John 8:31-36

Sunday Morning Bible Study

April 25, 2010


(Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

Servant School.  Premarital class. Have Drew share about Russia.)

We are in the fall of the year, during the annual Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem.

Jesus was being tested by the Jews when they brought Him a woman caught in adultery.  Jesus challenged anyone without sin to cast the first stone.  He forgave the woman and told her to go and sin no more.

Jesus said He was the “light of the world”

The Pharisees complained that Jesus was just tooting His own horn.

Jesus replied that this didn’t change the fact that He was telling the truth.

Then Jesus made a few statements that played off the Greek translated for name of God, Yahweh, the great “I AM”:

(Jn 8:24 NKJV) Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

Unless you believe that Jesus is the Messiah, unless you believe that Jesus is the “I AM”, you will die in your sins.

(Jn 8:28 NKJV) —28 Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.

At His death, His crucifixion, there would be a plain statement as to who Jesus was.

In our last study, we saw that some people responded to Jesus’ statements:

(Jn 8:30 NKJV) As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.

Jesus will now address those who came to the point of believing

Those of us who consider ourselves “evangelical Christians” believe that a person must come to believe in Jesus in order to be saved.  If you want to go to heaven, you must believe in Jesus.

We place a lot of emphasis on that initial decision, on the person praying the “sinner’s prayer”. (which is basically admitting to God you are a sinner and asking Him to forgive you and come into your heart)

But the reality of salvation involves more than just saying of some magic words once upon a time.

It is important that we not only come to the place where we believe in Jesus, but that we become followers of Jesus, becoming “disciples”.

It is not uncommon for a person to start off believing in Jesus and never go anywhere with it.  (play “Plastic Jesus”. (Be sure to read the words)

8:31-36 True Disciples

:31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.

:31 believedpisteuo – to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in

Perfect active participle

Jesus is speaking to people who have made the first step of “believing” in Him.  But where do you go from there?  Is there more to it?

Jesus says to “abide in My word”

:31 abidemeno – to remain, abide; not to depart; to continue to be present

(Jn 15:7 NKJV) If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

(2 Jn 9 NKJV) —9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.

It is important not to just “start” by believing, but to “continue” in believing.

We are to “continue” in His “word”.  We are to continue in His teachings.  We are to live out His teachings.

:31 disciplesmathetes – a learner, pupil, disciple

:31 indeedalethos – truly, of a truth, in reality, most certainly

This is the adverb based on the word for “truth” (aletheia)

Truth is an important concept in what Jesus is about to say.

Being a Christian is more than just one time thinking that Jesus said a couple of good things.

It’s “remaining” in Him.  It’s remaining in His Word.

:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

This is one of the more famous quotes from Jesus, often used in many strange ways.

Clarence Darrow, the famous lawyer who argued for evolution in schools said, “The pursuit of truth shall set you free - even if you never catch up with it.”

In the lobby of the CIA Headquarter, the words are inscribed in marble.

An anonymous person said, “Tell your boss what you think of him and the truth shall set you free.”

:32 knowginosko – to know, understand, knowledge grounded on personal experience

This is not just an intellectual acknowledgement, but knowledge by personal experience.

I may know many things about the President of the United States, but I do not “know” him.  He does not know me.

On the other hand, I could say that I “know” Debby Cathers.  She knows me.

The knowledge of the truth that Jesus is talking about is a personal knowledge, a knowledge based on experience.  Not knowing about the truth, but knowing the truth.

:32 truthaletheia – what is true in any matter under consideration; reality; free from falsehood

It comes from the word “hidden” (lanthano), meaning literally “not hidden”

What is the “truth” that sets us free?

Some would say it is the knowledge that leads to salvation – that Jesus died for our sins.
Some would say that it is having a correct doctrine about God – not believing in the things that are “wrong” about God.
Others would say that it is the truth of God’s Word – that the more of God’s Word I “know”, the more free I am.
Others would say it is the truth about me.  The more I see myself as I really am, the more I am able to move from darkness into the light.
I would say it is all of the above.

Truth is one of the important character traits of who Jesus is.

