Freedom in Christ!!!
by Grady Bergeron
I’d like to start off by saying that I feel that this was an incredible idea to focus on the freedom we have in Christ. This must be first above any other worldly freedom we may have. Without freedom in Christ the freedom we may have now means absolutely nothing.
I’d like to give a quick background of my life that lead up to the point of my conversion. I was raised in the catholic religion up to the age of 17. Then I quickly drifted away from that. There was no teaching of repentence, sin, judgment, rath, grace, not even that much of Jesus. Just learn the system and you’ll make it to heaven. Years later I fell into a full gospel church that was teaching a little gospel and a lot of prosperity. All the while continuing to be in bondage of my sin. No true freedom from it at all.
In the about the year of 1998 I met a guy who appeared to be a Christian. We talked many times about what he believed and the more I talked to him the more confused I became. His theology was based around the no sin concept. This hypocrisy threw me into massive confusion. A belief grew in me that there was no truth out there. From that point on till last November my life took a slow deadly decent into running from God and denial of him.
Life continued on with selfish living…and my rebellion against God grew more and more. Pride grew and a sense of entitlement as well. I felt I deserved better in life. I rejected the huge responsibility of being a biblical husband as well as a biblical father. Anger without reason became a part of everyday life. The rejection of God and the denial of who I was becoming, finally sent me into depression…which was the final step before the fall.
November of last year God, and only God, drove me to the end of myself. Ezekiel chapter 37 began to take place. God began to bring to life these dead bones. He began to do his miracle working power of regeneration in my life. He began to show me, through his word, who he was in comparison to who I was. My eyes began to truly see, and my ears began to truly hear. How absolutely sinful I am and how utterly holy he is. He also began to show me how the true miracle is one of the regenerating work of the soul. God can work physical healings all day long but it isn’t the reason why he sent his son to die on the cross for us. He died for our souls.
I became like a mad man. I couldn’t get enough of his word. It was as if God was pouring Grace and Mercy and Forgiveness and Holiness and Righteousness and Love directly into my soul.
I had completely rejected him. Outwardly and inwardly rebelled against him. I neglected my duties as a husband and a father…and yet He decided to show me his grace and mercy. Absolute brokenness consumed my life. God, in an instant took a heart of stone and turned it into a heart of flesh. The change in my heart was night and day. I wanted more of Christ and less of myself. I was totally convinced that what I was experiencing was salvation. Not only because of my experience but because it was lining up with the word of God. I began to love righteousness and hate evil. I began to love the idea of marriage and what it stands for and the roll of a father.
I tell you this here and now nothing else in my life matters to me more than Jesus Christ. Nothing else can or ever will fill me up like the word of God. Worldly wisdom and worldly knowledge to me now is just emptiness. Like brother Andy said to me last week,…the word of God or the subject of God is a never ending subject. All other subjects fall so short of the Truth that is found in the word of God.
God’s word showed me that I needed a community of believers. A church!!! Through the recommendation of someone, who doesn’t go to this church, they referred me to Riverside. They said Riverside is small church where the pastor preaches the word. That’s all I needed to hear. I feel so kept and protected by the power of God in my life. My family and I were sent into your family by the hand of God. I believe that with all my heart. I thank God for sending us to Riverside. I also thank each of you for welcoming us into your family. Thank you for being what a church has been called to be. We all need to continue to thank God for this family of believers. We are truly unique into today’s world.
As long as we continue to put Christ in the center of everything we do,…we will continue to strengthen and be a light for the rest of the world to see Him glorified.
There were so many things I wanted to say tonight. It’s so hard to put into words the absolute miracle that has taken place in my life. When one is saved, like I was, there is no doubt that it was all God. An absolute gift, for his names sake!!!
Well…..I hope I have done Christ justice tonight!!!! Thank you for this opportunity to tell of the true working power that God continues to do in my life.