Thursday Night Prayer & Bible Study
Every Thursday night @7pm
Back on the normal schedule (5/21/20)
By: Ruby Chisholm
We as Americans are protected by the Constitution of The United States which states the basic principles and laws of our great nation. These laws or principles are amendments to the Constitution, which determine the powers and duties of the government and guarantee certain rights to the people in it.
A chief aim of the Constitution as drafted by the Convention was to create a government with enough power to act on a national level, but without so much power that fundamental rights would be at risk. Thirty-nine brave men signed the Constitution in 1776.
The First Amendment of the Constitution protects five freedoms which are: speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government. If you are in the U.S., you have freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition together. These five guaranteed freedoms make the people of the United States of America the freest nation in the world.
What does the First Amendment say about freedom of speech? Can speech be restricted, and if so, when? Yes, you cannot yell “FIRE” in a crowded theater or in demeaning someone’s character, to name a couple of examples.
In this overview, a First Amendment scholar explains what sorts of speech are protected, where free expression may be limited, and why “freedom of speech is a core American belief, almost a kind of secular religious tenet, an article of constitutional faith.”
As Christians we are so blessed to also have freedom in Christ according to John 8:36 - Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. In the dictionary, freedom is defined as the power or right to act, speak, or think without hindrance or restraint. That completely wraps up everything Christ has done for us. There is one thing left for us to do. Live according to Galatians 5:1 - Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
Galatians 5:1 focuses on what those in Christ should do with our freedom in Christ. The believer in Christ must continually stand fast in the liberty of not having to keep the Law of Moses in order to be saved. We must guard it, especially from those who would pressure us to follow the law. Paul was confident the Galatians would resist the one leading them in the wrong direction.
The Spirit gives us freedom from sin and death according to 2 Corinthians 3:17 - Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3 begins with Paul's insistence that Christ's presence in the hearts of the Corinthians should be all the evidence they need that his ministry is true. He compares the limited glory revealed by the Old Covenant between God and Israel with the far greater glory revealed by Christ to all who come to Him by faith. That glory is revealed only when the veil of unbelief is removed through Christ by the Holy Spirit's power. Those who see God's glory in Christ begin to be changed to become like Him.
Ephesians 3:12 - In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Paul offers two amazing benefits that believers have in Christ. First is "boldness." Paul asks for prayers for this same boldness in Ephesians 6: 19 - and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, so he can declare the gospel confidently, as he should.
Second, Paul notes we have "access with confidence." We have a way to the Father through Jesus Christ. Because of Christ's perfection, we can confidently approach God. Hebrews 10:19 teaches, "We have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus" and that confidence has great reward. We can do nothing to deserve this access but receive it as a gift of grace.
Psalm 119:45 - I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. The psalmist celebrates the freedom that is found in obeying God’s instructions. Many people think of God’s laws, instructions, and commandments as limiting and restricting, but the actual Law of God frees us. It frees us from sin and gives us the peace that comes from following God’s instructions.
We must remember the Christian life is one of death to self and rising to “walk in the newness of life” according to Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. And that new life is characterized by thoughts about Him who saved us, not thoughts about the dead flesh that has been crucified with Christ. When we are continually thinking about ourselves and indulging the flesh in sins we have been freed from, we are essentially carrying around a corpse, full of rottenness and death. The only way to bury it fully is by the power of the Holy Spirit who is the only source of strength. We strengthen the new nature by continually feeding on the Word of God, and through prayer we obtain the power we need to escape the desire to return to the old life of sin. Then we will realize that our new status as slaves to Christ is the only true freedom, and we will call upon His power to “not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”
We can see that there is no comparison between the freedom given to us by man and the freedom we have in Christ. The freedom given to us by man is certainly for a short time. However, the freedom we have in Christ is for ALL eternity.