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New Hope Christian Fellowship

The Key To True Freedom

THE KEY TO TRUE FREEDOM

Introduction:

            Some people think that freedom exists in the absence of authority.  Unfortunately, without the presence of authority, there is no way to preserve the freedom we think that we have.  Others can take our freedom away from us.  Some people think that money is the answer.  If they had enough money, they could buy their freedom.  We can certainly look at many who have walked into a large some of money through an inheritance or winning a lottery and see that it’s not long before they are more miserable than before they received the money.  In both situations, it appears that if one can obtain a lasting freedom in one’s life, they would experience contentment and long term happiness.  Is a peaceful freedom available that every person can experience, a freedom that results in joy like nothing else can offer?  The Bible tells us that there is.  Turn with me in your Bibles to the eighth chapter of the Gospel of John.

Background thought:

            As we continue in our study in John’s gospel, Jesus is continuing to confront those who refuse to accept His offer of life.  Jesus is now talking to Jews who allegedly believed in Him.  As we begin our walk through today’s text, we will see that Jesus clarifies what it means to be His follower.  Let’s look together at verses 31-36.

Text:  John 8:31-36

Prayer

CTS:  Today I want to share with you three ways to know you have freedom in Christ.

You can know the freedom Christ offers if you:

CHOOSE TO ACTIVELY PURSUE JESUS (VV. 31-32)

Explanation:

            Verse 31 identifies that Jesus was speaking to a group of Jews who had claimed to believe His testimony.  To clarify what it means to believe in Jesus, He identifies that those who would “continue” (NASB) (“abide” (NKJV), “stick with” (Message), “hold” (NIV)) in His Word were truly His disciples (31a).  Thus, Jesus wasn’t advocating a type of salvation that was simply psychological.  The type of belief Jesus required was one that was active and living.  Theologian D. A. Carson identifies that “Those who had believed needed to advance to a full commitment to the teaching of Jesus in order to arrive at the truth (31–32).”

Walvoord and Zuck also report that “Jews who had believed Him indicates that some paid attention to Jesus’ words without necessarily committing themselves to Him personally (cf. 6:53). It was possible to “believe” in the message of repentance and the coming kingdom without being born again. Continuing in the truth is the sign of true followers and learners (disciples). If they really grasped His message, they would find salvation truth. Knowing this salvation truth would liberate them from their bondage in sin.”

            What was the direct result of such belief?  Such belief would enable believers to develop more of an intimate knowledge and relationship with God through Christ, thus, enabling them to recognize the truth for what it is, and that they were free from the burden and bondage of sin (Vs. 32).  No longer did the curse of sin hold them as prisoners awaiting ultimate destruction.

            In addition to the testimony of Jesus, though not necessary, the apostle Paul tells us that the direct result of our salvation experience through grace is an attitude of works that God has awaiting us (Eph. 2:8-10).  The writer of Hebrews tells us the profit of spending time in God’s Word in Hebrews 4:12.  Abiding in God’s word enables change of heart, resulting in a changed life.  Finally, in his counsel to Timothy, the Apostle Paul tells Timothy that God’s word is not only spiritually applicational, but physically as well (2 Timothy 3:14-17).

Illustration:

            Psalm 1 paints an accurate picture of the proper attitude a believer is to have in regards to following God.  The believer’s life is not one of passivity, but one of a zealous desire to know God and to live according to His Word.

Application:

            The point of application is that the evidence of your life in Christ begins with your attitude toward His word.  Are you actively abiding or holding on to God’s Word?  Additionally, as we saw in Psalm 1, as we actively pursue knowing God’s Word, we are set free from the bondage of sin.

REFUSE TO EMBRACE THE WORLD’S VIEW OF JESUS (VV. 33)

Explanation:

            One of the problems the Jews had was that they, for all intensive purposes, understood them to be God’s chosen people.  If that were the case, how could Jesus set them free?  After all, according to verse 33, they are the seed of Abraham.  They did not realize that they were actually in bondage.  Though they were physical descendants of Abraham, their allegiance wasn’t to their true father in heaven, but to themselves.  This bondage that they were experiencing could not be seen.  In fact, this bondage was so great that it had brought the nation of Israel from a place of total freedom to being subjects under the leadership of a wicked government, that of Rome.  Once again we see the spiritual blindness of those who even claimed to believe in Jesus.  However, out of the wonderful compassion and mercy God offers, Jesus provided clarity in regards to this bondage.

Illustration

            In a similar way, we can experience physical bondage by way of sickness without knowing what the source is.  The way we find a solution to physical sickness is by going to see a doctor.  The doctor ultimately tells us what the cause is and the appropriate steps to take for healing to occur.  As long as the patient does what the doctor says and continues to abide in his instruction, healing, in most respects, occurs in a timely manner.  From a spiritual standpoint, Jesus is the physician that offers freedom from bondage.

Application:

            The point of application is for you to not count on anything outside of the testimony of God’s word to set you free from bondage you are experiencing.  Do you want to keep doubts and fears from overwhelming you?  Abide in God’s word.  Otherwise, the world will convince you that freedom from bondage can be found outside of developing a personal relationship with God through Christ.

 

 

REALIZE THE INHERITANCE HE OFFERS (VV. 34-36)

Explanation:

            Jesus tells his alleged believing audience that the bondage there are subjects of is being slaves to sin (Vs. 34).  In other words, no matter how hard they tried to keep the law in order to please God, they could not because of their sinful nature.  They had no power within them to be freed from sinful passion.

