John 8:31-36 (Set Free!)


Harry Houdini was perhaps the greatest escape artist of all time. He broke out of every prison, every set of handcuffs, every straight jacket that ever tried to hold him – except… a tiny jail cell in the British Isles. A simple cell stumped Houdini.


Usually it took Houdini a couple of seconds to pick a lock, but he worked on this particular, innocent-looking, cell-door for more than two hours.


Houdini scrambled at a furious pace and became more and more frustrated as his efforts proved futile.

Finally in utter exhaustion he collapsed and fell against the door - and surprise! The door swung open/

See it had never been locked!


The Great Houdini had tried to break out of door that wasn't even locked!

A)That is also the condition of many Christians today.


B)they are trying to break out of a door that is no longer locked.

1)self-help books, support groups, twelve steps.

1)They’ve been to the psychiatrist, therapist, hypnotist –


C)They’ve tried will-power, pill-power, and positive-power - but they can't breakout.


D)They are frustrated when in reality – they are trying to get out of a prison – where the door has already been unlocked.


E) They are already free – they just Need to Know it and enjoy it and walk in it.


Consider the words of Jesus  Here in John Ch. 8 

                              RD V. 31-36

A)Notice first of all what Jesus says about Sin. V.34


"Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.”      Commit = Practices{ We all sin!


B) This is what practicing sin does ! Sin Blinds / Binds / Grinds – Just ask Samson.


C) He was blinded by the sin of pride & lust that made him think he was invincible.

1) Left him blinded to Delilah’s real motives in him asking the secret of his strength.


D) Read the story and think – How Stupid could he be – that is what Sin does –

1) It  makes you stupid – blinds you – take stupid risk and chances – In order to gratify your lust and desires


E) Sin Binds – Samson ended up bound – chained – Eyes gouged out !

A)Sin Grinds – Samson grinder at the mill.

Here was A man who had the giftings and annointings to be one of the greatest leaders – Israel had ever Known –

A)And yet He was reduced to life as a blind animal


B) Meaningless work – A meaningless existence- going round and round day after day for hrs –


C) That is what sin does ! It enslaves people.


The biggest fallacy there is, is that the unbeliever will say to the Christian – I am free- You’re the one who is not free

A)I am free to do whatever I want ! – I can have sex with whoever I want – you have to wait until marriage – and then only enjoy in marriage


B) I can drink and smoke and toke whatever I want.


C) The thing the unbeliever is blinded to is that all of those things He pursues are the result of the fact he isn’t free

1) He is Empty he is  lonely – and so his pursuits are all an attempt fill the emptiness – Feel free!


D) The very things He is pursuing in order to celebrate his “Freedom” he ends up being in Bondage to because he can’t quit it.

1) And even if he gets over his addiction to one thing – He ends up addicted to something else. No longer drugs / but now a 12 step program

But The moment a person becomes a Christian that all changes – opposite of Bound they become free

A)One of the Marks of a true Disciple is that He is free! – He is a person who has been set free from something.


B) Free indeed! – Absolutely 100% free! 


C)In Christ we have been set free from the Bondage of Sin.  From Guilt – From Satan’s Power


This Freedom is instant – It is not progressive!

A)In the same way – When a prisoner of war is set free – they are 100% free


B)but it might take him a while to get used to his freedom


D) He might wrestle w/ the reality of his new status –

1) Might take time to learn how to fully enjoy and experience his freedom


Often times Christians struggle in the same way: When we accepted Christ we were set free – Instant – not progressive

A)What is progressive is our understanding of that freedom.


B) The more I understand about who Christ is and what He did and who I am in Him –

1)the promises that He has made to me


C)The more I begin to enjoy / experience and walk in the freedom that is mine in Christ.


D)That is What Jesus meant when he said

John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." 


E) Know the truth- Embrace it – Experience it!


In Romans 6 Paul gives a powerful teaching that reveals exactly how this plays out in the life of the Christian – Lets turn there.

A)In Romans 6 Paul is talking about the believers Standing and Status in Christ.


B)In  the first 5 verses of Romans 6, we learn that when we came to Christ we were baptized or inducted - ingrafted into Christ.


C)I now share in all Christ has acquired and accomplished, including what He accomplished on the cross. And His Rez!


D)That means, when Jesus died to put an end to sin I died to sin with Him.

1) When He rose – that new life was imparted to me


It’s a strange concept to think that I can share in an event that occurred 2000 years before I was born,

A)And in a place I've never been, but it’s true!


B)When Christ died on the cross you and I, and every believer, was crucified with Him.


C)So Paul declares in v.6  knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.


