Free but not yet Freedom

This teaching is by Kennedy Karanja and he points out that many Christians are free from sin by Christ, but not yet enjoying the freedom that Christ offers. He identifies some factors that hinder true freedom, such as self-imprisonment, ignorance, arrogance, reluctance, and complaisance. He explains that true freedom is found in abiding by Christ’s word and following God’s will. He urges everyone to accept Christ’s invitation to come out of self-imprisonment and walk in the truth and love of Christ.




Today, we are going to talk about being free but not yet freedom. You are free, yes, but freedom has not come. You may think or wonder is it a contradiction? How can you be free? And yet you don’t have freedom? And I want to answer you. It is very possible you are free, but yet you are not in freedom, you are not enjoying the fruits of the freedom or the fruit of you being released, that you can enjoy the freedom.
When Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years in prison. I want to quote the word that he said ‘He is leaving the prison doors because he has been released, but he has made a decision not to go outside the prison doors as a prisoner. He said he wanted to leave the prison doors and go outside as a free person, but not as a prisoner. You know what that meant, he was being put there, there are people that did many things to him, he didn’t want to carry them, he didn’t want anger to go out with him, so he wanted to go out as a free man. He wanted to enjoy freedom because he could have gone out and said t those people who put him there for all those years ‘When I get out and get in power, I’ll do ABC D.’  But he made a decision that I want to come out of this prison doors as a free person, but not as a prisoner. So even as you are seated here this morning, Christ has freed us from sin. He has forgiven our sins, but yet we are not enjoying freedom. And the reason why we are not enjoying the freedom that we are supposed to enjoy by being freed by Christ is because of a personal decision or things that are self in us that make us be freed, but yet we are prisoners. The worst thing is to imprison yourself because when you put yourself in prison, it means it is only you who can release yourself.

Let us be guided by the word of God in John chapter 8 verse 31 to verse  47. “To the Jews, who have believed, believed him, Jesus said. If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciple, then you know the truth and the truth will set you free. They answered him, we are Abraham’s descendants and we have never been slaves to anyone. How can you say that we shall be free? Jesus replied I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know you are Abraham’s descendants yet you are ready to kill me because you have no room for my word. I’m telling you what I have seen in the father’s presence and you do what you have heard from your father. I want you to note the father that Jesus said is with a capital F and the father that they want to hear to is with a small F. Abraham is your father, they answered. If you are Abraham’s children, said Jesus, then you will do things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God, Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does. We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself. Jesus said to them if God were your father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I’m here. I have not come on my own but He sent me. Why is my language not clear to you, because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth you do not believe me. Can anyone of you prove guilty of sin? If I’m telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God. Jesus had an argument here. And they were arguing with him, and he was talking about real freedom and then they were saying because their father is Abraham, they thought they didn’t need any other freedom. And that’s why we are coming as here as believers today, there are many people here who Jesus has set free, but yet you are in a self-prison or you are in a self slavery. You still don’t believe the truth you still believe in other things that are imprisoning you or putting you In a self-prison. So the self-prison in us, let’s say, for example, we have our choir here, we have people that are seated here. You are going to listen to the word of God. I know you have given your life to Jesus, but immediately when you leave here, there are things that make you guilty. You feel I’m not the person that I’m supposed to be. There is that self-imprisonment that is in you. There is that thing that you only know that you are not free from. It is still tying you, it is still putting you in prison. You are not yet walking in freedom, as Jesus is saying that we are supposed to. We are supposed to be free and free indeed. And why are you not free and free indeed? It is because Jesus has given you freedom and has freed you from sin, but yet you have entered self-enslavement. That thing that you do that makes you not walk in freedom, you are free, but you are still a prisoner of your own self. And that being a prisoner of your own self, it will make you to make a decision. A decision which is self, a decision that shall be driven by you and shall get the energy from you so that you come from that self-imprisonment so that you can enjoy the freedom that Christ was talking about. The freedom that says freedom and freedom indeed. So we are talking about being free and not yet in freedom.
