Leon Fontaine - Freedom Isn't Free
Freedom isn't free. Freedom isn't free. There's a lot of talk right now about freedom. A lot of talk about rights. And people think that governments give freedoms. Governments give rights. But it's God that gave the freedoms. I listen to one of the top lawyers out of the UK share how that the legal systems for the UK, much of Europe, Canada, America literally states right in there. I know the UK was quoting it of how it just states right in the law that freedom, liberty, rights, they come from God. And then the laws come into place to maintain and to keep that.
So freedom and rights are taught all through the Bible, right in the very book of Genesis, Adam was made free and he was told to have dominion over this planet. God made mankind so free. He will never manipulate. He will never force. He will never make anyone do anything. He will protect your right to freedom. He'll protect your freewill to such a degree that even if you slip into eternity, into hell without Him, He won't make you. He won't force you. Because He's made you in His likeness and in His image. This freedom comes from God. And the human race was designed to have freedom and that is where it functions at its best. When freedoms are diminished or taken away, it hurts a lot of areas.
And so as I dive into this, my first thought, "What is God's will for the things that are going on"? It's in the Lord's Prayer where Jesus taught us how to pray. Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth. How? As it is in heaven. Let's just stop right there because I could preach for hours on this. God's will for whatever is on the earth is as it is in heaven. If your relationships on the earth, He wants that relationship as it is in heaven. If your business is on this earth, He wants it as it is in heaven. The success, the joy, all the areas of your life that you build on this planet, His will for it is for you to go, "What's it like here in heaven"? And immediately begin to realize God's will is life and blessing and joy.
Then someone says right away, "How come we don't have that"? Oh, lots of people have it. But you're going to find that on the earth we have two kingdoms and heaven is only one. And heaven is just the kingdom of His dear Son. On the planet, there's two kingdoms. The kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. And so we know that they are at war. And that as we learn to have dominion over this planet, to prosper, and be blessed in relationships, careers, business. The building of homes, cities, states, provinces, countries. That we have an enemy and you can see it all through the Bible. When we talk about freedom, a definition they use on the planet is freedom is the power and the ability to think, act, and speak without hindrance or restraint.
And when you take a look at just for interest's sake, I thought you might like this. When you take a look at what are the freedoms that are in the constitutions for places like Canada, places like America, the European Union, and in their constitutions. And so I listed a bunch of them, and every one of them is in the Bible. And this is just a sampling, and I'm going to blast them off. The right to life. The right to live. The right for human dignity. The integrity of the person. The freedom of speech, freedom from bondage and slavery, freedom of movement, travel. The right to security, privacy. The right to marry and found a family. Freedom of thought, of conscience, and of religion. Which also includes the freedom to leave your religion. Freedom of information, not censorship. Freedom of assembly and association. Freedom of choice. Freedom of arts and science, economic freedom. The right to property, non-discrimination on race and ethnicity.
I just list, the list goes on of all the things we're not to discriminate against. The right to freedom for culture. The rights of the child. The rights of the elderly. The rights of persons with disabilities, democratic rights. The presumption of innocence and the right of defense. The freedom from arbitrary detention. Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. The rights against self-incrimination. I mean, and that's just a sampling of the things they found in the countries where people from all over the world are trying to get to. What? Countries that are founded on biblical law. They're founded from the Ten Commandments and all of the teachings through the Bible. And around the world if you find someone trying to get out of their country to a country, it's usually getting to a country that is Christian in origin. And that is where children and women have rights. You have rights to own property, your money is protected.
I mean, the list just goes on. And so this thing called freedom is huge and we must protect it. As we look at this thing called freedom, God's Word is very clear. Love and freedom are hand in hand. And when man was in the garden, God is love and they knew love appreciation. They knew what love was. They experienced God's valuing of them. And then when they decided to follow the enemy and the lie that he had told Eve. They, their nature change from the nature of God to a nature of fear. Now, both fear and love are continuums. And when you go down the road of a nature of love, that is where everything good flows. When you deal with love, you'll begin to deal with the whole truth. Because your love, they want you have the whole truth.
Freedom creates an environment for creativity and development. Wherever there is freedom, creativity jumps up. Wherever there's fear, then you're going to find that that divisiveness begins to rise up. And whenever there's fear, there's anger. When fear came to Adam and Eve and their kids, that's immediately in that first family we find murder. We find deceit. We find excuses. And from there and on, the Old Testament is just brutal when you understand and you read between the lines of what the cultures were like. And the evil that they did, because fear, that nature of fear is a continuum and down that pathway. That continuous pathway of fear is horrible things for you, your kids, your grandkids, your great grandkids. It doesn't get better. It always gets worse. Now, where you have a continuum of love. Love champions freedom.
