Free Indeed

The 8th message in the Galatians series.
(Find the other messages from this series here)

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I am so glad you’re here!

We welcome everyone to Faith church because we believe God can rescue anyone! 

No one is too far gone, to broken, or too backward to experience God’s truth, grace, and love. We welcome everyone because we believe God needs to rescue everyone. There is no one so proper, put together, or knowledgeable that they don’t need the mercy of Jesus.

So we are glad you are here and we are glad that whoever you are, God is able and willing to work in your life, just like he did in ours.

It’s Back to Church Sunday. It was on this Sunday 8 years ago that Amy walked back through the doors of our church for the first time in a while. God used this Sunday to start writing the next chapter in what he was doing in her life, and I’ve been praying that today would be the day that he starts a new chapter for someone sitting in the congregation. Maybe that’s you. Maybe God is doing a work in your heart already! If so, He’ll use His truth to bring your freedom.

Jesus said to a crowd of people in John 8:32

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

They responded in verse 33, but

“We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?”

Then Jesus dropped this truth on them in verse 34:

“Truly, truly I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.

36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

Now this is all fitting because the next section of scripture that we will look at in Galatians 5 is all about freedom.

Paul is concerned that the Galatians are wandering from the liberty and freedom that God gave them and wandering toward bondage in service and sin once again.

Let’s read what he has to say to them in Galatians 5 and then after we sing some more well break this passage down.


How many years would you need to have left on your prison sentence to consider an escape attempt?

How many years left would it take to make you think about it? If you only had a few days left, why try to escape, you’ll be home soon.  If you had a year left, that’s a long time, but your coming down toward the end so you could probably wait. But maybe some of you, you couldn’t take another night- no matter how long you had left you’d jump at a chance to escape.

That was how Andrew Wilson of Shelby County Kentucky felt. He had only one day left on Work Release, but instead of returning to the jail, he stole a car and fled authorities. He only had one more day, but he couldn’t take it- he wanted to be free right then. He was caught quickly and then faced new charges including escape and auto theft. That question I asked is really a question about what you would be willing to endure to be truly free- to be completely free.

I’ve known guys who have rejected offers to be released on probation because they’d rather wait until they could be released without having to report to anyone- In Galatians 5, Paul tells the people to stand firm in their liberty. He’s telling them to resist anyone who would attempt to make them slaves again.

There were false teachers attempting to convince the Galatians that they were held to the Old Testament laws and Paul was telling them to resist, resist their efforts! Remain free! After all, that’s why Jesus Christ came and died on the cross, so that we could be free!

v.1 “in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free”

The KJV puts it pretty plain here. We should take this verse for face value. For freedom’s sake Christ set us free-

Christ set us free so that we would be free. 

This is the premise that the follow command is based upon, therefore stand firm for your liberty and do not submit to the yoke of slavery again.

From this whole letter we get the sense that Paul is concerned for the Galatians that they are living with doubt and insecurity in Christ.

They are living with fear that they are not good enough. Paul is saying, Christ set us free, so let’s be free. This doesn’t mean we are free to do what we wish, but rather we are free from guilt.

Free from shame. Free from doubt. Free from insecurity.

Paul uses the word “troubled” in verse 10 and in verse 12 referring to those that had caused the Galatians to doubt their freedom… The idea is that they have unsettled you-

He’s saying, you were free from guilt and shame, but these have unsettled you in that, made you think that you are not ok.

The Galatians were free, but they had been troubled and unsettled in their freedom.

Imagine that you’re on vacation with your family, your relaxing and you’ve left the worries of everyday life behind. You’ve left all the stuff waiting for you at the office behind, but then your colleague calls you and you told him to only call you in case of an emergency. You answer the phone worried that something is wrong- but no one is on the line. You call the colleague back and it goes straight to voicemail. You leave a message. Then you worry about what must be wrong. What catastrophe has prompted him to call you on vacation, what is broken… you come up with about 4 different awful things it could be…

An hour later he calls back and he says, I’m sorry. There’s nothing wrong, no emergency. I forgot you are on vacation and remembered as I called so I hung up. Have a great trip, see you Monday.

