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SermonHeavenly Freedom
An all-creatures Bible Message

Heavenly Freedom
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
26 June 2016
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

1 Kings 19:15-21
Luke 9:51-62
Galatians 5:13-25

Heavenly freedom is the peace that surpasses all earthly understanding, because it frees us from the evil ways of this earth, and itís only available to us when we leave the ways of this earth, which seems so difficult while living here upon this corrupt earth with all its temptations.
 
However, then we need to ask ourselves: why did Jesus teach us that we can indeed have this heavenly freedom here on earth, and even taught us to pray for our Fatherís heavenly will to be done on earth as it is in heaven?
 
Jesus did this because we can have this heavenly freedom when we commit ourselves to live as the peacemaking children of God who live in His heavenly will.
 
Those who live in the heavenly will of God have this heavenly freedom.
 
Those who live in the corrupt and evil ways of this earth with all its pain, suffering, bloodshed, and death will also find themselves bound to the evil of this world and suffering the fate of the corruption of their own making.
 
This is what we find happening in 1 Kings 19:15-21Ö

15. And the LORD said to him [Elijah], "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram;

Letís pause here for a moment and consider why God would want His prophet to anoint the king of Israelís enemy.
 
Letís go on and see if we can get an answer.

16. and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.
 
17. And it shall come about, the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death.

God is not bloodthirsty, but He is righteous; thus, He is allowing the people to have the fruit of their own making.
 
Those who desire to live in the corrupt ways of this earth will die as a result.
 
We see a direct parallel between what we are being told here, and the effects of eating the flesh and bodily secretions of animals today, for the people suffer all kinds of chronic diseases instead of having the heavenly freedom that God offers them.

18. Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him."

These people may not have completely turned away from all the corrupt and evil ways of the world, but they have not turned to other gods; they still believe in the Lord our God, which brings them a degree of the heavenly freedom that God wants us all to have.

19. So he [Elijah] departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth. And Elijah passed over to him and threw his mantle on him.
 
20. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, "Please let me kiss my father and my mother, then I will follow you." And he said to him, "Go back again, for what have I done to you?"

Keep this passage in mind for we will see Jesus addressing these same kinds of requests in a different way.

21. So he returned from following him, and took the pair of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the implements of the oxen, and gave it to the people and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah and ministered to him.
NASB

We should plainly see that even the newly appointed prophet is trapped in the corrupt ways of this earth, and trying to justify it by feeding the people.
 
Letís go on and see how Jesus addresses these kinds of situations in Luke 9:51-62...

51. And it came about, when the days were approaching for His ascension, that He resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem;
 
52. and He sent messengers on ahead of Him. And they went, and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make arrangements for Him.

The Samaritans are not part of the Jewish people; they are transplanted foreigners, and yet Jesus is going to them because His message is really for the whole world.

53. And they did not receive Him, because He was journeying with His face toward Jerusalem.

Jesus may have had other things on His mind, but if the Samaritans had received Him, He would have told them the truth about the kingdom of God, and the heavenly freedom that they could have.

54. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?"

Even after all the time that James and John had been with Jesus, they still didnít understand His compassionate message.

55. But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of;
 
56. for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."] And they went on to another village.

The disciples were of the Spirit of God, and like Jesus, they were to offer the people heavenly freedom, and even if the people rejected it, James and John were to have a forgiving nature so that if in the future the people repented of their worldly ways, they could be forgiven and have the gift of heaven.
 
Earlier we read about what Elisha said to Elijah when he was anointed as a prophet; but note how Jesus responds to similar statements.

57. And as they were going along the road, someone said to Him, "I will follow You wherever You go."
 
58. And Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." 

Itís not that Jesus doesnít have compassion for these people; He does, but He is explaining that when we make such a commitment, we also must be fully able to follow through and not be distracted by worldly things.

59. And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Permit me first to go and bury my father."
 
60. But He said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God." 

Perhaps Jesus already knew that this man was planning to bury his father before He called him, but did so for the benefit of those who were already following Him.

61. And another also said, "I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home."
 
62. But Jesus said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." 
NASB

This is the main problem with the churches and pastors today; most of them still have one foot in the world, while trying to step into heaven with the other, which cannot be done.
 
We are either 100% for God, or we are not really committed to Him, for such people only want to be with God while they are still playing in the world around them.
 
The tragedy of leaders like this is that they also lead their parishioners astray.
 
We are to be the peacemaking children of God who fully live in His heavenly will and do everything in our power to help free creation from its present corruption.
 
In Galatians 5:13-26, Paul writes about the heavenly freedom we are discussingÖ

13. For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Paul is confirming that the only way we are going to have this heavenly freedom is to be fully committed to God.

14. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

In our opinion, loving our neighbors in this way means that we have to love every other human being and all the animals and put their wellbeing before ourselves.
 
We pray that this is the extent of our own commitment.

15. But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another.

In other words, whatever evil we release upon the world, has a way of coming back upon ourselves.
 
We are either children of God or we are not.

16. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

Walking by the Spirit is the same thing as living in the heavenly will of God, and the more we learn to do this, the less we will desire the worldly draw of the flesh.

17. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
 
18. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.

Why? Because this kind of unconditional love fulfills the whole Law, for it doesnít commit any of the worldly things that the Law was written to protect us from.
 
And as a bonus, we receive the heavenly freedom that raises us above all the corrupt and evil ways of this world.
 
Then Paul explains why.

19. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
 
20. idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
 
21. envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

This is the result of following the ways of this corrupt world.

22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
 
23. gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

If we think carefully about the meaning of each of these words, we can more easily separate the heavenly will of God from the evil ways of the world and the devil.
 
If we want heavenly freedom, then we have to live like it.

24. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Have we done this, for some of them can be very hard to do, or do we still have one foot in the world?

25. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
 
26. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
NASB

We are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind, and love the whole of His creation (all humans, all animals, and the environment we all live in), and we are to bring His heavenly freedom to this evil world and free it from its present corruption.
 
Amen.

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