John 8:37-47

Sunday Morning Bible Study

January 21, 1996



As Jesus was teaching in the temple, some people were coming to the point where they were starting to believe in Him, but others were arguing with Him.

To the ones who had started to believe, Jesus said that to be a disciple of His, it's more than just a one time step, but it's learning to continue in His Word:

»John 8:31-32 If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

When some of the Jews heard Jesus talking about "being free", they objected, claiming they were Abraham's offspring, and never had been in bondage to anyone.

read verses 34-36.

:37-47 A matter of fathers

:37 I know that ye are Abraham's seed

His physical descendants, that is.

Jesus is commenting on their response in verse 33.

:37 but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you

These ones that were out to kill Jesus were very obviously not "abiding" in His Word.

:38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father

Jesus is going to start into a section where He's going to make a vivid contrast between His Father, and their Father.

Jesus is saying here that He is simply speaking the things that He has been shown by the Father.

:38 and ye do that which ye have seen with your father

It's going to get a little ambiguous here who Jesus is talking about in reference to their Father.

One thing is sure, He's going to make a point that they have a different father than He does.

:39 Abraham is our father

Haven't you been listening to us Jesus? We already told you this!

:39 ... ye would do the works of Abraham

Jesus is trying to show that it takes more than just DNA to make you a true descendant of Abraham.

If you want to claim that you're a descendant of Abraham, you'll have to also live the kind of life that Abraham lived.

To be a true descendant of Abraham, you need to live a life like Abraham.

The Jews themselves said:

``whoever is merciful to the creature (man), it is evident that he is of the seed of Abraham, our father; but whoever has not mercy on the creature, it is a clear case that he is not of the seed of Abraham our father.''

When Jesus came to Zacchaeus' house ...

»Luke 19:8-9 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.

:40 this did not Abraham

Abraham didn't go around persecuting people who took a stand for the truth.

:41 ye do the deeds of your father

Jesus is saying that they have someone other than Abraham as their father.

:41 we be not born of fornication

They're saying that they're true-blue, nothing illegitimate about it.

It's possible that they might even be throwing an indirect insult at Jesus, since some thought that He was illegitimate, since His mother was pregnant before she got married.

:42 If God were your Father

Again, here's the basic truth.

Someone can't claim to know or love God without knowing and loving Jesus too.

If they claim to know God without Jesus, then they're not telling the truth.

:43 Why do ye not understand ...

Jesus kinds of lays out some interesting insight into the unbeliever.

Three Characteristics of an unbeliever:

Unbeliever's Characteristic #1

Spiritual blindness.

Jesus is speaking, but they're not understanding.

They are unequipped to pick up the right channels.

Paul wrote:

»1Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.


(From O.C.Register, 1-20-96) Astronomers are excited because on Wednesday two California astronomers reported that they had detected two new planets orbiting distant stars. The two huge planets are only the second and third discovered outside our solar system.

One revolves around a star in the big dipper, 47 Ursa Majoris.

The other revolves around star 70 Virginis, in the constellation Virgo.

The planets appear warm enough for liquid water, but both are likely to be gas giants, one of them being 8 times the size of Jupiter.

Want to see the planets?

You can't with just your eyes.

But that doesn't mean that the planets aren't there.

You need a 120 inch telescope, like the one used at Lick Observatory near San Jose.

You can't see the planets without the right equipment.


Currently there are all kinds of voices, pictures, and information floating through the room right now.

The reason you don't see or hear them is because you don't have the right equipment.

If you have the right kind of receiver, you can pick up the television or radio signals.

If you have a cellular telephone, you could receive phone calls right here in church.

But if you don't have the right equipment, it doesn't matter how intense the broadcast is, there's no way to receive it.


A "natural" man is able to receive "spiritual" broadcasts, but only the wrong ones.

It's as if the natural man has an "AM" radio, and God only broadcasts on "FM".


When you talk to an unbeliever about spiritual things, they're really not going to have an easy time really understanding of appreciating what you have to say.

It's foolishness to them.

You might even catch yourself apologizing for sounding so "spiritual".

They are "spiritually challenged".


Pray for the eyes and ears of your unbelieving friends to be open to spiritual things:

»Eph 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened ...

Pray that they would have the blindness removed:

»2Corinthians 3:14 But their minds were blinded ...

When an unbeliever begins to understand a few spiritual truths, it's truly a work of the Holy Spirit in their life, giving them understanding.

:43 ye cannot hear my word

He doesn't mean physically receive the sound waves in their eardrums.

They're hearing every word He says.

But they're not comprehending or understanding it.

:44 Ye are of your father the devil

Unbeliever's Characteristic #2

Devilish ancestry.

They are "children of the devil".

Not children in the literal physical sense, but in the sense of who they are imitating and acting like.

They were physically the children of Abraham.

But they were not acting in a manner that imitated Abraham's life.

Instead, they were acting more like the devil.

Paul writes about what our lives were like before Jesus:

»Ephesians 2:1-2 NAS And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

This is one reason why every person needs to be "reborn", to get a new Father.

Note: It's not always easy to tell who a person's "Father" is.

Jesus told a parable about the wheat and the tares (Matt.13:24-30).

He said that a man went and planted good wheat seed in his field, but one night his enemy came in and sowed tares among the wheat.

»Matthew 13:38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one

Tares are the "darnel" seed, which when growing in it's initial stages looks exactly like wheat, but it's not until the plant matures that you can begin to tell the two apart.

By that time the wheat and the tares are so intermingled, that you can't pull out the tares without pulling out the wheat too.

The point?

A person may be trying to live a good life, but until they experience a new birth, with a new Father, they are still a child of the devil.

We've all been there.

Don't just go on in life blaming your situation on a "dysfunctional family", change families!

:44 the lusts of your father ye will do

Unbeliever's Characteristic #3

Enslavement to lusts.


We tend to think of "lust" purely in the idea of sexual sin, and that's certainly a part of it.

epithumia - desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust

It's a pretty broad word, covering a lot of territory.

Here it basically means anything that the devil has a desire or craving for.

ye will do

Actually, it's better translated,

»"the lusts of your father you constantly have a will or a mind to be doing."

The unbeliever has this constant desire in them to want to be doing the desires of Satan.

(ed. note: "ye will" is present indicative of thelo, and "do" is present infinitive of poieo.)

Again, Paul to the Ephesians:

»Ephesians 2:3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

When we were unbelievers, our entire life was wrapped up in fulfilling the desires of our sinful nature.


Don't expect your unbelieving friends to successfully change their behavior until they become born again.

They don't have the equipment to change.


A scorpion, being a very poor swimmer, asked a turtle to carry him on its back across the river. "Are you mad?" exclaimed the turtle. "You'll sting me while I'm swimming and I'll drown." "My dear turtle," laughed the scorpion, "If I were to sting you, you would drown and I'd go down with you. Now where is the logic in that?" "You're right," cried the turtle. "Hop on." The scorpion climbed aboard and halfway across the river gave the turtle a mighty sting. As they both sank to the bottom, the turtle, resigned, said, "Do you mind if I ask you something? You said there is no logic in your stinging me. Why did you do it?" "It has nothing to do with logic," the drowning scorpion replied. "It's just my nature."

Now we move on to see some of the characteristics of the devil.

:44 he was a murderer from the beginning


Satan's goal is your death

From man's very beginning, Satan has been trying to destroy him.

He brought death to Adam and Eve by tempting them into sin.

The death that he brings is a spiritual death.

God warned Adam and Eve:

»Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

When they sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, they didn't die a physical death that day, they died a spiritual death.

That is, they experienced a separation from God, and were put out of God's presence.

That is Satan's goal - to put distance between you and God, and ultimately to bring the greatest distance, but taking people to hell with him.


People that get involved in Satanic activity get sucked in for various reasons.

Some are just curious, and find it intriguing.

Others are attracted by the fleshly, sinful things that go on.

Others are attracted by the power and influence that Satan offers to them.

But don't be deceived!

It all ends in death.

Satan's end is to destroy mankind, and to keep as many people from going to heaven as possible.