John already told us:
(Jn 1:14 NKJV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus said,
(Jn 14:6 NKJV) …“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

:32 freeeleutheroo – to make free; from eleutheros – freeborn; one who is not a slave

The word means “free” not in the sense of something not having any cost, but as the opposite of slavery.

:33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”

:33 descendantssperma – seed; from which a plant germinates; semen; offspring

:33 bondagedouleuo – to be a slave, serve, do service

The Jews are thinking that Jesus is talking about being in bondage to a person, like being a slave.  Is it true that they have never been in slavery?

They were slaves in Egypt.
The book of Judges records how they served various kings as the king of Meopotamia and the king of Moab.
(Jdg 3:8 NKJV) —8 Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim eight years.
(Jdg 3:14 NKJV) —14 So the children of Israel served Eglon king of Moab eighteen years.
When the Assyrian Empire grew in power, the northern kingdom was taken captive as slaves back to Assyria.
The Babylonian Empire took the southern kingdom into captivity in Babylon.
At this point in Israel’s history, they are currently under the rule of Rome.

You could make a case that the Israelites know a LOT about being in bondage.

They are kind of like the alcoholic on the park bench with his bottles who says, “I don’t have a problem”.
But Jesus isn’t talking about slavery to a human master, He’s talking about a different kind of slavery.

:34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.

:34 commitspoieo – to make; to do; present participle – continuous action

Jesus is talking about a person who is habitually living a life of disobedience to God, not the person who sins occasionally here and there.

Paul wrote,

(Ro 6:16 NKJV) Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

Peter wrote,

(2 Pe 2:19 NKJV) While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.

If you are a person who habitually commits the same sin, Jesus would say that you are a slave of sin.

What is it like to be a “slave of sin”?

It’s giving in to temptation when we experience it.

Play “I Believe In Miracles” – Pixar mouse and cheese.

I love this picture.  The mouse thinks it’s a “miracle” to be with the cheese.  The mouse thinks he’s getting away with snatching the cheese.  But there is ALWAYS a price to pay for snatching the cheese – even if it takes awhile.

There are different kinds of “cheese” (temptations)

It doesn’t take a person with supernatural powers to guess that there are probably a few people in this room who are addicted to online porn.
You are living in a fantasy world.  You tell yourself that no one is getting hurt – and you are so wrong.

You are hurting yourself – your perceptions of men or women become twisted and based on nothing more than physical attraction.  Your relationships will grow more and more shallow.

You are hurting others.  The people you ought to be building healthy relationships with can’t break through or compete with that fantasy world you’ve got in your head.

For others, there’s no need to go online for sexual temptation, you find it in other ways, with other people.

You have yourself convinced that it’s okay to have sex because even though you’re not married, you do “love” them.

But if you are not married to that person, you are cheating them and cheating yourself.

God is the one who invented sex.  And sex works best when you follow the instruction manual – by doing things God’s way.

Sex involves sharing a part of yourself with another person.  It works best when there is complete trust between two people.  Complete trust means that you will not be betrayed by the other person.  Complete trust means that you aren’t going to leave each other.  That means marriage.

Here’s a terrible question to ponder for those of you who are in an immoral relationship:  If you can’t have enough self control to abstain from sex before getting married, then what guarantee do you have that your partner will remain faithful to you after you get married?

There are some people in this room who probably have a problem with anger.
Did you know that some people actually change when they leave church and go home?
They might be nice and polite, even saying things like “Hallelujah” and “Bless you brother” at church.  But when they go home they are a terror to be around.

I have found out the hard way more than once that some people, even elders in our church, can be very ugly people when they go home.

It should not be so.

The people who really pay the price are those in your family.  This is not right.  This should change.

There are probably a few people in this room who have made money their “god”.  Your whole world is built on getting more money.  Your decisions are based solely on whether something is financially profitable or not. Jesus said,
(Mt 19:24 NKJV) And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Why is this so?  Because a person whose life is centered on money will have a hard time listening when God speaks.  They will be more worried about pleasing their bank account than pleasing God.  It’s this way with all kinds of “cheese”.

The question is, will we allow Him to be the “Lord” of our lives?

