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The Best Way & Worst Way to Live - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
July 16, 2023 6:00 am

The Best Way & Worst Way to Live - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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July 16, 2023 6:00 am

Everyone has an opinion on what "The Good Life" is. For some, it's financial independence. For others, it’s autonomy from government control. For still others, it’s the ability to do whatever you want whenever you feel like it. Jesus offers a different kind of freedom and a better brand of life. Here Jesus tells us what the best way to live really is: It’s the freedom to be a genuine disciple. And He tells us what the worst way to live really is: It’s the slavery of a sinful lifestyle. Today consider how free you really are and what areas of life you may still be in bondage to.

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Let there be a little self-examination. Are you an authentic, true believer? Like Morris says here, a far-reaching allegiance of real trust in Him.

That's the first step. Abraham Lincoln was called the great emancipated. Jesus Christ is the greatest emancipated.

Welcome to Connect with Skip weekend edition. The common belief is that when we are free, we can do anything we like and no one can say anything about it. It's the ability to live life on our terms. However, true freedom isn't about self. As Nelson Mandela once said, to be free is not to merely cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. Even Paul, when he talked about the freedom of the believer, put everything in the context of how our freedom impacts those around us. So when we choose to live life that way, in that type of true freedom, that's when we'll discover one of the best ways to live.

But before Skip Heitzig begins, here's a reminder from the Connect with Skip Resource Center this month. Freedom is precious and in human history not common in governance. America was built on the cornerstone that man is endowed by his Creator with rights that cannot be taken away. Our government was formed to secure existing rights, not provide them. But there is a higher, permanent liberty, the freedom from sin. If you want to fix a society, they need truth.

If you want to fix a broken political system, you need to infuse it with truth and expose ourselves to the truth of the Word of God. True freedom is ours, but we need to understand the terms. That's what you'll find in our freedom package of resources by Skip Heitzig. The package features Skip's 10 full-length message set of your path to freedom messages, including Securing the Foundations and Jesus in the Age of Confusion. The freedom package is our thanks for your gift of $50 or more to support Connect with Skip Heitzig.

So request your freedom package today when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Turn in your Bibles to John chapter 8, where we'll begin in verse 31. And as you do so, Skip Heitzig gets our study started. In the movie Braveheart, the hero is William Wallace. William Wallace is rebelling against the rule of England, something we as Americans can relate to historically. The arch enemy of William Wallace is the King of England, nicknamed Longshanks because of his stature.

It was Edward I, if memory serves. They became bitter rivals, arch enemies. Edward I was a cruel, horrible man who wanted nothing more than to capture William Wallace.

As the movie progresses, so does their hatred toward one another. At one point in the film, when William Wallace gathering all of his troops together for one of several battles in the film, he addresses his men. And he says to them something like, if you fight, you may die. If you run, you will live, for a while that is. But let's let our enemies know that they may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom.

Pardon the accent, I give it my best shot. At any rate, as the movie goes on, as the movie goes on, William Wallace is captured. He's betrayed by a friend, captured, brought before a mock court in England, big court, outdoor court of people, and an executioner who's going to kill him. As he's brought through the crowd, they mock him, they kick him, they spit on him, and the executioner looks him in the eye and he says, if you beg for mercy, I'll make a quick end of you. If you don't, it'll be a long, tortuous death. Above the court in his room is Longshanks, Edward I, King of England, on his deathbed, window open, wanting to hear the last word before he dies of William Wallace begging for mercy.

Wallace didn't do that. When the crowd dies down so they can hear his confession, he doesn't give a confession, he musters up just enough strength to shout out one word, freedom, and that's the word Longshanks hears before he dies. Freedom is a powerful word.

It's an even more powerful reality. Nations have gone to war for freedom. Our nation was built upon freedom. July 4th, 1776, you know it well, 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence, and among other things they said, we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.

Among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We've always believed that that's the best way to live. We believe that the best way to live is freedom to do whatever we want whenever we want to do it. But here's the tragedy, and it's a sad one. We live in a country filled with people that enjoy political freedom, while at the same time they're spiritually enslaved.

They don't really enjoy true freedom. The best way and the worst way to live. What's the best way? You know, I was walking through a store the other day and ended up in line. I was buying a few groceries, and whenever I'm in line, I always look at the magazines that are next to me.

I just look at them. I glance at what the headlines are, and one caught my attention. There was an article that said, three ways to total fulfillment. I knew that magazine would sell.

That's what people want. Everybody has some idea of what would bring them total fulfillment, absolute happiness. If I only had this much money, if I only owned that thing, if I was only married to that person, if I was only not married to that person, whatever it might be. There was an Englishman who said, true happiness is when you come home and find your slippers warmed by the fire. A Frenchman overheard him and said, you English are so unromantic. True happiness is dinner with your beautiful wife in a fine restaurant. A Russian was overhearing them speak, and he said, you're both wrong. True happiness is when you are in bed at night, and you get a knock on the door at two in the morning, and it's the secret police, and they say, Ivan Ivanovich, you're under arrest.

