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Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx
Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx

Episode 96 · 6 months ago

Like Father, Like Son

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Like Father, Like Son

John 8: 31-59

Dax Bryant - Preaching

But at age thirteen he enrolled in Yale College and four years later he graduated at the top of his class. He began preaching at age twenty, and he was used by God to help spark the great revival that we know as the great awakening. He was an outstanding theologian and Pastor, and not only that, he was one of the most brilliant minds that this continent has ever produced, and the legacy of the noble character and intellect of this man, Jonathan Edwards, is one that is remarkably evident in his descendants. Within a hundred and fifty years of his death, Edwards progeny included over a hundred missionaries and Pastors, Thirteen college presidents, sixty five professors, a hundred lawyers, you can judge if that's an asset or a and, and a law school dean, thirty judges, sixty six doctors and a medical school dean, Eighty public office holders, including three US senators, three mayors of large cities, three state governors, a controller of the US Treasury and one vice president of the United States. The obvious conclusion is that a legacy of face, faith and godliness is often a great benefit from parents to their children and beyond. But as some of you know, there's another infamous legacy within this family that diverges from that principle. In one thousand, sevent hundred and fifty six Edwards, Esther gave birth a little boy. See, we can do about that. Esther gave birth to a little boy. He grew up and he went on to study theology at Princeton. He practiced law in New York City, he served in the US in it and in fact he was the descendant who later grew up in rose to the office of Vice President of the US. By all outward appearances that looks pretty good. But but listen to how his mother described him not too long after he was born. She wrote this in her journal. Very fly and mischievous, has more sprightliness than Sally, handsomer but not so good tempered, very resolute, stubborn and requires a good governor to bring him to terms. Now I suppose that the same or worse could be said about many children. But these particular words were written about Aaron Burr. You know Aaron Burr, the man who notoriously killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, who tried to actually set himself up as the emperor of Mexico. At one point was tried for treason in the US, fled to Europe, came back to the US, married a widow about twenty years younger than he was. She divorced him four months later because he was squandering her fortune on real estate speculations that went south. The divorce was finalized actually on the day that he died, and somewhere along the way he renounced his faith in Christ. Aaron Burr was the grandson of Jonathan Edwards, and so you can see that godly heritage in one's family can be beneficial, but it does not guarantee anything. And that same truth unfolds before us in this passage here in John Eight hundred and thirty one through fifty nine. It deals with people who have an outstanding religious inheritance, they have a privileged physical lineage, but they are...

...resting on some false assumptions that have eternal consequences, and the claims that Jesus makes in this passage come into direct confrontation with their way of thinking. And so the big idea for this morning comes to us by way of a question. It's this. What guarantees spiritual vitality, liveliness. What guarantees spiritual vitality? It is neither religious pedigree nor physical paternity, but only adoption into God's family. By way of context here for to whole chapters now, all of the action we've been seeing in Chapter Seven and chapter eight has been taking place at the temple in Jerusalem during the feast of booths. And what we've been seeing since chapter five this pattern of increasing hostility and opposition towards Jesus and towards his teaching. It now plays out at a whole new level here in this passage. In fact, we're going to see this confrontation that really is about religious pedigree and physical paternity. It's going to progressively deteriorate as we move through the passage. This will be our outline. It's going to move from an intellectual combativeness versus thirty one through thirty six, to emotional explosiveness versus thirty seven, two hundred and forty seven, to verbal abusiveness versus forty eight through fifty eight, culminating in the threat of physical violence in verse fifteen nine. And so you can see that people have been arguing like this long before the Internet was invented. So the debate here begins with intellectual combativeness. Let's look at this. In verse thirty one, so Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him. And we have to stop right there and remember that we saw this last week, as Jesus has been making all of these bold claims at the temple to be the Messiah. During the feast of booths, we were told, if you just go up one verse to verse thirty the very last verse we looked at last week, that many of these Jews who were there for the Feast of booths believed in him. And here in verse thirty one, it's just simply stated that Jesus is speaking to this same group of people who have just professed belief in him. But, as we're going to see this, this faith is fickle at best. In fact, just to help you see this, I want you to just glance through how how Jesus is going to go on in this passage to refer to those who believed in him. Here, in verse thirty four, he calls them slaves to sin. In Verse Thirty Seven and Verse Forty he accuses them of plotting to murder him. In verse forty four he calls them chill of the devil, and in verse fifty five he refers to them as liars. So so, what happened? These are the people who believed in him. So so where did this all go wrong? Well, if you've been paying attention in John's Gospel and if you know your Bible, Jesus has a habit of thinning out the crowds when he of those who profess belief. When he when he attracts popular response,...

