TRUTH

John 8:31-32
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

My aim in this four part series is that we, dear Christian sister, not be swept away by the cultural deception that there is no absolute truth.

We have been looking at John 8:31-32 where Jesus makes it plain if we are abiding disciples we will know the truth which leads to a truth liberating freedom.

The only way to know this truth is to know the one who is Truth.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).


Jesus is the truth. He is the Gospel. What makes the Gospel true is Jesus. He is the Good News. On the Cross he bore our sins, becoming our bloody sacrifice, absorbing the wrath of God for his people. Now, Jesus walks by our living graves and says, “Live!” And we come out a new creation who knows the one who is Truth and he gives us the ability to be set free by the truth of his word.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).

Through the Cross. Through the Gospel. Through Jesus Christ, God has bestowed grace and truth upon us who believe.

Pilate asked the question, every generation asks.

Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him (John 18:38).

What is truth? Sadly, truth was standing right before Pilate and he could not, would not, recognize it.

So, too the truth stands before all men and women and they ask the same question oblivious to the Eternal Truth.

Now our culture has gone so far as to do away with the question. No absolute truth is the only way they can avoid asking the question and needing to deal with the only answer that will every satisfy us. You can do away with the question, but the answer is still before you and if not here and now, then in eternity you will have to face the one who is truth and the question will be answered for you.

To know the truth is not just to know something is true, but to understand it and apply it to our lives.

The definition of the word Jesus used means:
To learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel. It is the Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman.

So, it is an intimate knowing, just not knowing about, but knowing deeply.

The way we do that is reading the truth in God’s word and applying to our lives. Get into a good Bible Study. There is really no excuse for not studying the Bible.

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Open it up; pray for the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom, knowledge and discernment to understand what you are reading.

There are wonderful resources on line. But, be discerning. Desiring God.com is a good place to start.

But, dear sister, you are an abiding disciple, so just what have you been set free from?

That is for next time. What is this glorious freedom?

Remember, you are loved

DISCIPLE

I began this series with the statement that we don’t want to be swept away by the cultural deception that there is no absolute truth. Christ followers know there is because they know the one who is Truth.

We are looking at John 8:31-32 so we can understand truth and be set free.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

I said that the order of these words are important and can’t be changed.

You can’t be set free unless you know the truth and you won’t know the truth unless you are a disciple that abides or continues in Jesus’ word.

Last time we discovered that abiding means to continue to believe and obey His word. It means to grab hold and cling to His word. It is grabbing and clinging to the end. It is persevering through life’s storms and peaceful times with the same tenacity of grabbing and clinging until you leave this earth and meet Jesus face to face.

Who can abide? Disciples of Jesus.

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Disciple

What is a disciple?

Jesus said in Luke 6:40:
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.

The Greek word Jesus used for disciple means to learn and become attached to your teacher and follow their teaching and conduct of life.

For a follower of Jesus that means to be attached to him and follow his teaching and conduct of life. In other words, to be conformed to his image which is what you were born for (Romans 8:29).

To be a disciple, you must have been born again. As Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John 3:3:

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.

And Peter wrote about in 1Peter 1:3, 23-25.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1Peter 1:3).

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Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you (1Peter 1:23-35)
.

It is through Jesus’ word, the Gospel, the Good News, that we are born again. It is through his word, all that is recorded in the Bible, that we are to abide or continue in, as we journey the disciple’s road through this life.


John said in John 8:31 if you are a disciple you will abide or continue in Jesus’ word.

The abiding disciple can expect a exceedingly great reward: truth that sets us free.

Next time we will study the word truth. What is this truth that has such great power?

EVERYTHING IS OURS

So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s (1 Corinthians 3:21-23 ).

My relationship to Jesus determines my relationship to everything else.

“If we belong to Him, everything belongs to us.” -Alexander Maclaren

Open your eyes! Everything is ours!

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ABIDE

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Dear Sister, don’t be swept away by the cultural deception that there is no absolute truth. We, followers of Christ, know better. To me one of the most important things Jesus said was:

John 8:31-32

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Notice these words:

Abide (Continue in the NAS and KJ)
Disciple
Truth
Free

This order cannot be changed. You can’t be set free unless you know the truth and you won’t know the truth unless you are a disciple that abides or continues in Jesus’ word.

Let’s take these words one at a time.

Abide or Continue

The only way you know you are a disciple of Jesus is if you abide in His word. It is not if you abide you will be my disciples, but if you are my disciples you will abide.

Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them (John 14:21).

We don’t keep his commandments in order to love him, but we love him, so we keep his commandments.

We aren’t working to get salvation or keep our salvation. Because, we are disciples made so by God, we abide.

If we are in Christ (Romans 8) we are abiding in Him. We can’t come out of Christ because we didn’t put ourselves in Christ, God did (1Cor. 1:30). So, we will, if true disciples, always abide with Christ and keep His commandments. Why? Because, “it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Phil. 2:13).

So, because God is working in us, we can do what verse 12 says to do.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil.2:12).

In other words, it is God who is working in us to complete our sanctification and our part is to abide or continue in his word.