And you say to them, oh, sorry, Ivan Ivanovich lives next door. It's all a matter of perspective. It's all a matter of perspective. Speaking of perspective, that's what Jesus gives us in this paragraph.

Divine perspective. What is the best way and what is the worst way to live? We begin with the best way in verse 31.

And on down, I'll sum it up for you. The best way to live your life is in freedom of genuine discipleship. We stated another way.

If you're truly an authentic pursuer of the Lord Jesus Christ, that's the best way to live. I believe that with all my heart. Now, there's a few stages to that.

I want you to notice them. Gratefully, the scripture has them here laid out for us, and they're in your outline. Believing is the first. Believing in Christ. First stage to freedom. Second, continuing in his word. You'll get freer and freer.

You'll get freer and freer. And finally, knowing the truth. All of those form the freedom of genuine discipleship. I'd like you to notice it says in verse 30. Let's go back one verse. As he spoke these words, many believed in him. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed him.

Stop there. We have a bit of a problem because Jesus is addressing believers. They believed him, it says. And I say it's a problem because Jesus says, you're trying to kill me. That's in our paragraph.

You're trying to kill me. Now, what believer would want to kill Jesus? What kind of a believer is that? Moreover, as the conversation continues, our Lord will say to the same group, you are of your father, the devil.

We'll save that for next week. What kind of a believer is that? And so that's why I say we have a problem. And now you could solve the problem by saying verse 30 and 31 says a bunch of people believed him, but it was shallow, superficial faith. There's another way to look at it. We're dealing with two separate groups in two separate verses. Verse 30 is one group. Verse 31 is yet another group.

I want you to notice something in verse 30. It says as he spoke these words, many believed in him. They believed in him or King James on him.

They lean completely on him. That's genuine belief. John chapter one, verse 12, as many as believed or received him to them, he gave the power to become children of God. As many as believe in his name. But notice the next verse doesn't say they believed in him.

It says, Jesus said to those Jews who believed him, in isn't there. Those Jews who believed him. In other words, they only accepted his message.

What he said. They liked what they heard, but it wasn't saving faith. They went, hmm, that's good. I think I might believe that.

Leon Morris has a helpful note in his commentary. The section is addressed to those who believe, and yet who do not believe. They were inclined to think that what Jesus said was true, but they were not prepared to yield him the far reaching allegiance that real trust implies. The first step to freedom is believing Christ, but not all belief, not all faith is saving faith.

Would you agree with that? Not all faith is saving faith. Didn't James say that? The devils believe and they tremble. And do you remember a few weeks, few months back in John chapter two, remember it said in John chapter two, many believed him when they saw the signs that he performed, but Jesus would not commit himself to them. In other words, they believed him. He didn't believe them. They were false believers. Also, Jesus describes this kind in a parable when he said, these are those on rocky soil. They receive the word with joy, but they have no root.

They believe for a while, but in time of temptation, they fall away. No wonder Paul told his readers, test yourselves and see whether you are in the faith. Examine yourself.

Do that this morning. Let there be a little self-examination. Are you an authentic, true believer? Like Morris says here, a far reaching allegiance of real trust in him. That's the first step. Abraham Lincoln was called the great American Lincoln was called the great emancipator. Jesus Christ is the greatest emancipator. The way he sets people free is their initial point of contact, believing him, leaning completely on him. That's the first step.

The second step is continuing. Notice in verse 31, Jesus said to those Jews who believe him, if you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. Now there's something you're going to discover about John. John loves that word abide.

He peppers it all through his writings. Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John. In fact, the whole New Testament uses the word abide 34 times.

John takes 31 of those, leaving three for everybody else. He loves the word abide. Now Jesus said this, what does it mean?

It simply means to remain in or to continue on in something. Now what Jesus said is if you do that, if you are continuing on remaining in my word, notice what he says you will be. You are my disciples indeed. It's an old way of saying you will for sure, for real, be my disciples. Authentically, you will be real, authentic disciples.

So here's the point. Real disciples are people committed to continuing on in the truth. So the first step to freedom, believing. You make initial contact, but you can't stop there. You don't stop with a raised hand. You can't stop with tears rolling down the eyes. You can't stop with people coming forward and saying a prayer and go, yay, that's just the beginning. You don't stop there. You now continue. It's what Eugene Peterson calls a long obedience in the same direction. Isn't that a great phrase?

A long obedience in the same direction. As soon as I received Jesus Christ, I've told you the story a bunch of times. I was watching Billy Graham. At the end of the message, he always said this. He said it to the crowd that came forward. He said it to the audience on television, and make sure that you go to church this Sunday.

You know what? He didn't even need to tell me that because I wanted to go. I was so amped at that point on learning more than I knew. I wanted to grow. From that point on, I wasn't like had enough.

I wanted more. I was just getting started on a long obedience in the same direction. By the way, you know what disciple literally means? Learner. Learner.

Mafetes is the Greek word. It means learner. Question. Does that describe you? Are you in learning mode? Are you in learning mode? Is your life still wide open and it's like, tell me more. I want to grow.

I want to learn. Or are you the type that as you sort of narrowed that embrace down, I'm mature now. You can't tell me anything.