...he takes his teaching up and notch it seems like we saw that when he after the feat of the five thousand, the height of his popularity. The people are ready to make him their king, and so he responds with a very hard saying that causes almost everyone to walk away and desert him. It's the same kind of thing here. It seems like the bigger the crowds get, the better the response, the stronger the words get, and we see that begin to play out again here. So back to verse thirty one. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him. If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples. And here we begin to see what separates this kind of fickle faith from genuine faith, and it is perseverance, endurance. That's that's what that word abide is getting at. That that word means to hold on to or to remain in, and it were told here, Jesus says a a true disciple, a genuine believer, abides, holds to remains in Jesus's word. Jesus is teaching, seeking not only to understand it but also, importantly, to practice it, to obey it. That that alone. That's a very simple statement. But can you imagine what God would do with a with a church full of people who were seeking not only to understand God's word but then to put it into practice, to obey it? That would be my prayer for all of us, that not only would we know what God's word says, but that we would obey what God's word says. And notice here, the mark of a true disciple, of a genuine believer, is not because they said a prayer, it's not because they walked down an a aisle, it's not because they raise their hand when every head was bowed and every eye was closed. It's not based upon a profession of faith that they made once upon a time. In fact, it spin said. If you want to test whether or not your faith is alive and active, you don't ask yourself the question have I believed? The better question is, are you believing? It's a it's a current state that were after. It's a it's an ongoing pattern that Jesus is getting at here, of abiding in, living in, dwelling in and and obeying the Commands of Christ that are found in his word. And one thing we need to understand here too, and I'm not sure I understand it, but but holding to abiding in Jesus's word. That's that's not only evidence of the authenticity of your faith, but it actually works to increase your faith at the same time. In other words, we come to to abide in the truth not simply by intellectual evaluation of the truth, but by a moral commitment to practice the truth. Let me, let me try to show you what I mean here from the text. Look at verse thirty two. Jesus says, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. So to be a true disciple you are to abide in the word of Christ, and to do that you will know the truth. So the first step in abiding in the word is to know the word, and that obviously presupposes then reading the words, studying the word, becoming familiar enough with the word. That's something...

...that we all need to be doing, but that's something that, as we all know, is saddling the neglected. We live in an age of remarkable biblical ignorance, given the resources that are at our fingertips. But again, this is about much more than intellectual knowledge, because you can be very well educated in the scriptures, right, just like the religious leaders that we see in in John's Gospel over and over again, you can know the scriptures but not be abiding in the word. Judaism. In fact, it claims that is the study of the law, that that makes you free, so to speak, whereas Jesus here insists that the law points to him, that he himself is the truth and that he is the one then, who actually provides real freedom. So again, to abide in the word means not just to know it, but to practice it, and that's how freedom comes. So the way that works it self out is you learn God's word by reading it, by studying it, by talking about it with others, you obey God's word and then you find in your life freedom and that that new found freedom motivates you to go back to God's word, to learn more of God's word, to study it deeper, to talk about it more frequently, and that lends itself to further obedience and further freedom. Do you associate Christianity with freedom? Most people don't. Most people are so associate Christianity with a list of rules to follow. But I wonder, have you experienced this? Have you experienced the freedom that comes from following Christ and if not, if you if you have no idea what that even means. Is it possible that, though you may be biblically literate, you're not biblically obedient and that's causing you to miss this sense of freedom that is there, Jesus says, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. That would be a controversial statement to make in our culture. Wouldn't it even the even the concept of the truth, to claim that you have the exclusive truth? That doesn't fly. That's seen today not only as arrogant foolish, but increasingly that is seen as dangerous to say something like that. And so our culture seeks to to force feed you the the acceptance of any and all truth claims, except the truth claims of Christian ennity. Right, that is, that is the one thing that our tolerant society cannot tolerate. And why is that? That is because it is the nature of humanity to suppress the truth, to to squash the truth and listen. That's that's not unique to our day. It may be more in our face. Were more aware of it because we're more aware of what's going on in all corners of the world more soon than ever before. But the truth has always been under assault. We shouldn't be surprised that the truth is under attack. But but the bigger point here is that the result of abiding in the word of Jesus is the only way that you will know the truth and ultimately, as Jesus says, the truth will set you free. Now think about this. Right, if Jesus is offering freedom...

