Saturday, May 14, 2011

Whom the Son Sets Free

The Truth Will Make You Free

The following series from Pastor Zac Poonen is one of the most important topics in the church: liberty. I wrote on this before in an article called "You Are Free", but Pastor Poonen goes into this topic in more detail.

"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

God compels us to stand in His liberty because there are forces in the world, especially in religion, which desire to bring us back into bondage after we have been set free in Christ. 

While all messages below are recommended, I have highlighted ones which I believe are extremely important in case you cannot listen to them all.

There are several videos in the series (summarized below) and you may navigate to each particular topic by using the navigation arrows at each side of the video screen.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8

Many people refer to this verse or use the words "grace, faith, and saved"; but what do they really mean?

Three Important Words: Grace
  • The truth of God's word sets us free (John 8:32).  Anything that brings us into bondage or condemnation is then by default not the truth.
  • Jesus sets people free from sin and human traditions.
  • For example, the Sabbath was not given to bind man, but to impress upon man the importance of resting in God.  Yet, this became so perverted and misunderstood that the Pharisees even tried to use it to constrain the very works of God (Mark 3:2-4; Luke 6:1-9)
  • The reason they killed Jesus is because He spoke the truth.  The truth not only makes us free, but it also makes many professing Christians angry because it exposes their sin and their traditions.
  • Grace is the most important thing in God's kingdom.  It is the "currency" of Heaven.
  • God is not looking for cleverness, but sincerity.  If you are sincere, then God will show you the truth.
  • The Spirit of Grace is the Holy Spirit and will reveal to you Jesus Christ.
  • Not everyone can get grace, but everyone can get grace if they want to! (I Peter 5:5)
  • There is only one way to get spiritual riches: humility.
  • The number one work of grace is forgiveness of sin (Ephesians 1:7).

Three Important Words: Faith
  • One must have a correct understanding of faith in order to be secure in Christ.
  •  The example of faith is not for us the tremendous faith of Old Testament figures, but a better example which is found in Christ (Hebrews 11:1-40)
  •  For example, people will often quote John 10:28-29 saying that "no man can pluck" them out of God's hand and they base their eternal security on this verse.  However, they don't realize that verse 28 is a continuation of the sentence in verse 27.  The promise of not being plucked out of God's hand is conditioned upon those who obey - hear and follow - Christ (verse 27).
  • If the demons believe, and such a belief does not save them, then how does our belief differ from that (James 2:19)?  Much of what many Christians consider "faith" could be echoed by demons.
  • Saving faith is a personal confidence in God as our Father and Jesus as our Savior based upon receiving the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9-17).  
  • An intellectual knowledge of Scripture does not mean one has been born again.  There is a big difference between head faith and heart faith.
  • Repentance and faith go together.  You cannot have true faith without turning from your sins.
  • It is never our responsibility to tell others that they are the son of God.  This is something only the Holy Spirit has the right to confirm.
  • Saving faith is a total dependence upon the Lord for everything (John 15:1-8).
  • There is a difference between struggling to bear witness to the life of Christ in the flesh versus resting in Christ to let His life flow through us.
  • You cannot be betrothed to Christ and still do your own thing.  In a wedding ceremony, a bride verbalizes her trust in her husband and gives herself completely to her groom.  Everything changes from that day forward, for the rest of her life.  She changes her name and gives up her plans in order to fit in with her husband's plans.
  • Saving faith always produces the works of faith (James 2:18).  Just like in a marriage, children are produced; so are works produced from those who have true faith.

