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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Christ at Tabernacles, Part 9 (Before Abraham Was…I Am)

Christ at Tabernacles, Part 9
(Before Abraham Was…I Am)
John 8:48-59

You know… I was going to start out this sermon introduction by asking… “Have you ever been offended?”  But after thinking about it… it didn’t take long for me to realize just how stupid that question is.

Because everyone has been offended at one point or another.  Everywhere we turn, someone usually says something… or does something… that offends us. 

For example… I take great offense at Americans who step on or burn the American flag.  I take offense when some highly paid child takes a knee when the national anthem is played.

We all get offended!  And it seems that there are some who get “offended” by just about everything.  It could easily be said that we have become a society of the “offended”.

And you know what… our fascination with… or rather, our addiction to social media has only served to make things worse.  Now, because of social media… everyone has a voice.  Anyone and everyone can add their “two bits” to just about any conversation.

And those two bits, more often than not, are cutting... biting… or divisive words designed to make the author look intelligent and the reader ignorant.

I recently shared a post on Facebook that someone I’m friends with commented on.  Another “friend” apparently didn’t like what he said, and verbally attacked his position with words that were designed to belittle and hurt.  

It’s bad enough when something like this happens between strangers… but these two were relatives.  Folks… this is the inevitable outcome of an inward facing people. 

We are a self-centered society…  We are a prideful people… The natural outcome of our interactions with other people who are just as prideful and self-centered as we are… is that we will be “offended”.  We will get our feelings hurt.

And its one thing to be offended by something that’s truly offensive… but our society today has become so narcissisticwhich is self-centeredness to an extreme… that the simple fact that someone else has an opposing view can literally send some of us over the edge.

How dare someone else not think like I think!

And because someone might get their feelings hurt… Or someone might get offended… Freedoms are curtailed… Speech is regulated… Opposing views are eliminated.

Today’s society has created a new “right”… the “right” to not be offended.  That’s in the constitution somewhere… isn’t it?

*  *  *  *  *  *

And as bad as we may think this is for us today… when we read the Bible… we can see that people really haven’t changed at all.  Even just a quick reading of the NT will reveal the same attitudes I just spoke of… in people that lived thousands of years ago.

You see… Jesus dealt with this same self-centered and prideful attitude in almost every encounter He had with the religious leaders of His day.  In this chapter alone… the 8th chapter of John… we can see at least three times where the Jews exhibit this same attitude.

Joh 8:33 KJV  They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man…

Joh 8:39 KJV  They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father…

Joh 8:41 KJV   … We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.

Then when Jesus confronted this prideful attitude with the truth that their Father wasn’t God… but the Devil… they responded the same way many people today would…

They were offended… and their reply was…

I.  The Insolent Retort

Joh 8:48 KJV  Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 

This reply is evidence that they simply couldn’t respond intelligently to what Jesus had just said.  Like children on the playground… they resort to blasphemous name calling.

Jesus had shown them that Abraham may have been a distant relative… but he wasn’t their Father because they didn’t do what he would have done.  He also showed them that their claim to have God as their Father was equally false.  You can’t have the Father… without having the Son as well.

For example… Let’s say you go to the store to buy a large block of cheese… but before buying it… you get a small piece of it to taste.  After taking a bite… you spit it out because it tastes bad to you.  Knowing that the taste will be constant throughout the whole block of cheese… you reject the whole block because of the piece you tasted.

Jesus was God manifest in human form.  By rejecting the Son… the Jews were  rejecting the Father as well.

So, in calling Jesus a “Samaritan” and saying that He was possessed by a devil… they were (to a Jew) slinging one of the worse insults they could think of at Christ.

Samaritans were considered “half-breeds” and “unclean” by the Jews.  They were made up of the remnant of Northern Kingdom Jews who were left behind when Assyria took the rest of them into captivity.  Then after importing other captives from other nations into the Northern Kingdom… this remnant intermarried with them and defiled the race. 

Not only that, but the new arrivals brought their own religions with them which became incorporated into the Judaism that had been left behind, which was already an apostate form of Judaism.

So, you can understand now, where calling a devout Jew… a Samaritan… would be a horrible insult.  But to add that they were also possessed by a devil… would be the same thing as calling them “insane”.

And this isn’t the first time that they’ve slung these insults at Christ… nor would it be the last.  But how He responds is evidence enough that the accusations were untrue.

Because a person who’s moved by a devil would be inflated with pride and seek honor and fame.  He wouldn’t be of humble nature… seeking honor for another.  Someone controlled by a devil would respond by lashing out…

But Christ’s response was…

II. The Dignified Response

Joh 8:49-51 KJV  (49)  Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.  (50)  And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. (51) Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

Jesus breezes by the Samaritan insult without a reply.  It was a personal attack and didn’t have anything to do with his life or doctrine.  And furthermore… had He made a reply, it might have been interpreted by the Jews, and others, as sanctioning their racism toward the Samaritans.

But Jesus had no contempt for the Samaritan people.  He came to tear down the wall of separation between Jew and Gentile.  He never feared contact with them… and He preached the truth to them just as He did everyone else.  Many of His first converts that we know of… were Samaritans.

So to respond to the Samaritan insult might be seen as condoning racism… but to be said to have a “devil” is completely contrary to His mission because He came… 1Jn 3:8b KJV  … that he might destroy the works of the devil.

