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7-3-22 “What Are You Looking At?”

“What Are You Looking At?” (Galatians 2:11-21)

David Peterson / General

Galatians 2022 / Freedom; Gospel / Galatians 2:11–21

Sermon type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: Freedom is a precious gift that must be protected because our human bent towards sin. The way to maintain freedom is a constant turning to the truth.

Introduction

Rickety Kayak Shows Our Quest for Freedom

In the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia, there’s a special display for a rickety, home-made aluminum kayak. This tiny, makeshift boat seems oddly out of place in the midst of displays for impressive Navy vessels and artifacts from significant battles on the sea. But a bronze plaque tells museum visitors the story behind this kayak’s heroic makers.

In 1966, an auto mechanic named Laureano and his wife Consuelo decided that they could no longer live under the oppression of Cuba’s totalitarian regime. After spending months collecting scrap metal, they pieced together a boat just barely big enough for two small people. Then Laureano jury-rigged a small lawn mower engine on the back of the kayak. (You can view of photo of the kayak here.)

After months of planning, on a moonless September night, sitting back to back and wearing only their swimming suits, they set out in the treacherous Straits of Florida. They had only enough water and food for a couple of days. Finally, after they had floated in open water for over 70 hours, the U.S. Coast Guard found and rescued the couple just south of Alligator Reef Light in the Florida Keys.

Was it worth the risk to find freedom? Laureano thought so. Years later, he said,

When one has grown up in liberty, [you] realize it is important to have [freedom]. We lived in the enormous prison which is Cuba, where one’s life is not worth one crumb. Where one goes out into the street and does not know whether or not one will return to one’s home, because the political police can arrest you without any warning and put you in prison. Before this could happen to us, we thought that going into the ocean, and risking death or being eaten by sharks, is a million times better than to stay suffering under [political oppression].

Source: From a plaque and display in the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia, cited at PreachingToday.com

I. Freedom must be preserved—Peter (Galatians 2:11)

The Bible Exposition Commentary (Chapter Four: The Freedom Fighter, Part II (Galatians 2:11–21))

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty!”Wendell Phillips said that at a Massachusetts antislavery meeting in 1852, but its sentiment is valid today—not only in the realm of the political, but even more so in the realm of the spiritual.

1. Peter

2. Proclivities and habits bind us, we are sinners (Galatians 2:17)

Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 41: Galatians (Comment)

Paul is responding to a charge of his opponents and granting the truth of their underlying observation: that Christians, though claiming a higher standard for living, yet sin

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Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations (1348 Letting Children Free to Develop?)

Coleridge was once talking with a man who told him that he did not believe in giving little children any religious instruction whatsoever. His theory was that the child’s mind should not be prejudiced in any direction, but when he came to years of discretion he should be permitted to choose his religious opinions for himself.Coleridge said nothing; but after a while he asked his visitor if he would like to see his garden. The man said he would, and Coleridge took him out into the garden, where only weeds were growing. The man looked at Coleridge in surprise, and said, “Why this is not a garden! There is nothing but weeds here!”“Well, you see,” answered Coleridge, “I did not wish to infringe upon the liberty of the garden in any way, I was just giving the garden a chance to express itself and to choose its own production.”

3. Affects church and state

II. The Key to Living in Freedom—The Truth (Galatians 2:14)

1. The truth of Christ (Galatians 2:19-21)

300 Quotations for Preachers (“Use No Constraint in Matters of Religion”)

“Use No Constraint in Matters of Religion”Luke 14:23; Galatians 2:14; 6:12Preaching Themes: Power, Freedom, Truth, LoveNever dream of forcing men into the ways of God. Think yourself, and let think. Use no constraint in matters of religion. Even those who are farthest out of the way never compel to come in by any other means than reason, truth, and love.JOHN WESLEY*

2. Our country was founded on self-evident truths

My Favorite Illustrations (The Stewardship of Freedom)

The Stewardship of FreedomCharles Kingsley once wrote that “there are two freedoms—the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where a man is free to do what he ought.” If we are to be truly free we must follow the latter, not the former.

Conclusion

Woman Treasured U.S. Citizenship Above All Else

In his 2010 memoir, A Journey: My Political Life, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair shares the following story:

A friend of mine whose parents were immigrants, Jews from Europe who came to America in search of safety, told me this story. His parents lived and worked in New York. They were not well off. His father died when he was young. His mother lived on, and in time my friend succeeded and became wealthy. He often used to offer his mother the chance to travel outside America. She never did. When eventually she died, they went back to recover the safety box where she kept her jewelry. They found there another box. There was no key. So they had to drill it open. They wondered what precious jewel must be in it. They lifted the lid. There was wrapping and more wrapping and finally an envelope. Intrigued, they opened it. In the envelope were her U.S. citizenship papers. Nothing more. That was the jewel, more precious to her than any other possession. That was what she treasured most.

Source: Tony Blair, A Journey: My Political Life (Knopf, 2010), p. xvi, cited @ PreachingToday.com

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Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations (1780 The Hymn “America”)

The Hymn “America”One bleak day in February 1832, a young theological student sat in his room at Andover Seminary. Samuel Francis Smith was going over a sheaf of German songs for children, given him by a friend, the composer Lowell Mason. Sunset shadows crept into the room and Smith was tired from a strenuous day of study. He was relieved to spend a few relaxed moments going over his friend’s music.As he hummed over one after another, one struck his fancy. He glanced at the words at the bottom of the page and his knowledge of German told him that the words were patriotic, but they did not appeal to him. He decided to write his own words. He searched around on his desk until he found a scrap of paper, about five or six inches long and two-and-one-half inches wide. On this, as he tapped out the rhythm of the music, he began to write,My country, tis of theeSweet land of liberty,Of thee I sing:Land where my fathers died,Land of the pilgrims’ pride,From every mountain sideLet freedom ring.—America

 

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