Pastor Vince brought a powerful message on Sunday drawn from John 8. He focused on the liberating power of truth, and how we might achieve freedom through it.
He began with verse 12, in which Jesus proclaims Himself to be light. Light reveals, and darkness obscures, but more importantly light brings life. Coupled we can clearly see that light and truth (the only thing remaining when light reveals falsehood) gives us freedom from the darkness and its accompanying sin.
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (v 12).”
Jesus’ words receive an immediate response,
“The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid (v 13).”
When confronted with truth, they strike out with their own legalism. Are we not like that? If we don’t like what we hear, we either ignore it or we attack it. They did the same.
Jesus responds by noting that they are limited by their own tunnel vision, and that since they are in the darkness they fail to see what should be manifestly obvious,
“14 Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 16 But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. 17 In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. 18 I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”
Their lack of understanding then again manifested by their response,
19 Then they asked him, “Where is your father?”
Jesus made this claim of divine Son-ship publicly. Yet He was not accosted.
“You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 He spoke these words while teaching in the temple courts near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come.”
Pastor Vince made a terrific point that while we may fear or worry about the onslaughts of the world, that the world has no power over those called to God’s purpose. Our “hour” only comes in keeping with God’s greater plan, just as it was in His Son’s case. Timidity is not necessary. That is one of the Truths that can free us!
23 But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” 25 “Who are you?” they asked. “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. 26 “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.” 27 They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. . . . “
Some begin to see,
“31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”
To them this was the first indications of freedom,
“32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
But others remained in darkness!
What does transpire in the scripture is telling. When their lack of understanding, and metaphorical “darkness” is shown, they deflect the conversation from its course. They focus on their own assumptions, and on their own “special place.”
33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.” 39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father.”
Their assertion of “son-ship” was in the flesh. And their attitude was a form of slavery, a slavery they were denying! Jesus also notes, that their actions not only show they are not children of God, but they are not even good children of Abraham!
“42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
We need to seek the light. We need to dwell in truth. We need to step away from the fleshly views shared by the people Jesus was teaching.
Pastor Vince made another key point in regards to growing beyond the views of the flesh. The forcefully asserted link to Abraham used by the Jewish leaders offers us an opportunity to learn to open up to the bigger picture. Abram and Sarai were the original names of the Abraham and Sarah. Abram means “Exalted Father” and Sarai “My Princess.” What potentially self obsessive names! Abraham and Sarah needed a change in their world views. God therefore signaled this when her renamed them. Abraham means “Father of Many,” They needed to see beyond themselves, and look to the multitudes. Service rather than exaltation.
What greater truth about relationship, to God or man, is there. Serving self is a darkness. And Jesus the Light of the World, was the epitome of service and sacrifice. Truths such as these will set us free. And we will be free in deed.
Set free not just physically, but spiritually, mentally, and in all our being. Come into the light of truth today!
Pastor Vince’s message was accompanied by a great demonstration of moving from binding to freedom. There is so much more content shared in a single lesson, but I have tried to give at least some of this great messages key points some comment.