3“Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would[c] do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” John 8.38-47
What does it mean to hear from God? Jesus is verbally combating those who would say he is not from God. Yet Jesus says if you belonged to God, you would hear from him.
The Jews are making the argument that they are Abraham’s children yet Jesus calls out their behavior as not the same as what Abraham would do or did. Rather, they are doing the works of their father, just as Jesus is doing the works of his Father. Who is their father? The devil. A liar and the father of lies.
This insult surely made them angry. Here they are serving God in the temple, making sacrifices, judging themselves and especially others by the Law of Moses. Yet they are not living in the truth but rather serving the devil. If they were living in the truth, as Jesus says, they would believe him as Messiah. If they believed in Jesus they would hear from God.
I can’t help but think about one of our United Methodist Churches that left the denomination recently because they wanted to affirm the gay lifestyle and ordain homosexuals as pastors. They have made this issue their Gospel. It’s now the key issue of human rights, social justice and ministry for them. It is their identity. But what about the Great Commission? What about holiness? What about Biblical authority? What about defining sin by Biblical standards? What about faithfulness to the UMC Book of Discipline? What about keeping your word, upholding a promise, remaining true to Jesus’ call upon their lives?
Of course they would say, “We are remaining true” but I can’t help but think they are doing the works of their father, the devil, in setting aside holiness and salvation by faith in Jesus by affirming the LBGTQ lifestyle and agenda (something the Bible clearly says is a sin). I believe they are deceived, off-track and misled. Now you may disagree with me but let’s weigh this argument not against culture or personal preference but Scripture.
If we believe in Jesus, take him at his word, we will do as he and his Father is doing. If not, we will be deceived by the father of lies and the truth will not be in us. Any other agenda that precedes Jesus and his work upon the cross is not from the Lord.
“O Lord, your heart grieves for those who remain in sin. All sinners must be loved but we can no less affirm the sin than we could condone outright disobedience to your word and to the church. How clever is the devil who can deceive even the Church into thinking something besides the Gospel of Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection upon the cross, is central. Forgive us Lord! Redeem us! Cleanse us from the stain of sin and draw us toward truth in your word and in your ways. I confess that I too am a sinner, saved by grace, and that I need the love, compassion and forgiveness found in your word. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen