Free To Be

You can be free, my friend, of the things which threaten you when you know the truth.

Scripture: John 8:31


Alright, thank you very much. Always nice to be put on the air by a friendly voice. I tell you, I appreciate it. Back in 1935, the announcer was hungover. I was live every morning at 7 o’clock, from a Philadelphia station. And one morning the announcer was hungover, and he put me on the air, and then he forgot that his mic was still open, he said, “That’ll hold him.” [chuckle] Well, how in the world are you? You doing all right today? Yes, I care how you are, I don’t know many of you personally. We won’t meet until we get together in a great radio rally, and the glory… I expect to have one, or two, or three, or a dozen. And we’ll meet then, but yes, my heart goes out to you, because I’ve lived long enough to know some of the things that happen to people.

And I know some of you are going through troubles, and some have had sorrow come into your lives. Some have the breakup of your home staring you in the face, some have job troubles and problems. And some of you are just happy and wish somebody would share your happiness. You don’t wanna be shouted at or given advice. Just have somebody to share some happiness with you. And my prayer, of course, is that God will take all of those different experiences, and focus His blessed truth on them so that you will have something just for yourself. I pray that that may be so today, by God’s grace and through the work of His indwelling Holy Spirit.

You and I are studying in the Gospel of John. And I want to stop on some of these verses. Our Lord Jesus said, as recorded in John 8:31, “If he continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” These two verses, 31 and 32, are immediately following the statement that says, “As He spoke these words, many believed on Him.” Then He said, “If you continue in my Word, then you’re my disciples indeed.”

Small thought here. The small and momentary religious experiences that we have from time to time, are not the proof of genuine commitment to Christ. You remember the two old ladies that came out of the movie, then said, “Wasn’t that a wonderful movie? I cried through the whole thing. Now, lets have a cup of coffee.” Much the same reaction has been witnessed, when a missionary would come back from the foreign field, and tell stories of what had happened to him or her on the field. And people would be deeply moved momentarily. But afterwards, they were still the same; in their lifestyle and in their motivations. I’ve dealt with people who were sorry about their sin, sorry, I suppose, that they had been discovered in their sins, even cried about it. But I found them going back again to the same practices that had tripped them up before.

So, it’s one thing to say, “Yes Lord, I believe on you.” It’s another thing to continue with Him. Day by day, yielding to His blessed will and feeding on His Word. “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The fact is, that we are prisoners of our own practices, and our own habit patterns. We used to live in Philadelphia, next door to some people who had some interesting habits. One is they shouted at each other, we could hear them through the walls. In Philadelphia, many of you Philadelphia people will smile at this, we have what we call the row houses. Maybe some of you live in one. Well, we did, when we were first married, we lived in a row house. And it was a very nice home, really. When I went to rent it, I said to the rental agent, now I said, “I have heard that in order to get along, your rent oughtn’t to be more than one week salary, and I’m making $28 a week. Will you rent this house to me for $28 a month?” He said “Yes, I will.” [chuckle] Yes, it was back in 1935, [chuckle] A while ago. I don’t think you could touch it for $28 today.

But, there we were, and it was a row house. And there’s just one wall in between you, and the next segment of that row house. And we would hear these people, and they would shout. Not that they were fighting, they just talked at the top of their voices. And then every night about 10 o’clock, you would hear this thumping. What was happening was, that this next door neighbor, whose name I think was Harry, if I recall, he would go around and lock all the doors, and then shake them, to be sure they were locked. And you would hear him go to the back door and lock it and then shake it. And then he would go to the front door, and lock it, and then shake it. [chuckle] Every day, at 10:00 PM, that was his custom, and it never varied. We are, in many cases, the prisoners of our own habit patterns, aren’t we? So that the occasional lecture, the occasional emotional experience, is not going to change the basic lifestyle of the individual.

