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Christian Freedom - Part 2

Good Morning Beloved,

Heavenly Father,

Help us to be faithful proclaimers of Your Word, the truth
Your truth, not in judgement or condemnation, of others
but so that we may see our world, a changed culture and people
and that we ourselves, might be changed and become a better people
Your people, that we may instill change in others
not only because the governing laws of of world are changed
but because the people, in it, are transformed through the power of the gospel

Lord, help us, to be what You want us to be
and be able to effectively do, that which You
have called us to do, share Christ with others

Father, we pray this in Jesus' name

"Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation. Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the Emperor as the supreme authority  or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil and to praise those who do what is good.  For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good. As God’s slaves, live as free people, but don’t use your freedom as a way to conceal evil. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the Emperor."
I Peter 2:11-17

Today's Message: Christian Freedom - Part 2

As you may recall, we recently began a new study, in the book of Peter. I Peter chapter 2.
Specifically, I Peter 2:11-17, and as I sincerely stated, I believe it to be a very important spiritual theme, "Christian Freedom," and a powerful message, one we all must come to understand. A message, that I pray today I am able to share with each of you effectively, lovingly, what the Scripture teaches about being free, free in Christ. Our Lord said, "If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed."

So what is Christian freedom?
As we continue in our study of I Peter chapter 2, today it is my heart-felt desire, my intention that we can find out what God has to say about it by examining His Word.

Many years ago, Robert Haldane, who was a religious writer and Scottish theologian, once wrote that the people of God ought to consider resistance to the government under which they live as a very awful crime, a very awful crime, because it detracts from the glory of Christ.  It shows Christians in anger, in hostile rebellion.  And that is not honoring to God.  To see us in peace, graciousness, in kindness does honor God.  To see us in virtue, obedience, submissiveness, and in humility, is that which honors our Christ.

And quite frankly, I believe it is sad, so very sad, to see many Christians today, who set the example of public civil disobedience, these Christians who set the example of the violation of law, Christians who harass the police.  Because if we are to be the righteous of God, what then will the unrighteous feel that they should do?  If we are, the virtuous people of society, if we are the righteous ones, who serve God, the God who ordained government, how then can we defy the commands of God. The very God who we proclaim to serve, and the very government which He has ordained?  And if we, who are the righteous, set this as the example, for the world, what then, will the unrighteous do?

So, if you would, open your Bibles, and turn to the book of Jeremiah, chapter 24. Jeremiah 4:24, and following says, "The word of the Lord came to me:  “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Like these good figs, so I regard as good the exiles from Judah I sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. I will keep My eyes on them for their good and will return them to this land. I will build them up and not demolish them; I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am Yahweh. They will be My people, and I will be their God because they will return to Me with all their heart."

So what is God saying here?  In other words, God is saying, that in spite of you being in the land of the Chaldeans, where we understand they have buried live babies in walls, and in jars when they built new buildings, in that kind of pagan culture we would have all kinds of bad situations. He says that as long as you're there don't you ever forget why you're there and you don't ever forget My hand is upon you and I will restore you to the place where I want you to be.  And don't ever forget, that I am in charge of you.

Many today are abusing their Christian Freedoms. While some, are not even using what is theirs in freedom in Christ.

I'd like to begin by saying, that we do not accomplish in society anything for God when we violate what God has designed for us, what He has defined as the standard of conduct in society. Beloved, when we stand in violation of God's command, we then stoop to a wrong methodology.  That is the end justifies the means and the end can never be attained, for it is God who is in control.  In control not only over the authorities which He has ordained, but also, in control of you and I. So by responding submissively to the authority is responding to God's ordained rule.

What I see today, in our Christian culture, is a people, who in support, or their rejection, of a particular politician or political party, has abandoned to some extent, their Christian values. The ones, that call us to conduct ourselves in a certain way. And I really want all of us, to come away with the understanding, that it is that God controls and it is He, that owns it all.  And what we want to do is recognize that as well as recognize that He has ordained government, to keep the order and peace in society and He has commanded us, those who serve Him, to submit to that authority.  And we do not accomplish the divine end, God's plan by violating His divine law.