The devil is the original sinner.  Jesus is without sin.  The devil represents darkness. Jesus is the “Light of the World”.  Light always wins out over darkness.  Wherever light is introduced… darkness runs away.

What I’m saying in other words is that everything Jesus did was totally opposite of what the devil would do.  The devil was a liar and murderer from the beginning… but Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  The devil seeks to build his own glory and honor… Jesus sought only to glorify and honor the Father who sent Him.

The devil would seek the preeminence and build his own reputation… but Jesus…  Php 2:7 KJV  …made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant…

At another time and place, they accuse Jesus of being controlled by the devil.  And He told them at that time that He couldn’t possibly be motivated by the devil because a house divided simply couldn’t stand.

And He also made it clear that this kind of talk revealed an inner heart condition that would never be forgiven… Mat 12:31 … All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 

Attributing Jesus’ life and works to satanic origins reveals a heart and mind that are closed to the truth… but the person who receives His truth… Jesus tells us that… Joh 8:51 KJV  … If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

The one who keeps Christ’ Word will never know… or experience death.  They’ll never suffer the penalty of sin… never collect the wages of sin.  Because eternal life is just that… eternal… therefore physical death can never extinguish it.

Because we who have trusted in Him, have partaken of the Bread of Life… and we’ll never hunger again.  We have drank of the Living Water… and no longer thirst, but have those rivers of Living Water flowing out of us.  And we have seen the Light of the World… and we will never walk in darkness.

And the one who has been born again and has the Spirit of the Living God residing within, understands these things.  But the natural man doesn’t understand.  The natural man is devoid of spiritual discernment… and these words I’ve just spoken are foolishness to him.

Just as it was foolishness to the Jews whom Jesus was speaking to… who respond with…

III. The Incredulous Rejoinder (Yeah…I use a thesaurus…)

Joh 8:52-55 KJV  Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.  (53)  Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?  (54)  Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:  (55)  Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 

The natural man can only comprehend the natural world… and these Jews could only think in the natural… or the physical.  To them, the very idea that anyone who kept Jesus’ Word… would never die… was ludicrous.  Everyone dies.

Abraham died. The prophets died (many of them by their father’s own hands).  How could He say that someone would never die?  “You’re not claiming to be greater than Abraham and the prophets… are you?”

And this isn’t the first time He’s been asked a question like this… is it?  Didn’t the woman at the well in Sychar ask Him… Joh 4:12 KJV  Art thou greater than our father Jacob…

Both then and now… Jesus doesn’t respond to comparisons with mortal men.  After all… how can the immortal be compared to mortals.  Or the eternal to the finite?

Instead… He tells them… Joh 8: 54 KJV  If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God

Jesus will not bring honor upon Himself… it’s the Father who loves and honors Him.  He honored Him at His birth by sending the angels to herald His arrival.  He honored Him as a child by directing the Wise Men to come and worship.

He honored Him at His baptism by saying “This is my beloved Son.  He would honor Him at His death by not allowing His body to see corruption. He would honor Him at His ascension by seating Him at His right hand… and He will honor Him at the judgment when every knee will bow before Him and every tongue will declare Him Lord!

It’s the Father who honors the Son… but it’s these Jews who dishonor Him, and the Father as well.  Had they truly known the Father… they would have known the Son, for Jesus tells us elsewhere…

Joh 14:9 KJV  … Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

He could never say that He didn’t know the Father… if He had, He would be a liar just like these Jews and their father.  And His evidence that He did know Him is in the fact that He did the Father’s will and keeps His  Father’s Word.

IV. The Incomparable Revelation

Joh 8:56-59 KJV   Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.  (57)  Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?  (58)  Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.  (59)  Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

This literally says… “Abraham, your father, was transported with an exultant desire that he should see My day, and he saw it and rejoiced.”

What did Abraham see?  Many say that it was Jesus Himself… that he saw Christ in his vision of the smoking pot passing through the divided carcasses when the Abrahamic covenant was ratified. 

Some say that it was when he saw and spoke with the Lord on His way to Sodom and Gomorrah… Or maybe in Melchizedek, of whom the Scriptures tells us that he was… Heb 7:3 KJV  Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

And these could be the case… but Jesus says that Abraham saw “my day”, not “my person”.  So, how could Abraham see His “day”?  The answer to that would be the same way that righteousness was accounted to him… through “faith”.

The 11th chapter of Hebrews implies that Abraham received “special revelation”… that many things were revealed to him through faith…  It says that he looked for a city whose builder and maker is God…that he saw the promises afar off and were persuaded of them and clung to them… but that he lived as a stranger and pilgrim on this earth because he kept his eye on that heavenly city

It could also be that He saw His “day” in “type”… in the offering of his son Isaac… remaining confident that… Gen 22:8 KJV  … God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering…  The same way that God would one day offer His Son as the “lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world.”

But the idea that their “father Abraham” saw this man who was standing before them and speaking to them… was crazy.  He was still a young man… not even 50 years old yet!

Joh 8:58 KJV  Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Folks, if anyone ever tells you that Jesus never claimed to be deity… you can tell them that they’re wrong… then bring them right here.

This is none other than a full… in your face… claim to deity.  A full disclosure of His glory… the affirmation that He was none other than the Eternal One.  He’s taken the sacred name of God before… but never in such a bold and obvious fashion.

