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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Skip Heitzig » Skip Heitzig - John 8:12-59

Skip Heitzig - John 8:12-59

Skip Heitzig - John 8:12-59
Skip Heitzig - John 8:12-59
TOPICS: Expound, Gospel of John, Bible Study

Father we ask You to break the bread of life to us, the word of God. As Job said, "I have a esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food." Lord, I pray that we would be nourished, we would be encouraged, we would be edified, we would be equipped, we would be comforted. You know whatever need we have come with. We pray, Lord, that we will leave stronger and able to strengthen the lives of those that we will encounter in the coming days. In Jesus's name, Amen.

You might call chapter 8 a tale of two sinners. It is a group of sinners who bring to Jesus a single known sinner, and it shows you the two types of sinners that are around. You have the rank sinner, and you have the religious sinner. Somebody who is obviously a sinful person, and then others who are sinful persons but not so obviously. So you've got the overt sinner in the woman caught in adultery. But you have covert sinners in the Pharisees who bring a woman caught in the act of adultery before the Lord, Jesus Christ, a story that we started to get into and covered the first several verses last time.

And we saw how amazing it was that Jesus dealt so tenderly with her, so gently with her. And it was the manner in which he approaches her, this woman who was obviously embarrassed to be drug out in the temple courts, probably just a robe that was put on her or a towel over her if she was caught in the act of adultery, and brought before this crowd, brought into the midst of Jesus in the temple courts. So she's ashamed, she's embarrassed, and Jesus is so gentle with her.

And it's that gentle nature of Jesus, I believe, that brought a conviction to her heart that caused her heart to turn toward Jesus, even internally, and to trust Him. You know, the Bible says it's the goodness of God that leads a person to repentance? You know sometimes it's not, you sinner, but oh, you, sinner, come and let me embrace you. Let me accept you as you are. Let me take you in. Let me heal your wounds. Let me love on you and encourage you, and let me show you a better way. The people, the overt sinner was one person, the covert sinners are the Pharisees, they also are convicted. It's interesting because it says that they were convicted in their heart. They had stones in their hands. But they dropped the stones, and they walked away, went home.

She was convicted and the conviction drew her to Jesus. They were convicted and the conviction drove them away from Jesus. It's interesting how that works. A person will come to church and hear truth and be convicted but get angry and ornery and think thoughts, and I'm going to get out of here, I don't like what he said. And they'll blame it on something other than where the blame lies. It's what they're feeling, the guilt, that should lead them to Christ. They're driven away. Others, hear it and they go, oh, oh, I need to be forgiven by this Jesus. And it's that goodness and gentleness of God that draws them in.

In looking at the story, as we did last week, this story in John chapter 8 verses 1 through 11, we get a really good illustration of how sinners treat sinners. And I'll give you one word, they do it harshly. We sinners aren't too nice to other sinners around us. We're good at pointing fingers at other people but not so much at ourselves. We smell our sin on other people, and we go what's that stink? And you're actually smelling yourself. You haven't used deodorant for a while, spiritually speaking. And boy, do you stink. But others are around you that accentuate that sinfulness, and we sinners can treat other sinners harshly like they did.

It also shows us how the law treats sinners. You know, by the deeds of the law, Paul said, no flesh shall be justified. Whoever breaks the law, a death sentence is pronounced in the Old Covenant. But it also shows us how Jesus treats sinners. And I love Romans chapter 8, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." So here's what you discover. If you're really saved by grace, you get out of the stone throwing business very quickly. When you're not understanding God's grace, you're quick to pick up stones. But when you're saved by God's grace, you go, oh, there, but for the grace of God, go I. It takes you out of the stone throwing business, puts you into the compassion business.

When people say, well, you know, I haven't been to church in a long time. But one of these days, I'm going to get my act cleaned up and I'll come. I go, well, why don't you come just now? Oh, well, I don't want to be around all you good folks. I said, good folks? I don't know any. I'm not one. I'm a sinner saved by God's grace. You are so welcome to come as you are.

But be warned, when you come as you are, He'll take you as you are. But He won't leave you as you are. He'll catch the fish, but He'll clean the fish. And that's what I love about Jesus, He knows just how to clean us up and take us along the road from glory to glory. And that's really the story we have here.

Now in forgiving this woman, when he said, where are your accusers, woman? I don't have any, sir. Neither do I condemn you. Go sin no more. How is that possible? How can God, on one hand, be absolutely just and righteous and holy and perfect and set the standard of perfection and demand holiness and at the same time forgiving, merciful, filled with grace? How do you balance perfect divine justice with mercy and forgiveness? There can only be one answer, and you need to know this.

The answer is found in 2 Corinthians 5:21. "God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might be the righteousness of God in Him." Call it the great exchange. He took what you deserve so that you could bear and live and enjoy what He deserves. He takes sinners and makes them sons and daughters of God by taking the Son of God and placing on Him all of our stuff. So it's a great exchange. God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might be the righteousness of God in Him.

So at the cross, justice was satisfied. Perfection, holiness, the law was satisfied in the person of Jesus who lived the perfect life that you and I could never live and died the atoning death in our place. Another way of saying it is that God treated Jesus like you and I deserve to be treated so that He could treat you like Jesus deserves to be treated. That's how He can be just and merciful. It's based on what He did. So in verse 10, "when Jesus raised himself up and saw no one but the woman, he said to her, 'Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?' She said, 'no one, Lord.' Jesus said, 'neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.'"

