Here’s how I summed up the flow of the passage:
The only way to be certain that you don’t die in your sins is to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, God’s Son, the one and only “I am.” The content of that faith to be genuine must include four things: His going to the Father, His coming from the Father, His speaking for the Father (validated in the cross and its consequences) and His closeness with the Father.
At the conclusion of the message I made application from the text for believers in terms of how to avoid becoming hardhearted. The condition of the Jews in John 8 chills the reader to the bone in the fact that some so highly religious could actually be so far from the truth. Here are the six principles I gave for avoiding hardness of heart.
- Care about not becoming hardhearted. Hebrews 2:1-3 pleads that we play close attention that we not drift away for how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?
- Stay in close proximity to the word of Jesus through reading, study, meditation, and listening to it preached. The Jews’ fault was they couldn’t bear to hear his word (John 8:43).
- Don’t just hear the word of Jesus but hear it so as to obey it. Refuse to be a hearer only but also a doer (James 1:22-24).
- Be quick to repent when the word of Jesus comes with power and convicts you of sin. As quickly as possible agree with God about the nature of your sin, confess it, and determine to change. Being slow to repent grieves and quenches the Spirit in your life.
- Pray for God to give you continually a soft heart and not allow you to become hardhearted. Jesus exhorted us to watch and pray that we may not enter into temptation (Matt. 26:41).
- Daily exhort others as well as receive exhortation from others to avoid sin’s deceitfulness (Heb. 3:12-13). This is particularly true if you live a secret life in any sin area. You must know and be known if you are to avoid becoming hardhearted. Sin loses its power when we bring it out of the darkness and into the light (1 John 1: 5-7).
May the Lord grant us grace to persevere to the end that we might not die in our sins but go to be where He is, with the Father in the kingdom heaven.