Summary: # 26 in series. Three truths about faith. 1) faith is more than religous hertiage 2) is revealed by our actions 3) is built on what you believe about Jesus
A Study of the Book of John
“That You May Believe”
Sermon # 26
“You’re Just Like Your Father”
Whether we like it our not we are all products of the influence of our parents. We may claim it is not so but it is. It’s perhaps easiest to see in our own children. In fact someone as stated it this way, “What we like least about our children is what we see of ourselves in them!”
From birth people begin looking for a resemblance to our parents. They make statements like, “He has his father’s eyes.” Or “She sure has her mother’s temperament!” I always told people that our daughter Nikki had my temper because her mother still has all of hers! Just kidding, dear!
Some of us have spent our entire lives trying not to be like our parents but inevitably there are things we do or say because our parents did or said it to us. Most of us have vowed that when we became parents that we would never answer a child’s question of “Why?” with “Because I said so?” But we’ve all done it.
Obviously our parents also influence us genetically. I seem to be an almost perfect average of my parents. Mom had curly hair, Dad had wavy hair, I have both. Mom was 4’11” Dad was 5’ 11” and I am 5’8.”
Jesus had been teaching men about spiritual things, but whenever he suggested that there might be something lacking in their lives that only he could supply (8:31-32), they became angry and defensive. They wanted to talk about their spiritual heritage, but Jesus points out it is about a personal spiritual relationship with God.
Three truths about Faith.
First, Faith Is More Than Having A Religious Heritage. (vv.32-33)
“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. (32) And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (33) “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said.”
What is really astounding is to under-stand that these religious leaders are saying that their hope for this life and for life eternal was not based on any dependence on God’s grace or even their own moral behavior but it depended solely on their relationship to Abraham. The common belief of the time was that Abraham was so godly that he had stored up such a vast treasury of merit that if his descendants would draw upon it they would attain whatever righteousness they needed. As far as they are concerned no descendant of Abraham could ever be lost!
Jesus agrees that as Jews they are indeed the physical descendants of Abraham, but in spirit they are as far from Abraham as was conceivable.
In our own day there are people who consider themselves Christians because their parents are Christians, or they were raised in a Christian church. But being a Christian is more than having a spiritual heritage. And Jesus begins to show these men that Faith is more than a spiritual heritage and that in fact Abraham is not really their father.
Not Only Is Faith More Than Having A Religious Heritage but …
Secondly. Faith Is Really Revealed By The Consistency Of Our Actions.
“Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. (38) I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.” (39) “Our father is Abraham!” they declared.
“No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example. (40) Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. (41) No, you are imitating your real father.”
Jesus says there is a real inconsistency between what they profess to believe and what they actually are. This has profound modern application because we see it every-day. We see it in the person who says that they are a Christian but that belief does not make any difference in the way they live their life. I refer to this as the “Yes, but mentality.” They say, “ I know what the Bible says, but…” These individuals may know what the Bible says but it does not affect the way they make decisions. That is the same kind of inconsistency that Jesus was talking about.
It is as though when they find their backs to wall figuratively they feel forced to use their bag of dirty tricks. They now level three unfounded accusations against Jesus, they accuse him of being illegitimate (v.42), of being a sinner (v.46) and of being demon possessed (v.48).