...to the Jews, what does that imply? Well, it implies that the Jews are currently not free, that they are slaves. So they respond in verse thirty three. We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say you will become free? Now? Some some people think that they're they're so ignorant the situation that they they don't even realize that or under Roman occupation right now. Right, I don't think I mean they're a little thick headed sometimes, right, but I don't think they're that far off. They that this wouldn't make any sense there. I don't think they're talking about being ruled over by Rome here. They weren't ignorant of their present circumstances or their past circumstances. Over the Millennium There's hardly a group in the region that the Jews hadn't been in political servitude to in some form or another. They understand here. I think that Jesus is talking about spiritual freedom. The problem is they're putting all of their eggs in Abraham's basket. They have this sense of inherited privilege that comes from their physical lineage and it means that they just kind of automatically see themselves as citizens of God's kingdom by birth. You ever meet anyone like that? Oh, I'm good with God because my grandparents they help start that church. Oh, my uncle, he's a he's a deacon at that church. So I know I'm okay. But those things have nothing to do with you, right. But but people sometimes clean to those things as for whatever reason. But but look at that, look at that question again that the Jews ask. How is it that you say you will become free? How is it that you say you hear? There's kind of a challenging tone to this, and that's important to note because it shows that these socalled believers are already showing their unwillingness to abide in Jesus's word. They're already starting to question his word here. They can't even acknowledge their own need for spiritual freedom. They already thank their free we're Abraham's offspring, they say. So what are you talking about, Jesus? And so really the rest of this conversation consists of Jesus unpacking what he means by spiritual freedom and slavery, and in the process he eradicates, he wipes out any sense of privilege that these people think they have based on their religious pedigree or their physical paternity. Those things are no guarantee of spiritual vitality. He's going to correct that way of thinking and then he's going to reassert his own unique and ultimate authority in a stunning way that will see when we get there. But but this debate is still at the intellectual level, this intellectual combativeness. Notice Jesus explanation, his response in Verse Thirty Four. Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever. The son remains forever. So if the suns that you free, you will be free. Indeed. So it becomes obvious what kind of freedom he's offering them here, right not not political freedom, freedom from sin, spiritual freedom. They are slaves to sin, and sin is so entangling. It is it is in slaving, and I am sure if you're anything like me, you've experienced this.

