Today I want to talk about freedom. True freedom that was also obtained by sacrifice. The ultimate sacrifice.
John 8:31-36 - Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?” 34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
The truth to which Jesus refers is more than the factual correctness that dominates so much of western Christianity. We can quote verses about evangelism, prayer, or compassion, yet we rarely seek to extend compassion prayerfully bringing the gospel to those living in darkness. The freedom that Jesus offers is not a political system; it is a release from the chains that enslave one's soul.
I. Possibility of freedom
Whatever category you classify your slavery, the result is the same - a failure to experience the abundant life promised by following Christ. To those living in bondage, Jesus offers the possibility of freedom!
A. The freedom offered by Jesus is spiritual
- True freedom is not about changing your outward circumstances.
- Spiritual freedom is not dependent upon physical circumstances that may have led or contributed to your bondage.
B. Jesus' freedom has a purpose
- Jesus describes the freedom He offers resulting from abiding in His truth.
- Freedom is not a lack of restraint that allows one to fulfill any desire, but genuine freedom takes place in the arena of divine truth.
- As we abide in Christ we are released from the chains of the world and released to be all that God created us to be.
- Christ is the only one who can set us free to enjoy the life as a child of God instead of living as a slave of the world.
II. Hazards of freedom
A. First hazard is Ignorance
- Jesus is declaring new truth to some who did not know that freedom was available.
- The Bible describes those who lacked knowledge of Christ's ministry as "living in darkness," and Jesus came to bring light to those who lived in darkness.
B. Second hazard is arrogance
- The Pharisees' statement that they had never lived as slaves is not just inaccurate; it is arrogant.
- Israel had experienced slavery under the Assyrian Empire, Babylonian Empire, Persian Empire, and now the Roman Empire. But their greatest slavery was to their own sin.
- They were unwilling to admit that they had failed to meet God's holy standard. They lived by a legalistic code and arrogantly rejected the offer of God's amazing grace.
C. Third hazard is Reluctance
- The context reveals that some had placed their faith in Christ (v. 30), while others believed what Jesus was preaching but had not taken the next step placing their faith in Him.
- This group was not ignorant. They were not arrogant because they recognized a need for Christ, but they were unwilling to surrender to the lordship of Christ.
D. Fourth hazard is Complacency
- Contained in the text is the exhortation to be free indeed or truly free.
- This exhortation seems to stand in contrast to those who would accept marginal freedom. A little bit of freedom was acceptable instead of trusting Christ for abundant freedom.
III. Progression of freedom
A. Jesus identifies a progression or process for experiencing true freedom with the words, "If..then (you are)."
36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
- The process should not be confused with a legalistic formula.
- The little word "if" is a big concept in the kingdom of God. The word represents an invitation.
Jesus also reveals the expectation to remain faithful.
- First, remaining faithful refers to perseverance. True freedom is not found through a casual glance at the claims of Christ, but one must be willing to "dwell" in the Word of God (v.31) to my teaching.
- The second concept of remain faithful to my teaching. Jesus declares that true freedom is found in, "MY word."
Most of us have experienced the crunch of high gasoline prices. When my teenage daughter asks to ride with her parents because she doesn't want to use the gas in her car, you know that gas is expensive. Imagine if Congress allowed drilling for oil in my backyard to help reduce the cost of gas. What do you think the impact would be on prices? None! Why? Because they aren't in major oil reserves in my backyard! The soil deposits in this geographic region do not contain the chemicals necessary for producing large quantities of fuel like those of Texas, Alaska, or Saudi Arabia. No matter how hard I work and no matter how sincere I believe, digging for oil in my backyard will not produce the desired result. To get oil, you must dig where there is a deposit of oil.
If all the men who gave their lives for our freedom in WWII would have got on the boat and sailed to Australia would we be free? They had to go where the fight is.
Just like getting up to see the Sun takes a sacrifice Freedom Cost. Jesus paid the cost of your freedom going through the cross and out of the tomb but if you want to experience it in your life you have to chose to. IF you want to experience freedom. Remain faithful to my teachings.
Jesus declared there is a deposit of truth in His words that can set you free indeed!