Man in Prison
The freedom Christ offers humanity, is profound, it is all encompassing, and its liberation of the human psyche. Mans captured hope and a suppressing of his incredible human potential is a concern to God. God created man free and unencumbered by sin. He roamed free in the Garden with everything created for his comfort and satisfaction. But Stan entered the Garden of Eden, enslaved him to sin. Ever since he has embarked on this quest for freedom. The kind God has offered through Christ but man has overwhelmingly ignored or refused this offer. Humans everywhere have this inborn yearning, a desire to live outside of a captured spirit and be free to live and love. This also mean that there are those who would want to enslave others, their hopes and dreams shattered by chains.
The film,The Shawshank Redemption with staring roles played by Tim Robins and Morgan Freedom, dramatise this most sacred of human hope and aspirations very beautifully. It informs us that a man's mind and heart, his inner freedom is far more important than being in prison or chains,his external bondage which restrict his physical freedom. For example, one may be imprisoned and serving a life sentence but he can still have the mindset and attitude of a free soul when he finds a purpose in life, a reason for being and standing up for that cause, for the goal that he is pursuing. In contrast to this, if a soul is free on the outside world but he cannot seem to find any joy or fulfilment, then he has no inner freedom. The Shawshank scene that best illustrates this principle well, is when one of the prison inmates (Brooks) is paroled, but because he can’t adjust to the world outside the prison, he hangs himself.
The following song by Nina Simone may not resonate with listeners around the world. But in the 1960's America in the middle of the freedom struggles, it became well known, the rousing cry, or the popular anthem for the civil rights movement. It offers these lyrics:
I wish I knew how
It would feel to be free
I wish I could break
All the chains holding me
I wish I could say
All the things that I should say
Say 'em loud, say 'em clear
For the whole round world to hear
There is a fear here that I may be labelled and stigmatise as promoting this film and song. But that is not really what I am doing. The point is whether humanity can control his sense of freedom or does it lies in something or someone else beyond man! Humanity's way of perceiving the world changes depending on our subjective experience. If we are having a bad day at work, the probability is we will not be in the mood to watch the comedy hour. But I am the only person who can make the decision, and make the choice to or not . I may think that film genre could enhance my mood and hence actually choose to watch it. ,But I could also choose to watch a black comedy, or a drama that matches my mood. So in life, it is all about perspective! Who control mans freedom?
"Human freedom increasingly depends on who controls what we know and, therefore, how we understand our world. It depends on what information we are able to create and disseminate: what we can share, how we can share it, and with whom we can share it" Rebecca Mackennon.
This kind of control goes beyond what we hear and know, but where we live, our family lives. We struggle through life just trying to make a decent living, meet hurdles. But because we have this inborn sense of being free and live a happy life, we never stop fighting for freedom until the day we die. Yet many of us do not know or understand the deep level of our enslavement until we are set free. When God's offering of freedom is revealed to us, its like eye-salve is removed, a plank is fallen from our eyes. Satan continues to hold us captives, but many don't even know that they are in captivity. Many hear the call of God, but being in captivity for so long they cannot appreciate the value of what it means to be free. The price of humanity's freedom from power and punishment of sin has been paid. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him" (John 3: 16-17)
That is what true freedom is, the kind of ultimate liberation that comes only from accepting God's offering through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Chained as Slaves
Humanity before God stands as slaves,chained to sin, He offers liberation which is what the message of the Good News of Christ proclaims. The Gospel authors understands all about perspectives and the book of Luke, one of the synoptic writings offers up enough for us to chew on. It mirrors the messages of liberation hope that is found also in Matthew and Mark gospels. This message of freedom hope can be reassuring to those of us who are lost and imprisoned by a world that offers doom and gloom, doubts and fears. I want to introduce you to Christ. Humanity is in spiritual chains, slaves to sin. Christ is the only name given among men whereby which we can be set free from sins enslavement. There are false prophets, false Messiahs,, false messengers but Christ is the Son of God! Only Christ blood has that power to set us free. Therefore only He is humanity's liberator, only He has the power to liberate man from the fear that imprisoned us. Christ offer of freedom from the ravages of our individual and collective enslavement is true, real and permanent. A fitting story of deliverance can be found In chapter 13:10-17 of Luke's gospel where we see Christ the Messiah meeting an unnamed woman in a synagogue, a place where He often teach about the goodness and mercy of God. Paul later confirmed the theme of this message in his epistles indicated that anyone who does not have the spirit of God does not belong to Him.