Now, there is also, a second reason why I believe,  a second motive, if you will, why I believe we are to submit and that is not only to obey the Lord but to imitate the character of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  As we are not only to obey Him,  but we are to imitate Him. To become, that image of Christ. Would you notice please in verse 21, it says in our same text, I Peter 2, that Christ left for each of us an example. His example. And then in verse 23 it shows us what that example was.  "When He was reviled, He did not revile in return.  While He was suffering He uttered no threats.  He just kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously."

Beloved, Jesus Christ, is our example. When He was on earth, Jesus was murdered by the coming together of two authorities, the Jewish and the Roman authorities.  He lived under their unjust and unrighteous rule for His life, yet He never attacked the government.  He never attacked the rulers.  He never attacked those who were in authority.  He never led a protest.  He never led civil disobedience.  He never led a demonstration against Roman unfair practices and abuses.  He never led a protest demonstration against the sins of Jewish leaders.  He never led a demonstration against, in protest of the sins of Gentile leaders.  He never even protested when they violated every law of justice in His own mock trial.  He spoke only of the kingdom of God.  He called sinners to repent, come to Him and enter His kingdom.  And He simply kept entrusting Himself to the God who judges righteously both the righteous and the unrighteous.  And He knew and trusted God would do right because God is Sovereign and the whole world is in His control.

Jesus, issued no condemnation, or threat, He spoke only of the kingdom, and He called sinners into it.  He never involved Himself, in any of the earthly activities.  He posed no threat to Rome's government, although they had accused Him of it.  And that accusation, led to a false charge which became the reason by which He was executed by crucifixion. Yet, even then, Jesus, asked the Father to forgive those who brought Him to the cross, pleading, "They know not what they do."

So when Peter says, "Submit yourselves because of the Lord," it is because we are to obey Him and in our obedience, we are to imitate Him. And we want to do it in order to glorify Him because He is honored...He is honored when He is seen as the source of virtuous, gracious, peace-making people.  Beloved, that honors Him.  In our submission, in our obedience and conduct, we honor Him.

Turn with me, to  Romans 13:5, Romans 13:5. The apostle Paul further explains Peter's point.  When he says, "Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection."  In other words, it is necessary. This is not optional. This is not optional, it is necessary.  Look at this, "Not only because of wrath." Now hold on a minute, what does he mean because of wrath?  "For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior but for evil.  Do you want to have no fear of authority?  Do what is good and you'll have praise from the same, for it is a minister of God to you for good.  But if you do what is evil, be afraid for it does not bear the sword for nothing, for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil."  The police, that's what he's talking about, those who bear the sword, those who are the authority are ministers of God who avenge for God."

And so he says it is necessary, for us, to be in subjection because of wrath. You could feel the vengeance of a God-ordained institution. If you stop momentarily, to think about that, that's quite an amazing statement.  Very powerful indeed. When the police do what they do to uphold law and order, they are, in effect, the ministers of God, ordained by God, acting on His behalf.  It doesn't mean they don't abuse that position of authority, on occasion, because, we know they do.  It also doesn't mean that they are personally Christians or personally more moral than anyone else.  It means that their function, within the function as an agency within human life and human society is to fulfill a God-ordained purpose and role of keeping a peaceful order.  And, if a person obeys them, doing what is good, in general, he has no reason to fear.  However, if he in rebellion and protests, against that rule,  he then has every reason to fear because of wrath because God has made them ministers to avenge those for God who violate the order which He has established.  So if you rebel, you should indeed, be afraid.

Now, anyone who knows me, also knows, I am 100 percent sympathetic with the cause of anti-abortion. And understand perfectly how one can certainly get caught up in the emotion of it.  Let's face it, it is sin of the worst kind, it's anyway, you attempt to justify it, murder. However,  I do not believe, or condone, that the solution, in any case,  is to violate the law of God, which is clear, if we rebel against God's law, then we should fear, His wrath.  I recently read somewhere, that some people felt that the police should not have used pain compliance.  They are ministers of God who bear not the sword in vain, says Paul.  However,  if you stand in violation of the law, then they would have every right to bring about wrath, or punishment.  And so Paul says it is necessary.

