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John 8:12-59

Truly Free

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • July 21, 2013

How important is the truth? To understand that, we only need to look at the fact that the enemy’s greatest weapon is lies. In fact, at one point in this conversation with the Pharisees sparks really begin to fly and Jesus says, “Why do you not understand what I’m saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil… There is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.” In John 8, Jesus gives us some of the greatest truths in scripture; that the truth will set you free.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Truly Free

John 8:12-59 

As we continue in John chapter 8, Jesus is in the temple teaching the crowd of people who have gathered. Jewish leaders are also in the crowd who challenge what He is teaching.

Jesus explains that He has been sent by the Father to be the Light of the world. God knows that the world is in darkness and that people need hope; they need to be set free from the prison they live in. God is doing something about it; He has sent Jesus to set captives free and be the light of the world.

The theme of these verses is freedom. The problem is that most people don’t understand what it means to be free. What many people think is freedom is actually bondage. Why? Because they don’t want to admit it; they don’t want to acknowledge their need, they don’t want to admit that they actually live in a prison.

When Jesus teaches that the truth is what makes people free, the Pharisees respond, “We are Abraham’s offspring and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that you say, “You shall become free’?” What makes that statement utterly ridiculous is that at that very moment they were under the oppression of Rome and before that it was the Greeks and the Babylonians.

Jesus was speaking about something far more important than the politics of Roman oppression; He was speaking about the bondage of sin and the consequences of eternal death. These are the things that truly matter because they have everything to do with how we live and the condition of our soul.

Romans 8:1-2, Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.

How important is the truth? To understand that we only need to look at the fact that the enemy’s greatest weapon is lies. In fact, at one point in this conversation with the Pharisees sparks really begin to fly and Jesus says, “Why do you not understand what I’m saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil… There is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.”

In these verses Jesus gives us some of the greatest truths in scripture; that the truth will set you free.

I. Walk in the Light of Life

  • In verse 12 Jesus said that the one who follows after Him shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
  • From a spiritual perspective the light of life is found in walking in the truth. The battle for the soul is won or lost with truth or lies.
  • Darkness hides the truth; light reveals it, for better or for worse. If you get up in the morning and look in the mirror, you might actually prefer the darkness. But if the light reveals the truth, at least you can do something about it, or at least you can try.
  • But if you live in darkness you can’t see the dangers before you.

Illus – My wife and I visited the Grand Canyon when we were on vacation and we were both amazed that the walk along the rim often has no guard rails. This would not be a good place to walk in the darkness.

  • However, it’s also true that some people actually prefer the darkness. Why? Two reasons; one, if they knew the truth it would spoil all their fun; two, they’re afraid their deeds will be exposed.

John 3:19-21 Why men love darkness

A. Believing empowers lies

  • If light is associated with truth then darkness is associated with lies.
  • Here is an extremely important insight; lies have no power unless they are believed.

Illus - Adam and Eve believed the serpent’s lies; that’s how they were defeated.

Genesis 3:4-5, The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

  • Jesus said that the devil was a liar from the beginning; it is his greatest weapon. In the book of Revelation he is called the “Accuser of the brethren.”
  • It’s important to note that he doesn’t even have to make things up; all he needs to do is to point out the truth to accuse us.
  • Many people have been defeated by being constantly reminded of their failings. The problem is that our failures are only part of the story. You must have an answer ready in your heart when you are accused.
  • The answer is that my standing before God is not based on my failures, but on what Christ has done for me on the cross. My sin is now paid in full by the blood of Christ, therefore, who can condemn me?

Romans 8:33-35, Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ?

B. In believing Jesus you have life

  • In verse 30 it says that as He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. In fact, John wrote this book so that we might believe…

John 20:31, “but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

  • There is a connection between faith and what we hear, Jesus then also connects that to our relationship to God.

Romans 10:17, So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

  • Look at what Jesus is saying in verses 42. “If God were your Father, you would love Me; for I proceeded forth and have come from God.”
  • Then in verse 43, “Why do not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.”
  • He then connects it all together in verse 47, “He who is of God hears the words of God.” 
  • If we have a heart after God as our Father, we have a heart to hear His word and that’s what transforms our lives. He is the truth; He speaks words that transform us by the truth because we desire to hear them.

