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John 8:39–47 Sermon

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John 8:39–47 ESV
39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
Starting in verse 39, I thought it good to make our first point our introduction.
Verse 39 starts with a claim.

1. The Claim (v.39a)

39a They answered him, “Abraham is our father.”

1. The Claim (v.39a)

39a They answered him, “Abraham is our father.”

Verse 39a They answered him, “Abraham is our father.”

What were they answering?

Introduction

Prior to our passage today we saw in verses 31-38 three things.

First in verses 31 and 32, Jesus spoke to those who believed (which were those who were free) and He said,

John 8:31 ESV
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
To abide meant to persist for a specified period of time. It meant to endure or dwell for an extended period of time.
So those who persisted and endured in His word will show that they are truly His disciples.
We saw this as a descriptive text and not a prescriptive text.
Meaning that if someone abided in His word, they would show that they were truly His disciples. It is proof of what already is.

2. Jesus responds to their claim (v.39b-46)

His disciples are those who:
1. know the truth
2. and it would reveal that the truth has set them free
Jesus said this to those who believed.
In saying this it revealed that there are those who are free and those are slaves.
And those who are slaves are blind.

Which is second of what we saw in the passage. The blind

Verse 33 showed us what someone would say if they could not see and truly believe what Jesus was saying concerning Him being sent by the Father.
John 8:33 ESV
33 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’?”
They tried to appeal to their right as the offspring of Abraham in order to refute Jesus’ claim of them not being free.
Which showed us that they could not see that they were blind!
There were those in the crowd where Jesus was that refused to believe what Jesus said concerning Himself. Which is the proof of one’s blindness.
Beneath being blind is a darker side to a person apart from faith.
People who refuse to believe are not just lost in the darkness. They love the darkness they are in.
John 3:19 ESV
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
Those who remain in the darkness are slaves. We asked the question slaves to what.

Which brought us to the last point, the slave.

Jesus would tell them in verse 34 what they were enslaved to.
John 8:34 ESV
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.
John
Which is what a blind person is apart from saving faith in Christ.
Someone who is blind from seeing Christ as the Son of God is a slave to sin.
Jesus spoke of a slave not being able to remain a the house forever.
John 8:35 ESV
35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.
A slave in a household did not inherit the inheritance of a house
But a son did and Jesus spoke of the difference which placed those who were listening to Him as those who were slaves
Being enslaved to sin proved that they were mastered by it which is everyone apart from genuine, saving faith in Christ.
1 John 3:9 ESV
9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.
1 John 3:19 ESV
19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him;
They thought their birthright brought them into the rights and privileges of being children of God.
But they were not born of God’s seed. Meaning that they did not have the Spirit of God in order to know and believe that Jesus was sent by the Father.
Jesus said that they were not of God and since they rejected the Son they were not free.
They belonged to another father and not the heavenly Father who had sent His Son.
This is what they were responding to.
They were responding to Jesus claiming that they were not free and that they were actually slaves because of their rejection. Which proved that they were in sin and thus slaves to it.

Verse 39a They answered him, “Abraham is our father.”

Before getting into our passage today it is also important to look into who Abraham was.Who was Abraham?
After their claim in the first half of verse 39 we see that Jesus responded to their claim.
Who was Abraham?
; the son remains forever.

2. Jesus responding to their claim (v.39b-47)

a.

John 8:39 ESV
39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did,

Verse 39b Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did,

Let’s answer two questions.

Verse 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.

First, who was Abraham?

Abraham is first mentioned in and his death is recorded in .
Although we know much about Abraham’s life, we know little about his birth and early life. When we first meet Abraham, he is already 75 years old.
His death is recorded in . Although we know much about Abraham’s life, we know little about his birth and early life. When we first meet Abraham, he is already 75 years old. records that Abraham’s father, Terah, lived in Ur, an influential city in southern Mesopotamia situated on the Euphrates River about halfway between the head of the Persian Gulf and the modern-day city of Baghdad. We also learn that Terah took his family and set off for the land of Canaan but instead settled in the city of Haran in northern Mesopotamia (on the trade route from ancient Babylonia about halfway between Nineveh and Damascus).
Abraham is shown to us first when at the age of 75.
Abraham was a descendant of Shem (who was the firstborn son of Noah, and the brother of Ham and Japheth).

