Category Archives: Enemy

Whose Sons & Daughters Are You?


Sons & Daughters.jpg.001

The Setting (37)

Jesus’ public ministry was marked by increasing levels of conflict and opposition from the religious leaders of his day, the Pharisees.

It was ultimately this conflict which God used to bring to pass his plan eternal plan for Christ—that he would suffer a violent death as the penalty for sin and become the substitute to anyone who comes to him in faith.

The Point of Conflict (38)

“I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” (John 8:38)

Jesus is drawing a connection between his actions and his father and between the actions of the Jews and their father.

What does Jesus mean by this?

In Jesus’ time and culture, it was common describe a characteristic of a person by referring to them as the “son of…” someone or something.  Some examples: Judas (the disciple who will later betray Jesus, his master) is called the “son of destruction” (John 17:12).  Joseph (a Christian in the early church) is was nicknamed Barnabas “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36).

By using this same idea, Jesus is challenging the stubborn unbelief of the Jews who were refusing to joyfully accept him as their Messiah.

The Spiritual Blindness of the Jews

They were foolishly trusting that their very ancestry made them right before God. “They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” (John 8:39a)

Abraham was the father of the Jewish nation. More importantly, God had made a special covenant to Abraham (symbolized by circumcision), that his descendants would become a great nation and would inherit the land of Israel.

“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.’” (Genesis 12:1–3; see also 15:1–20)

However, God had made this promise to Abraham when he and his wife, Sarah, were childless and beyond child-bearing years. Yet God miraculously allowed Sarah to conceive and bear Isaac, the child of promise. God later tested Abraham’s faith in him again by asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, the child of promise. Yet God intervened when it was clear Abraham was going to obey God. As a result of all of this, Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation was a hero and was held up as an example of belief in God and faith in his promises.

The Jews in our passage are thinking of all of this and are confident that they have a high standing before God because of their connection to Abraham and their membership in God’s covenant.

Jesus exposes the problem in their heart. He tells them that if they were really children of Abraham, they would be marked by the same faith and belief in God. “Jesus said to them,

“If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 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 8:39–40).

Why is their negative response to Jesus so significant? Because Jesus clearly demonstrated to them that he was the promised Messiah—the one who would come from Abraham’s descendants and be a blessing to all the families of the earth. John the Baptist had earlier warned Israel of the same error:

“Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” (Matthew 3:8–9).

“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.”

“So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” (Galatians 3:7–9)

He warns that the God is not their heavenly Father since they are rejecting him whom he sent.

“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. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. (John 8:42–43)

He shows them that the Devil (Satan) is their real spiritual father because they are doing exactly the same things that Satan does.

“Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 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.” (John 8:43–44)

The Jews’ Wrong Perspective of Jesus

They instead imply that Jesus himself was an illegitimate child (8:41) and the accuse him of being possessed by a demon (48).

They refused to believe that Jesus was the Son of God.

Jesus makes a number of unmistakable claims to possess the same nature and power as God:

That God the Father is seeking to glorify him “I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge.” (John 8:50) “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’” (John 8:54)

That he has the power to give eternal life “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” (John 8:51)

That he is the fulfillment of Abraham’s messianic hopes “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56)

That he is eternally self-existent, even from before the time of Abraham (who had been dead for two millennia). “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58) The Jews fully understand what he is claiming and unsuccessfully try to stone him (John 8:59).

Our own response to Jesus

Consider your own actions; they testify as to who your spiritual father is.

Turn to God who is able to give you a spiritual new birth by the gospel through the same kind of faith which Abraham had in the promises of God.

———————-

Download the .pdf of Whose Son or Daughter Are You?

Finding Freedom That Lasts


Finding Freedom.jpg.001
Have you ever felt trapped?  Perhaps you reached a low point in a particular inner spiritual struggle where you said to yourself:  “I’m tired of reacting/saying/thinking/doing _______ and I’m going to make a change in my life!”  But before you knew it, you were repeating the same cycle all over again!

If Satan can get you to believe a lie, He can control your life!

We all are translating the events and circumstances of our lives through a particular worldview. Worldview is “the overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.” (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/worldview)

During the 17th & 18th centuries the western world lived through a period known as the Enlightenment.  The belief was that man could formulate through science and advanced knowledge a world where there was no human ills!  It was a time of great hope, great scientific achievements. There was a firm belief in the supernatural. This ideal was shattered by two world wars.

During the 19th and early 20th century the philosophical view in the west became modernism. Modernism is a relevant, practical, measurable world that is understood through science and the physical senses. Modernism was largely secular and rejected the supernatural.