A practicing sin regularly, habitually, it not only proves that you are enslaved to it, but it actually further enslaves you. Have you said these kinds of things to yourself before, as you are justifying sin in your own life, that only proves its hold and mastery over you. Oh it's okay, I I I work hard. I deserve a little indulgence now and then. Or this will be the last time that I do this, I promise. Or Hey, no one really knows about this anyway. It's not hurt any hurting anyone. What's the harm? And you prove your slavery the Sin. You can't get away from it. Now, when we talk about slavery, whether in any form, whether we're talking about political slavery or economic slavery, those are not small things. Those are important subjects. But the point here is that slavery to Sin, slavery to the to the practice of being an active rebel against God. That is the ultimate bondage. And this is why Jesus won't be reduced to a Political Messiah, because slavery to Sin is always the big issue. Now, the Jews here that he's speaking to, they think of themselves as privileged sons, but the reality is they are enslaved sinners, and Jesus strikes at the heart of their confidence and their assurance because he tells them the slave does not remain in the house forever. Slave has no right to be in the family. In contrast, he says the Sun remains forever. So if the son he's referring to himself now, if the sun sets, you free, you will be free. Indeed, Jesus has this unique, one of a kind status as the son of God. It's a status that includes full authority from the father to liberate slaves from the tyranny of sin and to bringing many sons to glory. And those whom Jesus sets free are really free. They are free. Indeed, they are free to the fullest sense of the word. But but here's the thing, and this is where people sometimes get confused. Freedom in Christ doesn't mean that you're free to do whatever you want. Freedom in Christ means that you are now free to do what you ought and what is it that you ought to do? You ought to abide in Jesus's word freely, because obedience to Jesus. Now that you are free, it has become your happy choice. And now we see the confrontation is going to move from this level of intellectual combativeness to emotional explosiveness. Jesus continues here verse Thirty Seven. I know that you are offspring of Abraham. He affirms the reality that they are the physical descendants of Abraham, just like they said in verse thirty three. That's true. There's no denying that. But then he adds yet you seek to kill me because my word binds no place in you. Again, what is what is the mark of a true disciple. He told us in verse Thirty One, right it is to abide in his word. But here we see when Jesus's word clashes with...

...their religious tradition, their sense of inherited privilege, they do not abide in his word, they abandon his word or, as Jesus says, his word finds no place in them, and the result of that here is that they desire to kill him. Verse Thirty Eight, I speak of what I have seen with my father, and you do what you have heard from your father. And this is the old adage exemplified right like father, like son. The words, the behavior of Jesus Christ reflect that of his father, and the same is true of the Jews. They also do what they've heard from their father. But it's not yet clear in the passage who Jesus is referring to when he says their father. So they say in verse Thirty Nine, they answered him Abraham is our father, and and they're not just repeating themselves here. It was it was commonly believed by the Jews that the the righteousness of Abraham was so vast, so deep, that they could simply draw from it, kind of like the Roman Catholic belief of the Treasury of Merit. There's there's enough righteousness of the saints. Store it up somewhere that you can access their righteousness to make up for your own unrighteousness. The Jews thought in a similar way about Abraham. Even if they remained disobedient sinners, they had father Abraham and his righteousness to turn to and to their way of thinking, it's not just, then, their their physical paternity from Abraham, but it's this passed down religious pedigree that grants them this, this special spiritual privilege. and Jesus, he just blasts that idea. Yes, he concedes they have physically descended from Abraham, but do they display any evidence that they are? They have anything to do at all with being spiritual descendants of Abraham. And so he says in Verse Thirty Nine. If you were Abraham's children, like you claim to be, you would be doing the works Abraham did. But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did. Remember Abraham, when God revealed himself to Abraham, how did Abraham respond? With immediate eager obedience, the reaction of these people to God revealing himself in the flesh right in front of them. It is nothing like eager obedience which Jesus says proves then, that Abraham is not their spiritual father after all. And as you might expect, the Jews don't take too kindly to this. And so they protest here in the middle of Verse Forty One. They say, we were not born of sexual immorality and and you get what they're saying here. They're, in a roundabout way, saying, Jesus, come on, man, you of all people shouldn't be talking about who one's father is. We've we've heard the rumors. You who were born of a virgin. We we have our suspicions, and you can hear this emotional explosiveness kind of starting to rise to the surface here. We weren't born of sexual immorality. But but then, they say, if...

