April 14, 2024 - How You Can Experience Real Freedom in Your Life - Pastor Paul Vallee

April 14, 2024 - How You Can Experience Real Freedom in Your Life - Pastor Paul Vallee
Living Stones Church, Red Deer, Alberta
April 14, 2024 - How You Can Experience Real Freedom in Your Life - Pastor Paul Vallee

Apr 15 2024 | 00:49:13

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Episode 16 April 15, 2024 00:49:13

Show Notes

One of the subtle ways in which we can be deceived is when we have been raised in a genuine Christian home environment and then assume that we are Christians because we have an intellectual acceptance of Christ and the Christian faith. Yet, it has never been internalized, nor has it been our life's motivating principle and passion. It is what Jesus told Nicodemus, a religious leader in his day, that his need was to have a 'spiritual birth.' The theological term is 'regeneration.' This is where God's Spirit enters our lives and brings healing, hope, and meaning.

How do we know that we are 'born of God? Jesus becomes first in our lives. We now are concerned about pleasing Him. We have a desire for the things of God.

It is a beautiful gift to grow up in a godly home where Christ is revealed through the life of a godly parent or parents. However, godly people do not always produce godly children. Each person must embrace the Christian faith.

In John 8:31-59, we find Jesus challenging his disciples and the Jewish people at the Temple regarding putting our faith in the wrong things. The Jewish people felt that because of their racial lineage and heritage, they were God's children based upon their lineage. Jesus is now explaining to them that they must have a spiritual lineage, where they need to trust Jesus as the Messiah to become a part of God's spiritual family. What was true for them is equally true for us. In exposing their false hope, Jesus explains who He is. What they do is what that information defines their lives, just as it does for us today. 

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:01] I'm going to have you stand as we go to the Lord in prayer. [00:00:06] And we have just had three wonderful days this week of prayer and fasting. It was awesome. You know, for those of you that may not have had the privilege or opportunity to be here on Wednesday night, we had well over 100 teenagers, and it was so marvelous to listen to them share, confess, pray, minister. And I think there were more teenagers on Wednesday night than there were adults. Isn't that amazing? That's encouraging. That's very encouraging. It tells me that the church is alive and well in a whole new generation, and it's exciting. [00:00:44] So we're going to pray today. I want to pray not only for our young people, I want to pray for our seniors. Many of them are walking through challenging times. We heard people say that, you know, they've had some very negative, you know, test results from physical examinations. And so, you know, they're struggling physically. There was people here that have walked, are walking through grief. You know, our hearts. You know, the Bible says we should rejoice with those who are rejoicing and weep with those who are weeping. So we want to pray for our brothers and sisters who are walking through that season in life. It's not easy. And I want to pray for them today and also for the rest of us. Maybe you're here today, and maybe your need may not be terminal or as life threatening or a loss of life, but it's still real. It's real to you. It's creating anxiety in your mind. Let's lift all of those things to God. The Bible says, casting our cares on him. Why? Because he cares for us. [00:01:42] He daily bears our burdens. I love that about God. We can just bring him to God. We don't have to walk around heavy hearted. We don't have to walk around burden. Lord, we thank you. We can cast them to you, and we do that today. We cast every trouble, every sorrow, every heartache, every disappointment. [00:01:59] We cast up to you, Father, the challenges that lie before us, the troubles that have confronted us, Lord, and we recognize that you're carrying the load. We're not gonna live in anxiety this morning. We're making a decision. We're giving our anxieties to you today. We're giving our grief to you today. We're giving our troubles to you today because you're the one who can carry it. And, Lord, I pray in exchange for that. We pray for strength, for peace, for joy, for hope and for comfort. We're making an exchange. We're giving you our bad stuff. We're taking your good stuff and we're going to walk out of here with that exchange in mind. And we thank you for that. In Jesus name, amen. Amen. You may be seated. How many think that's kind of unfair? God gets our junk, we get his good stuff. You know, I love that about God. He says, I can take your bad stuff and turn it into good stuff. That's God's business. [00:02:57] We're going to turn in our bibles to the Gospel of John. We've been doing a series. We're probably in one of the most, I think, one of the most noteworthy passages of scripture in John, chapter eight. Many of us know this text. One of the most subtle ways in which we can be deceived is when we've been raised in a christian environment. [00:03:19] This isn't turning over. Okay, thanks, Curtis. And we can make the assumption, because we've grown up in a christian home, that we're automatically a christian. And I think people do that all the time. And it's done around the world, and many times it happens because we develop an intellectual, basically an intellectual acceptance of Christ and the christian faith. In other words, we know the story, we believe the story, but it's not impacting us. It's more on an intellectual level. And a lot of people get there and genuine faith really becomes internalized and it becomes the motivating principle and passion for our lives. So something has to happen inside of us that changes us from an intellectual knowledge of this information into a life giving principle. And