The Truth Will Set us Free
The Fourth message in the With All My Heart series.
(Find the other messages from this series here)
The Truth Will Set Us Free!
In each of these messages of the heart, we’ve looked at a a disagreement between Jesus and the Pharisees.
These passages are ripe for truth about the heart because the Pharisees only looked on the outward actions and conduct.
They were concerned with what could be seen, Jesus was constantly came back to them answering their accusations and questions, but more importantly pointing into their cold, dark, prideful hearts.
While the Pharisees were focused on the facade, Jesus was determined to make a difference in the heart.
The opening message looked at Matthew 22:32-40 where Jesus said that the greatest command is to love the Lord your God with all your heart…
The Pharisees didn’t love God with their hearts- the deep layers of the onion of their hearts had not been redeemed by God’s love and mercy and so when these moments take place they respond in anger. In the passage we looked at last week, they take counsel together on how they might kill Jesus because of the things He said.
They were prim and proper. They kept all the rules.
But their hearts were full or rage.
They didn’t love God with all their heart, they hadn’t even opened their heart to God…
Spiritual growth is heart transformation.
The second message looked at where to start. How do we begin to open our lives up to God. We talked about the fact that we have to face where we are at if we are ever going to get where we are going.
To get where we are headed,
we must first face where we are at.
In that message we talked about the statement Jesus made to the Pharisees about being like someone who is trying to pluck the splinter out of another person’s eye when there is a beam in their own eye.
It’s much easier to work on someone else’s problem’s than it is to work out our own…
In last week’s message we talked about the gift of rest and slowing down that God wishes to give us. He desires for us to slow down so that we can open up to him, so that we can experience His redeeming work in our hearts. So that we can experience His grace and goodness down into the deep recesses of our hearts.
Disciples aren’t microwaved, they’re marinated.
Today, I want to talk to you about what to do when we slow down.
I know that some of you, perhaps through this whole series you’ve been saying, ok, Pastor Daniel so now what do we do?
Give me some stuff to do! Give me some items on a checklist that I can cross off and know that I’ve done my part to love God with all my heart…
Before we get into the message, let me clarify that what we are going to look at today isn’t something that you do and you’re done. What I’m going to point us to is a manner of life.
Spiritual and Emotional Health isn’t something that we knock out on a to do list. Slowing down isn’t something we do a on a weekend retreat. Facing where we are at isn’t something we do in an intense session of study or journaling and then never look back on…
Spiritual and Emotional Health are a way of life.
Let me give you 2 analogies.
Many of you garden. You know that there is some intense work in the beginning phases- in the clearing and tilling of the ground. The planting and the watering. But when your plants begin to sprout, the work isn’t done. This garden needs constant care otherwise it becomes over grown and weeds choke it out or animals knock over your fence and walk away with all your fruit….
A relationship only remains a relationship as long as there is ongoing communication- When you get married, the work of the relationship is not over, it’s just beginning. It will need constant care and investment…
In both analogies- the garden and the marriage, constant care isn’t just needed- it’s nice.
The garden will produce a nice reward with regular care.
A marriage that is invested in can go deeper and more fully into love…
Your relationship with God doesn’t just need ongoing investment, it will yield greater rewards and deeper meaning.
Like a garden that’s well cared for and marriage that isn’t taken for granted, our relationship with God can grow in blessings and deepen in meaning.
Just as gardens and marriages flourish with regular care, our relationship with God benefits and deepens with time and investment.
So let’s look at this passage.
To give you an idea of the broader context of this passage, John 8 starts with the Pharisees bringing a woman to Jesus who has been caught in adultery.
It’s a beautiful contrast in how the Pharisees approached these matters and how Jesus deals with it.
Then Jesus is teaching the people that He is the son of God. He’s pointing out that they are of the world, but He is from the Father above, and verse 30 is really great.
To these people that have believed he directs these next few verses.
Read John 8:31-34
Let me just first point out the basic mechanics of this verse.
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him,
If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Jesus wasn’t saying that to be a believer you had to obey a list of commands, he had been saying the exact opposite, that belief in him was the path to forgiveness and justification.
He is saying, the sign that you are my followers, my students is if you continue in my word.
Then you are truly, verily, clearly my disciples.
Continue in my word would have been in Jesus’ teaching. To follow the life and values that he was constantly laying out in His teaching and preaching. Jesus was saying, if you believe in me, you’ll believe an act on the things that I say.
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
If you are continuing in the word of Jesus, then you know the truth. And the truth will set you free!
We’ll come back to this, but I want you to see how they responded.
33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
They are thinking outward, they are thinking literal. Jesus is talking about the heart, they are talking about the outside-
Jesus is talking about the inside, they are thinking about the outside…
They say, we aren’t slaves. What do you mean we need to be free?
34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
Now, right here in this very moment we have an immediate fulfillment of what Jesus said.
You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
They say, we aren’t slaves.
Jesus says, oh but you are. For anyone who sins is a servant of sin. Sin enslaves and traps and holds us…
Already they are learning a truth that will set them free- the very first truth they had to learn was that they weren’t free!
