thank you for the glory of living, and knowing that all of our sins were covered, that when Jesus said It is finished, it really was finished. Father, I pray that you help us to recognize the lies of the enemy when he tells us that we stand condemned and that you would help us to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit when he says forgiven and free. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:50] All right, that was good, that's not even the first point, that's like the first sub-sub point, so we got a lot more to talk about. We are free from condemnation, but there's a second way that Paul wants to make sure believers know that we're free, and that's that we're free, we might say we're free, from regulation. And here's what this means, did you ever read the Old Testament? Anybody? All right. There is a lot of regulation in the Old Testament. For the Old Testament Jews, their lives were heavily regulated, this is what you can wear, this is what you can't wear; this is what you can eat, this is what you can't eat; these are the kinds of offerings you need to bring as sacrifices, and it can't be like this, and it has to be like this, their lives were heavily regulated. And Paul says, as believers in Jesus, Jesus came and fulfilled the law, and you are now free from those regulations.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:40] You don't have to live a highly regulated life as you walk with Jesus. Which to some of us is counterintuitive because we're used to people, and maybe even ourselves, but we're used to people saying, man, Christians have so many rules. Like, as a Christian, there are so many rules they have to follow. I just want to say, read the New Testament, and you will start to be uncomfortable with how few rules there are. Like there's basically nothing in the New Testament about you're allowed to wear this, you're not allowed to wear this; you're allowed to eat this, you're not allowed to eat this, there's nothing that says that you're not allowed to drink alcohol, there's nothing that says which TV and movie ratings are okay and not okay, there's nothing about how much time you should spend with non-Christian friends versus Christian friends. You look at this, and some of you, right now, are like, don't tell everybody that. But it's true if you read the New Testament, you're like, my goodness, there's not nearly as much regulation as you would think of when you associate it with a religion, you think usually that's a highly regulated way to live. And Paul is saying that's not the way that we live, we don't live highly regulated lives. We are free from having to worry about God stopping His love for us, and we are free from lives that are marked by rules and regulations. We are free.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:04] But Paul says the question is not whether you're free, the question is what you're going to do with that. And so let's look at the next part of verse 13, he says, "You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh." Now for the word that's translated indulge right there, the Greek word behind it, another way it could be translated is opportunity. Don't use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh. And I love that word opportunity, because I think it really captures the idea here, that you see an opportunity and you want to seize it.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:44] Like we lived in Oregon for eight years, and in Oregon, it rains all the time. Some of you are Southern California people, and you're like, I love the rain, that's because it never comes. When it comes every day, you stop loving the rain. And so here's what people do, and I made fun of them at first when we moved up there. But when the sun comes out, people seize the opportunity to go outside. And for the first year or two, I made fun of them all, and then after two years, I was seizing the opportunity. I got into riding my bike, and I remember one time finding out that there was going to be a window from like 3:30 to 5:30 where it wasn't going to rain, and I came home from work early, got on my bike, went out there, went for a little ride, by the way, it hailed on me on the way back. But still, there is this idea of like, there's a chance, I've got to do it right now, I've got to seize the opportunity right now.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:35] And what Paul is saying is this, that some of us say, oh, I'm free? Oh, I'm free from worrying about God no longer loving me, I'm free from the idea that I have to follow all these rules and regulations, perfect. I'm going to seize that as an opportunity for the flesh. And the flesh is the word that Paul uses throughout, you're going to see it come up a lot in the next several weeks, he uses it basically to describe the part of ourselves that craves instant gratification, regardless of the fallout of our actions. He says you're going to be tempted to look at this freedom and say, perfect, now I'm free, now I can do whatever I want.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:17] And the way that the wrong response to this freedom can come through, I think, in a couple of phrases that we can find ourselves using. The first phrase might be this, it might be the phrase, hey, God will forgive me. All right, I'm free from condemnation, I don't have to worry about the idea that I'm going to pay for my sins, I'll just do whatever I want, and in the end, God's gracious and God will forgive me. I want to deal with this just for a minute, but here's the main thing I want to say, if that is your posture in life, if you're basically living your life saying, yeah, I kind of do what I want, and I just trust that God will forgive me, you are almost certainly not a believer in Jesus. Because at the core, being a believer in Jesus means you want God, you want God in your life, you want to be close to him, and you want to be connected to him. If you're going through your life saying, hey, God will just forgive me in the end, it sounds like what you want is a get out of hell free card, and God is good for that. If you don't even want God, you're almost certainly not a believer in Jesus. So if you're living your life that way, and you're like that is sort of what I say, I just say, well, I'll do what I want and God's gracious, he'll forgive me. You need to put your faith in Jesus, you need to decide that you want God in your life.