Summary: Jesus offers us a costly freedom from our enslavement to sin. It cost his life and ours. When we live obedient lives, we learn the truth of God and enjoy his freedom. The proof of our discipleship is seen by what we "put off" and "put on" in our lives.
In the movie Braveheart Mel Gibson plays the role of a man from Scotland whose name was William Wallace. Wallace was trying to win Scotland's freedom from the cruel rule of the King of England, Longshank. His hatred for both Scotland and Wallace grew as Wallace won many victories against England.
In the end, Wallace is betrayed by a friend and captured by Longshanks who is now older and very ill. It is Longshanks plan is not merely to kill Wallace but to have him beg for mercy and a quick death.
As the movie ends Wallace is brought to the court yard before a jeering crowd. And then the Kings executioner begins to torture him... telling him that if he begs for mercy they will make the death quick.
Meanwhile Longshanks is up in his room - on his death bed - waiting to hear his enemy Wallace beg for mercy....
After not responding Wallace tries to speak - though it is difficult because his throat is ruined from being tortured -- the man in charge of the torture gets the crowd to be silent so they all can hear Wallace beg - but instead of begging for mercy -- Wallace summons up what little strength he has left to scream with great force the word --FREEDOM!!!! Its sound penetrated the air - and reached the ears of Longshanks.
Freedom is a powerful word, it is a driving concept. Men have fought battles, gone to war and sacrificed greatly in order to gain or give freedom.
2. Jesus speaks of freedom as well -- John 8.31-32
a. Jesus may have been addressing Jews who HAD believed in him or had expressed superficial faith
b. Jesus separates the wannabe disciple from the true disciple
I. Genuine Disciples
A. Discipleship is Costly
1. Jesus is not interested in multiplying uncommitted disciples
2. He forces would-be disciples to count the cost -- Luke 9.23-26
And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
9.57-62 57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." 58 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." 59 To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 60 And Jesus said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." 61 Yet another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home." 62 Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."
3. Our tendency to waffle about our conduct -- compartmentalize our activities -- 1 Kings 18.21
B. Discipleship is Continual -- remains; stays; abides
1. A whole life experience -- Deuteronomy 6.4ff
2. Perseverance is the mark of true discipleship
a. Purpose of trials -- James 1.2-3
b. Key to running the race -- Hebrews 12.1-2
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
1) Our perseverance (Noun form)
2) His endurance (Verb form) -- Bear bravely and calmly in mistreatments
II. Godly Doctrine
A. We Are to Know the Truth of God
1. Mental Understanding
a. That comes with memory and meditation
b. That comes by Obedience -- Exodus 19.4-8
2. It involves a Moral Commitment -- John 7.17
a. More than rigorous debate or sanitary observation
b. It is a commitment to carry out the teaching of God
B. Truth of God Leads to Our Freedom
1. Jewish people have believed that the study of Torah brings freedom (Pirkei Avot 3.5)
2. Torah points to Jesus -- John 5.39, 46