Western worldview has moved from Modernism and its anti-supernatural bias, to Post-Modernism which acknowledges the spiritual but says that there is no absolute truth. If it feels good, if it feels right to you and you are not hurting anyone, then go ahead! Truth is determined by each individual in the context of their own culture, truth is relative.  In fact for the post-modernist the noblest virtue is tolerance of other views, and the greatest (and only) sin is to be intolerant of others. To insist that objective truth exists… truth that is for every age, generation and culture is intolerant and cannot be tolerated!

It is no wonder that men and women are in bondage! Truth brings spiritual freedom! And that is exactly what is happening in our text today!

To those who believed in Him Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free!”

These people are religious, they accept the notion of God… but they want God on their own terms, according to their own ideas and conceptions and thus they need to be delivered from the bondage that they are were under.

If we are to find freedom that lasts:

THERE IS A WARNING WE MUST HEED! (22-30)

You will die in your sins:

If you trust in your own self-righteous (22) – The Jews

Rom. 1:1-4 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

Ps. 14:2-3 The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men,To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. 3 They have all turned aside,They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.

If you believe the world’s philosophy (23, 3:19)

Be part of this world system that is diametrically opposed to God and Christ.  Jesus is not part of this system.  He is from above!

1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

If you are unbelieving (24)

He is a great moral teacher, but he is more than that! He is a great leader, but he is more than that. You can talk about Him, admire Him, even pray to Him but that is not enough.

Those who do not believe that Jesus is God will die in their sins.  Sin will destroy us only if we refuse to believe in Jesus! There is no sin that you have committed that Jesus cannot and will not freely and fully forgive. Only God can forgive sins!

If you are willfully ignorant (25-30)

Dr Gordan Alles was a brilliant American chemist who pioneered the development of insulin as a treatment for diabetes. In January 1963 after returning from a trip to Tahiti, died. He was 62. The reason for his sudden death? Diabetes. Insulin could have saved his life, but no matter how effective a cure may be, it is of benefit only if there is diagnosis and treatment. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Alles)

Jesus had been performing amazing, undeniable miracles, he repeatedly claimed to be Messiah!

Their ignorance was inexcusable. It was not that the evidence was not on the table, it is that they did not want to acknowledge it because of the implications to their own lives, priorities and agendas.

In reality they were trapped!  They embraced self-righteousness, they were firmly rooted in the world and thus they did not believe, they willfully ignored what others clearly saw! Why? Because they were in reality slaves to something… to someone…

Jesus now offers them a way out!

You and I can escape the dreadful and just consequences of sin and unbelief… here is how:

THE PATH TO THE FREEDOM THAT LASTS (31-32)

Believe in Jesus Christ (31a)

“If” – it is possible to claim to believe and yet not be His disciple. A disciple is a follower, one who is a learner through relationship.  In earlier generations it was the idea of becoming an apprentice of a master craftsman, a relationship in which the apprentice observed, listened, learned and practiced the skill until he himself became a master-craftsman.

You cannot be a true disciple unless you have placed saving faith in Jesus Christ!

Saving faith involves three things:

  1. Knowledge – speaks of the intellect.  There are some thing you must know and understand.  You must know the basic biblical facts about salvation. But knowledge alone is not saving faith.  You can be in Sunday School as a kid, memorize verses and know all the Bible stories yet still not be saved.
  2. Assent – speaks of the emotions.  This is a confident affirmation that the facts you know are in fact true.   You can be moved emotionally during a service or at a particular crisis point in your life, and yet not truly be saved unless the third aspect is also true:
  3. Trust – speaks of the will. The will acts upon these truths by personally appropriating Jesus Christ as the only hope of salvation.

Abide in His Word (31b, Mt. 12:50, Jn. 14:15, 1 Jn 2:4-6)

When you become a true disciple you don’t only claim to believe in Him, you also abide (remain) in His Word. To believe in Jesus is to obey Jesus.  You cannot separate the two.  You do not truly believe savingly if you do not have a heart to obey Him.

Mt. 12:50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

1 John 2:4-64 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

True disciples are Word-oriented. They desire the “pure milk of the Word” like little babies who crave milk.  It is through the Word alone that we will grow as His children.  It is not through seminars, books, uplifting talks, psychological analysis, or any other means!  There is one way that a disciple grows from from infancy into to a strong, reproducing adult – the Word of God! (Jas 1:22)

1 Peter 2:22 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,

Know the truth (32a)

The post-modernists of our day are left with nothing but their own ignorance – the search for truth is futile apart from God.

Scripture is God’s revelation of Divine truth. It is the Word of Truth that we abide in as His disciples that set us free!

