You know the common view of Jesus? Kind, patient, meek, mild? That is true sometimes. But not in John 8. Jesus really puts it all on the table, and tells the Pharisees what he sees in their hearts.
Jesus just got done telling them that sin enslaves them. But if they will believe in Jesus, he will set them free.
The Pharisees are really put off by that, claiming to be descendents of Abraham, enslaved to no one! Jesus counters, saying if they were children of Abraham, they would do what Abraham did...and listen to God. So, Jesus brings into question who they really belong to.
John 8:42 Jesus told them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me."
Now Jesus pulls out all the stops:
43 Why can't you understand what I am saying? It's because you can't even hear me! 44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Then Jesus asks a question of them (of his enemies) that no average person would normally be able to ask 46 Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin?
Then Jesus finishes the logical progression of his message:
And since I am telling you the truth, why don't you believe me? 47 Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don't listen because you don't belong to God.
You know how they reacted? They began calling him names! No kidding. They called him a Samaritan (a racist slur). And then said Jesus was possessed by a demon (a religious slur).
Jesus does not back down. He says a few things, then this: 51 I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!
They immediately retort: 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?
Here is how Jesus responds: 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad." 57 The people said, "You aren't even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?
Based on Jesus' answer below, what do you think he is saying about himself? Who is he saying that he is?58 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!"
Here is their reaction: 59 At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.
Remember the phrase, "I Am" is reserved for only God. So, once again, Jesus is clearly putting forth his identity.
Before Abraham was born, Jesus existed. Eternally. "I am."
Those who say that Jesus never claimed to be God, have never read the gospels!
Jesus is God Himself manifest in the flesh. He is the image of the invisible God.
First of all, we have to acknowledge that the Bible is the one and only truth. We can know it is truth by studying fulfilled prophecy and looking at historical facts. John 14:29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Prophecy helps us believe. And, while there are more than 25,000 archeological digs that prove the Bible is 100% accurate history, the Bible has never had an incorrect prophecy.
Any deviation from the pages of the Bible and you will corrupt and taint the truth and end up somewhere else. Religions like Islam and Judaism take the parts of the Bible that they like and discard the rest. Islamic doctrine says they believe in the whole Bible, but they choose the parts they like and say the parts they don't like are “corruption” in the Bible. Judaism, like Islam, doesn't believe Jesus was the Messiah and they are still waiting for him to arrive. Even Christianity is full of doctrinal deviations and have very wide extremes of beliefs.
The Catholic Church is one of the driving forces behind Interfaithism and is promoting the lie that all religions worship the same God. This is so not true! For example: Did you know that Allah was a pagan deity? In fact, he was the moon god who was married to the sun goddess and the stars were his daughters. The Muslims say that they are worshiping the God of Abraham, but this has been proven to be false. And, the Roman Catholic church says that you don’t really need to believe in Jesus Christ to be saved! (Article #841 of the Catechism says Muslims will be saved just like Christians, but Muslims do not believe in Jesus). This is a direct contradiction to the words of Jesus Christ Himself!
John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
We absolutely must believe that Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh as of the only begotten of the Father (John 1:14), was crucified for our sins and rose again. This is the gospel!
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
There is no salvation in any other name but Jesus! Not Mohammed, not Buddha; no other name…
Why??? Because Jesus is not just a man or a prophet, He is the human body that the Almighty God manifested for Himself. Take a look at the following:
1 Tim 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; … 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, ... and his name shall be called ... The mighty God, The everlasting Father
Matt 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Jesus said; Rev 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. … 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Jesus said; John 10:30 I and my Father are one.
A child will be born (Jesus) and he will be called “the mighty God”, “the everlasting Father”, “God with us”. God was manifest in the flesh (Jesus). The Word was God and became flesh (Jesus). Who lives and was dead? Jesus. Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Now there’s a powerful statement! Jesus is God! He that has seen Jesus, has seen the Father. Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.”
There are also many places where context shows us the same thing, by referring to Jesus and God in the same context. IE:
Luke 8:39 Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.
Jesus said; John 4:24 God is a Spirit...
And Jesus is the body where God dwells:
Col 2:9 For in him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
He is the image of the invisible God.
2 Corinthians 4:4 … Christ, who is the image of God
Hebrews 1:3 (Jesus is) ... the express image of his (God's) person
Colossians 1:15 (Jesus) Who is the image of the invisible God
Only God can forgive sin, and Jesus did just that.