Hear this, there are some of you that right now you think you’re free, but you’re not free.
You think you’re free because there are no obvious, outward signs of your slavery. You’re not in the trouble with the law, you don’t have an addiction that caused you to lose your job, you don’t have an addiction that has changed your physical appearance, but you are a slave nonetheless.
You are chained to your lust. You are chained to greed.
You are chained to pornography. You are chained to bitterness.
The most important truth you could learn today, that will bring you to freedom is that you aren’t free!
The most helpless slaves are those who don’t know they’re enslaved.
How can you love God with all of your heart, when some portion of it is chained to sin? When some section of your heart is roped off for lust, or pride, or greed, or anger?
When we come in contact with God’s word, we are freed but it begins by pointing out the areas where we are enslaved.
This is that already, not yet part of the gospel.
That instant justification, progressive sanctification.
Let me show you something really neat.
2 weeks ago I told you to underline two passages in Romans 6 when we talked about the words Justification and Sanctification.
1. the action of showing something to be right or reasonable.
2. the action of declaring or making righteous in the sight of God.
the state of growing in divine grace as a result of Christian commitment after baptism or conversion
In Christ we experience instant justification and progressive sanctification.
18 and 22.
18 Being then made free from sin,
ye became the servants of righteousness.
22 But now being made free from sin,
and become servants to God,
ye have your fruit unto HOLINESS,
and the end everlasting life.
“Being then made free” and “now being made free”
Both of these words, are the exact same word in English and greek as what we read in John 8.
We are made free from our sin in Christ, we are then being made free from our sinful nature through His truth.
When we slow down and follow after the words of Jesus,
we know the truth and we are set free!
Part of knowing that truth is seeing all the pieces of us that are broken, seeing all the pieces of us that are enslaved, seeing all the pieces of us that we didn’t even know was there-
Knowing the truth means
knowing the truth about us and God.
It’s the moments of realizing we have the beam in our eye.
It’s the moments of realizing, that’s the way I’ve always done life because that’s how my family always did, and we called it normal, but God calls it wrong…
You ever have that moment that you come to the end of the day and realize that you have something on your shirt or on your face, and you didn’t know it was there. You were oblivious…
Look at what they say in this passage.
39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.
Now, just look one verse up to verse 43.
What Jesus says here is powerful.
43 Why do ye not understand my speech?
even because ye cannot hear my word.
Jesus isn’t saying, why don’t you understand me? Can you not hear me? He’s not saying listen to me, listen to the words coming out of my mouth-
He is saying you can’t understand my “laleo” or my speaking because you don’t hear my “logos” my truth.
What I’m saying about being enslaved to sin makes no sense to you because you haven’t understood the truth I’ve been trying to tell you- your hearts are evil!
When we know God’s gospel,
we are ready to understand His freeing truth.
There’s this initial, important truth of the gospel that we must come to understand, that we must come to believe.
When we understand that logos, that truth, that gospel that we are sinners and desperately in need of Christ’s forgiveness, we are then able to understand what Christ is saying to us! We are then able to take his words and follow them into paths of righteousness and wholeness and freedom and peace and joy!
Start with this belief, start with the gospel, and then the Word of God comes alive to us and is full of truths that feel as though they were written directly to us! They speak about our lives and our temptations and our hangups and our hurts and our mess and our families and our marriages and our kids…
And there are moments when it is difficult to hear, because it’s so true it stings, but there are moments when it breathes fresh life into us as we feel Christ making us more like himself and we feel so free in His grace and His love.
How could a group of people hear the same message and walk away with some of them wanting to kill Jesus and others saying, this is God’s son and he has given me a new life! How does that happen? Those that believed the truth could understand what he was saying…
They were made free, and they would be made free.
In Christ we are made free and we are being made free.
Christ does this through truth.
For these disciples, they walked with Jesus. Listened to his every word. Listened to every message…
For us, it is here. Here in this book we have the recorded words of Christ. We have the speech, the truth. The substance of our freedom….
Every generation since the founding of the church has faced controversy over the scriptures.
In my generation the fresh controversy has been the Gnostic gospels. In my father’s generation it was the translation issue. In my grandfather’s generation it was Theological Liberalism.
In his father’s generation it was high criticism.
Each generation of the church must reaffirm its belief in the scriptures as the inspired Word of God.
Why? Because Satan relentlessly attacks this truth- he knows it is the key to our freedom.
Every generation faces controversy over the scriptures because evil strategically targets our interaction with and faith in the truth.
From the very beginning, when Satan said to Eve, did God really say? Through the ages when owning the scripture in your own language was illegal, to today when there are still countries where the Bible is illegal, and people groups who do not have the scripture in their native tongue-
Evil fights the strategic battle of keep us away from this book.
Here in our context, the scripture is ever present- so Satan focuses on keeping us so busy, so hurried that we never take time to apply it’s truth to the shackles that keep us enslaved…
When Satan can’t make us doubt the truth,
he tempts us to neglect the truth.
2 Timothy 3….
13But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
14But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.