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Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (JOH 8:31-32).

I was listening to a radio broadcast, and the man was explaining that mankind has accepted deceit. He explained how the universities teach deceit. He went on to explain how that the heart of man has become receptive for all deceit and deceivableness.

Our Saviour says, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." We don’t understand how important it is that we come to know the truth. We see here that the Lord Jesus is talking to a multitude of Jews, and He has brought forth the gracious gospel of truth. It also says that Jesus said to those Jews, "As he spake these words, many believed on him" (Verse 30). He goes on to say, "Ye are my disciples indeed if you continue in my words, then you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

Following Jesus, as it is set forth in EPH 4 and the beginning of EPH 5, is to imitate Jesus in His self-sacrificial love. Now we want to see that following Jesus not only by His example, but also in obedience to His Word, is our evidence that we are His disciples.

The Lord Jesus said "If ye continue in my words" i.e., if you will continue in what I have just told you. What had the Lord Jesus told them? Go back to JOH 7:17, "If any man will do the will of him that sent me, then he shall know of the doctrine." It is to will, or to be willing to do the will or the pleasure of God. If it is our heart’s desire to do the pleasure of God, then we will know His doctrine.

Here He says, "If you will continue in my word you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." Free from what? Look at what the Jews said, "They answered him: We be Abraham’s seed and were never in bondage to any man. How sayest thou we shall be made free?" Jesus answered them, "Verily, verily I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." You will be made free from serving sin. You will be made free from the power of sin.

We must observe that, in our text, Jesus is speaking to those Jews who believed on Him. What Jesus is saying is important; we need to understand that. However, we will never understand His message until we keep it in the context in which it is written.

They believed. This word believed is taken from the Greek word pisteuo (pist-yoo'-o), which means "to have faith in, i.e., to entrust one's spiritual well- being to Christ-to believe, to trust in Christ as your only hope of salvation." These Jews believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.

We must see how our text speaks of conditional love. Have you ever read the book Unconditional Love? That book explains that it doesn’t matter what you do or how you live, God loves you and you can’t sin it away. The emphasis of the book is on unconditional love, but our text talks about conditional love. "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." It is conditional!

Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, even grasping Him as the only hope of salvation for your soul, has no salvation in it unless it is followed by action, unless our actions are in harmony with the Word. Our Saviour is very jealous of the authority of His Word! He says, "If ye continue in my word."

Look at PRO 30:12, "There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness." In their own eyes they are saved. In their own eyes they have been washed in the blood of Christ, and yet they have not been washed from their filthiness. Do you know why? They do not continue in His words. They are still serving sin. They do not love the truth, therefore it has not set them free from the power of sin, "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2TH 2:11)

We will never understand the filthiness of sin until we learn to see that the very essence of sin is the determination to have our own way. This is what brought about the Fall. This is the fruit of the Fall. This is the fruit of an unregenerate heart. Our desire to do our own thing and have a right to chose is the onset of sin. Satan’s lie was that we decide what is right and what is wrong. (GEN 3:4-5) That is the very essence of sin.

In ISA 53:6 we read, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way [the whole human race. That is our Fall in Adam. That is the essence of sin.]; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." There is only one way of escape, and that is that our iniquities have been cleansed away, but PRO 30:12 says, "There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness." They continue in sin.

When Christ saves, He subdues our spirit of self-will. He brings it into subjection to His will. He saves us from the power of sin, and He subdues our self-will and our rebellion. The most precious of all graces is godly fear, i.e., a holy reverence for God's will. That is the fruit of the Spirit. That is the work of regeneration. The evidence that we have been saved is that we fear the Lord.

The Lord spoke to Abraham by an angel from heaven and brought him into a trial. The Lord put him to a test: was he willing to put his only begotten son, Isaac, on the altar and offer him as a burnt offering? By so doing he was putting his whole salvation on the altar, Isaac, in whom the Messiah was to come must be put on the altar of sacrifice in order to obey God.

Now in GEN 22:12 we read, "And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me." This same principle comes through in PSA 112:1, "Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments."

What is the real root of the matter when it comes to salvation? Do we fear God? Do we hold His Word in holy, reverent respect? PSA 138:2 says, "I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." This is awesome! Is it our whole desire to know the truth that the truth might make us free? Free from sin. Free from self. Free from the powers of the pit. His truth will free us from the curse of the law. Such holy reverence for the TRUTH that makes us free is our evidence that we love our blessed Lord and Saviour. In JOH 14:23 Jesus said, "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."