            Jesus next provides the understanding of people who choose to remain in the slave status.  He explains that the slave within a household does not remain forever.  In other words, there is no inheritance written into their future (Vs. 35a).  However, in direct contrast, a son does remain forever.  Apparently, a son of this household is not one that is temporal.  Jesus said that the son remains forever!  So, how can one be changed from a slave to a son?  John tells us that those who receive Christ become the sons of God (John 1:12). The apostle Paul also tells us that, as believers in Christ, we no longer stand in condemnation in the sight of our almighty God and that we have been set free from sin (Romans 8:1-2) Jesus once again clarifies the message.

            Verse 36 identifies that if the Son who makes the slave free, the individual will be free indeed!  Amazing!!  The listening audience now knew how to be set free from the bondage of a sinful life while simultaneously establishing a right relationship with God for eternity.  The evidence of their freedom would not be simple belief, but a conscious pursuit, abiding, or sticking with the truth of God’s word.  Those who truly believed in Christ would do so.

 

 

Illustration

            I Kings 3:3-14 identifies the passion king Solomon had for God.  King Solomon loved God and in response to God’s offering of grace, Solomon asked for a discerning heart, a heart full of God’s wisdom.  Because of the nature of Solomon’s request, God poured out materialistic blessings upon Solomon that many others kings would have asked for.  In a similar way, when we choose to pursue God’s wisdom through prayer and abiding in His word, we will find that God will bestow upon us blessings that this world cannot offer!

Application:

            The point of application is that you and I fix our focus on what awaits our faithful pursuit of learning and obeying God’s word.  Ultimately, we will spend eternity with God.  Such a glorious future should cause you and me to have an attitude of joy, knowing we have been set free from sin.

Conclusion: 

            The call of our text for today is for a self-analysis.  Do you have an abiding faith in Christ?  The scripture is pretty clear.  Faith is not by mental ascent of what God has already done for you.  Faith involves your recognizing what God offers you in Christ, salvation, and a change of an attitude by way of God’s Spirit.  Your attitude is to be one that is zealous for learning God’s word, striving to live in obedience of God’s word, and spreading God’s word through our testimony and actions.  In doing so, we will be set free from the bondage of sin, and our focus for life will be focused on honoring God instead of our sin.


REFERENCES

 “Those who had believed needed to advance to a full commitment to the teaching of Jesus in order to arrive at the truth (31–32).”  D. A. CARSON

“Jews who had believed Him’ indicates that some paid attention to Jesus’ words without necessarily committing themselves to Him personally (cf. 6:53). It was possible to “believe” in the message of repentance and the coming kingdom without being born again. Continuing in the truth is the sign of true followers and learners (disciples). If they really grasped His message, they would find salvation truth. Knowing this salvation truth would liberate them from their bondage in sin.” WALVOORD & ZUCK

Ephesians 2:8-10 (New American Standard Bible)

 8For (A)by grace you have been saved (B)through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is (C)the gift of God;

 9(D)not as a result of works, so that (E)no one may boast.

 10For we are His workmanship, (F)created in (G)Christ Jesus for (H)good works, which God (I)prepared beforehand so that we would (J)walk in them.

Hebrews 4:12 (New American Standard Bible)

 12For (A)the word of God is (B)living and (C)active and sharper than any two-edged (D)sword, and piercing as far as the division of (E)soul and (F)spirit, of both joints and marrow, and (G)able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 (New American Standard Bible)

 14You, however, (A)continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,

 15and that (B)from childhood you have known (C)the sacred writings which are able to (D)give you the wisdom that leads to (E)salvation through faith which is in (F)Christ Jesus.

 16(G)All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

17so that (H)the man of God may be adequate, (I)equipped for every good work.

Romans 8:1-2 (New King James Version)

 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

 

THE KEY TO TRUE FREEDOM

INTRODUCTION:   FREEDOM: ABSENCE OF AUTHORITY; MONEY

BACKGROUND THOUGHT:  ADULTEROUS WOMAN / LIGHT OF THE WORLD

SCRIPTURE: JOHN 8:31-36

CTS:   THREE WAYS TO KNOW YOU HAVE FREEDOM IN CHRIST

YOUR CAN KNOW THE FREEDOM CHRIST OFFERS, IF YOU:

I.   CHOOSE TO ACTIVELY PURSUE JESUS (VV. 31-32)

  • EXPLANATION: 
    • CARSON / WALVOORD & ZUCK – BELIEF IS NOT ENOUGH
    • “continue” (NASB), “abide” (NKJV), “stick with” (Message), “hold” (NIV))
    • EPH. 2:8-10; HEB. 4:12; 2 TIM. 3:14-17
  • ILLUSTRATION:     PSALM 1 (CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF ABIDING)
  • APPLICATION:        EVIDENCE OF CHRIST = YOUR ATTITUDE

II.  REFUSE TO EMBRACE THE WORLD’S VIEW OF JESUS (VV. 33)

  • EXPLANATION:      NO NEED TO BE FREE; SPIRITUALLY BLIND
  • ILLUSTRATION:     PHYSICAL BONDAGE / SEE A DOCTOR / ABIDE
  • APPLICATION:        YOU NEED TO BE FREE / ABIDE IN GOD’S WORD
  1. III.           REALIZE THE INHERITANCE HE OFFERS (VV. 34-36)
  • EXPLANATION:      SLAVE TO SIN / SON FOREVER (JOHN 1:12 / ROM. 8:1-2)
  • ILLUSTRATION:     I KINGS 3:3-34 (ATTITUDE OF SOLOMON’S HEART)
  • APPLICATION:        ABIDE IN GOD’S WORD / CHOOSE TO BE FREE
  1. IV.            CONCLUSION:  SELF ANALYSIS / ARE YOU ABIDING / SAVED? 



cf. confer, compare

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