If you further examine, what Paul says,  you will notice, it is necessary not only because you can be punished if you violate it but for conscience's sake.  Conscience's sake. And this to me,  seems to be more of a positive motivation.  You do it not only because you're afraid of what might happen if you don't do it and understand they have a right to bring wrath upon those who violate the law.  But you do it for the sake of conscience.  So what does that mean?  Just because it's right, just because it's right; so, our submission to authority is not only to be regulated by the fear of punishment and the fear of the wrath of God and man, but because it is what's right.

So, we therefore are to submit, for the Lord's sake, to obey Him, to imitate Him and to honor Him.  What do the Christians do to protest government? Are we to do things that we know and don't believe are right?  There is a basic written law that everyone lives by in the church it's called a Bible.  And of if any Christian should ever be arrested, let it be he was arrested for proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, nothing more, nothing less.  And certainly not for rebellious protesting something else.

I've had a number of people ask, "What do you do, when we feel that the government is wrong?  What if it oversteps its bounds?  And what if government commands us to do what God commands us not to do?  Or what if it commands us not to do what God commands us to do? What then?"

May I just say, that in that case, we have a very clear Word from God, which He has provided in Scripture.  Do you recall, the early church, in Acts 4 and Acts 5?, They had said, "Don't preach."  And does anyone remember what Peter's response was?  You judge whether we ought to obey God or man. When the government asks you to do the opposite of what God commands you to do, you then have no choice but to violate the laws of government and to comply with whatever they ask and bear your punishment.  In example, if the government said you're not allowed to preach, I would have to preach anyway and I'd be willing to suffer the consequences.  If they showed up, and came to arrest me I wouldn't lie down in the street, in protest. I'd quietly go with them.  I'd accept whatever God had brought about, trusting Him, throughout the entire process. Just like with Paul, he was able to reach people in the Roman prison, who he would not otherwise be capable of ministering to had he not been placed there. Does anyone recall what he said about it?  Allow me to remind you, "Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has actually resulted in the advance of the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard,and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is in the cause of Christ. Most of the brothers in the Lord have gained confidence from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the message fearlessly." - Philippians 1:12-14

Do any of you realize that the apostle Paul, never resisted arrest? Ever. They put him in stocks, do you think they had to wrestle him in them?  Do you think they had a group of guys carrying him, dragging and beating him while he was lying limp on the dirt?  No, that wasn't the case, he went and he put his hands in the stocks and he sang and God shook the whole earth and they had a revival.  And many people got saved, the church started and he walked out of the jail. You see, the weapons of his warfare weren't carnal, they were biblical.  He didn't need to lie in the dirt.  He knew who he served and he knew how you deal with those issues in the power of God, not the manipulation of men.

So when they command you to do something the Bible commands you not to do, or vice versa, then you do what God says and you take the consequence.  That's right. You just take it and let God handle the rest.  And what about when the government allows things that we believe  to be wrong?  Well, the government may likely allow a lot of things we, as Christians, believe are wrong and a lot of governments allow a lot more things than our government allows.  That's normal stuff, especially nowadays.  Do you think the Roman government allowed some things that the church thought was wrong?  Yeah, a whole long list of things, like murder of children, abuse of women, slavery,and the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We know that was wrong, but aren't you and I grateful for His death, burial and resurrection? Beloved, I am so eternally grateful for my salvation.

So, what does the church do, in those cases?  Do we protest?  Do we sit in? Do we just disobey, defying the government laws?  Turn with me to II Corinthians chapter 10, beloved, this is very important.  Let's look at verse 3 and following, "For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ."

I'll read that again, "For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ."

Now,  I know that many of you feel strongly about that issue and a number of others.  And believe me, you don't feel more strongly about some of them than I do, especially abortion. However, it's the means by which Christians have approached these issues is what concerns me most.  Look what he says here.  Let's look back to our text, in verse 4: "since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments." The "weapons," that word in Greek means instruments of war.  This is spiritual war. We are not wrestling flesh and blood.  Do you remember that passage? Do you understand it?

