Summary: This is the 25th sermon in a series from the Gospel of John. In this sermon we look at how Jesus is the truth, and how true followers of Jesus abide in His Word, and are eventually set free by His Word.
Freed by Truth (John pt. 25)
Text: John 8:30-32
Now before we get to our text this morning, I want to remind you all John’s purpose for writing this Gospel account… It’s in John 20:30-31… It says, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written SO THAT YOU MAY BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name.” John wants you, and me, and everyone else who reads His Gospel account to believe in Jesus. So it’s kind of interesting what we’re reading this morning, and I’ll explain what I mean by that after we read it… so let’s go ahead and open our Bibles to John 8 and we’ll read verses 30 through 47 (READ TEXT).
Now verse 30 starts out by saying “Many ‘believed’ in Him.” And something we’ve seen over and over again in John’s Gospel is that there are those who “believe” and then there are those who BELIEVE! What I mean by that is… there are those who intellectually agree with something Jesus says, or who mentally assent to His ministry… and then there are those who have true, saving faith. And we looked at that a little bit last time when Jesus said, “If you FOLLOW Me, you will have the light of life…” So John makes that point, over and over again. True faith… Saving Faith is a following faith. It’s a faith that has corresponding actions or works. And this false faith… he shows us that as well… We see it in John 2:23-24, where it says many believed in Him, but He did not entrust Himself to them, because He knew what was in the heart of man… We see it again in John 6, when the 5000+ turn and walk away from Jesus because He doesn’t fit their criteria for what the Messiah is supposed to be.
But remember… John wants people to believe – that’s why he wrote this Gospel… but he wants them to REALLY believe. He wants them to have true, saving faith. He’s not interested in adding to the membership rolls, a bunch of people who have fooled themselves into thinking that they are genuine Christians, but in reality have never been born again. And so not only does John tell us about these things that Jesus does… you know… all the signs and wonders and miracles… he also tells us about instances where Jesus rebuked people for having this kind of false faith. Because he doesn’t want us to be those kinds of people.
And so verse 30 tells us that many “believed” but in verse 31, Jesus tells them what true faith looks like. He says, “If you ABIDE in My Word, you are truly My disciples.” Now there’s a lot of confusion about that from folks today… They’ll read verse 31 and say, “See… it’s up to us to abide… if we don’t abide… we lose our salvation.” But that’s not what that verse is saying. Jesus is saying here, “You want to know how you’re a true Christian? You’ll persevere. True Christians persevere. True Christians abide… True Christians continue on. That’s how you know.” It’s not about you and me abiding to stay Christians… it’s about us being true Christians, and if we are – we will abide. And if we are, Jesus says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” We get messed up on the wording… we put the emphasis on the word “IF”, but a better way to translate this passage would be to say, “By abiding in My Word, you show you are truly My disciples.” Or we might say, “By continuing in My Word, you’re showing that you are truly My disciples.”
So… There’s a truth to be known. I’m sure all of us know people who are not believers. Here in the US, the majority of our university professors are not Christians… the majority of those who produce magazines, and newspapers, and movies, and music, are not Christians. We have friends, neighbors, co-workers, and fellow students who are not Christians. They live their lives, never even thinking about Jesus, or heaven, or hell, or what God might think about them. And then we have a lot of folks to who do claim to be Christians, but they also, by their lives show that they don’t really take their profession seriously. They live as functional atheists, even while claiming to believe in God.
And that’s the kind of people Jesus is dealing with in our text here. He tells them that there’s a truth to be known… and it’s not a relativistic thing, where there’s one thing that’s true for you and another, entirely different thing that’s true for me. There is one truth… “THE TRUTH”.