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:41] But there's a second phrase that we might use, because some of you might say, all right, I'm not there, I recognize that's bad. The second phrase that we might use is, show me the rule. Some of you got it, that's living your life in a way that if anybody says, hey, why do you watch that? Or why do you talk that way? Or why did you use that word? Or why do you spend so much time doing that? And your response is, hey, show me the rule that says I can't do that. There's a way that we can look at the fact that our lives are unregulated, and we're not saying, hey, I'm just going to sin and do whatever I want, but we're saying, hey, I'm allowed to do what I want, you can't tell me what I'm supposed to do, I'm going to go ahead and do what feels good to me and show me the rule that tells me that I can't do it. This is what Paul is talking about when he's talking about the idea of indulging the flesh.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:34] By the way, I think there's a parallel to this in our American culture, and it relates to the whole idea of freedom of speech. Now, I don't know how everybody in here feels about freedom of speech, but I personally am a pretty big fan. I think this is a very good thing that our society has, freedom of speech. But let me be clear, freedom of speech is a great defense before a judge, it's a really bad defense before the people you care about. If somebody you care about says, hey, why did you say that? Like when you used that word and when you talked that way about me, that really hurt my feelings and your response is, freedom of speech. See how that goes. It's good if a judge is saying, why did you say that? Yes, stand on freedom of speech. But if a friend or a spouse or a sibling is saying, why did you talk to me that way? And all you've got is, I'm allowed to. You're missing the whole point of the freedom; you are misusing your freedom.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:39] And this is a challenge because once again, we get into things where we as Christians like to make more rules. In fact, just as a society, we like to make rules. Some of you probably grew up in families and churches where there are a lot of extra rules, that people were like, God says not to do this even though he never did, and you're still dealing with some of that baggage. But let's just take one, let's take one sort of case study on this, let's take the very uncomfortable case study of alcohol. Now, here's the deal, some of you don't drink at all, some of you do drink. If you read the New Testament and the Old Testament, here's the basic framework that you get from alcohol. It's a good gift that God has given us, and you're absolutely allowed to partake in it, not those of you under 21, because we obey the law. But here's where we can say, all right, there are warnings about alcohol, but overall, the framework is you're absolutely allowed to participate in this, it's seen as something that you use to experience joy and experience celebration, so absolutely you're allowed to do it. Some of you right now are like stop saying that, stop telling people they're allowed to do it. You're allowed to do it; we're not going to make up a new rule. And so you could go ahead, you could say, okay, that's great, I'm allowed to do it. And you could even go further with the sort of what am I allowed to do? You could say like my allowed to have more than one drink in a sitting, and we'd scour the Bible and say, there's no drink limit overtly mentioned. So you'd be like, all right, so two is okay, three, three is okay? We can't look at a verse in the Bible that says three isn't okay. Four is okay? Every night is okay? Not just beer and wine, but the hard stuff, all this is okay? And we'd have to keep coming back and saying, there's no rule, we can't tell you that you're not allowed to do this.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:27] But here's the deal, and alcohol is such a powerful example of this, think of the number of lives and marriages that have been ruined by the abuse of alcohol. And think of what can end up happening to you, if you take alcohol and you say, I'm just going to keep going down the road of show me the rule, and if there's no rule, I'm going to do what I want. If you live it up in that freedom, you know what you're going to become. you're going to become a slave. Oddly enough, when we are obsessed with indulging our freedom, we become enslaved. And you're going to go from somebody that says, I'm free because I can drink; to somebody who's saying I'm not free because I can't not drink, and I can't find any joy or any vitality in my life unless I pour something into my body.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:20] Here's the point of all of this, your freedom in the area of alcohol is given to you to enjoy a good gift that God has given, it is not given as an opportunity for you to cover up your desire to numb your pain through getting drunk. We live in freedom, but Paul says, don't use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, that's not what your freedom is for. And we can become a slave to alcohol, we can become a slave to social media. Hey, there's no rule about how much time I can spend on social media, but if you are obsessively checking how many likes and loves and retweets you've got, you're a slave, that's not what your freedom is for. We can talk about money and greed, and you can say, there's no rule about how nice a car I can have. Yeah, you're right, but pretty soon your possessions may end up owning you. Freedom, unchecked, and indulged, often lead us into slavery. And Paul says that's not what the freedom is for.