Jesus won't allow them to claim Abraham as their father, then he he has to allow them this right. We have one father, even God. After all, God himself declared in exodus twenty two Israel is my firstborn son, he said, through the Prophet Jeremiah. I am Israel's father. So the Jews say our father is God. If you won't let us claim Abraham, then we claim God as our father. But this is a big presumption on their part. Paul writes in Romans, Chapter Two, Verse Twenty Eight, for No one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly. Nor is circumcision outward and physical, but a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the spirit, not by the letter. And that's true for professing Christians too, isn't it? Many of us are susceptible to this same error. In fact, if I can just try to speak to the the children and the young people in the room for just a moment, let me, let me again say that it is a tremendous blessing from God to be raised in a Christian home where you are taught the word and encouraged to practice it. That is a tremendous blessing from God, but it can also create a huge challenge for you, one that may not be evident until you come out from under your parents roof, because you can fool yourself. You can think that just because you've always gone to church, because my family always goes to church or I can recite the things that my parents taught me to say. That doesn't necessarily mean that you are truly converted and it and what I'm trying to say is it can be easy to be wrong about your own spiritual state. When you have a godly heritage, when you grow up in a Godly family, you can make some big assumption. So what I want to give you is is some ways you can know. How can you know that you are indeed a child of God? So let's get back to the text to find that out. Because Jesus doesn't deny the truth of what God had said about being a father to his people. He denies that those statements that God made about being a father to his people apply to these socalled believers that he's talking to. See it, they're in verse forty two. Jesus said to them. If God were your father, like you just claimed, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me again, like father, like son. Jesus perfectly embodies that. But for the Jews here now, according to Jesus, whether they are claiming Abraham is their father, or whether they are claiming God as their father. Their beliefs and their conduct reflect that. Neither one are their father. But but did you catch again here another explicit mark of a true disciple, of a genuine believer, anyone who would call himself a child of God, anyone who would claim God as their father? Jesus says, if God were your father, you would love me. So if you put that together with what we saw in...

...verse thirty one, you can begin to answer this question. How do you know when your faith is genuine? How do you know that you are a child of God? What is the mark of spiritual vitality? Well, verse Thirty One says it's you abide in God's word, and here in Verse Forty Two, it is that you love his son. These, these two things, go together Jesus. Jesus puts them together later in in John's Gospel, in the upper room, John Fourteen, Verse Fifteen. If you love me, Jesus says, you will what, keep my commandments. See how those things are together. If you love Jesus, you will obey Jesus. So if they don't love Jesus, who was sent by God, this is the logic of Jesus argument here. If they don't love Jesus, sent by God, that means it can only be because God is not their father. And so God's words that he said about being a father to Israel, those are true, but those apply to other people, not these people that he's talking to. Jesus Continues Verse Forty Three. Why do you not understand what I say? Answer it is because you cannot bear to hear my word. Now a couple things here. I first of all, I want you to notice there's a thread about Jesus's word that runs through this passage. It's there in verse thirty one. You are truly my disciples if you abide in my word. Then in verse thirty seven, but my word finds no place in you. And then here in verse forty three, and you cannot bear to hear my word. And notice it's not because Jesus's words are difficult to understand or that Jesus struggles to communicate effectively. Rather it's that his message does not make sense to them. The text says, because they cannot bear it, meaning they are unable to hear it. And this is the sinner's problem, not just that they are unwilling, but that they are unable, they are spiritually dead, their ears are clogged. And so Jesus says that. And then Jesus drops a another bomb into this already emotionally explosive situation. Verse Forty Four. You are of your father the devil, okay, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is not truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. I hope you have a place in your theology for a Jesus who speaks like this. You are of your father the devil, he says, Jesus. Is already established to these people that that Abraham can't be their father. Verse Thirty Nine. God can't be their father either. Verse Forty Two. So then, who is their father? It is the devil, Jesus says. Like father, like son. Right, and so it's no surprise that these sons of the devil want to carry out their father's desires, lies and murder, specifically those very same desires that have defined the characteristics of the devil since the very beginning. Remember, all the...

