John 8:31-36

Sunday Morning Bible Study

January 14, 1996

 

Introduction

Jesus has gone to the temple early in the morning to teach the people.

The Pharisees bring Him a woman caught in adultery. Should they stone her or let her go?

The Pharisees are trying to catch Jesus in one of their little traps.

Jesus said

John 8:7b - He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

When no one was left to toss a stone ...

John 8:10-11 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Then, with the sun rising in the background, and the forgiven woman sitting before Him, Jesus said,

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

As Jesus went on to speak, many of the Pharisees argued with him, but of others we read,

John 8:30 As he spake these words, many believed on him.

:31-32 Abiding in His word

:31 to those Jews which believed on him

We have the context for the next few statements.

The next few statements are being spoken to those who believe in Jesus as the Messiah.

These are people who have just listened to Jesus' words, and have started to believe in Jesus.

:31 If ye continue in my word

continue - meno - to remain, abide; not to depart

What does it mean to "continue" in His word?

The Jews in the temple that are standing around Him have heard the very things that He's spoken, and have believed in Him.

They need to not just believe for a few minutes, but to continue believing in Him.

For us, we have much, much more than just the particular message that Jesus gave at the temple that day.

We have the whole rest of the Bible.

I don't think it takes any stretch of the imagination to realize that Jesus is talking about our relationship to God's Word, and the fact that we need to stay in the book.

Is it just something that we picked up only a few times and just glanced at?

Is it something that once motivated us, but now it sits up on the shelf collecting dust?

We need to continue in God's Word.

From time to time I get comments from people who want to know why we have so many Bible Studies.

Don't get me wrong, I like potlucks and dinners too.

But I believe we need to be a people who are immersed in God's Word, and stay that way.

I don't believe that our study of the Bible should just be a one day "Walk Through The Bible" seminar.

It needs to be an ongoing study.

Regular personal devotions in the Word

Regular study and teaching in the Word

Listen to tapes, the radio

Jesus is going to give three results to "abiding" in His word:

:31 then are ye my disciples indeed

Result from continuing in His Word #1

It makes you His disciple.

Here's the first thing that results from continuing in His word.

Here's Jesus in the temple teaching the people, and a number of them now respond by starting to believe in Him.

But Jesus stops them and says that it's not just a matter of having a one-time belief in Him.

What's important is continuing to believe in Him.

Challenge:

Don't just seek salvations, seek disciples.

disciple - mathetes - a learner, pupil, disciple

God's desire is not for us to go out and make "believers", but to go out and make "disciples".

It's not a matter of having a person go forward once at a crusade, though that can be a good start.

It's a matter of making them a follower, a learner of Jesus.

The Great Commission:

Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

The word used for "teach all nations" is related to "disciple", and can be translated "make disciples of all nations" (matheteuo - to be a disciple of one; to make a disciple)

Note:

indeed - alethos - truly, of a truth, in reality, most certainly

It's related to the same word that's used in the next verse, and translated "truth".

You could translate this part "then you are in a truthful way my disciples"

:32 ye shall know the truth

Result from continuing in His Word #2

Knowing the Truth

Here's the second result to continuing in His word.

truth - it's a compound word formed by "a", meaning "the opposite", and "letho", meaning "to conceal"

Truth is something that is not concealed.

Illustration:

When something is all covered up with a blanket so you can't see it, then you don't know the truth about it.

When you pull the blanket off, and you see what's underneath, then you see the truth.

1. You shall know the truth, in relation to error.

We live in a very crazy, mixed up world, and there's a lot of ideas floating around about what is true and what isn't.

There's a lot of blankets and smoke screens that cover up the truth.

Illustration:

You can't hardly even read the paper anymore, because it's hard to know just how slanted the stories are.

Even in a magazine with a title like "Newsweek", if you read the articles carefully, you will notice a great absence of documented facts, and a great deal of the writer's opinions or assumptions, so maybe it should be changed to "OpinionWeek".

There's a lot of ideas as to what's right and wrong out in the world.