Jesus said the truth will set you free and this is one of the truths we need to Know – Christians Declaration of independence

A)The Truth that your "old man was crucified with Christ"


B)Someone has suggested this proves that Paul's father was one of the thieves on the cross… because he says, "my old man was crucified with Christ" –


C)but that's certainly not what it is you need to know from this passage!


The old man is my old sinful nature – Bent on sinning rebellion – sought only to please self -  please the flesh –

A)That part of me has been crucified with Christ –


B)Think of it this way. In the making of a movie scenes are shot first with the actors.

1)The film contains no special effects, or music. Later the effects and music are transposed on top of the original tape that pictured only the actors.


B)In God's mind when you came to Jesus Christ you were dubbed in over the crucifixion.

1)God transposed my old man onto His only Son.


C)You died with Jesus, and now when God rewinds the footage there you are crucified with Christ.

1) Theologian Frank Gaebelein puts it, "Our spiritual history began at the cross."


The old man was sinful. But when I came to Jesus this "old man" was crucified. I died to sin.

A)God performed a complete overhaul under the hood of my life.


B)In the spiritual part of me a dramatic transformation took place.


C)In Christ – I am now a new Creation  old things have passed away – behold all things have become new. –   2 Cor 5:17

1) God gave me a new nature to replace the old nature.


D)He gave me a new nature that now wants to please God - wants to serve God and love others!


 I'm no longer a sinner struggling to be a saint.

A)I'm now a saint - transformed in the inner man - learning how not to sin!


B)Guys, that's who I am, and that's who you are - and Paul says it’s a truth we need to know and appreciate!


Paul takes it one step further – He says don’t just Know it – but OWN IT! Reckon it to be so ! v.11

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


A)The Greek word translated "reckon" means "to consider it so", or "to treat it as if it’s true".


B)When Paul tells us to reckon ourselves to be dead to sin, and alive to God –

1)He's telling us to consider it a done deal!


C) Guys, God wants us to change the way we see ourselves.

1)To reckon it so, is to learn to see yourself as God sees you.


D)Don't just see yourself as a struggling sinner, start to see yourself as a victorious saint.

1) New You! – New Status – New Power


E)This is not mental gymnastics, or the power of positive thinking.

Paul is not telling us to think into existence something that's really not true.

A)Envision yourself being rich and successful – which might not ever happen.


B)No Paul is saying I want you to latch on to something that is an absolute REALITY!


C)I was talking to a young newlywed the other day and he really blessed me

1) he said – the way I look at everything has changed. It is no longer just me – it is us.


D)So I am factoring that into everything I do – every decision I make. –

1)I told him – keep that attitude and you will stay way ahead of the game.


E)So often in counseling – I have to tell men – Hey Reckon – realize – You are not single anymore – 1)Married – That is your New State. –


Jesus wants us to Know and reckon this to be a reality –

A)We are a new creation – Old man is dead ! – Alive to God – New Status – God sees you Holy righteous


B)There is a Freedom comes when I see myself the way that God does


C) Seeing what I really am New in Jesus!

Remember the story of the ugly duckling. He was actually a beautiful swan but he'd been bred a duck. The other ducks considered him strange and odd and always put him down.


He was an ugly duck, and every afternoon he would look across the lake at the elegant swans, and wish he was a swan.


Until one day he happened to notice his reflection in the edge of water, and for the first time saw himself as he really was.


He was not an ugly duckling after all, but a beautiful, elegant swan. The realization changed his life forever.


Folks, if you’re a Christian you’re a beautiful swan, not an ugly duckling.

A)It’s time you looked in the mirror of God’s Word, and saw yourself as you really are!


Ephesians 4:22-24 tells us, "Put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man... and be renewed in the spirit of your mind... that you may put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness."


Growing up one of my Favorite Actors was John Wayne Once the Old Duke made an very revealing statement. He said, "When I take a role I play John Wayne regardless of the character I happen to be portraying!" - and that's exactly how he acted.

Dress him in a Civil War uniform, or set him in World War 2 fatigues, or put a cowboy hat on his head - put him in the jungles of Vietnam, or on the beaches of Normandy, or on Main Street in Eldorado –


Call him Big Jake, or Rooster Cogburn, or John Elder - it didn't matter. John Wayne always projected the same persona.


He lived out and communicated the same image. He knew who he was!


This is how Paul is saying we should live our lives. A)No matter where we're at, or what we're doing, or who we're with - we need to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God.


B)If we see ourselves in THAT LIGHT we'll surely act accordingly!


C)Our part is simply to recognize what He’s already accomplished and to become fully convinced that what God promised He has performed.


C) That is What Jesus meant when he said

John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." 


