L I V I N G H O P E
F E L L O W S H I P
F E L L O W S H I P
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Jesus told His followers that the prince of this world is coming but “he has no power over me.” (John 14:30.) That’s not true for the rest of us. While the Bible says we are sojourners (pilgrims) here and that our citizenship is in heaven, we live our lives on this side of the divide, in a broken, fallen world where forces of evil reign and sin crouches at our door. It's impossible not to have sinned, which is why we are told "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." (Romans 3.23.)
But Jesus made this promise: "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8: 34-37.) And Paul says this: “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.” (Galatians 5:1) Which is why Jesus invites us to “ Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:29-30.)
By Jesus’ death on the cross, we have been freed, delivered from worldly bondage much like the people of Israel were delivered from slavery in Egypt. And like the people of Israel, we have to continually choose freedom over bondage, faith over fear and the Son over sin. Sometimes, it feels like a losing battle because the temptations just keep coming. But we know this: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1Corinthians 10:13.)
What way out has God provided? He has given us His Spirit, and scripture proclaims, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” ( 2 Corinthians 3:17-18). The Holy Spirit of God is within us. How incredible is that! Not just words or wishful thinking, but the very power of God within strengthens us as we take our stand against the devil’s schemes. So wherever we go, whatever we do, there is freedom to choose Jesus over temptation and
the power of God to help us prevail.
The King who freed us has more in mind than just freedom from sin’s power, because freedom in Christ is contagious and free people are the carriers.* We are called to be free in worship. Free in prayer. Free to move in spiritual gifts. Free to proclaim the Gospel and His Kingdom. Free to grow in the depths of God. Free to share our spiritual victories as well as our failures, trials and doubts. We should be free to encourage one another and to correct each other in love. Free to ask questions and free to admit we don’t always have answers. We should be free from religious systems, free to believe in healing and miracles, free from the terror of today's headlines and tomorrows troubles. Mostly, we should be free from the fear of men and fear of failure. Why should it be any other way since scripture declares, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"(Romans 8:31.)
At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus quoted from the Book of Isaiah: “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.’” (Luke 4:18.)
And in His final moments here on earth, Jesus proclaimed, “It is finished.” (John 19:30.) He had freed us from the law by the the New Covenant through
his blood (Luke 22:20). Now our sin is forgiven and remembered no more. (Jeremiah 31:31.) Which is why the Apostle Paul boldly proclaims: “Therefore, there
is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”
As free people, we can freely choose Christ. Which is why God assures those who trust Him that “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not
forsake them.” (Isaiah 46:16.) How freeing is that?!
What an awesome promise this is, especially in these times of ever-increasing darkness and confusion.
Living Hope Fellowship wants to be a people who walk in the freedom Jesus paid for at the cross; a people who are led by the Spirit of God along the unfamiliar paths that keep unfolding before us and a people who are free from fear because who the Son sets free is free indeed.