John 8:31-33 Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, You will be made free'?"

There is a whole lot of misinformation on the nature of freedom. Its not just what freedom is, although that is often misunderstood – its also those things which constrain freedom. We have a whole population that are slaves in chains, but they cannot see their bondage.

Lets start with the flag, there are a lot of people waving the flag these days, and though it is an important symbol, and though it may be meaningful – it is not what makes us free. We gather around the flag to remind ourselves that out country is many people working together, with common values and a common goal - we gather, in the hopes we can again find common values, and a common goal, but we are finding it hard to come together, agreeing on values, and a goal – but atleast in gathering we are trying to go in the right direction.

When we were young, we looked forward to growing older – once we are a grownup, we can do what we want to do – then we will be free – and so we waited in hope, for a someday that seemed so far away.

Once we grew up, we found that there were new things that constrained us – things we wanted, things we thought we needed – and so we worked in hope, that once these things were ours, then we would be free, maybe when we retire…

We grew older, and retired – and though we had gotten many good things, though we had achieved many of our goals – that freedom, that we had looked for remained just beyond our grasp. Wealth, health, family, friends, every time we achieved one thing, we found we were still short and there was one more thing… these are the chains that bind us, this is what keeps us enslaved.

"With food and rainment therewith be content" and "With godliness and contentment there is great gain" and "there is nothing better to eat, drink and find enjoyment in his toil" – this is what the scriptures teach, that real freedom, is the freedom that comes not from ourselves, and not from things – but that comes from God.

The problem is that we cannot even learn about the freedom that comes in Christ Jesus until we see our sins, for sin, guilt and shame are the chains that bind us – and all our slaving away, all our work is not leading to freedom – but is only leading us further into sin. How do you know which way you are going? Anyway, in which God does not come first in your life, any way, in which God does not give the direction to your life is the way of sin, it is slavery to the world, the flesh, and the devil and there is no freedom apart from God.

Can you see your sin? That’s not the end, its only the beginning. Its not the answer, its only seeing the problem. But God did give us 10 commandments so that we could see our sin, so we could see that we could not save ourselves, so that we could learn that we could not earn our own salvation. Idolatry is a sin, what is it that you make a god of?

And once you see your sin, once you know that the wages of sin is death, once you see that no matter how long your work, you will never be free – then you see the need for a savior, then you are ready to hear about the love of God which is ours in Jesus Christ.

And once you see your savior, and the salvation that frees us for the world the flesh and the devil – that gives us peace with God through the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting – then you will know why believers have always continued in the word – where else could we go? To whom could we turn? Who else has the words of everlasting life, who else forgives sins?

Freedom begins by seeing ourselves as sinners, and seeing that only in Christ are we free.