Like all human beings this lady had a spirit, the human spirit that keep her breathing and living as normal. However, she was possessed by another spirit, not from God. Every person's spirit can be categorised as either good or bad.This spirit was the wrong kind of spirit, the spirit that bound her and kept her imprisoned for 18 years, an entire lifetime for anyone in such state. It must have felt personality, like a lifetime of torture, trials and failures. An evil spirit can cause physical as well as emotional and spiritual disability. This kind of spirit is evil and is of Satan the enemy of God and of His children. The spirit that all mankind need for spiritual and emotional, as well as physical health is the Holy Spirit of God.
Emancipation from the penalty and punishment of sin is what Christ death and resurrection means. The prison doors of sin and human suffering has been blown wide open, and we are set free. Preachers and teachers everywhere, when we preach, we must see individuals as God's creation and needing that touch of deliverance to make them spiritually whole. They may be crying out for deliverance, show them the way to the emancipator. In this episode Jesus saw an individual who was in trouble, ravaged, controlled, one bent over in pain and misery for 18 years. Delivered the lady that day, and cured her by driving out the evil spirit that controlled and handicapped her for so long. The woman Christ met at the did not go to Jesus, fallen on her hands and knees, and confesses her faith, nor had she pleaded to be healed. Maybe she had not heard of, nor was aware of who Jesus was. Maybe His fame had not yet reached her community. Christ saw her standing there and recognised her needs. He called her to come to Him and when He put his hands on her, she was healed. Maybe she have heard many calls in her life, but this call was exceptional, she met the real emancipator and deliverer of God. Here is a perfect picture of unmerited and unsolicited grace on a gigantic scale.
Later on in the day Jesus was criticised by the Jewish establishment for healing the woman on the Sabbath. However, Jesus the great teacher and emancipator pointed out to his critics the error of their thoughts and deeds. These were church people "churchy" in today's modern terms, they were belonging to the synagogues, yet Jesus had to remind them that on the Sabbath they untied a donkey or an ox to give it water yet they criticised Him for showing mercy to a human being. In other words "where is your humanity?" Christ did no more than untied a daughter of Abraham, a woman bound in misery for many years, and set her free from the grip of Satan's control. The question then was and is, which is more important, an animal or a human being? His critics gave no response, they had no answer to Christ soul searching question, but slipped away ashamed of themselves.
Human quest for freedom and justice can only be accomplished in Christ. We have demonstrated that one can be physically free but remain in inner turmoil, and bondage of the mind.Likewise is the opposite is true, free in mind while physically in bondage. God offers both types, spiritual and physical freedom in Christ. Firstly, now He through the gospel message offers spiritual freedom, which no physical bondage can cancel. But even greater still, is the future hope, the freedom He offers humanity when He returns to liberate the world physically and spiritually from Satan's bondage.Do you want to be healed, liberated from your personal bondage? Do you want to know true freedom, that is yours even when in physical or emotional prison? These question has resounded through the annals of time and still relevant today as it ever was. Are you bound for long, many years may be uncertain who to trust or where to go for healing and deliverance? Do you know the Christ of God? Well, I introduce Him to you today, just call His name, Jesus now, whisper a prayer to Him! Whatever is your situation, He can deliver you from all your sins, bringing freedom and justice in your life today. Whatever is your problem, He can solve them, whatever is your needs He can supply, however deep is your emotional torment, your spiritual prison, you can have freedom. You may say you are a good person, you never hurt anyone, well it's not good people who will be saved, it's born again people. Accepting Christ as your saviour is not an expedition into the the south or north pole. He is standing there, wherever you are, in your bedroom, in your living room, or kitchen, or in a public open space, He is ready to receive your call and He will grant you, your deliverance. Let it be so now!
He Touch Me
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