2 Tim. 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

In Scripture Jesus is revealed as truth in the flesh (14:6). As a result of knowing Jesus Christ you can differentiate and and sort through all the voices claiming truth. You can know the truth and once you know truth you will be free! (Jn. 1:7)

Through Scripture the Holy Spirit teaches truth to believers. (Jn 17:17)  This is the ongoing work of the Spirit of God to teach and affirm the truth of the Word of God to the hearts of those who have been saved by faith!

Be made free (32b, Lk 4:18; Gal 5:1)

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

Gal. 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Free from the bondage to the lie – Satan doesn’t care what lie you believe as long as you don’t embrace the truth. Choose whatever worldview suits you. Spend your life in mad pursuit of pleasure, or knowledge, or achievement, or whatever. Want religion – no problem, there are plenty to choose from and Satan is happy for whichever one you want to choose to believe! There is only one that he wants to keep you from at all costs – the truth of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Free from the bondage to Satan – He is the ‘father of lies’, a murderer – destroyer. (44)

Free from bondage to sin – sin is like a sweet tasting poison, it swallows so smoothly but once consumed it rots everything it touches – from the inside out.

SIGNS THAT THEY DESPERATELY NEEDED THIS FREEDOM (33-34)

They were in denial (33)

They denied that they were in bondage.  We have never been in bondage to anyone, how can you say that you shall be made free?  How blind we can be to clear realities!

Perhaps they were speaking spiritually because they had been enslaved in Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medio-Persia, Greece, Syria and now Rome!

They were confident that they were spiritually free because they were descendants of Abraham. Freedom doesn’t come from family, religious or racial backgrounds! (Ro. 2:28-29).

They were in bondage but blind to that reality! The same with us!

To deny that we have a problem, that we are enslaved to a particular sin is to remain in bondage to that sin!  We must acknowledge the truth – only then can we seek the solution.

They were deceived (32b,34)

The deceived must be confronted with their condition: “Most assuredly” is code for – “This is VERY IMPORTANT – listen carefully!”

They thought they were free, but were actually in bondage.  They were a slave of sin.  To be a slave is to be under the control of another and unable to free oneself.

This sin is binding, a continual, habitual pattern of life (Commits Sin). Like a cruel taskmaster sin controls every aspect of a persons life. The person is enslaved to various lusts and passions (Titus 3:3). He is not here speaking of any one particular act. (2 Pt. 2:19)

Titus 3:3-6 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

These people thought their relationship with Abraham united them with God, but in reality they had no relationship with God.

They had believed the lie! They needed to embrace liberating truth! We must face the painful reality / face the truth about ourselves if we are to be free!

YOU Can Have This Freedom That Lasts (35-36)

You may say that a particular thing does not enslave you… try stopping!  How long can you go without becoming intoxicated or being controlled by lustful thoughts or giving in to an outburst of anger?

Friends we are all in this same boat together – the Bible is clear that we all do battle with sin, because we are sinners!

There is hope! You can be set free today! If Jesus sets you free – you are really free!

  • Free from the guilt of past sin.
  • Free from the present power of sin – you can still sin, but you don’t have to!
  • Free to fulfill your God-given purpose!
  • Free to experience the peace and happiness of being His child.

If the Son of God sets you free – you are really really really free!  Don’t you long for that freedom?  Wouldn’t you love to be free from the shackles of sin? Don’t you desire to be free from the guilt of your past, from the bondage you have to that thing… whatever it is?

Believe in Jesus Christ today – accept Him as your Savior right now!  Open your heart and invite Him to replace your sin with His presence and forgiveness.

Now commit to reading, studying and joining in corporate fellowship around the Word of God.  You will spend a lifetime plumbing the depths of God’s glorious liberating truth!

Download a free .pdf copy of Finding Freedom That Lasts.

The Attack Continues…


truth how do you know_wide_t_nv

The Pharisees therefore said to Him, “You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.”

Why does John keep talking about the opposition to Christ?

By the time you get to Chapter 8 this continued attacks on Jesus seems monotonous until you realize what the Pharisees are doing.

When a guilty party (Pharisees) wants to remove the influence of a witness (Christ) against them, there are three options they can resort to discredit him:

  1. They can kill the witness. (Attempted in chapter 7)
  2. They can discredit the witness. (Attempted in chapter 8:1-11)
  3. They can have the witness thrown out on a technicality. This is their plan in today’s text.

So what were the Pharisees referring to when they claimed Christ’s witness of Himself was invalid?

They were referring to Deuteronomy 19:15 “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.”

This law was specifically designed for cases where one person had something against another.  Over the years however, this law had been interpreted by the Jews to mean that no testimony anywhere could be trusted unless two or three people agreed to it.

Many times people discount Christ’s statement that He is God because it does not line up with their way of thinking.

