John 8:30-41 CSB | Trey VanCamp | August 21, 2022
Life is more demanding and complex than we all imagined it would be. To take the edge off, we look to stories to help us make sense of life. In the modern age, the default narrative we believe is the myth of self-actualization and self-expression.
But have we ever stopped to question how helpful this story has been for our souls and our society?
Following the leadership of Jesus, we learn to resist the lies of the Enemy by adopting His teachings of reality. We experience this freedom by (1) identifying an anxious thought or feeling, (2) detecting the lie beneath the sensation, and (3) declaring the truth of God’s word to our weary and wounded souls.
I’d love for you guys to open your Bibles to John chapter eight, John chapter eight, for the last few weeks, we’ve been trying to really nail down this idea. What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus or in the language we’re using? Is what does it mean to be formed by Jesus? And we’ve talking a lot about how unintentionally we are formed by the world.
But intentionally in community, we can be formed by Jesus. And so it’s really, we’re trying to tap into the Hebrew concept of being a, the Hebrew word is Tal Meine. What does it mean to be his disciples or some people say apprentices. And so just a 30,000 feet overview. If you’ve missed the last few weeks, although you still need a reminder, even if you were here, here.
What we believe it means to be formed by Jesus. Number one, you see on these concentric circles up above, we need to be formed by his love. And so three weeks ago, we talked about anchoring our identity as children of God. Hear me? Nothing we do can make God love us less. And nothing we do can make God love us more.
He just loves us. Amen. And so we meditate on that scripture and I mentioned to you nine different identities and it’s our job to remind ourselves of our identity in Christ. So to follow Jesus is to first and foremost, remember he loves us and we certainly love him, but some of us who grew up in a church and that’s all we.
And that’s great, but we’re still missing crucial elements to change. We do not change into people of God. If we only look at love, we also believe in his life. You and I are formed intentionally by his life. We’ve used this language, a lot of our church living the lifestyle of Jesus that he lived while he was here on nurse.
We talked about that last week. We said, God time, gather time, group time and go. Right. These are the practices of Jesus. In God time, he would spend time in solitude. He would read the scriptures. He would go and share the gospel. Right? All of these, he would be at the synagogue with gather time, which you’re doing tonight.
And we so believe we’ll talk about this next week. Gathering physically is really, really I important. And we’re gonna process that together starting next week. But if I were to make one point again from last week, is this, the practices are not designed. To attain right. Standing with God, not at all, but they are designed to maintain light living with God, to live the life you and I are called to live.
So that’s his love. That’s his life tonight is about his leadership. We’re called in the scriptures to listen and obey everything Christ tells us to do. If you had a rabbi in the first century, You would not be the one saying, okay, Jesus, I understand. But what about this? What about that? You would say, okay, you’re my rabbi.
You are smarter than me. Your ways are higher than mine. And so I’m going to just submit to whatever truths you have and hear me whenever we pick and choose what to follow. We have a faith that’s fake and hollow. And so in the scriptures, we are devoting ourselves every week, whatever this says, we’re gonna.
Because he takes the lead. And just to be quick, if you look at that graph one more time, if we aren’t formed by one of those things, we have these, these edges about us that aren’t fully formed. So if we ignore his love, you and I will have a stingy problem, we’ll be stingy with our generosity. We’ll be stingy and giving out love to others, and we’ll be stingy and receiving love back.
Maybe you’re stubborn. That shows that you actually aren’t submitting to his leadership. You’re not learning from his teachings. And that leads to all sorts of heartache. The scripture calls this a hard heart, which leads to all sorts of contention or maybe, and I think a lot of us, when we talk about in our together groups, a lot of us feel stuck, right?
You’ve been following Jesus for a time, but there’s habits. There’s areas. There’s sinful addictions in your life. You just cannot seem to find victory over. What we say is, okay, then that means what you need to lean into more than ever is his life. What are some practices? How can you begin to start fasting or praying or reading the scriptures?
And soon enough, you will find yourself change, but here’s, what’s difficult. All of this you see above is very hard and takes extreme intentionality, which is one reason why we need to do this thing together because the world to flesh the devil will try to give you fake versions of all of these things.
Instead of identity, he’ll make you chase status. Instead of these practices, you and I will be stuck in the habits of the world. And instead of truth, you and I are consumed with narratives and that’s what I wanna lean into. What are the narratives we’re tempted to believe? And how has that damaged our soul?