Illus - Many years ago I read a book by Monty Roberts called, The Man who Listens to Horses. A better title might have been, the man who gets horses to listen to him. He understood their language to the point that he could take a wild horse and train him to be ridden in 27 minutes. The horse knew the voice of his master and was transformed by it. In contrast, when my wife was little she was riding a horse that didn’t understand her voice and did the opposite.

  • That really brings us to some of the most significant words that Jesus taught…

II. The Truth will Make You Free

  • Jesus was saying to those who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
  • They came to believe in Him, but there’s more they need in their lives. These words are extremely important because they apply so directly to our own lives. God also wants to make us free.

A. Abide in His Word

  • We begin our relationship to Him by believing His Word, but abiding in His Word makes us truly free because the truth is a transforming power.
  • To “abide” means to dwell there, to live there.

Illus - You abide in your home. It’s where you go for refuge, for refreshing, to be nourished, and for relationship.

Ephesians 3:16-19, That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

  • Abiding in His Word is like a tree planted by a stream; it is constantly soaking in the water which brings life to the entire tree.

Jeremiah 17:8, He will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.

  • But not only is it important to abide in His Word, He also says that His word needs to abide in us. In verse 37 Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You seek to kill Me because My word has no place in you.”
  • Does His word have a place in you? Does His word make a difference in your life? Does the Word of God rule over your opinions or actions?

Colossians 3:16, Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…

  • Jesus gave a parable where He taught that the Word of God is like seed planted in our hearts. 

Luke 8:15, “But the seed in good soil, these are the ones who have heard the Word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.”

B. Then you are truly disciples of Jesus

John 14:23-24, Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words;”

C. Truth is a transforming power

  • Jesus said that if you abide in His word, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. And later, “He whom the Son sets free is free indeed.”
  • First of all, lies are powerful; they can destroy someone’s life.

Illus - Early in Billy Graham’s ministry he knew he must be careful to not allow the enemy an opportunity to create a lie, so he made a decision that he would not even enter an elevator if it meant being alone with a woman.

  • The enemy is a liar, the father of lies, and a liar from the beginning. Lies can keep people in a prison.
  • If lies keep us people in prison, then it is the truth that sets people free. Truth nullifies a lie.

Psalm 19:7-8, The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

Illus - Many people have heard lies since they were young and remain caught in their grip; this is why it’s so important to abide in the truth and to be set free by its transforming power.

In my life growing up there were two competing forces; my father’s alcoholism and my mother’s faith. I praise God for my mother’s insistence that we go to church so we could hear the truth.

Galatians 5:1, It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

  • God seeks to transform us spiritually. In John 4, Jesus said, “God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth.”
  • Truth is a transforming power and the evidence of change is seen spiritually. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
  • You used to be angry, now you can forgive. Your soul was once sick, now you can have peace. 

John 8:12-59     NASB

12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life." 13 So the Pharisees said to Him, "You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not true." 14 Jesus answered and said to them, "Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone. 16 But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me. 17 Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me." 19 So they were saying to Him, "Where is Your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also." 20 These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come.

21 Then He said again to them, "I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come." 22 So the Jews were saying, "Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, 'Where I am going, you cannot come'?" 23 And He was saying to them, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." 25 So they were saying to Him, "Who are You?" Jesus said to them, "What have I been saying to you from the beginning? 26 I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world." 27 They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him." 30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.
 
31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." 33 They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, 'You will become free'?" 34 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham's descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father."
 

48 The Jews answered and said to Him, "Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?" 49 Jesus answered, "I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. 50 But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death." 52 The Jews said to Him, "Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, 'If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.' 53 Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?" 54 Jesus answered,"If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, 'He is our God'; 55 and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." 57 So the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" 58 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." 59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.

39 They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you are Abraham's children, do the deeds of Abraham. 40 But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. 41 You are doing the deeds of your father." They said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God." 42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God."
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