The Bare Soul - February 21, 2010
The Simple Gospel, Part II

The following is the message text and audio recording of a sermon titled "The Simple Gospel" delivered to the homeless
at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on February 11, 2010.

The Simple Gospel - February 11, 2010

Titus 2:14 - Jesus Christ gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

The simplest expression of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ gave Himself, as Paul describes to his son in the faith, Titus. Christ's "giving" had one ultimate purpose -- redemption of mankind on a grand scale that would forever set us free. Humankind was hopelessly locked up in bondage to sin without no possibility of escape, except through a sinless Man's sacrifice on our behalf. Both literally and figuratively, every man, woman, and child was held as a slave to sin with a cruel master that would ultimately torment us for eternity. Hopelessness was our legacy both in this life and the one to come. However, a Savior came to redeem us all from the "slave market of this world". He is a benevolent master that seeks a people for His own possession, that will love Him with the same love in which He loved them. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 6:14 that we have been bought with a price, therefore we should glorify God in our mortal bodies. The price, beloved, was more than we could ever muster. We could never hope to gain our own freedom, but only through His purchase we are set free to serve and to love Him. For a few, this will be a reality (Matthew 7:14). However, for the vast majority this will not be their experience either in this life of the one to come. They will subject themselves to the slave market of this world and the eternal prison of death eternal.

Horace Greeley, famed editor of the New York Tribune reported on a massive slave auction in Savannah Georgia in 1859. A staunch abolitionist, Greeley was appalled at the treatment of the 429 men, women, and children to be sold at this well-advertised "event". The break-up of two plantations was the cause of this wholesale bartering of human beings, and the majority of these families being sold were terrified of their future prospects. One man in particular that caught Mr. Greeley's attention was a slave named Elisha. This large black man had a wife and two small children. He sought to persuade a benevolent looking gentleman to purchase his family. He fawned over this prospective "Mas'r" with degrading humiliation, hoping that he might secure a glimmer of hope for his family in possibly a humane environment. The buyer passed over Elisha and his family and purchased other slaves, much to their dismay. Another situation that the editor pens is regarding "Molly". Whether this young lady actually had a lame foot, no one would ever know. Purportedly, she was examined by a doctor in Savannah and was given a clean bill of health. However, she dragged her foot most convincingly while on the auction block. She only fetched $695 (equal to over $15,000 in today's economy) whereas she might have been sold for upwards of $1600 if she didn't show herself to be a possible cripple. To a slave, a reduced price was to be rejoiced in. A pre-civil war slave could never hope to save up over a thousand dollars to purchase their freedom. However, if one could reduce their worth to $300 or $400 it was conceivable that they could one day purchase their liberty through the help of "friends" from the north. To a slave, freedom without health was to be prized more than health without freedom.

The parallels between this 1859 slave market and the slave market that Satan still successfully operates on this earth are striking. Although Jesus Christ came and paid the price for all, most insist on remaining with their old master because of their own fear and the lies of their oppressor. Post-Civil War found many ex-slaves in disbelief of their new found freedom. Many returned to their plantations after a short hiatus because they truly knew no other life than that of being subjected to a harsh master. Even today, there are many "Elishas" that might be seeking the best for themselves or their families, yet they don't believe that a benevolent Master has already set them free. God Almighty has redeemed them and bought them with a price to follow Him out of love and respect, not out of fear of retaliation. Yet, they continue to seek out another way -- possibly their belief in the pursuit of wealth and security as the kind master they seek. Or, in dark retrospect, they feel unworthy of any kindness and give themselves to wicked addictions such as lust, alcohol, drugs, pornography, or any number of other besetting sins -- all because they feel unworthy. Then, there are the "Mollys" that may seek to humble themselves through various "religions" in order to purchase their own salvation through their own set of works. If we go on seeking to free ourselves from the slave market of sin, we will invariably find that we are still mastered by sin's master. Jesus said: Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:34-36). How ludicrous and illegal it would have been if the south continued with these open air markets of human trafficking after the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War! Yet, it is equally appalling that Satan still manages to convince most that Jesus Christ NEVER came to purchase their freedom. Instead, they continue to seek out other avenues of salvation that ultimately only lead to despair and hopelessness.

Paul tells us in Galatians 5:1 that it was for freedom that Christ set us free, so therefore stand firm and don't be subject once again to a yoke of slavery. Those who have never understood that Christ came to redeem us for Himself, should seek God until their eyes are enlightened and they know beyond any doubt that Christ has rescued them from the domain of darkness (Colossians 1:13). Those of us who know Christ and have experienced His freedom should never again submit ourselves to the pains of our old master. Our "old self" WAS crucified with Christ Jesus on Calvary's tree, and our body of sin WAS done away so that we should no longer be slaves to sin (Romans 6:6). Therefore, we should walk daily in that reality and rebuke our old master to his face if he ever comes around with his lies of bondage. We are FREE, beloved! We are FREE to serve a benevolent Master who perfectly cares for our well-being. He desires that we all enter into His joy so that we might desire to share His love with others. There are thousands daily, going from the slave market of this world to a much graver, darker prison of torment -- more horrific than our imagination can even comprehend. It is our responsibility to work the works of Jesus (as His zealous slaves) for our loving Master, and pull some back into the freedom that Christ gave to all. May we all work to loosen the shackles of those who are crying out in desperation before time, as we know it, draws to a close.

Lord Jesus, thank you for dying for all of humankind that You might redeem us from the slave market of this world. We accept your benevolent love that you have so graciously offered. We receive our proclamation of emancipation from Your heavenly throne and we choose the life You've given to each and every one. We thank You and praise You! In Your Precious Name, Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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