Live with them - The world says it's okay to live with someone without marrying them, and you ought to know if you're sexually compatible before you get married.

The Bible says that sex is intended for one relationship, a relationship with no exits. The Bible says that sex is so sensitive that you need a relationship where you will not be rejected or turned away for it to be blessed.

Escape with chemicals - The world teaches us that we need to escape every now and then by chemically altering our mind with either alcohol or drugs, and that's the only way to cope with life.

The Bible says that we need to escape every now and then, but that we need to run to God for our refuge. It's only in Him that we'll find rest for our souls.

Just Believe Something - The world now teaches that it's good to believe in something, but that it doesn't matter what you believe in as long as you believe.

The Bible teaches that it is not only important that you believe, but that it's vitally important that you believe the right thing.

If we continue in God's Word, then we'll find ourselves equipped with the ability to tell what's good and what's bad, what's the truth and what's a lie.

Psalm 19:7-8 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

Psalm 19:11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

Illustration:

In certain spots the contour of hills gives a tremendous illusion that the law of gravity is askew. Near Los Angeles is a hill where thousands of motorists stop their cars, shut off the engines, release the brakes and seemingly roll up hill. But a plumb level placed on the ground where the cars "roll up hill," will show immediately that the cars are actually rolling down hill. The eye can be deceived; the level cannot.

God has given us a similar apparatus: the Bible.

2. You shall know the truth, the Person Himself.

Not only is truth an "ideal", it's also wrapped up in a person.

If you continue in God's Word, then you will come to know this person.

If you know this person, then you begin to really know truth.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Do you want to get to know Jesus better?

Then stay in the Word.

:32 the truth shall make you free

Here's actually the third result of continuing in His word, but we'll summarize it when we get to verse 36.

shall make you free - eleutheroo - to make free; set at liberty

It comes from a form of erchomai, which means "to come" or "to go"

Freedom in the sense of coming or going wherever you want to.

Illustration:

If you're locked up in prison, you can't come and go as you please, and you have no freedom.

If you're the slave of a person, then you have to do what they say, and you have no freedom.

What does Jesus mean by being free?

Apparently the people had the same question ...

:33-36 The Truth sets you free

:33 We be Abraham's seed

The Jews were very proud to have been descended from Abraham:

Gill: ``Says R. Akiba, even the poor of Israel are to be considered as if they were Nyrwx ynb, "noblemen", that are fallen from their substance, because they are the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob;''

:34 were never in bondage to any man

Perhaps they're thinking that since the Jews have a tradition of not bowing to any man, except to God, that they were never in bondage to a man.

Yet what was Moses sent by God to do?

Get Israel out of bondage in Egypt.

Over and over again in the book of Judges, Israel fell under bondage from one group or another, either Midianites, Canaanites, or Philistines.

The northern kingdom fell under bondage to the Assyrians in 722 b.c.

The southern kingdom joined them in bondage, but to Babylon in 586 b.c.

They were under bondage under the Greeks, with Alexander, the Egyptians Ptolemies, and the Syrian Seleucids.

For a while they won independence under the Maccabees.

And in Jesus' day, they were under the control of Rome.

Lesson:

Not everything said in arguments is true.

When you talk to people about Jesus, they will throw all sorts of stuff up in your face.

Keep in mind, that just because you can't come up with the answer at the moment, that they must be correct.

:34 Verily, verily

Whenever Jesus says this, it's time to listen closely.

Note:

Rather than getting side tracked by their lack of understanding and trying to answer their question, Jesus sticks to what His thought and explains.

:34 whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin

committeth - poieo - make, do; the tense indicates a continuous habit or practice.

Jesus isn't talking about a sin that catches you every now and then, but He's talking about when we find ourselves in a habitual practice of sin.

servant - You are a servant when you obey someone's commands.

Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Illustration:

Samson is a good picture of slavery to sin.

He was known as a man of great strength.

But he also had a fondness for the women.

Once he went to visit a prostitute, and almost got himself caught by the Philistines.

Then he ended up falling in love with a Philistine woman, who enticed him into compromising his walk with the Lord.