Well, that's a shame. Because real learners is what Jesus is talking about. Authentic disciples are those who continue on and remain in the mode of learning.

Ask yourself a couple questions. How often do you read the Bible personally? Not at church. Personally. Where you crack it open and you read through it.

Second question. How often do you meditate on it? Where you'll not just read it, you'll actually take a little chunk, break it apart, ask what it means. How is that related to the next and to the previous and how does that apply to my life?

Where you're actually chewing on a little section, meditating on it. Do you own a Bible? Your own copy of the Bible that you read, that you write in, that you mark up on. All of those are important things in continuing. Here's the third step. Knowing. Believing. Continuing. Knowing.

This is where you don't just continue and learn stuff. Now you have deep convictions formed that are guiding principles in your life. Verse 32. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.

Do you realize how foreign that sounds in this postmodern era? In our day and age, any search for absolute truth has been abandoned. In fact, postmodernists are absolutely certain that nothing is absolutely certain. It's about all they're certain of. I'm absolutely certain that nothing is absolutely certain. And that's why the highest virtue of any person living today, the highest, you'll get straight A's, the world will give you a clean report card if you say, my highest thing in life is tolerance. I tolerate every ideology and every thought, whatever, you'll get straight A's if that's your posture.

If you want to flunk their evaluation of you, just say this, I know the truth. I know the absolute truth. So narrow.

Such a shame. So pitiful that you're that ignorant as to say, I know the truth. But Jesus said, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Now I'd like to just say that's the thinking of the world, but it's crept into the church. Newsweek magazine put out an article that said 85% of American Christians believe there are other ways to heaven other than Christ.

85%. Oh, I'm a Christian, but that's just for me. Jesus is my way. It might not be their way or your way. There's a lot of ways. There's one way. Jesus himself did not say, I am a way. I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life. No one comes to the father except through me.

He himself narrows it down. Verse 32 is one of the most famous verses in scripture. Did you know that on the seals of great universities and colleges, this verse is often inscribed on many of them. Sometimes the whole verse, sometimes just the section, the truth will set you free. And you know what they mean by it? What they mean by quoting this verse is that academic knowledge is the freeing of the world, academic knowledge is the freeing journey in life. Learn stuff, get degrees, truth will set you free.

Now I'm frankly surprised that they would dare to put that in their seal because they ought to know better. Every college professor should know that you can't take a text out of its context. In fact, there's a little saying, I may have learned it in college, any text divorced from it can become a pretext, which is a false premise. Jesus is not speaking about academic knowledge or acquiring facts. He's speaking specifically of the knowledge about himself, knowledge about Christ. That's what's liberating.

How do I know that? Well, compare two verses that are complimentary. Verse 32, you will know the truth and the truth will make you free. Compare that with verse 36. Therefore, if the son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. Get that?

It's not about acquiring academic information. The context, he's talking about spiritual liberation, liberation. That's what he's talking about.

And it comes through him. By the way, here's a good moment to pause and again, compare the difference between religion and Jesus. I came out of religion. It was very restrictive, very legalistic. I was always about the rules.

Then I stepped into Christ and the first thing that struck me is, man, this is liberating. It's about a relationship with him, not about a legalistic set of laws. Here's how it works. Here's how it works. You first put your faith in him. You believe in him.

You trust in him. As soon as you do that, you are instantly freed from the penalty of sin instantly. But then you stick with it. You remain in it.

You continue on with it. So how do we find true freedom in life? Through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

That may not be the most obvious answer, but it's really the only true answer. Now, if you haven't discovered that for yourself, we'd love to tell you more about how Jesus brings true freedom into our lives. Just give us a call, won't you?

At 1-800-922-1888. Here's a unique opportunity to grow in your knowledge of the Lord. If you're ready to study God's word beyond going to church and personal Bible study, you're ready for Calvary College.

Take your learning and your life's purpose to the next level with an education in biblical studies. Registration for the 2023 fall term is open right now. All classes take place online. Courses like Old Testament Survey and New Testament Survey, Acts, Romans in Revelation, plus Theological Studies in the Doctrine of Man, Sin and Salvation. Calvary College partners with Veritas International University and Calvary Chapel University, where you can earn an accredited undergraduate or graduate degree, or simply increase your knowledge of God and his word. Registration for Calvary College online classes is in full swing, but registration ends August 5th. Don't miss out. Head to calvarychurchcollege.com and click on apply.

Fill out the form, pay the registration fee, and start selecting classes to join us online this fall. God uses the generosity of friends like you to impact so many lives around the world. Listeners like Tammy, who wrote in to say, thanks for all you do in teaching the truth and bringing people to know our Lord. I want to invite you to impact more lives with a gift today. Your support will help reach more people in major US cities and connect them to the life saving message of Jesus Christ. You can give a gift today at connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate or call 800-922-1888. Again, that's 800-922-1888. We'll continue to explore the best and worst ways to live in our next study, so I hope you can make some time to join us right here in Connect with Skip weekend edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-16 04:10:12 / 2023-07-16 04:18:44 / 9

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