Free at Last Part 2

by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)

It’s Jesus who gave you life!

It’s Jesus who gave you life!

Ask yourself, “Who gave us life?”
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live.”
It’s Jesus who gave you life!

How do you live?
“Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”
My friends, that’s the important thing.
He died for me down here, so that I might live with Him up yonder, and so that He might live in me down here.
When Christ is in control of our lives, we will naturally want to read our Bible, witness to others, and fellowship with other Christians and we will grow in grace.

Finally, I want to say, we are FREE TO LIVE AS MEMBERS OF GOD’S FAMILY.

Paul told the Galatians that they were privileged to have a very special relationship to God.
He said, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29).
We are God’s children and therefore we have a very special place in His family.

So, let’s consider five characteristics of God’s family.

The first characteristic is that we are all equal.
But what does this mean to the church today?
It means that none of us have vested rights—no one is above or better than others.
It means that the opinion of each person is of great value, but it has no more value than the other person’s opinion.
It means that the congregation is to be the church.
(Those in this room are the church.)
It means that as members of the family of God we are more concerned about our responsibilities to other members than our own individual rights.
It means that because we are members of God’s family, we are to love the other members of the family.
Paul said, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another” (Romans 12:10).
Paul is saying that they are to love one another.
That means, as we reach out to others, as witnesses to them and lead them to Christ, we do so regardless of their past, or their personal history, or their social standing.
It means that when they become members of God’s family, we accept them as our equals.
Love is the primary motivating factor in Christian living.
Christlike behavior or character includes showing genuine love.
A genuine relationship with Christ will be evident in our personal relationships with others.

The second characteristic of God’s family is that we are heirs.
Paul wrote in Galatians 4:7, “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
Every member of a family is an heir to the father’s wealth.
We are not servants, laboriously striving to keep the law.
We are sons and daughters of God, born into His family by grace through faith, and therefore, we are full heirs of His riches.
There’s a song called “A Child of the King,” which expresses this truth very well.
It goes like this:
My Father is rich in houses and lands,
He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands!
Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold,
His coffers are full, He has riches untold.
I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
A sinner by choice, and an alien by birth.
But I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down,
An heir to a mansion, a robe, and a crown.
I’m a child of the King, A child of the King:
With Jesus my Savior, I’m a child of the King.
Are you a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ?
Then you are also an heir, and all of Christ’s riches are yours!
A child must wait until maturity to inherit the family wealth, but God’s children can have His wealth now.

The third characteristic is that we care for one another.
Paul says that when our fellow Christians slip into sin, we are responsible for helping them get back on their feet again.
This is what he wrote in Galatians 6:1-3.
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.”
Your response to another’s fall reveals your own walk, whether it is spiritual or not.
We are to restore one who has fallen to the fellowship of believers.
The word translated “restore” means “to set a broken bone.”
How gentle and loving we must be when we seek to help fallen brothers or sisters, for what we do will affect them and the body of Christ.

Another characteristic of a Christian is that we bear the fruit of the Spirit.
The fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23.
There it says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
The “fruit” of the Holy Spirit refers to the godly qualities of those who “walk in the Spirit.”
The proof of the Holy Spirit at work in a believer’s life is that the believer becomes increasingly more like Christ in their character and actions.
The fruit of the Spirit should characterize the life of every believer, not just the spiritually mature.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit affects the believer’s relationship with God, and others, and himself.
As Christians grow in their relationship with the Lord, they develop unselfish love, true joy, and lasting peace.
As they build relationships with others, they are led by the Spirit to reflect His patience, and His kindness, and His goodness.
As they mature spiritually, Christians discover an inner strength which results in faithfulness, and gentleness and self-control.
While the fruit of the Holy Spirit is not necessary for salvation, these godly virtues are evidence of salvation and the genuine work of the Holy Spirit.
The life of Christ within us is revealed by the fruit of the Spirit.
And the ministry of Christ is accomplished by the gifts of the Spirit.
Followers of Christ not only receive the blessings of God but also reflect His character to all whom they encounter.

The last characteristic of those who are members of God’s family is that we are productive.
Paul said, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9).
Salvation by grace does not mean freedom from service, but freedom to serve.
The more we realize that we are members of God’s family, not through any merit of our own, but solely through the grace and love of God, the harder we will work and the more productive we will become.
We don’t work to become a member of God’s family, but we work because of the thrill of being a member of His family.

There is an old African-American spiritual that captures the spirit of Paul’s letter to the church at Galatia.
Let’s end by reading the words to that song.
Way down yonder in the graveyard walk,
Me and my Jesus goin’ to meet and talk.
On my knees when the light passed by,
Thought my soul would rise and fly.
One of these mornin’s bright and fair,
Gonna meet King Jesus in the air.
Free at last, free at last,
Thank God, I’m free at last.

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