Peninsula Community Church
The Spirit of The Lord Brings Freedom
July 24, 2016
Good morning! To be honest with you I did not anticipate that I would be sharing this message this morning as I had thought I would be in Richmond welcoming our new little prince into the family. But, as He often does, God had a different plan. With that said turn with me in your Bibles to 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 and let’s read together.
2 Corinthians 3:12-18 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
As we look at this passage this morning let me ask you a question. How many times have you found that people reject the truth? Have you ever tried to share undeniable truth with someone and they defiantly reject the truth that you are offering? For us, who know truth, the truth seems so believable and right and yet, there are those around us who resist the truth and the path of righteousness. We find that such blindness to truth comes from two sources. First, the god of this world blinds us so that the truth is not revealed. Secondly, truth is rejected when there is a desire to believe a lie more than to accept the truth.
As we look around our world, we do not have to look too far to see the results of this around us. Notice how Paul starts this passage. Paul stated that there were problems but there is also hope. That hope is found in Christ. Paul also makes an interesting observation. He notes that Moses had to place a veil over his face because the people of Israel were not ready to receive the truth and thus they missed the hope that was available to them. In essence, Paul is saying that this was the way things were but that was not the way things had to be.
You see the reason Moses would place a veil over his face is that the Children of Israel could not see what God had done in Him. The reason was simple. The children of Israel had hardened their hearts and they were not ready to receive what God had done. They saw, but they refused to allow the work of God to make a difference in their life. They closed God out and they kept God at a distance. We see this evidenced in the way they lived. One moment they would be praising God and they would deny and reject Him in the next moment. Why was this? It was because the truth had not found its way into their heart. They were rejecting the truth and the ways of God.
Paul also addresses this when he makes the following statement in 2 Corinthians 4:3-11. He says and even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Though different, Paul is presenting the same message. The god of this world had blinded the mind of the Corinthians so they could not see the light of the gospel. Their minds had been blinded so that the word of God cannot penetrate their heart. You see when we share faith with others we must understand that many have had their minds darkened and their minds cut off from the light of truth. But that is not the end of things.
Rather than give up we can stand strong as God promises us that the light can shine into darkness. You see no matter how dark one’s life might be the light of the gospel can penetrate the darkness. Notice what Paul says in our text this morning when one turns to God and the veil is removed, truth is revealed and life comes rushing in. Then Paul makes a powerful statement that should be held close to our hearts. He states that the Lord is a spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Because the Spirit of the Lord brings freedom we realize three things that come from the spirit of freedom.
First, the Spirit of the Lord brings freedom. By way of the spirit of the Lord there is freedom to receive the grace of God. By way of the spirit of the Lord there is freedom to change. By way of the spirit of the Lord there is freedom to live in truth and not in darkness that leads to a hardened heart.
I love one of the first messages that Christ spoke. It was the initiation of His ministry. We find it in Luke 4:18-19 that Jesus proclaims “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” The Spirit of the Lord is upon Christ and He has been anointed to proclaim the good news, to proclaim liberty to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. The ministry of Christ is to bring liberty and that liberty is available to those who turn to Christ.
Elmer Townes had this to say about revivals and the experience of witnessing the move of God in one’s life. He says that we are to seek intimacy with God rather than the hand of God. In other words while God moves in us He calls us to seek His intimacy. He wants a relationship. In his book “The Worlds Ten Greatest Revivals,” in regards to the great revival of 1904, Townes states The changed lives of converts resulted in reductions in crime, drunkenness, and gambling, along with increases in honesty, truthfulness and chastity throughout Great Britain. In America throughout the nation, political reform was effected as corrupt district attorneys, mayors, governors, senators and assemblymen were replaced with those perceived as honest. Why was this happening? It is because the Spirt of the Lord came and things began to change. The Spirit of the Lord brought freedom and change. How many would like that kind of change?
Second, the Spirit of the Lord shines His light in and the darkness goes. Now that is a powerful statement. You see He is the light of the world. In Him there is no darkness. In Him there is no shadow of darkness. He is the light. And where He is there is light as well. So yes, one’s heart and mind might be darkened by the god of this world but that does not mean that is where they have to stay. It is for that reason that I love this year’s VBS theme. It is Following Jesus The Light of the World. He is the light. He brings hope and He brings us freedom. Jesus is the Word and it is the Word that is a lamp unto our feet and a light on our path.
Third, the spirit of the Lord comes to transform us into the image of Christ. You see, not only does the Spirit of the Lord change sinners but it changes us as well. First of all because Christ is in us, we find that we do not have to wear a veil. We have an open invitation into the presence of God. We can behold the glory of God. What is the glory of God? It is the character of God being revealed in us and through us.
Often I am asked what a mature Christian looks like. I would say to you today that a mature believer is one that looks like Christ. Are you being transformed into the image of Christ? Are you being changed? If the spirit of the Lord in us we will find that we are being transformed. Once again the idea of transformation is to be totally changed. We are not what we were and we are not going to be what we are now We are changing and we are being changed for His glory and for His honor.
We must understand that our model is not anyone person here on earth. We have some good role models but they are still human and humans will fail and will fall short of the glory of God. That is why Christ must be the model of our transformation. The spirit of the Lord transforms us into His image. How much do you look like Christ? That is the measure of your success and maturity as a believer.
Will you stand today in recognition of your need for the freedom that comes from Christ? Will stand and receive the truth that we need a revival in our hearts? Will you acknowledge that the revival must begin in us?
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom