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Jesus, The Gift Of Freedom Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
December 21, 2022 1:00 am

Jesus, The Gift Of Freedom Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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December 21, 2022 1:00 am

None of us would like to admit we’ve been enslaved. Yet we can be in spiritual bondage to our sin or even to our religiosity. In this message, we take a fact-finding trip about the truth that sets people free. As the angel said to Mary, that’s why Jesus came: to save His people from their sins.

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Insight for Living
Chuck Swindoll
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Pulpit
Don Green
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Jesus said, Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. If the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.

That's great news. Freedom is living without the shackles of sin and its penalty. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, today we begin the last message on the gifts Jesus brought to us.

Give us a preview. Well, you know, Dave, in your intro, you've already emphasized that the freedom that Jesus Christ came to bring us is a freedom from the shackles of sin. Now if you take that word freedom, the way in which it is used today, many people use it as an excuse to sin. I have freedom. Freedom in the Bible is the ability to do what is right.

And Jesus said that he came to set us free. How thankful we are for the Christmas season. And, you know, speaking of Christmas, there are many of you who are beginning to contemplate what you are going to be giving to various organizations as we come near to the end of this year. Thanks in advance for thinking about us. We want to thank the many of you who support this ministry. And we have a very special resource for you, a gift that you'll be able to give to your children, to your grandchildren, and use yourself. It's an opportunity to emphasize God the Creator 365 days of the brand new year. You stay tuned.

I'll be giving you more details at the end of this message. Well all of us have birthdays, and I'm sure we are glad when other people recognize that and they acknowledge our age. Some of us are to the point when our kids want to blow out the candles on the cake, they get pushed back because of the flames. But nonetheless we all delight in the fact that people remember our birthdays. But there is no birthday that has ever been remembered with as much detail as the birthday of Jesus Christ. And that only makes sense because he is a very unusual child. His birth was unusual. He was born of a virgin. You know sometimes it is said by those who are critical of Christianity that there are other miraculous birth stories in pagan literature.

That's true, but they're very different. For example, it is said that Alexander the Great had a miraculous birth. Well after a person becomes famous, people look back and then they invent these mythologies. Jesus Christ's miraculous birth was predicted and mentioned right at the beginning. The other great difference is that these other stories are filled with degrading comments and degrading information about God's having a sexual relationship with women and suddenly you have a miraculous birth. When you read the New Testament account, you discover that it is bathed in holiness.

The Bible says that an angel came to a virgin and said that which is created within you is of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had an unusual birth. He also had an unusual amount of criticism and hostility.

Imagine what happened. We have to remember that Jesus Christ's birth elicited so much hostility that Herod, you remember, he killed all of the babies that were in Bethlehem, the baby boys two years of age and under, hoping that he'd kill Jesus. Imagine a king being intimidated by the birth of a baby.

He must have known that this was a very unusual baby to be sure. Jesus had an unusual upbringing and then he has an unusual ministry and dies on a cross and then has an unusual resurrection. Well, might we honor his birth? But you know, when you stop to think of it, you realize that when we end with the birth story, we often miss the heart of the Christmas story. Now let's take, for example, Abraham Lincoln, who was born, I believe, in 1809, February the 12th. Let's suppose that his father, whose name was Thomas, his mother's name was Nancy. Let us suppose that all that we did in our history book is look at pictures of where he was born in that one room log cabin in Kentucky.

And we stare at those and that's where it ends. The reason that we might be interested in the birth of Lincoln and the date in which he was born and where he was born is because of who he turned out to be and what he did. And that is true also of the story of Jesus. It doesn't end in Bethlehem.

And that's why today I want to move beyond the manger to the actual man Jesus. And this is part of a series of messages, actually the last in a four-part series, on gifts that Jesus brought to us. We talked about the gift of light and the gift of life and the gift of love.

Today, the gift of liberty or freedom. That's what I'm going to be speaking about. And this really is an exposition of the words of the angel when the angel came to Mary and to Joseph and said, he shall be great and shall be called the son of the Most High. And then the text says in Matthew chapter 1, he came to save his people from their sins, to bring freedom from sin. And that's why we're moving beyond the Bethlehem story today to an encounter that Jesus had with some Jews, some of those who were the sons of Abraham in the eighth chapter, in the eighth chapter of the book of John.

And this is a very testy encounter and we're going to be digging into it and seeing what this deliverance that the angel promised is really all about. John chapter 8, I'm picking it up at verse 31. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, and by the way, it's page 894 if you have a Bible that is there in the seat ahead of you, page 894. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. They answered him, we're the offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say you will become free? Jesus answered, truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever, the son remains forever. So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you're Abraham's offspring, yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.

I speak of what I have seen with my father and you do what you have heard from your father. What an amazing statement as we shall see in a moment that Jesus made. Now what we'd like to do in the next few moments is to go on a fact-finding trip about truth that really sets people free.

