Yet, as it is customary, we often gather in a building with other believers, newcomers, and yes, false converts- all of whom need prayer.
We've become accustomed to meeting together once or twice a week, and hearing the same messages, usually topical, and have decent knowledge of the Scriptures, most of which are probably the ones we are used to quoting:
"For God so loved the world..." -John 3:16
"For I know the plans I have or you..." -Jeremiah 29:11
"I can do all things through Christ..." -Philippians 4:13
See, I just typed those (and can type the full verses) without looking in my Bible. There is nothing wrong with knowing these. But we must be careful to not take any verse lightly, not take it for granted, and not misinterpret it because we take it as we hear it without studying for ourselves.
Our entire Christian faith can become routine, stagnant, and comfortable. This cannot be allowed, but each person is in charge of making that decision in their walk with God.
We have heard that Christ came to redeem us, and set us free. He, himself, said the truth would set us free. But- free from what, exactly? Do we know? Do we assume? Do we expect?
Since the beginning of time, people have been gravitating toward self-fulfillment, and indulgence. We want God's protection, and blessing, but refuse to live by the boundaries He has set for our protection, and spiritual growth. While many of us will agree with this, few will make the necessary changes because our understanding of the Scriptures is not as strong as we'd like to think.
Freedom: the state of not being enslaved; free to talk, or act as one wishes without hindrance.
What kind of freedom is the church granting itself? Are we adhering to God's commands, or are we still our own gods?
Please bear with me; I am neither a legalist, nor extremist; I am simple a sinner, saved by grace, who wants to honor, and obey the One who saved me.
God's word is true, and it stands firm. If we truly believe this, it should be a priority of ours to study, and dig deep. We will be learning for the rest of our lives, if are willing.
This freedom Christ grants us is freedom from sin. If our master is Yahweh, sin no longer rules us. By God's grace, we don't let it. He has redeemed us.
This freedom Christ grants us is freedom from worry, and the temptations the world brings. If Yahweh is our master, we see the beauty in our eternity with Him that lies ahead. He has saved us.
This freedom Christ grants us is freedom from traditions that are anti-biblical or take the place of His Word in our lives. If Yahweh is our master, His Word is final authority, and is not taken out of context. He has provided us with His Truth.
Now, being free from sin, worry, and godless traditions, and doctrines of men, we can serve God, and build His Kingdom along with Him, fulfilling the plans He set for us.
I have found more joy in my family, household chores, and ministry with this freedom our Messiah has granted us. Thought there are times our emotions get the best of us, let's be quick to remember to respond to our circumstances in a way that gives witness to the truth of our salvation. Let it be a witness to our time spent in Bible study.
We cannot expect to live life fully, and abundantly if we fail to remember the purpose of the freedom that was given through Him. In fact, we can have schedules, filled with good deeds, and still live in bondage if we mistake this freedom for a license to sin, or to excuse certain habits or failure to abide in Him.
What branch can produce good fruit if not connected to the Vine? None.
Who is the judge of this fruit? We find the instructions for righteous judgment in God's Word, and we will be known to be His disciples by this fruit.
Our freedom cost God the precious blood of our Savior, and there is price for us to pay as well. Not for our salvation, as God has so graciously already made a way, but rather to follow Him.
Some will lose family members when they cannot accept their faith.
Some will lose businesses, and property when they are obedient to the Word.
Some will count the cost, and follow Him.
Some will not think it's worth the cost, and fall away.
Some will think they follow, but are not willing to pay the cost.
As we make our choices, we will see our brothers and sisters in the faith do the same.
If we have been set free, it is my prayer that we will encourage those who have yet to make their choices, and those who think they have, but are living a lie; a lie believed by many that they can live in the bondage of sin, and the freedom of salvation Christ has offered, at the same time.
This cannot be. It mustn't. It is my prayer that as people wake up to the truth of God's Word, as ignored by many modern churches these days, that they would speak up, and swim against the current, warning others, and encouraging those who are seeking.
When we are free, indeed, the fruit will be a witness.
Serving Our King,