At other times, He would say that “Ego emi” I am the bread of life“Ego emi” I am the light of the world“Ego emi” the door, the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life, the way the truth and the life, the true vine

But here… the fact that He’s associating Himself with the One who spoke to Moses at the burning bush… using the sacred name of God for Himself is absolutely clear.  But if there’s still a question in your mind… then all you have to do is look at the response He receives from those who were standing right there… at that very moment… hearing these very words flow from His lips…

Joh 8:59a KJV  …Then took they up stones to cast at him

They knew exactly what He was saying… and they were so filled with violent rage that they desired to murder Him on the spot.  No trial.  No appeals.  The fact that they didn’t have the authority to execute anyone didn’t matter… they weren’t going to execute… they were going to murder.  But if they only misunderstood Him… the fact that Jesus didn’t try to correct their “misunderstanding” tells us that He did mean what they thought He meant!

Joh 8:59b KJV  but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Somehow… quite possibly in the same way that He hid himself from the disciples on the road to Emmaus… or as He did in the 4th chapter of Luke when they tried to throw Him off a cliff… He hid Himself from these people now… who would try to take His life before His time.

And so He continues to hide Himself from the world even today because… 1Co 2:14 KJV  …the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

But all those who hear His Word… the gospel message… and respond in faith… the promise is that they will be saved from the penalty of their sins… and that they… Joh 8:52 KJV  …shall never taste of death

And isn’t that something that you’d like to have assurance of today?

Friday, September 16, 2016

Christ at Tabernacles, Part 8 (A Question of Paternity)

Christ at Tabernacles, Part 8
(A Question of Paternity)
John 8:37-47

Some of the most fearful words ever uttered… were said by Jesus in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 7...

Mat 7:21-23 HCSB  "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord!' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.  (22)  On that day many will say to Me, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?'  (23)  Then I will announce to them, 'I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!'

Every time I read this passage… every time I think about these verses… chills run down my spine.  I mean… think about what Jesus is saying here… and who He’s saying it to.

The people that Jesus is speaking of here… are religious people.  They’re active in the church… and they’re probably even leaders or pastors within the church.  These were people who “believed” in Jesus!  They called Him, “Lord, Lord”!

Jesus tells us that these are people who thought they were doing what they were supposed to do.  They uttered “prophecies” that they felt the Spirit of the Lord moved them to utter.  They claimed to have freed people from demon possession… and they were evidently able to lay claim to having performed many miraculous events… all in the name of Jesus.

These people believed in Jesus… thought they were saved and doing great things for the kingdom of God… and by all outward appearances… they were.  Anyone who looked upon them would probably marvel at how “spiritual” or religious” they appeared to be… at, how “Christian” they seemed to be… but apparently, they were wrong.

Folks… this is ridiculously scary.  There are only two destinations available to us after death.  We will either spend a glorious eternity with Christ… or we will spend a horrible one with the Devil and his followers.

And the idea that a person can spend their life here on this earth… thinking they’re doing everything they need to do to go to heaven… only to find out in the end that they were so wrong… is scary beyond belief!

The absolute truth is that though the message of the gospel goes out to everyone who will hear… only a few will believe and be saved.  As Jesus illustrates to us in…

Mat 7:13-14 KJV  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  (14)  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Doesn’t this give you pause?  Doesn’t it make you want to find out why this is?  You would think that any sensible person would want to know if they’re doing it wrong… right? 

But the sad reality is… No… the majority don’t want to know that their way is wrong.  This is because every false religion in the world has one thing in common with every other false religion… it satisfies a lust of the flesh... and that lust is that they can attain heaven based upon their own efforts… their own works.

We see this every day. Muslims believe that various good works will tilt the scales in their favor.  Buddhism believes that it takes living in the right manner, along with doing other things on the eight paths… Hinduism believes that we have to rid ourselves of bad “karma”…

And these people that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7:21-23 were also depending on their own works to gain heaven.  They say to the Lord… “Didn’t we… prophesy”…  (And by implication…)Didn’t we… cast out demons”… “Didn’t we… do miracles”

And Jesus’ response to their efforts was that He “never knew” them.  NEVER! Not that He knew them once… and then they turned away and lost their salvation… He NEVER knew them…  They were NEVER saved to begin with!  If a person has always relied on themselves… then they never relied on Christ… and regardless of how “Christian” they may look… or how many “good works” they’ve done… they never were Christians at all!

And when a person continues in this condition… relying on themselves, then they really have no room in their life for Christ… And these people that Jesus is speaking to not only relied upon themselves and their good works… but they also believed that because they were physical offspring of Abraham… they were guaranteed a place in heaven…

I. Their Father Abraham

Joh 8:37-41a KJV  I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.  (38)  I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.  (39)  They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.  (40)  But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.  (41)  Ye do the deeds of your father…

Twice now, the Jews have laid claim to being the offspring of Abraham.  In verse 33 they say they’re Abraham’s “seed”… and now in verse 39 they say that Abraham is their “father”.

And Jesus readily admits that they are in fact Abraham’s “seed”… but He brings into question the notion that he’s their “father”.  You see… Jesus is making a subtle distinction here between the “physical” and the “spiritual”.   He tells them that as the Son of the Father… He only does those things He sees His Father doing.

The Jews, on the other hand… aren’t doing what Abraham did… but they are instead imitating their real father…

They may be physical descendants of Abraham, because they can trace their family tree all the way back to him through one of his 12 sons…  But this descent doesn’t make them “children”.

