Freedom To Do The Will Of God
“But who so looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deeds.”
What is freedom? Is it only for freedom that we are set free? Or we are set free to do the will of God? Freedom, if you still don’t know its definition, is not a sensation that we can get high on our emotions leading us into a frenzied and uncontrolled celebration. Freedom is not an outward reality as people think it is. Those who think freedom as an outward reality do not know anything about being free. Why? It is because true and genuine freedom is an inward or spiritual reality manifested outwardly by a cheerful obedience to the will and commandments of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
What did our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ set out to do when He was here on earth? In the Gospel, according to the Apostle Luke, we find in the fourth chapter, verses 18-19 these words:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
My dear brethren of Christ International Fellowship Ministries, this is the mission statement from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ about His Ministry. It also provides a foreshadowing for how His Ministry will be received. The rest of the Gospel according to the Apostle Luke unfolds how the Lord fulfilled this mission, and yet was continually misunderstood and rejected by the people He worked among.
My question to each and every one of you is this: Has this Mission Statement of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ changed throughout the ages?
THE FACTS ABOUT FREEDOM
FREEDOM IS UNRESTRICTED ACTION.
1. To the unsaved, it is restricted by:
a) Sin: “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34).
b) Inability to hear: “Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word” (John 8:43).
c) Satan: “Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him. We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:41, 44).
d) Bondage: “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness” (Romans 6:19-20).
e) Spiritual death: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
2. To the saved, it is not:
a) Of license: “As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:16).
b) Of bondage again: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).
c) Of the flesh: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty, only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Galatians 5:13-14).
THE IMPORTANCE OF ATTENTIVE LISTENING
“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass.”
– The Word of God may be learned from its being compared to a glass, in which a man may look at his natural face.
– The Word of God shows us what is wrong with us that we may repent and that we may make amend.
– The truth, as it is in the Lord Jesus Christ, flatters no man.
– It is therefore important that we listen attentively to the Word of God so that the corruption of our nature, the disorders of our hearts and lives will be presented before us.
– Thus, when we listen attentively to the Word of God, we shall be set free. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
THE NECESSITY OF CAREFUL EXAMINATION
James 1: 25a
“Who so looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer…”
– The Gospel of Christ is a law of liberty and freedom.
– It is a perfect law. Since it is perfect, nothing should be added to it nor subtracted from it.
– In hearing the Word of God preached to us by a true servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must look into this perfect law for counsel and direction.
– It is necessary that we examine it carefully so that we may, as a result, make godly decisions.
-Then only do we look into the perfect law of liberty as we should when we continue therein—when we dwell in the study of it, till it turn into a spiritual life, engrafted and digested in us and are careful not to forget it. That is,
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15
THE RESULT OF SINCERE RECEPTION
“And receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”
– In hearing the Word of God, we are to receive it with sincerity. That is to assent to the truths of it. Consent to the doctrines of it.
– We must receive it with meekness according to the nature of that Word, which is engrafted into our souls.
– We must, therefore, yield ourselves to the Word of God, with most submissiveness and humbleness: this is to receive it with meekness.
– Being willing to hear our faults, and taking it, not only patiently, but also thankfully with an honest desire to be transformed by the doctrines and precepts of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
– Listen, in our hearing, we should aim for the salvation of our souls.
– We should approach the Word of God (both to read it and to hear it), as those who know:
“It is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
THE INDISPENSABILITY OF DILIGENT PRACTICE
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
– Hearing is a prerequisite to doing. The most attentive and the most frequent hearing of the Word of God will not do us any good, unless we are also doers of it.
– If we were to hear a sermon every day of the week, and an angel from heaven were the preacher, yet, if we rested in bare hearing, it would never bring us to heaven.
– Therefore, the Apostle James insists much upon it (and without any doubt, it is indispensably necessary) that we practice what we hear.
– There must be an inward practice of meditation and an outward practice in true and genuine obedience to the Word of God.
– It is not enough to remember what we hear, and to be able to repeat it, and to give testimony to it, and commend it, and write it, and preserve what we have written.
– That, which all these are in order to and which crowns the rest is we must be doers of the Word.
– Bare hearers, my dear brethren, are self-deceivers. They argue sophistically to themselves. They persuade themselves that filling their heads with notions is sufficient.
– Their hearts are empty of good affections and their lives are fruitless of good works. Self-deceit will be found the worst deceit at last!
THE REWARDS OF TRUE AND GENUINE OBEDIENCE
“…but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
– Those who thus do, and continue in the Word of God, are, and shall be, blessed in their deed; blessed in all their ways, according to the first Psalm.
– He that meditates in the Word of God, and walks according to it, the Psalmist says, shall prosper in whatsoever he does.
– And he that is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work which God’s Word sets him about shall be blessed.
– This verse does not say, for his deeds, that any man is blessed, but in his deed.
– That is the way in which we shall certainly find blessedness, but not the cause of it.
– This blessedness does not lie in knowing, but in doing the Will of God (John 13:17),
“If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.”
– It is not the talking but the walking that will bring us to heaven. Amen!