How A Slave Becomes A Son
September 1, 2019

How A Slave Becomes A Son

Speaker:
Passage: John 8:37-47

Have you taken the time to consider what enslaves you? What desires, or possessions drive your actions? Maybe none come to mind. Let me see if I can poke a hole your alibi. When you are board, what do you reach for? Is it your cell phone? Are you looking for FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Solitaire, Candy Crush, or YouTube? Have you noticed how your fingers and thumbs know the precise movements required to open your favorite application? 

How about the slave-masters that double as necessities? The job that requires more than what is healthy or helpful— but the money is good. It takes the hours that belong to your spouse, your kids, your church. It’s constantly on your mind. It’s all-consuming. It has enslaved you with golden handcuffs. 

How about the god of your comfort— or leisure? What do you believe will fill your cup, comfort you, make life enjoyable? Is it a sport, or a hobby, free time? Do you self-medicate with a substance? What do you reach for after a hard day? Food? Drink? Is there something you just need to help you relax?

What do you pour your money into? What possessions possess you? A specific vacation? A recreational vehicle? A home with a picket fence and two car garage? A car looked like freedom to me as a 16 year old. I quickly learned how a car can enslave. Cars require insurance, oil, gas, and maintenance. A new car required credit history and a car payment. Homes can enslave. They require a mortgage, insurance, maintenance, and utility bills. Even worse, HOA fees!

How about the slave-masters hidden in the heart? Codependency, the need to be needed. Does it drive you to relationships that further enslave you? Have you noticed your actions are merely the overflow of your heart? How about unhealthy sexual desires? The lust of the flesh for physical appeasement at the expense of others, or relationship, or obedience to God?

How about the praise of man? Do you need to be recognized? Are you easily offended? Do your emotions rise quickly when you feel someone has slighted you? Do you burst out in anger, have a short fuse, and is your skin paper-thin? 

Maybe I haven’t hit your particular nerve yet. Maybe you’re thinking— I have all that under control. I must be a pretty good person! What about pride? Are you enslaved to pride? Are you confident in your goodness? Do you feel you deserve the good things in life, and God owes you?

Maybe you’re asking, Bobby, why all these questions? 

Because—I don’t want you to hear this sermon like a pharisee! Pharisees aren’t always overly religious or devout; they can be fence-sitters, even rebellious mavericks who stand against organized religion, yet have all the entitlement of a Pharisee. When a Pharisee hears the gospel, they hear all the reasons they deserve to be saved, and the gospel has no affect on their soul. Jesus came not to save the Pharisee, but the sinner, and he saves and sanctifies them by grace.

What the gospel of John proclaims to us is this: at the fall of mankind, all of humanity had become sons and daughters of darkness. By nature, friends, we rebel against God. We are born with invisible chains, an expression of our need, but we are enslaved to desires that are contrary to God— this is called sin, and we are rightfully condemned. It is only by Jesus that we have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light.

The context of our passage today is this: Jesus was in the temple with his disciples after the Feast of Booths. There was a great crowd of Jews who had travelled to Jerusalem for the feast. Jesus has garnered a group of “believers,” but they weren’t disciples. They claimed to believe Jesus was the Messiah, but according to what we read, they didn’t accept Jesus’ word, his testimony about himself. Instead of letting them continue in ignorance, Jesus delineated between who would be his disciple and who would defect, between sons of God, and, as we read today, those who are not… 

As we go through the passage I want to detail the conversation and understand it in context. Also, I want to apply it to us as we go, so we don’t assume the position of a pharisee, but we read the passage as people who were once lost, children of darkness, who have been set free, and now are children of God.

We will look at the passage under the following headings:

Who Is Your Father?

How Do You Know?

How A Slave Becomes A Son

Would you stand with me in honor of God’s word, and let us read our passage today in the book of John. Open to chapter 8, beginning in verse 31.

John 8:31–47

[31] So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, [32] and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [33] 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’?”

[34] Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. [35] The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. [36] So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 

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[37] I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. [38] I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

[39] They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, [40] 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. [41] You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” 

[42] Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 

[43] Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. [44] You are of your father the devil, 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 no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 

[45] But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. [46] Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 

[47] Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” (ESV)

[Pray]

Who is your father? (37-39a)

[37] I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. [38] I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” [39] They answered him, “Abraham is our father.”

