When Free Ain’t Free

freedom is not free chalk board

Opening Verse

Matthew 16:24-25, says, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

Free Stuff

Everyone loves discounts and free stuff, am I right? That’s why I love going to Costco, because it’s the best of both worlds… Not only do things go on sale, but they also give you free samples of stuff throughout the store. Right? Come on, you know what I’m talking about. When those huge packages of Charman Extra Soft toilet paper are $4 off, you know you love it! Babe, but we have toilet paper! Don’t matter that thing’s going in the cart! You can practically eat lunch for free at Costco, as long as you aren’t ashamed to go back for seconds and thirds. If you are, you can send your spouse and kids. Yeah… free stuff is awesome!

BOGO’s are great, too! You know, the Buy One Get One Free offers? BOGOs? I had a co-worker who was the absolute Jedi master at finding BOGO coupons for lunch! He’d find a BOGO offer, message everyone on
our team and we would literally converge on that eating establishment. Chipotle never knew what hit them…
They’d see us coming and say, we’re losing money today people! I even remember when Verizon had a iPhone
10R buy one, get one free offer like 4 years ago! Kim, Lauren, let’s go… you guys are getting knew iPhones, today! Yeah, they had been hounding me for months about needing new phones… so hey, I took advantage of a good situation, okay? Man, we can go on and on about how great free stuff is…

Expensive Freedom?

The enemy of our soul knows our love for free stuff… And we know that he is a salesman, for he’s been trying to sell sin for as long as humans have been in existence. He says, “Come on… you can be free! Free from rules! Free from laws! Free from religion! Free from the constraints that hold you down! You won’t hurt anyone! It’s just a little lie. Just a little sin. It’s just a little alcohol. It’s just a little drugs. It’s just little lust. It’s just a little anger. Come on, he says, just do it! It’s free!”

But we know it’s all a lie! For James 1, verses 14-15, say, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away
of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” We know that Satan is a liar and the father of all lies… he’s that greasy used car
salesman that wants to sell you a lemon of a life!

Because what he’s selling is not actually free. It’s actually paying me later with a pound of flesh for interest. It’s
actually, that you can have this free sin in exchange for your soul. It’s actually, here’s a life of partying, drugs, alcohol, lust, selfishness, pride, arrogance, idol worship, emptiness, depression, and ultimately death. You may
have the veneer or mask of happiness, but on the inside, you are miserable, because you are a prisoner of sin.
Basically, Satan’s freedom ain’t free.

True Freedom

True freedom comes when a Savior offers you salvation, a salvation that He has already paid for. Salvation that He gave his life on the cross for. John 8:32 and 36, says, “ And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” We know that Jesus is way the truth and the life! How much does God’s grace cost? It’s free! How much does God’s mercy cost? It’s free! How much does God’s love cost? It’s free! How much does God’s forgiveness cost? It’s free!

You don’t to have to beg God, barter with God, do 100 hail Mary’s, crawl on glass, talk to a Priest, give in an offering, sign a membership card, none of that! It’s free, Jesus paid it all! All you have to do is receive it! The plan is simple…. “Repent, and be Baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit!”

And not only that… here’s what comes with it. All of these benefits and more!

 Deliverance from sin
 His peace that passes all understanding
 His spiritual blessings
 His comfort through pain and suffering
 Joy unspeakable and full of glory
 Healing in your body by the blood of Jesus

Wait this can’t be free. How can this be?

How Much Does it Cost?

When I came to Christ in 1983, when I was 15 years old… And it was awesome! Talk about getting the
feels…. I felt a joy emanating from these people, unlike I have ever felt before! Yes, I thought they were crazy,
but God was calling me! People were running, jumping, shouting, and speaking in weird languages. I had an
existential moment when I found something that was so much bigger than me – I found God! So, I just jumped in hook, line, and sinker, right? I took no thought and jumped into the deep end, right?

Actually, it was the opposite… I was scared. The decision to get baptized was the biggest decision of my life. The decision to fully surrender my life to God weighed on me mightily. I was grappling with the biggest life decision of my 15-year-old life! Should I, would I, could I dedicate my entire life to this stranger? It wasn’t easy….Why? Because I somehow knew intrinsically, that the trajectory of my life would now be different….What I thought was important, would no longer be important. The people in my life would now be these
strange new people. These new customs and ways of life would be my ways of life. I was basically counting the cost… there is a cost to discipleship!

Jesus gave us the following parable in Luke 14:25-33:

And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me and hate
not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot
be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of
you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish
it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
Saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another
king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh
against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and
desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot
be my disciple.

It’s time to make a decision

Jesus said this to those following him in Matthew 16:24-25, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life
shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

Needless to say, I made that decision almost 39 years ago… and I’ve never looked back! Had it been difficult at times? Of course! Have I suffered? Yes! Have I had to dedicate and rededicate my life to Christ over and over? Yes! Have I had trials where I almost didn’t make it? Yes! Has it been worth it? Yes, yes, a thousand times, YES! WHY? Because of Jesus… I have Jesus in my life!

Galatians 2:20 sums it up to perfection! “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

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