In Galatians, Chapter 5, verse 1 the word of God is saying it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. The reason why Jesus set you free is for freedom. He wants you to enjoy, He wants you to be free and free indeed. But there is a self that is in you that is still making you not be free. Jesus has done his part, He has freed you. And when you are freed from sin and you give your life to him then. You imprison yourself in another prison, which is so worse than the prison you were in because this prison is self-put. It is you who has put yourself in that prison.It is only you who can make a decision to come out of that place soon so the self in us can enslave us. So if you want to enjoy real freedom, the freedom indeed we must note that the self in us can enslave us, control us, dominate us, or dictate our actions. You know, the self in us would want to do things that are against the truth. Things that are against Jesus, who has set us free because this burden that we carry desires to do things that are of the body. And this body it is you who is carrying it, and it is this body which can make you a slave again. And let me say this, there is no worst thing like looking like you’re free, but when you go to your own self, you know you are not. When you call, you know you are not. People see that you are free, but you are not yet free when you go home and you go home alone, when you go and sit down and you evaluate yourself, you know you are not yet free. There is that thing that enslaves you and that is why I have said that self can enslave. It can control you. You don’t want to do it, but you find yourself doing it and the self that is doing it is putting you more to a self enslavement. And then when it controls you, it dominates you. That means now you have to do it for you to feel good. You have to do it because the body needs it. You have, you don’t have that control. You don’t have the willpower to say no, it has dominated you.And now when it takes over you, it dictates your actions. So what you’ll be doing will be even showing us that you are not free. You are not yet free because you allowed the self in you to enslave you. You allowed the self in you to control you. You allowed the self in you to dictate to you. Now when it dictates to you, it will surely also dictate the actions that you do. And that’s why you see most of us, we are born-again Christians doing what you don’t what to do. Doing what we don’t believe, doing things that even the damned believers cannot do. The reason being we have allowed the self to imprison us, we have allowed the self to control us, and Jesus wants us to be free and free indeed. Jesus wants us to enjoy freedom. That is, in his truth, the freedom that you can walk in him. Jesus wants us to enjoy, but the self in us is enslaving us. That thing that you know yourself, maybe nobody else knows it. You have done it, it is so sacred, it is so self. You know what a self belongs to you. It is even not known, maybe by your children, by your spouse, it is self. It belongs to you, you know it. It is controlling you, it is dictating to you,t is dictating your action, it is dominating you. You use most of your time to do it because the self has taken over. Have you ever sat down and asked yourself, am I still born again? Am I still working on this work of truth? The reason is there is something that is in you that is telling you you are a prisoner of your own self yet Jesus wants you to walk free. And that’s why Jesus was explaining to these people the freedom that they should walk in. And today has born-again believers, because this message is for us, we need to look at the self that is controlling us, the self that is drifting us away from the truth. Let me say this, I would rather be in a prison put by other people rather than be in a prison put by myself. Because maybe when you are put in prison by other people, you can fight for your right and be released. But when you’re put in the prison of self, it is only you who can free yourself. So I want you to ask yourself, what is that that is dominating me that is so self that is so me, that is making me run away or to get away from the truth or from the freedom that Jesus wants me to enjoy? You know it. That thing that you do that puts you in self-prison and that’s why we are saying we may be free but not yet freedom. But I want to assure you today, Jesus gives us the freedom to follow God.
Let me say this when Jesus frees you from sin or when you give your life to Jesus, you are freed from sin. He gives you now the right to follow God, to know your Father because he is. As He told them, he was from the father and if they believed God the father of Abraham, they were supposed to believe in him. Even today, when Jesus gives you freedom, he has given you freedom to follow God. But not to do what you want to do. You know when people hear freedom they think now I’m free to do whatever I can do. But the freedom that we are talking about here that Jesus gives is the freedom to know the truth and to follow God. So I want to tell you, brethren, I want you to evaluate yourself, what is that self that is dictating to me that is making me not follow God as I am supposed to follow God. And being set free does not give you the right to do anything as I have said. In the book of First Corinthians Chapter 6, verse 12. Being set free, it doesn’t mean you are free to do everything. You are free to walk or to know God or to know the truth that has set you free. And that’s why Jesus was telling them, if I set you free, you will be free indeed. That means you’ll be free from sin, and you’ll be free from self because self can control you. Self can dictate your life, self can make you not to see God. The reason being the self wants to do contrary to the truth. Self-control is an important piece of freedom. You know, when Jesus gives us freedom that we have spoken about what we need to know or what we need to do is to know what dictates or controls us, that is against the will of God and we practice self-control. You know, self-control is saying this thing is good, I have it, It is free. I can get it, but I decide not to take it or to get it because it will make me to get out of the truth. So when Jesus sets you free and you work in freedom, you must know, that I have to control this body that is self, that can put me in prison so that you’ll walk in the truth that I’m supposed to or I’m supposed to walk in. So I want to encourage us, brethren, if you do want that to walk in that freedom, indeed, make sure that you control the self in you. The self that tells you to go against the will of God, the self that tells you, to do it nobody is