Freedom is not an end unto itself, it is a means to an end.
There is purpose in freedom.
God gives us freedom for a reason.
It is about more than coming in here and having freedom to run and jump, shout, and do all these things we do in our worship. This is not just what freedom is about.
True freedom is always tied to identity.
It is amazing what you can do in life when you find your true identity on a heart level; when you find out who you really are.
God's approach to freedom is making sure that we are clear on our identity; that we have an accurate understanding of who we are in His eyes. In the scripture God would change people's names. Because names had meaning, and whatever you called yourself, it was because of the meaning of that name.
Jacob was left alone. That is a great place to get.
Sometimes what we need is to get alone so we can get a word from God. This way all the voices that are in our lives, which have been such a distraction, trying to pull us all these different ways, are shut out. We find ourselves where God himself is speaking directly to us.
Jacob got alone and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.
Most scholars say Jacob wrestled with an angel or a pre-incarnate form of Jesus.
Jacob wrestled with the angel and told the angle, "I will not let him go until you bless me."
When God blessed Jacob, How did he bless him?
Did he give him a huge bank account?
Did he give him a lot of material possessions?
The blessing Jacob received was, A NEW NAME!
God changed his name from deceiver, heal-grabber, trickster, to Prince with God.
Jacob would no longer be seen in the site of others as a trickster, a deceiver, or heal-grabber. More importantly God changed how Jacob would see himself. Every time Jacob opened his mouth he would no longer say he was the things of his past, but he would say he is the things of his future, as a prince with God.
As Jacob begins to call himself Israel, it puts a demand on his behavior because he sees himself as a prince of God. Every time he introduced himself and says, "I am Israel", he had to carry himself as such, a prince of God.
Obedience is supposed to flow out of identity.
God shifted Jacob's life by shifting his identity, which required Jacob to show obedience to his God. A shift in your identity will cause you to pray differently. If we live in a cloud of unworthiness, condemnation, doubt and uncertainty, we will approach God, praying like beggars. Our freedom affects our identity in every area of our life, even how you pray. I can't pray with boldness until I know my identity in Him. But once I know my identity in God, I can pray with boldness and not feel like I am a stranger, but as God said, "come boldly before the thrown of grace. . ." (Hebrews 4:16).
Freedom follows the revelation of your identity.
We have a woman in bondage that could not straighten up.
Her inability to straighten up was a symptom of the sickness.
What you see is a symptom of what you can't see.
Jesus healed her so she could then straighten up.
Churches are real good at telling people what they do wrong, but they are terrible at telling them why.
Don't do this. . .and don't do that. . .You better stop this. . . and you better stop that. . . Watch out God is going to get you. . .
We are great at telling people what is wrong with themselves, but we are terrible at telling them why they are doing it. Let's go straight to the source. I don't want to deal with the symptom, I want to deal with the infirmity that caused the symptom.
She was in this position, bent over, for eighteen years.
When you are in an infirmity condition for eighteen year it can begin to feel normal. When you live that many years outside of what you were created for, you begin to feel normal in your out of place condition.
Jesus looked at her and said, "Woman thou art loosed. . ."
He spoke the word.
He moved his hand.
She straightened up.
She gave him praise.
The key is the freedom followed the revelation.
Behavior is supposed to follow revelation.
Bondage is real, but it is not for me! It's got to go!
Immediately when Jesus heals, the religious leaders get upset.
Christianity is about a relationship with God and religious practices serve that relationship, not the other way around. Christianity does not serve religious practices.
Coming to church, praying, reading in the Bible, giving, serving, these things serve the relationship of Christianity, they do not require Christianity to serve them. You are not a Christian by doing these things. You are doing these things because you are a Christian.
Relationship with God is about freedom, but the practice of religion and traditions are about control.
Religion says, "A miracle happened, but Jesus, we don't like how you did it. You didn't follow our rules. You totally bypassed us!" "You didn't have the miracle in church, on Sunday, where we can control its outcome!"
Miracles should be happening out there where you are seven days a week. We are not going to wait until we come here to see the glory of God revealed, we are going to see it all week long!
Stop trying to reason with people who aren't spiritually reasonable.
Quit trying to get people to understand you that are never going to understand who you are and what you are doing in the spirit. You are trying to make sense to somebody that is never going to make sense of what is truly going on in the kingdom of heaven.
Simply go forth in the freedom God has given you through the Holy Spirit.
Speak the word, put out your hand, declare it and let God arise.
If they understand it, fine; and if they don't leave it right there.
Those who are understanding will see their miracle as this woman.
