Set Free to Love

A sermon idea based on Galatians 5:1, 13-26

You are free.

And you are free, not because of your own power or ability but by the gracious work of Christ for you and in you.

Paul has spent most of the epistle to the Galatians laying down a firm case for this simple fact – our freedom is entirely the result of God’s good gift offered through Christ via the cross and resurrection.

We don’t earn our freedom. We can’t pay for our freedom. We can’t secure our own freedom or keep ourselves free. We are entirely dependent upon a gracious and all-powerful God to make and keep us free.

But freedom, by its very nature, allows those who possess it to make their own individual choices about what to do with it. And for us, Paul lays out two potential pathways.

PATHWAY #1: We can become consumers of our own freedom, using our liberty to heap to ourselves all the temporal pleasure we can muster.

Paul describes this as living according to the “flesh,” the self-without-god by which we all have tended to govern ourselves in the past.

And the fruit of using our freedom in this way is that we’ll miss out on the kingdom life. We’ll miss out on the all-out adventure of living with God’s rule over us. We’ll miss out on perceiving the divine work happening within and around us.

While this pathway might seem like an abuse of freedom, it’s really worse than that. It’s an abandonment of freedom in exchange for a new kind of bondage. Living to satisfy the flesh is a never-ending struggle that always demands more of our effort and offers no reward of lasting value at all.

When You walk in the flesh, you’ll get exhausted. You’ll lose battles. You’ll hurt people. You’ll be bored.

PATHWAY #2: We can live under the rule and authority of the Spirit of God and produce the richest of fruits with our lives.

Obviously, entire sermon series’ could be preached on either of these pathways, but the BIG point Paul is trying to make is that a life lived entirely out of self and for self is fruitless and meaningless while a life lived out of and for the presence of God is the only real source of fulfilling joy within and a lasting impact around us.

The fifth chapter of Galatians is not about how to get freedom. And it’s certainly not about who gets to go to heaven. It’s ultimately about the contrast between a fruitful life and an unfruitful one.

If you want to walk in real victory, real power, real love, and real self-discipline… if you want to overcome the patterns of your old life once and for all… if you want to bear fruit that makes a difference… if you want help every time you need it…

Walk in step with the Holy Spirit!

You’re free now – not to live it up but to love others completely.

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