They had a murderous hatred for Jesus.  They desired to see Him dead, because His Word had “no place” in them.  In other words… it had no “entrance” into them.  His Word fell along the wayside (or path) and it was taken away by the wicked one before it could take root in their life… like He tells us in the parable of the soils…

And this is essentially the difference between a saved person and lost one.  The worldly man gives no place to the Word.  It’s too spiritual, too holy, too searching.  The worldly person is too concerned with their own concerns and too busy to allow any time for the Word of God…

But the saved person will receive with meekness, the engrafted Word.  They’ll hide the Word in their heart that they might not sin against God.  They’ll give the Word a place of trust, honor, rule and love in their life… and they will order their lives around it.

You know… I can remember a time in my life where I thought pretty much the same thing that these Jews did.  I had some notion that because my Dad was a preacher and a pastor… and I was raised in a Christian home and went to church all the time… that I had it made.  I had an inside track for heaven.

But as I got older and wiser in the Word… I understood just how faulty this thinking was.  And these Jews may be Abraham’s offspring… but they aren’t his “children” by a long shot… because Abraham is the “father” only of “them that believe.”

Rom 4:11 KJV  … that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

Natural descent counts for nothing.  It’s all about faith.  Even the profession of our lips doesn’t count for anything if it’s not confirmed by our actions.  In other words… talk’s cheap.

A tree is known by its fruit… and if we’re truly “children” of Abraham through faith… then our lives will exhibit the “works” of Abraham which were faith in God and obedient submission to His Word.

But since these Jews desired to kill Jesus because He spoke the truth to them… something that Abraham would never do… they are instead, showing who their real “father” was.

And I’m sure that even though Jesus didn’t actually say who their father was at this time…but rather just implied it… they had a pretty good idea of where He was heading with this, because of how they responded…

II. Their Father God

Joh 8:41b-43 KJV  …Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.  (42)  Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.  (43)  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

Some think that when they responded that they weren’t born of “fornication”… that this was a jab at Christ and the rumors that were going around about his birth…

But the fact that they immediately after say they have “one Father, even God”… makes me think that they’re speaking of spiritual adultery instead.

You see… throughout the OT, we can see where God chastises the Israelites about their idolatry… comparing it to adultery and fornication.

Eze 6:9 NASB  "Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations to which they will be carried captive, how I have been hurt by their adulterous hearts which turned away from Me, and by their eyes which played the harlot after their idols...

But once the captives returned to Israel from their bondage in Babylon… they never again had problems with idolatry.  They had other problems that we can see throughout the NT… but idolatry faded into history.

So, in their arrogance and pride… after invoking their lineage with Abraham… they up the ante with… Joh 8:41b KJV …we have one Father, even God.

And we see this very thought all around us today!  The notion of the “universal Fatherhood of God”… and the “universal brotherhood of man”… is held by a majority of church members today… And it’s become a favored dogma of Christendom. Many Christians and church leaders today have fallen for the deception that simply because someone says, “God”… that we’re all referring to the same Being.  But this is a lie that’s straight out of the Pit.

Joh 8:41b KJV …we have one Father, even God.  When I hear one of you, in this church say the word, “God”… I know who you’re speaking of.  When I speak with and fellowship with other Christians… whether we belong to the same Christian denomination or not… when they say “God”… I know who they’re speaking of.

But when I hear “God” come out of the mouths of Muslims… Hindus… Wiccans… Odinists… Pagans… or any number of other religions… I don’t know who they’re speaking of.  Because even though we know that there is only “one” God… there are still an abundance of false gods.

And the idea of a “universal Fatherhood of God” and a “universal brotherhood of man” are basic principles of a false doctrine called “Universalism” which teaches that “all roads lead to heaven” and that “all beliefs are of equal value”.

But since there is only one God… but many false gods… then there can only be “one” true way… but many false ways.  Which is what Jesus addresses right here with these Jews who claim that God is their Father.  He tells them that… Joh 8:42 KJV  …If God were your Father, ye would love me

Any person who claims to know God… and love God… will love His Son as well!  There is no sibling rivalry in the family of God.  Those who are truly “children” of God will love their big brother… the only begotten “Son” of God.

1Jn 5:1 ESV  Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.

And those who don’t love the Son… don’t love God either.  It’s as simple as that!  Joh 15:23 ESV  Whoever hates me hates my Father also.

These Jews that Jesus is speaking to… and much of the world today… refuses to hear this truth.  And this goes right along with what I said earlier… that most people don’t want to hear that they’ve got it wrong.

His Word has “no place” in them.  It’s as if He’s speaking in an unintelligible language.  The children of God, however, can hear and understand Him… but the stranger can’t understand His speech, because they have no ear for God… and no heart for His Word… and no desire to learn His will.

Therefore, God is NOT their Father.

III. Their Father Satan

Joh 8:44-47 KJV  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.  (45)  And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.  (46)  Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?  (47)  He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

This is the main point that our Lord has been leading up to… and now… He’s no longer pulling His punches. 

First… He blew away any notion that Abraham was their Father.  Second… He demonstrated that God wasn’t their Father either.  Now, third… He tells them flat out that their Father is in fact, the Devil… and that they imitate him.

They’re murderers and liars because they want to kill Christ, and are lying about it.  Their father did this very thing from the beginning when he lied to Eve about what God had said… and through that lie… murdered the entire human race. 

Now… we are stillborn… dead in our trespasses and sins.  And just like these Jews of old… while we were still dead… we were just as incapable of hearing and believing the truth as they were.

