433: You need FREEDOM to be able to Follow Jesus.

433 Free to Follow Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word, 433: You need FREEDOM to be able to Follow Jesus.

What You Are FOLLOWING In Life: Reveals who you belong to.

Good morning my friends, we had a great night of making Pancakes with the CRU (Youth Group) last night. We did it so they would know about Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent begins. Lent is the 40 Days before Easter Sunday.
Today, I want to focus on FOLLOWING, because what we follow reveals so much to us. The following little passages from Ephesians and John show that only through Jesus Christ can we be truly free to live God’s way in this world.

Ephesians 2:1-5
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
2  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
3  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
4  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
5  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
What a wonderful passage of the Bible, it’s pregnant with meaning for the Saints in Christ Jesus today. Just look at the list of themes in these five short verses;
  • Dead
  • Transgressions
  • Sins
  • Following the ways of the world,
  • Following the ways of Satan,
  • Satan at work in those who are Disobedient (those not yet brought to the obedience of Christ)
  • All of us were like that,
  • Gratifying the cravings,
  • Sinful nature,
  • Following it’s desires,
  • Following it’s thoughts,
  • We were objects of wrath,
  • God’s great love for us,
  • God’s great mercy,
  • LIFE, made us alive with Christ Jesus,
  • We are saved by God’s Grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
WOWzer! When you look at it like that, there is a whole sermon in each topic. But today I hope to unpack it in as few words as the LORD gives me today.
The word that jumps out most for me today is FOLLOWING. Can you see from the passage above that before we come to Christ and begin to follow Him as our Lord and Saviour, before His Commands and instructions become a priority in our life, we are simply DEAD (Spiritually) following Satan’s lead in every aspect of our Character;
Following the ways of the world: The world is following the plans and purposes of Satan, the ‘world’, meaning everyone who is not BORN OF THE SPIRIT. The world’s ways are obviously evil; just think about our own country for a few minutes. In the News recently we’ve seen how people (ordianry people) who don’t pay their TAX to the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) will be taken to court and forced to eitheir pay a fine or serve some time in prison. But the ways of the world dictate that we should “AVOID PAYING AS MUCH TAX AS WE CAN GET AWAY WITH” am I right? There are Tax Advisors who’ll tell you all the legal loop-holes that will help you avoid paying as much tax as the Inland Revenue wants from you.
Jesus on the other hand, Commanded Christians to PAY THEIR TAXES IN FULL:
Mark 12:17 (NLT) “Well, then,” Jesus said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” His reply completely amazed them.”
NOW it’s been revealed in the Media: on TV and in the Press, that the richest people in the land have been avioding paying their taxes for years in some cases this amounted to Millions of ££££££££…. AND they were NOT prosecuted. It’s not a fair system, a poor man gets prosecuted and the rich man goes free. That’s unjust, unfair, not right. It’s obviously the way of the world, but it’s only following the Spirit who’s at work in the hearts of those who are disobedient, those who don’t yet know Jesus Christ as Lord. For if they did, they be fair, they’d be just, they would not give preferential treatment to the rich and powerful.
Following: the ways of world, Satan,
Following the ways of the sinful nature,
Following it’s desires and thoughts:
The Sinful Nature: lives in disobedience to the ways of Christ Jesus, will not submit to Him, indeed the Bible tells us it cannot, until it has been set free from Satan’s grip, the Sinful nature desires the exact opposite of the Holy Spirit, they are at war with each other.

NEW LIFE: In Christ Jesus.

Freedom to Follow Jesus.

