TEXT:  John 8:31-51
THEME:  True liberty from Satan and sin is obtained only through faith in Christ.
TITLE:  "A Matter of Bondage Or Liberty"

Selected Text
Reformation Sunday
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
November 3, 1996

 

INTRODUCTION

(Believe it or not, Martin Luther never taught a single new idea!  The great reformer of Wittenberg only rediscovered something very old.  It was something that reached back 1500 years from his day to the time of Christ and the apostles.  His was no philosophical system of thought, and no new scientific break through.  What Luther found was contained in the ancient Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Bible.  The Bible was a forbidden book to all, in those days, except a few doctors of the church of Rome.  because it was felt that only those scholars were able to interpret it to the common people.  What Luther rediscovered came as a direct result of years of inward struggle with what the Word of God said and the heavy burden of constant guilt over his personal sin.  Yet the Lord was working powerfully in his heart and finally, at long last, the shackles of that sin were shattered and the grace of God became immediately applicable to Luther.  Now, he simply wanted to share what he had discovered with others and so we find him nailing a short document to the church door at Wittenberg.  From that time on, the world was changed. Liberty from sin had been loosed again and became a movement whose echoes still rumble on the walls of history.  What Luther had rediscovered was the difference between spiritual bondage and spiritual liberty!  The text today speaks of that liberty and bondage.  The words of Christ are blunt.  Jesus tells the Jews who have come to discredit Him exactly who they are and where they are headed.  Jesus tells them

 

  1. THE BONDAGE OF UNBELIEF IS TOTAL BONDAGE.

    1. Those in spiritual bondage cannot know God.

      1. Many are totally unaware that they are in bondage to anything.

        1. The Jews thought that since they were citizens of Israel, that they were free from the curse of sin.

        2. Jesus redirects their attention:  Not politics, but spiritual bondage.

      2. Those in bondage cannot love Christ by any effort of their own.

        1. Instead they wanted Jesus dead and their true father was Satan.

        2. Today the killer is still on the loose:

          1. Major campus newspapers run atheistic ads.

          2. Some so-called "theologians" throw away the text and seek the "real meaning" ...They do not abide in His Word. (Jn. 15:5-6)

      3. Children will be children, always imitating their fathers.

    2. Those in spiritual bondage have chosen a path leading to eternal death.

      1. They have rejected the truth of Christ.

        1. The Jews insisted that Jesus tell them who He was, but He already had told them plainly. (Jn. 10:24-26)

        2. It seems that they couldn't take "Yes" for an answer.

      2. Jesus and His Word come as a unified package.

        1. If we love Him, we must love what He has said.

        2. If we claim to be of Christ, we must also be of His Word.

  2. THE LIBERTY OF CHRIST IS THE ONLY TRUE LIBERTY THERE IS.

    1. Jesus' claim to be the Savior is an exclusive claim that no one else fulfills.

      1. There is only one Savior promised from of old.

        1. Our world's attempts to make all religions seem the same is totally in vain.

        2. Only Christ can reveal the truth of God.

      2. Jesus is the only incarnation of God in the flesh, there is no other!

        1. He is the only worthy payment for our sin, there is no other!

        2. He is the only one risen from the dead, there is no other!

    2. Liberty in Christ is expressed by abiding in His Word.

      1. Those called to Christ are the true children of Abraham.

      2. The options are clear, either we serve Christ by faith, or we serve Satan by choice.

      3. The question is clear, "Who is OUR father?"  What do our actions show?

      4. Our faith cannot be reduced to knowledge only:

        1. First is the relationship that Christ establishes.

        2. Second is the Christian life that flows from faith reflecting His love, not Satan's selfishness. (Rom. 6:16-23)

    3. Liberty in Christ is the ultimate liberation.

      1. We are given freedom from the bonds of death.

        1. Yes, we still sin, but we are forgiven and we can choose not to sin!

        2. To continue to choose to sin is to obtain less of an earthly blessing in this life and finally endangers our faith.

      2. Our confidence is in Christ, not ourselves:

        1. God has applied faith and forgiveness in our baptism.

        2. Christ has given full victory in His resurrection over death.

      3. We are given freedom from the power of Satan and his accusations.

        1. Once Satan had every right to own us, but no more!

        2. Once we had not choice but to serve Satan, but no more!

      4. In Christ there is no longer a fear relationship with God!

        1. All schemes of human performance are banished.

        2. All the requirements for holiness have been met in Christ and given to us.

      5. In Christ we have received the liberating gift of eternal life!

        1. Death itself has lost its sting.

        2. The curse of Adam has been removed.

        3. Ours is a present and a future filled with the eternal joy as children of the heavenly Father's household!

 

CONCLUSION

 

            Yes, Luther has rediscovered something incredible.  It was indeed, nothing new.  Instead, it was the eternal love of God given us through Christ's life, death and resurrection.  Now He also gives us the ability to serve Him as imitators of Himself so that our lives may show forth the resplendent gifts that we have received.  May God grant that we imitate our Father so that many will see the eternal liberation  for them in their own lives too.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

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