All those who are lost and still dead in their sins… don’t have to “decide” to follow the Devil… His nature is in them… and their character is modeled after Him.  He is their Father, and the “lusts” of their Father they “will do”.

But that phrase “will do”, in the original language carries a different sense than the English… because it literally means… to take delight in, or to love to do a thing…

Folks… before we received Christ and were “born again”… we were willing, and cheerful and workers of iniquity.  We enjoyed doing the lusts of our Father.

But once the Holy Spirit of God moved upon our hearts… and that which was dead revived… then the Word of God gained entrance within us… and we heard… and believed… and received… and we were born again.

And now… by this new birth… we are born into the family of God.  And because we are children of God… we love God… we love His Son… and we love His Word.

And this new life that we’ve been given is available to all who will believe in Christ… and receive Him.

Joh 1:12-13 KJV  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  (13)  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Christ at Tabernacles, Part 7 (Free Indeed)

Christ at Tabernacles, Part 7
(Free Indeed)
John 8:31-36

Joh 8:31-36 KJV  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;  (32)  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  (33)  They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?  (34)  Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.  (35)  And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.  (36)  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

After years of oppression from a tyrannical government… colonists from the various states began to unite under the idea of a united country that would take control of its own destiny, rather than remaining under the thumb of British rule and a despotic monarchy.

It was in March of 1775, at the Virginia Convention, where they were debating the best course of action… such as physical and armed resistance, or other, more peaceful means of resistance… that Patrick Henry sounded his call to arms by saying…

“Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? …Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?  Forbid it, Almighty God!  I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”

Liberty… or death.  Two sides of the coin for Patrick Henry and many other colonists in his day.  It was either/or, and no “in between” for the American revolutionaries.  And our freedom from tyranny was bought with the blood of many honest and decent men and women… that cared more for the future of a country than their own lives.

And it’s still so today… because buried deep within the American psyche is the desire to not only be free… but to assist others in attaining their own freedom as well.  The War Between the States… two World Wars… KoreaVietnamIraq… all of them fought because of this underlying desire of ours to be free… and to help others be free as well.

(And yes, I know there are those “nay-sayers” who will claim that there were other political, social, financial reasons for these wars.  However, to the people themselves… the ones who actually fought in these wars… it was about freedom.)

Our freedom is precious to us.  It was bought at a high price… It has been maintained at a high price.  Many of us… most of us… have either fought ourselves in one of these wars… or we have a family member who did.  We may even be able to name people we know who gave their lives in the defense of freedom.

Freedom is precious to us.  It’s personal to us… and as a nation we take great pride in the idea that America is the “land of the free, and the home of the brave”

But you know what?  It’s an illusion...  The freedom that we like to brag so much about has been slipping through our fingers like sand for many years now. When a person can be arrested on the streets of America for witnessing about Christ … we are not truly free.

When Christians are targeted by judges and forced to provide services to people who are immoral and practice perversion, or they will be put in jail and lose their business… we are not truly free.

When our own government forces those who oppose the murder of babies to pay for those murders… we are not truly free.

When universities only allow for one side of an issue to be presented… such as allowing only liberal ideas, but not conservative… or only evolution… but not design… we are not truly free.

When elected representatives are transformed from being our “representatives” into being our “leaders”… we are not truly free.

I could go on and on… but I’m sure that you get my point.  We love freedom… We all want to be free… but slowly… piece by piece… bit by bit… we’re losing our freedom. 

And this is because we’ve lost something else along the way.  As a nation we first lost sight of the very basis that our freedom was founded upon.  And when the foundation of a building crumbles… the house will soon crumble and fall as well.

When the founding principles of a nation… or a people… gets destroyed or maybe it’s reinterpreted into something it was never intended to be… then that nation, or people will also change into something other than its original intent.

 Psa 11:3 KJV  If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

And make no mistake about it… that which we lost along the way… and then turned our backs upon… is Jesus Christ and the Word of God… which is…

I. The Source of Truth

Joh 8:31 KJV  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

It would appear that this is still the 8th day… the day after the feast of tabernacles.  After spending the night on the Mount of Olives, Jesus returned to the temple and began to teach the people again.

The Jews though, rudely interrupted His teaching by bringing a woman caught in adultery to Him for judgment.  And then after dealing with that, He turned once again to those He had been teaching. 

But the Scribes and Pharisees, like snarling dogs… persisted in their interruptions which led Jesus into His “Light of the World”, and then His  “Die in Your Sins” sermons… He also gave a warning about His upcoming crucifixion.

Verse 30 tells us that after all of this… “many believed on Him”.  So now, Jesus turns to these new believers to give them instructions on growing in their new-found faith… To do so, they must “continue” in His “Word”.

Now, if we look ahead, we see in vs.36 where Jesus speaks of being “free indeed”, and then here He speaks of being “disciples indeed”… two different words in the original language that are translated “indeed”… but both mean “truly”, “really” or “certain”.  So when Jesus says “free indeed”, He means “really free”… and “disciples indeed”, would mean “truly disciples”.

