Summary: Taking the 6 "If" statements Jesus gave in John 8:31-54 and applying them to Spiritual maturity
The Six Ifs of Spiritual Growth
The video we just watched was a visual depiction of the scripture we are studying for this morning found in John chapter 8 verses 31 through 54. What I want to focus on is that Jesus makes several very important statements during this moment of teaching in the temple in Jerusalem.
I have read this portion of scripture many many times. When I was studying for our talk this week, I decided to use one of my Bible program’s features called the propositional outline which organizes the scripture into what the truth of the scripture is followed by the explanation.
When I did that something appeared that I never really saw before.
Jesus makes several conditional statements throughout this whole narrative that concern both our spiritual health and growth.
Let me unwrap that a little-
A conditional statement is one that puts forth a cause and then an affect. For example if you choose to walk in the rain then you will get wet.
Another example if you choose to eat really spicy foreign food then you may get an upset stomach and become very acquainted with the inside of your bathroom.
The bible calls this the Law of Sowing and Reaping. The Apostle Paul teaches us this principle in- (emphasis slowly)
Gal 6: 7-8 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
Now I shouldn't have to explain what sowing and reaping is to an agriculturally literate crowd here, but just in case you have never gardened nor lived on a farm, what this principle is saying here is that if you plant a mustard seed than you will get a mustard plant.
If you plant a tomato vine tomatoes will be the product of that vine.
Conversely, you can't get a cucumber if you are planting beans.
Nor can you get corn if you are planting potatoes.
You will gain a harvest by whatever you plant.
What is true in the physical realm when it comes to gardening and farming is also true in the spiritual realm.
And that is what Jesus is showing us in this section of scripture.
By repeating the word “if” several times in this part of John's gospel Jesus is also talking about the things that we do or that we don't do that affect our spiritual health and growth. You can spot these spiritual truths in this section of scripture by looking for the word “IF”
So today we're going to look at the 6 IF’S of spiritual growth that Jesus teaches us in John chapter 8 .
These are 6 choices that we all make that will either help us to grow in God or inhibit the moving of the Holy Spirit within our lives and limit God's ability to bless us, grow us, and use us in his Kingdom. These 6 If’s will also determine what reward we get when we stand before Jesus someday to give an account for our lives here on earth and what we did with HIS salvation.
Let's 1st start off by asking God to bless our efforts this morning
So let's begin by looking at the first IF of spiritual growth
I. 1st “IF” - DISCIPLESHIP
John 8:31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The first IF of spiritual growth is discipleship.
In the church, we throw around words like Disciple or discipleship or being a follower of Jesus but I really think most of us have lost what actually being a disciple means.
Take a moment and consider the first 12 people who followed Jesus.
Peter James and John all left their fishing nets to follow Jesus.
Matthew left a very lucrative business collecting taxes
Andrew was also a businessman who left all that behind
And all of them with the exception of the Apostle John died as martyrs because of their belief, witness, and proclamation of Jesus Christ as Lord.
I have shared this before but it’s such a challenging testimony that fits into this subject.
I was listening to a sermon about the testimony of the superintendent of Assemblies of God in Vietnam. His name is Paul LI. Paul LI has spent the majority of his life in prison for preaching the gospel. Many of these days were spent in a 4 foot by 4 foot box or he would have to be literally crouched over either on his hands and knees or laying in a ball in order to fit. Even when he was in the better parts of the prison, if you can call any part of prisons over there good he would be given only a light covering for his body and a small 3 by 3 foot square blanket. Now your thinking Vietnam is hot all the time but it can get pretty cold at night and what Paul would do is off for his blanket to another prisoner as long as he could light near them and he would spend the night telling them about Jesus.