The last week of study! You made it! There will be a final wrap-up post next week where you get to pull together everything you learned, so don’t leave us yet. I am so proud of you for hanging in there. I pray God has richly blessed, Jesus has come alongside, and the Spirit has been moving to and fro through your soul over these past several months. MONTHS! Without further adieu, here is “Freedom.”
- John 8:32 “and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
- John 8:34 “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.'”
- John 8:36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
- John 3:7 “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.'”
- John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
- Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
- John 15:4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”
YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH WILL MAKE YOU FREE
Read John 8:31-32. What stands out to you?
What two things does Jesus promise in verse 32?
What is the precursor to that promise?
In order to be free, we must know the truth. In order to know the truth, we must continue in his word. To continue in His word, we must be His disciples. What does being a disciple mean?
Read Isaiah 50:4. What stands out to you?
What, according to that verse, does a disciple do?
Read Matthew 4:18. Who called the disciples?
Read Matthew 5:1. Though Jesus retreated from the crowds, He welcomed the disciples. What stands out to you about that fact?
In Matthew 11:1, what were the disciples given?
Read Matthew 14:15-19. What was the role of the disciples in the feeding of the crowds?
Is this what the disciples initially had in mind for the crowds’ dinner? What was their recommendation?
As disciples, we are chosen. We have access to Christ that is not available to those outside of discipleship. We receive instruction from Him. We must be very careful; just as the disciples had the wrong idea on how to get the crowd fed, we can have the wrong idea about particular issues as well.
The disciples first cleared that idea through Jesus, Who had other plans. They willingly accepted His different idea as well as their role in that idea. We must do the same; we must check our ideas through Christ first. For He knows the way that is best. Our humility on the front end frees us to see the glory of God work through a situation. Being a disciple opens doors to a truth you might not otherwise see. It is not clear if the crowd realized the baskets being passed around with food were miraculously filled. They simply ate. The disciples knew what they started out with; and the disciples were able to see the miracle unfold before their eyes. They saw a truth behind a seemingly ordinary set of circumstances.
Being a disciple of Christ allows us the opportunity to see His hand working behind the scenes. It allows us the opportunity to see the real truth in a situation: that God is working. He is in control, and He longs to manifest His glory in our lives. That truth will make you free.
EVERYONE WHO COMMITS SIN IS THE SLAVE TO SIN
Read John 8:34. When you think of slavery, what comes to mind?
Read Matthew 6:19-34.
In this passage, Jesus pits two things against each other: God & wealth.
Using verses 25-34, list the qualities and/or characteristics used to describe wealth.
List the qualities/characteristics used to describe God.
What are the qualities of treasures on earth?
What are the qualities of treasures in heaven?
What is the impact of the dark eye?
What is the impact of the clear eye?
Review your lists. What is your reaction to those things listed for wealth, treasures on earth, and the dark eye?
What is your reaction to those things listed for God, treasures in heaven, and the clear eye?
What might your life be like if you chose wealth, earthly treasures, and the dark eye?
What might your life be like if you chose God, treasures in heaven, and the clear eye?
“…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…” –Joshua 24:15. Meditate on that.
IF THE SON MAKES YOU FREE, YOU WILL BE FREE INDEED
Read Matthew 9:19-22.
Imagine you had a wound on your arm that would not stop bleeding. It bleeds, not enough to kill you, but it will not heal on it’s own.
What would you do?
If doctors couldn’t help, would you ask your Bible study or church for prayer? Why or why not?
Imagine this going on for twelve years. You begin to get the feeling of where this woman lived her every day. She had probably been to countless doctors. She had likely tried every wives tale healing. She had probably gone to her church, and they had probably tried to pray her better. When that didn’t work, maybe they tried to cast out whatever demon they may have thought assailed her. But then, because such a hemorrhage was considered unclean, she was probably shunned.
Sick, probably weak from continued blood-loss, without answers, and shunned. This woman was held captive by something she tried and tried to change, but couldn’t. Her loneliness could only be eclipsed by her shame.
We are this woman. We have secret sins and struggles we don’t dare tell anyone about, for if they knew, surely they would shun us. Or so we believe. You will not have to write out your secret sins. However, please take time, right now, to list them out to God in your heart. He already knows them; do not be afraid to verbalize them to Him.
And the peace of God will spread through you. He knows your heart and loves you.
The woman in this scripture had likely heard of Jesus’ other miraculous healings. She’d probably followed Him around to see for herself if the stories she had heard were true. And she’d probably started and stopped a dozen times, wanting to ask for help like the others did, but too afraid her shame would be exposed.
Maybe her heart grew to believe this man names Jesus had the power of life and death. And maybe she grew to believe He could heal her as well.
Her shame likely warred with her need. And her faith grew in the process. So much so that she believe that merely touching His hem would be enough. She did not seek to be cleared of her loneliness, she just sought to be healed of her wound. One day she ducked her head and reached out a hand.
As Jesus felt the healing power leave Him, He turned. Not to scold, but to meet the woman whose faith in His healing power was so great, He didn’t even have to know she sought it for it to have its full effect.
But her story does not end there.
Read what Jesus says to her in Matthew 9:22. Write it out in your journal.
And in those brief words, He restored far more than her health. “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” (NASB”
“Daughter”: she was no longer alone
“take courage”: no longer a reason to be ashamed
“your faith has made you well”: re-establishing her as a welcomed member of the fellowship that had to call her unclean.
You see, Jesus isn’t content with healing our bodies. He does that, but He does so much more. He longs for far more than that. He touches the outcast, He encourages the shamed, and He re-establishes that which was once unclean.
He doesn’t want to just take away your sin, He wants to restore your life.
For this one truth will ring throughout the halls of time: “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” –John 8:36
What do you need to hand to Jesus to be freed of the burden you carry? Give them to Him now.
YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN
Read John 3:1-12. What stands out to you?
In verse 12, Jesus speaks of two categories of things: earthly and heavenly.
Read Colossians 1:13-14. What are the two domains described by Paul?
With those two kingdoms in mind, read Colossians 3:5-9. List out the characteristic actions of being in the domain of darkness.
For verses 12-17, list the characteristics for the kingdom of His beloved Son.
Read Galatians 5:19-23. Add these qualities/characteristics to the appropriate list from above.
If you are a believer, your life should look more and more like the kingdom of His Son. But how do we get there?
Read the following scriptures and note what might be done to move life from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of His beloved Son.
2 Corinthians 10:3-7
We have not obtained it. But by renewing our minds, controlling our thoughts, and counting all as rubbish for the sake of knowing Christ, but the grace of God and strength of the Holy Spirit, we can be more and more like the kingdom of God.
What is God asking you to do as a result of what you have learned?
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD
Read John 3:13-36. Note what stands out to you.
Create a list titled “Belief” and one called “Disobedience”.
Review John 13:36 and list those things associated with belief.
Turn to James 2:17-26. Add to the lists what James writes about the relationship between belief and obedience.
Look over each list you have created thus far. What are your thoughts on what this has to do with freedom?
Read James 1:5-8. What stands out to you?
Add characteristics form this passage to the appropriate belief/disobedience list.
It would seem that part of doubting actually has to do with our actions (disobedience). So often we only focus on the heart-aspect of doubt and altogether skip over what our actions are communicating.
Imagine the disobedience list describes one person and the belief list describes another.
Which person do you want to be?
The result of faith, which is the foundation for endurance, is being complete and lacking in nothing. What an amazing concept.
On one list: bondage.
On the other: freedom.
The choice is yours.