Matt Hagee - How Free Do You Want To Be
If you brought your Bibles, turn them to the book of John 8:32, as this morning, we consider what the Bible has to say about the topic of freedom, and ask the question, how badly do you want to be free? How free do you want to be? Freedom is something that's often discussed in our world. And many times, we're struggling with it. We're struggling to define freedom, how we should apply it to our lives. We're struggling to defend and protect freedom when we feel like it's being infringed upon. People who live in parts of the world where freedom is not known, they're fighting and struggling so that they can have it. And people who live in the places where freedom is what you are used to are now struggling to keep it.
Why are we struggling with this issue of freedom? Why are governments fighting for it? Why is there a constant debate about it? The answer's very simple. We're struggling with this issue of freedom in this generation because we have lost our connection with the source of freedom. Freedom does not come from "The constitution". Freedom doesn't come from free-market capitalism. And freedom certainly doesn't come from the socialism that's being discussed in our world today. The source of freedom comes from one place and one place only, and that is the God of heaven and earth who created us and made us, who sits upon the throne. That's where freedom comes from.
2 Corinthians tells us that where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Freedom and liberty are a mark that God's presence is there. One of the reasons why we don't see it in our world today is because God's presence has been kicked out of our society. Our constitution is not the source of freedom, but it recognizes it. It says that we hold these truths to be self-evident: that we have been endowed by our Creator with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Where does that freedom come from? Not elitist-elected officials who want to use a pen to control your life, but by the God who created you and placed you here for such a time as this.
Today, we're going to look at the source of freedom, and then we're going to find out what our responsibility is with freedom. And then I'm going to ask you a question. How free do you want to be? Let's read John 8:32. If you found it, say, amen. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants. We have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, 'you will be made free'"? Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever". Verse 36, read it with me. "Therefore if the son makes you free, you shall be free indeed".
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your Son Jesus Christ and the liberty and freedom that he has provided us through his redemptive work of grace. Let your word come alive in our hearts and lives today so that when we leave this place, we will know the joy and the privilege of the free who have been set free by the hand of Almighty God. It's in your name that we ask these things. And all of God's children said, praise the Lord.
You may be seated. In John 8, Jesus is having a debate with the religious crowd. These are the people who think they've got everything figured out and they know exactly how God is going to operate. And the reality of it is, is the more that they talk to Jesus, the more self-deceived they prove themselves to be. For example, Jesus tells them very clearly, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you," what? "Free". Now this one simple statement tells us a lot about freedom. First and foremost, that freedom has a source and that source is truth. But it also tells us not only where the source is, but there's a process between knowing the truth and being liberated by the truth. Knowledge doesn't set you free. You have to do something with the truth that you have received before it changes your life.
Now, much like the people in our day, when Jesus made this statement, the individuals that he was speaking to, they lied to themselves. Here's the lie that the individuals in John 8 told Jesus. They said, "We're sons of Abraham". That's true. "And we've never been in bondage to anyone". That's the lie. Now they may want to argue. Not in our lifetime. But Israel, as a nation, had been in bondage to Egypt. They had been in bondage to Syria. They had been in bondage to the Babylonians. They had been in bondage to the Persians. There were several chapters in their history where they were in bondage. So you can have that historical argument, but let's talk about the fact that while they're having this conversation with Jesus, Caesar is in charge of the world. Whether or not they wanted to recognize it, Rome was the one making the rules. So are they free? No.
Now Jesus changes the focus of the argument. He says, "Look, I'm not talking about this world. I'm not talking about an earthly kingdom". Understand that Jesus was never speaking about things here on earth. He came to bring the good news of the kingdom. And it's a spiritual kingdom. And so he says, "I'm not talking about a government being in charge of you. I'm talking about you being in charge of you". He said, "Anyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. And if you're a slave, you're not going to abide in the house". What house? The spiritual house of the Lord. What is it that David prayed for? He said, "That I may dwell in the house of the Lord forever". The house of the Lord is not a physical house. It's a spiritual house where the presence and the peace and the power of God is manifested in your life.
Jesus was saying to these men, "If you live in sin, you're a slave to sin. And slaves can't live in the house. But if you've been set free, then you're a Son of God and a son dwells in the house forever". And that's when he said, "If the son makes you free, you are free indeed". He was saying to everyone who would listen, that he was going to go and liberate individuals who were slaves to sin. And he was going to take them to his spiritual house and introduce them to his father. And he was going to say to Father God, "Here is Matthew, and here is Martha, and here is John, and here is Jane, and here is tom, and here is sue, and here is Sally, and here is every life that has ever put their faith in me. And dad, I've set them free". And the father was going to receive them and say, "Because he has set you free, then you are now like him. You are my son. You are my daughter. You are my child because whom the son sets free is free indeed". Give the Lord a handclap of praise.
