Legalism or Life?
November 27, 1994
INTRODUCTION: Slavery was the issue of the Civil War. On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln publicly stated what is known as The Emancipation Proclamation. This proclamation called for the abolition of slavery. It called for all slaves to be set free. Sad to say, it was not until December 18, 1865, that the Constitution made those convictions official with the adoption of the thirteenth amendment.
By this time, Lincoln had been assassinated. A war had been fought. Black men, women and children, once enslaved, were now legally set free. A great price had been paid for their freedom.
The interesting thing that occurred is that many of those slaves remained in slavery even after The Emancipation Proclamation. Out of fear and uncertainty, they determined to continue a life of slavery and bondage. Of course, the slave owners loved it. How tragic a story. Freedom had been granted, but slavery was preferred.
Many Christians have the same attitude in their lives. Our great emancipator, Jesus Christ has paid the ultimate price so we could live in freedom. Yet, many of us prefer the security of slavery rather than explore the risks of experiencing a life of freedom. The Bible says you are no longer a slave to sin for you have been set free from sin. Act like it. Enjoy its freedom.
In our story today, Matthew, a tax collector, had just been converted to Jesus Christ. Jesus came home to eat with him and many of his pagan friends. The religious people began to criticize Jesus for eating with sinners. Jesus told them, "I came for sinners, not for the self-righteous." The attack continued against Jesus. They began to attack him again because Jesus and his followers were not following some of their rigid and legalistic codes. One specifically was concerning fasting. The Old Testament only called for one fast and that was one day a year on the Day of Atonement. The Jews added to this and re ...
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