...way back in the garden of Eden, it was a lie of the devil. He won't surely die. That why brought on the death of the entire human race. Lies and murder from the beginning. But in contrast to the murderous lies spoken by the Devil, God inevitably speaks truth, and so does Jesus, because he has been sent from God verse Forty Five. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Look at that again. Look at that in your Bible. Don't read over that too fast. Do you see it there? What is the reason? They do not believe Jesus? Because he tells the truth. That's remarkable. Do you understand what that means? It again means that that sinners are unable to accept the truth precisely because it is the truth. Now that explains Unbelief, why there's unbelief in the world. They can't understand it, they can't bear it. What it doesn't explain is belief, because even true disciples, even genuine believers, they once belonged to this fallen and rebellious world. Right Ifhesians chapter two reminds us of this. That's written two believers by the way of Fesians, it says in chapter two. And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the Prince of the power of the air, a reference to Satan, the spirit that is now at work, and the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desire of the body and the mind, and were by nature, children of not God, children of Wrath, like the rest of mankind. So that's the question. How do children of Wrath ever come to believe the truth when Jesus says here that the process of hearing the truth would only arouse unbelief, not belief? Well, this particular verse doesn't say but we've already seen the answer earlier in this Gospel. Will see it again in a minute. But the truth is you can't believe until and unless God intervenes. Otherwise you can't. But first, before we get there, Jesus has a couple of rhetorical questions to ask. Verse Forty Six, which one of you convicts me of Sin. Question one question too. If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me. So when he says which one of you convicts me of Sin? He's not asking if anyone thinks that he's guilty of sin. He's asking if anyone can prove can convict him of sin. And you better believe if they could have, they would have. But since they can't, this is question too. Since they can't convict him of sin, well then maybe they should start asking themselves some questions. What if this guy is right? What if he is telling the truth? And if he is telling the truth, why do we not believe him? Here's why. Verse Forty Seven. Whoever is of God, here's the words of God, and here's the kicker right.

The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God. Again there's that thread of Jesus's word in this passage. Verse Thirty One. If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples. Verse Thirty Seven, My word finds no place in you. Verse Forty Three, you cannot beard bear to hear my word. Verse Forty Seven. You do not hear God's words because you are not of God. And notice how Jesus just suddenly equated his word with God's word. But did you catch the other thing he said the reason that you cannot hear God's Word is because you are not of God. He says. This is something that's been building in this Gospel, building even in this passage. You can lay it out like this. You are enslave to sin. Your Sin Nature reflects the fact that you have been born into the family of the devil and because you are like your father, the devil, you cannot understand the call of the Gospel until unless God intervenes. Now Watch it escalate again. Okay, we moved from intellectual combativeness to emotional explosiveness, and now Jesus opponents, the same Jews who had believed in him, resort to verbal abusiveness. And as we go through this, I want you to notice in this section another little pattern that emerges. You what we're going to see. It cycle through three times here, and I think if we pay attention, there may be something for us here to learn about how we might respond to attacks against God if we look at Jesus as example. But that this pattern that will see. It's going to cycle through three times. There's blasphemy from the Jews, there's truth from Jesus, and then there is an invitation extended, blasph me from the Jews, truth from Jesus and the invitation extended. And then the third time, blasphemy from the Jews, truth from Jesus, and then the last one ends a little bit differently, as we'll see. So let's take a closer look. The first time this cycles through here, starting a verse Forty Eight. The Jews answered him. Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon? Here the verbal abusiveness kicking up here. We know that there's no love lost between the Jews and Samaritans, so that's obviously an insult. And then they just straight up say he's demon possessed. They say that to the son of God, blasphemy. He responds with truth. Verse Forty Nine. Jesus answered. I do not have a demon, but I honor my father and you dishonor me. So it's a pretty calm and cool response, granted what they've just said about him. I do not have a demon. The bigger issue here is that Jesus honors God. He's sent from God, but they dishonored Jesus, which means ultimately that they dishonor God. Verse Fifty. Yet I do not seek my own glory. There is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. Jesus is the one who truly honors the father, because he doesn't seek his glory, he seeks God's glory. And it will be God who glorifies Jesus. And yet these people are dishonoring Jesus. The point here is that what matters to God is what matters, because God is the judge. This is the truth that these people needed to hear. And then look at the invitation in Verse Fifty One. Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, there...

