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The Truth Will Set You Free

The Truth Will Set You Free (Sermon)

Scripture: John 8:42-47 (NLT)

42 Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. 43 Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! 44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! 46 Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”



This passage is about Jesus and the Jewish leaders, the Pharisees, going toe-to-toe on who’s right and who’s wrong; who speaks the truth and who lies; who hears and who is deaf, and who’s your Father?  The Book of John is the fourth of the synoptic gospels and is thought to have been the last one written and is a book of eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ miracles and many sermons.  The author, who never references themselves one time in the book, is believed to have been John the Baptist.[1]

The Book of John is the only gospel that begins with, “in the beginning,” as he connects his story of Jesus with the story of Genesis (Genesis 1:1).  The majority of John’s gospel is a recount of Jesus’ miracles and focuses on the person of Christ, as well as the works of Christ.  He looks at the issues of Jesus as both God and human, and how He preexisted before His fleshly arrival.  He also looks at the works of Christ and what Jesus came to do and what He accomplished throughout His lifetime.


The author makes a direct link between the nature of God and the nature of the Word, which he refers Jesus to.  The Book of John is the only book that portrays Jesus as the Son of God, while the other three gospels portray Him as a King, a Servant, and the Son of Man.  The author wrote so that his readers might “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”

You must listen for God and believe with faith what you sometimes cannot understand.  You need to recognize God the Father and His language and ask yourself from whom do I hear?  Who am I listening too?  So, the questions today are do you know God, do you hear God, and do you trust God?

Do You Know God?  What does it mean to know God?  How do you come to know God?  It is simple, through Jesus.  We aren’t capable of knowing God without Christ.  So, what does that mean?  It means you wanna get on this ride, you must be this tall.  You wanna know, understand and have a relationship with God, you better recognize Jesus as your savior.  A relationship with God is to be sought through Christ.  It is through a relationship with Christ that we are able to recognize God, His voice, His, way, and His Word.  Faith, and its belief in it, controls our actions.  The lack of faith is the lack of trust.  John writes, “36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”

One description of faith is, “complete trust of confidence in something or someone.”[2]  The major role in knowing God, or having a relationship with Him, is believing.  It’s easy to get really close to God when your life looks like all hell is about to break loose.  It’s easy to start praying and fasting, and singing, and shouting but does that mean you know God, or that you have a relationship with Him.  What does it mean to know God?  How can you know God if you don’t know yourself? 


When I was young I thought I knew everything.  You remember when you were younger, and you thought you knew it all; that you had everything figured out.  You knew where you were going to go to school, who you were going to marry, how many kids you were going to have, and then you grow up and you realize you’re not interested in that career anymore, or that man or woman you used to be attracted to isn’t your type anymore, or you decide to hold off on kids because you want to focus on your career.  The truth is you didn’t know nothing then, and some of you still don’t know nothing now.  Things change right?  Sometimes everything you think is just that…a thought.  Some of ya’ll are walking around here and think you know God, but still walking in the dark after years and years of being in church.  You think because you come to church and sing on the choir or are on the missionary board that you know God, but those titles don’t give you a membership card to God’s house.  You’ve got to be in a place where you realize you don’t know nothing.  That’s when you will surrender, and that’s when you will be open to receive and come into relationship with God.  Faith and belief as small as a mustard seed will move mountains. (Luke 17:6)

Let’s look at Job and all of what he went through.  That man suffered.  He lost everything.  His kids, his money, his health.  His wife and friends were sick of him.  His wife told him to curse God and die!  His friends couldn’t understand why he believed that God would turn his situation around because they didn’t know Him like Job knew Him.  They weren’t able to hear God the way Job could hear him.  In verse 45, Jesus tells the Pharisee’s, I tell the truth, but you do not believe me.  Then he tells them; because you don’t believe, you don’t belong.  The bible says, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17).  If you believe in God, have an open heart for others and can be quite long enough to listen for His word, you will find that God has your best interest in hand.  He tells us to believe in his word, believe in his promise, believe in his blessings, believe in his grace, and believe in his faithfulness towards us!  The only thing you need to know for certain is God is real!