Now one thing I did not cover last week that I should throw in because there may be a question and if there is, I want to answer it now so that it'll just save us all some time. Some of your Bibles at the beginning of this chapter, at the end of the last chapter, at the beginning of this chapter, will say something like, these verses do not appear in the oldest manuscripts. And so they're included in those versions, but there's a little footnote that says because they're not in the oldest New Testament manuscripts, they're deemed by some to be spurious texts.

Now just know that there is an in-house debate about that and also understand that many scholars who study language and context have made an interesting note, and this is one of the reasons many actually accept this as being part of the text itself. Because older manuscript or not, you can make a mistake for a long period of time as well as a shorter period of time, but that aside. There is a pattern in the Gospel of John, and the pattern is there's an incident followed by a sermon. So in John chapter 5, you have an incident followed by a message that Jesus gives a sermon. John chapter 6, same pattern, incident followed by a sermon. Chapter 7, incident followed by a sermon.

If you take this section out of John chapter 8, you have a sermon but no incident. So it breaks the Johanan or the John authorship pattern. So I wanted to throw that out to you Bible nerds, you Bible students, because if you struggle with this, add that to your struggle and maybe that'll tip you one way or the other. But we saw last time when we studied this that when they brought the woman accused of adultery, caught in the very act, that Jesus did what? He bent over and He wrote on the ground with His finger. I just love the thought of Jesus writing.

I don't know why this interests me so, but I guess I would love to have seen His penmanship. That's must be my mother in me because my mom had the best, most perfect penmanship until the day she died. And she used to work with us, like, no, you got to do that over, you could look better and, it's the only occurrence we have in the New Testament of Jesus writing anything down and it wasn't permanent. He didn't write a book,. He didn't inscribe anything. He wrote in the dust of the ground something that has long been erased.

Now what is it that He wrote? We don't know. We're not told. Let's be honest, we don't know. We can guess, but we don't know. But because the word that is used is a very significant word "katagraphine" or "katagraphine," which means to write an accusation against or to record an accusation about someone. Jesus is writing an accusation against them, no doubt.

In fact, one of the translations, a newer translation, I can't remember exactly which one, it says that Jesus wrote down their secret sins. Now we're not told that, but He wrote against them an accusation, some accusatory remark against these leaders who brought the woman caught in adultery. And I told you last week, and I had to end because of the time, that this is significant. And it fulfills a prophecy, a prediction.

Now you remember what happened in chapter 7. It was the feast of what? Tabernacles. And Jesus stood up on the last great day of the feast and said, "if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink." And I told you the symbolism of the pouring of the water at the altar and all of the rituals that were done. He said, "if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink." For out of His innermost being, out of His heart, as the Scripture has said, will flow rivers of living water.

Now there's an interesting text of Scripture in Jeremiah chapter 17. I'll read it to you. If you want to write it down to look at it later, it's Jeremiah 17 verse 13. "O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you shall be ashamed. Those who depart from me", the Lord is speaking, "those who depart from me, the Lord, shall be written in the dust of the earth because they have", listen to this, "because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters."

It's an interesting text. So here is Jesus writing in the dust of the earth against those who bring an accusation against this overt sinner, this rank sinner, and He is writing their names down. And the day before, He said, "if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink" because they have forsaken the fountain of living water. Jesus offered that the day before. So there He is in the temple. He acts like He doesn't hear them. He promises no condemnation, tells this woman not to sin anymore.

Verse 12, "Then Jesus spoke to them again saying, 'I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.' The Pharisees, therefore, said to him, 'you bear witness of yourself. Your witness is not true.'" Now I have a question for you? Why would Jesus speak about being the light of the world right after he has forgiven a woman who was caught in the act of adultery? How does this fit? How does this metaphor of light fit?

Well, it's interesting because if we read on we discover that Jesus is in the treasury, it will say, the treasury, which was located in the Court of the Women. And to refresh your memory, at the Feast of Tabernacles, they would put these 4 65-gallon lamps, 65 gallons of oil in each of these lamps up on a huge pole that would light, get this, the Court of the Women. And that would illuminate the courtyards all around Jerusalem. It was to remind the children of Israel that their forefathers were led through the desert with that pillar of fire by night.

So Jesus is in the treasury. He is in the Court of the Women the next day after the great day of the feast. So the feast is over. And we said it was a feast of great joy, right? You know, Christmas, we love Christmas. But the day after Christmas, it's over. Lights off, tree out, right? Throw away the wrapping paper. It's like, OK, it's over.

So here's a great celebration and like Christmas, the lights are coming down. They, the day after the feast, would bring those huge 65-gallon receptacles down from the poles that the young priest had stationed them on. They'd take them and pack them up, according to their tradition. So it's sort of like the day after Christmas, lights are coming down, trees are getting thrown out.

Jesus is standing in the living room. He's in the temple. When the lights are coming down, those huge lamps that lit the whole city, illuminated the courtyards of the city. And as the lights are coming down, because they had spent one week celebrating the wilderness march of the fire at night, He says, "I am the light of the world." You guys just spent a week celebrating a journey of being lit up at night. I'll light up your life, man. I'm the light of the world. So it's in contrast to where He's at. It makes perfect sense in terms of where He's at and what's going on around Him.