The implication here is obvious.  There are disciples… and then there are “real” disciples.  For instance… those many disciples who turned away from Christ in chapter 6… and followed Him no more … may have been called disciples… but they really weren’t…

Because when they “turned away”, and “followed Him no more”… they showed themselves to be “rocky soil” believers, who… Heb 6:4-5 KJV  were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,  (5)  And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come…

But their shallowness of faith, was proven because... 1Jn 2:19 KJV  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

So, Jesus is telling us here, that all those who are “truly” His disciples will prove themselves to be so by “continuing” in His word… They won’t turn away because He is their Source of truth.

He is… Joh 14:6 KJV  … the way, the truth, and the life…  Jesus Christ is the only way… the only truth… and the only life…  All those who are His “disciples indeed”, will continue with Him because they’ve come to know that He is the truth… which means anything else is a lie.

And there may be those who follow after the lie… because we see this every day, don’t we… but (giving them the benefit of the doubt) that’s usually because they’ve been deceived by the lie.

And I’d like to be able to say that once the lie has been exposed… people will go toward the truth.  But the sad reality is that this isn’t the case.  The vast majority will continue on with their lie. 

We see this here in the gospels… and we see it in today’s political climate.  When truth is actually revealed… most people don’t care…  They’ll either make up excuses… or just ignore it…

But when the Spirit of God moves in a person’s life and softens their heart to hear and believe truth… they will come to the beginnings of understanding… (as if the light bulb flickers on…), and they will recognize that Jesus Christ is our Source of truth…

When this happens, we’ll then see…

II. The Result of Truth

Joh 8:32 KJV  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Simply put… the result of knowing truth is freedom

I read a story that illustrates this really well.  There was a freighter that was crossing the Atlantic Ocean which had as part of its cargo, some birds in cages.  At some point in the journey across the Atlantic, a few of the birds escaped.

Now, needless to say, in their newfound freedom they flew off and disappeared from sight.  But as it turns out… those cages that you might think represented captivity… actually represented life.  Because after flying around for some time… and having found no place to rest… every bird returned to the ship and was caught again.

In order to live life to the fullest… there is a necessity for boundaries.  These birds in our story would appear to be more intelligent than many people.  In order to live, they accepted the limitations of captivity… and returned to the ship.

But there are many today who cry for freedom to do as they please…  Regardless of what it is…they don’t want to be restrained or limited at all.  Whether it is the legalization of certain drugs… or any number of sexual perversions…

They want to be free to do whatever they want… whenever they want.  But the removal of constraints doesn’t bring freedom… it brings captivity.   Rom 6:16 KJV  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

The limitations that are placed upon us as followers of Christ aren’t so much designed to prevent us from sinning… but to free us to live!

Gal 5:1 KJV  Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

And all those who “continue in” Christ’s word, and are “disciples indeed”…  “know the truth” of this and are “free” because of this truth.

But as we’ve seen… there are always those who continue in…                                                                 

III. The Denial of Truth

Joh 8:33-35 KJV  They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?  (34)  Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.  (35)  And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 

Every time I read this… what the Jews said to Jesus… about never being in bondage to any man… I have to laugh and I think, “REALLY?”

Haven’t they read their own Bible?  I mean... much of their history is filled with bondage.  They were captives in Egypt for what? 400 years?  Then Assyria took the Northern Kingdom away… and they never returned.  Babylon took the Southern Kingdom away for 70 years.  And at the time they made this statement… they were under Roman rule.

It’s hard to understand why intelligent people would make such an obviously false statement… unless of course, they were speaking of some other kind of bondage… not physical, or national… but spiritual

And I think this is actually the case… because, this is exactly how Jesus responds to them… with the spiritual… when He said…  Joh 8:34 KJV  … Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

“Amen, Amen” (in the greek)… “Truly, Truly”… the repetition emphasizing the importance and truthfulness of what follows…  That when you consistently give yourself over to sinful behavior… you become the slave of that behavior.

It will swallow you up, and take control of your life to the point that nothing else matters to you… and everything is now judged by you on the basis of how it will affect your ability to do this behavior.

It is your Master… You are its slave.  The freedom you thought it would give you in fact turned out to be the very chains that bind you… So, if instead of being a “disciple indeed”… you are rather a “servant of sin”… you will not “abide in the house forever”… because, folks, the “wages of sin, is death”.

But the Son does “abide forever”.  And, because He is the Son… He has full authority to free those who are held captive to their sins, because He told us that…

Luk 4:18-19 KJV  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,  (19)  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

And this, folks, is…

IV. The Liberating Truth

Joh 8:36 KJV  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

If the Son of God makes you free… you are “really” free!

In ancient Rome… when a son became the head of the house, for whatever reason… there were common situations where he would set free the slaves who were born into the household.

But Christ doesn’t simply make us “free”, as a Roman son would… He makes us “free indeed”“really free”!  And He does this in not only setting us free from the bondage, the guilt, and power of sin…

But also through our adoption as sons into the household of God!

Eph 1:5 KJV  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Rom 8:14-15 KJV  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  (15)  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Just as Jesus previously said… a servant won’t abide in the house forever… but a son will…

Gal 4:5-6 KJV  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  (6)  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

And all those who through faith, and continuing in His word are “disciples indeed”… are “free indeed”… because they are “sons” indeed… who will “abide forever”.


Friday, September 2, 2016

Christ at Tabernacles, Part 6 (Die In Your Sins)

Christ at Tabernacles, Part 6
(Die In Your Sins)
John 8:21-30

(The following is a true story is from De Witt Talmage) On a very dark, stormy night, out West, the wind blew down a part of a railroad bridge. A freight train came along, and it crashed into the ruin, and the engineer and conductor perished.

