"The Liberating Word!" John 8:31-36

Series: Trinity Season Gospel Sermons

October 29, 2023
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

The Reformation was God the Holy Spirit calling sinners back to Christ Jesus through His invincible Word. Satan, Sin, the world, our fallen flesh, and death chain us in fear. Christ's Word sets us free. Sermon text: John 8:31-36. Sermon theme: "The Liberating Word!" Preached for the Festival of Reformation, 29-October-2023, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Tell City, Indiana by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert.

Episode Notes

Reformation Day (Observed)                                     29-October-2023
Sermon Text: John 8:31-36
Sermon Theme: The Liberating Word! by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert
I. Faith Comes Through Hearing The Truth Speak! (Vs.31-32)
II. Satan’s Lies Enslave Us! (Vs.33-34)
III. The Son Frees Us From Sin For Life In God’s House Forever! (Vs.35-36)

I.N.R.I. Luk 11:33 "No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light.” Who in their right mind would go camping and when darkness came light their lantern only to hide its light under a galvanized pail? The lantern, its light, and fuel would all be wasted - never used for the purpose they were made.
    The prophet Isaiah looked forward to the day the Light of the world would shine in our sin blackened death filled world. Preaching of Jesus, seven centuries before His birth, the prophet rejoiced, “Isa 9:2 The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.” Light consumes the darkness and shatters death’s veil.
    It was the feast of tabernacles or booths. For a week the faithful of Israel gathered around Jerusalem. They built tents from tree limbs and cloth. They camped to remember their history. Descended from nomadic Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel. Israel’s children rescued from famine by Joseph, would latter be enslaved in Egypt. After 430 years of bondage the Lord delivered them through His prophet Moses. Rejecting the Lord’s Word to enter the promised land and accusing Moses of only leading them to slaughter - the Lord God decreed that they wouldn’t enter the promised land - only their children would. 40 years they camped in tents, until all of that generation, except Moses, Joshua, and Caleb, had died. Moses could not step foot in the promised land - he disobeyed the Lord at the waters of Meribah taking honor to himself. Joshua would lead the nation across the Jordan to the promised land.
The Lord God would give them victory over the mighty peoples of the land until they could settle in peace. This was the history they lived, sang through the Psalms, rejoiced in the services in the Temple, and taught their children for a solid week each year beginning on the 15thday of the seventh month, Tishri or Ethanim (October in our calendar).
      History records, Joh 7:37-38 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. (38) He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." The festival ends, but Jesus remains teaching in the Temple at Jerusalem. He forgives a woman caught in the very act of adultery who was sentenced to death, freeing her from enslavement of the sinful misuse of her body. "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." Joh 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.".
      Today we rejoice that the Light of the World shines in these last dark days of world history. The darkness of Satan with his spiritual lies, the world with its blind philosophies, our flesh with its black desires and enslavement to sin - cannot extinguish the Light of Christ. As we remember the Reformation. Let us shine forth to our families, friends, community, and the world - “The Liberating Word! I. Faith Comes Through Hearing The Truth Speak! (Vs.31-32) II. Satan’s Lies Enslave Us! (Vs.33-34) III. The Son Frees Us From Sin For Life In God’s House Forever! (Vs.35-36)
I.   The Light shines in the Temple. Listen to Him! (Jn 8:31-32) Some of the children of Abraham believed in Jesus. They rejoiced to see His Light for a season. Many believed in Jesus after the feeding of the 5,000 for a day. They trusted Him as a Bread King to make their life easy. His preaching the next day at Capernaum’s synagogue that He was the Bread of Heaven, wasn’t what they wanted in a Savior. When He preached that unless they eat His flesh and drink His blood they’d have no life - they walk away from Him. His Word is too hard to believe - they didn’t want a Savior who called them to the cross and suffering. The Church dwindled down to the twelve. Jesus asks them, “Do, you also want to go away?” Joh 6:68-69 But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. (69) Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
      Jesus the Life breathes forth eternal life through His Word. If we abide in His Word, we are His disciples. If we stay in His Word, live in it, live by it, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest it - we are His students for life.
      Satan, the fallen angel of darkness, from his rebellion seeks to steal Christ’s Word from our ears, lips, and hearts. “Has God indeed said...” he whispered to our first parents. Adam allowed God’s living Word to be stolen from his wife and himself by listening to the Liar. In the parable of the Sower - Jesus warns, Luk 8:12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” From the days of the apostles Satan sought to steal God’s Word away with anti-Christian power, persecution, and propaganda. Christians died for confessing Jesus Lord. Then popular teachers arose denying that Jesus was truly God, or truly man, or that He had redeemed both body and soul for eternity. The Church stood upon Christ’s Word written in the Old and New Testaments refuting Satan’s lies. They spoke Truth - the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed.