You know, when I was a kid, they had a poster and it said, "If you love something, set it free. And if it comes back to you, it's yours. And if it doesn't, it never was". Sounds beautiful but it's actually very true. Love champions freedom. And so when you have leaders who say they love their people. They value their people. Then freedom should continually be developed. Where you find people leading with fear, you begin to find anger. The disintegration of family and home and value. And so what is love? If God's kingdom is a kingdom of love and not religion. By the way, religion always turns to control. That's why when you hear me say, "I hate religion". I mean, the manmade rules of religion, where I judge you, and I talk about you, and I hold you to certain rules. Who am I to do that? No, we love you the way you are, accept you the way you are, forgive you when you hurt each other. So that you and God can work on that. So then what is this love that we are to bring to this world?
Well, 1 Corinthians 13:4 says, "Love is patient. It's kind. Love isn't envious. It doesn't boast, brag, or strut. There's no arrogance in love. It's never crude, rude, or indecent. It's not self-absorbed. Love isn't easily upset. Love doesn't tally the wrongs of others. It doesn't celebrate injustice but truth". Yes, the whole truth is love's delight. Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along. It trusts and hopes and endures no matter what. That's the culture of the kingdom of light. And it's also the culture of social media, right? It becomes a crazy world. When freedom champions two sides debating. We used to have great TV shows of a brilliant man on this side, a brilliant person on this side with different views. And they would debate for 30 minutes to an hour with somebody in the middle just, you know. And all those were great shows.
Can you see any of those on TV? They're all removed. Because they don't want anyone to discredit any kind of a narrative. That's around the planet. And so the church of Jesus Christ needs to recognize that the nature that brings freedom is the nature of God. And the nature that brings a domination and a, and the destruction of freedom is the enemy and fear. Jesus clearly gives us a way to measure what's what. He says I came to give you life and more abundantly. He comes to steal, kill, destroy. Anytime you'd see stealing, killing, and destroying. It's always the enemy behind it. Whichever way it come, from disease, from political office, from wars, earthquakes, whatever.
And people, "That's God. If it happens, it's God". Someone said to me, "The Bible says you are never to come against the leaders of our nation. They're there because of God. And if they're there, then whatever they do is of God". I'm going, "Do you even read your Bible"? So we're saying Hitler was of God. We're saying that Stalin was of God. Mao Zedong was of God. And right there we've got over a hundred million murders by these people. So I guess it was God's will. Like sometimes you listen to people and you kind of shake your head and go, "Like come on. Just think for yourself". That's not God. We live in a fallen world where there are two kingdoms. And if the kingdom of light does not stand up, and the light grow brighter and brighter. How are we going to have a world that our children can live in and thrive in.
Now, the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 3:17, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, liberty". Now, whenever you have the word God or Lord, it also is love because God is love. So you can read this. Now, the Lord love is that spirit and where the spirit of love is, there is freedom. You can't get a human being to function where they are dominated, where fear is pushed at them, where they are forced and manipulated and censored. You create anger and hate and all kinds of evil.
When you look at spiritual freedom, that's the most important thing. See, freedom hits your spirit first. God is free, created mankind to be free. He created you in His likeness and His image. And so your spirit man when you were born into this world, you were born into, the Bible says, into sin. And so at some point all of us needs to make a decision when we reach an age of accountability to turn our lives over to Christ. And then Jesus comes in and there's a forgiveness and a brand, and a born again experience. And now within your spirit is love. It now is free. That freedom has to translate into your mind and your emotions which happens to the teaching of scripture. And this freedom in your spirit gets into your emotions, gets into your mind. And then the Bible also talks about physical freedom, bodily freedom. But the only way to have that kind of freedom and enjoy it, is that the people around you have common thinking. That we all believe similar things, or how are we all going to agree on properties, and protecting our wives and kids.
You know, we have to agree. And so this thing about freedom is there's three areas to it. There's spiritual freedom. There's thinking-intellectual freedom. Then there's the freedom of your physical body and your movement, etcetera. And it's loaded, but when you understand this, you begin to realize no wonder the gospel is so powerful. Jesus said that you were to go forth. Go into all the world and preach the gospel. And so people say, "Well, Leon, that's what you should be preaching".
Now, don't say a word about what you... I'm a citizen. I get to say what I think in this democracy just like you. But it goes further than that. The good news of Jesus Christ is that we bring people, is that you are forgiven. He loves you. He's going to come into your life. And the gifts and the abilities, and the purposes of God within you, for arts and entertainment, and government, and health care or education or ministry or whatever area. He's placed within you are to rise up. When He told Adam to, "You have dominion. Go into the world and multiply". It means succeed in all these arenas. So John 8:36 says, "If the Son makes you free, you are truly free". So this freedom of the spirit is why this world needs to be in Jesus because it also determines where you spend eternity.