There was a girl living in her father’s cabin near the disaster, and she heard the crash of the freight train, and she knew that in a few moments an express train was due.

She lit a lantern, and climbed up on the one beam of the wrecked bridge, and then onto the main part of the bridge, which was trestle work, and started to cross amid the thunder and the lightning of the tempest and the raging of the torrent beneath.

One misstep and it would have been death. Amid all that horror the lantern went out. Crawling sometimes, and sometimes walking over the slippery rails and over the trestle work, she came to the other side of the river.

She wanted to get to the telegraph station where the express train did not stop, so that the danger might be telegraphed to the station where the train did stop. The train was due in five minutes.

She was one mile away from the telegraph station, but fortunately the train was late. With cut and bruised feet she flew like the wind.

Coming up to the telegraph station panting, with almost deathly exhaustion, she had only strength to shout, “The bridge is down!” when she became unconscious, and could hardly be resuscitated.

The message was sent from the station to the next station, and the train halted, and that night the brave girl saved the lives of hundreds of passengers, and saved many homes from desolation.

*  *  *  *  *
Folks… I want you to understand that every street in Higgins, TX is that railroad track…  Every business is a track… Every day, and every night is a track upon which are multitudes of people who are quickly heading toward a bridge that’s been blown down.

Every day, thousands upon thousands of people fly over the edge of that ravine… thinking that they’ll continue on over the bridge… just as they have all the other bridges in the past… Only, this one is gone now. 

God help us to take up the light we’ve been given and rush out of our comfortable homes and places of business… and our churches… and into the stormy night of the lives that are at stake here… to give warning of the destruction and the doom that lies ahead for all who continue down this track.

“The bridge is down!”

Pro 29:1 KJV  He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

Very seldom do we have any advanced knowledge of the day that we’ll die.  And you know what?  Honestly… I’m glad of that.  I really don’t want to know how much time I have left.

But one thing is sure… our time on this earth is limited.  We go about our daily lives as if we’ll live forever, when all of a sudden… forever is upon us.  There’s a bridge ahead of us that’s out.  It’s not there.

We will one day plunge over the edge… and fall headlong into our eternal destinies.  At that time, there are only two options… well, actually… directions… because there are no more options available after death.

Every person who dies will either go to be with Christ in paradise and continue with Him there until He returns to set up His eternal kingdom in the new heaven and new earth… or, they’ll go to the place that was created for Satan and his devils… and then eventually be cast with him into the lake of fire.

And this is essentially the theme of our next passage out of the 8th chapter of John. Three times in our passage today, Jesus tells the Jewish leaders, and those who are following them, that they will die in their sins

Joh 8:21 KJV  Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.

Joh 8:24 KJV  I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

Three times He flat out tells these religious people that they’re going to die in their sins…  Three times He in essence screams out to them… “the bridge is out!”  And most of them fail to heed His warning.

Some hear Him though.  We see in verse 30 that… Joh 8:30 KJV  As he spake these words, many believed on him.

But even as it is today… most… fail to listen… and they die without God and without hope.

And why is that?  What is it that causes people to continue on in unbelief, despite of all the evidence?  Why would someone continue to reject the very life saver of the gospel that’s thrown to them?  Instead, preferring to drown in the depths of their sin?

Well, one reason is because they’re…

I. Self-Righteous

Joh 8:21-22 KJV  Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.  (22)  Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.

Self-righteousness is a deadly deception… and it’s completely contrary to genuine salvation… because it leads people to think that salvation is based upon their own merits.

Throughout the New Testament… we see where Jesus repeatedly attacked the Scribes and Pharisees for this self-deception.  For instance… He told all those who were listening that… Mat 5:20 KJV  …except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

We have to be more righteous than the Scribes and Pharisees, who though outwardly… may appear to be impressive… inwardly, it was a different story.

Mat 23:27 KJV  … for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.

The religion of the Jews had degenerated into a “works”… and “race” based religion.  They felt that not only did they have to follow the law and the traditions of the elders… but their salvation was also based upon the fact that they were “Jews”

And when Jesus tells them that where He’s going… they can’t come… in their arrogant pride they mock Him by asking… Joh 8:22 KJV  … Will he kill himself?  You see… in the Jewish mind, the person who committed suicide… or “self murder”… would end up in the “darkest place in Hades.” (Josephus, The Wars of the Jews)

To the Jewish mind… suicide was “verboten”… and they’re telling themselves here… and bragging… that because they’d never do such a thing… then, of course, they’ll not go to where He’s going… because they’d never do such a horrible thing…

And this idea that man could work his way into heaven… that he can earn his own salvation… isn’t unique to the Jews, is it?  We see demonstrations of it every day.  Self-righteousness is all around us.  Ask anyone you meet on the street, or at work, or in the restaurant… wherever… “Are you a good person?” 

I’d be willing to say that maybe 9 out of 10… or even 10 out of 10… will tell you that, “Yes.  I’m basically a good person.” And, the Bible even tells us that most people will respond this way...

Pro 20:6 KJV  Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness…

Pro 12:15 KJV  The way of a fool is right in his own eyes…

The average person does in fact believe that they’re good.  In their thinking… since they’ve never killed anyone, then, they’re ok.  Or, maybe because they claim that they do more good stuff than bad stuff… that the scales will tip in their favor.