That’s why I have very little hope of people being different after having listened maybe to one of my sermons because unless they get in touch with Jesus, and stay in touch with Him as a result, they won’t be much different. I always insist on nailing the thing down. That’s why I give a gospel invitation at the close of my sermons, because unless people do something about getting in touch with the Lord Jesus, and then stay in touch with Him, not much is going to happen because they are the victims of their own habits and they’ll drift right back into the same old procedures again, won’t they? “If ye continue,” said He, “in my word. Then, are ye my disciples indeed.” What is a disciple? A disciple is a person, so far as this passage is concerned, a disciple is a person who having met the Lord Jesus stays with Him, in touch with Him, through His Word. And then something happens, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

First thing is, you don’t know the truth. Paul the apostle said, “The God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should shine unto them.” You don’t know the truth, you think you do, but you don’t. It takes the revelation of God, through the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God, to tell you what the real truth is about yourself. This man said, “I was pretty proud of myself until I started reading the Bible, and then I discovered that I was proud, and greedy, and lustful, and stubborn. Oh, what a mess I am,” he said, “Would somebody pray for me?” “Ye shall know the truth.” Stay with the Lord Jesus in the Word of God and in prayer and the Holy Spirit will reveal to you what the truth is about you and about Him. “Then,” he says, “The truth shall make you free.”

You want to try that for yourself? Many of us have a laundry list when we pray. Lord bless this, and bless that, and help with this and do that. We have sort of a list of things that we ask God to take care of and that’s alright. I believe in prayer lists, I use one myself. But now, think in terms of getting to know the Lord Jesus and His Word well enough that He reveals to you your own needs, your own life, the areas in your personality that need to be made free to serve God. Are there some areas of life where you just freeze up? Do you just sorta clam up when somebody’s name is mentioned? Because you grow cold inside with memory and resentment and rage, or fear. Are there some places that you just don’t go because… Will they threaten you, or they bring back memories, or they provide for meeting people that you dislike? Or whatever it may be. Are you, in other words, the prisoner of your memories, and of your lifestyle, and of your patterns of life, and your habits, and is that what is running your life? Oftentimes, that’s it.

Beloved, God can free you up, He can free you up to the place where you don’t freeze up when somebody’s name is mentioned. He can free you up to the place where you don’t feel angry when you get into a situation that brings back memories. See, the Lord can do for you this: He can enable you to look at your memory, or at the experience, or at the person at arm’s length, so to speak, without being threatened any longer.

You’ll be able to sing as I did years ago with Ray Schulenberg, he and I sang together, “The old account was settled long ago.” “Long ago, long ago, yes, the old account was settled long ago. And I praise the Lord today, for He washed my sins away, and the old account was settled long ago.” You can be free, my friend, of the things which threaten you when you know the truth. God will enable you to be able to look at your memories, and look at your life, and look at your relationships, without being threatened, without being hurt, without being frozen either with fear, or rage, or both. Would you talk to Him about that as you pray? The Lord Jesus Christ is the one who sets you free.

Verse 36 goes on to say, “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” We’ll get at the verses in between that talks about, “Whoso committeth sin is the servant of sin.” I’ll get at that in the next broadcast, but I want just now to remind you.

First of all, you don’t really know yourself, many of you. You live in a never, never world of personal make believe. You hope for the best with yourself, and when your own needs and shortcomings happen to come into conscious focus, you tend to shunt them off and think about something more pleasant. Or, when something is mentioned, or some experience comes that threatens you or that brings back unpleasant memories, you tend just to freeze it up and avoid it.

Now you know I’m telling you the truth, don’t you? What do you do about that? Get into the Word of God, let the Holy Spirit of God teach you about yourself and then let Jesus, our blessed almighty Savior, let Jesus set you free. You’ll be talking to Him about these things today, I’m confident. Tell Him the truth, will you? And let Him give you the victory. He is the victor so He can give you the victory. We’ll get at this a little more the next time we get together.

Blessed Father, today, oh, may we know the truth about ourselves and about Jesus and may it make a difference in our lives. I ask in His name, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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