Hello everyone. It’s so good to be with you. Thanks so much for joining us again today. I’ve really been enjoying the stories and testimonies of what God has been doing among you, and I’ve been sharing some of them with our church here. I would love to have a testimony from every one of you to hear what God has been doing in each one of your lives.
We are given instructions in the Word of God to tell our testimony, and by doing that we overcome the evil one and encourage other believers. Even if your testimony is only a few sentences, I would love to hear what God has done in your life since we have been getting together.
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this!
Now, for sharing what the Lord has put on my heart for today. It actually came as I was encouraging a young man that I have been mentoring. He was very discouraged about a few things that had just happened in his life.
I told him that the main focus of his heart needs to be “drawing in” close to the Father, and he was asking how that’s even possible when he’s in the middle of an emotional struggle.
I had multiple verses come to mind almost immediately, and I encouraged him with those. The one that stuck out the most to me was
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Now, with all that is going on in the world currently I feel compelled to talk about the reasons that Jesus came to the Earth in the first place.
Did He come just to create another religion, and to get people to follow His doctrines and rules? Obviously we know that’s not the reason that He came. But…why exactly did He come?
If we read through the words of Jesus we can see very quickly that He mentions some very specific things. He said that He came to destroy the works of the devil. He came to give us Life and Life more abundantly.
He came to preach the Good News to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted. He came to give sight to the blind, and to offer healing in EVERY way!
BUT…..when I think of narrowing it down to the single most important description of what Jesus came to do, I would say it like this. Jesus came to set people FREE!
When I began thinking about this, I kept coming back to the verses which talk about Christ coming to SET US FREE, and I could sense JOY in the heart of the Father in that. So, what does it mean to be set free?
How can this message be conveyed clearly, and not get tangled up in current affairs in the world? I hesitated to even say anything, because people have a tendency to just hear these things, through the filters which are already on their hearts.
But, the more I looked at it and prayed about it, the more I realized, that this is a universal message of HOPE to the world. Every person in the world has the ability to be FREE, because that is first of all evidenced in our own hearts.
Look with me at the verse in 2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Another word for Liberty here is the word FREEDOM. If I just talk about liberty and freedom, people automatically begin thinking it only means in natural terms with countries and rulers. I want to show you here that it can be applied in that way, but it means so much more than that.
Let’s read the rest of the verses around the one we just read earlier.
2 Corinthians 3:12-18
Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech—
unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away.
But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.
But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.
Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
By it’s very nature, SIN is bondage and slavery. Even Paul talked about this in Romans when he mentioned that any agreement with sin puts us in bondage to it.
Let’s read Romans 6:15-16
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?
So then, Jesus came to set us FREE from the bondage of SIN. He came to free us even from all effects of sin.
This is the very reason that healing was paid for on the cross. Every sickness is simply a result of Adam bringing sin into the world, and corrupting the perfection that God had created.
We have the choice to walk in the footsteps of Adam or of Jesus himself, but I will assure you that today, as well as every day. SIN and all of the results of it will never bring you freedom.
True freedom begins first of all in the mind. We are constantly tempted to believe that… either we are free in the middle of sin, or the only way to live free of sin and it’s effects, is by yoking ourselves up under a bunch of rules and regulations.
Paul dealt with this in his writings to the Galation church. They were trying to save what they had been given when Paul brought them the message of Grace. However, they were not realizing that their very attempt to preserve freedom was in itself an act of bondage.
I hope this is making sense, but look at Paul’s advice to them in Galations 5:1
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Now I want to read the same verse in the NASB version because I love how he begins this verse.
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
It seems like Paul is repeating himself, but he says very specifically “It was for FREEDOM that Christ set us free”. In other words….our freedom is the end goal.
So let’s talk about what it looks like to live in freedom even when we are surrounded by countless examples of bondage. Do you remember what we read earlier where 2 Corinthians says we behold “as in a mirror the glory of the Lord”?
Well, the key is here that we look into the Word of God as a mirror. What do you see when you look in a mirror? Yes, of course….you see yourself.
I know this is obvious when we talk about a physical mirror, but how obvious has it been when we talk about the Word of God? You should read the Bible and see yourself.
I started doing something that has brought another level of freedom to my own mind and experience.
Whenever I read something that Jesus said…. I read it from the 1st person perspective, as if I am the one saying it.
Now, I know this may sound like heresy to the religious mind, but that is exactly what Jesus was telling us to do when He was talking to His disciples.
I want you to try it with a very familiar verse. We all know that these are quotes of Jesus himself, but even He was quoting the prophet Isaiah.
Look at Luke 4:16-21
So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
The last thing He says in verse 18 is “To set at liberty those who are oppressed”. He came to set people FREE!
Now, I want you to read all of verse 18 as if you are the one doing the talking. Notice what happens in your own heart when you realize that YOU are the one who has been anointed by the Spirit of the Lord.
YOU have been sent to heal the brokenhearted. YOU have been given the power to bring sight to the blind.
TODAY this scripture was fulfilled because YOU read it. Do you realize this understanding is exactly the reason that the religious leaders tried to kill Jesus?
It is for this reason that other people come against us. Religious leaders, government leaders, family members, friends….all of them have a choice how they will respond. However, regardless of their response, we must choose as well what we are willing to BELIEVE.
Remember, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is FREEDOM”? I’m reminding you here that the Spirit of the Lord is inside of you if you have been born again. If the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, then you have been ANOINTED to do EVERYTHING that Jesus was anointed to do.
This complete oneness with Jesus (and therefore oneness with the Father) is the single most important revelation that will set you free in your own spirit, soul, and body. Revelation of the Spirit of God inside of you will set you free from the fear of sickness. (because how could God himself living in you get sick?)
There is a revelation of freedom from poverty as well. If God himself owns the wealth of the world….how could He live in poverty?
Do you see that ALL forms of oppression and bondage are destroyed when we realize who we ARE in Him?
Jesus truly came to set us FREE, and that begins 1st of all in your own heart. You find that freedom by looking into the mirror of the Word of God and seeing yourself.
Make a decision today that you will BELIEVE everything you read about Jesus is true also of yourself. Allow the Spirit of the Lord to truly set you free.
Now, remember to write your testimony of what God has done in your life since becoming a part of this group, and I will be asking our group members here to do the same.
Thank you so much, and God Bless you!