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The Best Way & Worst Way to Live - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
July 23, 2023 6:00 am

The Best Way & Worst Way to Live - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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July 23, 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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Whatever level you're at right now as a Christian, you've got to know there are more levels to go to. There's higher growth to go to. There's more freedom you experience.

There's more things to know. Welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. I don't know if you've ever had a chance to travel outside of the United States, but the living conditions of some people in other nations is truly shocking. Some live without any running water or any sanitary way to take care of sewage. Some live in one-room huts with dirt floors and walls built out of garbage.

Some actually live in garbage dumps. Yet even the worst living conditions on earth can't compete with the absolute worst way for any human soul to exist. We'll find out what that is today in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, and Skip Heitzig will actually reveal to us the best way to live.

But before we get started... Thank you for joining us today. Connect with Skip Heitzig exists to connect listeners like you to God's truth, strengthening your walk with Him and bringing more people into His family. That's why we make these teachings available to you and so many others on air and online.

If today's teaching has helped you connect more closely with Jesus, please consider giving a gift to encourage others in the same way. Just call 800-922-1888. That's 800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate.

That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Thank you. Turn once again to John chapter 8, and as you find that spot in your Bibles, we'll catch up with Skip Heitzig for more of this study. 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, said it to the audience on television, and make sure that you go to church this Sunday.

And 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?

Are you 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, 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. Hmm, 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 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 its context 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.

It'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 and you learn and as you learn, you learn about God. You learn about humanity. You learn about yourself. You learn about marriage. You learn about how to do business and the more you learn and continue in it, then you come to know certain things.

Deep-seated, unshakable convictions are formed in the heart. These guiding life principles and you find yourself free from the power, the grip of sin, not just the penalty, the power, the grip and there are more levels and more levels. Listen, I'll tell you right now, whatever level you're at right now as a Christian, you've got to know there are more levels to go to. There's higher growth to go to.

There's more freedom you experience. There's more things to know. So as we continue in his Word, we do that. It happened to me the first or second week I was a Christian.

I'll never forget it. I'm two weeks old in the Lord. I'm reading a New Testament.

There are lots of habits and practices from my old life that I hadn't gotten rid of because I frankly didn't think I had to. And then I started reading the book. When I read the book, I went, wow, uh-oh, hmm. And I knew instantly that there were things I needed to stop that weren't pleasing to God. So true, authentic disciples are those who continue to learn and they form those life principle convictions. It's called knowing and we step into more and more freedom. We are people of the book.

We are word oriented. Jesus quoting Deuteronomy said, man shall not live by bread alone, but every word of God. Paul said in Colossians, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Those are not verses given to preachers, but to disciples, learners. That's how we know the truth. We abide. So that is the best way to live.

Being an authentic disciple of Christ, you believe in Him, you remain in Him, you learn and you know. And with that knowledge of Christ comes the ability to be freer and freer and freer. That's the best way to live.

Let's now look at the worst way to live. It's in the slavery of a sinful lifestyle. Verse 33, they answered Him.

We are Abraham's descendants. We have never been in bondage to anyone. Just keep that little statement in your mind.

We've never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say you will be made free? Jesus answered them most assuredly. Every time He says that, it's like heavy duty.

Okay. Verily, verily is the King James way of translating it. Originally, it's Amen, Amen. I say to you, whenever Jesus said that, it's like, dudes, listen up.

This is really important. So most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.

Therefore, if the son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. Now our country, United States, we know something about slavery. It's one of the blotches on our historical record. We look back at the time when 12 million slaves were brought out of Africa, and we took 650,000 of them into our country.

That's a blot on our record. And because of that, we have learned to hate slavery, rightfully so, and to love freedom, rightfully so. But the Jews also knew something about slavery, but here was the difference. They themselves had been the slaves. They had been in bondage their entire history.

Let me name a few. They were slaves in Egypt. They were slaves in Babylon. They were enslaved by Assyria. They were enslaved by Medo-Persia, later Greco-Macedonia, later the Seleucid or the Syrian Empire. And presently, the very time this conversation is going on, Rome was their slave master. They were under the bondage and yoke of Rome. So where did they come off then saying, we've never been in bondage to any man?

When weren't you in bondage to any man? This is classic denial. You ever spoken to an alcoholic and you try to intervene and they will say, I can stop anytime I want.

I'm not an alcoholic. Classic denial. What do they mean when they say this?

They simply mean this. We may have been in political bondage. We've never been in spiritual bondage.

Why? Because we're descendants of Abraham. We're the chosen race. We're the Jewish people. And because we're the Jewish people, we're automatically children of God.

That's what they thought. Because we're automatically children of God by being descendants of Abraham, we're going to heaven because of our heritage. The rabbis taught them that. Rabbi Akiba said, even the poor could be proud that they were sons of the kings because they were sons of the patriarchs.

We have Abraham as our father. We've never been a slave to anyone. Now Jesus answers that and says to them this, listen, the worst form of slavery isn't being in Egypt for 400 years, isn't being in Babylon for 70 years. The worst form of slavery is when sin has a grip on your life and you can't get out of it. You're enslaved to the principle of sin.

It's the worst way to live. You see, a slave is not his own master. He's owned and controlled by someone else. He can't quit.

He can't say, I don't like you. I quit. Can't do that.

No option. Unable to free himself, gripped by the power of slavery as it was in those days. Sin is like that. It's just like that. Criminologists have discovered this. It's interesting.

The more I read, criminologists who study criminal behavior will tell you that many who are paroled or pardoned, many of them will go right back to the crimes that got them in trouble to begin with. It's become such a gripping lifestyle. It's unshakable.

Always going back to the mire. One of the best illustrations I heard about the power of sin is from radio personality Paul Harvey. Remember Paul Harvey? The rest of the story. You remember that.