*Three Important Words: Salvation (This message is highly recommended)
  • In our lives, there is a past, present, and future.  Similarly, salvation also has a past, present, and future.
  • There is a salvation we can experience which was finished in the past.  There is a salvation which we must keep on experiencing in our present.  And there is a salvation we can only experience in the future.  All three are mentioned in Scripture!
  • God's word gives us a clear understanding of truth.
  • Salvation in the past is that we have been justified by Jesus' blood so that we will be saved from the wrath of God (Romans 5:9).  Salvation from the punishment which is due from our sins.  Every sin is a crime against God.  Being born again means we have been justified.
  • God wants to give man the gift of forgiveness of sins, but there are two things we have to do (not works) to receive it.  God has extended His hand to mankind and is offering a gift of forgiveness; this is what the Scriptures call grace.  However, all human beings are born with their backs turned to God.  The first thing I have to do is turn around and face Him; this is what the Scriptures call repentance.  Repentance doesn't mean one is sinless, but it means one has turned from an attitude of loving sin.  The second thing I have to do is stretch out my hand to take the gift that God is offering to me; this is what the Scriptures call believing
  • We must have a willingness to set right matters with others we have hurt or defrauded in any way (Matthew 5:23; Luke 19:8-9).  If there is unconfessed sin in our hearts, God will not hear us (Psalm 66:18; John 9:31).
  • There is a curse on money that is kept which is unrighteously earned; a curse that will even extend to your own children and grandchildren.  The obstacle for many to their own salvation is a love of money.
  • Jesus could not forgive the Pharisees because they always sought to justify themselves (Luke 16:15).  Such persons cannot receive the forgiveness of God; they cannot be saved from the wrath of God.
  • There are no works we need to do to be forgiven, to receive salvation.  Yet, after salvation, there are many works God has for us to do (Ephesians 2:9-10).
  • Salvation in the present is that - after we are reconciled to God by Christ's death - we are being saved every day by His life (Romans 5:10).  Many know about salvation through the death of Jesus Christ, but how many know about salvation through His life?  Jesus not only died, but He rose again!  He is living!  His death saves me from the sins of my past; His life saves me from the sins in my nature. 
  • The Christian life is one of education, where God gives us light on the different areas of our life where we are not like Christ; and as we turn from each area, God shows us more.  This is the process of sanctification.
  • God's blessing is not money and health; even unbelievers get that.  The mark of God's blessing is that He helps us to be free form the unChristlike areas of our lives.
  • Salvation of the future is when our whole bodies will be redeemed at Christ's second coming (Romans 13:11; I Corinthians 15:42-54; I Peter 1:4).
  • In the past, God saved me from the penalty of sin.  In the present, God saves me from the power of sin.  In the future, God saves me from the very presence of sin.  It is always a salvation from sin.
  • Those who have this hope of salvation in them will purify themselves (I John 3:3).  
  • "Saved" is a very big word.  If we are really being saved, then we will not be satisfied with simply being saved from the penalty of sin or hoping for a future salvation from the presence of sin.  But if we really have that hope, we will seek to be saved from the power of sin today.  You will cry out to God, "Lord, give me the power of your Holy Spirit.  Give me your life that will lift me up from the power of sin!"  God can do it for you.  He wants to do it for you!  He sent Jesus to do it for you!  Ask Him so that you might experience the fullness of salvation.
God's Way of Giving Us Freedom
  • In every Christian denomination, believers are in bondage and the devil has made them think that they are free, when they are not free. Hundreds of Christian churches claim to have the truth.  So how do we find out whether we really have the truth?
  • The answer is in John 8:23, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."  Verses 34-36 are clear that Jesus is speaking of being free from sin.
  • In the first sermon Jesus preached, He said that He was anointed to preach the Gospel to the poor [in spirit] so that the brokenhearted can be healed, captives would be released, the blind can recover sight, and free those who are downtrodden (Luke 4:18). 
  • Most professing Christians are captives.  It is more important to be free from sin than to be a great preacher.
  • Many Christians also remain blind, even while reading the Scriptures because there is a veil the devil can place over the mind.  David prayed for God to give him sight so that he could behold the wonders of God's word (Psalm 119:18). 
  • The devil has trodden many believers down with fears that their situations can never be overcome.  Yet, there is no problem God cannot handle!
  • God's way of defeating Satan is completely different than man's ways.  He is not so quick or in such a hurry to do things or else He could have crushed Satan under His heel immediately when sin occurred in the Garden of Eden.  He could have sent His Son the next day, but He did not.
  • God wants to set you free and answer your prayers, but He does it slowly and thoroughly. 
  • The reason why is seen in Exodus 23:23, 29 God says, "For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off...I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee."
  • If God were to deliver man from sin all at once, the spiritual forces against us would be multiplied.  A primary trait that these beasts use to gain this advantage is through pride.  God reveals His plans to us as we are able to bear them (John 16:12).
  • Every earthly burden is supposed to be cast upon the Lord.  I am not supposed to carry one earthly worry or anxiety.  When such things come, share them with the Lord, not man, so that we can be freed through Him.
  • When we are born again, it is like we have a little baby inside, a spiritual baby called a "new man".  That new man has spiritual ears.  In Isaiah 50:4-5, it says the prophet of God obtained a word from the Lord for those who are weary because they seek daily to have their ears opened to hear Him.