"The Pharisees, therefore, said to Him, 'you bear witness of yourself. Your witness is not true.'" That's their way of saying, your personal testimony about yourself is inadmissible in our court system. A Jewish court requires two to three witnesses for every word to be established. You're just spouting off about yourself. That's what they're saying to Jesus.

They're going to treat him very harshly here. Your witness is not true, it's not valid. "Jesus answered and said to them, 'even if I bear witness of myself, my witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I'm going, but you do not know where I come from and where I am going. You judge according to the flesh. I judge no one.'"

What did He mean? Well, they're quoting the law. You have to have two or three witnesses, right? You bear witness of yourself. Your witness is not valid. Jesus said, actually, it is valid. Now think about what He's saying. "Even if I bear witness of myself, my witness is true.'" The law they're referring to was a law given by God for men.

Jesus is a man, but He is a divine man. He's the God man. He is fully God and fully man. So the law doesn't apply to Him because He is all truth. He can't lie. He is God in a human body. So He is making a claim about Himself. Actually, that was a law given by God for humans. My testimony about myself is true.

Now He's going to say, I have another witness besides myself and that is my Father, which you don't know Him either. And that's one of the reasons you don't receive me. By the way, throughout the Old Testament, throughout the Bible, essentially, we have a record of God the Father as the witness for His son.

We have 330, roughly, prophecies, predictions, statements made in advance about the character, nature, and work of the Messiah, the Son of God when He comes. What He'd do, where He'd be born, how He would die, parentage, lineage, et cetera. So we have several, over 300 different statements, testimonies, made in advance that come from God through the prophets, through the psalms about Jesus. Very, very strong witness.

"'You judge according to the flesh. I judge no one. And yet, if I do judge, my judgment is true, for I am not alone. But I am with a Father who sent me. It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. I am one who bears witness of myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness of me.' Then they said to Him, 'where is your Father?'"

Now how are they thinking when they asked that? Where is your human father? Some of them knew that Joseph, if they were from the Galilee region, that Joseph the carpenter was his stepfather. And there was some question among the Jews about His birth as you will see even in this text.

So they say, where is your Father? You keep mentioning your Father, where is He? "Jesus answered, 'you know neither me nor my Father. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.' These words Jesus spoke in the treasury as He taught in the temple. And no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come." Don't you love when the Bible says that? It does amazing things in my heart. It shows me that no matter what's going on, nothing can touch you unless it first is sifted through the hands of a sovereign God.

So here's, you know, The Rock of Ages slipping through the hands of the men with rocks in their hands ready to stone this woman. They want to control the scene. They want to put Jesus to death. They have His death wish in their heart and in their mind, but it was not His hour.

Now He was in the treasury. In the treasury in that section of that Court that I mentioned, it is colonnaded. It is a portico, a porch, so it's covered. There are columns in it, or there were columns in it. The temple is no longer there. And there were 13 boxes, receptacles, where you could put money in, sort of like our brown, wooden agape boxes, as we've called them, but much nicer than these. These things are as old as the hills and twice as dusty. They've been around 30 years, so you'd think we'd build new ones by now. But we'll get around to it. It's in the budget.

But in those days they were called "shofarot," "shofarot," which is the plural in Hebrew for "shofar." You know what a shofar is? A trumpet. A ram's horn. So they were shaped sort of trumpet-like, where the big part of the trumpet was on the base of the floor and then it narrowed up. And in that little small opening you would place coins, money for the poor. Jesus was in that area as He was speaking in the temple. But His hour had not yet come. His time and not come.

"Then Jesus said to them again", verse 21, "'I am going away, and you will seek me. And you will die in your sin.'" Do you think Jesus pulled any punches here? Do you think He just, was He being seeker friendly? No. And that's not to say we should be seeker unfriendly, but they needed to hear this. They were being cute. They had tried to trap Him. They are against Him. They are going to make slurs about Him.

So He's cutting right to the heart. As you will see, the language gets strong in these verses. He says, "'you will die in your sin. Where I go'", verse 21, "'you cannot come.' So the Jews said, 'will He kill himself? Because He says where I go you cannot come.' And He said to them, 'you are from beneath. I am from above. You are of this world. I am not of this world.'"

They asked an interesting question. Is He going to kill Himself? Is He going to commit suicide? Why would they ask the question? Why would they take the words of Jesus that where I'm going you can't come and infer that He has got suicidal thoughts? Here's why. It's a slur against Him and His character.

Some of the rabbis taught that the worst place in hell is reserved for people who take their own lives. Even Josephus mentions this that the darkest part of Hades will be reserved for those who take their own lives, and even, he said, that God will visit the sins of those who are dead upon the relatives who are alive. Just horrible stuff.

So when they say, oh, He must mean He's going to kill Himself. It's a way of saying, you're going to hell Jesus. And you're going to the lowest worst place in it. Can you imagine even thinking thoughts like that let alone saying that in the presence of Jesus? So Jesus sets the record straight. No, you're from beneath, me, I'm from above. You got it totally messed up, you smug, little hypocrites. That's an editorial comment.