D)The problem occurs when you have to react…


When another motorist cuts you off –

A)when your child spills juice on the brand new carpet –


B)When you are off work and idle & the temptation comes from the enemy to indulge your flesh.


C)The flesh has been trained to react negatively in those situations.

1)It automatically pursues the wrong options.


D)It wants to follow the feelings, and thoughts, and emotions that were programmed into us during the years we were living apart from Christ.


The Flesh wants to satisfy itself.

A)It wants to take the easy road, rather than please God


B) The key to overcoming sin in my life is to stop reliving what I use to be, and keep my focus on who I've become in Jesus.


C)The goal of the Christian life is to allow what's on the inside to begin to seep its way into how I think and act..


D)As I grow in Christ I am learning how to react less and less in the flesh and instead respond in the Spirit. – 1)That allows me to enjoy my freedom over the flesh & Satan’s appeals


Now Paul continues here in Romans V.12

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, [FLESH] that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.


Now there's an appreciation to KNOW and an appropriation, to RECKON but there's also an application – to PRESENT

A)Paul tells us to be careful how we present our minds and bodies….


B)He gives us both a "do" and a "don't". Don't  present your members - that is your mind, memory, eyes, hands, and feet - as instruments of unrighteousness.


C)But do present them to God as instruments of righteousness!


Listen close

A)We need to understand that our mortal bodies are nothing more than tools.


B)This is not the real you, but this is meant to serve the real you. Your Inner man – made new in Christ


C) Key to being free – Know old nature – died with Jesus

1) Given a new nature made alive in Christ


D) Reckon that to be so and Present the members of your flesh to God -


Here is the reason that Christians still get bound up in Sin! Even though the door is unlocked – a friend of mine explained it this way.


For years my bank gave me free checking, until one month a $5 service charge appeared on my statement. I was mad! I hate service charges. I vowed to change banks, but I never did. And you know why? Because my bank was close, it was convenient, I knew the people, and I didn't have time for the paperwork.


Some of you are Christians - but you're hands are doing, and feet are going, and eyes are seeing, and mind is thinking in the same old patterns.

A)And Why?… For the same reason my friend never changed banks.


B)Because the world is closer than the church, sin is more convenient than service, returning to old friends is easier than making new ones,


C) and studying the Bible is paperwork you're not willing to do.


D)God has made you something special – a new creation in Christ –

1)but you are settling on being something far less than that – Struggling saint –

E)Brothers / Sisters – Be Free today: My heart I want you to be the freest Christians on the Planet.


One last thing: For some of you this will be the most important thing I say all day.

A)Jesus audience – some like woman in adultery bound in sin


B) Others were bound in religious ritual and legalism


C) Today: I call idealistic Christianity – Here is what I mean by that


In the Church we can set up these ideal standards that are not really Biblical-

A)Most of the time the standards are only being played out by those who have the most amount of time – and the least amount of responsibilities


B)For example: Daily Devos – The struggling young mom! You older ladies don’t forget about – the younger ones


C)They hear you talk about how you spent – 3 hrs in the word today – that doesn’t necessarily encourage

them –

1)Can be frustrating – they can’t do that – and you didn’t either when you were a young mom.


D)When I was single – Incredible times in Devos – changed now that I am married and have a family – E)If I don’t get up early enough – I often can get interrupted.


The guy who struggles because – He doesn’t read very well.

A)Some of you are never going to be scholars and that is ok you love the Lord – love his word apply it


B_The student who struggles – because – crazy schedule.


Here is what happens – So many are living in condemnation – not free not at rest – Bound by a standard

A)Be consistent – Find what works for you


B) Eating – balance bar – some days my devos are that way – little bit all day long.


C) Be Free – Augustine said – Love God and love each other and do what ever you want

1)Key Loving God  all my heart –

2) How is what I am doing going to affect others


Another examples – Family devos – Husband and wife Devos

A)Standards – Patterns – great to be in the word together –


B) These days it is hard – everyone going in different directions

C) Talk about the Lord with your kids / spouse – in the car around the dinner table –


Another Witnessing – Be a witness – Go into all the world

A)Go into all the world – work tomorrow etc


Prayer: Prayer times – great – Praying without ceasing


My point is to be free – Enjoy Jesus – Love Jesus – draw near to Jesus


Free to Be used by God!

In one bold move Jesus died to make you His child, and you died with Him to put an end to your sin.


To make you free from all of that – So the Lord says –


Reckon it to be so! God's key to victory is a one-step approach. Appreciate it spiritually, appropriate it mentally, apply it physically!


 Know, reckon, and present - and the door that's already unlocked will suddenly swing open.