Let’s pray, father God, I just asked for your grace. I ask you God, that we would submit ourselves to the scriptures tonight. God, may we be, as James says, doers of the word and not just hearers only God may we submit to the scriptures as a lamp into our feet. And a light into our path. And God, would you be so generous that tonight you would reveal to our own souls narratives we’ve been tempted to believe, and may you replace it with the truth so that we can be set free.
And then of Jesus, everybody says, amen, amen narratives are the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of. It’s the driving story that gives us purpose direction and energy, especially in the face of opposition, pain and suffering. It’s human to say, okay, suffering has come. What is the story behind this to give me?
Hope there’s a really good book by Andrew Del Bonko. He wrote this book called the real American dream and in it, he argues America has had three driving narratives from its conception to modern day. I think it’s fascinating. So, number one, this was the beginning of America was God. This was the dominant narrative of why people moved to America and the purpose of its founding, the Puritans, they fled religious persecution and in, so doing, they found America and they established America.
And I know there’s a lot more history to that. I would love to talk about it with you after, but that is a general statement. What happened? And he says, quote hope was chiefly expressed through a Christian story that gave meaning to suffering and pleasure a. And promised deliverance from death. So what’s great about this narrative.
If you are serving God, even if you die, you have a life after this. And so talk about purpose. Talk about, even though I have suffering, I have heaven awaiting me. And with that narrative, it’s pre incredible to see the story of America and how it was formed. But actually this was pretty short lived. Most people don’t believe this.
But I would argue when you look at the histories and we have an honest wrestling of the scripture, I mean, of the history. This probably lasted as the dominant narrative until the revolutionary war. You go out and see a lot of us think in the 17, 18 hundreds, we are such a God honoring nation, but you actually read about the great awakenings.
There was a lot of people who did not follow the way of Jesus. So then what happened from there? According to Del Bonko is we now move the narrative from God to nation. So this was the enlightenment influenced this shift away from. You had all these brilliant philosophers and thinkers saying, do we really, they still acknowledge God, but it was more a move towards deism.
God created these things and now what’s up to us. And so it’s all about our brains and our thoughts, but even particularly here in America, it became about America. We’re here to expand this great nation. And if you read certain people and some people still believe this today, the constitution was equivalent to the.
I actually saw a political, somebody say something earlier this week, he held it off, held up the constitution as God’s word friends, I’m a fan of the constitution, but that ain’t God’s word. Amen. That will fall and fail. But God’s word stands forever. That’s as, as political as I will get now, American freedom is now worth dying for, I’m not arguing if this is good or bad, I think it’s just kind of a mixed bag, but everybody was living for this dream of building the kingdom.
Of America to the ends of the earth. If you look and study the and research the history, Andrew Delbanco argues, this was no longer the predominant narrative. After world war II, world war II was its peak. Look how great America is. We defeated the devil named Hitler, but soon after. There’s this thing called the 1960s.
Any of you remember those days, everything changed. It was the revolution of the self. And that leads to his third point. The narrative became self actualization, and I would argue it’s still the majority for us today. What is the narrative of life? Pursue the self at all costs. So you’ll find, and a lot of people complain about this.
Cuz each generation gets worse. We no longer sacrifice for God. Absolutely. Not people even get upset. We move to Sunday night at 5:00 PM. I’m only a Sunday morning guy. So you don’t come to church anymore, right? It is. It is. So we don’t sacrifice. We don’t man. Oh, I don’t like the temperature in the room. I didn’t like the music.
And so we go, we do not sacrifice for God up beyond that though. You’ll see. You don’t even sacrifice for country. One of my friends, he, uh, entered into the military. And he told me how disappointed he was, cuz for him, he went into the military because he believed in the tenants of America. And he said, most of those who went in with him just didn’t have another job.
And so they thought, Hey, might as well join the military. He was greatly, greatly disappointed. This narrative is now all about the self Sam Berry in a tweet. he says this quote, I think is really helpful. He says the eighties serve yourself. I don’t remember those days, the nineties, which I was there, nineties, find yourself two thousands, accept yourself, the 2010s express yourself.
And that was the end of the quote, cuz it’s a little bit old. I would now say the twenties redefine yourself, but everything is about the self. Self-actualization why we see the suffer. We see the pain. We’re trying to find a story to make us feel better. And most of us are saying the only story that makes sense is the whole world can go to hell in a hand basket, but I’m gonna do me.