He shall save his people from their sins. First of all, let us notice that truth exists. Truth exists. Jesus said you shall know the truth. When I was going to school, it was said that truth is really the consensus of a lot of people.

There's sociological truth. Today, of course, in postmodernism, everyone has his own truth. There's my truth, there's your truth, and my thoughts are true simply because I think them. It's all fraught with contradiction and impossibilities, but people are willing to believe an awful lot of stuff to justify what they want to do, don't they?

And that's where we are at. You know, many years ago, and that's many years ago, I'm estimating maybe 40 years ago, I was talking to a parishioner in another church, and she was sitting beside someone in university who wrote a paper of two pages on why there is no truth, and she gave it to me to read. I answered in about two lines and said, if there is no truth, I know in advance that the paper that you have written is false. As a matter of fact, if you were consistent, you'd never open your mouth, because the moment you do, we know that you're saying something other than truth.

So she gave it to him, and she never heard about him. He never said a word to her the entire semester, which was really consistent with his view of truth, I might say. Truth has universality. Two plus two is equal to four. That's true in India.

It's true all over the world. Truth has consistency. There's no such thing as a logical contradiction. Contradiction is a charley horse between the ears. Nobody can believe a contradiction.

Truth also has other elements, such as objectivity. There could be stars in the sky that we've never seen, but they are up there anyway, and if they are there, that is true whether we've discovered it or not. Parenthetically, not sure that I heard it this year, but other years I heard that you could buy somebody a star for Christmas. I thought, you know, that's a great idea. Buy somebody a star for Christmas, and then invite them to go check on their property, and if they don't like it, you could guarantee they get their money back.

Somebody's making some money on this thing, selling people stars. But anyway, the stars exist whether we acknowledge it or not. Now, the truth that Jesus is talking about, the religious truth, is first of all his words. You'll notice what his words say. If you abide in my word, you are my disciples, and you'll know the truth. Every word that proceeded out of the mouth of Jesus was a true word. Thy word is truth. If you want to find some truth, read the Gospels and find out what Jesus had to say. But more than that, he said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. He embodies truth. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. That baby there in the manger in Bethlehem had all of the attributes of God.

And when he was held in the arms of Joseph and Mary and later on Simeon, there was a part of Jesus that was invisible to the human eye, but in their hands, they were holding in their arms, they were holding the Son of God, whose nature was God of very God and man, both in one person. You know, I frequently refer to my daughter, our oldest daughter. You know, the average kid asks, I think, a half million questions by the age of about seven or eight.

I think our oldest daughter got to that quota at about four years old. But she said, who was taking care of the world when God was a baby? Very good question. Who was taking care of the world when God was a baby? Well, that baby had the attributes of deity, and God was still taking care of the world, and Christ was still taking care of the world. No wonder the Bible says, great is the mystery of godliness.

God was manifest in the flesh. Wow. There is such a thing as truth. Look at Jesus, who is the truth embodied.

Wow. Second, truth can be known. You shall know the truth. Truth can be known. You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. The knowledge of God, for example, is revealed most clearly through Jesus. Though we see the knowledge of God in the Old Testament, it is in Jesus that we see the Father full of grace and truth. And so Jesus comes to us and says, you can know the truth. Now, you can't know anything exhaustively. In fact, we don't know everything about anything. Our knowledge is always limited, and our knowledge of this infinite being called God, our knowledge of God is always limited, but it is meaningful. We can have a meaningful relationship with God, though we don't understand all about him. And so that's what Jesus offers. You shall know the truth, and it's possible to know it. Now, let's look back at the text here. What's happening in the text is he's talking to people who believe in him, and then in verse 33 there are also some who don't.

It's mixed company. They answer him, we are the offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say you will become free? Then Jesus says, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.

And then I'm skipping to verse 36. So if the Son sets you free, you'll be free indeed. But notice this, verse 37, I know that you are Abraham's offspring, yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my father, and you do what you've seen of your father. And they say, Abraham is our father. Now, what's going on there in the text?

Think of this. These people are using their religiosity, their pedigree that goes all the way to Abraham. They are using that pedigree and their religion to keep them from Jesus, from the truth, from the truth about themselves, from the truth about God, and they are choosing bondage rather than freedom in the name of religion.

I want to be candid here. Religion can be one of the most deceptive shields that can become a mask that people wear so that they don't really have to deal with the truth about themselves and God and their need for redemption. So you have people say, well, you know, I'm OK. I attend Moody Church or possibly I'm OK because I'm a Baptist or I'm OK because I'm a Catholic. I attend the Catholic Church or I attend the Mormon Church, whatever. And religion becomes a shield. And even though that all may be true that they are committed to these various religions, the problem is that those become a shield to keep them from reality and acknowledging the truth about themselves and their need for a redeemer.

You see, these people weren't able to see themselves. And Jesus said it's possible to know the truth. Some of you do know the truth. Others of you will not receive the truth. And you'll use religion to shield yourself from the truth.