Jesus tells the Pharisees, “If God were your Father, you would love me...”  It is impossible to love the Father and not the Son, for they are one in the same.  In order to recognize the voice of God and hear from Him, your faith has to be established in His word.  So how do you come to know Gods word?  Proverbs 3:6-7 says, “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.  Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.  Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.”  This leads me to my next point.

Do you hear God?  Jesus was a teacher and spoke with authority and deep understanding of Jewish scripture which upset the Jewish leaders (John 7:15). They thought Jesus was arrogant because ultimately, they feared him and were intimidated by what they unknowingly couldn’t see. His anointing!  You see, at age twelve when he was old enough to travel to the Passover festival, Jesus spent 3 days in the temple amongst the Jewish teachers and scribes.  He needed to be in His Father’s house.   Jesus isn’t difficult to hear.  He is blunt and blatant when he speaks, he doesn’t sugar coat anything and he keeps it real. There are people like that in today’s world. Honest and straightforward, and people avoid them because they don’t like the truth, don’t want to hear it. Their uncomfortable because their spirit isn’t right. Are you living in your five senses, or do you actually, sincerely have a relationship with God in spirit? God is a spirit, so to know him you must know Him in spirit. Will you hear, and resist like the Pharisees did, ignoring the truth because it doesn’t fit inside your belief box?  So, you just turn the other cheek and justify things that you want or chose to tolerate and judge anything that lives outside of your prefabricated little boxes.  What do you do when you hear God saying something to you that you don’t want to hear?  Do you play deaf, or just ignore the voice of God all together?

Jesus was claiming to be the Son of God, he clearly tells the Pharisees, “I have not come on my own; God sent me,” yet they could not hear him.  His words were falling on deaf ears.  They tuned him out before he even spoke a word, they decided before he uttered one word that they didn’t like him, they weren’t going to believe him, they were never going to follow him, and eventually they killed him!  How many of you have killed relationships because you didn’t want to listen?  How many people have you turned away, or don’t deal with because they are different then you; maybe they’re not a Christian or maybe they are gay, or maybe their atheist…how many of you have turned away a relationship because you already decided you didn’t like people who weren’t Christians, you don’t agree with the gay lifestyle, or you don’t need to talk to an atheist. Do you throw people away? Jesus didn’t! He didn’t throw you away when you weren’t listening. He stood by you. He never left you and he’s with you now! How many of you are being and acting like the Pharisee’s?  Not listening.  Jesus said two things, “Love thy God with all thy heart and soul and love thy neighbor as you love yourself.” (Mark 12:30).  So, the question is how many of us understand what that means?  How many of you love your neighbor, or do you judge your neighbor and disregard them?

If you want to grow in a relationship with God you’ve got to first hear him and accept what you hear even if it goes against what “you” think.  Whatever God has to say we should commit to putting His guidance into action and fulfilling His purposes, even when doing so may be difficult?  Ask God to open your heart so you can hear and respond faithfully to what He wants to tell you.

John says, in the book of Revelations 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”  You don’t want to miss out and not answer the door when God knocks.  You’ve got to have faith and trust God’s word for your life, which brings me to my last point.

Do you trust God?  Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”   It’s impossible to trust someone you do not know, so the secret of learning to trust God is by getting into relationship with him, into accordance with his word.  The bible gives us tons of examples of times when the Jews trusted in God.  They had a choice, to either trust Him or not, and most of the time they trusted Him and when they were faithful to Him he saved them; freed them and was always with them.  Trusting and having faith or two different things.  Faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9).  To trust is to be confident, secure.  Trusting is what you do because of the faith you have been given. Trusting is believing in the promises of God in all circumstances, even when it is difficult to see. The result of faith is trust, which we show by living out our full acceptance of God’s promises on a daily basis.  Hebrews 11 talks about faith accepting and believing the truth that God reveals about Himself.  You’ve got to trust God, not things.