Jesus said it in John 17, "Thy word is truth". Say that with me. "Thy word is truth". This book is not a set of strongly-worded suggestions that you might want to consider. This word is truth. It is the standard by which every other truth must be judged, which means if somebody tells you it's true and it doesn't line up with the Word of God, they're wrong. This book does not consider the way you were raised, your upbringing, your cultural background, your level of education, your financial ability, your denominational affiliation, your political persuasion. It doesn't take all the ingredients of you, and say, "In order for you to accommodate the Bible, we need to make sure that the word does this in your life". Wrong! This word does not adjust to you. You adjust to it.
What does that mean in this world of relativism where everything is relative and you live out your truth and I live out my truth? That's a lie. There is not your truth and my truth. There's only his truth. When a modern-American church decides what it should consider as the relevant teachings for today, considering the justification of their position based on the things of this world, they're not reaching out to the lost in love. They're too cowardly to declare the truth because thy word is truth. "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free". You cannot be free without knowing truth. And any time you abandon truth, you embrace bondage. You can't be neutral. Jesus, in revelation, it says, "You are neither hot, nor cold. Therefore, you are spued," undesirable.
You can't be neutral. You either embrace truth and it leads to freedom or you embrace a lie and it leads to bondage. Right now, we are enslaving our children with the things that we're trying to teach them in our society. "Oh, let's change the reality of male and female. There is no gender". Here's the truth. The Bible says that God created them male and female. When you live according to his truth, you receive the freedom and liberty that it provides. I want to share with you four facts about the truth that can set you free. The first is this: truth must be revealed. Say that with me. truth must be revealed. Before you have the opportunity to be liberated, you must have a revelation of truth. And we have no excuse in this generation. Why? Because we live after Jesus Christ came to earth.
John 1:14, "And the word became flesh and it dwelt among us and we beheld his glory". Jesus Christ was the revealed Word of God here on earth. Consider the birth of the church. In acts 1:8, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit shall come upon you and you shall be witnesses unto me". We have seen and received the power of the Holy Spirit in the church today and in this generation. So in our situation, truth has been revealed. Now we have a collective responsibility to reveal the truth to others. Jesus gave us that charge. And he said, "You are the light of the world. Let your light," do what? Let it, what? "Shine".
Why is this world becoming darker and darker? It's because those who have received the revelation of truth are not shining. "Oh, pastor, I'm concerned if I shine for God, I would offend my friends". Better for you to offend your friend than offend the Almighty. And yes, you are going to be an offense. If you don't think light is offensive, go into a dark room where somebody is sleeping and just turn them on. What do they do? Don't be upset when people see you coming and they know that you have the light and the love of Jesus Christ, and they've gotten acclimated to the darkness, and they shun you. Jesus said, "Blessed are you when you are rebuked and reviled for my namesake". He's saying, "Shine".
Shine wherever you go. Shine in whatever you do. Shine because it is time for you to tell the world who Jesus Christ is and how good he's been to you. People say, "Well, I don't think I can do that". Sure, you can. You do it all the time. How many times do we see people reveal truth when they make a recommendation? Men will reveal truth to each other about all kinds of things. "What kind of barbecue pit do you use"? "Oh, let me tell you. I had this model. Then I upgraded to the 8500 c76. It's really got a nice draft. Puts a good bark on the meat". They use terms that they don't even understand. Why? Because they're revealing truth. They're recommending something to each other. They believe them to the best. They believe that whatever they've done in their life, it's worth telling other people about.
Why is it that people who go to church don't reveal the truth about Jesus Christ? It's because you know about him, but you don't believe in him. truth has to be revealed. And then truth has to be received. Now a lot of times, people are concerned about revealing the truth because they say, "Well, what if they don't accept it"? That's not your job. If they accept it or don't accept it, it's on them. But in order for truth to set you free, you have to receive it. Once truth is revealed, it must be received. And a lot of times, we don't like to receive truth. We like to deliver it. Many people have seen the truth and they just refuse to recognize it.
For example, we've sat here in this church and you've heard the truth. I've shared with you Bible truths throughout this entire sermon. I want to show you the difference between receiving truth and delivering truth. I've brought with me a spiritual shovel and a righteous rake. But often times, what we do when we come to church is we bring out our self-centered spiritual shovel. The preacher piles up truth from God's word. At least he should. And we hear it and we scoop it up and we go, "Oh, I know who needs this. He's talking about marriage. I know who's mistreating their wife. Here. He's talking about lying. Ooh, yes. I know. I've heard him. They're gossiping all the time. Did you hear what the preacher said"? How many of you know people who are really good with their spiritual shovels? You're never going to receive truth as long as you're shoveling it out. The only way that you can receive truth is when you take a righteous rake and you bring it in. When you hear what the preacher and the Word of God has to say, and you say:
Thank you, Lord. You're telling me what I need to know about my marriage. Thank you, Lord. You're telling me what I need to know about my finances. Thank you, Lord. You're telling me what I need to know about my mindset. You're telling me what I need to know about my work. You're telling me what I need to know about my life. You're telling me all of these things, and I thank you that I can take this truth, and when I bring this truth into my life, it's going to change me. It's going to make me better. It's going to set me free. It's going to fix my marriage. It's going to help me with my kids. It's going to help me each and every day know that the joy of the Lord is my strength. It doesn't always make me comfortable, but the Word of God is not what I want to hear. The Word of God is what I need to hear. Thank you, Lord, that when I rake it in, it makes me better!