That's what's happening here in the text. And it's something that all of us can fall into, the hypocrisy of not dealing with who we are in God's presence. So Jesus said, you can know the truth. And then he says, and the truth will set you free. If you accept the truth, it'll set you free.

Now let's look at this. Verse 32, an astounding statement. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. In other words, if the Son shall make you free, Jesus says now in verse 36, you're going to be free indeed.

You're going to be fully free. Now your Bibles are open. And I want you to see two contrasts that Jesus now makes.

Two contrasts. The first is between a slave and a son. Truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever.

Why? Because he's not part of the family. He may go to church, but he's not part of the family.

But the son, he remains forever because he is part of God's family. So the first contrast is between slavery and sonship. Now think of how amazingly accurate the Bible is.

The Bible has the most interesting, the most true analysis of human nature available. That there are people today who think they are free and they are slaves to sin. Now if you're a slave, you don't get up in the morning and begin to tell the owner what to do, your master.

The master begins to bark out orders at you and you had better follow through with them. That's the way some people's lives are. They don't have any control over the sins that entangle them. And they may be sins of the flesh that we frequently speak about. Most assuredly, those sins bind.

Oh, the depths of that binding. You know, Jesus is using an illustration here of someone who's imprisoned. And you can imagine, you know, during the Middle Ages, there was a man who made chains and who put his signia on every link and took pride in the fact that nobody could break one of his chains. And then he was imprisoned and noticed that he was actually bound by his own chain. The Bible in the book of Proverbs talks about being bound by cords of sin.

Imagine somebody, the chain is coming out of a concrete wall and it's wrapped around his leg. And there he is. And Jesus said that if you are a sinner committed to sin and you are actually only a slave and not a son, you are a slave to sin. And it may be the sins of the flesh, it may be the sins of the Spirit. You know, when you look at the religious people of the day, I wouldn't say that they were necessarily bound to sensual sins, but they were bound to the sin of self-righteousness, the sin of anger, the need to be appreciated, the pride of the human heart, and all of those sins of the Spirit. And Jesus said that if you commit and walk in that path, you're going to become a slave to sin.

And what terrible slavery it really is. But if you are a son, well, that's something different. So, because the son is really truly free. Jesus, the Son of God, is free and he takes his sons and his daughters and he frees them if they are willing to accept the truth. And this is the message of Christmas.

It's the message of Bethlehem that Jesus came to set us free, even as the angel prophesied. Now, that's the first contrast between a son and a slave. There's a second contrast and that has to do with two different fathers.

Two different fathers. Jesus said, verse 38, I speak of what I have seen with my Father, that's the Father in heaven, and you do what you have heard from your Father. They said Abraham is our Father. Jesus said if you were Abraham's children you would be doing what Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.

You are doing what your Father did. And so they go back and forth with Jesus and they say, well, you know our Father is Abraham and you are born implied a fornication, they say to Jesus. Now you have to brace yourself for this, okay, but Jesus didn't take that course, how to win friends and influence people.

That came a little later, as a little later than Jesus. And you may be offended by how plainly he speaks, but that's exactly why we have to hear what he has to say. He is speaking on behalf of the Father. The words that he speaks are true. So are you ready for them?

You can brace yourself a little bit for this. Verse 44, you are of your father, the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has nothing to do with the truth because there's no truth in him. When he lies he speaks out of his own character, for he's a liar and the father of lies.

But because I tell you the truth, Jesus said, you don't believe me. Well, Jesus is saying, now what about this imagery of fathers? What's going on there in the text?

That has to do with the nature, you see. In what sense was the devil the father of these people? He was, in this sense, that they had his nature, which is a nature of deception and lies. And these lies they told themselves so many times, over and over, that they began to believe lies about themselves, that they were righteous in the sight of God because of their works, unwilling to see their need of deep abiding redemption.

And you know, my friend, I believe that there are many in our society who believe lies, they know that they are believing lies, but they believe those lies willingly. We here at Running to Win continually emphasize the truth of God's word, and of course we are so grateful for the coming of Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate during these days. I want to thank the many of you who support this ministry, and we have a very special resource.

We here at Running to Win like to make resources available to our people that will be helpful in their walk with God. I'm holding in my hands a book entitled, Have You Considered? The subtitle is, Evidence Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. Evidence for God the Creator. I don't know about you, but the idea of evolution as it is taught today is completely irrational.

It's like saying that there was an explosion in a print factory, and the result was the Webster's Dictionary. This book has 365 readings fully illustrated in color of God's creation so that we might understand its intricacies. For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. And thanks in advance as you consider your Christmas giving, thanks in advance for helping us, here is what you do. You go to Of course, as you know, RTWOffer is all one word. or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Let me give you that contact info again, Call us at 1-888-218-9337.

You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 9614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. People in deep bondage have the illusion that they're free. The Jews of Jesus' day did not like being told that they needed deliverance. Next time, more about Jesus, the great giver of freedom. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-22 00:01:50 / 2022-12-22 00:10:39 / 9

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