The Jews believed, as physical descendants of Abraham, they were righteous, for the kingdom of God was something one was born into. They were half correct. Which half? They claimed their own right standing before God was based on their physical lineage, through Abraham, the patriarch of Judaism. Abraham was the one to whom God appeared and promised descendants, land, and blessing. Surely, it was the offspring of Abraham that were children of God! In fact, God spoke of the nation of Israel as his son, and called them his chosen people! 

Yet Jesus denied this claim. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, and began hinting that their father was someone of an opposing origin. Can you imagine the look on their face when they were told that Abraham was not their father, but their father was the devil? They were not Abraham’s children, but more along the lines of … Darth Vader. 

Jesus was making a point. It is not by physical birth, but Spiritual birth that one becomes a child of God. It’s not by religious merit, but by the merit of Christ that one is saved. And to be saved, one must be part of the household of God. There is something supernatural that must happen in your heart, in your soul, to become a child of God. It is not received by physical birth, for as John the Baptist said, “God can raise up sons of Abraham from these stones,” (Matt 3:9). But, we know from Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, one must be born again, — born of the Spirit (Jhn 3:7-8). Lineage matters. But it is spiritual lineage that brings you into the household of God. This lineage is not earned, but given as God’s grace to those who believe in the only Son of God.

Please do not hear this like a modern day pharisee. Do not believe that because you have a mental ascent that Jesus was the Son of God, and you go to church, and you’re basically a good person, that you are of the household of faith! The demons believe Jesus was the Son of God, and they shuddered! The pharisees had kept the law. Yet, Jesus called them children of the devil! The message of the gospel is offensive. We are all born into sin, into the household of darkness, and slaves to sin. This is condition in which every person enters life, from conception (Psa 51:5). This is why Jesus proclaimed that only He can set one free. 

The question you should ask of yourself, the question you should have is this:How do you know? (39b-44)

How does one know they are children of God? What does Jesus say:

First, do you accept His truth as from God? Does his word find a place in you?

[37] I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. [38] I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

There’s a metaphor I heard recently. It was said of one mentor to a mentee: “One cannot pour into a cup that is already full.”  In other words, how is the disciple to learn if they think they already know? Do you let the words of Christ instruct you? Does his word find a place in you? Are you willing to believe that He speaks of what he has seen from His Father, and are you willing to admit that your own knowledge is corrupted, that you see with tainted glasses at best? And do you see how man-made wisdom is at odds with the wisdom of God?

Second, ones actions reveals one’s origin.

[39b]Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, [40] 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. [41] You are doing the works your father did.” 

Have you noticed, parents, that your children mirror your behavior? Though different in temperament, they take on the beliefs and mannerisms of their parents and project what they’ve learned, sometimes at the most inopportune times! In my children’s actions I see my own impatience, belief of self-importance, desire for my own way. I see what I’ve done and what I’ve not done has shaped them. Yes, they are sinners from conception, and I’ve helped shape their sin! Their actions reveal their origin. 

Jesus, in speaking with the Jews, laid the intent of their heart bare. They sought to kill the Son of God! If they were Abraham’s children, they would do the works of Abraham! The work of Abraham was to believe the word God had spoken to him! Gen 15:6 And [Abraham] believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. The righteousness of Abraham was his belief that God was true, and his word was truth! Jesus plainly tells them that he speaks of what he has seen from his Father, and they do not believe! They don’t accept that they were born in sin, slaves of sin, and must be set free.

They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” 

Their response was to argue against the truth! Do you argue against the truth? Is it hard to swallow that you need a Savior, someone outside yourself, to set you free? The Jews were still arguing as if their physical lineage were of some value in salvation. Do you do that? It used to be that being American was synonymous with Christianity. That’s not as true today as it was 20 years ago, yet many hold on to their flag as if it is the garment of their Savior. You are not saved because you are an American. You are not morally superior because you are an American. 

[42] Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 

How does one know they are born again? How does one know they are of God? They love Jesus, the Son whom he sent. There is affection for Jesus, one that forsakes the world, and sees Christ as the greatest treasure. They come to him, empty, ready to listen, receive, and learn. But friends, many would say they love Jesus and yet do not accept his word. This was the indictment against this crowd. Look back to verse 31: if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples… and verse 37: my word finds no place in you! The works of Abraham would believe the word of God!