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:20] And by the way, Paul also gives a clue later on in the passage about why he's concerned about this. We're going to skip for a second, do this a little bit out of order, and look at verse 15. Look, you'll notice after verse 14, it almost seems like Paul's point is done, but he throws in verse 15. And in verse 15 he says, "If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other." And this is an odd thing that he throws in, he uses sort of wild animal terminology, you're just biting at each other and devouring each other. And so like a bunch of hyenas in a cage, just sort of biting at each other, all locked together. And that's what he is picturing with verse 13, with the show me the rule, I'm allowed to do what I want to do. A whole bunch of hyenas locked in a cage saying, my way, no my way, no my way, no my way. I get to do what I want, you can't tell me what to do, we're going to do things my way. That's what he pictures here, and he says, how sad, how sad if a group of people were living that way. Just my way, I'm going to bite and devour you. How sad if in a marriage, two people were living that way, just biting at each other, we're going to do it my way. No, you can't tell me what to do. How sad if in the Church of Jesus Christ, we were a bunch of hyenas locked in a cage saying, I know my rights, I know my freedoms. Paul says what an ugly picture we would end up falling into if we took the great freedom that Jesus bought for us and used it just as an opportunity to try to get whatever we want.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:53] Paul says, be warned because this freedom is a gift from God, and it can be used wrongly. But thank God, it also can be used rightly. And so let's get into the right response to freedom. We go back to verse 13 again, but we get to look at the second half of verse 13. After saying, "Don't use this freedom to indulge the flesh.", Paul says, "Rather serve one another humbly in love." He says, all right, the wrong way to respond to your freedom, just do whatever you want, regardless of the consequences. The right way to respond to your freedom, look to use your freedom to serve other people in love. And here's the question, how does Christian freedom free us up to serve others?

Dan Franklin: [00:23:52] Now, let's go back, I talked before about two kinds of freedom, we have freedom from condemnation, and we have freedom from regulation. So let's go through those again, we'll do it in reverse order. You are free from a highly regulated life, and that actually sets you up to be more free to serve others. And we know this is true because we see it in Jesus' life, Jesus did all kinds of healings, healed all kinds of people in his life, and he did it in all different places and on all different days of the week. But there was one day of the week that he seemed to constantly be doing healings, what day was that? It was the Sabbath, it was Saturday, and that's the Jewish day of rest. And so what would happen is Jesus would heal somebody on the Sabbath, and the religious leaders would say, hey, heal people on the days when you're not supposed to work. In fact, this was so ironic. they would say to the people coming for a healing. they'd say, hey, if you want Jesus to heal, you come back on Wednesday or Thursday, but Saturday is out. And Jesus responded to this in different ways in different settings, but one of the main ways that he responded to this was by saying God didn't give us the Sabbath to keep people from getting help. And if you see a broken and bloodied person on the Sabbath, you're not supposed to say, can't do any work, you go out and you help them. Jesus didn't let a regulation keep him from serving people, and we get to live in the same reality that living unregulated lives actually allows us to be able to look at different situations and say, well, I'm free to behave in a variety of ways. I'm like, even some of you do sort of keep a Sabbath, you know, at least the spirit of the Sabbath. The idea of a day where you're like, all right, I don't do work that day. You know, I don't go into the office, and we just sort of, we take it easy, we don't do anything strenuous, and that's a perfectly good thing to do. But let's say you have that practice, let's say you choose Sunday. And you're like, Sunday's the day, I show up at the church services we worship, and then we just take it easy, and we have a day of rest.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:58] So let's say a friend calls you up and says, gosh, this was really last minute, but our rent got hiked at our rental place and we just need to move right away, and we've been boxing stuff up all weekend. We could really use some help in getting into our new place, could you come and help us? And if you respond by saying, it's Sunday. You just missed an opportunity to serve, because Jesus says, yeah, you're free from anything related to the Sabbath and you can do it if you want, but you don't have to do it, but don't let regulation keep you from serving people. You are free to serve people.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:32] But here's the even bigger way, we're not just free from regulation, we are free from condemnation, that's the biggest way that we're free. And here's what this means. this means you are important to God, you have nothing left to prove to anyone, and so you are now free to get your eyes off of yourself and look for what other people need. You no longer have to obsessively make sure you're being taken care of because God's taking care of you, that means you can look around and you can serve others.