we're going to talk about that today. Remember Jesus talked to a religious leader. His name was Nicodemus. And he said to him, you need to have a spiritual birth. And just like every one of us in this room, we had a natural birth. We all need a spiritual birth. Isn't that amazing? We need to be born again. As he told Nicodemus now, the theological concept, and it's actually said in scripture, is this idea of being regenerated. [00:04:36] Generation means you have life. Regeneration means you have new life. And God wants to give us a new life. And it's this new life, this eternal life, this dynamic life that brings about forgiveness of sins and transformation in our lives and meaning and purpose and hope within us. [00:04:57] This is where God's spirit now enters into us. God himself says, I'm going to live inside of you. And that's why he makes the promise, I'll never leave you nor forsake you. [00:05:10] So how do we know that we're born again? How do we know, God's spirit is living inside of us. [00:05:15] Well, first of all, we know because Jesus now becomes central in our thinking, you know, that becomes important to us. We want to do what pleases him. There's a hunger and a desire for what's the right thing, and we want to do the will of God. This is not just human. This is supernatural. This is a work of God's spirit inside of us. But as much as it is a wonderful thing to grow up in a godly home, and I think that's a gift from God. By the way, if you have that privilege, you should be thanking God every day for that. But, you know, where Christ is actually being revealed? Through a godly parent or godly parents. However, godly parents do not always produce godly children. And you go, well, why is that? Because God gave all of us a will. And sometimes people choose not to respond to the right thing, and they decide to do the wrong thing. And so christian faith is always a personal faith. It has to be accepted by each of us individually and over the years. Probably one of the great illustrations, and I've used it before, is the story of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. He was a pastor and a theologian. And there's, you know, they've done all this tracing of his descendants and all these godly people that followed in his footsteps, his faith steps, but unfortunately, not all of them did. And I want to just talk about one of his grandsons very infamous. Notice I didn't say famous. I said infamous because he did all the wrong things, even though he knew what the right things were to do. And his name was Aaron Burr. He was actually one of the founding fathers in the United States, eventually became the third vice president. So it wasn't that this guy didn't have abilities. [00:07:03] He served under Thomas Jefferson in Jefferson's first term. And he's infamous because he's noted for two significant things. Number one, and I think these two things reveal his ungodly character. Number one, he was the individual who, in a duel, killed Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary treasurer. And because duelling had been outlawed just a few years earlier, he now fled an arrest warrant and sought an alliance with a military friend by the name of James Wilkinson, who at that point was now the governor of Louisiana and who was secretly being employed by Spain. How many know? There's a lot of intrigue sometimes in politics. Anyways, Wilkeson and Burr, they anticipated the United States going to war with Spain. It never materialized, but they thought it would. And so they were planning an invasion of Mexico in order to establish an independent government there. Obviously, these guys were power hungry. They also were discussing a way to create a new nation by some of the succession of some of the territories and states in the western part of the US. So these guys were not nice people. They were up to stuff. And Wilkinson actually was getting a little nervous because he was also benefiting from Spain. So he decided, rather than being caught, he ratted out, and he told Jefferson what Aaron Burr was up to. [00:08:32] I mean, he was as guilty as Burr, but, you know, he kind of, he figured, this isn't going to work. This conspiracy is going to be found out, and I'm going to be in trouble, and they're going to catch me. And so he told about Burr's treason, and so they finally captured him, arrested him, and they tried him, but he was acquitted on a technicality. Okay, now, so what does he do? He flees to Europe, starts talking to Napoleon about invading Florida. This guy just never gives up, right? So he's hanging out there in Europe for a while. Eventually, that's not working. So he moves back and practices law in the state of New York. Don't ask me. Oh, he got acquitted. So he's getting away with stuff and he's practicing law. [00:09:19] And then years later, he marries this very affluent widow, and within a year has squandered most of her wealth while cheating on her. [00:09:32] This is a nice guy, right? And so she finds out about it, files for a divorce, and on the day that the petition is granted, bird dies. So I say all of that to say, here's a guy that started out with all of the advantages of knowing about the gospel of Jesus, and he could have lived such a better life. But driven by selfish desires and ambition, he brought total heartache and death and destruction in the lives of other people, in his own personal ruin. [00:10:04] Just because you grew up in a christian home doesn't guarantee you're going to have a great life. That's what I'm trying to tell you. You have to personalize it in your life. In John, chapter eight, in verse 31, we find Jesus challenging both his disciples and the jewish people at the temple regarding putting their faith in the wrong things. You know, I'm going to say this. The majority of people, everybody has faith. Many of them are putting it in the wrong place. They put it in themselves, they put it in others, they put it in society, put in all kinds of things. Many jewish people at