Some of you do. He had a great illustration about how an Eskimo kills a wolf. Here's his words. First, the Eskimo coats his knife blade with animal blood and allows it to freeze. Then he adds another layer of blood and then another, until the blade is completely concealed by frozen blood. Next, the hunter fixes his knife in the ground with the blade up. When a wolf follows his sensitive nose to the source of the scent and he discovers the bait, he licks it, tasting the fresh frozen blood. He begins to lick faster, more and more vigorously, lapping the blade until the keen edge is bare. Feverishly now, harder and harder, the wolf licks the blade into the arctic night. So great becomes his craving for blood that the wolf doesn't notice the razor sharp sting of the naked blade on his own tongue or that his thirst is being satisfied by his own warm blood.

His carnivorous appetite just craves more and more until the dawn finds him dead in the snow. Sin is just like that. It tastes good. Doesn't the Bible say it tastes good? It's pleasurable for a season.

There's an allure to it. But it reaches those tentacles and that grip becomes tighter and tighter and it can absolutely destroy a life. It's the worst way to live under its grip.

Now, I'm going to make something that my English teacher would kick me out of class for. That's the worst way to live. You know what can make the worst even worse? Is when you are under the grip of sin and you have a hardened heart. You don't listen to anybody's advice. You don't open the door to any good spiritual counsel at all. You have a hardened heart. Look at verse 37 and we'll close. I know that you are Abraham's descendants but you seek to kill me because my word has no place in you. Their hearts were so hardened they just rejected everything Jesus said whenever he said it.

It doesn't matter. You know what they're like? They're like the seed that fell by the wayside. Remember that parable? The sower, the guys out there sowing seed and Jesus said some of it fell by the wayside or the roadside.

And Jesus said the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in the heart. Do you know that type? As soon as you even mention anything that smells like gospel or Christ, they immediately turn off to it. Don't want to hear it. You know the type? You might be married to the type.

And if so, our hearts go out to you and we'll pray for you. You might be the type. You have learned so well the art of deflecting truth that you've sort of pride yourself of being impenetrable. You're so good at being hard and you can hear truth and it's like, eh, whatever.

Feel no conviction, have no remorse for sin, no sense of need. Charles Spurgeon said nothing good can come out of a stony heart. Insensitivity is a deadly sign. Frequently it is the next stage to destruction. Listen, it doesn't have to be that way. It does not have to be that way.

It does not have to be that way. If you can even this morning hear the faintest call of Christ beckoning you to come to Him. Maybe at one time that call was loud and clarion and clear, but you've become so good at closing off truth that it's still there, but it's like He's so far away.

You know what the Bible says? Today, if you can hear His voice, harden not your heart. If you can hear just the faintest call, open your heart.

Don't harden your heart. Now, just indulge me for a moment. I want to finish this up. Verse 35 and verse 36. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.

Therefore, if the son makes you free, you will be free indeed. They understood this analogy. 2,000 years ago, where there were slaves in households, slaves had no rights. Sons did. They were the heirs of the dad. They had the inheritance.

Slaves, they could be booted out any time. Jesus was the son of the Father. He was the inheritor of the kingdom. And what He is simply saying is only the Son of God can free a slave of sin.

You can't do it on your own. Only Jesus can do it. And when Jesus sets a slave free, you know what He does? He turns that slave into a family member. We become adopted, the Bible says, into His family. You become a son of God, a daughter of God.

Only the Son can do that. If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. So, the best way to live, freedom of a genuine disciple, believing, learning, continuing, knowing. Worst way to live, bound by the slavery of sin, impenetrable in your heart, hardened your heart to truth.

That's the worst way to live, and that's the worst way to die, like we mentioned a couple weeks back. Okay, perhaps I'm speaking to some believers. You love Jesus. You've committed yourself to Christ. That's a given. Yet you still struggle with certain areas. They just seem to have a tighter grip on you than other things, and you've been trying to break free of that for a long time.

I understand that too. It's like the little girl who fell out of bed one night. She was two or three years old. She screamed when she hit the floor, and her mom came in and picked her up and put her back in bed and said, honey, how did you fall out of bed?

She goes, I don't know, mommy. I think I stayed too close to where I got in. Know what I'm getting at? A lot of people commit themselves to Christ, but they just sort of stay right there at that door. Stay too close to where they got in, close enough to the world instead of just leave that behind. Keep going, keep continuing, keep learning, keep knowing, keep being set free more and more and more. You know, Jesus Christ promised us freedom. But when we cling to what we're leaving behind, we really aren't truly enjoying all that Jesus came to give us. And that's why we need to forget what's behind and press on toward what lies ahead. As Skip pointed out in this message, that's the best way to live. That's going to wrap up our time for today.

But before we go, here's information about this month's resource at connectwithskip.com. Freedom. It's a powerful word with several layers of meaning. Benjamin Franklin said the birth of America meant liberty if we can keep it. But the freedom Jesus gives from sin is permanent if we receive it. There's a level of freedom that is better than political freedom, better than social freedom, better than any kind of freedom. And that's a spiritual liberation, a freedom from sin. One day Jesus stood up in Nazareth and clearly declared liberty for those in bondage. Are you enjoying the full rights of your freedom?

Do you know someone still suffering from addiction? You will want to order our freedom package, which includes 10 full length messages by Skip about your path to freedom with titles such as Can God Be Known and Extreme Makeover Soul Edition, as well as his Life Change Next Steps booklet. The freedom package is our thanks for your gift of $50 or more to support the broadcast ministry of 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. Well, next time we'll learn about the devil's DNA. It's a fascinating study you won't want to miss 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 / 2023-07-23 04:21:19 / 2023-07-23 04:30:05 / 9

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