With his hair cut, a picture of compromising his standards with the Lord, he was chained by the Philistines, who blinded him, and made him push a millstone.

Sin blinds, binds, and grinds.

Have you ever been enslaved to a specific sin?

Maybe some of you can't relate to this, but some of us can.

Some of us know the awful, horrible slavery that can come whispering in the darkness, and you have no control over it, you're addicted.

Remember the idea of "free" means to come and go as you please.

When you're enslaved to sin, you have no freedom.

The sin calls you, and you have to obey.

Jesus is claiming to set people free from the slavery of sin.

:35 the servant abideth not in the house for ever

In a house, a servant's position is kind of tentative. He can be thrown out in the street at any time.

But a Son is always a son. He gets to hang around all the time. (see Gen.21:10)

Jesus has been talking now about servants of sin.

Those who find themselves as slaves of sin are in a scarey place.

They may find themselves going to church, in God's "house", but as long as they stay a slave to sin, then they obviously haven't been set free.

And because they're still a slave, they won't be staying in God's house forever.

That only happens when the slave is set free.

Illustration:

Just going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to McDonald's makes you a hamburger.

Being a Christian isn't about going to church, it's about getting to know Jesus, and letting Him set you free from sin.

:35 the Son abideth ever

Jesus, as God's Son, is going to hang around in God's house for a long time.

:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free

(Gill) The Greeks and the Romans both had a practice concerning people who were born as slaves in their master's house:

``a man having a son or a daughter by his maidservant, that which is born of her, since of a servant, is without doubt a servant: wherefore if he (the son) should say, this is my natural brother or my natural sister; for since my father had children by his maidservant, "whom he did not make free"; and he dying the law has made me lord of these, egw toutouV eleuqerwsa, "I have made these free", because of their natural kindred.''

An interesting picture indeed!

We too have been born as slaves, slaves of sin.

And the Son comes along and sets us free from our slavery.

:36 ye shall be free indeed

ye shall be free - not "might be", but "shall be".

indeed - ontos - truly, in reality, in point of fact, as opp. to what is pretended, fictitious, false, or conjectural.

Among the Jews, a person could be a "half-servant"

"he who is half a servant", or partly a servant, and partly free, shall serve his master one day, and himself another.''

But when Jesus sets a person free, it's supposed to be total freedom, not partial bondage.

So far, we've seen two results from continuing in His word:

1. You are His disciple.

2. You shall know the truth.

Result from continuing in His Word #3

Freedom from sin.

Here's the final, third result from abiding in His Word.

When we remain in God's Word, we become Jesus' disciples, and we grow to know the truth, and as we do, we grow to be free from sin.

If we're struggling with a particular sin, it's only going to be temporary, as long as we remain in God's Word.

With some, it's immediate deliverance, for others, it takes a little while.

But stick with it! God will change you.

shall be

Note:

This too is a future tense.

Same as verse 32 "shall know the truth"

And, "the truth shall make you free"

The freedom we'll read about doesn't alway come at once, but it comes as we "continue" in His Word.

It's a process.

Lesson:

Give yourself time to grow.

There are times when we get frustrated because we just want to know the truth, or we want to be set free from something.

But the way Jesus describes it, is that it will happen sometime in the future.

He doesn't make it a "maybe", there isn't a bit of uncertainty here.

But it does happen in the future.

The key is just to remain, to abide in Him and His Word:

John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

Illustration: (Heard on Focus on the Family)

The Five Chapter Book:

Chapter One: A man was walking down the street. He fell into a hole. He groped his way in the darkness. After a long time, he made his way out of the hole.

Chapter Two: A man was walking down the same street. He pretended not to see the hole. He fell in. After a long time, he made his way out of the hole.

Chapter Three: A man was walking down the same street. He sees the hole. He falls in. He says it's not his fault. After a long time, he made his way out of the hole.

Chapter Four: A man walks down the same street. He sees the hole. He knows it's there. He tries to walk around it. He falls in. He knows it's his fault. He quickly gets out.

Chapter Five: A man takes another street.