These blessings are not only the reward of obedience, but also evidence of our love for Him! The blessings that God gave to Abraham were not only a reward of obedience. The blessings God gave Abraham were founded upon what we read in GEN 18:17-19, "And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him."

They were going to keep justice and judgment. They were going to walk in righteousness, and the Lord said, "I know they are going to do this, that the Lord may..." Those are awesome words. These are solemn realities when we see that the Lord is saying of Abraham, the father of all the faithful, "He will do justice and judgment that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he has spoken of him."

Conditional love? Oh, yes. Conditioned upon the truth making us free. How? "If you continue in my word," you will be free indeed. The Lord is not willing for rebellious man to dictate the terms of peace through unconditional love. The Lord does not give us unconditional love and say, "Now you do your thing and you go ahead from your heart to serve the world." Oh, no. No! He has conditional love, and it is conditioned upon serving Him. It is conditioned upon true godly fear. This is not of our selves - but of grace. PHI 2:12-13, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For [or because]it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

Now, does that mean that we merit salvation? No. Christ merits salvation with His perfect obedience, and we receive this spirit of submission and obedience as the work of sanctification of the Holy Spirit. Salvation is of the Lord. Are we going to examine our hearts to see whether we have that work of sanctification? Is our heart in unconditional surrender to the will of God? Are we willing to pay the price? Are we willing to obey, regardless of cost, like Abraham? It would have cost him his only begotten son to obey. It would have cost him his very salvation by all appearances, but in spite of it all he was going to obey and offer his own son because God had commanded him to do so. Then the Lord said, "Now I know that thou fearest God." How did He know? Abraham was willing to pay the price.

We must learn to see that our determination to have our own way is the very essence of sin.

Look at PRO 14:12; "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." These ways of ours may seem right to our human reasoning, but the end result of those ways is death. In our text Christ is speaking of those Jews who believed. In MAR 16:16 Christ is speaking about those who believe not. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

They are those who obey not His revealed will. Believe not means they obeyed not. Unbelief is a damning sin because it declares Christ to be "unworthy of trust or obedience." The words believe not in MAR 16:16 are taken from the Greek word, apisteo, (ap-is-teh'o), which means, "to betray a trust, to be unfaithful, an unbeliever or an infidel, to disobey as a person unworthy of trust or obedience."

Jesus is saying in MAR 16:16 that "those who believe not," are those who do not consider Him worthy of trust or obedience. "If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed." That verse refers to those Jews who believed.

It is so important that we preach the whole counsel of God. Satan clearly deceives his millions with partial truths. God's Word is used to fatally deceive millions by using it out of its full context. Using it out of context uses the Word of God to fatally deceive millions into hell. When you take truth out of context, you make a lie.

When the truth is taken out of context it either leads to humanism or fatalism. It will either lead you to believe that you will become God, you make the decisions, and it is all on you. Or it will lead to fatalism-well, it’s got to be given. I’ll just wait here until it is given. Those lies will lead you in one or two ways, but both are the road to hell. The one is as destructive as the other is. Works do not merit salvation, but works are the evidence of salvation.

Look at EPH 2:8-9. Let’s see the truth in context; "For by grace [by the divine influence upon your heart, which is revealing itself in your life.] are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

I have no merit in my works. My obedience merits nothing, but it is my evidence that I have the grace of God. Look at TIT 3:5, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."

We are not teaching that we merit anything by obeying. It is the instrument whereby the Holy Spirit works grace. When the Holy Spirit works grace in the hearts, He gives us a new desire. The Lord is looking for a heart religion, and when the heart is right with God, there is godly fear and reverence for His will. Then we continue in His truth, which becomes our evidence that we have grace.

Now look at the phrases not of works, or not by works. I want you to see some parallels. This means not merited by works, but it does not mean there is salvation without works. Satan loves overreactions. He takes a passage of Scripture out of its context; "Well, it’s not by works. Not by works of righteousness." So they reason that it makes no difference what you do. That is not what Scripture says. Scripture is speaking about merit. There is no merit in our works, but neither is there salvation without works. Look at JAM 2:26; "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." As a corpse that has no life in it, that has no breath in it, and has no soul, so is faith without works-dead.

