You will be really free John 8:31-39

Have you ever wanted just to escape? To get away from everything and start life all over again? Just to be free? People sometimes come to me as a minister saying that kind of thing. I want life to be different. I want to be free! It may be pressures at work or the pressures of family life. Some want to be free of suffering and pain, or free from worries and fears. Some want to be free of guilt. I wish I was free! Occasionally people get so desperate that they even think of ending their lives. Quite often people think that the only way their problems can be solved would be if they run away and start again somewhere new and different. But that’s not usually what they really want. And that is not usually the best thing to do either. There’s no point in running away from one set of problems straight into another load which turn out to be far worse. It is usually far better to get life sorted out right where we are – to find the strength to cope with life and all its challenges whatever comes our way, here and now.
The truth is that there is only one way to be really free. And that’s where these words Jesus said are so important and so exciting.
John 8 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Jesus Christ is the one person – and the only person – who can help us all face the challenges and the problems life brings. Jesus can make the difference – He can set us free!
We aren’t in jail on death row – but there are different kinds of prisons.
Certainly many of the Jews listening to Jesus would have felt like that, living precarious existence trapped under the Roman Occupation. People today can feel equally imprisoned by life. Struggling with work, or unemployment, or poverty or debt. Facing difficulties in the family, perhaps struggling as carers or as single parents, or battling with loneliness. Many are fighting illness or pain, or worries, stress and even depression. Our world is full of hurting people, even in our comfortable community of North Springfield. Social services, doctors and hospitals and psychiatrists can help. But whatever our circumstances – Jesus can always help.
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
The Jews were. They were locked in their traditions. They proudly claimed, “we are Abraham’s descendants.” They clung to their historic status as God’s chosen people. But those traditions blinded them to the truth which Jesus came to be and to bring. The same can happen to people today. They can be so locked in our backgrounds that we are closed to the truth which Jesus brings. People can be so caught up in this world that they never find God because they are too busy running away from Him. People can be blinded by the spin doctors and the hidden persuaders and the image manipulators of this world which is dominated by the media which makes sure people never spare a thought for God. Some people can even be so complacent and comfortable in their religious churchgoing that they shut their ears to Jesus who really annoyed the religious people of his day by demanding that they take up the cross and follow Him, whatever the cost. We all need to break free from our backgrounds and our traditions is we are going to discover the true freedom which Jesus offers us all.
John 8 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’

Do you want to be free? Really free?
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Then the Bible tells us that some people are actually IMPRISONED BY THE DEVIL.
Jesus said that was the situation the Jews were in.
44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!
The devil is a liar and he likes to trap people so they cannot come to Jesus. Over the years we have helped a number of people to break free from the grip of the devil. Especially when we were living in Borehamwood, the place where the Hammer House of Horror films and television series were made as well as parts of films like Omen and The Exorcist. There we met a number of people whose lives were gripped by the evil powers which the Bible calls demons.
Some people were dragged into the devil’s hands by FORTUNE TELLING, palm reading, tarot cards and astrology. We visited a house troubled by poltergeists where the residents reported seeing objects flying around the room, which all started because people had been reading Tarot Cards.
The lives of other people we met had been ruined by dabbling in SPIRITUALISM, trying to contact the dead by mediums or seances. We were introduced to Julie, a drug addict and dealer who was seeing hideous demons around her house, at the point when her children were being terrified by those appearances as well. Her problem was not medical but spiritual. We prayed with Julie and she was set free from those demons which had entered her 15 years earlier when a group of teenage girls had been “playing” with a Ouija board. Julie had been troubled by experiences of supernatural knowledge when she read Tarot Cards ever since. It was wonderful to see Julie’s life totally transformed as she was baptised and became a church member and turned her back completely on the drugs she had been relying on to cope.
Then there were people whose lives were damaged as they dabbled in MAGIC, using spells and charms, or witchcraft and voodoo. We saw how spells and curses could actually hurt people. But we also saw how the power of Jesus Christ was so much greater than all the powers of evil! Pat, the church warden of the local Anglican Church, suffered all kinds of strange experiences in her own home once a month when a coven of witches were meeting just a few doors away. But we prayed in Pat’s house and the disturbances stopped. Then there was another couple. He was English and had married his South American wife while he was serving the Anglican Church in South America. Her sister back in South America was a witch and although the couple were now living in England their home was attacked by all kinds of curses. Their home caught fire when there was no rational explanation for the fire to have started in that way. The veranda collapsed nearly killing their baby. Despite his qualifications and experience the husband had been unable to get a job for two years. They came to us for help because their 18 month old baby would not sleep but cried all night. We prayed for the family and their home and broke the curses. The baby upstairs stopped crying and from then on slept through the night. The very next day he got a permanent job.
Fortune telling, spiritualism, magic. You may have seen some of these things presented as entertainment last week on a so-called reality show called Celebrity Haunted Mansion. On the contrary, all these forms of the occult are actually doorways to danger. Trick, no treat! Ways which the devil uses to deceive and trap people. But here is the Good News. As we proved time and time again in our years in Borehamwood,
36 if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Imprisoned by circumstances. Imprisoned by our backgrounds. Imprisoned by the devil. I pray that nobody here has fallen into the grip of the devil by dabbling with the occult. And I pray that we will all be on our guard from now on. But like every other human being who has ever lived, apart from Jesus, the Bible tells us that there is one thing all of us by nature are imprisoned by. Until Jesus sets us free, every one of us is a slave to sin.
It was true of the Jews and it is true of us.
34 Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.
Somebody once said that there are two kinds of freedom. The false freedom which says we can do what we like, and the true freedom to do what we ought to do. We are all good at doing what we WANT to do. But without Jesus none of us are any good at doing what we ought to do. By nature we are imprisoned by pride and greed and selfishness and deceit – all the evil thoughts and words and deeds which the Bible calls sin. All the things which get in the way of us being the kind of people we ought to be and which in our hearts we want to be. We are imprisoned by sin – whether it’s the traps of materialism or alcohol or drugs or gambling or immorality, or the more subtle sins. What A.W.Tozer has called “the fine threads of the self-life, the hyphenated sins of the human spirit.” The “self sins”, “self-sufficiency, self-pity, self absorption, self aggrandizement, self-castigation, self-deception, self-exaltation, self-deprecation, self-indulgence.”
If we are honest with ourselves, we know that within all of us there is that bias towards doing wrong. When faced with the choice between two evils, Mae West said she would choose the one which she hadn’t tried before. We know the same grip which sin has on our own lives. Jesus spoke the truth. We are indeed slaves to sin. And we know that sin will bring the judgment of the Holy God upon us. So we know that we need Jesus to set us free.
34 Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it for ever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Jesus Christ the Son of God can set anyone free. Jesus healed the sick and drove out demons. He calmed the storms of life and even brought the dead back to life. And by dying on the cross and taking the punishment we deserve, paying the penalty we should have paid, Jesus has broken the grip which sin and death and the devil have on all of our lives. Jesus has made the way for us to be set free from sin, for our sins to be forgiven and for us to share in his resurrection life, eternal life, life in all its fulness.
So how can we be free from sin?
John 1 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Jesus sets us free by making us God’s children, as we receive Him as our Saviour and believe in Him. As we put our trust in Jesus, we are born again and begin to live a new life!
Are there things in your life you want to be free from? Things you are trapped by? In your circumstances? In your background? Are you still trapped by sin – maybe even trapped by the devil? Jesus is waiting to set you free, today, right here, right now.
John 8 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

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