As Seen on Sunday: The Liberating Gospel
We provide a recap of the Sunday sermon to encourage you in the faith each week but it's not the same thing as being here.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, "We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, 'You will become free’?"
Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
To Each His Own.
“To each his own.” is a phrase worth talking about. It is mostly used to dismiss the disagreement among personal preferences.
But the phrase is often used to describe personal vice. Johnny uses the bottle to soothe his soul and Suzi looks at porn - to each his or her own.
And yes it is true that each of us has our own coping mechanism that is rooted in deep sin. That sin may not be taboo like the boobs or the bottle, but a coping mechanism that is not the Jesus or the Holy Spirit is a coping mechanism in sin.
Why? Because we are purposefully putting our trust for comfort in something other than Jesus.
Our desire for escape, for soothing, is the biggest evidence of our chains and our longing for freedom and peace.
We are after our liberation - and according to some the entirety of the Bible is the unfolding of a great revolutionary tale that charts the course of complete human liberation.
But not just a liberation from sin and vice - though that is the culmination of history. This liberation through the work of Jesus Christ is not just a matter of individuals being transformed into the image of God’s son.
Liberation is a freedom from all servitude and oppression - spiritual, economic, political, demonic, and the list goes on.
At least this is the belief of many theologians.
But we need to ask ourselves - is this true?
And if it is, how should we then live?
Talking About Liberation
Gustavo Gutierrez in his book A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation speaks of the total liberation that comes with the Kingdom of God.
His words are not about hyper-spiritual breakthroughs or overly individualistic or isolationist liberties. His words describe a complete and total liberation for all people’s everywhere.
He describes three levels of liberation:
- Social situations of oppressions and marginalization
- Profound inner freedom in the face of oppression
- Liberation from sin
We are familiar with these three levels, but we are not always familiar with them in the context of the church and the Kingdom of God.
We neatly place oppression and marginalization in the category of government problems and our American civic duties.
We seek our inner freedoms through psychology and pharmacology.
When we get around to sin we go looking at Theology.
Is it possible that are answers to these issues are already found in the Bible?
Is the Gospel really about Liberation?
How we live our lives, as Christians, hinges on this question: Is Christianity solely concern itself with our individual pursuits? Or does it concern the unfolding timeline of history?
To answer this question we need to look at a few characters throughout the Bible:
Joshua and Caleb
Their faith - was it meant for them and their personal peace and affluence?
Or was there faith the catalyst for their unique historical actions which meant change for a people?
I’m starting to feel like we are committing a grievous sin against the Bible and against Jesus himself…
We commit a sin against Christianity when we use exclusively as a platform for personal benefit, peace, and affluence.
The elements are liberation are meant for us - but they are meant for us within the present context of our society and our history.
The Work Empty Church
A few weeks back Sean asked me if all of this was just to “have it my way?” … to build a church that I would enjoy and want to attend.
That question has stuck with me. It haunts me.
The question pokes at the deeper unrest in my soul…why are here? What is our work that we have to do?
Is the hours of writing, editing, publishing, creating… is it just for us? Is for others?
Is about some personal pursuit?
Or is about freedom?
Is it about freedom for all of those who are oppressed?
These are the questions that we need to be able to answer in this next year.
What is our work?
Without the answer to this question, we can lose focus and get distracted. We can be easily tempted to quit.
What is the work? We have to figure out this answer. For this church, for ourselves.