Satan would love to get you in one of the barrow pits or the other. Either he would like to have you in humanism. "Well, I …" and start talking about all your wonderful works and therefore you merit heaven. No. It is merited by Christ. Or Satan would like to put you in the other barrow pit on the other side of the strait and narrow way, that you can live any way you want to, claiming love is unconditional, it is all of grace! Satan loves either route. He couldn’t care less which one you are on because they both race headlong to hell. The Lord is telling us that faith without works is dead faith. Now, you can have faith. You can have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the only hope of your salvation and still not have saving faith.

This same principle applies to believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. You can have it that it is either by works or it is without works and be dead wrong either way. The word pisteuo (pist-yoo'-o) in the Greek, which means "to have faith in-i.e., to entrust one's spiritual well being to Christ-to believe, to trust in Christ," is used out of its context just as the word works. Satan loves to take the word belief out of context. I want you to see the context in which the Lord Jesus is using it.

Scriptures clearly teach that there is no salvation apart from believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. JOH 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he have his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life." I want to caution you. There are millions who do believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and are still headed for hell. Now, this is what Satan wants to cover up. There are multitudes who do believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and have Him as their only hope of salvation and are still not saved!

Look at MAT 7:21-23; "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. 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." They died with Christ as the hope of their salvation. They believed in Him, but they weren’t obeying Him. He says, "Whosoever doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

Do you see what our text is saying? "They believed on him." "If you continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed." It is important that we follow through on this. Our text speaks of a multitude that believed. "Then said Jesus unto those Jews that believed (Verse 30). "And when he spake these words, many believed on him." They died trusting in Christ, yet let’s see what Jesus said of these same believers. He had said to them, "If you know the truth, the truth will set you free." Then He went on to show what it meant to be free. Let’s see what He says to these unregenerate souls. They were still unquestionably unregenerate. He is talking to those Jews who believed. Follow the pronouns all the way from Verse 31 through the end of the chapter.

Look at JOH 8:44; "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." Our text says, "if you continue in my word, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Satan knew the truth but he didn’t abide in it.

It was with those Jews who believed that the following dialogue took place. In JOH 8:31 we read, "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed." Take time now to read all of JOHN, Chapter 8 and watch the pronouns: they, ye, and them as they are used with reference to these believers throughout to the end of the chapter. Now it was to these believing Jews that Jesus showed that they lacked the exercise of saving faith. He showed them in JOH 8:34, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." They were filled with unbelief. They did not account Jesus worthy of their service and obedience.

Look at JOH 8:39; "They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham."

Abraham was the father of all the faithful. Are we the children of Abraham? Then we will do the works of Abraham. What did he do? He did the works of righteousness. That doesn’t mean that he was perfect, but it meant that he kept himself unspotted from the works of unrighteousness.

"You would do the works of Abraham," i.e., your self-will would be broken-that determination to do your own thing, and you would be able to put your Isaac on the altar. There is a faith in Christ that saves, but there is also a faith in Christ that does not save. Among the chief rulers there were many that believed, but they were not saved, not only among the Jews, but the chief rulers.

Look at JOH 12:42-43; "Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue [They realized He was the Messiah. They realized what He said was true, but they were not willing to pay the price. They were not willing to continue in His Word.]: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."

They believed on Him, but they did not have a new heart. They had not been renewed in the spirit of their minds. They were not willing to go with Him outside of the camp and suffer His reproach. They were not willing to share in the reproach that He took upon Himself, and whose reproach was it? It was our reproach that He took upon Himself. They were believers. That is an awesome thing. How many believers are there today? We have to examine our own hearts. Are we true believers or are we the believers as the Jews? Why do we want salvation? Is it our desire to only escape the consequences of sin? Is it that we don’t want to give up sin or the praises of men?

It is most commonly taught that there are only two classes of people, believers and unbelievers. What church teaches that there are three classes of people? I haven’t found one, except the Bible. The Bible tells me that there are three classes of people. You will find that the churches will teach you that there are believers and unbelievers, but the Scriptures clearly teach that there are three classes of people.