...it is again. If anyone keeps my word, he will never see death. How do you know if you are a true disciple? How do you know if you are a child of God? Well, from verse thirty one, a true disciple abides in the word of Jesus, and his invitation here is very similar. If You keep my word, you will never see death. Jesus alone has the words of eternal life. To whom else will you go? This is an invitation, so blasphemy, truth invitation. That's the first cycle. It's going to come through a second time here start in verse fifty two, the Jews said to him. Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, if anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died and the prophets died? Who Do you make yourself out to be? Not a lot of progress being made here. They're thinking in very physical and literal terms and other words. Abraham kept God's word, yet he died. The prophets kept God's word, yet they died too. So is your word better than the word given to Abraham? Is Your word better than the word God gave to the Prophets? Because you say whoever obeys your word will never die? You really are demon possessed. Blasphemy and their last question there. Who Do you make yourself out to be? That is so ironic because it completely misses everything that Jesus has been saying. He's not making himself out to be anyone. He's not trying to exalt himself or or glorify himself in any way. Far From It. He is the most humble and obedient of men, perfectly submissive to the father in all things, and that's exactly the point that Jesus makes as he counters the blasphemy now with the truth. Verse Fifty Four. If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my father who glorifies me, of whom you say he is our God, but you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. Clearly, Jesus is not promoting himself, he is not seeking his own glory, and yet at the same time it's the father who glorifies Jesus, the father, the same God that the Jews claim to be their own. Yet their rejection of the son betrays their ignorance of the father. They do not know him, Jesus says. Unlike you, I do know him, and for me to say otherwise would make me a liar, just like you are a liar. And notice, there again, those two ideas get linked together at the and that last little clause in verse fifty five. I do know him and I keep his word. Right there it is again. A true disciple knows God, abides in the word and obeys God. and Jesus is our ultimate example in this. If you here's what this means, if you reject Jesus's word, you cannot claim God as your father. You cannot separate relationship with God from obedience to God. You cannot pull those things apart. They come together. So there was blasphemy, there's truth from Jesus. Now the invitation again, here verse fifty six. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad the the...

...implied invitation, at least the way I read this, is so don't you want to join in and rejoice at the same thing that your father, Abraham rejoiced that? Don't you want to be glad to and why did Abraham rejoice? It's because he received a promise from God, a promise of a son that would bring blessing and salvation to the whole world. He was confident that God would keep that promise, even though he never lived to see it. But notice how Jesus says this, notice the words that he chooses. He does not say Abraham rejoiced in anticipation of one day seeing the age of the Messiah. Instead, he says Abraham rejoiced to see my day. Huh, he rejoiced to see my day. In other words, Jesus is saying I am the fulfillment of all of Abraham's hopes and joy. I am the fulfillment of everything God promised to give to Abraham. I am the promised son, I am the Messiah. And the thing is, if that's true, that just completely destroys everything that the Jews have been arguing about in this passage just like that. So it's a lot easier for them to just continue to take him literally. So the third time through, this cycle starts again in verse fifty seven. So the Jews said to him, you are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham. Right, Abraham's been dead for two thousand years and you were around to know what made him happy. You know what gives Abraham Joy. How do you know what he saw? How do you know what makes him glad? Who are you kidding? Right there they're mocking the son of God. It's blasphemy. Once again, Jesus Responds to the blasphemy with truth, stunning truth. Verse Fifty Eight. Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was I am and of course, if he just wanted to claim that he existed before Abraham existed, he could say before Abraham was I was that. That's not what he's saying right. He says before Abraham was I am. It's the very thing that we have seen from the start of John's Gospel, when the Gospel opens in the beginning, was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. But once again that that's not just a claim to be eternally existent before Abraham was I am. And as we've seen a couple times here in the last few weeks, this is a clear claim, a clear use of the divine name that the Lord revealed, a Moses I am. If there was any doubt that you had in your mind before about Jesus using that those words to to claim that he is God, here there's no doubt at all. He takes the divine name, a name, by the way, that was considered to be so sacred that a that a Jew, would not speak it out loud or even try to write it down, and he takes that name and applies it to himself and in doing so he not only claims superiority over Abraham, but he claims to be the God of Abraham. This is stunning truth. Now, was he really saying that? was He really claiming to be the son of God here? Was He really not the son of God but God himself? Well, the easiest way to answer that is to just...

