Submitting And Living In Freedom
When under persecution, it is ultimately what people see of Christ in how you act. We are truly free when we are living in the will of God.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes I care how you are. And some of you write and tell me now and again, and I appreciate that. But I think of so many of you whom I know personally. And as I face these broadcasts, you know I whisper a pray that God’s love and God’s truth, God’s blessing might be in what is said day by day, so that you can get hold of it and apply it your own life.
See those of us who broadcast in Christian things have no way of knowing what the individual listener may need, how could we? But the miracle of the Christian ministry is that the blessed indwelling Holy Spirit knows. And He tailors the truth to fit my need and yours. That’s the miracle of the ministry. And so I pray every day that God might perform the miracle, tailoring the truth to your need today.
Yes this is your friend Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you, believe me. And we’re looking at 1 Peter 2. Now I just got through a very touchy passage that said, “Submit yourselves to every,” – every that is – “ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake. For so is the will of God that with well-doing He may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.”
And it’s difficult when you’re being discriminated against, when you’re being pushed around and harassed because of your social situation, or because of your race, or because of your religious beliefs, frankly – that happens every day doesn’t it? It’s difficult to have someone say, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord sake.” And you say, “Well if I don’t stand up for myself, nobody else is going to.” And what about the people in South Africa, what about the oppressed people in all the Iron Curtain countries, and so on. Yes, what about them?
It’s a, it’s a wicked world. The world is full of unfairness, and cruelty, and wickedness because you and I are members of a sinful human race. “The heart,” the Bible says, “is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it.” Now as I told you, in some countries as in our own, this blessed free land, we have the right to change laws that we think are unfair, at the ballot box. We have the right of lawful petition to the government. We have right of the freedom of assembly, the freedom of the press, the freedom of religion and religious activities. This is a blessed free land, and we ought to use that freedom in making whatever changes we think, as a people, ought to be made.
If however one is living in a culture where there isn’t such a freedom – and over half the world, beloved, lives under different conditions than we do – if one is living in a culture where that type of freedom does not exist, what then? If you’re born again, you’re still a Christian. You still belong to God. And the only time you are going to go contrary to what the government says is when it, when it insist upon you turning your back on Jesus. When it does that, you say, “No, I won’t do that.” You don’t have any redress then. You don’t have any ballot box you say, you don’t have any freedom. This is true of more then half the world, isn’t it?
What can we do if you live in a place like that? We can live for Jesus. “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake.” It’s what they say about my God that counts, not how I feel, not what is happening to me – but what they say about Jesus that counts. And as I say, the only place where you and I back up is the place where people say, “Turn your back on Jesus.” At that point we say as did Peter, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to harken unto you more than unto God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. We are His witnesses; neither is there salvation in any other for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”
That’s the stand we take when we face our relationship with the government. Christians should be the best citizens in the country. Now he goes on to chaps, to verse 16, “As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness; but as the servants,” – that’s our word ‘slave’, Greek word doulos, slaves – “servants of God.” Now what’s he, what’s he driving at? Well the New Testament Christian knows that he is free from the old mosaic laws. “Stand fast therefore,” says Paul, “in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. And be not entangled again by the yolk of bondage. Christ is become of no effect unto you if you are justified by the law. We, through the Spirit, wait for the ‘Hope of Righteousness’, by faith.”
And he says to the, the people at, at Colossi in the book we call Colossians. He says, “Let no man therefore judge you in terms of the law.” He said, “Christ nailed the handwriting of ordinances,” – that is the old mosaic law – “to His cross, blotting out the handwriting of ordinance that was against us, which was carried contrary to us; and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect upon holy day, or the new moon, or of the Sabbath, which are shadow of things to come. But, the body is of Christ. Don’t be subject,” said he, “to ordinances. Touch not, taste not, handle not, which all are to perish with the using. These things have indeed a show of wisdom,” he said, “and will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body. If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection of things above, for ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.” All right, that’s Colossians.