And then Jesus says this, "I am from above. You are of this world. I am not of this world." You need to know that term. You need to know this thinking in the New Testament. 77 times your New Testament uses the term "the world," not to mean the sphere, the planet on which you set, the earth that is revolving rotating around the sun. It doesn't mean that world. It means the system, the world system, that includes ideologies, values, philosophies, and people who run in that system who are opposed, actively opposed to God and His plan. That's called the world.

When Jesus says, "you are of this world," that's what you are. You're of that system controlled by Satan. 2 Corinthians 4 called the god of this world who works in the children of disobedience. So Satan is the god of this realm, of this system that is against God. He is the Lord of that system. And you are of that system. You are from beneath.

You have your roots in hell. You are of your father, the devil, He will say in a few verses, if God willing, I get to it. And I need to so you can get the context. But he's just like, no, let me just be, since I'm speaking truth here, let me just tell you you're going to die in your sin. You are from beneath. I am from above. You are of this world. I am not of this world.

"Therefore, I say to you" or "I said to you", verse 24, "that you will die in your sins." Now watch this, "for if you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins." Now I left out a word, didn't I? But look at the word in your Bible. It's the word "He." If you do not believe that I am "He," you will die in your sins. Do you notice something about the word in your Bible?

Is it italicized? You know why? It's not there in the original. It's added by the translators because the translators are making their editorial statement that well, He didn't say the word, but it's implied that He's saying if you don't believe that I am He. But in the original it's "if don't believe that I am, you will die in your sins." And the construction in Greek is if you don't believe that "'ego eimi,'" "'ego eimi.'" Those are the words He used.

Do you remember when the Lord spoke to Moses out of the burning bush? Which is freaky enough for an old dude, right? How am I going to explain that a plant talked to me today? And it was, like, on fire, but it was, like, didn't burn up. How am I going to tell people that? Who's going to believe me?

And then God spoke to him and sent them to deliver the children of Israel. And he said, OK, so when they ask me your name, who am I going to say sent me? And God said "I am that I am." Tell him "I am" sent you. That's what I'm known as, "I am."

Now I'm going to read another scripture to you in Deuteronomy. This is Deuteronomy chapter 32. This is a construction that we pointed out when we were in the Old Testament, but to refresh your memory. In Deuteronomy chapter 32, the 39th verse, "Now see that I even I am He and there is no God beside Me. I kill and I make alive. I wound and I heal. Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand." Now that is the Lord speaking. "Now see that I even I am He."

I'm reading to you in English, the original text it was found in was Hebrew. If we lived in the Greek world, the Bible we would be reading would not be English, and it would not be Hebrew. It would be the Greek translation of the Bible. You follow?

It's called the "Septuagint version." In the Greek or Septuagint version of the Old Testament, translated in Alexandria, Egypt by a group of scholars, it would read like this. "Now see that I even ego eimi and there is no God besides Me." It would have been a construction that anyone in the New Testament times conversant in the Greek language would have understood when Jesus said, "if you don't believe that ego eimi, you will die in your sins."

Now I'm bringing this to your attention because this will help you understand their reaction by the time we get to the end of this chapter. The chapter took place in a very short period of time. It's taking me time because I'm giving the explanation, but it was a short conversation. But by the end of this chapter, they're picking up stones to kill Him because they think that He's blaspheming because He's claiming to be God. And my point is this, duh! That's exactly what He's claiming to be. It's unmistakable who He's claiming to be.

Don't you find that interesting? If you don't believe that I am that I am, you're going to die in your sins. So when somebody says, well, you know, I have different ideas about Jesus than you have. I think He was a wonderful teacher. I think He may have even been a son of God of sorts, but I don't know that I can say He was actually God in a human body. Well, they've got a huge problem because if you don't believe that, you'll die in your sins.

You have to believe the Revelation of Jesus Christ as given to you by the Bible and by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. You have to find out what it is the Bible says about Him and what it is He said about Himself and see if you're going to square with that and if you're going to believe that. Because believing that or not believing that will determine everything. It's a powerful statement.

"'If you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins.' They said to Him, 'who are you?'" You see how agitated they're getting? "Jesus said to them, 'just what I've been saying to you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent me is true. And I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.'" Look at there's a lot more I could say. There's a lot of things I could speak. I have lots of truth about you and things to judge, which He will eventually judge. But understand that when Jesus spoke, He spoke only what the Father wanted Him to speak at that time. He was in perfect sync with the Father.

So was it like, well, you know, here's something I just thought of. No, that's what I do. Jesus spoke the words of the Father directly from the Father. Verse 27, "they did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father. Then Jesus said to them, 'when you lift up the Son of Man, you will know that I am He. And that I do nothing of myself but as my Father taught me, I speak these things.'" What did He mean when He is lifted up? When you lift up the Son of Man? Does that mean a worship service? OK, we're going to lift Jesus higher, we're going to lift Him up.

I sort of cringe when I hear that language because when Jesus said, if I be lifted up, I will draw all men to myself. Or here when He speaks of being lifted up, He doesn't mean a group of people get together singing songs with His name in it. He's speaking of being lifted up off the ground on a cross in death.

