Faithlife Sermons

Truth and Freedom

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John 8:31–32 ESV
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
We gather today, here in this place to worship our God in our way - and there are others around the country that will also gather this week to worship their god in their way.
because others have paid the price for our freedom
men and women from every race, creed and socio economic status have given their lives to afford us this freedom. They have served in our military and in our police departments, they have stood at the front line of protests and they have stood up against injustice where they have seen it.
Our country will celebrate Independence Day this Wednesday. It’s a day we celebrate our freedom. It’s a day that we might hear the phrase touted by Superman since 1942, “Truth, Justice, and the American Way!”
Truth, Justice, and the American Way… It’s an interesting phrase.
Truth - I’ve heard it asked, “what is truth?”
Here’s what the Oxford English Dictionary says of the word:

truth

■ noun (plural truths /truːðz, truːƟs/) the quality or state of being true.

▶ (also the truth) that which is true as opposed to false.

▶ a fact or belief that is accepted as true.

The quality or state of being true; that which is true as opposed to false; a fact or belief that is accepted as true. Okay, that was almost helpful. Let’s look at what it is to be “true”.

true

■ adjective (truer, truest)

1 in accordance with fact or reality.

▶ rightly or strictly so called; genuine: true love.

▶ real or actual.

2 accurate or exact.

▶ (true to) accurately conforming to (a standard or expectation).

▶ (of a note) exactly in tune.

▶ (of a compass bearing) measured relative to true north.

▶ correctly positioned or aligned; upright or level.

3 loyal or faithful.

▶ chiefly archaic honest: all good men and true.

true - real; actual or exact
That is a pretty profound statement, especially in a culture that in many ways no longer believes in truth. People use ridiculous phrases like “Well, if that’s true for you,” as if truth has somehow become this subjective thing that moves. Yet even by its own definition it cannot be that.
We are living in a world that is considered the post-modern era. What that means is our culture no longer believes in a standardized truth. But there is such a fallacy in this argument, they tell us we can’t speak in absolutes any longer. You ask, “Is that true?” and they will tell you, “Absolutely!”
Our culture wants to deny anyone from pushing their truths on another person, that is seen as oppressive and unjust. Professing to be wise they have become fools!
How can you call anything just or unjust without absolutes? How can you have truth without absolutes, how can anyone condemn anything as being wrong if there is no truth, no justice, no right or wrong. We are lost. We are condemned to the echo of the last sentence of the book of Judges,
Judges 21:25 ESV
In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Yet in the same breath of denying truth, our culture condemns the evil it sees in this world - slavery, racism, sexism, socio-economic injustice, and more.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Ligonier’s Conference here in Seattle. One of the speakers is an apologist named Ravi Zacharias, and if you haven’t heard of him, I encourage you to look him up. He’s positively brilliant in his ability to simplify the complex arguments of our culture and the christian faith into memorable summary that really get to the heart of the matter.
He shared with us a conversation he had with an individual regarding evil in the world - the individual would deny the existence of God and was at the same time lamenting the evil in this world. Ravi’s reply struck me:
“You say there is evil; then there must be good. If there is good and evil, then there must be morals by which they are measured. If there are morals by which good and evil can be measured, there must be an objective moral giver. Without an objective moral giver, you have no morals by which to measure and without such morals you have no good, and therefore you have no evil.”
John 14:6 ESV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
In the opening sentences of John we read:
John 1:1 ESV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Doesn’t that remind you of our Genesis series? The opening words of the Bible:
Genesis 1:1 ESV
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
In the Beginning, God - In the Beginning was the Word…and the Word was God. It is absolutely true that the way you understand the first 4 words of the Bible will determine how you understand the rest of Scripture.
In chapter 3 of Genesis when we get to the Fall what we see is not that it was about the right and wrong, but that it was about God, it was about the relationship with God. God was the one that breathed life into humankind. God was the one that breathed the Word as we read in 2 Timothy 3
2 Timothy 3:16 ESV
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
So returning to our passage for today
John 8:31–32 ESV
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
From the Amplified Bible we get some clarity on what it means to abide in Jesus’ Word
John 8:31 AMP
So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples.
Abiding is to live, where is your abode? Abide in Jesus’ Word
John 8:31 ESV
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
John 8:32 ESV
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
There was some debate, I want to read a bit further than our passage this morning. Let’s look at the next few verses.
John 8:33–36 ESV
They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:36 ESV
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
There is much more here than we have time for this morning. As always, I commend God’s Word to you. Let’s pray.
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