Now what’s the point. The point is, you’re free from the old mosaic law. “This doeth, thou shalt live. Nobody can measure up to the Holy Law of God, we all fall short.” Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That’s a Greek word that means ‘miss the mark’.
So we’re free by the grace of God, saved by grace through faith. Now he says, “Don’t use that, that freedom to indulge yourself. But,” he said, “rather by love, serve one another. Don’t use that, live, that freedom as an occasion, a liberty, as an occasion to the flesh – the old nature, but by love, serve on another. All the laws fulfilled in one word, even in this thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” That’s the Galatians 5:13 passage. So we come over to 1 Peter 2:16. He says, “You’re free. But don’t use that liberty as a cloak of maliciousness.” Now that’s something else.
Paul warns the people at Colossi not to use Christian freedom as the way to indulge themselves. “Now,” Peter says, “don’t use your Christian freedom as a way to get the best of somebody else.” Oh that’s, that’s terrible! You wouldn’t think a Christian would do that, would you? Well see, we’re human beings. And you live a while, one of the things you learn is not to be surprised at anything that comes out of human nature – even though it be packaged pretty elegantly.
You know we’ve all said it at sometime, “I never expected that of him!” Meaning you know, “This is an extra good person, and I never expected him to act like a human being.” Well that’s the way things are. We’re human beings. And everybody fails at some time or other. That’s why they put erasers on the end of lead pencils.
So he says, “Don’t use your freedom as, as a means of getting the better of someone,” see. “But rather, as the servants of God.” I’m free to do what God tells me to do. When I was unsaved, I was doing what the devil told me to do, and what my old sinful nature told me to do. Now I’m free because I’ve trusted Jesus Christ the Savior, and I’m free then to become a servant, a doulos, a slave, of God. And that means I’m going to do what He tells me, no matter what. You’re never really free until you’ve sold out to Jesus, have you found that out?
You know the, the, the 16 year old boy gets his drivers license and immediately he says, “I got to have a car. Oh, if I had a car, then I could do what I wanted to.” So finally he gets a car. Now what happens? He finds out that he has to spend every spare moment working to pay for it and, and that it breaks down and he has to fix it. And he ends up not being free at all, but being the servant of his automobile. Have any of you been through that – either yourself or with your teenager?
Somebody says to himself or to herself, “Oh if I could only, if I can only do what I want to and, and, and have the fun out in the world I want to and all of that.” And so you get into different things: alcohol maybe, or drugs, or sex, or all of the above. And you think, “Oh boy! Now I’m going to have a great time.” What happens? You end up being the servant of those things, you’re not free at all. The only time you’re really free is when you’ve sold out to Jesus. And you’re doing His will because the Bible says of Him, “He doeth all things well.”
I’ve never met anybody who was sorry that they said ‘yes’ to Christ. I’ve never yet met anybody that was sorry that they yielded to the will of God. He says, “Yield your bodies,” Paul says in Romans 12, “a, a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service,” –it makes sense, in other words – “and don’t be conformed,” don’t be mashed into the world’s design or mold, “don’t be confirmed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,” See, all kinds of human conduct comes out of the mind, as the source of it. “that you may prove what is good, and prove what is acceptable, and prove what is perfect: namely, the will of God.”
The only place that’s acceptable, and good, and perfect, is being in the Will of God. Have you learnt that yet? Oh I know, temptation is subtle. The tempter uses all kinds of devices to lure us into doing things that are not in God’s Will. But we have to learn it, maybe re-learn it; that the only place where you’re really free is the place where you’ve sold out to Jesus and said ‘yes’ to Him; and you’re doing His blessed Will. Then you’re free, and your heart can rejoice. We’ll talk a little more about this as we go on in 1 Peter, the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today help us to say ‘yes’ to Your Will so that you can be free to live for God. In Jesus name I pray this. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today, and be a blessing!
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