It's His suffering. It's His crucifixion. When I be lifted up, "when you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He." He's referring to the crucifixion. When I die, you will know, you will believe that I am He. Now did that happen? Did they believe when He died?

Well, some did. There was a criminal next to Him that said, Lord, remember me when you come into Your kingdom. He believed. And then He died. And after He died, there was a soldier at the cross who said, truly, surely, that man is the Son of God. He believed. Then the rocks split. The veil in the temple was ripped in two. The graves opened up. Dead people, dead men walking were running around Jerusalem. It was like the zombie apocalypse in Jerusalem. That'd get your attention.

Then the people in Jerusalem shortly after that heard Peter on Pentecost stand up and say you have taken Him by your wicked hands, and you've crucified Him. And you put Him to death. And it says they were cut to the heart and 3,000 of them that day gave their lives to Jesus. So a lot of them did. A lot of those people in Jerusalem after the death, at the moment of His death, and subsequent to His death believed and knew that He is who He claimed to be.

"And that I do nothing of Myself, but as my Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left me alone for I always do those things that please Him." How I wish I could say that. There's only one person who can say that.

Now I have run into people who have told me that they have stopped sinning. That really is the proper response what you just did. That's the right reaction because that's what I did. They believe in a place that you can come to of total sanctification here on earth. So when somebody has told me that, I get my obnoxious gear going. And I think of ways I could get them to get angry or just, I want to test it. I want to probe it. I want to see if, indeed, this is true. Oh, really? You're sinless now? OK, this will be fun.

I know that's bad because I shouldn't cause anybody to stumble, but that's the gear that I go into. Jesus said I always do those things that please Him. I can't claim that. I wish I could. That is our heart, is it not? It's a good thing to aim for. It's what Paul said when he said whether we are present or we are absent. We make it our aim to always be pleasing to Him. Whether we are absent from the body or we are in the body, we want to please, that's our aim.

We don't always achieve it. We have good days and we have bad days. But it suggests to us at least the possibility of a life lived with that motive, to please God. The psalm that said delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. We were created to please God. If you ever wonder, well, I have questions, why am I here? I can answer that.

You are here on this earth to bring pleasure to God. Well, that's not fair. OK, when you can make your own universe, you can make your own rules, how's that? Until then, really, you can't complain because you've just been made by somebody who made you and said, I made you to please me.

He's God. He can do that. That's why we praise Him. That's why we glorify Him. Revelation chapter 4 "for you created all things and for thy pleasure they are and have been created." I always do those things that please Him, Jesus could say. I can't say. I want to say. And by God's grace more and more as we grow in holiness we're able to say that.

"As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'if you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed.'" Now I have to clarify something. You may not notice it. You have maybe noticed it and so you wondered about it, but I don't mind bringing it up to you even if you haven't noticed it.

Jesus is speaking to people who believe Him. He's going to speak some very harsh words. And you would naturally say, is that any way to speak to people who believe in You? So now that you've come to me, bam, bam, let me beat you up a little bit.

So to clarify this and this has been a linguistic problem within the text. I want you to look at the text a little more carefully, and I think you will see there isn't just a homogeneous group. There are different levels of people in this group. There are almost two different groups He is addressing. So notice, He spoke, verse 30, "these words", "as he spoke these many believed in Him. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him." It's different now.

The first group seems to be those who are placing their faith in Him. The others are going yeah, OK, what He just said, yeah, OK, I believe that. I'm more interested. I'm buying in, but I'm not bought in. I don't believe in Him, but I believe Him. So they're open to it, and that's how it is with any group, by the way.

Do you think that every single person right here in this room is an authentic believer? Maybe, and I'm not going to get into some weird trip or anything, but Jesus did say as He gave the parable of the sower and the seed that of the people that hear the truth, only 25% of them were true believers bearing forth fruit. Others, they fell on rocks, and they fell away. And so they weren't really true. Others got choked up. Others the enemy immediately took.

So at any given time, is every single person here in this room right with God and going to heaven if they die? I wouldn't raise my eye and say, oh, yeah, sure, I believe that. So He's speaking to a crowd. Many believed in Him. To those who believed Him, they're going, yeah, OK, I'm with you, what you got to say?

He said, "if you abide in my word'", have you noticed this word "abide"? Can I just tell you to notice it from now on because it's mentioned a lot in the Bible. Do you know in the New Testament it's mentioned 34 times and John takes 31 of them? He likes that word "abide."

"Meno" is the Greek word. "Meno" means to remain or to continue. Stay at it. Stick with it. Don't give it up. Don't be sporadic. Yeah, you know, His word is important, I go to church every Easter, OK, Christmas too. Come on, give me a break. Twice a year, that's pretty good. You know, whatever. Then there are those people who are like in it, with it, and on it. And they're all over it and the word, they remain in it.

"If you abide in My word", remain, continue, stick with it, stay with it, "you are My", mathetes, My followers, learners, disciplined ones, "disciples indeed." "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Don't you love that verse? Do you know that universities love that verse too?

Do you know the colleges love that verse too? You will find this verse, this saying emblazoned, embossed, written in many of the great badges and symbols of American universities. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. But what they mean by that is simply when you know academic truth, you will be set free.

