11: Freedom in Jesus – Thought Starters

Let Freedom Ring1

The Israelites in bondage. Do you think they dreamed of freedom from slavery?

The woman from church dying of cancer. Do you think she dreams of freedom from

The family on their way home from church. Do you think they dream of freedom from each other?

The alcoholic in lockup. Do you think he dreams of freedom from the shame of

The teenager taking an exam. Do you think she dreams of freedom from the classroom?

You and I

Do you think when we dream of freedom that God is dreaming with us?

Do you think the freedom we crave comes only as a gift from God?

Are you ever afraid of too much freedom? Or freedom of the wrong kind?

Why does God place such a high value on our freedom?

Why do we seem to choose sin with its constraints?

[Thought Questions for Freedom in Christ November 7, 2011]

1.     Leading thought.  Do you remember ever getting stuck, physically stuck in a deep ditch or a river bed, and couldn’t get out? When you were rescued, did you feel free? Have you ever felt confined by circumstances you couldn’t control? Have you ever taken things in your own hands to be free from difficult situations? Is it wrong for the restless teenager to long to be free to run his or her own life, free from parental control? Is it important to the godhead for all of us to be free? Why?

2.     Free in Christ.  Paul wants to get our attention. How does he do that? (Galatians 5:1). Do you think he raised his voice while speaking these words? What words in this short verse do you think he emphasized the most? Does a person paying bail purchase freedom? Does freedom have a price? Are you and I able to pay that price? If not, why not? How is the price paid for our freedom totally different from the price paid to meet bail? How can we show our appreciation for the price God has paid for our freedom?

3.     Speak and command. Paul likes to follow a declaration with a challenge. What is his challenge to us, the recipients of heavenly freedom, as we accept this gift? Can we follow a Christian life without experiencing freedom? In what ways is sin a life of bondage? Can you remember a time in your life when you felt carefree and made some choices you regretted almost as soon as you made them? Did the devil have a plan to get you mixed up about what freedom is and how to obtain it? Does he still pick on you in this regard?

4.     Legalism’s dangers.  Tuesday’s lesson topic is legalism, but the corresponding topic in Galatians is circumcision. What is the connection? What importance did God’s people place on the rite of circumcision? Since this ritual was misused so badly for so long, shouldn’t we condemn all use of circumcision today? Think about it. Are there  other practices or beliefs that we endow with qualities of salvation? Will it always be a temptation to think legalistically about what we do and even what we believe as Christians?

5.     Behavior.  How would you like to be a public figure and have your foibles and failings portrayed to millions? Do you try to keep issues relating to your behavior to yourself? After all, it’s nobody’s business what you do, right? What if you find out that an acquaintance of yours, a member of the same church that you attend, has altered a computer program so that a tiny percent of the employer’s earnings go to your friend’s bank account? That tiny percent has grown to thousands of dollars. Is his behavior your responsibility? Why or why not?

6.     Doing the law.  Paul didn’t think much of the idea of “doing the law,” did he? Why? What did he say that “doing the law” implies about obedience? What phrase did he prefer? What about you and me? Isn’t there a great deal we must “do” in order to be in compliance with God’s will? What kind of a religion would we have without any deeds or actions to back up our beliefs? When love, God’s eternal love, enters the picture, what changes? Why do we long to obey God? Why is doing God’s will our deepest pleasure?

  1.  Hand with broken chains, and the cross of Jesus at the center Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

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