            Years ago, I was faced with breast cancer.  I went for a normal mammogram and a week later I received a call that I had a lump in my right breast.  I didn’t tell my mother because she had breast cancer just a few years prior, and I didn’t want to worry her until I knew for certain.  When my results came back positive I can remember crying onetime, and that was when I thought about my child.  After that one time I straightened up and decided that trusting would be a lot more productive than worrying about something I can’t control anyway. Amen! I knew in my heart that God was not done with me yet, so I just leaned really hard on Gods words.  I talked to myself and told myself, “All things work together for the good of God.” (Romans 8:28).  I stayed prayed up until I heard God tell me, “I’m not done with you yet!”  That was all I needed to hear.  I actually told my doctor what the devil thought was going to take me out God is about to turn it around for His glory!  I got excited because I KNOW God.  I heard him when He spoke to me.  The devil tried to discourage me, but my faith was too strong.  You know people don’t really know what to say to you when you tell them you have cancer right; I found myself cheering people around me up.  I was encouraging them with my faith walk.

Throughout the book of John, Jesus is healing many people and although the Pharisees know of all of the miracles he has performed they still are arguing with him, with God!  They were deaf.  Deaf to the word, deaf to the message, deaf to the miracles, deaf to the relationship, completely in denial.  Trust is developed when your faith is exercised.  Faith is like a muscle in order for it to be strong it has to be activated, worked, exercised.  I had faith that I was already healed, Hebrews 11 says, “now faith.”  You’ve got to believe now that you are healed.  You must trust God with everything you’ve got now.  That’s what I did, and I stand here before you today.  When you hear God’s word you must trust He is working on your behalf.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5)

For readers of John’s gospel, the question is simple, though significant: Do you believe that Jesus is Lord?  In the text Jesus is telling the Pharisees their listening to the wrong voice, the wrong people, following the wrong Father.  He is confused of their inability to understand what he was saying yet they claim to know scripture.   Some of you have what’s called selective memory.  When it fits in your box; you somehow make logic out of it, but when the corners are not quiet fitting you discard, disregard, condemn, neglect, or simply ignore it, or them only preventing yourself from having a full relationship with God.  Some of you are not believing God to do what he said.  It’s because you’re not listening; you can’t hear him telling you, be patient, be still, be quiet, and let me take care of you.  If you keep talking; talking over him, keep telling him what you want and what you need and what things are going to be; you will be like the Pharisee’s, stuck and following the wrong voice.  At the end of the Book of Job, God digs in on Job and ask him, where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth, or when I created the boundaries of the sea?  Or, have you ever commanded the morning to appear (Job 38).  Basically, if you know me, then you have heard me.  If you have heard me then you should trust me.  If you hear me, and trust me, then you must believe.

Jesus didn’t come from a fancy family.  He wasn’t a fancy man.  The bible says he was a carpenter.  He worked with his hands.  He created, crafted, design and built things, just like God created, crafted, designed and build every one of us.  Jesus was trying to help these folks understand that they were hearing the wrong voice.  They were worshiping to the wrong Father.  They claimed to know their Father but the hatred in their hearts and the judgment they placed on him was not of God the Father.  Jesus tells them you don’t even speak my language!  The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.  And, so you are prone to lies and bearing false witness to anything that doesn’t fit into your box.

If we listen to God we align with Gods word, and with his purpose for our lives.  When we are in touch, we are in tune, when we are in tune we are in harmony.  John said whoever knows God listens, but whoever doesn’t know God, doesn’t listen.  He says, this is how we recognize the difference between the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.  If you hear God like Abraham and Moses, and trust God like Joshua and David, and believe in God like John and Paul, then you will have eternal life through Christ and there will be no voice to separate you from the voice of God and His voice will forever set you free. Amen!

Written by Minister Taborah Adams


[1] Klink, Edward W. John: Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016.

[2] "Faith | Definition of Faith in English by Oxford Dictionaries." Oxford Dictionaries | English. Accessed May 02, 2018.


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