How is that working? The narrative of the self is twisted. It is twisted truth into a lie. It has twisted love into lust. It is now twisted. And hear me with, I say this with grace and compassion. I understand that there’s so many things, but it has twisted divorce into an act of courage. It has twisted divorce into an act of being authentic to yourself.
It’s damaging. It is twisted pornography into female empowerment. Somehow in the name of the self, the narrative of self we have destroyed ourselves from within. It has twisted greed. Into just good business practice at all costs. We just need to keep growing. But do we really is everything really about the bottom line?
We’re not thinking these things because our narrative is about the self. Now I don’t say these things to cast judgment, but I’m grieved to see how much our narratives have shattered our souls broken apart, our families and hurt the least of these. So when I say let’s be disciples of Jesus, I’m saying, how can we recognize these narratives and create something different with the truth, but we have to fight the narratives, write this down.
We live at the mercy of our narratives. So the reality is we better make sure our narratives are right. And we believe the narrative that we ground our whole existence in is in the scriptures. The scriptures that go well beyond ourselves, we desperately in this moment, friends need the leadership of Jesus to grace, us with the truth.
Now. Let’s enter John eight. So John eight is one of my favorite passages of scripture. I actually looked it up. I’ve preached this seven different times. So if you’ve been with us since the beginning, hold on, I got another perspective on it, but John eight is pretty incredible. Jesus, let me set the context because of time.
We’re not gonna go through all of the text. We’re gonna start it verse 30, but let me set the context of verse one through 29, Jesus was teaching in the. In the middle of what the juice would call the feast of Tabernacles. You can learn about this in the old Testament. This was a yearly celebration to remember how God set them free from the Egyptians and provided for them in the wilderness.
Do you remember this right? Pharaoh. Pharaoh. Oh, baby. Let my people go, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. You know what, Ron, I see you in the bag. You’re the one who taught me that song when I was six years old. God bless you. All right. So. It was a yearly celebration and this is pretty incredible. They would do three things.
Jesus knew this. He was living in this culture. Number one, you better be grateful. We don’t do this holiday. They would live on top of their homes for seven days. Why it was to remember their forefathers who wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. So to be in solidarity with their ancestors, they said, let’s not live in a home like them let’s live in nature.
Number two, they would pour out water every day. Why, if you remember the story one instance, while they were in the wilderness, God provided for them. When, what, when Moses struck the water. And so they would pour out the water to remember in solidarity again, with their ancestors, we had nothing and yet God provided.
Pretty incredible holiday. This is some good stuff. Here’s the last thing they would do. They would take this candle labra. It would be four candles and they would light each one every day and they would, they would celebrate what if you remember in the Exodus and if you don’t that’s okay. I’ll teach you real quick.
God led them cloud by day, but fire by night. So they remembered, even though we were in the darkest of times, God still provided light. And God was our leader. And we’re remembering that, that the same God who led us back then is the same God who will lead us to deliverance today. It’s a great holiday.
Okay. Now Jesus enters the scene. This celebration’s going on. And verse 12, what does he do? He steps up. He looks at the candle and he says, I, in the light of the world, shocking the entire. He’s saying, you know how you’ve been commemorating these lights as the leadership of God. He is saying, I am that leadership.
I am God in the flesh. And here’s, what’s fascinating about this text immediately. They loved it. Oh, amazing. You’re gonna take care of everything. You’re our hero. You’re the savior we’ve been longing for. But something interesting happens in verse 30 and it should be chilling to us. Look at verse 30, as Jesus was saying, these things many believed in him, what incredible revival, everybody saying, you know what we believe in you, Jesus.
Now this would be encouraging as a verse until you start reading the rests you’ll recognize. And this is a fear we need to think about ourselves. They loved what Jesus said until he kept.
You and I, to be a disciple of Jesus, we love what he says as he continues to talk. And Jesus says, look for you to be my disciple. You need to keep listening. And keep taking my lead. This is his warning. Look at verse 31. He says, then he said to the Jews who had believed him, this is his crowd. He’s talking to.
If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. This is pretty fascinating from an American perspective. What do we care about? Just believe we just care about the hands being raised. Boom, let’s go home. We’re gonna tweet about it. We have a bunch of new people. There’s revival. Jesus goes, ah, hold on.