However, though this passage is filled with so much revelation of what we were once like, before we came to trust in Jesus Christ by His awesome Grace through faith in His death upon the cross for our sins, now it’s revealed what He actually gave us;
Life: We are no longer DEAD in Transgression and Sin, but we are ALIVE in Christ Jesus. What does that new life in Christ mean?
We are no longer pulled by the ways of the world.
We can see the ways of the world (Satan’s ways) for what they are, evil.
We can understand now why people do things they way that they do, because they are objects of God’s wrath, they a filled with the evil spirit of Satan, they are only blindly following his commands and demands and, following the impulses of their hearts and foolish sinful fleshly lusts.
We can know just how much we’ve been set free from when we trusted Christ,
It really brings home the truth of what Jesus said in the following passage, please take time to read it very carefully. If you are following this teaching on Daily Spirit & Word Website then you’ll see how I’ve highlighted the very important words in this passage below. The words in brackets are my commentary upon that verse.
John 8:31-44 (NIV)
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (Coming to Jesus you’ll be set free from Sin & Satan).
33  They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” (They didn’t understand they were in bondage to Satan 2 Cor 4:4 “blinded by Satan”).
34  Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. (When we can’t stop sinning, we’re in bondage to it).
35  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it for ever.
36  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (You’ll now if you’ve been set free if you are free from sin and Satan’s ability to control your thoughts, passions and desires. Jesus sets you free).
37  I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word.
38  I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
39  “Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did. (They thought they were saved, so many are blinded by Satan like this in the Church, they think they are saved because granny was a Christian or because they come to church, but they’ve never come to faith and trust in Christ Jesus yet).
40  As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things.
41  You are doing the things your own father does.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.” (Jesus is hinting here that Satan is their father).
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.
43  Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. (Satan blinds the eyes and ears, so they can’t see the Good News or Hear it and be saved).
44  You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (Now Jesus has told them plainly, until they TRUST IN HIM they are in bondage to sin, slaves to sin and Satan is their father.)
Can you see now my friends, until we come to Christ we are Following Satan; who influences and rules over the affaris of this world that will not submit to Christ Jesus as Lord. Until we come to Christ, we are also following the impulses, desires and thoughts of our own sinful and rebellious evil nature.
To be FREE from Satan and Sin: We must come to Christ.
When we come to Christ, we are made ALIVE in Him. We’re given NEW LIFE (Born Again)…
John 1:12 “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
 My friends, God is your FATHER if you’ve trusted in Christ Jesus.
Satan is your father if you’ve not been set free and given this new life yet.
Come to Jesus, receive Him as your LORD now, trust in His death upon the cross for your sin and you too will be set free and able to follow Him in the power of the Holy Spirit.
I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday my friends, it’s so good to know what our FREEDOM IN CHRIST looks like. If you’ve got time read the passages below for further help and study. They are so closely linked to the theme today, it would be a real shame to miss what the Holy Spirit is saying to you.
Don.
NOTE: Can also be read at Daily Spirit & Word: http://spiritandword.co.uk/category/daily-spirit-word/
Catch Up on previous Spirit & Word Devotions by clicking above.
I’ll be moving over 400 Daily Devotions for you to enjoy at your leisure.
It’s difficult to archive on Facebook, but a website allows so many more ways to search through material
For Further Study: Following: Holy Spirit / Christ Jesus as LORD.

Freedom to Follow Jesus

Following the Way of the Holy Spirit: IN Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1-17
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
2  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
3  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,
4  in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
5  Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
6  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;
7  the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
8  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
9  You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
10  But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
11  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
12  Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.
13  For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,
14  because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
15  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
16  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
17  Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
The Acts of the Sinful Nature Are Obvious:
Galatians 5:1-26 (NIV)
1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2  Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.
3  Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is required to obey the whole law.
4  You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
5  But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.
6  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
7  You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?
8  That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.
9  “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”
10  I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be.
11  Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offence of the cross has been abolished.
12  As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
13  You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
14  The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”
15  If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

The Acts Of The Christian Controlled by the Holy Spirit.

16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
17  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
18  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19  The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
20  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
21  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
24  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
25  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
26  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Can also be read at Daily Spirit & Word: On St Luke’s Church Facebook Page
Catch Up on previous Spirit & Word Devotions by clicking above.
I’ll be moving over 400 Daily Devotions for you to enjoy at your leisure.
It’s difficult to archive on Facebook, but a website allows so many more ways to search through material