Summary: The process by which truth can become a life-transforming power.
(The Bible reading can include vv. 28-59)
A. Jesus is calling us to be His disciples. This calling includes a new commitment to the TRUTH.
B. Three important questions:
1. What is the truth?
2. Where can I find the truth?
3. What do I do with it, once I find it?
C. ILL: A comparison between playdough and a rock . . . two perspectives . . . two ways to view the world in which we live.
1. Playdough: flexible, changing, unstable, mysterious, fluctuating.
2. Rock: hard, inflexible, rigid, permanent, constant, solid, secure.
I. We Live in an Increasingly Playdough Culture.
A. The popular culture today sees truth as a fluctuating, changing thing that we can mold to our own convenience.
1. Cheating on college exams is becoming the norm.
2. The phrase, "I give you my word," no longer has meaning.
3. Feelings are becoming the lens though which we view reality.
B. How did we get here?
1. Long story with countless influences: philosophy, globalization, multiculturalism.
2. We evangelical Christians must accept part of the blame for our inflexibility, rigidity on non-essential issues and cultural preferences.
C. The world today is not asking: "What is the truth." It is asking: "Is there such a thing as truth?"
II. Why Seek the Truth?
A. Because we live in a universe created by God.
1. God is uncompromisingly committed to the truth. Truth is His nature. It is impossible for Him to lie (Heb. 6:18).
2. Therefore, the universe functions on the basis of truth.
B. The truth = Reality . . . Everything else is an illusion.
1. The illusion may FEEL GOOD for a time, but eventually it evaporates, and the only thing remaining is the truth.
2. If we are not prepared for that truth, then our awakening will be a horrible nightmare become reality.
"It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb 10:31).
C. There is a reality that is OUT THERE, independent of my perceptions. It will continue whether or not I believe it.
III. The Things that Blind us to the Truth.
"Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you CANNOT hear My word (Joh 8:43).
1. Customs and beliefs that we inherit from our culture and our family.
2. Require great courage to break with tradition in our pursuit of truth.
1. An opinion without knowledge.
2. Two examples in our text:
a. "We were not born of fornication" (Joh 8:41). A slur against Jesus referring to the rumor that he is the illegitimate offspring of some unknown lover of Mary.
b. "Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?" (Joh 8:48) Again, no evidence, no knowledge, just prejudice.
C. Selfish Motives.
Right now with all the scandal about corporate corruption, we wonder if the truth will ever come to the surface in this life. The contents of too many pockets are at risk.
1. "Ignorance is bliss," they say. Some people follow this philosophy as a way of avoiding the hard decisions.
2. "I have it all organized and categorized. Don’t mess it up with the truth."
E. Psychology. Not the field of psychology, but our psychological mechanisms.
1. The truth is painful. That’s why most sinners are totally unaware that they are sinners.
2. These Jews who want to stone Jesus, truly believe they are correct. To believe otherwise would just be too painful.
IV. Let’s Look at the Text
"As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (Joh 8:30-32).
The interesting thing about these "believers" is that they are the same people who later that same day, pick up stones with the intention killing Jesus (v. 59).
A. The CONTEXT
1. Jesus speaks truth that culminates in an attempt against His life.
Principle: Truth can be dangerous!
2. These are the same people who had come to believe in Him (v. 30).
3. They were not willing to CONTINUE in the truth, following it to its ultimate consequences.
B. The CONDITION. "If you continue in My word."
1. Jesus knew perfectly well how inconstant and changing we human beings can be. One moment we proclaim: "Hosanna al Rey!" The next moment: "Crucify Him, Crucify Him."
2. If we think of TRUTH as a door, then we can understand why it is not enough to come TO the truth. We must pass through that door in order for the truth to have any effect on our lives.