Summary: Does our birth / lineage / descent determine from where we came, who we are and our eternity? Born in the USA – does it really mean liberty / freedom / living the American dream?
Illustration: You ever watch those shows about these submarines that go down 2 and a half miles to the wreck of the Titanic? That’s one thing that I think I could never do. To be crammed into a machine not much bigger than a telephone booth with 2 other guys, 2 miles below the surface of the water, with the incredible pressure of that water just trying to squish the vessel. Well, let’s say that you were down there, and you just couldn’t take it anymore. You were going nuts, and you said, “I have to get out of here!” Opening the hatch would be about the stupidest thing you could do. Yeah, you might get out of the sub, but you’d be crushed by the water before you got the chance to drown. The apparent captivity of the submarine actually gives you freedom. That confinement preserves your life. And it’s the exact same thing when we talk about Christian living. Living the way that God wants you to might seem restricting, but it’s sure a lot better than the alternative.
Introduction & Background: Jesus’ ministry grows rapidly, healing, deliverance ……. He tells that He is the Son of God. Many Samaritans believe in Him. Jesus feeds the 5,000. He walks on water and discloses that He is the living water and bread from heaven. He also tells that He is the light of the world. There is conflict and disagreement amongst the Jews. The Jewish leaders attempt to arrest Christ but there are some who believe in Him, even though some fell away and it is here He addressed them.
1. Jesus addresses the Jewish believers:
V 31 Abide in Christ – becomes His disciples.
Test of the disciples faith in Christ (their faith had never been tested). They ‘believed on Him’ but their faith was not yet made perfect by obedience. Hence Jesus adds the condition of discipleship. Their belief must move them to accept & obey Christ’s teaching.
V 32 Knowing the truth – sets us free.
Jesus Himself is the truth who sets us free. He is the source of truth, the perfect standard of what is right. He frees us from-
(a) consequences of sin
(c) deception by Satan
The truth written upon our hearts by the Spirit of God shall make us free.
Illustration: An Arab chief tells a story of a spy who was captured and then sentenced to death by a general in the Persian army. This general had the strange custom of giving condemned criminals a choice between the firing squad and the big, black door. As the moment for execution drew near, the spy was brought to the Persian general, who asked the question, "What will it be: the firing squad or the big, black door?"
The spy hesitated for a long time. It was a difficult decision. He chose the firing squad.
Moments later shots rang out confirming his execution. The general turned to his aide and said, "They always prefer the known way to the unknown. It is characteristic of people to be afraid of the undefined. Yet, we gave him a choice."
The aide said, "What lies beyond the big door?"
"Freedom," replied the general. "I’ve known only a few brave enough to take it.”
2. The Jewish believers’ false assumption (v 33):
Does our birth / lineage / descent determine from where we came, who we are and our eternity? Born in the USA – does it really mean liberty / freedom / living the American dream?
John 8: 44 says, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
Though they said they were enslaved by no one – apparently they were enslaved by the Romans and their forefathers were enslaved by the Egyptians. Here Jesus was talking about their spiritual state (not their physical state, which they misunderstood). It was a heart issue – SIN. Living in America doesn’t make anyone to have freedom or liberty. They may be enslaved in Sin and be living anywhere in the world.
3. Jesus answers the Jewish believers (v 34):
We abide in Sin – therefore becoming slaves of sin.
The question is not of free service but who are in bondage and captivity to Satan. Condition of sinner is that of a slave.
[Note: (a) Passive Attitude: not doing what is right & keeping quiet about the conflicting issues. (b) Active Attitude: Doing what is wrong in the sight of God & man.]
V 35a: Slave – no eternity in heaven (sin dictates our lives)