Jesus came to set you free from religion

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Galatians 2

JESUS CAME TO SET YOU FREE FROM RELIGION

Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.  (Galatians 2:4-5)

Religion is slavery, but Jesus came to set you free.

Religion creates burdens too heavy to bear, but Jesus came to bear your burdens.

Religion adds rules to God’s commandments to weigh you down, but Jesus came to lift you up to walk in God’s ways in the fullness of joy.

There is a fine line between godly sanctification and religious slavery, and the biggest difference is usually motivation.  Religion says, “Live right and you will be accepted.”  Jesus says, “In me, you are already accepted, so now you can live rightly as a result.”

Don’t let rules and traditions force you into the obedience of fear.

Let Jesus remind you of His perfect grace, and let that grace result in the joyful obedience of love, because because of the hope found in this truth: Jesus came to set you free from religion.

-Pastor Phillip


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Jesus came to set you free from sin

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Galatians 1

JESUS CAME TO SET YOU FREE FROM SIN

[The Lord Jesus Christ] gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.  (Galatians 1:4-5)

Sin is slavery, but Jesus came to set you free.

Sin separates from God, but Jesus came to unite you with the Father.

Sin brings death, but Jesus came to bring you life.

Sin produces bondage to the patterns and principles of a broken world, but Jesus came to provide deliverance.

When sin is enticing you, remember, it’s only entrapment.  When God seems restrictive, remember, He is releasing you to a greater freedom.

When temptation seems too strong for you to bear, you will find the strength you need to stand as you keep your eyes fix on the hope of this truth: Jesus came to set you free from sin!

-Pastor Phillip


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God is Greater Than Your Struggles

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 61

GOD IS GREATER THAN YOUR STRUGGLES

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.  (Psalm 61:2b-3

“I can handle it.”

How often do we say this, trying to put on a good front, unwilling to admit that the problem we face is too big for us to solve on our own?  How often does our pride refuse to let us admit the greatness of the issue because we can’t face the smallness of our own ability?

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

How about this one?  What about all those times we simply ignore the problem, hoping somehow it will go away?  What about when the pain is so great that we simply shut down because we can’t bear to actually face it?

God wants something better for His children than slavery to delusion and denial!

When we trust Him with our issues, we find freedom because we don’t have to bear the burden of pretending we have all the answers.  We can simply admit that we don’t, but He does.

We find freedom, because we don’t have to live in the fear of facing our problems.  We can admit that they’re too big for us, but not for God.

The hard part is that if you want that deliverance, it demands humility.

To truly trust God requires that you come to Him with a humble and honest heart, not trying to play up your strengths or downplay your weaknesses.  It means you must come to Him with open, empty hands, acknowledging that He is higher than you are.

When you do that, though, you will find He is your strong rock of refuge against any foe.

When you humbly trust God in your situation, you will find His strength is more than enough for you, and you’ll be filled with hope because of this powerful truth: God is greater than your struggles.

-Pastor Phillip


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Jesus wants lasting freedom for you

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Mark 5

Jesus wants lasting freedom for you

When Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs.  And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces.  No one had the strength to subdue him.  (Mark 5:2-4)

This man was strong.  He had overcome obstacles before.  He had broken out of bondage before.  He had gotten out of his chains before… But he was not really free at all.

Only when Jesus came was the man truly released from his captivity, because only Jesus brings real and lasting freedom.

Maybe you feel strong on your own.  Maybe you can look at the struggles you’ve overcome and the chains you’ve broken out of and feel pretty good about yourself.

But maybe you’re not really free at all.

You see, a heart that leans on its own ability to change is a heart that may have temporary success, but will never experience the true freedom that God desires for His children.  Not only that, but when you feel as if you can “handle it” in your own strength, you set yourself up for one of two terrible outcomes: arrogance if you succeed, and despair if you fail.

Jesus wants more for you than that!

When you’re willing to let go of your own strength, admit your need for help and lean fully on the power of God, that’s when you will discover lasting success.

Don’t settle for short-term solutions to the problems of your life.  Trust Jesus, and ask Him for the clarity to see where you’re trusting in yourself, the humility to admit your need for God’s help, and the faith to act on the truth instead of just giving it lip service.  When you do, you’ll find hope in this truth: Jesus wants lasting freedom for you.

-Pastor Phillip


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Jesus came to set you free from religion

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Galatians 2

JESUS CAME TO SET YOU FREE FROM RELIGION

Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. (Galatians 2:4-5)

Religion is slavery, but Jesus came to set you free.

Religion creates burdens too heavy to bear, but Jesus came to bear your burdens.

Religion adds rules to God’s commandments to weigh you down, but Jesus came to lift you up to walk in God’s ways in the fullness of joy.

There is a fine line between godly sanctification and religious slavery, and the biggest difference is usually motivation. Religion says, “Live right and you will be accepted.” Jesus says, “In me, you are already accepted, so now you can live rightly as a result.”

Don’t let rules and traditions force you into the obedience of fear.

Let Jesus remind you of His perfect grace, and let that grace result in the joyful obedience of love, because Jesus came to set you free from religion.

-Pastor Phillip

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

AUDIO VERSION
[click here for today’s. | click here to subscribe via iTunes.]