Abraham was a descendant of Shem and the son of Terah, and became the ancestor of the Hebrews and other peoples (Gen. 17:5).

The firstborn son of Noah, and the brother of Ham and Japheth
P. K. McCarter Jr., “Shem,” ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979–1988), 468.and the son of Terah, and became the ancestor of the Hebrews and other peoples ().
God calls Abraham out from his home in Haran and tells him to go to a land that He will show to him. God also makes three promises to Abraham: 1) The promise of a land of his own; 2) the promise to be made into a great nation; and 3) the promise of blessing. These promises form the basis for what will later be called the Abrahamic Covenant (established in and ratified in ).
In we do see in the first three verses a call given to Abraham (then called Abram) by God.
Genesis 12:1–3 ESV
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Gen
God calls Abraham out from his home in Haran and tells him to go to a land that would be shown to him.
We see God making three promises to Abraham.
1) The promise of a land of his own
2) the promise to be made into a great nation
3) the promise of blessing
These promises given to Him are what is considered the Abrahamic Covenant.
We see this in and actually ratified in ).
From Abraham came the people of Israel which, through faith in God, would practice circumcision as a sign of the faith they professed.
So God began a covenant with Abraham that was by faith and ratified by circumcision which brought in the people of Israel who would bless all the nations through the promise of the Messiah.

So this being who Abraham was, what was it that He did? What works did Abraham do which is the second question

Go to and Galatians 3.
Paul helps us to point out something that Abraham did that brought forth the people of God.
In Romans chapter 4, Paul makes the case about faith (meaning trusting in an already completed work) versus a works based belief (which would be trusting in one’s own ability to be justified). Which Paul strongly refuted.
Romans 4:1–3 ESV
1 What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
Paul quoting from Genesis 15:6.
Paul also does this in . There, his concern for the churches in Galatia was that they had bought into the Pharisees teaching on works being what brought someone into genuine faith in God.
Paul again strongly refutes this with going to the beginning where Abraham had began with God, the covenant made not by works but by faith.
Going back to , we clearly see Paul’s argument.
Romans 4:10–12 ESV
10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
So the work Jesus is speaking of is the work of faith. Which Abraham could not have done without God first initiating it when speaking to Abraham.
So the faith Abraham had was counted to him as righteousness which came from the gospel being preached to him.
And those who’d follow with genuine faith would be sons.
Galatians 3:7–9 ESV
7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
So what did Abraham do?
He believed God which could not have happened apart from God giving him the gospel.
This was not of his own doing. It was an act of grace that he was able to believe what God had told him.
Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Circumcision did not begin the covenant it only served as a sign.
It started with faith that came by grace to Abraham.
The work Abraham did began with grace through faith.
If those in our text were Abraham’s children, they would have done the same.
Which shows is again that apart from faith one is left with a condition shown in verse 40.
John 8:40 ESV
40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.
John 8:40
Abraham heard God and believed. And that faith was counted to him as righteousness.
They did not believe. They sought instead to kill the One who was sent by the Father. Proving their condemnation and rejection which is sin.

Verse 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.

They were not sons of Abraham. They might have descended from him in the flesh but they were not sons. Because they did not do what Abraham had done.
Which was believe in the gospel.

Verse 41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.”

Jesus said in the first half of verse 41,
John 8:41 ESV
41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.”

Verse 41a You are doing the works your father did.”

Of course what would follow this is more proof of their condemnation.
They would say in the latter part of verse 41,

Verse 41b They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.”

Here we see an accusation that came from believing that Jesus was born from an immoral relationship.
Being born of a virgin. Mary and Joseph’s situation may have caused rumors.
This accusation may have been a reference to what was written in .
Deuteronomy 23:2 ESV
2 “No one born of a forbidden union may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord.
They accused Jesus of not even being legitimately in.
This was a strong accusation which makes sense due to what Jesus was saying about their condition before God.
Jesus told them that they were doing the works of their father which meant that He was telling them that their Father was not Abraham and that God was not their Father.
The people here spoke of God being their Father but (verse 42),
John 8:42 ESV
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.
Here, Jesus makes a statement that we need to look at closely. Because it tells us who actually is a child of God.

He told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me.”
Loving Christ is what a child of God does. It is proof that one is of faith.
So what does loving Jesus look like?

Let’s go to .

I want to make some observations from this text in order to know what loving God actually looks like.