Jesus day felt that because of their racial lineage and heritage, that they were God's children solely on that lineage. And Jesus explains to them that they must have a spiritual lineage, one where they need to know and trust Jesus as the messiah to become part of God's spiritual family. Now, that is as equally true then as it is right now. You and I can be a part of God's family. How many think, that's amazing? I can get in on the spiritual lineage, and that's what we're going to talk about this morning, how to do that? How does that happen? So what was true for them? I said, it's equally true for us. And exposing their false hope, Jesus explains to us who he is. And what they did with that information literally defined their lives, just as it does for us today. And so I think I want to look at two critical elements in knowing God in order to live free. How many want to live free? You know, a lot of people would like to be free. They're not. A lot of people are bound by addictions. A lot of people are bound by all kinds of things. But how many say, I just want to live free, and this is how you do it? We're going to talk about that. And so these two things that lead to it. And so the first critical element in knowing God and living free is our status as God's children. It always begins with the issue of parentage, or simply put, who is your daddy? It's very important, you know, whose family do you belong to, right? You want to be in the right family? And we're going to find out. There's only two family lines here. That's true in Genesis. It's true in the whole bible. It's true right now. So who is our daddy? Who do we belong to? And we can, and this can be identified not only by what we believe, but by also what we do. So belief has to lead to behavior. And people who say they believe something, but it doesn't translate into behavior. I go, they really don't believe. That's what we need to understand now. The purpose, one of the ways that we can be that we can reveal that we actually have the right parentage, that we're living free, is that we actually persevere in the christian life. Perseverance is one of the great tests of genuineness in the things of God. It really is in this section, Jesus now is warning his hearers to persevere in his teaching. He says it this way to the Jews who had believed him. Jesus said, if you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. That's verse 31. Then you will know the truth. And the truth will set you free. [00:13:28] Now, truth is not just found in proposition or in ideas. Truth is found actually in a person. Jesus said, I am the truth. So we have to know the person of Christ. That's the truth. Once we know him, then we can learn a lot of other things, but we understand where truth is originating from. Now, Jesus also is going to make a distinction between what he calls enduring faith or this unstable. We'll call it fickle faith, this instability. [00:14:03] So who are the real believers? Well, it's simply people who believe the right things or those who act upon what they believe. [00:14:12] And this can only be determined over time. So what I'm saying is simply this. When you really believe something, you're going to act on it and to really determine if people really believe, they act on it. But they don't just act on it momentarily. They're acting on it continuously, and they're growing and developing in that. That's what's important, you know? [00:14:33] So Jesus, in his signs of the Times message in Matthew 24, says something critical about the nature of endurance or perseverance in our christian life. This is what he said, and I think this is really appropriate for the age in which we're living. He said, at that time, many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. This is very fascinating. Now, how many are just that last text of scripture is really challenging to me. It says, because when wickedness increases, a lot of people get sucked into that wickedness. And it's actually a test, it's a revealer. And so what we need to do is, in the middle of people turning to ungodly things, you and I should be standing up and saying, hey, that's not right. I'm not going down that track. I'm standing against that in my own life, in my own soul. But he says, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. Now, how many get a sense that endurance, it's not that you're saved because of endurance. You're saved because of what Jesus did for you. But endurance is a sign that something real happened. That's what I'm getting at. It's a fruit of true, stable Christianity. Sometimes you say, well, you know, I'm not a strong person, pastor. I've never been a strong person. It's not about how strong you are, it's how strong he is. That's the beauty. And so all you got to do is keep trusting in him. It's not about, you know, I have this disciplined personality. No, it's not even about that because, you know, very disciplined people do very dumb things. It's true. It happens all the time. Right? So I'm just pointing out to us, it's learning to lean on Jesus. It's learning to trust in Jesus. And when you do that, you endure. [00:16:28] This idea of being spiritually fickle, by the way, comes up throughout the gospel of John. Look what happened earlier in the gospel when he said in chapter two, now, while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and they believed in his name. But that's the key word. Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. In other words, he knew that people are, you know, they are all over the map. Haven't you discovered this with people? You know, they mean well, but they don't always follow through. It says he did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person. Jesus is actually aware of the spiritual instability within the of human heart. [00:17:09] We may have good intentions, but often self interest moves us away from real, lasting commitment. And, you know, I've been a pastor now for over four decades, and I've pastored this particular church for 36 years. That's a long time. And I've watched people over a long period of time. And, you know, I'm going to say something. [00:17:31] I really caught on to what Jesus says when we get to heaven, what's the commendation? He's going to say to us, well done, thou good faithful servant. Ah, how many catch on I get highlighted? Good faithful servant. Am I a good faithful servant? You know, do I just consistently motor along, just keep serving? I'm faithful, you know? You follow what? I'm kidding. Cause I see a lot of christians, they're always looking for some high, some hype, some excitement. You know, they get bored, they get up, they get down. They're up and down like a yo yo. You know, that's not maturity, folks. That's a sign of immaturity tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. Hey, did you hear this new teaching? See, immature people are caught up in that. [00:18:31] You know, I'm gonna tell you right now, our church is not trendy. If you haven't figured this out yet. Some of you been here a long time ago. Yeah, pastor, you know, it's just steady eddy. Just keep moving down a track, you know. Meanwhile, people's lives are changing, being transformed. It's taking time. [00:18:50] Follow what I'm saying. This isn't hyping people up. I know what I tell people. Recently I said, you know, God's doing something in our church. It's not natural, it's supernatural, but it's not emotional. [00:19:03] You see, a lot of people are caught up in emotion, but that doesn't change anything. [00:19:09] It's not how high you get or how low you get. It's this consistency that God is looking for to walk through the challenges of life and stay steady. I'm trusting you, Jesus boy. It's pretty black right now. Wow, man, the waves are just crashing in on my vessel. My soul just seems to be tossed to and fro. But I'm just following you. I got my eye fixed on you, Jesus. I'm just going to go right through the storm because I'm going to tell you something. God's going to lead you and I through the fire. He's going to lead you and I through the water, but he's with us in those times, and he'll bring us right on through. And those are refining moments in our lives. And that's where you and I grow and get stronger and more consistent in our relationship with God. So when the next storm comes, we go, I've been here before. Jesus is in the boat. We're going to get through this thing. And we have that kind of confidence because of those experiences, and that's powerful. Now, notice here in John chapter six, we have another situation. You know, in John chapter six, he says, on hearing it, many of his disciples said, this is a hard teaching. Who can accept it? Remember, Jesus said, got to eat my body and drink my blood. They didn't like that. Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, does this offend you? [00:20:21] Do we get offended? [00:20:23] You know, I was a new Christian, and, you know, when you're a new Christian, you can get easily offended. And I remember reading, because I'm a daily Bible reader. Way back when I first became a Christian, I became a daily Bible reader, reading in psalm 119, verse 165, it says, they that love thy law are not easily offended. [00:20:42] So I said to myself, if I really love God's word, I should not get offended. Then I had another thought, you know, and it's found in Galatians. It says, I'm crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live. I said, hey, if I'm really crucified, what can offend me? What can offend a dead person? So when anytime something bugs me, I go, hey, you mustn't be that crucified, Paul. Why did that bother you? You see, instead of getting upset with the other person, you got to take a look at yourself and say, what's bugging me? Am I really dead? Am I really alive in Christ? Am I going to take this personally? Because, you know, a lot of times people say and do things that they don't even mean it actually, the devil is using those lines to get on your frame. He's hitting your buttons. And it's not that person. It's Satan that's doing it. And those are the fiery darts of the enemy. And you and I just need to take those things captive. [00:21:33] Well, this is real practical, guys. I'm just helping you along here. [00:21:39] Then it says, he says, does this offend you? [00:21:45] Then what if you see the son of man ascending to where he was before? What happens if you see God? You know, Jesus is ascending into heaven. He says, the spirit gives life. The flesh counts for nothing. The words I've spoken to you, they are full of spirit and life. In other words, you guys have taken this the wrong way. You're focused on material thinking. You're still on a natural mind. He said, I'm saying something that's speaking spiritually. You have to eat my body. [00:22:10] Yet there are some of you who do not believe. This is a challenge. On hearing it, many of his disciples said, yet Jesus says, there are some of you who do not believe. In other words, there are some of you who think you believe, but you don't believe. For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them, notice it's plural, did not believe and who would betray him. Not just talking about Judas Iscariot, he's talking about which people in that group that were listening to him would actually not continue to follow him. And look what happens. [00:22:43] He went on to say, this is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the father has enabled him. In other words, you must be born again. You must have God's spirit living inside of you. Then the next thing that happens in the story is, from this time, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. [00:23:04] What defines a disciple? [00:23:08] A follower of Jesus? [00:23:11] And so I'm going to say this. You and I need to keep following until the very last moment of our lives. [00:23:21] We got to be committed, and I believe we will be committed if God is living inside of us. That's why I'm saying, don't just think an intellectual