In the space of an hour you’ve got all worked up, imagined a handful of stressful situations and all for nothing.

You were relaxing and enjoying time with your family, now you’re elsewhere. You mind is in the office. Your rest and relaxation is hindered over nothing…

That’s what this was like. The Galatians were being troubled over nothing.

In verse 7, using the analogy of running, he says you were running well but now you have been “hindered.”

Paul says, you were running well, who hindered you?

Who is the bad influence here? These ideas are not from the one who called you into grace, this is not of God. Whoever is saying this is not a messenger of the Lord.

Jesus Christ went to great lengths to provide us freedom from that- to give us freedom from our guilt and shame… These people that have come in to Galatia have attempted to enslave them again… to trouble their minds and make them doubt if it’s enough.

Here’s the thing, Guilt is a powerful motivator.

Guilt is great tool to use to get people to do what you want them to do. These false teachers were using guilt to gain power over the people.

Referring to these people Paul says in verse 9,

“A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump”

This was a throwback reference to the Old Testament law. Just as Paul had used the story of Isaac and Ishmael which those in love with the OT law would have known, this would have been familiar to them as well.

Paul is using these references to show that he knows his stuff when it comes to the law, he’s no novice in the Old Testament laws…

Little leaven leavens the whole lump. – The people would celebrate the passover with unleavened bread, and to insure that they were cooking their bread without leaven they would sweep the whole house, they would make sure there was no leaven in the home before making the new bread- Leaven is yeast and it makes the bread rise. It’s not evil, the people would eat at different points in the year, but the idea is that just a little leaven would affect the entire loaf of bread.

Here in a Galatia, just a little untruth, just a little false gospel had affected the whole group.

A little lie can make a big difference. 

Now Paul has some pretty serious opinions of these people. They were after all attempting to rob these people of their grace and hope and leave them with works and doubt…

So Paul uses some pretty strong language about them in verse 12

“I would they were even cut off which trouble you.”

Paul is talking about the people who were so serious about circumcision and he says, I wish they would go all the way.

Paul is saying I wish that these people that are so passionate about circumcision would go all the way, not just snipping off the foreskin, but taking it all off…

ESV and NASB translate this as I wish they would become Eunuchs- or in other words that they would emasculate or castrate themselves.

Wow. What has Paul so worked up? Look with me at verse 2.

2Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.

LOOK! What I’m saying is that if you accept circumcision, Christ is no good to you. It’s not helpful. It’s no advantage…

If you trust in something other than Christ, you’re not trusting Christ.

Circumcision and uncircumcision don’t count for anything, the only help, the only advantage is in faith! It’s only in faith in Christ!
If you add anything to the gospel, you lose the gospel.

The gospel plus anything is not the gospel.

Paul goes on to explain in verse 3, If you trust in the law, you must trust wholly in the law, you must submit to all of it and keep all of it.

Then in verse 4 he says, if you are justified by the law, you are not free in Christ, Christ is of no effect for you and then he says,


Now one of theological differences that sets Free Will Baptists apart from others is that we believe in a possibility of walking away from grace. We believe that if you reject Christ, if you no longer believe in Him for the forgiveness of your sins, then you have fallen from grace.

Paul was not saying that had happened to the Galatians, he is warning them, not condemning them. He addresses this phrase to those who have been justified by the law, which is no one, but he is saying that if you’re justified by the law, you don’t have grace- you don’t need grace…

Why is Paul so worked up? Because Christ and the law are not to be straddled… Not to be mixed… and to do so brings slavery once again.

Christianity is freedom, not bondage.

Mankind was under the burden of sin and a crushing in ability to make things right on our own. Christ came and took all of that on his own shoulders on the cross so that we could be free from all of it-

We have been liberated!

We have been freed!

We have been emancipated!

Don’t return to the bondage, yoke, and burden of slavery!