Will we “abide” in His Word and let it soak into our lives?
One way of looking at this is to think of your heart containing a “throne”.  Who is the king or queen sitting on the throne of your life?  Who makes the decisions?  Is it you or Jesus?
Play “The Stool”

:35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.

:35 abidemeno – to remain, abide; not to depart; to continue to be present

Same word that was used in verse 31 (“If you abide in My word”).  But here the issue is not us abiding in Jesus’ word, but whether or not we will remain in the “house”.

:35 the house – what’s “the house”??

(Jn 8:35 NLT) A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.

A slave has no security in the household.

A slave can get tossed out on his ear whenever the master wants.  A son is different.  A son is always a son.

Hagar gave birth to Abraham’s son Ishmael, but she was still a slave.  Then there was trouble in the house, Sarah said…

(Ge 21:10 NKJV) —10 Therefore she said to Abraham, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.”

In the story of the Prodigal Son, the Father said to his eldest son:

(Lk 15:31 NKJV) “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.

Are you a slave to sin?  Does the slave remain in the house?  Does this verse make you uncomfortable?  It should.

:36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

:36 indeedontos – truly, in reality, in point of fact, as opposed to what is pretended, or false

Jesus wants to set you free from the slavery of your particular sin.

This isn’t some fake deliverance that will only last for the next five minutes.  The freedom that Christ gives is real and lasting.

Paul wrote,

(Ro 8:2 NKJV) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

Jesus is the true “Son”.

When we take that step of believing in Him, we become “born-again” and we too become children of God.

A born again person has been set free from the penalty of sin.

They have trusted that Jesus has paid for their sins.  They will no longer face the judgment of God over their sins because they have allowed Jesus to pay for them.

A born again person should also be experiencing freedom from the power of sin as well.

There are a lot of heroes in this world that have tried to set men free from various things.  Our hero is different.

Play “Our Hero Lives”

He lives and has the power to set captives free.  Jesus came to set us free not only from the penalty of sin, but from the power of sin.


The path to maturity

Stay in His Word -> Experience the truth -> Freedom from slavery
Stay in His Word
It involves going to church and listening to the pastor teach from God’s Word.
It involves reading your Bible.
It means learning to let the Bible get into you, letting God sit on the stool (the throne), doing what He says.

(Eph 5:25–27 NKJV) —25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

(Ps 119:11 NKJV) Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

Experience the truth
You shall “know” the truth
Truth about God

Being in God’s Word will help us grow in the truth about God and who He is.

The other day I had a gal say to me that she thought that the God in the Old Testament was mean and cranky, and God in the New Testament was gentle and patient.

I shared with her that God was the same in the Old and New Testaments.

The Old Testament is filled with references of God’s love for His people.

There is no one who speaks more about hell than Jesus – why?  Because He doesn’t want you to go there.

The more I understand the truth about God, the more I understand how He can help me.

Truth about me

Truth is what is “uncovered”.

God will from time to time “pull your covers” and expose your sin.

Will you do something about it?  Or will you cover it back up?

(1 Jn 1:7–9 NKJV) 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Walking in the Light is walking “uncovered”, walking in truth.

Yes I am sinful.  When I admit it, I find cleansing.

Confession is humiliating. And humility is one of the keys to learning to turn away from sin.

I think that one of the best ways for this to happen is with a small group of friends (fellowship), like one of the small groups at church – the Ladies’ groups, the Men’s group, College Fellowship, Sunday night.

Freedom from slavery
God wants you do experience freedom from sin.  He wants you to experience victory over your sin.

(2 Co 4:2 NKJV) —2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselvesto every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

How do I get there?

Jesus gave us the important steps:  Stay in His Word and Experience the Truth.

But how that practically works out in your life may take some time to understand and get a hold of.


I want to give you a chance to do more than just listen to a message this morning.  I want to give you a chance to take an important step, a step into the light.

In a minute I’m going to ask those of you who feel trapped and enslaved in a particular sin to stand where you are.
I’m not going to ask you to tell us what your sin is, but I am going to ask that you promise to share with someone in your life that you have a problem.  Don’t stand if you don’t intend to take this a step further by letting your covers be pulled.

(Invite people to stand if they feel enslaved to sin.  After a minute ask those around them to lay hands on them and I will lead in prayer)