Sermon based on Luke 4:14-30
The cry of freedom has been heard throughout the ages. In many regions across this world, even today, multitudes are crying for freedom. For Liberty! Wars have been waged that curtail liberty for some and restore it for others.
And what really is liberty? Who among Earth’s many nations and people groups are really free?
Do the any of the many and various religions make people free? Does each nation’s kind of government make its citizens free? For example, many would say that in America, our system of government has created a nation of the freest people on planet earth. Yes, we may enjoy more kinds freedoms here than in all other nations; however, those freedoms did not come in one day.
After Americans fought a war for independence from Great Britain, and a new nation emerged called the United States of America, the Federal Government and the various State Governments struggled for many more decades over who had the power to create and enforce various laws.
For example, Slavery continued to exist until the Civil War decided that Federal law through the 13th amendment to the Constitution could abolish it. And another Federal Law, the 14th amendment passed in 1866 decided that all former slaves and all people “born or naturalized” in the United States are citizens and would have equal protection under the laws.
And it was Federal law, the 15th Amendment passed in 1869, that gave African American males the right top vote; but, it took 50 more years for suffrage to be extended to American women with the ratification of the 19th Amendment on August 18, 1920.
Would the world classify slaves as free? Of course not. What about those adults who could not vote until a law provided them the right? Would the world say they were equally free when they could not vote as when they could? Of course not.
Now, any of the states could have given women the right to vote, but none did. And, any of the antebellum Southern States could have freed their slaves, but none did. And the reasons for this struggle in America, that’s another story for another time. But, significantly, it was the influence of Protestant Christianity that led more to the separation, or the disestablishment of religion from government. The Second Great Religious Awakening of the 19th Century, the preaching of Charles Finney and others led to a moral influence in America at a time when it was desperately needed.
America was struggling over values. Were people more valuable than material prosperity? The principles over liberty is ever a struggle in the human psyche…
When Jesus returned to His own hometown to preach in their synagogue, what happened? Trouble to say the least. Though at first, they were excited and amazed about His words; but, when He told them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing,” they became angry and tried to kill Him. Why? Because He basically told them that they were not free, but in captivity to sin, and it was He who has now come to set them free. He did not come to deliver them from Roman rule, but from sin.
Does this dynamic of animosity against the truth of the Gospel exist today in Churches, as it did in Nazareth 2,000 years ago? Are some Christians in captivity to sin and rejecting the message of Jesus today?
Watch the whole sermon here: https://youtu.be/dqrg2OLSVO8