...simply look at how the Jews understood what he was saying. How did they react? Verse Fifty Nine. So they picked up stones to throw at him. Why? Because he was clearly claiming to be God and if that claim is not true, that is a blasphemous statement and the penalty for blasphemy is death according to the law. So see how the argument has devolved from intellectual combativeness to emotional explosiveness, to verbal abuse ofness, and now there's the threat of physical violence. And there's really, there's really no chance to finish out this cycle here. There's no chance to go to phase three, to extend that gracious invitation, because they are ready to carry out the prescribed punishment for blasphemy, which is death by stoning, not as the result of a fair trial but rather carried out through mob justice. And then the chapter concludes with this simple statement. But Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple once again his his hour had not yet come. Now how he slipped away right which he does on other occasions. To what degree that was supernatural? We're not given those details. What significant here is that the light of the world, whom Jesus just claimed to be earlier in this chapter, the light of the world, the glory of God, has departed the temple in the same way that has been done before, as seen through the prophets. He leaves the temple August Augustine, Augustine, I never know which one to go with. You know who I'm talking about, one of the early church fathers, Augustine, will say he said this about this scene. As a man, Jesus flees from the stones, but woe to those from whose heart of Stone God flees. Did you catch that? I say that again. As a man, Jesus flees from the stones, but woe to those from whose heart of Stone God flees. They didn't give Jesus the opportunity to extend another invitation because they've rejected, if you go back and look, they've rejected almost everything he's said, culminating in this point. They rejected the invitation. You still have the opportunity to accept that invitation, the gracious invitation of Jesus, is still extended to you this day, all these years later. Don't reject it. Our question this morning is what guarantees spiritual vitality, and we've seen it's neither religious pedigree, nor is it phhysical paternity, but it is only adoption into God's family. Now you think about this, that truth is a fatal and stern warning to a proud heart, but it is a healing Balm of Gospel hope to a broken and contrite heart. So I don't know everyone's situations in here, but you fit into one of these two categories most assuredly, whether you have the the type of Godly family where you can almost kind of rest on their laurels, you can look at the Treasury of Merit that your own family is has built up, or if your entire family is full of unbelieving, unrepentant sinners of the worst kind, whether you were raised up in a solid Christian home or whether you don't have much of a religious background at all and you frankly don't even know where to start with God. Wherever you...

...fall, listen now, because this is for you and what I want to do here. To close, this is just I want to read a handful of passages from the new testament that that reinforce this truth about the necessity of being adopted into God's family, and I want you to just listen. Don't don't bother looking these up. They just just listen and let yourself be overwhelmed by this truth that what guarantees spiritual vitality, what guarantees that you can be spiritually alive, is not religious pedigree, it's not physical paternity, whether that's for better or for worse, it is only adoption into God's family. So just listen now. Romans nine start Inni, verse six, for not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all our children of Abraham, because they are his offspring. But through Isaac shall your offspring be named. This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of promise are counted as offspring. John One, verse eleven. He came to his own and his own people did not receive him, but to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of a flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Ephesians chapter one, in the verse for in Love He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace. Romans Chapter Eight, verse fourteen. For All who are led by the spirit are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry Abba Father. The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. And if children, then air's airs of God and Fellow Airs with Christ. Last One, delations chapter four, start in in verse four. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of his son into our hearts, crying Abba father. So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. What guarantees spiritual vitality it is neither religious pedigree nor physical paternity, whether that is for better or for worse. In your case, it is only adoption into God's family. If you abide in Jesus's word, you are truly his disciple, and not only that, you are truly God's child. And as God's child, your desire will be to love and obey and no Jesus, and you will be as an adopted son, into his family, transformed into the image of Jesus, who himself is the act likeness of the father. It goes...

...from one degree of glory to the next. Like father, like son, and you will be set free and you will never see death. That is the promise of this passage. May God grab a hold of you so that you will grab hold of that promise. Today let's pray. Lord Jesus, you have done all of this for us and more. You have invited ruined sinners to become sons and daughters of God. The door is not shut because you have opened a new and living way by your blood. All that come to you will never be shut out. So I pray, as your word has gone forth, that you would bring all that the father has given to you to come to you spirit aroused the hearts of those enslaved to sin to come inside the House, set your seal upon them as adopted members into God's family and father. For those who already know that they are adopted sons and daughters, that they are fellow heirs with Christ, help them not to squander their inheritance, but to take full advantage of their sonship so that we might bring you glory. Amen.

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