If the religious leaders don't like it. . .TOO BAD!
Religion cares more about tradition and control than it does people.
You should never have to wait until you come to church before you get what you need.
You should be able to get what you need:
When you are in bed while you sleep,
In Walmart while you shop,
In your car while you drive,
In school while you study and learn,
In your office while you are working,
You should be able to get what you need wherever you need it!
You should not have to wait until you get to church on Sunday, this should be a celebration of what God did all week.
The ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation (Luke 13:14).
He was being indignant (showing anger for something you feel is not right) toward Jesus and said to the crowd, "there are six days a week on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them and not on the Sabbath day". Jesus called him a hypocrite.
Jesus pointed out they work to lose a oxen or donkey and take them to water on the Sabbath. . .and since Satan had this woman bound, she too ought to be loosed from here bondage on the Sabbath (Luke 13:15-16).
When he said these things all his adversaries were put to shame and everyone around him started rejoicing (verse 17).
Jesus connects the inappropriate relationship of her bondage to her identity.
This woman should not to be stooped over, bound down, or beat up because of who she was. . .a daughter of Abraham.
Are you excited about who you are in Christ Jesus?!!
Is there anyone who realizes there may be some things going on in your life that are inappropriate based upon who you are?
This should not of happen to her! She is a daughter of Abraham!
She is not supposed to belong to this spirit of infirmity.
Let's make a declaration:
"In Jesus name, every spirit in my life that does not belong -- get out and stay out!"
You may ask, this woman was a daughter of Abraham, but what does that do for me?
"If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
This spirit of infirmity that had her bent over,
This spirit that attacks our body, our joints, our backs, and other places in our bodies;
It does not belong there, it does not belong in your life.
You need to declare Radical Freedom in your life from any infirmity that does not belong there!
We are going to straighten up, stand up, and declare we are daughters and sons of Abraham, and we are not going to let these spirits have victory over us any longer.
The same truth that applies to this woman in Luke Chapter 13, applies to you and me according to Galatians 3:29.
If she is not supposed to be bound, we who believe are not supposed to be bound!
We are supposed to be free. This is Radical Freedom.
If you miss this revelation you start feeling it is normal to be bent over, beat down, and beat up. You have based your identity of these years upon an infirmity that has you all bent over and bound. But suddenly you start to realize you are a child of Abraham and you are supposed to be free, you are not supposed to be bound. Slavery is not supposed to feel normal in your life in any area.
Stop feeling normal is bent over and crooked, in all area of your life: spirit, soul, and body.
Religious people will keep you as a hostage.
This woman was able to identify herself as being free after eighteen years.
She got free when the Word showed up.
Some people will like you better as long as you stay bent over and crooked. Your reaction to this should be goodbye baby because I am out of here, I am free from this type thinking and controls over my life. They do not need to think I am going to stay here just so they can keep their religious spirit happy.
I am not going to stay there any longer.
I am not going to stay bent over any more,
I am not going to stay co-dependent,
I am not going to stay in bondage just so you can feel happy and make yourself feel better about you.
Jesus found himself in the Word.
If Jesus needed to find himself in the Word,
We need to find ourselves in the Word also.
Jesus was handed the book of Isaiah and he found the place where it was written. . .You need to find your place in the Word. Make it yours; a God word for you.
Jesus read, "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 broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, and to set at liberty those who have been oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." (Luke 4:18-19)
He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down.
Then all the eyes of those in the synagogue were fixed on him. . .
They were sitting there whispering back and forth. . ."What is he saying. . .what is he trying to say?"
Then Jesus spoke up and said, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. . ."
They were marveled and moved that this was Joseph's son sitting in their synagogue making these profound statements about himself.
This person that did not believe God and did not know how to have any faith, said, "Wait a minute. . .this is Joseph's son. What are we doing listening to him?"
Jesus was telling them he was here to proclaim Jubilee, the year of the Lord's favor, and I have come to tell you it is fulfilled, it is here.
Freedom has come!
The Question is: Why am I supposed to be free; what is it for?
Go back to Genesis Chapter 12.
This chapter is about a calling. It is about a destiny dialogue. There is a conversation going on. It's about purpose, and what God wanted to do in Abraham's life. God is telling Abraham, "I am going to take your live to another level."
If you believe God is about to blow your life up and take you to another level, you need to standup and praise the Lord your God right now!!!
God was telling Abraham in Genesis Chapter 12, "This is what I want your end to be." He was telling Abraham he was going to take him to another level and make a nation from him.
