This is the Wednesday night sermon for July 2nd, 2008.

Conditions and results of believing in Jesus.
John 8:31-32.

Jesus had just finished revealing a little about the cross to those listening. In fact, He reveals the cross to these people by declaring Himself being lifted up.

John 8:28 AMP – So Jesus added, When you have lifted up the Son of Man [on the cross], you will realize (know, understand) that I am He [for Whom you look] and that I do nothing of Myself (of My own accord or on My own authority), but I say [exactly] what My Father has taught Me.

Throughout the book of John we have seen Jesus debating the Pharisees and teachers of the Law, the Jews living outside of Jerusalem, the residence of Jerusalem, and others.

Here in tonight’s passage we are going to see that Jesus is talking to some Jews, residents of Jerusalem, that have come to believe in Him after the long discussion of John 8.

Jesus has been very clear of His purpose here on earth. It wasn’t to do a few signs and wonders to impress people. Neither was it to draw such a crowd to Himself to overthrow the Roman occupation. But it was for one purpose: To do the will of the Father.

Every word He spoke and every action He took brought glory and pleasure to the Father.

He is now around 6 months or so away from His death on a cross. He knows His time on this earth is rather short. His messages are going to become more precise, more direct and too the point.

In tonight’s sermon, Jesus is going to reveal that the evidence of being a true disciple of His is more than just belief, but there are also conditions and results that will occur.

Let’s look at our text tonight and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us.

1. The condition of true discipleship – continuing or abiding.

John 8:31 ESV – So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.

John 8:31 AMP – So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples.

A. Notice first who Jesus is talking to here.

He is not talking to those who are against Him, but He is talking to those who are starting to believe in Him. This is not the first time that Jesus talked to those who claim to believe on Him. Remember in John 6, Jesus fed the five thousand. After He fed them, they proclaimed in v. 14 (ESV), “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world.” This was a Messianic statement. They believed He was the prophet to come spoken by Moses. But when later Jesus started talking about eating of His flesh and drinking of His blood, they abandoned Him. You see, Jesus was about more than some superficial belief; He wanted disciples.

The phrase, “if you abide,” in Greek is a third class conditional phrase. This means that there should be a continued action by those claiming faith in the passage. In other words, the word is to be believed, obeyed, and abided in.

B. Look at what the great commission says.

Matthew 28:19-20 ESV – 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The Gospel is not about making converts, who make some type of profession of faith. The Gospel message is about making disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them the commands and teachings of the Lord, and encouraging them that the Lord is always with us. While crusades and big events do have their place, they are lacking in the making disciples category. This is where the local church, and the individual believer comes into play. We must teach the Gospel to those who come to faith in Jesus. As individual’s we must live it out and mentor those new in the faith. This great commission, and what I believe Jesus is talking about in our text tonight, is so seriously lacking in our churches today. People say, well that is what Sunday School is for, that is what small groups is for – actually the way that they are currently being done does not promotes discipleship. We do Sunday School today and small groups as a way to better our lives, or to have discussions and debates, not too disciple. Sometimes we can get so deep in our discussions that those who are younger in the faith are confused and missing out, and become frustrated. We need to be mindful of this and share the Word with them in a way that they can understand.

Discipling can take so many different forms:
• At a coffeehouse.
• In a sermon.
• At someone’s home or your home.
• At a dinner table.
• On the golf course or some place of recreation.

The point is, discipleship does not have to be some organized event put on by the church.

C. Going from mere belief to true discipleship.

John 8:31 AMP – So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples.

A true disciple of Jesus Christ will always go beyond just mere belief. They will go to abiding, holding fast, or tight, and beginning live in accordance to the words of Christ. These are the ones Jesus says are truly His disciples. Jesus said it another way.

John 15:4-8 ESV – Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

There are many different beliefs concerning “can you lose your salvation?” And quite honestly, my beliefs had changed greatly on this subject.

I think the question is asked wrong. The question that should be asked, “What are the marks of a true Disciple?” The answer is quite simple: Those that continue in the faith, abide in Him and are students of His Word, they are true disciples; those who are in, then out, then it again, up and down, show no visible signs of fruit, are not true disciples. This is not a judgment call on my part, I want everyone to understand. This is just applying what Jesus said in John 15.

2. The results of being a disciple – freedom!

John 8:32 ESV – and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

A. The first step toward this freedom is knowing the truth.

This is more than just having a good working knowledge of Scripture. The Pharisees and Teachers of the Law had a great working knowledge of the Scripture, yet they were blinded to the truth. Knowing the truth is knowing what Scripture plainly teaches about human race and their condition, and about the only salvation available.
• Truth is, man cannot save himself. They are lost and dying in their sins.
• Truth is, Jesus Christ came and became the substitutionary sacrifice for man’s sin.
• Truth is, Jesus Christ is full of grace and truth.
• He is the way, the truth, and the life.
• He is the light that shines in darkness.
• He is the stone that the builders rejected, but has become the chief cornerstone.
• He is the one that will draw all men to Himself through the cross.
• He is the one that died, and three days later rose again.
• He is the one the sent the promised Holy Spirit to be our ever abiding counselor after He ascended into heaven.
• He is the one that is preparing a place for us and will return one day again for us – His bride.

This is just a few examples of the truth that I believe that Jesus is talking about.

Knowing the truth is not some type of mental ascent, it is having a personal relationship with the perfect embodiment of truth – Jesus Christ. In this relationship, where we abide in His Word and are obedient to His teachings, and persevere in this world, we are set free by truth.

B. This truth will set us free.

I like what the NET Bible’s Translation notes say here on this passage. “The truth will set us free, or the truth will release you. The translation ‘set you free’ or ‘release you’ (unlike the traditional ‘make you free’) conveys more the idea that the hearers were currently in a state of slavery from which they needed to be freed. The following context supports precisely this idea.”

In fact, next time we will see that Jesus talks about this enslavement too sin to these religious Jews. You see, becoming a disciple and living a life of discipleship produces freedom as a result. We are no longer bound and enslaved to our flesh. We do not have to sin. If we sin, it is now by choice, not by enslavement.

C. The truth about discipleship is more than a promise living in heaven, but it is a promise of living a life free from the enslavement of sin now.

The call of the Lord is one to discipleship. This is a lifetime call, to abide and continue in His teachings. It is a call to freedom from the slavery of sin.