Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser
Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” People hear this and they become offended. Jesus’ talk of freedom annoyed the Jews. Look at the response of these Jews when Jesus said this. They claimed they had never been slaves to anyone. They got annoyed and answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” (John 8:33 NIV). This wasn’t true. These people said we’ve never been in bondage to anybody, what do you mean we need to continue in the word until we are set free? They were in bondage right then. The Romans were ruling over them. They were an oppressed nation, and yet they were proclaiming that they were free, and there was nothing wrong with them. Likewise, there’re some people that need to know that they need to do more than just believe in Jesus, they need to continue in the word until they become a disciple indeed, and then that’s what will make them free. You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free – People hear this and they are offended.
You might be reading this right now and you have a relationship with God. You have called out to God, and you know in your heart that there is a relationship between you and God, and yet you’re causing yourself and others great sorrow and grief because you still have those wrong attitudes of your past that you were raised with, attitudes that do not conform to the word of God. As a servant of God and preacher of the gospel of Christ, I have to say this, there are a lot of Christians who don’t let the Bible get in the way of what they believe. Of course, not everybody understands things correctly, and so there is some mercy and grace to give people because it’s only according to the knowledge you have that God holds you accountable. But if you have the proper knowledge, you can’t truthfully say that you have a relationship with God, and yet you wouldn’t do what He has said in his word or even care about it. If you have that attitude, and you were thinking properly, there’s no way that you can reject God’s word and still claim to have a relationship with Him.
People hear this and they’re offended but there’re a lot of people deceived today. They’re just like these people. They believed in the Lord, and yet he said, you aren’t my disciple until you continue in the word and the truth will set you free. When they got annoyed and spoke to him, 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” (John 8:34-36 NIV). Jesus was talking about another slavery. The kind of slavery Jesus was talking about was not physical slavery but slavery to sin. He said, ‘everyone who sins is a slave to sin’. Think about this, how can you call yourself free when your pleasures rule over you, when fear rules over you, when your emotions rule over you, when wrong attitudes and rebellious behaviours rule over you?
You may be saying you’re free, and yet you’re as depressed as the people that don’t know the Lord. You’re as poor as the people that don’t know the Lord. You are as bothered by the things that go on in our world: like the pandemic, economic downturn, wars and rumours of war. There’re Christians who are just as fearful as people who don’t know God and don’t have the promises of God that:
“You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked” (Psalm 91:5-8 NIV).
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
We have all of these promises, and yet there are Christians who are in bondage and are living in fear. There are Christians who are operating totally out of fear about their economies and about other issues. So, just like in Jesus’ day, he says, you have to continue in his word, and he is speaking to people who believe in Him. You have to continue until the word sets you free. The truth that you know sets you free. There’re people who are offended and thinking, I’m not in bondage to anything, and yet you’re in bondage to everything. You’re fearful, you’re worried, you’re careful about everything, you have no peace. Jesus is telling you and me that if we believe in the word of God and continue in it, it will set us free in these areas. If you aren’t free in those areas, you haven’t believed in the word of God, you haven’t believed the truth, and you haven’t continued in His word. I pray that you will believe in His word and continue in it so you will be free indeed.
Truth gives us the courage to do whatever we need to do. It motivates us and that’s why when you and I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and he’s the only way of salvation, it gives us courage to state that clearly to people without being afraid. We’re being truthful, but many Christians today compromise what they believe for fear of rejection. In 2 Timothy 2:14-26, Paul reflected on the importance of truth for the Christian. Jesus embodies the truth; He is the truth. Thus, to believe in Christ is to be firmly fixed on knowing the truth, sticking with it, living out the truth, and teaching it. This is what Paul meant when he said in Gal. 2:16 that, have I become an enemy to you because I have preached the truth to you? Am I now your enemy, just because I told you the truth? ‘Do you hate me because I tell you the truth’? I think many pastors face that very thing. They will not tell the truth; they will compromise what they truly believe because they don’t want their congregation to not like them. But you must make a decision in life on whether to please God or people. Once you settle that issue then it’s over. If people like you fine. If they don’t like you that’s not your issue, it’s their issue and so it’s important to be truthful. When you say I’m committed to the truth of the gospel, whatever that means, you’ll make enemies from some people, and you’ll make people who love you forever because you tell them the truth. I pray that you will have the courage to share the truth.