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:10] I love that we had to Go Teams up here before, and I love that a lot of you are going to give generously to help the Go Teams go. But these different students and adults coming out here and saying, yeah, I'm going to take a week or I'm going to take ten days during the summer where I could be doing other things, and I am going to serve other people humbly in love because God has set me free from needing to make sure I'm being taken care of because God has taken care of me. The fact that we're free from condemnation. do you know what it means? It means you can stop treating other people as a threat. And some of you right now would admit, yeah, I do kind of treat other people like a threat. Let me just say, we all do this. We all look at other people and we see potential threats to our own importance. You get a new employee at the place that you're working and they're doing a great job, and you're like, hey, you're doing a great job, don't do too good a job. Like, calm it down, bro. You get somebody that just joins your group of friends and is hanging out, and you're like, hey, you're really funny, you're really funny. Not too funny, that's my job. We look around and we see threats, and we can be really petty about these things because I need to know that I'm important, and the way that I know I'm important is that I'm the spiritual one, or I'm the smart one, or I'm the hardworking one, or I'm the funny one. And if somebody else comes in, that feels like a threat, so we don't serve one another because we see other people as threats.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:42] Let me tell you, you are free from that. Jesus has set you free, you matter infinitely to him, you don't have to treat other people as threats, and this transforms relationships, any close long-term relationship in your life, whether it's in marriage or whether it's in friendship, or with a sibling. Here's what's going to happen, at some point in your life, you're going to end up really messing up and hurting somebody that you care about. Again, marriage, friendships, siblings, parent, child, that's going to end up happening, you're going to mess up. And you're going to be like, shoot, I've messed up, and what you're going to desperately want is for the other person to just get over it. That's not going to be a good approach, even though it's understandable, it's not going to be a good approach. Really, the good approach is the much more difficult approach of creating space for that person that you care about to be mad at you for a while, and to go through a season of time where they're not going to spend very much time talking to you about how important you are to them, and it's painful and it can feel lonely and you can start to get angry and you can start to get resentful. But the best way to heal a relationship, it's not just about you saying, hey, I deserved this, I messed up. It's about saying, if I really care about this person, I want to create space to value them enough for them to know I'm okay with the fact that they're hurt and I'm not going to rush them through it, that's humbly loving and serving others.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:17] And here's the deal, in a long-term relationship, in the same way, you're going to be on the other side of that, you're going to be hurt at some point. It may be massive, it may be medium, whatever it's going to be, there's going to be some point where you really feel hurt by your spouse, by your sister, by your friend, and you're going to feel alienated from them. And here's what you're going to be tempted to do, what you're going to be tempted to do is to say the only reason I can prove that I'm important is by making them pay for what they did to me. And you're going to be tempted to leave them in the doghouse as long as humanly possible because that's how you get validated for knowing that you're important. And here's what I want you to know, God sees all your pain, God sees all of your hurt, and you are so deeply important to God, that you don't need to prove it by trying to make somebody else pay. As believers, we live our lives humbly serving one another in love, because we're not looking to our spouses or our brothers or sisters or our friends or our children to prove to us that we matter, we know that we matter to God and that sets us free. We humbly serve one another in love.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:34] And Paul uses that whole idea, he mentions love and he just uses that to parlay into verse 14 where he says, "For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Now, some of you, this whole message, you're like, but they're still commands, you've got to get to the rules at some point, Dan. Like, I know we like this loosey-goosey freedom thing, but at some point, we got to talk about rules, all right. So Paul says, all right, I'll give you a rule. It's like, I don't have ten, I don't have ten commandments for you, I've got one commandment for you, and that one commandment is, "Love your neighbor as yourself." And he's so audacious to say, if you follow this commandment, you'll be following all the commandments.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:14] And if you think Paul is like out over his skis on this, if you're like, that's crazy, Paul. Paul is basically saying the same thing that Jesus said. Matthew chapter 22, Jesus is asked, "What's the greatest command?" He responds by saying, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ c 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’" And then Jesus says this, All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” If you love God and love other people, you're fulfilling the whole law. And in this passage, you might say, well, Paul doesn't specifically say, love God, he just says, love your neighbor. That's because that's what he's talking about, he's talking about our relationships with each other. He is saying this is your one command, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Which, by the way, doesn't mean that love yourself and then love your neighbor, it means you do love yourself, love your neighbor in that same way. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:16] Now, here's the question that comes up, and some of you have been thinking it this whole time. You're like, Dan, I've read the Old Testament, there are lots of rules, there are lots of regulations, so what do we do with all that? Do we just decide those are done? And here's the answer, the answer is that all of the rules and regulations in the Old Testament were a shadow pointing to Jesus. They were all given to us so that we could get a hint and get a clue of what was coming, and then when Jesus came, he was the real deal, and the shadows are no longer there. Do you know why we don't offer sacrifices anymore? Because Jesus came and offered the ultimate sacrifice. The whole sacrificial system, with all its regulations, pointed to Jesus. Do you know why we can eat bacon now? Because, yeah, that was like the first amen of the whole sermon, somebody was like, thank God. Do you know why you can eat bacon now? It's because there were all these regulations in the Old Testament to teach the idea that we need to be made clean before God. Jesus came, he died for all of our sins, and we are clean before God. We get to eat or drink what we please, because we are clean before God.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:29] I mentioned the Sabbath, some of you are uncomfortable because you're like, hey, Sabbath made the top ten, like the Ten Commandments. Are you really saying we're not under the Sabbath? Read the New Testament, we are not under the Sabbath. You do not need to keep the Sabbath, and by the way, those of you who think you're keeping the Sabbath read the Old Testament, nobody's keeping the Sabbath. You may decide, and this is a perfectly good thing to do, you may decide, hey, I'm going to still keep this principle because it seems wise, so I'm still going to set aside a day of the week for rest. That's great, you can do that, we are not under the Sabbath. And here's the reason why, the Sabbath was about experiencing rest, and now that Jesus has come, we're in the longest Sabbath in human history. We are experiencing rest every day of our lives because Jesus has set us free from trying to work our way into God's good favor. We are free from the regulations in the Old Testament, and some of you are like, but not all of them, like adultery, murder, stealing. Yes, you're right. Do you know why those still apply? You can't love your neighbor if you're stealing from him. You can't love your neighbor if you're bearing false witness against them. You can't love your neighbor if you're physically assaulting them. You can't love your spouse, who is your neighbor, if you're committing adultery against them. So all of those fall under the one command, Paul says one command, the law of love.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:53] Which by the way, the way that we use love in our culture, it doesn't mean the law of feeling warm towards someone. Love is actively sacrificing in order to benefit the other person, which means love can be tough. It means Jesus came to seek and save the lost, and that means he went around telling people, you are lost. That means when we love other people, sometimes that love is going to show up in us telling them hard truths that are snatching them from destructive behaviors.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:26] We live the law of love, and we live it in a way that it's going to be applied in different ways to different people. Quick example, you may have a friend who at some point you're having a conversation with them, and they're sort of going off and ranting and raving and they're saying all kinds of things that you know are not true about God. And you're concerned for them and you're like, do I speak up? What does the law of love tell me, do I say something? And you may determine in that moment, you know what, my friend is grieving, they're having a rotten, terrible time, this isn't what they really think. I'm not going to just correct them on this right now because out of love, I want to create space for them to be able to rant and rave and share their deepest fears right now. So out of the law of love, I'm not going to step in and be like, technically, that's not right. And you might be in almost the same exact situation with another friend who's maybe not grieving but is just going down some dangerous roads and saying some false things about God. And you may be tempted to sit there and be like, no, I'm just going to love and affirm them, I'm not going to say anything. With a law of love, sometimes you've got to shut up, and sometimes you got to speak up. Sometimes the law of love will lead you to be like, don't say anything, just sit there with them. And sometimes the law of love will say, you better speak up if you care about this person.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:42] And by the way, that's a lot to try to figure out, that's a lot to try to sort through. We are given sometimes more freedom than we're comfortable with, and we want all of the rules. We are free, the question is not whether we're free, the question is what we're going to do with our freedom. And what Paul says is, here's what you do with your freedom, you use it to love other people. But you might be sensing, and you're like, this is hard to do. Like, I would take ten commands, I would take 15 commands, but there's one command. This is hard because this means that all the time, not just with my spouse or with my family, but all the time I'm looking around and I'm saying, how can I sacrifice to help other people? And not only that, I'm trying to just mentally work through what does it look like to be able to do this, and what does the law of love mean in these different situations?