understanding of Christianity is going to get you there. You and I need to receive God's life within us so we can be faithful right to the very end. [00:23:42] Don Carson says, in short, perseverance is the mark of true faith. Of real disciples, a genuine believer remains in Jesus word. His teaching. Such a person obeys it, seeks to understand it better, finds it more precious, more controlling, precisely when other forces flatly oppose it. In other words, this is what God's word says. Here I stand, and you guys can do all the nonsense you're going to do around me. I'm just stuck right here because that's where I'm standing. All that other stuff you see going on, that's all coming down. [00:24:14] You see, there's only one thing that is eternal in this world. That's God's word. And everything you and I visibly see at this moment will one day all be gone. [00:24:23] Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words abide forever. Let's stand on that which is eternal. [00:24:31] There's a challenge of spiritual blindness. I believe the greatest problem to humanity is simply, let's go here. [00:24:45] Stuck. Okay. Greatest problem with humanity is the inability to understand and see our true condition. Where do we place our confidence and trust in? [00:24:56] Well, I think for most people today, it's in themselves, and for some people, it's in others, and for other people, it's in society. [00:25:04] And you have to decide where you're going to put your trust. And I'm just going to say, put your trust in Jesus. Put your trust in his word. He'll never let you down. You may not always understand, but he'll never let you down. There's a difference. He'll get you through. You know, ultimately, it must be in Christ. We need to have confidence in his word. Jesus addresses the ultimate freedom from our greatest problem, namely sin. So Jesus is going to start talking about spiritual freedom now, and the jewish audience are taking exception to what he's saying. And they say in verse 33 here, they answered him. We're Abraham's descendants. We've never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that? We shall be free now, you know, and I used to read this verse. I used to think, you know, these guys are dumb. I mean, you're slaves to Rome right now. What are you talking about? But I don't believe that's what they're talking about. What they're saying is, we've never been in spiritual slavery. We may have been under Egypt, we may have been under the Persians and all the rest of it, but we're children of God, we're not slaves. We're free in our soul. [00:26:06] Boy, Jesus is really zeroing in now on the one area that they think that they're free. And Jesus goes, no, you're not free. You're not free at all. As a matter of fact, when we look at the Old Testament, one realized there's always been a divide between those who obey God and those who practice what we would call a ritualistic or a ceremonial religion, which was simply external. How many people, you read the Old Testament, you know, the prophets are speaking against their external form of religion because they had never internalized it. That's problematic. That's what Jesus is talking about. He's talking about this issue of spiritual freedom. So Jesus is very truly, I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now, a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the son sets you free, you will be free. Indeed, Jesus is saying that if sin is a habitual practice, we are sin slave. Okay. It's not talking about okay, I felt I committed a sin. I think everyone in this room can say, you know, there's times I sin. You can't say you're without sin. We sin, but we're not talking about habitually living in sin. That's different. And, you know, here's a real insight in what Jesus is saying here. Donald Carson says, the practice of sin enslaves for Jesus, then the ultimate bondage is not enslavement to a political or economic system, but a vicious slavery to moral failure, to rebellion against the God who made us. The despotic master is not Caesar, but shameful self centeredness and evil and enslaving devotion to created things at the expense of worshiping the creator. [00:27:51] This is really striking to the heart of things. You know, let's face it, a lot of people are really tied into what they see, and we've lost sight of the one who created everything we see. [00:28:01] Hmm. [00:28:03] I think he's striking at the heart of self assurance with these comments. And then he says, a slave has no permanent place in the life of a family, but a son belongs there forever. What's interesting about this comment is that the son he's referring to is actually Jesus. He's not talking about you and I here. He's talking about the Christian. Because, you see, in John's gospel, the greek word for son is ho. Ho, always used in John's gospel regarding Jesus. And that's the term he's using here. Whereas when he's speaking to us as believers, he usually words taktah tu teo, which is children of God. That's when he's speaking about us, who are his children. But here he's speaking about Christ, the son that sets us free. Jesus is the one. So true freedom is not the liberty, as Carson says, to do anything we please. [00:29:02] He's talking about who's setting us free. There the sun is setting us free. True freedom is not the liberty to do anything we please, but the liberty to do what we ought to do. [00:29:11] And it is genuine liberty, because doing what we ought to do now pleases us. I think this is amazing. You see, that's why God says, you know what? Ask and I'll give you whatever you desire. [00:29:25] But who can he say that to? He can only say that to the person who's regenerated. Because the truly regenerated person wants to do what pleases God. And what pleases God actually pleases us. Now, we've all had moments where we struggle doing what God wants us to do. How many here can honestly admit that? I've got my hand up. This is what God says to do. And maybe I've struggled with it, but I said, no, I've