There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are in bondage to their sin and those who have been set free. This morning I would like to talk about this bondage and this setting free.
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham, and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:31-36).
This chapter begins with the woman caught in adultery and moves on to Jesus saying that he is the light of the world followed by a discussion with the Pharisees. At the end of the section, verse 30, the text says that as he was saying these, many believed in him (v.31). He tells them that if they will abide in his word, they are truly his disciples (v.31). They will know the truth and the truth would set them free (v.32). The Jews notice this comment about slavery and react to it in typical defensive mode. “We are Abraham’s offspring and have never been enslaved to anyone.” Since this is true, why does Jesus say they need to be set free? (v.33). Jesus responded with, “Truly! Truly! Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (v.34). And the fact is that the slave does not get to stay in the house forever, but the son does (v.35). So, if the son sets you free from your slavery and makes you a son, you will be free indeed and able to live on in the house forever (v.36). From there things go pretty much down hill and in the end the Jews try to stone Jesus for declaring to them that he is God (v. 59).
The Subtlety of Sin:
Most of us can see the problem the Jews who were talking to Jesus had. We can all read how Jesus went on to explain why and how these people were bound in their sin until in the end they tried to stone him. And most of us are not like these guys…but we do need to be set free. So, let’s focus on us for the rest of the message.
The first of the Ten Commandments is to not put any other God in the place of Yahweh. We call this particular sin idolatry, and though there are lots and lots of sins that fall under the umbrella of idolatry (see Col. 3:5) let’s talk about idolatry for a minute.
In Deuteronomy 7 God commanded the people, as they were about to enter the promised land, to kill everyone in their path; men, women, and children. If they did allow anyone to live, the end result would be idolatry. As you read through the Old Testament, you see that Israel pretty much ignored God and did exactly what he said not to do. But put yourself in their shoes for a minute.
The Nuts and Bolts:
When you realize you are in bondage to an idol, the first thing you should do is fall on your knees and cry out to God for forgiveness and repent of the sin. You need to know that the message is that Jesus came to set the captives free. He said in our text that if you will abide in his word you will be set free from your idols and thus from your bondage and when Jesus sets you free, you will be free indeed.
There are two passages of Scripture you need to hear at this point:
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
2 Peter 1:3-4 says “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”
The Body of Christ:
Besides the Scripture being given to us as God’s living word and setting us free, God has left Jesus’ body here on earth in the form of the church. What this means is that in your journey to getting rid of the bondage you’ve been in for so long, you have help. All of the elders and deacons standing up in the front, serving you the Lord’s Supper want nothing for you but your freedom in Christ. All the pastors of both our churches want to help you overcome and to help you take advantage of all Christ has as you search the Scriptures and serve him with your whole heart.
You should know that because of the nature of idolatry, you will undoubtedly need help in overcoming many habits you’ve acquired over the years to either participate in your idolatry or in covering up for your idolatry. You need to know that Jesus loves you and wants to set you free and so does the leadership of our two churches.
Many of you are tired of struggling to walk with God. You look around in Church on Sundays and instead of being lifted up by the saints, you are depressed by all the seemingly perfect people. You see smiling faces everywhere you look and you think there’s something wrong with you. Jesus said “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Lk. 4:18). Are you a captive? Are you broken hearted? Are you overcome by temptation and sin? Look to Jesus, go to Jesus, live with and in and around Jesus. He is the only one who can set you free and if he sets you free, you will be free indeed.