Stott closed out his chapter on the first verse of Galatians 5 saying that we live in an age where everyone wants to hold onto all ideas, to let them all coexist, to not make any idea or belief too sharp or too defined so that they can all live together in this foggy haze…

Stott wrote his book on Galatians in 1968 and titled it, only one way.  I wonder what he would say about the culture at present….

A lie can not coexist with the truth.

The march of the false teachers was to first convince the Galatians that both paths were worthwhile, to get them to straddle the fence, and then slowly work to move them farther and farther from Paul through undermining his authority and farther and farther from the gospel by undermining their faith…

Paul says, let’s not even start down that road…. Instead let’s continue to trust and hope in Jesus Christ.

Positive verses in this passage:
5For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

6For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

13For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Doubt and insecurity will lead to bondage and misery.

Faith and hope lead to love and service.

Paul says in verse 14, if you really want to keep the law, keep it this way, all the law can be summed up in love your neighbor as yourself.

Paul believed the path of religion and the path of sin both led to slavery and misery.

The path of religion and the path of sin both lead to slavery and misery. 

Living your life in debt to the law is not freedom,

Living your life in defiance to the law is not freedom either.

Use not your liberty for an occasion for the flesh.

Instead, use your liberty for an occasion to love and serve one another.

There’s misery in serving the law and there’s hopelessness in serving sin, but there’s joy and peace in serving love.

Only the path of faith leads to grace, hope, and love.

William Wilberforce is not a name that we are very familiar with today, but his influence on the world can not be over emphasized. When Wilberforce entered Parliament at the young age of 24, slavery was not just an accepted practice but it was viewed as necessary. Even people who didn’t like the idea of slavery felt that it was a necessary evil.

Also alive and well in ways that are only found in 3rd world countries today, there was a massive sex trade in England.

The average age of prostitute in London was 16 and there were brothels that exclusively offered the services of girls under that age of 14…

Wilberforce made it his chief goal in life to end the slave trade and reform manners. He succeeded. The fact that slavery exists today only in dark corners of the world is largely because of Wilberforce. The great champions of the abolition of slavery here in the US, Lincoln, Frederick Douglas, and others viewed Wilberforce as a hero- they were greatly influenced by him.

When Wilberforce was a boy, his father died and his mother had 4 young children, so he was sent to live with his wealthy uncle. His uncle and aunt were part of a new movement of the church called Methodism. The Uncle and Aunt were close friends with many leaders of the new movement, including George Whitfield the preacher who sparked the Great Awakening and John Newton, the slave ship captain who had gotten saved, became a preacher, and wrote Amazing Grace.

When Wilberforce’s mother learned that he was being influence by all these religious people she brought him home. He was around 10 or 11 and he stopped going to church for years. It wasn’t until he was in his 20’s that he came back to church.

When he did, he felt so guilty that so many years had been away from the Lord during school and college and his first years of parliament. He felt guilty about everything. He constantly looked for opportunities to earn his relationship with the Lord…

But then he saw John Newton. Met with him. Listened to him preach, and he realized God’s amazing grace.

Wilberforce was changed.

He would write it his journal it was “the great change of my life” because he stopped trying to earn his relationship with God and immediately started serving others.

He lived his life to serve others. He whipped the slave trade and the sex trade that permeated London in those days.

Today I hope that you’ve not merely come to church, but that today you would come to grace.

Don’t just come back to church, come to grace and freedom.


At the beginning of the message I told you that

Christ set us free so that we would be free

I hope that you see that

Christ set us free so that we would be free to love and serve one another.


Once we’ve come to grace and freedom, we can join together to love and serve one another.

It may be that some of you are believers and you feel that church is a good place to learn about God, a good place to hear encouraging music, and you’re right. But it’s much more than that-

The Church is to be an agent for change in the world.

A place where we can come together to love and serve one another and love our neighbor as we love ourselves…

There are opportunities to do that on your own, but often we we attempt to see change, it feel like a drop in the bucket-

What we’d like to see is a movement- a force that pushes all the evil out… Something powerful like a river. 

But you know that a river is just a collection of drops in the bucket- when we come together, we are freed to love and serve together, we become a movement….