He's like a crazy captain of a ship that's sinking, and rather than getting the people into the lifeboats, he's trying to take as many people down with him as he can.

At this point in history, Satan's plan is to have Jesus put to death.

And with that being the "desire" of Satan, the unbelieving Jews will be wanting to do the same.

:44 abode not in the truth ...


Satan's tool is deception.

The chief method that Satan uses to accomplish his goal of your death is though deception.

You can't trust anything that comes out of his mouth.

From the beginning of man's history, he's been feeding us lies like,

»Genesis 3:4-5 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

That old line "ye shall be as gods" is a good one, it's still around today.

The lies continue today.

Some seem fairly harmless:

"Just a little drink won't hurt you."

"Just one more peek at the dirty pictures can't be all that bad."

Yet even these little lies are always designed to catch us in bigger and bigger traps.

Some lies are aimed directly at your spiritual death:

One of his favorite kinds of lies is by giving people what they want, Jesus.

"People are looking for spirituality, people are looking for Jesus", he says, "So I'll give them Jesus." "A whole lot of them!"

There are so many "Jesuses" out there, which one is right?

Is it the Jehovah's Witness Jesus?

The Mormon Jesus?

The Jesus of the "Faith" churches?

Or the Jesus of the Bible?


Once the devil appeared to a man named Martin in the form of the Savior himself, full of glory and splendor.

The devil started speaking to the man in quite a flattering way, "Martin, you have served me so faithfully that I could not do otherwise but pay you a visit. Do you see now how I love you? I appear to you before I appear to anybody else!"

Martin asked, "But, tell me, who are you?"

The devil answered, "I am your Savior, Jesus."

"Where are your wounds?" asked Martin.

"Oh," answered the devil, "I do not come from the cross right now. I come from heaven, in my glory."

The man replied, "Go away from before my eyes. You are the devil. A Savior without wounds I may not see. The only Savior I acknowledge and profess is the one who can show the signs of his suffering!"


Be careful about things you hear that come from Satanic sources.

Some people have developed all kinds of crazy ideas by listening to demon possessed people spout off junk.

Don't subject yourself to things like TV shows on witchcraft, UFO's, the occult, astrology, channeling, etc.

It will fill your mind with lies, and it will pollute the truth.

»Proverbs 14:7 Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge.

:44 he speaketh of his own

idios - pertaining to one's self, one's own, belonging to one's self

»NAS Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature

:45 because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not

Jesus, in contrast with the devil, tells the truth, not lies.

Because these people are of the devil, they aren't going to believe the truth.

:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin?

elegcho - to convict ... to find fault with

They could not convict Him of any sin, because He was sinless.

They would throw insults and slander at Him, but nothing that was proven, or the truth.

What they finally "convicted" Him and sentenced Him on was claiming to be God, claiming to be the Messiah.

All of which was absolutely true.

:47 He that is of God heareth God's words

He's not talking about hearing voices in the middle of the night.

Though there are some instances where people have heard an audible voice.

But He's talking about perceiving and understanding the things that God has already spoken.

Jesus has been speaking to them.

He's been speaking to them God's Word.

These unbelieving people have actually heard the things Jesus has spoken, but they have not understood or realized that they're hearing God's Word, the truth.


The believer has the equipment to receive.

»1Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Just as the unbeliever is unequipped to understand the things of God, the believer has all that he needs to understand and receive.

It's not the physical voice, but understanding God's Word.

The point?

Turn your radio on!

»Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

»Psalm 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.


Let's finish with what we've been reading in Ephesians:

»(NAS) Ephesians 2:1-7 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Two Closing points about unbelievers:

1. You were once there too.

Believers, don't forget what God has saved you from.

You are no better than they are.

May we never become like those who look down their nose at hurting people and make critical remarks.

It's only because of God's love for you and His great saving work that has made you who you are today.


2. You don't have to be there any more.

If God has been getting through to your heart today, then our prayers are being answered.

We have all been where you are today.

Come join us in following our Savior.

Come let Him adopt you into His wonderful family.

Come let Him give you a new life.