got to do that. That's because of what it says. But the more the moment you do what God says to do, afterwards, you know what? You get this peaceable fruit of righteousness, you get joy. You go, thank God. I did what God told me to do here instead of doing the dumb thing that I thought I wanted to do over there. Because I can see now that people who are doing that stuff are not doing so well. [00:30:13] Amen. [00:30:14] Yeah. [00:30:16] Now, how many know? Behavior reveals who father is. Who our father, whose father we belong to. I know that Jesus goes, well. Yeah, I know that you're Abraham's descendants. Racially, he knew that. I mean, Jesus himself's jewish. Yet you're looking for a way to kill me because you have no room for my word. I'm telling you what I've seen in the father's presence, and you're doing what you've heard from your father. Abraham's our father. They answered. They got really upset about that. He says, hey, if you're Abraham's children, then you would do what Abraham did. [00:30:50] What did Abraham do? Well, he obeyed God. He says, as it is, you're looking for a way to kill me. A man who told you the truth that I heard from God, and AbrAhAM did not do such things. In other words, if you were really Abraham's kids, you would do what Abraham does. But because you're not doing what Abraham did, you can't be Abraham's kids. [00:31:10] Wow, he's kind of laying it on these guys, right? [00:31:16] You're doing the works of your own father. We're not illegitimate children. [00:31:21] The only father we have is God himself. [00:31:26] Now, PAUL, and we see here, jesus is going to agree with him. Yeah, physically, you're jewish. But the problem is not everybody who is a Jew is a Jew. And the apostle Paul brings this out in Romans chapter nine. He said, a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. Well, you could say, well, wait a minute, Paul. Yeah, of course these guys are jewish. This is their lineage. You know, they've gotten circumcised. They belong to a certain family member. Paul goes, no, but you're not a real jew. [00:31:57] What he means is you're not a real covenant person. You're not in relationship with God just because you're jewish. That's what Paul's saying here. I'll look what he says in the next verse. No, a person's a jew who's one inwardly. And circumcision is circumcision of the heart by the spirit, not by the written code. Such a person's praise is not from other people, but from God. In other words, God is the one who's. You know, it's more important to be more concerned about what God thinks than what people think. I may say that's true. Hey, by the way, when you're standing before God in all of eternity and he's just. You're looking up at him, do you think it's going to matter with everybody else in society? Who cares? [00:32:35] At that moment, the only person that matters is the one that you're standing before, your maker. Amen. And hopefully your savior. [00:32:44] So when Jesus and Paul are speaking about a true jewish person, they're actually speaking about one who is an actual covenant relationship with God, not just a person who's racially jewish. [00:32:57] I think that's important. [00:33:00] The point being is that someone who knows God not only believes the right thing, but he lives or she lives the right way, because love is the dominant characteristic of the true believer's life. [00:33:14] You know, that's why I get a little concerned when people are walking around angry all the time. What's going on here? You know, that should not be the general characteristic. I don't think it's wrong to get angry, but it says, be angry, but don't sin. But if you can't live in a perpetual state of anger and hatred all the time, that's not christian, folks. [00:33:32] The spirit of God is the spirit. The fruit of the spirit is what? [00:33:37] Love. The result of the spirit. Love. [00:33:40] And you go, well, yeah, but some people didn't treat me nice. Yeah, but we gotta forgive them. [00:33:44] You can't hang on to that garbage. You know, some of you guys are packing garbage. [00:33:51] Throw it out. Get rid of it. Be free. Right. Go on. [00:33:58] Yeah, let God deal with them. Amen. Okay. [00:34:03] Jesus said to them, if God were your father, you would love me. [00:34:09] For I have come from God and I have not come on my own. God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you guys? I'll tell you why. You're unable, because you're unable to hear what I say. But why are they unable to hear what Jesus is saying? [00:34:25] Here's what his answer is. That's because you belong to your father, the devil. [00:34:30] Ouch. [00:34:32] How many think that's pretty intense? Who do you belong to? Who's your daddy? Jesus said, well, my dad is God the father. Your dad is the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. What's your father's desires? He's a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there's no truth in him. And when he lies, he's speaking his native language. He's a liar and he's the father of all lies. He's just a liar. [00:35:02] How many think that's pretty strong? See, Jesus, I am the truth. [00:35:06] Satan is a liar. He's the liar. You know, yet because I tell you the truth, you do not believe me. [00:35:15] Ff Bruce says Jesus insists on using the term father and children in an ethical sense, the children are those who reproduce the father's qualities. [00:35:26] So what Jesus is saying is based on what you are doing and what you are like determines who your daddy is. And if you're a loving, forgiving, kind, caring person, you're the one that's, you know, obeying. You're doing what the Father in heaven wants you to do. That's your dad. But if you're, you know, lying, cheating, deceiving, well, that's from another source. [00:35:54] You know, there's only two parentages that we're being portrayed here in this text. You're either a child of God or you're a child of Satan. I mean, that's pretty strong. [00:36:05] There's no neutrality. Here you go. Oh, there's