Then God said to him, "I will make your name great" (verse 2).
Normally if someone was to tell you that, we might rebuke them saying, "Oh no God, don't make my name great".
Don't be afraid to take the limits off of God.
People want to say if it is God's will it will be done. . .Not True. . .people can put limits on God where he cannot do certain things.
Take the Limits off of God!!! Why not make your name great?
This week the singing star Prince died.
He was an extremely talented person.
He had an amazing gift for music.
He worked hard and we can honor that.
He had a great name - Prince; how great is that name?
He was well known and his name was shouted out by those who went to see him preform. People would say, "He's my icon, He's my idol."
The question is, For what purpose?
We should grief his death because the Bible says, God is not willing that any should perish (2Peter 3:9). Not only do we mourn and grief his death, but we also mourn and grief his life because of what he used his great name for.
The point is, when we have icons, and when we have idols, like this man who chose to dress up in women's clothes, performing on stage, what purpose are we trying to live for?
Destiny has purpose!. . .a great name has purpose!
God told Abraham he was going to make his name great to give Abraham influence.
Greatness is not about fame, it is about influence.
A great name brings great power and great responsibility. To who much is give, much is required (Luke 12:48).
For you to think you can be what you want to be and do what you want to do, and it does not matter. . .YES IT DOES MATTER!!
I am not that well known but I feel the responsibility for the things in my life where I do or don't do based upon who I am. The fact that I am the pastor of this church and that I lead this congregation; and I want to see things happen, is why I won't do certain things simply because I want to be an example to the flock. We need God to give us people with great accountability in their lives.
Let me tell you who my heroes are that died:
My heroes died in places like Afghanistan and Iraq; with boots on; a gun across their shoulder; and a helmet on their heads. That's my heroes. They died that way so you and I could be here today.
My heroes took this message across the seas in ships. They were enslaved for the Word of God and for their testimony.
Freedom apart from a God called destiny will not work.
Democracy apart from Christianity will not work.
If we could preach to the Senate,
If we could preach to the Congress,
If we could preach to the President,
If we could preach to the Supreme Court,
We should say, "you want to destroy our country, keep taking Jehovah God out!
Democracy apart from Christianity cannot and will not sustain itself.
That's way we are praying,
That's way we are standing,
That's way we are believing,
That's way we are interceding, because God is not through with America!
Your Elevation is about God's Agenda.
God told Abraham he would make his name great.
Greatness requires influence.
Notoriety alone does not denote greatness.
Just because somebody is known, does not mean they are great.
Your elevation is not just about your ambition.
Stop trying to prove promotion just so you can try to prove something to somebody that does not matter anyway. Your elevation is about God's agenda, not theirs and not yours.
God wants to introduce himself to others through you.
Not just you using God's name, but God using your name.
God always recognized himself by saying, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."
You are the sons and daughters of Abraham, so:
Now God can say, "I am the God of . . . .(put your name here)."
"Let me introduce myself to you through my servants. . .my witnesses. . ."
"And you shall be witnesses of me . . ." (Acts 1:8).
God now uses our name to bring glory and honor to his kingdom.
God is using us as a point of reference.
We have a story to tell. . .and it starts with a name. . .given to us to make us great. . . Jesus Christ.
As we are telling people about all that has gone wrong in our life, we share about the name above all names that changed us, and is making us great.
You can tell people a few years ago I was enslaved and in bondage, but Jesus set me free.
A few years ago I was in jail,
A few years ago I was addicted,
A few years ago I was forsaken,
A few years ago I didn't see any way out, but let me tell you about a friend
Who got me free from my addiction,
Who healed my disease,
Who was with me when everybody else turned their back on me.
Because of what this friend is doing in me you can know there is a God in heaven and that he wants to be your friend too.
Everybody needs to desire to inspire.
"Let you light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
You must have the attitude, "My story will bring God glory!!!"
You can allow the names you call yourself define you.
You can let the label people give you define you:
Poor, spoiled, uneducated, inexperienced, young, old, troublemaker, shy, looser, fat, ugly, hopeless, stupid, ignorant, week, pitiful, worthless.
All these labels can stick, they can hurt, and they can damage you if you start to believe them.
You can allow yourself and others to be defined by God's Word.
Forgiven, new creation, saint, his workmanship, royal priest, completely accepted, totally secure, deeply significant, I belong, child of God, joint-heir with Christ, blessed and not cursed, above and not beneath, rich, healed, more than a conqueror, overcomer.
Those labels will transform your life because you are called by a new name!
You now walk in Radical Freedom!!!