Even the known adulterer… the known thief… the known drug user… will tell you that they’re “basically” good.  And most of them, even after being caught in their sin… will tell you that they’ll probably end up going to heaven because even though they do this or that bad thing… they’re “mostly” good… so God will throw open the gates for them!

There’s a few things wrong with this line of thinking… and the first is that this line of reasoning is self-righteousness itself… that they will get into heaven based upon their own merits.

But the Bible tells us… Gal 2:16 KJV  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Tit 3:5 KJV  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…

Salvation isn’t handed out based upon my goods deeds…  Salvation is based upon my faith in Christ… who alone is good.

And another problem is that the “world’s” definition of good… and the Bible’s definition of “good”, are at odds with each other.  The world would have me define my “goodness” in comparison with someone else… some other mortal, flawed and sinful human being.

But the Bible defines “good” as “morally perfect”.  When the rich young man came to Jesus and asked Him… Mar 10:17 KJV  … Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?...

The first thing Jesus says is… Mar 10:18 KJV  … Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

“Only God is good… because only God is completely and totally, morally perfect.  Do you understanding what you’re saying?  Do you really recognize who I am?”

So the notion that any person could be “basically” good is actually using faulty logic.  First… they’re comparing themselves to God by saying they’re “good”, because only God is good.  And second… when they use that word, “basically”, they’re in fact acknowledging with that very word, that there is some “not good” stuff in them

We like to think that the Scribes and Pharisees are the epitome of self-righteous behavior… as if they’re the villains… when in actuality the problem is with us.  The only reason we dump all this bad stuff on them… is because they’re in the Bible and we aren’t. 

The truth of the matter is… if our Bibles had a more recent origin… many of our own names would be right there with them… because we do these same things.

Now, something else that causes a person to remain in unbelief is that they are…

II. Worldly

Joh 8:23 KJV  And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.

Instead of responding to their foolish taunts about suicide… Jesus puts them in their place by pointing to the great gulf that’s between them.  They’re from below… He’s from above.  They’re of this world… He’s not of this world.

And this is another reason why they can’t accept Him as Messiah or Lord… because the world can only see it’s own… it can’t see, nor will it recognize, that which is separate from it.

Joh 1:10 KJV  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

Joh 15:18 KJV  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

Materialism… humanism… immorality… pride… selfishness… these are all “worldly” hallmarks… and their source is “hell” itself.  All of them are opposed to divine truth… true righteousness… godly virtue… and holiness.

The world’s opinions are wrong.  Its aims are selfish.  Its pleasures are sinful.  Its influence is demoralizing.  Its politics are corrupt.  Its honors are empty.  Its smiles are phony.  And its love is fickle and false.

And it’s the things of this world that Satan tempts us with… because worldly-ness is mainly concerned with immediate gratification.  The same technique he used in the garden against Adam and Eve… is the same technique he used against Jesus at His temptation… is the same technique he uses against us even today… because it promises immediate gratification of our lusts…

1Jn 2:16 KJV  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

But all those who are called upon to follow after Christ… are also called to… deny themselves… take up their cross daily… and follow Him!  (Luk 9:23)  And when we set our hearts and minds to do this… and to lay aside our desire for worldly gain… He has promised to give us what we need to succeed…

2Co 12:9 KJV  … My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…

Joh 16:33 KJV  …In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Now, the last thing I can see from our passage today, as a cause for people remaining in unbelief is the fact that they simply choose to… They choose to be…

III. Willfully Blind

Joh 8:24-30 KJV  I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.  (25)  Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.  (26)  I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.  (27)  They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.  (28)  Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.  (29)  And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.  (30)  As he spake these words, many believed on him.

These Jews were being held captive to their unbelief… and their jailer was their own obstinate ignorance.  Throughout their encounters with Jesus… we can see this undercurrent of mocking disbelief and arrogance.

They had witnessed His miracles.  They heard His words.  They had seen the physical results of His witness.  They had more than enough revelation to be held accountable… and because they willfully continued in their unbelief… they would “die in their sins”.

Jesus plainly told them in verse 24, that if they didn’t believe that He was God in the flesh… then they couldn’t be saved!  He said… Joh 8:24 KJV  …if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

You need to understand that the “he” is in italics, which tells us that this word is not in the original language, but was inserted in order to clarify.  So what Jesus is saying here, in verse 24… and again in… Joh 8:28 KJV   … ye know that I am he…

Is that He is the “I Am”… the “ego eimi”, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that met Moses at the burning bush and told him His name was… Exo 3:14 KJV  … I AM THAT I AM…

And unless they’re willing to acknowledge that truth of His deity… and believe in Him… they will die in their sins.

He also told them that He had many more things that He wanted to say to them… to convince them of who He was… but they simply didn’t have the “ears to hear”… But… there will be a day coming very soon… when the truth of His claims will be made clear to everyone…

Joh 8:28 KJV   …When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

He would die on a cross in just a few months… then three days later… He would rise from the dead.  His resurrection from the dead would be the Father’s glorious stamp of approval of all that He said and did.

And everyone who continues in their unbelief... will quite literally have “hell to pay”.  Because that is the eternal destination of everyone who “dies in their sins”

But so long as there’s life… there’s hope.  You no longer have to remain in your unbelief.  You can believe in Jesus unto salvation today.  Place your faith and trust in Him.  Believe that His death… that the blood He shed on the cross was for your sins… and receive Him into your life as Lord…

And you will be saved.  You will not die in you sins.