The Requirements for True Freedom
TEXT: John 8:30-36
TOPIC: Requirements for True Freedom
Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point,
July 2, 2006
30As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. 31Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 33They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will be made free’?” 34Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35“And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
Several years ago before the fall of Communism in Russia, a group of Pentecostal Christians caught the attention of the world. It seems that a small group of committed Christians had been held captive in the American Embassy in Moscow for fifteen years. With the collapse of Communism this band of faithful believers were finally free to express their faith publicly.
Unlike the Russian Christians years ago, we American Christians have enjoyed the liberties, luxuries and often the liabilities that come from our freedoms.
230 years ago, our young and foresightful nation adopted and approved the First Amendment to the Constitution which says in part, “Congress shall not make any laws calling for the establishment of religion.”
It is unfortunate that a law founded by our Christian forefathers intended to grant “the freedom of religion,” has today come to be understood as a law intended to provide “freedom from religion.”
Nevertheless, 2000 years ago our Lord Jesus Christ spoke of true religious freedom. Nestled in the midst of John’s Gospel, chapter 8, we read the words of Jesus concerning true freedom. Not a freedom granted by a government, but a freedom given by God.
What are the requirements of true freedom? Jesus emphatically states the requirements for true freedom.
I. BELIEVING IN JESUS, John 8:31 “believed on him”
Many of the Jews had accepted Jesus’ claims about Himself.
John 8:12 “I am the light of the world”
John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life”
John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life”
Now I am going to say something about the kind of faith it takes to save a person. And what I am going to say is going to challenge some of your thinking about salvation. And the reason I am about to say what I am going to say is because of this easy believism theology.
There is a distinction and difference concerning a saving faith and a superficial faith. There is such a thing as a faith that delivers and a faith that damns. The Bible says, “even the demons believe.” Yet their faith is a dead faith, a demonic faith.
I shutter to think of the countless numbers of well-intentioned church members who do not understand this truth. Superficial, half-hearted, uncommitted church members who say “I believe in Jesus,” but who will nevertheless die lost and spend eternity in a Christless Hell because of a dead faith.
Still millions more are living an empty, fruitless, and self-defeating lifestyle because they have not come to understand the freedom that is theirs in Christ Jesus.
To believe in Jesus for saving faith involves far more than a shallow profession of faith many have made. Our church rolls are filled with many who came in with a superficial profession of faith.
Listen to me, if your faith in Christ is not enough to get you to church, I doubt very seriously it is the kind of faith that will get you to heaven!
You say, “I believe in God,” or “I believe in Jesus,” and you expect that alone to get you to heaven! It won’t! You may just as easily believe that George Washington was the first President of the United States or that John Hancock signed the Constitution. They did, but believing that won’t save you!
Intellectualism won’t get you to heaven. It won’t change your life! A head faith alone is a dead faith. True freedom comes when we believe on Jesus alone for salvation! It’s Christ alone! True freedom comes when we place our faith in Christ in such a way that leads to a change of mind that leads to a change of heart that ends in a changed life.
I wouldn’t give you two cents for your faith in Christ if it hasn’t changed your life!
John Newton, the author of our beloved hymn, “Amazing Grace,” was such a man with a changed life. The son of an infidel father and a Christian mother, John Newton turned to the seas with his father when his mother died when he was eleven. Newton lived a blasphemous and vile life as a slave trader before his conversion. But when he met Jesus his whole life changed.
Newton wrote his own epitaph which reads in part:
John Newton, Clerk
Once an infidel and libertine,
A servant of slaves in Africa:
Was by the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ
Preserved, restored, pardoned,
And appointed to preach the Faith
He had labored long to destroy…
“Amazing Grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I am found, was blind but now I see.”
True saving faith in Christ will change your life!
Not only does it take believing in Jesus to know true freedom, but it also involves abiding in Christ.
II. ABIDING IN JESUS’ WORD, John 8:31b “continue in my word”
A. Jesus spoke of a Condition. He said “If you continue in my word, then…” Notice the “if” and the “then”….
Someone asked, “Do you believe in the perseverance of the saints? I truly do. I truly believe the truly saved will truly persevere!”
B. Jesus spoke of a Consistency. He said, “continue” “to abide in or remain in”
It’s the same word Jesus used in John 15:5-8
John 15:5-8 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
It’s not enough to start well, we must also finish well.
Illustration a Nascar race. I watched the Pepsi 400 last night in Daytona. A certain driver I was pulling for had a great race. He had a great car and ran out front much of the night. But when it counted, when the race was nearly over, he got caught up in a wreck and couldn’t finsh the race.
Are you abiding in Christ. Are you running the race well? You may have had a good start at one time, but how are you doing now. “Doubtful indeed is the discipleship of one who continually neglects, or even worse, seeks to discredit the Word of God.”
There’s yet one other requirement for knowing true freedom.
III. KNOWING THE TRUTH, John 8:32
One of the great needs of the human life is to recognize our slavery.
A. The Statement, v. 32 - 32“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
John 8:32, Knowing the truth. “What is truth?” Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” Is truth relative? No, not if you know Jesus. Truth is absolute! “What is truth?” Pilate asked and he was looking truth right in the face and didn’t recognize Him. Jesus said, “I am the truth.”
B. The Objection, John 8:33 - 33They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will be made free’?”
John 8:33 We in America feel much like the Jews of Jesus’ day. We are not restricted in any way. We live in a free country. We can come and go as we please. We are boasting in our own self-reliance and self-righteousness.
Even in our glorious America, which we call the land of the free, many are enslaved and fail to recognize their own bonds. They are servants of sin. We have many masters. Alcohol, drugs, lusts, sex, greed, and anger are all our captors. True freedom is a spiritual freedom granted by knowing the truth that sets us free. It is something government cannot give. It is something money cannot buy. True freedom comes only from God alone through faith alone in His Son Jesus Christ.
C. The Explanation, John 8:34-35 - 34Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35“And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.
To Christians let me add this final word. The great fact of the Christian faith is not that it makes a man free to sin, but that it makes a man free not to sin. It is so easy to allow habits, practices, ways of life to master us, but the Christian strength enables us to master them. It is not the freedom to do as one pleases, but the freedom to do as our Lord pleases, to do what is right.
When a person really experiences true freedom he becomes, not the slave of his body, or his lusts, his instincts, or his desires, but their master.
John 8:36 - 36“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
How does Jesus Christ, God’s Son make us truly free?
(Ask everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes.)
The truth that makes you free is this:
1. We are all sinners, Romans 3:23
2. We are all separated, Isaiah 59:2
3. God loves you and has a wonderful plan and purpose for your life, Romans 5:8; and John 10:10
4. Jesus Christ is the only way to God and eternal life, John 14:6
5. We receive Christ by faith alone, Ephesians 2:8-9
a. Repentance, Acts 3:19
c. Surrender, Romans 10:9-10
d. Prayer Romans 10:13