Look at 1CO 10:32; "Give none offense, neither to [1] the Jews, nor to [2] the Gentiles, nor to [3] the church of God." We don’t want to be an offense to the world, to the Jews, that is, to the professed believers, nor to the church of God.

Let me qualify this a little further. The Old Testament clearly teaches three classes. There are the gentiles who were outside the commonwealth of Israel, and then there was Israel, which was divided into two classes. ROM 9:6b says, "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel." These who are the believers are classified as the church, but they must be divided into two classes-those who are of the professed believers and those who are of the true believers. This is synonymous with what Jesus said to those believing Jews in our text.

JOH 8:39 says, "They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." They were of Israel, but they were not true Israel. They were descendents of Abraham after the flesh, but they did not have the spirit, or mental disposition of Abraham. They were Israel in form after the flesh, but not in heart.

Today there are still three classes:

[1] the professed unbelievers, those who make no profession of Christ at all;

[2] the professed believers who disobey Christ as a person unworthy of their trust or obedience, who do not continue in His word, who do not walk according to His revealed will, and yet they call themselves Christians;

[3] the believers who truly fear the Lord, who "delighteth greatly in his commandments" (PSA 112:1).

This third class is not the large multitude. That is the awesome part. Look at MAT 7:12-14; "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait [difficult to stand] gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction [He is talking about the professed believer. When people talk about the broad road, a lot of them think they are talking about the open infidel and that is not what the Lord Jesus is teaching here. He is teaching the distinction between the true believer and the professed believer, because when He gets down to Verse 22, He says, "Many shall say in the last day … and I will say, I never knew you." They are the professed believers.], and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

The percentage of those who are genuine God-fearing believers is small. Their self-will, which is the very essence of sin, is broken in that few. The grace of God breaks our self-will that we have a desire to know and do the truth. "You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free" from the power of sin. "If ye are my disciples, continue ye in my word."

Those who are the true believers have seen the very essence of sin broken. They take up their cross daily. Self is crucified. We do unto others as we would that they do unto us. Not legalistically out of the letter of the law, but from the heart. Our heart’s desire is to live a life of self-sacrificial love. This is a very difficult place to stand. It is only by grace that we stand.

We take up the cross daily. We follow a despised and rejected Saviour in the way of the cross, i.e., in the way of unreserved obedience from a motive of love. To rightly identify and understand the distinction between professed faith and true saving faith let's examine Scriptures teach about unbelief. It is much more than just an error in judgment or a failure to assent unto the truth. Unbelief is a rebellious and violent principle of opposition to God. It is a principle of the heart that we are not willing to give up our own honor. We are not willing to give up what pleases the flesh. We are not willing to give up our cherished sins and their fleshly pleasure. It is a principle of opposition to God’s will.

In the Scriptures, the words disobedience and obeyed not come from the same Greek words as unbelief and believed not. The words unbelief and disobedience are synonymous throughout Scripture. Take Adam's sin for example. There was more than a mere negative failing to believe God's clear command. It wasn’t just a matter that he heard the command and didn’t believe that it was true. "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners," ROM 5:19. When Adam sinned, it wasn’t by a mere failing to believe what God said was true. It was by a disobedient act, an act of rebellion against the authority of God that many were made sinners. Adam was not deceived. He sinned with his eyes wide open. (1TI 2:14). Eve was deceived, not Adam.

Adam didn’t count God worthy of undivided obedience. That was only a slight thing in Adam’s eyes. He did not reverence God’s command. This was the very first act of unbelief in our human nature. It was a matter of establishing that God was not worthy of obedience.

Unbelief is a damning sin. See what we read of the Israelites in HEB 3:18-19, "And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief." The term "unbelief" used here is the same word in the Greek as "disobeyed". We will see later that it is because they refused to obey that they could not enter the Promised Land.

Now see how Moses admonished them for their unbelief in DEU 1:25-26; "And they took of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought it down unto us, and brought us word again, and said, It is a good land which the LORD our God doth give us. Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God." Unbelief. Rebellion. Refusing to obey. They could not enter the Promised Land because of unbelief, even after they had been taken out of Egypt. Even after they had the great and rich experiences of being miraculously brought across the Red Sea, had sung the Song of Moses, and had drunk from the rock which followed them. That rock was Christ. They perished in the wilderness because they refused to obey.