The methods  the world uses to evaluates truth, truth can never be known.  They have no basis for making a decision. Many end up becoming agnostic. An Agnostic concludes that if there is a God He is unknown and unknowable.

Christ’s answer for the source of His authority is vitally important for all of us. Christ answers in three ways:

Christ’s testimony is authoritative. (14)

John 8:14 Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going.

Only God can testify of Himself, no man is an authority on God. We can know nothing about God that we are not told in the Word (Heb. 1:1).
Christ has revealed enough for us to believe Him in faith. What we need to know in heaven will be revealed there. But we will never know all as God does.

Christ’s testimony is impartial. (15-16)

John 8:15–16 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me.

The Pharisees based their decisions on the flesh, the things that make a man – reason, intellect, logic.

  • These are often flawed.
  • These are often sinful.

Christ’s judgments are based on something much higher
His judgements are always right. They are always sinless.

Christ’s testimony was verified (17-18)

God the Father gives the following witnesses:

  • John the Baptist (5:33-34)
  • Christ’s signs (5:36)
  • OT Scriptures (5:39-47)

Christ changes the wording of the law from “witnesses” (Deut. 19:15) to “man” (17) emphasizing again God’s eternal viewpoint vs. man’s earthly view.

No one has the knowledge to challenge the testimony of Christ. He speaks what He knows!  We must either trust and follow Him or distrust and try and figure it out with our own limited knowledge.

So what does all this mean to us?

We cannot trust our own judgement of spiritual things. We don’t know enough. We can’t attempt to compare our finite minds to His infinite mind.

Proverbs 3:5–6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Consider what these verses are saying to us:

  • Lean – rest, depend
  • own understanding – what we would trust if not Christ
  • all your ways – everything now has a new purpose
  • acknowledge Him – He is in control
  • direct your paths – note it begins with trust, then direction (it cannot work the other way around).

Trust Christ’s word completely – for who He says He is. There will be things we don’t understand. There will be things we may not agree with. There may be things we wish we could change, but if Christ is God, He is the One who knows what is best.

2 Corinthians 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

If His word is true, we must acknowledge our own sinfulness, accept the salvation He offers, and follow Him as Lord.

R.A. Torrey once challenged an agnostic (a person who does not know if God exists) to make an honest search to see if Jesus was the Son of God.  If confirmed Torrey challenged the man to accept Him. Torrey told him he would need to pray and ask God to help him find the truth (in case God did exist). In addition, because Jn. 20:31 said there was proof that Christ was God, this man needed to read the proof from John as part of his search. The man agreed, but was confident that he would now be convinced. When Torrey came back from traveling a few weeks later, the man had been convinced and wondered how he had ever believed anything different. (Boice)

Where are you? Are you caught in the middle of a decision about Christ?

Are you wondering if God exists? Do you really want to know?

Honestly pray and ask to be shown. Read and understand John’s account. This can be your story if you will honestly examine the evidence.

Your Greatest Threat – It May Not Be What You Think!


peril of pride the_wide_t_nvDo you battle with pride like I do?  I bet you do (even if you are too proud right now to admit it! 🙂

Someone has said that they view pride is the source of all other sins… I think they are right. How about joining me in a little self-evaluation.  Consider the following:

  • Pride mocks others “The proud have me in great derision…” Psalms 119:51.
  • Pride lies about others “The proud have forged a lie against me…” Psalms 119:69.
  • Pride mistreats others “Let the proud be ashamed, For they treated me wrongfully with falsehood…” Psalms 119:78.
  • Pride seeks to destroys others “The proud have dug pits for me…” Psalms 119:85,.
  • Pride oppresses others “… Do not let the proud oppress me.” Psalms 119:122.
  • Pride deceives others “The proud have hidden a snare for me, and cords; They have spread a net by the wayside; They have set traps for me. Selah” Psalms 140:5.
  • Pride is communicated by lips and looks “A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood,” Proverbs 6:17.
  • Pride uses the mouth to beat others down “In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, But the lips of the wise will preserve them.” Proverbs 14:3.
  • Pride must display itself, cannot stay home. ““Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, He is a proud man, And he does not stay at home…” Habakkuk 2:5.
  • Pride embellishes the truth “Let the lying lips be put to silence, Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.” Psalms 31:18.

Remember that God fights against the proud person and will destroy everything they attempt to accomplish. “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

One of the greatest dangers of pride is that it lies at the root of our rebellion against God.  Every refusal to receive Christ as Lord and Savior is driven by pride!  That is a sobering thought!

If the above list convicts you do something about it!  Humble yourself by gazing at Christ! Evaluate yourself, your achievements, your possessions and everything else in relation to God.  “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and He will exalt you in due season.”