Luke 5:20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?
And, Jesus said He is God!
Luke 4:12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Jesus IS God! That means that God Himself came to the earth as a man to die for us and save our souls so He could walk among us and live among those who love Him, forever!
So, what must I do to be saved?
Be careful that you don't just take a man's word for truth just because he is a preacher or a priest. There are so many different churches and teachings, but only one truth.
If a church’s theology is "wide," or "broad," and understood and complied with by the many, which way are they teaching? The broad way, or the narrow way? Which way did Jesus say we should go? Matt 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Most Christian churches are founded on the same verses of scripture:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world…
John 3:3 Ye must be born again.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved.
Romans 10:9 That is thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
These passages are truth, yes, but that’s not all that the Bible teaches us! We cannot take a few truths out of the Bible and ignore the rest of it. Many people like to justify themselves by hanging on the fact that God saved us by His grace. It is by grace that we are saved, but God expects us to obey Him and love Him with all our heart, mind and strength. If we’re looking for excuses, God sees our inner hearts and we can’t hide from Him. We can fool other people and can even fool ourselves if we really want to, but do we really want to do that? Do we really want to justify ourselves instead of pleasing our God and trying to do His will? The meaning of these verses goes much deeper than that! There is great danger in taking scripture verses out of context and misinterpreting them!
For example: John 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. Basically what some people teach is that the Bible says that if we believe, we are saved. That's true! It does say that. Here in John it says that if we eat and drink of the body of Jesus, we're saved. Does this mean that all we have to do is take communion (symbolically eat and drink of his body) to be saved? If we wanted to take this verse and make a doctrine of it, we could. But that would be silly, wouldn't it? So why do we allow people to deceive us with similar types of doctrine? We have to take the Bible as a whole and obey God in every thing He says, not just pieces of it.
We are saved by grace and belief in Jesus Christ is salvation, but as Jesus said, why would we call Him Lord and do not the things He says? Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Why wouldn't we obey Him if we truly love Him? The thing I'm arguing here is that many people don't really give their life to God and truly repent. Many people are taught that saying a prayer saves their soul, but aren't told that they must absolutely mean that prayer, or that it's not saying the words that saves you, it's changing your heart and mind, admitting you're a sinner, repenting of those sins, and turning to follow and obey the Lord that saves you.
We have to be very careful that we don't follow the watered down "Christianity" that is very prevalent in the world today. We can't do anything to save ourselves, Jesus did it all on the cross, but we also can't listen to people who are so adamant about "doing nothing" that you don't even repent! If we change our mind, we're doing something. If we repent, we're doing something.
Jesus said that the way to be saved (to see the kingdom of God) is to be, “Born Again”. Surprisingly, most people can't tell you what that means.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Belief alone does not mean you are born again. The devil believes, James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But he will be cast into the lake of fire for ever and ever (Rev. 20:10). There are many people that believe, but will be turned away, that will fully expect to get into Heaven.
Matt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord , shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord , have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Not every one that saith unto Jesus, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven! Be careful that you aren't deceived by those who don't know the truth! Simply believing and confessing with my mouth is not enough!
Acts 8 contains the story of Simon, who believed, and was even baptized, but: as Peter said, in Acts 8:21, “Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.”
If I truly believe, I will follow Christ. If I don’t follow Christ’s teaching, do I truly believe, or am I just trying to get there with the least possible affect to my life? Am I saying I believe just because I want to cover all the bases? That won’t work. I must repent and give my life to Jesus Christ without any reservation at all!
The Bible teaches us to “obey the Gospel”.
1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
2 Thess 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Paul declares the gospel; how that Christ died for our sins, and was buried, and rose again. That is the gospel.
1 Cor 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel ... how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day ...
The Gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Being born again is the death, burial and resurrection of our spirit. To obey the Gospel is to be born again.
How do we do that?
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Acts 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
We die to self by repenting and giving our lives to Jesus Christ totally and completely. Don’t gloss over this. This, is salvation. If you haven’t truly repented, you can get baptized all you want, but God is not going to fill you with His Spirit and save your soul if your heart is not right, and you don't truly repent of your sins. You must give all of yourself totally and completely!
