Here is the first sermon that I will be preaching for 2009. It is the Sunday morning sermon for Sunday, January 4th, 2009. I will also post the video that I will be showing before the sermon as well.

John 8:31-32.

John 8:31-32 ISV – 31 So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are really my disciples. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

My Dad was a big believer in hard work. He put me to work very early in life. I’ve had jobs from the time I was around 9 years old. I actually had two jobs when I was 9, two times a week I worked in a birdhouse, cleaning up after about a thousand or so birds; and I also cleaned the church two times a week and was paid for both. One day as I was cleaning the church and sweeping between the pews, the old splintered broom I was using brushed up against my leg and a big piece splintered off, went through the pants leg and deeply entered my thigh. It was so painful, to walk, much less to touch. I went ahead and finished cleaning the church, afraid for some reason to tell my parents that I had the splinter, because I also broke the broom handle. We had altars up front and I spent the entire afternoon crying out to God for Him to remove the splinter. My Dad came into the church saw me at the altar, then turned around and left and went back home. He was so proud of me. He told Mom, “Darrin is really seeking the Lord and He is having an experience with Him.” I was having an experience, but it was with the splinter of wood in my leg, not necessarily the Lord. That evening I had all I could take of the pain and told my parents. When they had me remove my pants, they saw how huge the splinter was and they couldn’t believe I had that in my thigh all day long. They asked me why I didn’t tell them. I responded, “Because I broke the broom handle and I was afraid of being punished.” Mom hugged me, and Dad went and got some pliers and jerked the splinter out in a painful instant.

You see, I didn’t have to live with that painful splinter that day, it could have easily been removed if I was honest with my parents and didn’t approach them in fear, but knowing that good parents would help. I could have been set free much earlier than I was.

Let me ask question of all of us this morning. Are you presently struggling with some issue, maybe it is sin, maybe not, but there is a struggle? Are you afraid of what the Lord will do to you if you were to take this struggle to Him?

Well, hopefully, by the time this sermon ends, you will know that you can take all of your burdens, struggles, worries, and fears to the Lord; He will not cast you out.

This morning we are going to learn what the promise of being set free by truth demands – it demands continuance (or abiding) in God’s Word.

Let’s begin digging into our text this morning and see what the Holy Spirit would say to us.

The mark of true discipleship is to continue in His Word.

John 8:31 ISV – So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are really my disciples.

For us to understand what this passage is saying here, let me explain a little bit what went on before our text happened. We will not read the verses, but in context I’m referring to John 8:12-30.

What we have here are two different events of Jesus testifying about Himself to the Pharisees and to some Judeans. He is rather bold in his testimony here. In fact He plainly tells them in v. 24, “For unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” He was saying that they had to believe that He was the one that the Scriptures foretold would come and remove their sins, but if they refused to believe, then they would die in their sins. Then in v. 28 Jesus makes a statement about His crucifixion, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He.” I believe that He was saying that in the crucifixion, the truth of who Jesus is would be revealed. V. 30 states that while He was saying these things that many believed in Him.

The question must be asked, is this true Biblical belief that these Jews had, or was it a superficial belief? I believe from Scripture we can see that it was a superficial belief.

Jesus knew that this was a superficial belief, because in the our Scripture text we see that He states that for them to be His true disciples and be set free by truth, they must continue, or abide, in His word, or what he is teaching them.

In fact, these same Jews would later accuse Jesus of being a Samaritan and having a demon and then they would try to stone Him.

John 8:48 ISV – The Jews replied to him, “Surely we are right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon, aren’t we?”

John 8:59 ISV – At this, they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

Is there anything that we can learn from v. 31?

Well, yes, I believe there is. Superficial belief is not enough. Christ is calling for followers – disciples to take up there cross and follow him.

Luke 9:23 ISV – If anyone wants to come with me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross every day, and follow me continually.

Notice in Luke in the ISV it states that, “we must pick up our cross every day and follow Him continually.”

Discipleship does not start out with a prayer, but with a turning, or a denying of ourselves and a continual walk with Him.

So if you want to be set free, the first step is to become a disciple of Christ and continue in His Word.

In 2009 make a commitment not to go a day without some time in Scripture.

Let’s look at the next step to freedom found in our text.

If we continue in His word, truth will be revealed to us, and with this truth comes freedom.

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

This knowing the truth in Greek means, “to obtain knowledge and insight.”

How does this happen? Well, when you continue in His word as a disciple of His, you have the Holy Spirit that gives you true insight into His Word.

John 16:13 ISV – Yet when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own accord, but will speak whatever he hears and will declare to you the things that are to come.

1 John 2:27 ISV – The anointing you received from him abides in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. Instead, because his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not a lie, abide in him, as he taught you to do.

Now let me make a couple of things clear, because I feel that Holy Spirit gets a bum rap sometimes. There are many doctrines out there that people claim come from the Holy Spirit but do not, they are the spirit of error.

First off, the Holy Spirit will never give you an interpretation that goes against the clear context of Scripture. Why can I say this with confidence? Because the Holy Spirit is the author not only of the Scripture but also of the context of it as well, so if He goes against the context, then He goes against what He has already authored and established to be true.

What must we do if there is an interpretation we fill we receive from the Holy Spirit or someone else receives that goes against the context of the passage? Reject the interpretation. Period. Scripture is our test and authority, not interpretation.

Also, 1 John 2:27 if often very misinterpreted. It is not stating that we don’t need teachers and it is alright to reject what a teacher is saying.

Again that is not what the context is stating. In context, it is talking about the last hour, which John states they lived in, and how there would come false teaching concerning the person and work of Christ (vv. 18-23). John states for them to abide in the teachings that He and the other apostles taught them from the beginning, and reject these new teachings coming down the pike (vv. 24-26). Then in v. 27 he states that we have an anointing. This anointing protects us from doctrinal error, if you are abiding in Christ and His Word and not veering off into non-contextual error.

Personal testimony here: I’ve read the bible for a number of years now. But I was always reading it for some new interpretation, or to justify some belief I had. It wasn’t until I began to read the Bible in the context the Holy Spirit Authored it in, that it was like a light went on, and that light was rather painful. It exposed many errors I believed that I had to repent of, and He is still exposing error and enlightening His truth through His word to me today, and it will never stop.

Let me ask the question that was asked in the song, “Do you want to be free?” Christ Jesus does hold the key.

What is the key?

Pick up your cross daily and follow Him continually.
• Continue to abide and live and be obedient to His Word.
• Then the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth of His Word to you, and in truth, you will find freedom.

As followers of Christ, there is no need to fear when approaching Him especially if you are have difficulties with an issue. Cry out to Him and commit to be a follower of His and abide and be obedient
to His Word.

Let’s make it our goal for 2009 that we will continue to abide and be obedient to His Word, and humble ourselves before the authority of Christ Jesus.

If you do this, I believe at the end of 2009 we can look back and see that the Lord has worked and done some changes within us.

Will you take up the challenge to abide in His Word?