    Satan sought to steal God’s Word away from the people by locking it up in the Church. The Roman bishop usurped all power to himself, excommunicating the Bishop of Constantinople in 1054 A.D.. Splitting Christendom into East and West. Rome corrupted itself with worldly power. By the 14th century there were three popes at the same time claiming to have all authority over Christendom. Christ Jesus raised upe - the “Morning Star of the Reformation” - John Wycliffe in England - a faithful confessor - warning the papacy was the anti-christ - stealing Christ’s Word away from the people. Banished from teaching at Oxford University, Wycliffe realized his life’s work was to translate the New Testament into English and send it forth into the land. Each New Testament had to be hand written, and itinerant missionaries - the Lollards at the risk of death preached it through the land. Wycliffe died in 1384. The torch of God’s Word was taken up by Jan Hus in Bohemia. He preached Christ’s Word clearly to his congregations speaking out against Roman papal corruption. He was called to stand trial at the Council of Constance in 1414. He only asked to be shown where he had been wrong from the Holy Bible - instead condemned as an arch-heretic - Rome burned him alive at the stake - on July 6th, 1415. Tied to the stake he testified, "You may kill a weak goose [Hus is Czech for "goose"], but more powerful birds, eagles and falcons, will come after me.” As the flames consumed his living flesh, he sang, “"Christ, son of the Living God, have mercy on us!"
  “If you abide in My Word.” Jesus says, “you are My disciples.” He calls His students, His followers to take up their cross and follow Him. The world will treat you for speaking the Truth as it treated Jesus. The devil will seek to lead you into misbelief, despair, great shame, and vice. Continue in Christ’s Word.
      Christ Jesus raised up Martin Luther to restore the Holy Bible into the hands of Christendom. Luther sought to call Rome to repent and return to the Holy Scriptures. Instead of returning to the Truth it excommunicated Luther, declared him outlaw, and drove him into exile. Exiled at the Wartburg Castle - he translated the Holy Bible into the common German language. Luther said he did nothing - God the Holy Spirit did it all. He simply preached, taught, and wrote the Word of God and the Holy Spirit carried out the reformation - while he enjoyed good Wittenberg Lutheran beverages with fellow professors.
    Continue in Christ’s Word! Know the Truth! The Truth that God has created you and all creatures. The Truth of Adam’s sinful rebellion plunging you and all creation into enslavement to Satan, sin, and death. The Truth that salvation is never found inside yourself, but in God’s love in His only begotten Son sacrificed for you on Calvary! This truth cannot be believed by your own reason or strength. God the Holy Spirit calls you through the Gospel - the written Word of Christ. Apart from the Word and Sacraments - the Truth of Christ is not found. Here alone is forgiveness showered upon us daily and richly by the Holy Spirit within the Church to set us free.
II.   Satan’ s lies enslave! (Jn. 8:33) They had just celebrated a week long festival recalling freedom from Egyptian slavery. Herod’s Temple was built upon the ruins of Solomon’s Temple that the Babylonian army inflicted before they were enslaved for 70 years in a foreign land. Roman soldiers patrolled their land. How could they deny historical reality? Puffed up in pride as Abraham’s blood descendants they imagined they would rule the world. It is the delusion Satan first whispered to Adam’s wife that she could be her own god - deciding right and wrong for herself - Satan LIES!
        Hear the Truth! (Jn. 8:34) Sin enslaves. Rebelling against the Ten Commandments isn’t freedom - it is death. If I deny God’s physical law of gravity and jump from the water tower - for a few seconds I may think I’m free, but they reality strikes as I hit the ground and death is the wages of my foolishness. Sin never frees - it enslaves. We live in a dying culture enslaved by sin, chained to the father of lies, the murderer from the beginning - the devil. Denying reality we stumble in darkness towards hell.
III.   Repent! Turn from the popular lies that you tell yourself! (Jn.8:35-36) A slave to sin, will not abide in God’s House forever. Jesus will return with full power and glory to judge the living and the dead. Slaves to sin will spend eternity cast out into the outer darkness of hell. Sons of God will live in the Father’s House forever.
      The Truth speaks! “I forgive you of all your sins!” “Peace!” “Be of good cheer!” He sets you free through His Word spoken, preached, poured, fed you in His Supper. Forgiveness isn’t something you earn or deserve - it is the free gift of God the Father in His crucified, risen, ascended, ever present Son, sealed to you by the Holy Spirit through Christ’s Word.   Let your light shine! “I will also speak of your testimonies before kings!” Fear not little flock! Amen.

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