Why God Waits to Set Us Free

  • If God desires for us to be free, then why are so many Christians not free?  In Malachi 3:6a says, "For I am the LORD, I change not."  God never changes, but the way He deals with man has changed.
  • If you don't repent, God looks at you one way, but when you truly repent, God looks at you another way.
  • There is a difference between being sorry for being caught in sin versus being sorrowful for being in sin.   There is no partiality with God, but He distinguishes between those who are genuinely sorry for their sin and those who are simply sorry for being caught.  This is why some people don't get free and others do.
  • Even the ungodly person knows the truth, but that truth does not set them free because they have no Godly sorrow about their sin (II Corinthians 7:10).  Ahab is a clear depiction of this in how he interacted with Jezebel to steal the inheritance of Naboth (I Kings 1:27).  
  • If the extent to which you are concerned about sin is only related to how "honorable" you appear before men, then all of your weeping and fasting is nonsense; you are as ungodly as Ahab.
  • We must be completely honest before God about our sin, understanding that sin is an offense to God.  
  • Is our fear of man and his opinions of us?  Is our fear of Satan and his demons, that they might have some power to harm us?  Or, are we fearful of dishonoring God?
  • People can turn and become evil, even after starting well with Christ.  Scripture says in Luke 6:16 that Judas "became" a traitor, even after having initially been chosen by Jesus as an Apostle.
  • Our yielding to or resisting God's work in us can hasten or delay our freedom.  God's work to break a leader of a church can even delay the blessings He has planned for that ministry.  The bigger the ministry He has for you, the more He has to break you.  God can use many things in life to create brokenness in you; financial difficulties, family opposition, court cases, etc.
  • Freedom can also be delayed because God's people are not desperate to be free!  They do not cry out for freedom and as a result, they do not receive an answer to prayer.  
  • One can die a defeated Christian when they could have received victory had they cried out to God more about their condition.

*Freedom Through Being a Servant (This message is highly recommended)
  • God longs to set us free from every bondage.  God has called you to be a ruler and not a slave.  Jesus makes us kings and priests.  Not kings externally, but spiritually because they were not slaves to people or sin.
  • Only those who have not been filed with the Holy Spirit are concerned with appearing more "spiritual" than other men.  
  • The first thing you are filled with when you receive the Holy Spirit is humility.  The first thing Jesus does is make you into a servant of all (Luke 22:24-27). 
  • If the praise of people puffs you up, then you do not have the Spirit of Christ.  A Spirit-filled man cares nothing for the opinion of men, but he will consider Godly discernment spoken by true men of God.
  • Most people remain in bondage because they do not know that no man is called to be a king over the people, but is to be a servant (John 13:13-15; I Peter 5:3).  He is to be a king inside, ruling over his own passions, ruling over the devil, and ruling over the influence of the world. A true man of God is to be a servant until the end of His life.
  • The reason why you may not have freedom in certain areas is because you desire a little bit the honor of men; you want to be a little king in the eyes of others.
  • Philippians 2:3 says, "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."  You don't have to pretend that others are more spiritual than you; such is false humility. However, we should consider others as more important than ourselves.  Only such a person is fit to be a leader of God's people.
  • A man being a servant does not mean he isn't the head of a home or an elder in the church.  Jesus was both a servant and the Head of the church.  Being a servant does not mean ignoring the authority God has called you to walk in.
  • Jesus was a leader, but He didn't have the spirit of a dictator.  He didn't make demands on others or insist that people listen to him.
  • Being a servant also doesn't mean becoming a slave to others in trying to fulfill religious perspectives about what they feel you are so supposed to do.  
  • There must be a balance in order to be a leader and a servant.  It can only be done by the Spirit of Christ.
  • Only those who are enslaved within and not secure in Christ need to lord over others.  It is the spirit of an orphan.
  • A true servant of God is content with what he has (Luke 3:14; I Timothy 6:8; Philippians 4:11; Hebrews 13:5).
  • We don't need to be worried about the support of men or others agreeing with us.  Our testimony at the end of our lives should be, "This was a man God really loved." (Revelation 3:8).  God supports the humble - and when He does - we become completely free!