Abide means to continue to believe and obey his word. It means to grab hold and cling to his word. It is grabbing and clinging to the end. It is persevering through life’s storms and peaceful times with the same tenacity of grabbing and clinging until you leave this earth and meet Jesus face to face.

You may not have had a radical, life-shaking conversion as the Apostle Paul did, but it is how you continue in the faith and how you end that shows you are a true disciple of Jesus.

I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Rev 3:8

It is receiving this testimony from Jesus, that is abiding: he in us and we in him.

When we abide in his word, we are not swayed from it by Satan’s temptations or the lies, and deception of men, nor by rejection or persecutions. This is evidence then that we are truly disciples and He has come to us in power and dwells through His Spirit in our hearts which enables us to abide or continue in His word.

So, practically, how do we abide or continue in His word?

Here are 6 things I do.

  1. Take a deep breath and relax, dear Sister. You don’t do this alone; the Spirit is your Helper.
  2. Pray. Tell the Lord you want your relationship with Him to deepen. You want to spend time with Him, so would He meet you in prayer and the reading of His word. Ask the Spirit to show you new and wonderful things in His word you haven’t seen or understood before.
  3. Read a portion of Scripture – slowly. Go for quality, not quantity. Dig for gold- don’t rake leaves. Start at the beginning of a book and read straight through it: from beginning to end, reading a portion each day. If you don’t know where to start, start with the book of John. Ask the what, when, why, who, and how questions of the passage. Ask the Holy Spirit to answer these questions for you.
  4. Apply the passage to your life. Ask yourself what you learned about God and man in this passage? Ask what should you do because of this passage? Ask the Holy Spirit to use it to make you more like Jesus.
  5. Pray what you have learned back to God.
  6. Live out in the Holy Spirit’s power what you have learned.

This is what I have learned to do. My prayer is you continue in His word, whatever method you may use.

Next, we will take up the word, disciple. Who is a disciple and what does it mean to be one.

You are loved!

EMBRACING LIFE’S SEASONS: THE EXAMPLE OF RUTH

Lesson Three

This has been fun. Have my coffee. Let’s go.

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Chapters Three and Four

Please take the time to read Ruth 3 and 4, if you have not. We are just considering the seasons in Ruth’s life and how she dealt with them, but this book is so wonderfully rich.

In Chapter 3 Naomi sends Ruth to ask Boaz to fulfill his role as Kinsman-Redeemer and he agrees, but first he must offer this role to a closer relative. Boaz assures Ruth if the closer relative will not redeem her, he will. Ruth tells all of this to Naomi and she says:

Ruth 3:18:

  1. She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.”

Boaz meets with the other relative who declines to redeem Ruth. Boaz then performs the duties of the Kinsman-Redeemer as we see in:

Ruth 4:9-13, 17

  1. Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon.
  2. Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.”
  3. Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem,
  4. and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the LORD will give you by this young woman.”
  5. So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son.
  6. And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Discovery

In these passages, what seasons do we see in Ruth’s life?

Ruth’s season of waiting, although a short one, must have been a nail-biter. From all you have read about Ruth, how do you think she spent this time?

What common thread runs through all of Ruth’s seasons of life?

Summary

Wow! What a story. In Chapters 3 and 4 you might come up with several answers to the first question, what seasons do we see in this time of Ruth’s life?
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The big one I saw was waiting. I hate waiting. Ruth must have been pacing the floor waiting to hear if Boaz the kind and trustworthy man she had come to know would redeem her or would it be a stranger she didn’t know. Maybe, could it be, when Naomi told Ruth in verse 18 to wait until you learn how the matter turns out, she was quoting Genesis 49:18 to her?

“I wait for your salvation, O Lord.”

I see Naomi grabbing Ruth’s hands in her’s and pulling her to the couch. “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out.”

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I have waited many years for some prayers to be answered and I am still waiting. Sometimes, I cry out with the Palmist: “My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O Lord—how long” (Psalm 6:3)?

But then, I remember all the answered prayers and knowing that God is working all things for my good, I have learned to rest in God’s kind Providence.

We also see Ruth in the season of remarriage and motherhood. Ruth has learned that God provides redemption and restoration for those who trust and follow Him in good seasons and bad seasons.

Through all the seasons of Ruth’s life we see her fulfilling the vow she made to Naomi while still in Moab.

Ruth 1:16-17
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”

Marriage, Childlessness, Widowhood, Working, Caregiving, Remarriage, Motherhood

Through it all Ruth displays love and loyalty, commitment to the LORD and people, faith and trust in God that allowed her to lay down her life for others, and also enabled her to wait patiently for the LORD to work on her behalf.

This is a beautiful story with a happy ending. We sigh with relief when we know Ruth and Naomi are happily under Boaz’s care.

Application

How do you survive in seasons of waiting? If you were in Ruth’s place would you be pacing the floor? Rush down to the city gate to see for yourself what was going on? Preparing a plan B?

Think about the season you are in now. What are your main concerns? What occupies the largest chunk of your thought processes? How does Romans 8:28 fit into your life?

Thinking about the future, what or who are you putting your faith in to get you to the great eternal season? Your good deeds or are you falling upon the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ and what He did for you on the cross?

William Cowper’s hymn, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” fits so well with the book of Ruth. Sing it often.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sov’reign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.