Burial is the act of emersion in water; baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. The original Greek word for baptize: baptizo (bap-tid'-zo) means to immerse, submerge; to make overwhelmed (i.e. fully wet).
Jesus said; Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
The apostles all taught and commanded both Jew and Gentile to be baptized with water.
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
We are buried with Jesus by baptism into death, to walk in the newness of life with Him!
Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Does this mean that baptism saves you? No, alone it does not, but it is part of being obedient to God, and obeying the gospel. Like Simon in Acts 8:21; He was baptized but his heart was not right. It's the heart that matters and obedience in baptism is only part of it. What I mean by this is, like the thief who was hung on a cross next to Jesus, Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. This man did not get baptized but Jesus clearly said he would be with Him in paradise. If you don't have the ability to get baptized, and you die before you get a chance are you damned to hell? No way. But should you be baptized? Yes! Absolutely! We should be baptized into Jesus Christ as it says in Romans 6. True faith and repentance will always cause a person to be obedient to the plan of God for salvation. Always.
We are resurrected by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Some churches teach that baptism is the “baptism of the Holy Spirit”, not water baptism. But you’ll notice that Paul re-baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 19:5), and that Peter commanded the Gentiles to be baptized with water after they were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:47). The baptism Jesus and His Apostles are talking about is water baptism. It is one part of being obedient to the Gospel, and receipt of the Holy Spirit is a promise of God, not something we can earn or do for ourselves.
So, the question remains: What does God expect? What does it really mean to be born again? What must a person do to be saved?
Faith in Jesus Christ and repentance do save a person. However, true faith and repentance will always cause a person to be obedient to the plan of God for salvation. This has always been the case through history (see Hebrews 11). Faith always produces obedience. We are obedient to our faith by following the plan of salvation taught to us by Jesus and the Apostles; by obeying the gospel.
It's important to understand that Jesus is the body of God manifest in the flesh and that He came to the earth as a man, born of a woman as we are, to die in our place. Sin began with Eve when she believed Satan and ate of the tree that God commanded not to. Adam took the apple and listened to the voice of his wife instead of God and ate as well (Genesis 3:17 and 1 Timothy 2:14). The penalty for sin is death, and Jesus paid the price for us. He died, was buried, and rose again. That, is the gospel. He will return to gather those who believe this and turn away from sin (repentance) to follow the Lord in obedience. That, is the way to salvation.
The Lord Jesus Christ is loving and merciful. It is His love and mercy that has given us this great plan of salvation. However, the scriptures clearly teach that those who reject His plan will be lost (2 Thess 1:8, 2 Cor. 4:3). We need to be careful, lest we start down the path of thinking that God's mercy will justify people that do not obey God's plan. The same argument can be used to say that those who live in India, who have been surrounded by Hinduism all of their life, could not be lost simply because they don't believe in Jesus. There are many that would claim that God would never be so unmerciful as to damn those people, even though they haven't believed in Christ. At that point, we're at a place of "universal salvation"--i.e., everybody will be saved. As much as I'd love to say that is true, we know that it isn't. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because they were evil (sexually deviate) and did not obey Him. He destroyed the whole planet and millions of people with a flood, only saving one family, because they were evil and would not acknowledge, love and obey Him. God is an awesome loving creator, but He is also a God of wrath against those who deny Him.
We must continually seek God’s face! The devil will always try to lure every one of us away from the truth. It's a common occurrence. All the way back in the garden we see it. The devil's first question to Eve was - "Hath God said?" He hasn't changed his tactics much in 6000 years. That's why it is so essential that we are continually and prayerfully digging into the Word of God. Our offensive weapon to the devil's "hath God said" will always be "It is written."
What have we learned so far?
We’ve learned that God loved the world so much that he saved us by His grace, that we must be born again, and that we must truly believe, and that if we do we will obey the gospel and have a love for His truth.
When Peter and the apostles were asked, “What shall we do?” (to be saved), Peter answered them by saying: Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
The promise is to any and all who believe and obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! Thank you Jesus! Without His sacrifice we would be lost!
Do not be deceived by the false prophets and false teachings.
The best advice: Read the Bible yourself! Don’t take another man’s word for it. I can’t say it enough times; read the Bible! God gave us His word so that we could know Him! It’s the only way we can really know God and know His truth.
Ps 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
We need God’s word in our heart! We have to actually read it before we can have it in our heart!