Jesus speaks hard truths! When hard words are spoken, tough truths, will you be a disciple or a defector? Look at what he says to the Jews:

[43] Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 

The word of Christ, and his Gospel is an anvil which by one is crushed by, or a scalpel one is saved by. Jesus had hard words for those who didn’t accept his words, and he explained why:

[44] You are of your father the devil, 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 no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. [47] Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” (ESV)

How do you know? The proof pours out of your heart and into your actions. Do you hear the words of God? Do you let them do surgery on your soul? Or does his word crush you… Do you love Him more than all the worldly promises that enslave you?

So, I’ve asked you to assess — are you a child of God or a child of darkness? We’ve asked: Who is Your Father, and How do you know? 

Now we ask… how is a slave made a son?How A Slave Is Made A Son

At this point we have established that all are born into the kingdom of darkness. We are all spiritually dead upon birth, and a slave to prince of power of the air. But God did not leave us in our sin! That is the good news of the gospel! Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil! The spiritual slavery set upon mankind can be broken, but only by Jesus!

How does a slave become a son? Spiritual slavery is in the heart. It has to do with your desires, and what you love. This is why Jesus said, “If God were your father, you would love me…”  How does the gospel break the chains upon your soul? Our spiritual chains are expressions of our needs. Otherwise said, the sins that enslave us tell us about our spiritual makeup as a person. The gospel speaks and breaks every chain that binds us. When my heart becomes open to God, and I see the gospel for what it is…

Instead of looking to fill my senses on facebook or Instagram, youtube or CandyCrush, by the gospel, I know my senses can be filled in the presence of God. I don’t need trite pleasures because I can go to the greatest pleasure, and eat and drink from His word.

Instead of believing I am my provision for my life, and for my family, the gospel reminds me that God has the cattle on a thousand hill, that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, that He loves me, knows every need of mine, and delights to show his love and care for me in His provision. The Lord is my shepherd, and I shall not want.

Instead of making comfort and leisure my god, in the gospel I know that God is my comfort and my great pleasure. I put worldly comfort and leisure in their rightful place, under God as His gift.

Instead of being possessed by my possessions, the gospel tells me they belong to God, to be used by Him for the enjoyment of Him and the proclamation of His gospel. All of how I spend my money is an act of faith and worship, trusting God that he will use it for His namesake, even my HOA fees!

Instead of needing others to validate my worth in my need to be needed, in the gospel I find myself completely loved and valued by the God of the universe. This love has been given me because of His great spiritual and moral beauty. It’s completely derived from him, dependent on Him, and because he never changes, his love for me will never change. It is the most dependable, faithful love there is.

Instead of pursuing my physical lusts and covetousness of the heart, I find that intimacy with God is far more fulfilling. I can enjoy right relationship with others believing that godly relationships are better than walking in sin.

Instead of needing the praise and affirmation of man, needing recognition and respect from those around me, the gospel reminds me that I am affirmed as a child of God, that He sees what is done in secret, and rewards with His presence, and will one day recognize me before his heavenly hosts.

Instead of bursting with anger because I’m hurt, the gospel reminds me that the Son of God died for my sin, and died for the sin of believers who have sinned against me. He alone is judge, and will avenge. 

Instead of becoming prideful for my spiritual accomplishments, the gospel propels me to make much of Christ, and reminds me that even my faith is a gift from God, so that I would not boast. My sanctification is a result of Him working it to completion. I am not owed anything, but in Christ, I have everything— every spiritual blessing under the heavenlies. I deserve nothing, but receive all. It is tremendous gift… 

The gospel frees the slave and makes one a son of God. And all this is given by the Son of God, who loved me, and died for me…

A slave is made a son when in the heart they turn to Christ for in Him they’ve seen beauty and glory of God. It breaks chains, transforms, and sets free.

My prayer for Hope Fellowship: That we be a community of disciples so overwhelmed by the love of God that we become free from every other desire that has enslaved us. May we be a people who proclaim to the world that we were slaves, who have been made sons of God.

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