some nice people out there, pastors that aren't christians. I'm going, no. Who's your daddy? [00:36:12] It comes down to that. Who's your dad? Are you listening to Jesus? Well, you know, it's interesting to me. We either believe the truth or we believe a lie. It was the lie of the enemy in the garden that deceived the woman. You know, the devil is out to destroy life. He's out to repudiate truth. He's a liar from the very beginning. He's constantly sowing deception and discord. Paul describes the operation of evil, deceiving those who are perishing, and listen to what he writes. In Thessalonians, he said, in all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. [00:36:48] All the ways that deceive people who are perishing are deceived. [00:36:54] They perish because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved. They'd rather live in self delusion. They'd rather live in self deception. They'd rather believe a lie. Listen. For this reason, God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. Now you know the reason why people don't want to believe the truth. Because they rather believe the lie. And why would they want to believe the lie? Because they want to do what's wrong. [00:37:28] They want to do what's evil. They want to do what's wicked. [00:37:32] That's what's generating it. [00:37:35] I don't want to have to face the truth because I don't want to change. You know what I've discovered with people? Most people have a hard time. It's not an intellectual problem that keeps people coming to believe in God. It's a moral problem. [00:37:49] People don't want to stop sinning. That's the reason. So then the question is raised, can any of you prove me guilty? This is what Jesus says of sin. [00:38:02] If I'm telling the truth, why don't you believe me? Now, Jesus did not say, does anyone think him guilty of sin? They thought he was guilty of sin. They thought he, you know, they had lots of false accusations. They said, oh, you're a Sabbath breaker. Well, we've already touched on that. Earlier in the series, Jesus didn't break the Sabbath. He made the Sabbath for humanity. He was basically going, your understanding of the Sabbath is wrong. Then they got upset. They said, you're a blasphemer because you say you're God. We're going to see that at the close of the chapter here. But if Jesus didn't tell them he was God, he would have been a liar. Because he is God. He had to tell them the truth. [00:38:43] The reason they couldn't hear his message was that they really did not know God. That's the bottom line. Let me move to the second critical element. Fortunately, it's. Yeah, he says, it here belongs to God. Here is what God says. The reason you did not hear is that you do not belong to God. Isn't that strong? [00:39:01] Let me move on to the second point. It's our acceptance of who Jesus is. It always comes down to, who do we think Jesus is. Our answer determines the life we can have now and forever. Here we see what these opponents of Jesus thought about him. The Jews answered them. Aren't we right in saying that you're a samaritan demon possessed? Now, you have to understand, being called a Samaritan was a very derogatory term in their minds, because they saw the Samaritans as being half jewish but intermingled with a whole bunch of gentile renegades. And so they just looked down on Samaritans and the fact that Jesus would challenge them on their jewish lineage. They said, he's got to be a Samaritan. No jewish person. His right mind would talk to us like this. [00:39:47] And how many? Notice that Jesus many times uses a Samaritan as the good guy in one of his stories? He uses them all the time, right? He's trying to show them you guys are depending on a false sense of hope. Racial lineage, not spiritual lineage. That's what you need to be depending on. Jesus answers them. I'm not possessed by a demon, but I honor my father, and you dishonor me very truly. I tell you, whoever obeys my word. Oh, sorry. I'm not seeking glory for myself, but there's one who seeks it, and he is the judge. Very truly, I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death. [00:40:26] Well, you should underline that in your Bible. Whoever obeys my word will never see death. [00:40:33] What does that mean? At this they said, now we know that you're demon possessed. Abraham died, and so did all the prophets. Yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. Now, how many know? These guys are so funny. They're just, like, literal, like right now. What do you mean? Everybody's died. I mean physically. They're on a physical level. Is that what Jesus is talking about? No, he's talking about they'll never be eternally separated from God. He's talking about spiritual death. He said, then they say, are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are? Wow. [00:41:10] Mister big stuff. Who do you think you are? You know, like they were, you know, attacking him. [00:41:19] Jesus denies the charges against him. He goes on to explain that his words will bring life. Those who obey him will never die, not speaking of physical death, but rather spiritual. To be spiritually dead means that we are separated from God because of our sins. Jesus came to address the sin issue by taking our sins upon him as our substitute. We just did that at communion so that we can experience this amazing life once again. They were so locked into their idea, and the question comes down, who is Jesus? Who do you think Jesus is? [00:41:52] Jesus says, if I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you did not know him. I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you. Jesus is now calling them liars. It's pretty strong. How many think there's kind of a strong exchange going on here? Anybody get the idea I'd be a liar like you? But I know him, and I obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day. And he saw it, was glad. Hey, you're only at 50 years old, they said, and you've seen Abraham very truly. I tell you, Jesus answered before Abraham was born, I am. Am. [00:42:30] Oh. How many know? [00:42:33] Like, we read that, we go, what does that mean? Well, that's the name of God. And remember when God was revealing himself to Moses in the burning bush? He said, I am. That I am. Jesus basically said, I am. [00:42:47] These guys went ballistic. [00:42:51] It's the only way to describe it at this. They picked up stones to stone him because they thought he committed blasphemy, declaring that he was God. Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. Now, I think it's interesting that Jesus declaration of who he is created such a fury that they were ready to literally stone him. [00:43:11] For, as they ascertained, Jesus takes to himself God's name. I am. [00:43:17] The fact that Jesus slipped away from the temple is actually very significant in their historical past as a nation. When the people had abandoned God, what happened? God's presence left them. Did you know that? The shekinah glory left. And what was the end result? Judgment. [00:43:35] I think John is foreshadowing something here. He's telling us something. [00:43:39] We have to be very careful, you know, that we don't, you know, basically get rid of Jesus. That's what he's telling us. Ken Hughes, upon reflecting on this passage, that Satan is above all a deceiver, and those who follow him are characterized by deceit. They deceive themselves about their own hearts and about their own lives. [00:44:03] They deceive themselves about God and about the way of salvation. And some of them imagine that they are children of God when indeed they are not. And that is the ultimate deception, a false sense of security. [00:44:16] We are either a child of God or we are a child of the devil. We're not left any other options. There's no middle ground. Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, challenged them to examine themselves to see if they be in the faith. [00:44:30] How can I know that I'm a believer, pastor? [00:44:33] One, do I truly love Jesus? Two, do I delight in doing God's will as found in his word? [00:44:40] Three, has my life continued to change since I first believed in Jesus? [00:44:45] And if you can say, yes, thank God. [00:44:50] Thank God for his grace in your life. And if not, the good news today is you can say, I want to. I want to know Jesus. I want to be born again. I want him to live inside of my life. I want to experience that transformation that will change me from the inside out and create a new beginning to my life. Let's stand. [00:45:17] How many know Jesus is a little intrusive? [00:45:22] How many know Jesus is not worried about how your feelings are, that Jesus can say things that actually offend people. Anybody figure that out yet? [00:45:36] He does. [00:45:38] And you know what? Better to be offended, think about what is said, repent and come into a relationship with him than not to be offended at all, or never to be offended. [00:45:52] Better to be challenged. Better to do self examination. Better to say, God, search my heart, you know, see if there be any wicked way in me. Am I really trusting in you, Jesus? [00:46:05] You know, I think a lot of us, we can live very careless lives. [00:46:09] That's a big mistake, you know, especially when think of it this way. You know, I did a funeral yesterday, and I shared this thought. The text that I preached from was I fought a good fight. The christian life is a battle I have kept. I have run the race. I finished my course. I've run the race. I finished my course. [00:46:31] And here was a young woman that had passed away at 27, suddenly and unexplainably, without any cause, 27 years old. You know what I said to them? I said, you and I don't know how long our race is. [00:46:45] Some are long, some are shorter. [00:46:47] I think we better make sure that we're right with God. Now, today is the day of salvation. You have no guarantee about tomorrow. None of us do today. [00:47:01] Let's make sure our hearts are right with God. [00:47:05] And then I said at the end, you know, she has finished her course. She kept the faith. She's now inheriting righteousness. She's now in the presence of the living God. [00:47:20] That's the most important thing, eternal life. [00:47:24] It begins the moment you receive Christ. But it's a forever life. [00:47:28] So maybe you're here this morning. You say, you know, man, you've got me thinking, pastor. That's good. I want you to think. [00:47:36] I want you to examine your soul. I want you to say, am I serving God? [00:47:42] Do I love Jesus? Do I desire to please him? Am I changing those good little tests? Right? Is that happening in my life? And if it's not, just say, lord, I want to know you, Jesus, would you come into my life? He is so gracious. He'll come right now. He'll come right into your life. He'll begin that inward change inside of you. How beautiful is that? And he will create in your heart a new desire to do the right thing that you lacked before. [00:48:11] Maybe you're trying to be a Christian in your own energy. It doesn't work. I tried it. I feel every one of us will fail. We need Christ living in us. And then when the Holy Spirit, God, the third person of Trinity, is living in us, he empowers and helps us to do the right thing. You and I can't do it on our own. We need him, and then we need one another. [00:48:32] So, Father, we thank you this morning. Thank you that you speak to us. You know, you're asking us today, whose child are you? The child of God or a child of Satan? It's a choice we have to make. You give us an opportunity today to choose. [00:48:48] Think of Joshua standing before his nation says, choose you this day. Whom will you serve? [00:48:53] If God is God, serve God. You know, Elijah made the same claim. [00:48:58] You know, you can't serve God in Baal. You got to serve God. Help us, Lord, to serve you with our whole heart. And we thank you for that. In Jesus name, amen. God bless you as you leave today.

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