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." (NIV)
Why then are so many Christians who know the Bible not free?
We do not know the truth in the Biblical sense.
When Jesus uses the word "know". It is the same word that's used for the closest and most personal relationship between a man and a woman.
We could translate in our culture John8:31-32
32. Then you will connect deeply with and experience the truth intimately, and the truth will set you free." (NIV)
We could be suffering with a disease and go to the doctor. He could give us some medicine and explain that if we take this we will be well. When we get home and feel sick we could look at the medicine and say, "I will be okay now, I know the cure" "Its in this bottle"
Unless we apply the medicine and it becomes part of us it is powerless to help us.
Head knowledge is not enough !!!!
How does this work practically? How are we not using and applying the truth in our lives.
Sample Discussion Questions
- In the area of our woundedness
James 5:16 "Therefore confess your sins (faults, struggles) to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (NIV)
In church culture we learn to pretend that we are doing well and because of this we are not healed. We put on our Sunday masks and fake it. Many christians are hurting, angry, struggling with unforgiveness and yet fake being okay.
King David wrote, "that God desires truth in the inward parts." Psalm 51:6
- In the way we treat and regard ourselves
Rom 8:1, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (NIV)
Rom 12:3, "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober (sound) judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you" (NIV)
Very often Christians do not have a sober estimation of themselves. We tend to overrate ourselves (often because of feelings of inferiority and we try to compensate) or see ourselves as nothing and are very self condemning.
Very often peoples self talk is very critical.
- I am ugly.
- I am not very clever
- I always make mistakes
- I always mess things up
- Others have gifts and abilities and I don't
- I shouldn't struggle like this
- I should do better
- People don't like me
Many of us would benefit by standing in front of a mirror and applying God's word to our lives and nurturing our lives with the word of God. Saying things like:
- "I am fearfully and wonderfully made" Ps 139
- "I am a child of God adopted into His family"
- "I have a purpose and a destiny in God"
- "I have God given gifts and abilities"
- "I am forgiven, oved and accepted in Christ"
- "I am not a loser but I am a winner because of Christ"
God made us out of the dust of the earth but doesn't want us to live there.
We will always strive for the approval of others unless we are conscious of God's love and acceptance comfortable with the person He has made us to be. As people we are often condemning of one another but even more of ourselves. Often we are not at peace with the person we are.
- In our tolerance of sin.
Often we know what is right Biblically and yet choose to live in a way that totally disregards this. We know what the Bible says with our heads but this has not become part of us.
Examples : sexuality, honesty, the way we treat people (perhaps in our family)
Letting go of the familiar ways of coping can be very scary. But will pay off in the long term. Eg. Dawn
We live with sin because its:
- Feels good (at least at first)
- Gives instant pleasure (at first)
- In the way we relate to God.
What has shaped our view of God?
- God is a caring person who will accept us no matter how we live. Doesn't care what we do!!
- God is a harsh judgemental individual who is only interested in rules and regulations.
Truth is in God's word. (read New Testament in modern translation)
- Why do you think Christians hide their woundedness?
- How do you see yourself?
- How do you think God sees you?
- There may be a difference between how you see yourself and how God sees you. If so how did this occur
- If God were describing you what would He say?
- How would you describe God?