"You shall know the truth", it's a personal thing, "And the truth shall make you free". It's not the truth you shovel out. It's the truth you rake in that sets you free. truth has got to be received in order for it to liberate you. We hear what the pastor has to say, and we think, "I know who needs that". Guess who needs it? You do. That's why the Holy Spirit put it out there. That's what Paul said to Timothy. He said, "All scripture comes by way of the Holy Spirit and it's good for correction, for instruction, for encouragement". The problem is not that the word isn't good. The problem is we don't use it the right way. Often times, we use the word to correct those we should encourage. And we use the word to encourage those we should correct.
Look at Jesus as our example. What did he do with the Word of God? He corrected the religious folk who should have known better. And he encouraged the lost folk who needed to know. Just look at one example, when they brought the woman who was caught in the act of adultery. The pharisees, the religious folks, came to him and said, "The law, the written word says that she should be stoned". What did he do with the word? He didn't say, "Oh, you blessed and highly favored ones, pick up the rocks and let's get her, boys". He said, "You who have no sin cast the first stone". He corrected the religious and he encouraged the unrighteous. He looked at her, and he said, "Neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more".
What would happen if the church started to encourage those who need to know Jesus, about who Jesus is and started to correct those who were complacent about what they should be doing? It's not that the word isn't good. It's that we haven't used it in the right way. James said in James 1 that a man who sees the Word of God and looks into it and does not make a change is like someone who goes to the mirror and sees a flaw and just turns and walks away. How many times do we see people looking into a mirror and if they see something, they correct it? Let's just say that right after church, you go have a big-ole, leafy-lettuce salad. And you get up and you go to the restroom at the restaurant and you notice that there's a piece of arugula right here. You smile and it looks like your tooth has decayed six shades of green.
How many of you would look in the mirror, smile, and go, "Oh, that's nice," and turn around and walk away? No. You go, "Oh, my goodness. I hope nobody saw that". Well, what happens when you read the Word of God, and you see yourself in it. And you don't make a change? You see the flaw, but you don't fix it, which is why the Bible says, "Faith without works is dead," which brings us to the third building block. The word must not only be received. It has to be responded to. Often times, people receive the truth, but they don't respond to it. How many times have we sat in the sanctuary and heard the truth, but don't respond to it? We hear the truth about the power of prayer, that when you pray in Jesus' name, you can move mountains. And instead of praying in Jesus' name, we ask someone to pray for us.
We outsource our responsibility rather than engage in what God has asked us to do. Until we respond to the truth that we have received, you will not have the power of its liberty in your life. Today, I want to encourage you. As a matter of fact, I dare you to find a truth in God's word, and then in faith, put it to practice. You say, "How do I do that"? You look at God's word and you find a truth about your marriage. You find a truth about your finances. You find a truth about your physical body. You find a truth about a need that's present in your life, and then in faith, you say, "Lord Jesus, I am asking you to reveal this truth in my life so that it can set me free," and see what God will do.
See if God will not move mountains. See if God will not show you great and mighty things that you know not. Try sowing a seed and see if he won't send it back pressed down, shaken together, and running over. Try laying your hands upon your children and speaking a prophetic blessing and see if he doesn't totally change the outcome of their life. Try praising him in an hour of sorrow and see if he doesn't bring you the fullness of joy. Try binding powers and principalities here on earth and see if they're not bound in heavenly places. Try loosing the flood waters of his favor in your life and see if he doesn't prosper you in your business. See if he doesn't make a way where there seems to be no way. See if he doesn't lift a burden and destroy a yolk and move a mountain of impossibility. See if he does not silence your enemies and become a shield and a buckler and the glory and the lifter of your head.
Try God today and see what great things he can do! How free do you want to be? "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free". Oh, we long to be free. We want emotional freedom, freedom from worry, freedom from fear, freedom from sorrow. We want financial freedom, freedom from need, freedom from lack, freedom from want. We want spiritual freedom, freedom from bitterness and freedom from the regret of our past, physical freedom, freedom from sickness and pain and addiction. It doesn't matter what area of your life you're longing for freedom in. There's only one place that that freedom can be found and it's in the truth of his word. The word that he has revealed is the word that you must receive and respond to. And when you do, the outcome of it is one and one only: you will be free. "For whom the son sets free is free indeed".
Would you stand with me in the presence of the Lord? With every head bowed and every eye closed in this sanctuary today, you say, "Pastor, there's a place in my life where I need the divine freedom of God's power and his truth". If that describes you and you're in this sanctuary, I just want you to lift your hand right where you are. And I want everyone in this place to repeat this prayer with me:
Lord Jesus Christ, today I thank you that your word is truth, and that truth will set me free. I ask you to forgive me for not using your word like I should. And today, I am asking you to liberate me. Lord Jesus, thank you for hearing me, thank you for knowing me, and thank you for providing everything that I could need and so much more. Today, I am free, because whom the son sets free is free indeed. Amen.