I laugh at that. I smile at that. Because if professors, learned professors are behind the placing of that college emblem, it makes me wonder how smart they are. Because any good professor should know that a text taken out of context becomes a pretext. And to say that it's referring to academic knowledge, and they'd rip it out of the Bible, is to make it a pretext. Jesus does not mean if you just get smart and get a degree, the truth will set you free. That's not what He means. What He means?

The truth about Him will set you free. Specifically about Him. How do I know this? Verse 36, "therefore, if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." That's the context. It's the truth about the Son. It's the truth about Him. It's not just, you know, you're a smart person. You're so enlightened. Yeah, you can be a smart person on their way to an eternal hell. That's not that smart in the eternal sense. You could do better than that. You can get higher grades than that.

"They answered Him and said, 'we are Abraham's descendants, and we have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say You will make us free?'" Really? You're going to make that statement publicly in front of Jesus and everybody else? You're going to say that we've never been in bondage to anyone because you're Jews, because you're Abraham's descendants?

Have you've forgotten all about Egypt? 400 years of slavery in Egypt? You were in bondage to them. And did you forget about the Assyrian captivity in 722 BC? Have you forgotten that already? When the Assyrians put hooks into the mouths of captives and led them away into Assyria. Did you forget that?

Have you've forgotten the 70 years in Babylon, the Babylonian captivity? Have you've forgotten about the Macedonian Grecian wars and Antiochus Epiphanes taking you captive and setting up that pig in the altar and killing millions of you and making more of you slaves?

And have you've forgotten where you are right now? Rome is in charge of you. You are slaves of Rome. So it's crazy. You know, I admire their nationalistic zeal, I suppose. To say, I live in perfect denial. Here I am, I've never been a slave to anyone. Oh, let me move my chain a little bit when I say that, OK now. OK, that's better. The shackles feel better now. I'm not a slave to anyone, OK. You've always been a slave to somebody. Now look at this.

"Jesus answered and said, 'most assuredly, I say to you whoever commits sin is a slave of sin'", there's a slavery far worse than an Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Macedonian, Greek, Roman slavery, and that's slavery to sin, "' and a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.'" You know, some slaves had it good if they worked in the big house.

But a slave can get kicked out and put on the streets. A son abides forever. Jesus is the son of the Father. He will abide forever. And all sons and daughters of God will abide forever. Slaves get kicked out of the house.

"Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." That clears it up. "'I know that you are Abraham's descendants, but you seek to kill Me because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.' They answered and said, 'Abraham is our Father.' Jesus said to them, 'if you were Abraham's children you would do the works of Abraham. But you seek to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this.'" First of all, Abraham was a man of faith, right?

Genesis 15, Abraham believed God and God accounted it to him for righteousness. He was a man of faith. Number two, Abraham received God's emissaries in Genesis 18 when the two angels and the Lord Himself, in human form, appeared to Abraham at his tent. And Abraham received them in and made them a meal on their way to Sodom. Abraham received those God that God had sent. They have not received the one God has sent. They're not acting in faith like their father Abraham.

Verse 41, "'you do the deeds of your father.' They said, 'we were not born of fornication. We have one father, God.'" Now that is a slur. That is a slam. They're insinuating that Jesus was illegitimately born. He was born of illegitimate birth, a bastard birth. That's what they're saying point blank.

And you can still find in the Jewish Talmud that Jesus was the illegitimate son of Mary who learned magical arts from Egypt and started a rebellion and insurrection. So already, His virgin birth, not believed by the majority of them, was discounted, saying, we're not born of fornication like you are. That's their point. We have one father, God.

"Jesus said to them 'if God were your Father, you would love Me for I proceedeth forth and came from God. Nor have I come of myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My Word. You are of your father, the devil.'" How's that for being blunt? How's that for being mistakable in what you are saying to a person? "You are of your father, the devil. And the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources or his own native language for he is a liar, and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?"

Remember, those people came back that were supposed to arrest Jesus and they said, wow, nobody ever spoke like that guy. No man ever spake like that. When Jesus will stand before Pontius Pilate, Pilate will say, I find no fault in Him at all. "Which of you convicts me of sin?" The problem is, I lose my place. Thank you. "'He who is of God hears God's words. Therefore, you do not hear because you are not of God.' Then the Jews answered and said to Him, 'do we not rightly say that you are a Samaritan and have a demon'".

Now they're off the charts now. They're just saying stupid stuff. You're a Samaritan. Why would they say that? Because that's like, that that's like the worst thing you could say to somebody in Judea. Samaritans were a half breeds. Samaritans were not a pure bloodline. There was rival religion, a rival temple, as we've already noted, going up on up in Samaria.

It's like when I heard a couple arguing where I grew up in Huntington Beach right before I moved here. There was a husband and wife arguing, I've told you the story, and they were hurling insults and cuss words back and forth to each other, having a just full-on fight right there on the beach. And her husband finally said, you tourist.

He was thinking what is the worst possible thing I can say to a native Southern Californian on the beach? You're a tourist. And she just turned bright red and just, she had no words. She just stomped off. I thought, that's classic. What's the worst thing you can say to a native-born California? You're a tourist. Back then, it was you're a Samaritan.

