by Dennis Michelson
John 8:36 - "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." Preached on July 4, 2010.
Introduction: The context for this passage revolves around the contention of those who claimed to be free but were not. They claimed that their physical relationship to Abraham assured them of such freedom. This is not unlike those who claim they are free because they live in America.
Of course we do enjoy the relative benefits of living in a free country but that does not make one "free indeed" as stated in our text. The answer to how one becomes "free indeed" is found earlier in John 1:13 - "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
Repentance and conversion are closely linked but separate. God regenerates helpless sinners through the new birth (regeneration) because they cannot do anything to help themselves. No man is regenerated by merely exercising his will. We are not born again because we believe.
We believe because we have been born again (regenerated). This vital distinction separates all of the religions in world into two camps. Either salvation is something we do for God or it is something God has done for us. It cannot be both.
Christ died to save His people from their sins - not simply make it possible for them to be saved. Conversion is that outward indication that the inner work of regeneration has taken place. I Thesalonians 1:1-10 outline three evidences of regeneration -
Work of Faith (1:3) an activity
Labor of Love (1:3) an affection
Patience of Hope (1:3) an attitude
We learn from Matthew 18:3-4 that conversion is a necessary element of genuine salvation. I Thessalonians 1:9-10 informs us that the effective cause of conversion is (1) repentance, and (2) faith. See also Acts 3:19 and 28:27. Repentance and faith are therefore both necessary to, and the efficient cause of true spiritual conversion.
From our passage in I Thessalonians it can be seen that repentance "caused" conversion. Conversely, if there is no repentance then there is no conversion.
A. Repentance is necessary and must be preached (Luke 13:3-5)
B. Repentance is the gift of God (II Timothy 2:24-25 and Jeremiah 31:18-19)
C. Repentance is the duty and responsibility of all mankind (Acts 17:24-31)
D. Repentance is a change of mind (II Corinthians 7:8-11)
E. Repentance requires a knowledge of God's law (Romans 3:20)
A. Faith is the gift of God (Acts 13:48; 16:14)
B. Faith is the responsibility of all men (Acts 17:30)
C. Faith adds nothing to the finished work of Christ - it is not giving to God but receiving from God
D. Non-saving faith is possible
There were multitudes on Jerusalem who believed Christ was sent from God but was not the Son of God (John 2:23). Many disciples who "believed" turned away in John 6:60-66. There are three essentials to genuine faith:
Knowledge - Hebrews 11:6; Romans 10:9; I Cor. 15
Assent - I Thess. 2:13; Acts 17:11-12, 34
Trust - John 10:26-30
Conclusions: These truths are not popular in a day when churches are more concerned with "convenience" and not "conversion." Remember that "Jesus led me all the way." It was not "I took the first step and He brought me the rest of the way." Jesus is the Alpha and Omega - not the Beta and Omega.
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