I've noticed in my 40 years of pastoring that where people have learned to be free physically, travel in free countries. Where they've learned to have freedom of thought and expressed their opinion, have the friends that they want. That my friends have still killed themselves when they didn't have spiritual freedom. And I recognize that it's the most important, is the freedom of the human spirit, one that accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. And then out of that freedom is where the development of everything you are, especially your identity begins to flow and begins to grow.
How do we use our freedoms? In Galatians 5:13, it says, "My brothers and sisters, God called you to be free but don't use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful self. Serve each other with love. The whole law is made complete in this one command, 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself.' Because if you go on hurting each other and tearing each other apart. Be careful, or you'll be completely destroyed". And so how do we use freedom? We use it not to please and build things for ourselves but to look after others. And when that culture comes because of Christ, and even without Christ, when that kind of a culture can be kind of established, then with freedom has hope. But if the church of Jesus Christ does not bring the message of Christ to this world wherever it's going out. Freedom won't last either.
If spiritual freedom, which is Jesus, is not flowing and growing through the local church, the other freedoms can't last. That makes church the most important family organization on the planet. Because without Jesus, without the forgiveness, the born again experience of the human spirit, all of the other freedoms would just be fighting and self-centered, etcetera. Countries that focus on freedom have gifted people rise up, gifted in healthcare and finding cures for diseases, and buildings, and engineering and arts and entertainment and cooking. You just name it.
There's this beautiful, gorgeous culture that people love to go to, from theater to restaurants. I believe heaven's going to be like that. I believe personally, but there's no verse on it so don't get real with that. I believe heaven's going to be so filled with people loving certain things. That the culture that's going to be there. And some people believe they can play a harp and get harp lessons for their eternity. I believe that it's just, it's going to be stunning and amazing. When you're a leader and you lead free people, it's different than leading people that you can dominate, control, and manipulate. Leaders who lead free people find it easier to dominate with rules and laws but you can't thrive. And when people know they're free, and when people recognize freedom as God-given and that government should protect that freedom, then you find people rising up.
And that country will know incredible prosperity. And people want to be involved in government decisions. They want to be involved. Why? Because we didn't put government in because they're smarter than us and to make all of our decisions. We put them in to protect the freedom that gets the wisdom and the intelligence of the entire country and puts it to work in every area. And so where leaders run the risk of, I want people to be free, I want them to speak up, and I want them to be heard, and I want them to have the right to disagree. Like, leaders don't like that when they're weak and immature. But great leaders love it when people get up and disagree with them. Why? Because people are thinking on their own.
I love being disagreed with. I don't like disagreeable people because that's just a nature. That's not an actual point. I love being critiqued but I won't hang around critical people. Big difference. But when you're a leader, you want the best people around you to help you go fulfill whatever that endeavor is. Well then you want free-thinking, free-talking people who have a right to speak up and share and say what they heard. And in that kind of environment is where people rise up strong and able, not where they are pushed down and just, you know, censored and do this. Discernment is something that all of us have. Rights and freedoms are gorgeous and beautiful but they also bring duties and responsibilities. And if you shirk your duties and your responsibilities to freedom and the rights that you have, you will lose them.
And so as a democracy, as people who are free, when you take a look at the countries that became free like, you know, they said that the sun never set on Great Britain. Its ships went everywhere and all the colonies that they had, and the missionaries they put out were stunning. Then you look at America and as they're growing up and learning freedom and all the different things that went on. There's no perfection anywhere. They became the greatest mission-sending organization on the planet. As I work with different denominations and one denomination that I was working with, I mean, to think that you're in a 100 countries with 180.000 churches, all coming out of a one country. Why? Because there's freedom there. And that freedom allows us to take this gospel to the world.
The Bible talks a lot about our duties, our responsibilities. It doesn't mean that we should not speak up for rights and freedoms. In fact that's what our duty and responsibility is. Be a watchman on the wall and make sure that we understand that freedom isn't free. If you've got freedom and you never won it, somebody else did. They won it by pouring their time and effort into government. They might have won it on a battlefield as an evil person tried to take it. I don't know all that's involved. This is not a comprehensive message. It's just a wakeup call to the church that says it doesn't work to pull your head in, duck down the hole and just hope everything goes okay with prayer.
Prayer is a faith issue. And so prayers of faith should always be given for our country and for everything in it. But faith without works is dead. Faith without corresponding actions is dead. And so besides just living your life the way you want, where you want, how you want, when you want. You must always participate in this great exercise of citizenship, freedom. This great exercise of participating in what's going on around us. Because if you don't, then be quiet. Because those who do are the ones who create the direction, the laws, the continuum of freedom, or the continuum of fear. So speak up. Stand up. And make sure that you use your gifts, your abilities to always present something that is going to help this nation thrive.