And imagine saying this to Jesus, "'and you're demon possessed.' They said, 'Abraham is dead and the prophets. And You say, if anyone keeps My word, He will never taste death. Are You greater than our Father Abraham?'" Answer it. Answer it. Was is it? What's the answer to that?

Is He? Yeah! Now they're getting it. Are you greater than our father Abraham? Who does that sound like? Woman at the well, right? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who made this well? Uh-huh. Are you greater than Abraham? Yeah. The fog is clearing.

"Are You greater than our Father Abraham, who is dead?" So Abraham believed God, he's dead. You say, if anybody believes You, He won't die. It's like, what? "'Who do You make Yourself out to be?' Jesus said, 'if I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me of whom You say that He is your God. Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say I do not know Him, then I'd be a liar like you. But I know Him and I keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.' The Jews said to him, 'you're not yet 50 years old and You've seen Abraham?' Jesus said, 'most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was'", there it is again, was does it say? "I am."

Ego eimi. I am. Before Abraham was, I am. Or as some translations just put it out there, before Abraham was born, I existed. I lived, I existed before Abraham was born. He's speaking of His preexistence. It is undeniable who He's claiming to be. Now here's the big question, really quickly, when did Abraham ever see Jesus's day? It's a good question. It's not answered for us. It's really not the important part of the text. The most important part of the text is, before Abraham was, I am. That's His point. That's the big part of the text. But it is a fun study.

So some believe that he was rejoicing to see Jesus's day when God gave him the promise that "in you and in your seed all the nations of the world will be blessed", Genesis Chapter 12. A prediction of the blessing that will come from the seed of Abraham, the Messiah. So in that promise, he was able to see Him. But another idea postulated by many is that it was Melchizedek. When Abraham went to rescue His son Lot after the Battle of the Five Kings, when he was going home, Lot in tow, he was met by the King of Salem. Salem, Jerusalem originally, Salem.

And it was Melchizedek. Melchizedek means "king of righteousness." He's the king of righteousness. He's the king of Salem, which means "peace." So he's the king of righteousness. He's the king of peace. The Bible says, having neither father nor mother, no genealogy in the past, no end in the future. So he has no beginning, no end. He's the king of righteousness. He's the King of peace, and he comes and he pays tithes to Abraham and gives him bread and wine and serves up communion. Many have seen this as a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ before He came to the Earth, that it was a christophany or a theophany that that was of the Lord Jesus Christ who made that special appearance to Abraham at that time.

It could be. But at some point, Abraham rejoiced to see His day. Don't know exactly what he is thinking of specifically. But he said, wait a minute you're not even 50 years old yet, isn't that interesting? Jesus was early 30s. Why didn't they say you're not even 40? Or you're not even 35? It's interesting that they said you're not yet 50 years old, which could indicate possibly that Jesus looked older than 32, 33. I wouldn't deny that and that wouldn't surprise me.

I mean, all of the weight of sin, all of the struggle that was being placed on His shoulder. The Battle in the Heavenlies, the Battle with Satan. It could be that that would age a person, that would wear on a person. It's just interesting that they use that 50 years old. "Before Abraham was, I am." Now verse 59, we made it. But that's not the best part, the best part is the verse itself. You ready? So why am I holding up my hand and taking so long? OK.

"Then they took up stones to throw at Him. But Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple going through the midst of them and so passed by." Why would they take up stones to kill Him? They thought He committed what? Blasphemy because He claimed He was God. So if anybody ever says, well, Jesus never claimed to be God, take him to that verse.

Show them this verse because it shows me that the people who first heard Him thought that's what He was saying. They understood clearly that He claimed to be God, otherwise they wouldn't have picked up stones to kill Him. But you don't make claims like that and walk out of the temple, well, He did because it wasn't His time, but they wanted to kill Him. They wanted to stone Him. It's interesting and I had a conversation with someone today. And I said, who is Jesus to you? Oh, Jesus is the Son of God. I said, is Jesus God? And he said, I can't answer that.

Now I've had many conversations with folks like that who have said, well, the Bible never says He's God. Jesus never claimed to be God. And I often say, have you read the Bible or what Bible are you reading? Is this the Old Testament you're reading? Because there's even plenty there that would predict what He would be like. But boy, the one that I read, especially John's Gospel, it's pretty unmistakable because even His enemies claim that He was God or that He claimed to be God. They understood what He was saying.

Jesus said He's the light of the world, meant He'll light up your life. He can make that promise because He is God. He said, I'm the bread of life. He'll satisfy you. He can make that claim because He is God in human flesh. He said, if you come and drink from Me, you'll never thirst. He can make that claim because He's God. Anybody who makes those claims and isn't God is just making a bunch of empty claims. But if God makes those claims and people have been satisfied by coming to Him, I think there's something to it. And if you don't know Him personally, it's your chance to do something about it.

Father, thank you for the word of God. Thank you, Lord, that we could linger over this eighth chapter of the Gospel of John, that we could consider Jesus in the temple, in the treasury, with a background of lights being taken down, festivities over, having just talked about quenching the thirst of humanity because they were just thinking of quenching the thirst of their forefathers or lighting up the desert with the Shekinah Glory and they celebrated that for a week. And here comes this unique individual who says, I can quench your thirst. I can light up your life. I can make it so that you'd never hunger. And Lord, how differently You treat people who admit that they're sinners. How graciously You are, how graciously You treated them, not condemning them, but extending forgiveness and that admonition to go and sin no more. Lord, You love to do that. You love to take people as they are and clean them up. You love, Lord, to scrub them up and make them pure and it's not because they're good, it's because You're good. So Lord, I pray You'd do it again. I pray You do it in these remaining moments, that you would just bring conviction, the kind of conviction that would draw men and women to Jesus not away from Him.