Beloved, we are in the middle of a war, fighting on a spiritual level.  The instruments of war, I love this phrase, the instruments of war are not of the flesh.  We can't use human means to engage in a spiritual battle, it just won't work.  We cannot allow ourselves to stoop to the level that the rest of the world uses.  And do you want to know something?  The world is far better at it, than we are. Who came out looking the best in the recent protests?  The pro-choice people or the anti-abortion people?  Pro-choice people.  Every newspaper everywhere, had the pro-choice people appearing to be being victimized by the mean old so-called Christian folk.  And when the police told them to move, they moved.  They looked like the good guys.  We don't do well fighting spiritual wars with their weapons.

 Our weapons, he says in verse 4, our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds." He is telling us that our weapons are divinely powerful. Can I give you the simple literal meaning?  Our weapons are powered by God, powered by God.  You might say, "How effective are they in fighting against the world?"  Oh, verse 4 again, "We demolish arguments.".  What are the arguments?  The strongholds of sin, the massive strongholds of Satan, the massive strongholds of demons. Do you see it now? Do you? We have to stop fighting the issues of the world, with worldly weapons and use our spiritual weapon, we are engaging in a spiritual war, while in the world.

So what's the word demolish mean?  It means to tear down, pull down.  The weapons of our warfare are strong enough to rip down  and demolish the massive strongholds that have been built by sin.

Let me ask you something, have you ever heard somebody get on the news and argue in favor of abortion?  And you listen to that logic and you think to yourself, "Oh, that sad, the logic of human reason, how are we going to combat  this?  What are we going to do with this?"  Using our divinely powerful spiritual weapons.  And we tear down  the massive strongholds of sin.  Beloved, it will tear down human reason and speculation.  Furthermore, it says it’ll tear down and destroy every lofty thing, every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, the towers of men's thoughts, the towers of men's planning.  It's a picture of a massive, powerful army moving against a city and just literally demolishing it flat, tearing it completely down, just tearing the whole thing down.  And the weapons are all spiritual.  They're all powered by God.

And when he says, ".. taking every thought captive."  That word in its original meaning was really vivid.  Picture a guy walking into the city with a soldier behind him with a spear up under his chin, or in his back, bringing in the captive.  We are to approach the institutions of men, we approach their flawed and demonic reasoning, we approach their lofty pride, which is exalted against the knowledge of God.  We approach all the worldly systems, the systems of men in this same manner and we can tear them all down and we do it with weapons that are spiritual.  And, we do it with weapons that are spiritual.

Beloved, what are the weapons of our warfare?  Allow me to remind you, turn to Ephesians 6, 1-19, "Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.  For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.  This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.  Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit,
which is God’s word. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.  Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel."

Do you see it? Our weapons are spiritual weapons, powered by God, and they demolish the strongholds Satan, in the world. And notice the end of the passage, what do you see there? Allow me to tell you, prayer, prayer, prayer! Prayer is what will save them.  Prayer is what brings that glorious gospel that Jesus Christ is the mediator Who gave Himself a ransom for all and turns their hearts.  And then he says this in verse 20, "For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should."

Some of you are asking, "But come on pastor, will this actually work today?" Look, Nero was in power, came into power in 54 A.D. at the age of 17.  He was a maniac and had all kinds of problems, as you know, they included murder to say the least.  Some fourteen years later at the age of 31 he committed suicide.  It was during his reign that the apostle Peter was martyred.  And yet it's Peter, who will die under the authority of Nero, who said, "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake."  That's the command.  That's the motive.  So again I say to you, I believe we have to do something to change all of this, but beloved, I do not even for one single moment, believe that we can use carnal weapons to fight this spiritual war. 

Do you know what's going on?  Do you understand what God is saying to all of us in His Word?  Have you even heard the gospel of Jesus Christ?  We, as Christians, need to be all about using the Word of God, and that's a spiritual weapon and that what? "Never returns void." Never returns void. We don't have a lot of weapons, they're just powerful.  Our number one weapon is the Word,  and we are called to  lead a tranquil and peaceful life in all godliness and dignity. So the answer is yes, yes
we do need to tear these things down, but we need to accomplish it in such a way that God has said for us to do it.  And at the same time, maintaining our godliness, our virtue, our character, a tranquil, quiet, peaceful people

We're going to wrap this all up at this point and until next time,

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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Brian Monzon Ministries

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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