seeing. The self that tells you it is ok, who cares? The self that tells you it is your money, the self that tells you,  I can afford it. You have to control yourself in the freedom that Christ has given us. If we want to walk in that freedom indeed, we have to have self-control. I have said self-control is an important piece of freedom. We have the right to do anything but not that not everything we choose to do is beneficial. In this walk of life anything that you decide to do, ask yourself, is it benefiting me in this walk of Christ? This walk that I’m walking, the walk of truth, is it beneficial because God has given us free will, but we should not allow the self in us to control us. Practice self-control which I know will be beneficial to us. It’s in the book of Corinthians 10 verse 23. In the book of First Peter, Chapter 2, verse 16, the word of God says, live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil. You know there are many people who use freedom as a cover-up. The Word of God is saying here do not use freedom as a cover, to do what you want to do. But it’s as if there are many people here that are using their freedom to do what they want to do. I want to talk to married men that are here, God has given you what he has given you. He has made you the way you are, but don’t use the freedom you have to do whatever you want to do. So, brethren, let us not use freedom as a cover-up to do things to please the self. When you do so, you only continue to imprison yourself because anything that you enter is not of God, entering is so easy but coming out, coming out is not easy. There are things that you have entered through self-drive, but you are unable to come out of them.
So today, as you enjoy the freedom, may you not enter somewhere that you will require you to come out because you know it is sacred, it is self, and you cannot share with people. And because the word of God does not condemn us, you could be in that prison, you could be in that hole that you are deep in, in that behavior that has dominated you, that is dictating to you, that is controlling you, that is dictating your action. You don’t want them, but you find yourself doing them. You are doing them more and more because you are entering deep and deep, God is able. And that’s why when Jesus was speaking to them, he used the word if. You know when the word if is used it is an invitation. It is up to you to make a decision whether you want it. It is you to make a decision whether you want to come out of where you are still a prisoner of self. I want to give you hope, receive Christ’s invitation and you can come out and be free indeed. So the freedom that we are talking about is not changing your outside circumstances. You know, there are people who believe now I have gotten a job. I’m free. This is not the freedom we are talking about. It is not about the outward circumstances, you may be free financially, but you are yet a prisoner. Have you ever done something you hate yourself? Where will you take the self?To who? Why have you done it? I didn’t want to do it, I said I don’t want to do it but you are still doing it. The self in you is still dictating to you. So here we are not talking about the circumstances or things that are surrounding your life, no, we are talking about freedom to walk in the truth of the Lord. Jesus can free you wherever you are. I want to give you hope today, Jesus can free you no matter the situation you are in, no matter where you are, He is able to give you the true freedom that he should walk in. Paul was on his way, on the road to Damascus, and Jesus met him and changed him. You may be on your way to do worse because the self in you is dictating you to do so. But I want to answer you, if today you accept Christ’s invitation, he can change you anywhere in any situation. Paul was on the way to Damascus, He met Jesus. The prodigal son was in the pig’s pen and he met his transformation. Peter was in a boat fishing. One woman was drawing water from a well. Another woman found her freedom when she was caught in adultery. So it doesn’t matter how deep you have gone into self-imprisonment, I want to encourage you this morning when you make a decision, you accept the invitation that Christ said. And let me tell you an invitation cannot attack you or infect you, it is you to accept it. That’s why this morning, I’m saying we are invited by Christ to defeat the self-imprisonment so that we can walk in real true freedom, the freedom that we say free and free indeed. Knowing that I’m free and free indeed. Indeed means even the self in you cannot accuse you. You have the self in you and that’s why I’m saying Christ, if you accept His invitation, He is able to change you. When I look at this woman who was caught in adultery, imagine she got her transformation when she was caught red-handed. So you may think how can I receive this truth? How can I receive this freedom? And yet this thing has controlled me so much. I have done it for 10 years, for 15 years. I want to answer you this morning accept Jesus’s invitation and you will walk in the real truth that you should work as a believer. But it is you to make a decision, it is self. The church will not make a decision for you, neither your family nor your spouse, it is you as a person. You do that thing as a person, you know you do it. And even the spirit in you tells you you need freedom but yet the self is dictating is dominating. But I want to answer you today if you accept Christ’s invitation, things will never be the same. There’s an example of a thief who was on the cross of execution when Jesus said his soul was free. You may be at the climax, the end of the self-imprisonment, but Jesus can change your life today, make a decision. So even you today tell Jesus I need you in the self-imprisonment that I’m in. Call Jesus, you know it is bad when you do it you feel like cutting, cutting yourself. But Jesus is saying today he is well able to make you to walk in the real freedom. You can walk in the real freedom because Jesus is able. As I said, Jesus’s freedom, or the freedom that we are talking about is a purpose, it is purposeful. It is you to make a decision.Have you ever seen a person who has a purpose? When you hear someone saying,  I have decided to quit this job. It means they have evaluated, seen the danger and now they have made a decision. They have written a letter of resignation, I’m quitting this job no matter the offer that is given to me. Today you can make a decision you can purpose and say,  I’m quitting self-imprisonment no matter what. I know there are things that when you quit, can affect you financially, and they can affect your social life.
