Never has our country, in my lifetime, been this divided. And the dividing lines are
not simply political but socio-economic, and racial, and ideological, and religious,
and generational, and geographic and gender based.
We are scary broken in national unity. But…there is one thing that everybody
wants…ev.ry.body…Builder, Boomer, Gen X, or Millenial, male or female,
progressive or conservative, black or brown or white, rich, poor or middle class.
There is one thing you want. And I want. We’ve wanted it for as long as we knew
what it was. Our kids will be bred to want it.
This thing we want is as elusive as it is desirable. And the lack of it, for many, has
unleashed a growing rage.
What is this object of our desire? What is this great unmet longing? It is The Good
Life .The good life is what you want and it’s what I want.
Now…What’s interesting is that there are as many definitions of The Good Life as
there are people:
As a concept, the Good Life was first named as a human desire from at least
the time of Aristotle (350 BC)
He and his fellow Greeks called it Eudaimonia = human flourishing…living or
faring well…or The Good Life
But what makes for human flourishing? What are characteristics of a life lived
well? That’s where we might disagree. Even Aristotle and his fellow philosophers
didn’t see eye to eye on the essence of The Good Life.
For instance, Aristotle felt it was a life of virtue while Epicurus argued that it
was a life of pleasure.
Today we have similar disagreement on the ingredients of the Good Life:
o meaningful relationships / strong sense of purpose
o having a sense that you matter / a simple life without excess
o kindness toward others / having fun
o a steady focus / doing what you want to do
o ecological sustainability /nice home and good income
We’re all over the map when it comes to what makes up a good life but one thing
is for sure…we want it and we want it now.
The Good Life is such a high value in the American psyche that it has become
a right. The good life has become an entitlement. the Good Life has become
a demand. So of course it makes sense that as so many feel like they are
missing out on the good life …they are angry.
How about you? Would you say you are living the good life? Would you like to
know how to experience it more than you ever have?
Well, you are in the right place because over the next 2 months we are going
to give you a taste of the good life and we’re going to give you clear
directions on how to experience it!
We will use as our guide the best book on the good life ever written – the
bible. We’ll explore in depth what Jesus meant when he said:
My purpose is to give people a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10
Over the next 9 weeks we are going to explore ingredients of this Good Life …the
life that Jesus offers.
We’re going to give you a tasting menu of The Good Life
o A tasting menu is a multi course parade of dishes some chefs offer to
showcase their talents. Penny and I got to experience it once in NYC.
Here are the courses we’ll taste over the next 9 weeks: Freedom,
Fruitfulness, Credibility, Impact, Satisfaction, Relationship, Destiny and
All ingredients of The Good Life.
But we’re not just going to explain the Good Life. We are going to show you
specifically how to receive it, where to go to find it, and a specific way in which
others can help you get there.
So, with that introduction to the series…let us begin with the first ingredient # 1 of
the Good life: Freedom!
John 8:31 __________
What kind of freedom?
Not freedom of free speech, not freedom of religion, or any of the other
freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.
But a very specific kind of freedom that only Jesus can offer.
Freedom from sin
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you
are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you
free." 33 They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never
been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?"
his listeners misunderstood what Jesus meant by freedom – we’re Jews and
no slaves of anyone! What do you mean – set free?
34 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a
slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if
the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:31-36
Jesus says – no, I’m talking about sin and how it turns you into a slave…and
how I can set you free from that condition.
Here’s what Jesus was implying: Sin is rarely an isolated act. Sin becomes
habitualized almost immediately after it is committed.
Sin becomes sins… becomes sin patterns… becomes sin habits. It is just the
way sin works. You know this!
Which is why Jesus said in Vs. 34: "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave
Let’s get personal …what is that thing you do or don’t do that is flat out sin?
Think about it…you have been stuck in that thing for how long now? Years?
…a Lifetime? You are a slave. THAT is not the Good Life!