What does our text say? "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him: If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples." That means if you have reverence for His will. This shows the positive side of their unbelief. They were self-willed. Israel was rebellious, defiant and disobedient in spite of all the rich experiences they had experienced.

Unbelief is also directly connected with hatred. When we judge Christ unworthy of our obedience, we hate what His commandments are. We hate Him, even though we may not want to admit it. Look at JOH 15:24-25; "If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause." Hatred is on the foundation of unbelief. The actions of unbelievers speak louder than their words.

Look at JOH 5:40-42; "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you." They will not come. They are not willing to surrender their rebellion before the will of God.

This love of God is the great distinction between professed believers and believing with saving faith. The love of God is the moving force of all saving faith. Faith without works is dead. Saving faith is to desire to know the perfect will of God, and to have the grace to do His will.

The power of love moves the soul to renounce all its own righteousness, renouncing all self-will and rebellion against God. There is nothing that brings a true believer more humbly before God than to see that indwelling sin in the heart. By nature we have that indwelling rebellion. We must confess that rebellion before God and beseech Him to deliver us from indwelling sin. We renounce our sins.

Look now at PSA 2:10-13; "Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."

PRO 28:12-14 tells us, "When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden. He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief." Those who love the Lord Jesus Christ have a continuous holy reverence for His will; they, who continue in His Word, hear His words and do them, reveal their love by their actions.

The exercise of true saving faith is a genuine coming to Christ with an unconditional surrender of our will to serve Him as King. Look at MAT 11:28-30; "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [laboring under that load of guilt and sin] Take my yoke upon you [continue in His Word. Come into obedience to His will], and learn of me [We see His unconditional surrender to the will of His Father. He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.]; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Why is His yoke so easy? We have a delight in doing His will because we have received a new heart. We have received a new desire. Our longing desire is to know and do His will that makes His yoke so light and His burden is so easy. It is the highest and chiefest delight of our life.

Coming to Christ as King implies leaving the kingship of another. In JOH 16:8 we read, "And when he [the Holy Spirit] is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged." The prince of the world is no longer sitting upon the throne of your heart. He has had judgment passed upon him. He has been cast out. Satan has been cast off the throne of our hearts, and we are no longer serving him. Now we come into the service of Christ. We come under His yoke.

As we come to Christ by saving faith, we not only desire Him as King, but also as we read in 1PE 2:25, "For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." We were as sheep going astray, but we are returned to following the leadership and the teachings of our blessed Saviour.

ISA 53:6 tells us, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." When we return to Jesus as the Shepherd and the Bishop of our souls, He teaches us the sinfulness of sin. He shows us that He has taken the penalty of our sin, and He has nailed it to His cross.

God placed before Adam the way of life and the way of death because He wanted to be served from a motive of love. The Lord did not want to be served out of compulsion. Legalism is not pleasing in the eyes of the Lord. If one were to start identifying sins and pointing to people who are guilty of that sin, then use the whip of the law to get them to serve Him out of compulsion, the Lord has no pleasure in such a service. Do you know why Adam was able to fall? Why did God set the scene so it was possible to fall? He could only accept Adam’s service if it was done voluntarily from a motive of love. If Adam were to serve God out of compulsion, he could not serve God acceptably.

The Lord wants us to see the love of the Father in giving His Son. We learn to see the love of the Son in giving Himself. Then the love of God, the goodness of God, leads us to a change of attitude. It leads us to repentance. It leads us to a new state of mind. Now, we desire to do His will, and now we can serve Him acceptably because it is from the heart and from a motive of love. It is the work of grace. That is why the Lord says, "If ye continue in my word." He doesn’t say, "If I fence you in so you can’t get out of it." He wants us to serve Him from the heart.

This is what distinguishes faith from saving faith. All those who come to Christ out of saving faith are moved by love for God and a hunger and thirst after righteousness. That is the fruit of the Spirit. That is our evidence that we have the grace of God.

Look at LUK 14:26-27; "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.[That word "hate" means love them less. In other words, we love our family, we love our children, we love our father and mother, but we love Christ more.] And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple."

Even as unbelief cannot be separated from disobedience, so saving faith cannot be separated from obedience. In 1JO 2:4-6 we read, "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."

Our text says, "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed." Amen.

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