As we are being challenged to read and study the book of John, I wanted to share some of my personal sermon notes with you to help you understand the book. I preached through the entire book over the course of 1 year when I pastored First Baptist Church Del Rio. Enjoy!
Introduction—Freedom means different things to different people. For some freedom is being able to speak whatever one would choose to speak. For others, freedom means waking up in a place where there is no war. Freedom for others is becoming a naturalized US citizen. Freedom can mean to have the ability to go to college, to change professions, to marry whom you want to marry. Freedom is an amazing thing to have in so many areas of our lives.
For many of us, freedom represents our nation. The US is the standard for other countries to follow for what freedom looks like. We are the model nation in terms of freedom.
What does freedom mean to you?
Jesus was the author of freedom. He lived and displayed what it meant to live as a free person in the eyes of God. Freedom from religious law without love, freedom from tradition over Scripture, freedom to worship God with no strings attached. Jesus came set us free, so we could proclaim, “Free at Last, Free at Last, thank God almighty, I am Free at Last.”
Stand & Read: John 8:31-41
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?” 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, 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. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.” 39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
- Freedom in Christ is based on The Truth—verse 31-32
- Jesus’ teachings
- Jesus was addressing the Jews that had expressed an interest in having faith in Him. He wanted to make sure that they knew what the commitment of a true follower looks like.
- Holding to the teachings of Jesus
- What are Jesus’ teachings?
- Actually believing what the Bible says
- James 2:14-24—What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
- The Truth creates Real Disciples, as Jesus continues in John 8:32, He gives a statement that has been widely used in many circles of life. But if the truth were told, real discipleship causes us to evaluate our commitment to Christ. That is what Jesus is trying to get to the root of. Knowing the truth so we can be set free.
- Knowledge of the Truth starts with an examination of who we are. Christians in general are named that because of a decision to become a Christian. You are not a Christian because of someone else being a Christian. You are not born into the family of God.
- You must start there. Are you a Christian is the question Jesus asks? A Christian says I believe in Jesus in His entirety. Only you truly know if that is your life, your banner, and your statement of faith. Once you say yes—I want Jesus in my life then the challenge comes. Jesus confronts us, not me or any other person, but Jesus. We are looking at what the Scripture says. That is the beauty of staying grounded in the Bible. It sets the course for our path. It guides us in the direction we should go. It tells us that we can be set free by knowing the Truth.
- Set free is how to be liberated from the captivity of sin, lies, slavery, etc. Set free is where Jesus wants us to go. We cannot be the body of Christ if we are handcuffed by the pleasures of this world.
- How do you become set free? It will take a surrender of your will to the will of God. This can be a process or it can happen all at once. The power of the Holy Spirit is indwelled in every believer you can overcome any stronghold you have in your life through that power.
- Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
- When you know the Truth (Jesus) and you receive power from on high, you will be His witness.
Application—Do you know from the Scripture the Truth, who is Jesus? If you do, then exercise you faith and be His witness. Your community needs you.
- Freedom in Christ speaks The Truth—verses 33-36
- Once the Truth has been established, the Truth can now speak to you freely.
- If you are unwilling to admit that you are a sinner, you have not been set free. Jesus asks these interested followers if they are ready to be set free.
- The response to Jesus was this: We aren’t slaves to anyone, we are descendants of Abraham. Did you hear that? Does it sound familiar?
- We sometimes grow up with the attitude that since we are a relative of someone who may be a prominent church member or member of the community, we are immune from the same set of standards Jesus requires of His followers.
- We can be the ones claiming to say but I am the descendant of this family or that family, why would I need to be set free?
- The Truth speaks to us so that we can know Him. We are not exempt from spiritual danger just because we are related to a Christian.
- Jesus tells them plainly in verse 34, that all sin leads to slavery.
- Hebrews 12:1-3—Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
- It is a good thing to be surrounded and grounded by a great Christian family, but we are ourselves must embrace Jesus and throw off sin. We can only do that, as we know the Truth.
- Jesus remarks in John 8:35-36 are so powerful. Sin is a temporary love potion. Tempting us with pleasures of success, money, education, and all the other avenues that the world thinks of as power. Those aren’t bad in themselves but can become and idol for many. Sin is not welcome into the family Jesus says.
- Now a son or a daughter, they are welcome to a permanent position in the family. Jesus goes a little further and says if you invite me the Son into your family, I stay forever, and you will be free indeed.
Illustration— A grandmother was looking after her two little grandchildren a 7-year-old girl, and a 5-year-old boy. And boy, were they naughty. When it came time for their mother to pick them up, the little girl said, “Are you going to tell Mummy?” The grandmother replied, “No, I’m not. But if she asks me, I can’t tell a lie.” The little boy looked up to her and said, “Why not? I’m only five, and I can lie great.”
Application—Have you allowed Christ to speak the Truth into your life? If not, do allow Him to enter your heart so you can experience first hand, true freedom.
- Freedom in Christ reveals the Truth—verses 37-41
- Truth revealed is the best medicine to get right with God. Jesus can see through all the games, lies, and schemes that you may try on Him. As if you can outwit the Lord.
- A truth revelation is just what the doctor ordered.
- Jesus says something that reveals all things when we try to claim to be someone we aren’t.
- He says in verse 39, that if you really are the descendants of Abraham, why aren’t you acting like it?
- You can fake out some, and maybe even your family, but you can’t fake out Jesus. He will sniff you out, with His God powers and let you know by revealing the truth.
- Listen, good things happen when truth is revealed. You have an opportunity to make it right in the eyes of God.
- Allow God to open you’re the eyes of your heart so you can be free indeed.
Application—Has Jesus revealed truth to you today? If He has respond to Him and be FREE AT LAST!
Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,