Dan Franklin: [00:38:31] And sometimes we look at it and we say, if only there was a way, if only there is a way God could help us with this. Like if only there was like a helper God could give us that would help us with this. You know, like a way to remind us of what he said, and a way to teach us, and bring it to bear on our hearts, maybe like an app, like an app for our phone where we just put in the scenario and it would tell us, this is what you do in the law of love. And it's hard because not only do we not always know, but even when we do know the right thing to do, we don't always want to do it, we're still dealing with selfishness and dealing with the flesh. So if only, maybe the app wouldn't work, maybe the better thing would be if God himself would come and dwell inside of us, empower us, teach us, remind us, equip us, and give us the wisdom to be able to walk through each and every one of those scenarios. Oh, guess what? God gave us the Holy Spirit.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:33] Paul here doesn't say, go out, figure it out. The very next verse, the verse that we're going to start with next week says, "Walk by the spirit, and you will not indulge the desires of the flesh." You have the Holy Spirit living inside of you, and so when you're dealing with this and you're looking at your life and you're saying, you know what, what areas of my life am I basically asking, show me the rule? Is it with my money or with what I'm watching or with how I'm talking to people, what area of my life right now am I basically saying, hey, I'm allowed to, you can't tell me I can't? And in what area of my life right now am I seeing other people as threats instead of people to love? And as you're working through all of that, you get to work through that under the power and the guidance of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of you.

Dan Franklin: [00:40:23] Right now, if you feel overwhelmed by the law of love, that's kind of appropriate. Nobody but Jesus ever lived this out, and Jesus was filled by the Holy Spirit when He lived this out. God has not just given us a command and said use our use your freedom well, he's given us a command and he's given us the gift of the Holy Spirit. And as opposed to looking like a bunch of hyenas locked in a cage, who are nipping and biting at each other, we get to look like a bunch of countercultural, shockingly loving people, who are pouring out sacrificial love to the world around us.

Dan Franklin: [00:41:00] Let me pray for us right now. Father, thank you so much that you have given us freedom. Thank you that even when we mess up and we don't use our freedom well, that you don't turn around and threaten us that you're going to take it away, you want us to walk in freedom. Father, help us to walk in freedom well. Forgive us for the ways that we have in the past, and the ways that right now we're using our freedom as an opportunity just to do whatever we want. Father, forgive us of that, convict us of that, lead us on that, empower us by your Holy Spirit to walk in freedom, joyfully serving others with love. May Jesus be seen through us, and may you bring healing into all of us, through the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name. Amen. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:41:54] To close our service, I'm going to ask you to stand. We're going to cheat a little bit; our benediction is going to be next week's passage. Because even though our passage didn't talk about the Spirit, there's no way we're going to hold Sunday without talking about the Spirit. So as our benediction, let me read for us Galatians chapter 5 verses 16 through 18, "So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law." Amen? Amen. God bless you the rest of this Sunday.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848