Notice Jesus suggests in Vs. 35 that when this happens it isolates you from
God your father: Now a slave has no permanent place in the family
o sin isolates you from the warmth of relationship with God
o this is why you feel so awful about your sin
But…do not miss Vs. 36 - If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed! Jesus
How does Jesus set us free from slavery to sin? Two ways:
o he frees us from the punishment and makes us a child of God
o he fill us with the power to break out of our sin funk!
So, how do you get a piece of this action? How can you taste this ingredient
in The Good life?
Well, we’ve talked about this numerous times – you surrender your life to Jesus.
Jesus, I believe in you. I surrender to you and receive you into my life.
In just a few minutes you’ll see people who have done just that …and will show
you how free they have become through baptism!
But, before we experience that thrill I want you to see that there’s another type of
freedom that Jesus offers as a part of the Good life.
Freedom from sin management
So, yeah, we’re sinners…all of us…and as skilled as we are at sinning we’re equally
skilled at managing it. And by managing, I mean we all come up with systems and
processes to keep us from going out of our minds or worse be perceived as a nasty
human being. We manage our sin. How?
For instance some of us are very skilled at cover up. We conceal our sin. We
disguise our sin.
o Alcoholic - you’ve probably learned to drink a more odorless Vodka.
o Philanderer - you’ve lied to cover up the affair you’re having.
o Porn Addiction - you’ve covered your tracks.
o Abuser – you’ve constructed this nice persona as a ruse
o That’s sin management
Others of you are skilled rationalizers – you’ve learned the language of
o nobody is getting hurt here
o I deserve this – you don’t know my life
o I’m not as bad as you make me out to be
o I’m not as bad as her/him
o Again, this is sin management
Some of us are sin compensators
o We keep a ledger in our brain in which we keep score hoping that we
have done enough good to outweigh the bad.
o You can tell who does this. Here’s a typical comment by a sin
compensator: “ I hope I’ve been good enough for God to accept me”
o Ironically, Sin compensators can be pretty religious people –
Did I go to church enough? Have I read the Bible enough? Did I
They can set up pretty elaborate systems to keep them from
this was a very big deal in Jesus day – Pharisees – and a problem
in the early church!
o Again, this is sin management – this is not the Good Life – this is
actually a form of slavery too!
And it is why Paul wrote this to the churches in the province of Galatia: It is for
freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be
burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
Stop trying to manage your sin with religion and rules..stop trying to compensate.
This is not the Good Life! The good life is one of freedom…freedom from sin and
freedom from sin management!
Let me summarize this into one short promise: Jesus will set you free from sin.
How? First and foremost – surrender to him! Jesus, I believe in you. I surrender to
you and receive you into my life.
and if you do you can join those being baptized! You will begin to taste the
That’s simple but it is not easy. You can surrender to Jesus and immediately be
free from the punishment of sin. But I’m not naïve enough to think that extricating
yourself from long sin patterns happens over night.
You need some guidance. You probably need a little more TLC…a little more
direction…a few more answers. If so, we want to encourage you to take another
step to experiencing the Good Life. I want you to consider getting in on the Way of
What is that? It is a process of walking with someone who is a few steps
ahead of you. Someone who has wrestled with life a little longer than you.
Someone who has been learning what it means to follow Jesus and can help
you do the same.
On, I need a counselor! No, although that might be a good idea too.
Oh, I need a friend! No, it’s deeper than that.
Oh, I need a mentor! Well, no, it’s deeper than that too.
Well what is it then? This process is pretty specific here at Grace. It’s more than
friendship. More than just hanging out together. More than mentoring.
The Way of Discipleship is an intentional, time-bound relationship focused on
learning and embracing eleven practices essential to following Jesus.
It’s one person following another person as they follow Jesus. And after you
surrender to Jesus THAT is exactly what you need.
Where do I find such a person?
Well, look around! They are likely already in your life.
Get in a community and you’ll find one!
When I do then what? You’ll both get this book and you’ll start getting
together…for about 2 ½ - 3 years.
And together you will learn all the ingredients to The Good Life!
OK..let’s get to the baptisms. Let’s remember: Jesus will set you free from sin.
And if you’re ready to surrender your life to the one who will set you free – you