And now as our heads are bowed, I'm speaking to you. If you have never given your life to Jesus personally. If you've never made it personal. If you've never had a decision moment, a crisis moment in your life where you've said, I'm a sinner and I'm turning from the past and I'm turning in the present to Jesus. If you've never personally asked Him to come and take control of your life and reign supreme as the Lord of your life, as Savior and King, now's your opportunity.

If you made some decision in the past, you went to some youth group, some rally, some concert, some church service, you did something, you felt good in that moment, but whatever happened then and wherever you are now, you're not walking in the same path, you've walked away from Him. You're not living a life that's pleasing to Him or in obedience to Him. And you need to come to Him or come back to Him.

If you are willing to do that to come back to Him or to come to Him for the first time to get your sins forgiven, to get given a whole new life, a do over like this woman was in this chapter, then trust Him and believe in Him and reach out to Him. And this is the best way I know how to do that. If that's what you are willing to do, I want you to raise your hand up in the air right now. Raise it up. Just keep it up for a moment. I'll acknowledge you. You're saying yes to Him. You're coming to Him or coming back to Him.

God bless you, right up there in the front, yes sir. Anybody else? Raise those hands up. In the back. Anybody else? Raise those hands up. Say yes to Him. Come to Him or come back to Him. In the balcony, I see couple of you, right over here. In the family room, love it. God bless you. You're just tired of walking the road you've been walking, nothing gets better. You're feeling empty. You're feeling unsatisfied, then come to Jesus. Watch what He can do in forgiving you of everything you've ever done, making you his son or daughter, placing you in His kingdom, giving you purpose. Anyone else? Take Him up on that offer? You come to Him for the first time or you've run away from Him and you need to come back to Him right now. Raise that hand up.

Father, thank you for those who placed those hands up just a moment ago. Strengthen them and use them for Your purpose and Your glory. Lord, I pray that You would ignite a fire in their life, you'd light them up. You'd take away the dark places of their life. You'd let your light shine in and let them live out in the open, a cleansed, forgiven child of God in Jesus's name, Amen.

Let's stand to our feet. We're going to sing one final song. I'm going to ask those of you who raised your hand to get up from where you're standing and find the nearest aisle and walk right up here where I'm going to lead you in a prayer in just a moment to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. If you're in the balcony, I want you to come down the steps. We'll wait for you, but you come right up here to the front. If you're in the family room, there's a door right up on the right in the front of the family room, come through that door, somebody will be there to walk you through. Carrie's right there to walk you through this way. God bless you.

Whoa, how He loves us. Whoa, how He loves us. Whoa, how He loves us. Yeah, He loves us. Whoa, how He loves us. Whoa, how He loves us. We'll we have a lot of counselors that have come forward. But I saw hands go up and I'm going to wait for those people. Jesus called people publicly. We want you to make a stand for Him. You've made a stand for other things in your life, now make a stand for Jesus. That's it. Even if you didn't raise your hand. But God's been trying to speak to you for a long time. Then just release your life into His hands right now. Say yes to Him.

Tell you what? When you do, it feels so good because it is so good because He's so good. He is so good. He wants you to just to admit, I need help over here God. I need help. I need to come to You. Forgive me. Just admit that. And when you come, you're admitting that. And I've told you that just as I'd mentioned, Jesus often called people publicly and you see how we're applauding those who are making this decision. Man, we're for you. We want to stand with you. So come on, let us stand with you. Stand with those who have come.

You've been teetering with this decision far too long. You've watched other people do this far too long. This is your night. This is your turn. I know you were hoping come on, hurry up, close the service, end in prayer. No, you come. You come. We'll wait for you. But you know you need to be up here. You know you need to do this. Yes you. You need to come and be a part of this. Just release your life into His hands. Say yes to. Him. Don't fight Him any longer. Give your life to Christ. Who's going to join those who have made this choice? Anybody else?

I'm good either way. I'm going to go home and have a good night's sleep either way. But you know what? When I die, I'm going to heaven. And can you say that? I hope you can see that. I hope you know that. Because if you're not sure, I want you to come and be sure. And how do you be sure? By doing what Jesus said and by placing yourself in His hands. God bless you guys. That's it. That's it. Come right on up. Come on right on up, you get front row. The last shall be first. We're glad you came. Good on ya, as they say in Australia. God bless you. Those of you who have walked forward, I'm going to lead you in a prayer. I'm going to ask you to pray this prayer out loud after me. Say these words from your heart. Say them to the Lord as you entrust your life to Him. Say:

Lord, I give you my life. I know that I'm a sinner. Please forgive me. I believe in Jesus. That He died for me. That He shed His blood for my sin. And that He rose from the grave. I repent of my sin. I turn from my past. I turn to Jesus as my Savior. I want to live for Him as my Lord. Help me to do that. In Jesus's name. Amen! Amen!

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