Jesus came to set you free from sin

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Galatians 1

JESUS CAME TO SET YOU FREE FROM SIN

[The Lord Jesus Christ] gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Galatians 1:4-5)

Sin is slavery, but Jesus came to set you free.

Sin separates from God, but Jesus came to unite you with the Father.

Sin brings death, but Jesus came to bring you life.

Sin produces bondage to the patterns and principles of a broken world, but Jesus came to provide deliverance.

When sin is enticing you, remember, it’s only entrapment. When God seems restrictive, remember, He is releasing you to a greater freedom.

Keep your eyes on this truth, and watch it give you the strength you need to stand. Jesus came to set you free from sin!

-Pastor Phillip

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

AUDIO VERSION
[click here for today’s. | click here to subscribe via iTunes.]

Self-control sets you free

SELF-CONTROL SETS YOU FREE

Do you struggle with self-control sometimes?

“Older men are to be…self-controlled.  Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior…and so train the young women…to be self-controlled.  Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled…For the grace of God has appeared, training us to live self-controlled…lives.” -Titus 2:2-6, 11-12 (selections)

I find it interesting that not only in this chapter but all throughout the book of Titus, Paul urges the people to embrace the discipline of self-control.  It is significant that Titus was a pastor in the city of Crete, a place known for everything but self-control.

Surrounded by constant temptation and encouragement to simply “go with what you feel” and pursue pleasure at all costs, Christians in Crete had a simple choice: to be slaves to their own whims and the spirit of the world around them, or to master their actions through the power of the Holy Spirit and thus live in true freedom as servants of Christ.

The same choice is given to us as well.

We may find it hard to be self-controlled, but to not be controlling ourselves is to be controlled by any and everything else that comes our way.

The good news is that God wants more for His children than that!  He wants freedom for us, and has given us everything we need to walk in it today.

Walk in self-control and let God’s Spirit set you free!

Self-Control Sets You Free

 Do you struggle with self-control sometimes?

“Older men are to be…self-controlled.  Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior…and so train the young women…to be self-controlled.  Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled…For the grace of God has appeared, training us to live self-controlled…lives.” -Titus 2:2-6, 11-12 (selections)

I find it interesting that not only in this chapter but all throughout the book of Titus, Paul urges the people to embrace the discipline of self-control.  It is significant that Titus was a pastor in the city of Crete, a place known for everything but self-control.

Surrounded by constant temptation and encouragement to simply “go with what you feel” and pursue pleasure at all costs, Christians in Crete had a simple choice: to be slaves to their own whims and the spirit of the world around them, or to master their actions through the power of the Holy Spirit and thus live in true freedom as servants of Christ.

The same choice is given to us as well.

We may find it hard to be self-controlled, but to not be controlling ourselves is to be controlled by any and everything else that comes our way.

The good news is that God wants more for His children than that!  He wants freedom for us, and has given us everything we need to walk in it today.

Walk in self-control and let God’s Spirit set you free!

 

How to Have Hope Unaffected by Elections

NOTE: I wrote this post about six weeks ago as a meditation on Colossians 1:13.  In God’s providence, it came up in the queue to be posted this week, and it seemed an appropriate reminder on Election Day.  May God’s perspective bring you peace, no matter which way the wind blows. -Pastor Phillip


 

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son.” -Colossians 1:13

In the modern world we don’t often think of “domains” and “kingdoms.”  Most of us belong to states and nations and tend to have a very individualistic sense of our fate.

Yet, the language of Scripture is stark and specific.  In the spiritual world, we are far less autonomous than we believe.  We are elsewhere called “slaves” to sin, and the “captives” of the evil one.

That’s why this passage is so glorious!

In Christ, we are no longer a part of the nation of darkness, but of light.  Our freedom is not autonomy but a purchased allegiance to a much better King.

This King is no task master, but takes delight in blessing and caring for His people.

Here’s the thing, though.  We have received our new citizenship now, but will be given our full residency later.  Though our homecoming is assured, we are now ex-patriots living in a foreign land.

While we’re here, then, our call is to demonstrate the characteristics of our home country, in hopes that many more will join us in new citizenship now and new residency later.

We don’t create the full Kingdom here, but we bear witness to its glory by building and being outposts of its presence here and now.  If you’re a follower of Christ, then first, foremost and above all other allegiances, YOU are a citizen of Heaven and an outpost of the Kingdom of God.

That means that no matter what happens in whatever country you live, your destiny is secure!

Whatever political changes take place in the nation in which you were born, your final authority is not the person who holds office in a palace or parliament or the presidency.

Your final authority —and true hope— holds the title of King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Almighty Maker of Heaven and Earth… and Heavenly Father… and Lover of Your Soul.

Slaves to a Better Master

True “freedom” isn’t found in having no master, but in finding a better one.

For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace… and having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” -Romans 6:14, 18

In Christ, though we may stumble, we are slaves no more… to sin, that is.  Though the Word speaks of a kind of “slavery” to righteousness, it is a wholly other form.

Moving from the false “freedom” of sin to the true peace of “slavery” to God’s righteousness is like a horse trading a 10×10 pen and a trip to the glue-factory for a 10,000 acre pasture and a Master who will love and care for them ’till the day they die.

I’ll take that trade any day. How about you?