But I want to say this when you purpose, it doesn’t matter what happens. I’m purposing to walk in freedom, to live in freedom, to live like a prisoner who is set free and is not in prison anymore. It is purpose, it is you to make that decision. Together, let’s quit this self-imprisonment because Christ has given us an invitation, so we have said Jesus’ freedom is purposeful. For genuine freedom takes place in the arena or in the stadium or in divine truth. For a fish to survive, it has to be inside the water. For you to get true freedom, it is only found in Christ. And that’s why I’m saying genuine freedom takes place in the arena or the stadium of divine truth. Like a fish was created to swim in the water, we are created to live in the truth of Christ’s love. It is us to make a decision, I’m coming out and I have made a decision like somebody who doesn’t care what will happen. Because we know when you make a decision and accept Christ’s invitation, nothing can go wrong. Imagine that this woman was caught red-handed in adultery, everybody left and she was left with Christ and she was in the act. And maybe the other people thought they were better than her, but they ran away and she accepted Christ’s invitation.  Today purpose, I will swim in Christ so that I can walk in the freedom in the love that I was set free to walk in. When you say Jesus come to my life, I denounce the devil, I accept you as my savior. Jesus gave you freedom, but are you working in it? Are you enjoying the fruit of being released? So, let’s see the roadblocks that hinder your freedom. Why are we not walking in freedom? There are some roadblocks that are hindering us. I want to mention them, ignorance, arrogance, reluctance, and complaisance. Ignorance, you ignore what would happen, after all, others do it and life continues. I want us to see the process of freedom. Process of freedom because I want us to be free.I am not here to condemn you, that you are still a prisoner. But I’m here to tell you the truth you are still a prisoner and I want us to come out. We are still prisoners of self, but I want us to know the truth is that we can come out, And I say the process of coming out is for us to know Jesus uses invitation. What Jesus does, he invites us. So the process is to know Christ has invited me, and since Christ has invited us, all of us. So let’s accept Christ’s invitation to come from the self-imprisonment that we are in. So the question is, are you going to accept or not? It is you to make that decision. So true freedom will not attack or infect us as we said,  rather you must respond to God’s invitation to accept his complete freedom. And let me say this, complete freedom is abiding to his truth, which refers to or abiding to God’s truth and God’s will. So to get true freedom, we must know freedom is somewhere through. That’s where the word abiding is used if you abide. If you agree to abide, if you agree to go by the rules, if you agree to accept Christ, He will change you. Freedom or complete freedom is abiding to his truth, which refers to Christ. So true freedom is found in Christ, is found by abiding by the truth, knowing that I’m set free,  I need to walk in freedom. I need to have that self-control, I need to come out of ignorance, arrogance, reluctance, and complacency. You say now. I want to obey, even fully, and dwell fully n the word of God. Jesus offers freedom to those who abide to his word. You know, abiding comes from the word abode, meaning home or dwelling place. Accept the invitation, and walk in through freedom. Jesus declares that true freedom is found in His word.
So as a church, as born again, Christians let us have that true location, knowing where we are going, we are going where we are going to our dwelling place and our dwelling place is in Christ. We are going to walk in freedom because we know where we are going. We are moving, we are making a decision, and we are accepting the invitation of Christ. We are purposing to move to the location that we know which we don’t need to ask, we know. You know the location, you know where you’re going, you know where you’re supposed to be. It is upon you to accept the invitation to purpose,  to make a decision that I am moving on. We need to come from that self-imprisonment.