First, loving God comes from God it is the cause to us being born of God.

1 John 4:7–21 ESV
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Verse 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

Verse 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love...

Which are those in our text. They do not do what John points out in verse 9.

Verse 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

Those in our text didn’t believe that Jesus was sent by God the Father.
The love of God in our lives is accredited, not by our love for God, but in His love for us.

Verse 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Loving God comes from God it is the cause to us being born of God.
And it is evidenced by a love for Him through our love for Christ which came first by Him loving us.
So how is this love evidenced?

Second, loving God is proven by a love for one another. Specifically, a love for God’s people.

Verse 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Verse 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

This is why when one is not in fellowship with God’s people and lacks a desire to be with God’s people, their love for God should be questioned.
This is not to guilt people into coming to church.
But according to what is clearly in Scripture here, a lack of a desire to be amongst God’s people and a lack of genuine love for God’s people found in fellowship, brings into question your love for God according to 1 John 4.
Loving God is shown by how one loves His people!
Which comes from God’s love towards us in sending His Son to be our propitiation. Meaning He who has satisfied God’s wrath with the sacrifice of His own life.

Verse 19 We love because he first loved us.

Verse 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. Which would mean God is not their Father.

Verse 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

This is what loving God looks like.
But a hatred for a brother proves that one does not have the love of God in them.
So first, we saw that loving God comes from God and it is the cause to us being born of God.
Second, we saw that loving God is proven by a love for one another. Specifically, a love for God’s people.

Lastly, loving God is shown in God giving us His Spirit which brings to us our testimony and confession.

Verse 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

We know we abide in God because He has given to us the Holy Spirit.
Which gives us our testimony. Not our personal story but the truth of what gave us. Namely, His Son.
And our confession.

Verse 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

Our testimony is that the Father has sent Jesus to be the Savior of the world!
A love for God is shown in the desire to testify of God sending His Son to the world!
And our confession is,

Verse 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

Verse 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Verse 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.

By what are we perfected by?
Verse 19 We love because he first loved us.
By the testimony and confession of Jesus being sent by the Father which can only happen by His love shown and given to us!
A love for God then here gives us the confidence to testify and confess Christ being sent by the Father!

Verse 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Verse 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
Verse 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
This is what love looks like.
Do we love God?
Well, what we do see in our text is what not loving God looks like.
Not loving God is not loving His Son. And not loving His Son is proven by a loveless life that avoids God’s people, rejects Jesus as Savior of the world and it is proven by a lack of confidence in His finished work.
This is not what Abraham did.
He believed God and it was counted to Him as righteous because he believed the gospel that was given to Him by grace through faith.
One without this love is left with the inability to understand what Jesus is saying in our text.
We see the cause of one’s inability to understand in verse 43.
John 8:43 ESV
43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.
Them not being able to bear His word meant: that they could not endure it. They saw His word as unpleasant or difficult. Which brings us back to where He said,

Verse 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.

to bear (endure) v. — to endure something unpleasant or difficult whether on one’s own behalf or on behalf of someone else.
This brings us back to where He said,
John 8:31 ESV
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
They did not and could not because they did not believe.
And because they were without faith...
John 8:44–45 ESV
44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.
John 8:44 ESV
44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Their father was not Abraham. Their Father was not God.

Verse 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Their father was the devil.
Which meant that they were not standing in the truth. The truth of Jesus being sent. Which is proven by their lack of the love of God.
They were not born of God. Because if they were born of God they would love His Son.
Not being born of God was proven in their rejection of His Son.
Jesus said,
John 8:45 ESV
45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.
They could not believe because their will was to do the desire of their father.

Verse 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.

That’s what they were born into! Which is everyone in this room!
Jesus further proves His point in asking them in verse 46,
John 8:46 ESV
46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?
He told them why already.

Verse 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?

Paul knew the answer in 1 Corinthians 2:14.
1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
The reason for their rejection is clear!
John 8:47 ESV
47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

Verse 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

Saints, this is every one of us without God.
We were orphans. Because God was not our Father.
But what God has done in sending His Son is that He gave us the right to become children of God by faith!
He chose us before the foundations of the world.
Ephesians 1:5 ESV
5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
We are children of God, of His promises by grace through faith in God the Son who was sent by God the Father who would then seal us by God the Holy Spirit!
End with the song Grace Alone.
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