Heartland Church Pastor Joel Spiridigliozzi - Christianity is a Straitjacket

Heartland Church Pastor Joel Spiridigliozzi preached Part 3 in his sermon series titled 'The Reason For God'. This week's sermon is titled 'Christianity is a Straitjacket'. The sermon notes that are handed out at church are below.

Christianity is a Straitjacket

OBJECTION

For some "freedom" means that there is no overarching purpose for which we were created. If there were, we would be obligated to conform to it and fulfill it, and that is limiting. True freedom is freedom to create your own meaning and purpose.

RESPONSE TO THE OBJECTION

"Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32)

1. Confinement and constraint is not as bad as we think

-Freedom cannot be defined in strictly negative terms, as the absence of confinement and constraint, in fact, in many cases, confinement and constraint is actually a means to liberation.

-Psalm 139:13-14 "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (created:ownership/knit: skillfully)

-Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

2. Love is the ultimate freedom, but it is more constraining than we think

-One of the principles of love is that we have to lose independence to attain greater intimacy. If you want the "freedoms" of love - the fulfillment, security, sense of worth that it brings - you must limit your feeedom in many ways.

-"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance, as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:6-8)

-In the most profound way, God has said to us, in Christ, "I will adjust to you. I will change for you. I will serve you though it means a sacrifice for me."

-The love of Christ constrains. Once you realize how Jesus changed for you and gave himself for you, you aren't afraid of giving up your freedom and therefore finding your freedom in Him.

-Romans 12:1 "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship."

3. Freedom is more deceptive than we think

-The things we chose to do out of freedom, can become things that control us.

-"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)

-"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:10)

Why may we fall into loving money?

a. We are convinced that money is the key to reputation.

b. We surrender to the myth that if we have more we will be more secure.

c. We believe if we have enough money we can buy anything.

Richard Foster: Our appetities must know some fulfillment or we will starve to death. But appetities that take control of our lives destroy us.

When we give the ten percent freely and willingly to God, it is our confession that we are still in charge of our money, it is not in charge of us.

-Jesus said "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

-“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.

“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’

“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse —your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe, ” says the Lord Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.

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