*Freedom Through Praising God (This message is highly recommended)
  • One of the great truths that we must always be sure of is that God is on our side against the devil, even when we fall.  At such times, we can become discouraged and think that God is against us.
  • God is only against proud people (James 4:6).
  • When you look for support in your church from people, that shows that you are not very sure whether God will support you.
  • Christianity is not about getting the support of others or trying to be popular.  Others may not always understand what God calls you to do.  If we are right with God, then that should be all that matters.
  • John 16:32 lets us know that even when others have forsaken us, we are still not alone if the Father is with us.
  • We are not be place our trust in man; it is a curse (Jeremiah 17:5-8).
  • When Jesus faced a problem, He prayed, but He never sought sympathy from man.  Always make sure that God will support you.
  • II Chronicles 20:6-12 gives us a great pattern for how to pray when we are in trouble:

    And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? And rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? And in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?  Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever? And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying, If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help. And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not; Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit. O our God, wilt thou not judge them? For we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.
  • And we are in a better position to appeal to our Father in Heaven then even Jehoshaphat was, but we must first acknowledge that He is the sovereign ruler of the universe.  There is nothing too big for God!  And once you have committed the matter to the Lord, PRAISE Him (Psalm 50:23)!
  • Even if the whole world is against you, it ought to be enough to have the Lord on your side.
  • Remember also the lovingkindess God has shown to us throughout our lives. 
  • We also must learn the promises of God so that we can claim them (II Corinthians 1:20).  The word Amen means so be it; it will be so.  When we add our amen to God's word, we are expressing our faith in what God has proclaimed which is how we receive His promises.
  • Thanksgiving is being grateful for what God has done for us.  Praise is recognizing Him as Almighty God.  Worship is falling down before Him and saying, "You are our God."  We get freedom by learning to praise God.

Setting God's People Free
  •  James 4:2 says that we often do not have because we do not ask.
  • As an earthly father, we give many things to our children even without them asking, food, clothing, shelter, education etc.  God gives these earthly things to all, even those who are not His children.   
  • Yet, God cannot make you holy unless you ask for it.  That is why God gives us free will.  
  • Obedience alone does not make one holy.  The planets, the stars, the oceans...they all obey God, but they are not holy because they have no freedom to choose.
  • When God made man, He didn't force him to do anything; He gave him the freedom to choose...and He never takes that freedom away, even after salvation.
  • When the devil possesses a person, the demons control them completely.  That is why the Bible speaks of demons possessing a person whereas the Holy Spirit fills people. Only demons control people.
  • Whenever someone forces you to do something, that is not of God.  If the pastor forces you to pay your tithe, that is not of God.  Such a pastor is acting like a demon trying to control you.  When an elder brother tries to control you by punishing you if you don't come to a meeting, won't smile at you because you offended him in some way, or treats you differently because you don't do what they say...such a person is acting like the devil.    
  • A Godly man will never try to control you.  Even when he thinks something is good for you, he will tell you, but leave you free to choose.   This is the only type of person you are called to submit to because that is how God is.
  • In addition to having free will, one must also have a conscience in order to be holy.  We must ask ourselves, "Are we listening to our consciences?"  Is our conscience convicting us about something which we try to justify ourselves instead of confessing?
  • Not only can we fail to receive from God because we don't ask, but also because we ask with the wrong motives.
  • God will not deny victory over sin to anyone who asks for it.  He sent His Son with the express purpose of saving me from my sins...all of them.
  • Most people are defeated in areas of sin because they do not cry out to God day and night for deliverance.
  • The devil may be causing confusion in your home.  Your children may be in bondage to Satan.  Is this God's will?  No!  He wants them to be free, but He is waiting for someone to cry out.
  • In teaching us to pray, Jesus' first instruction was to say "hallowed be thy name" (Matthew 6:9).  Praying for deliverance from evil was at the end of the prayer.  In coming to God in prayer, we need to have a profound awareness of, and sensitivity to, how we are dishonoring God's name by living in sin. 
  • God gives us a promise in Ezekiel 36:23-28, "And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. " God will do these things, not primarily for our sakes, but for His names' sake (verse 32); yet only for those who ask Him to (verse 37).
  • Sin not only harms us, but sin dishonors God's name.  The primary reason for seeking deliverance from sin is that we want to honor God's name.
  • God allows difficulties and pressures in our lives so that we can cry out to Him for deliverance.
  • How do you know whether your church is part of Zion or part of Babylon?  Jeremiah 3:13-14 says, "Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding."
  • There is one proof that you have come out of Babylon and into Zion: You have a shepherd after God's own heart; one who is not a dictator, but is a servant, and a father.  If you don't have that, then that church is Babylon.


  1. Thank you for this post

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