For Freedom Christ has set us free

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For Freedom Christ has set us free
Galatians 5.1, 13-25
Luke 9.51-end

This is the theme of the whole series of sermons on Galatians. Paul’s letter to the early churches scattered around Northern Turkey.

What does Paul mean by freedom?

Freedom to make political decisions?

After this week’s Referendum Vote, freedom to choose whether to stay in or vote out of the European Union. Would Paul have meant freedom from the European Union? I do not believe that is Paul’s objective as freedom! But throughout history, the discovery of freedom in Christ has enabled his followers to have freedom to live for others, to make a difference in society, to be advocates, set up schools, be a voice for the voiceless. Think of Mother Teresa, of Martin Luther, of Robert Raikes – who began schooling for boys in July 1780 in the home of a Mrs. Meredith, "Raikes' Ragged School". For the boys from slums, given the opportunity to learn the bible, and read. This week in Hartley Wintney we heard of the work of the Mothers’ Union in Winchester Diocese, seeking to work for the good of others with practical service.

For freedom Christ has set us free

The letter we read today explains the freedom that Jesus offers us if we will accept it.

Freedom to follow a trustworthy guide

In our gospel reading we heard of the call of Jesus’ disciples, and their leaving nets behind… and the adventure of following him.

Freedom to have our inner selves changed to be full of good fruit

In the letter to the Galatians, we heard about the freedom to be changed, to have an inner change. Perhaps we all know that the less than wonderful motivators that come from inside us. What did Jesus say to the religious group concerned about regulations for eating? See the Gospel of Mark, chapter 7, verses 17-23. “Are you so dull? Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them (ie. not the food we eat), it is what comes out of a person that is the challenge – from within, from out of a person’s heart – that the evil thoughts come.”

For freedom Christ has set us free – from these things – to live differently

There is hope because Christ has given us his Holy Spirit to dwell within us, if we ask him. And from his gift comes a change of heart, and a change of purpose. Freedom to live in the fruit of the Spirit instead, and live for Him and for others. What joy and freedom that brings… Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. There is no law against these.

Let us walk in step with the Spirit – he is our trustworthy guide – listen to his inner promptings, and keep up with him!

Rev’d Dr Marion de Quidt, Heckfield, Sunday 26th June 2016