Pretty great that you believe in me. Let’s see if you really believe in me, I’m not calling just for believers. I’m calling for followers. So he says, if you continue, this is what’s fascinating. We’ve been learning about this word together. It’s just in different form. This word continue here is to abide or to remain or to dwell, which we talked about just a couple weeks ago.
So’s saying if you abide in my word, if you continue, if you never stop obeying you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, verse 32, and the truth will set you free. This should be the greatest news of all time, but look at how they respond. We are descendants of Abraham. They answered him and we have never been enslaved to anyone.
How can you say you will become free they’re offended. Jesus responded. Truly. I tell you everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain that’s that abide language in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. That reminds us of his love, right? Our identity in Christ as his children, verse 36.
So if the son sets you free, you really will be free notice here. He’s speaking of a spiritual freedom, because if you study the history of the. They, they were enslaved everybody. The Egyptians enslaved them, the Greeks, the Romans, it was constant. But they’re saying, even though these countries have dominated us, we are still free because we’re children of Abraham and spiritually.
We will have an inheritance forever. And Jesus is saying, hold on. Okay. Verse 37. I know you are descendants of Abraham by blood, but you are trying to kill me because my word has no place among you. I speak what I have seen in the presence of a father. So then you do what you have heard from your father.
Our father is Abraham. They replied. If you were Abraham’s children, Jesus told them you would do what Abraham did, but now you are trying to kill me a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do this verse 41. You’re doing what your father does. We weren’t born of sexual morality.
They said we have one father, God, this is now them getting mad at Jesus and claiming that Jesus is a illegitimate child, because there was some wondering of who the actual father was. Jesus, of course, God was the father. And so anyways, they were trying to do a dig at Jesus there. What does all this. Jesus is confronting the narrative of these.
So and so believers and my prayer is that for you and I, we also give Jesus that opportunity to confront our narratives of what we think we believe here’s how the narrative worked out for them. And let me give you some examples after that, of how it works out for you. And for me, they thought their father was Abraham.
But Jesus goes on in verse 42 in following. He says, no, actually your father is the devil. See here’s what happened. They loved the Torah. Those are the five books of the old Testament. They may have loved the Torah, but they didn’t live it. They love to quote it, but they didn’t love to live it. And Jesus is confronting of that.
See, they may have memorized the whole old Testament, but a narrative here. Hear me. Here’s what a narrative can do. A narrative can take 95% truth. But 5% lie and ruin the whole thing. So in their narrative, they studied the Bible in their narrative. They knew that Abraham was a good father to follow, but in their narrative, here’s what it was.
Salvation was received by birth. But instead the scriptures say, no, it is received by belief, that little small narrative. Changed the whole story for the people of God and Jesus came to confront them of that. Why would they want to learn? Why would they want to believe the narrative that it’s about birth and not believe super convenient?
All they had to do was to be born a Jew. So for them, they’re like, great. I don’t have to repent. I don’t have to sacrifice. I don’t have to love. I’m a child of Abraham because I’m literally a child of. And Paul says this, Jesus says this, no, a child of Abraham is what those who also believe and have faith and who are really my disciples.
Abraham. It’s not so much about him being a by blood father. No, he is our father because we follow in his footsteps of faith and belief. Does that make sense? This narrative, just a tiny shift and it ruined their whole lives. This is a key truth for us in our fight against narratives. Write this down. The enemy cannot teach reality, but he always twists it.
He takes what’s true and twists just enough to ruin the whole thing. And I wonder as his disciples, how are we faithfully asking those questions as well? Cuz for them this twist, this small narrative kept them from love. This twist, this narrative kept. Enslaved. And so Jesus is straightforward and tells them their slaves.
And look again how we respond to verse 33. They said we’re descendants of Abraham. They answered him. We have never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say you’ll become free? Here’s the truth for Jesus to lead us to freedom. He first has to expose us to our chains and the enemy loves to convince you.
You’re not actually ENS. Warren WEBY he has a commentary on John eight. He says the following. I think it’s so good. He says the worst bondage is the kind that the prisoner himself does not recognize guys, is that our society or what look he thinks he’s free. And yet he’s really a slave. The Pharisees, other religious leaders thought they were free, but they were actually enslaved in terrible spiritual bondage to sin and sat.
They would not face the truth. And yet it was the truth alone that could set them free. So hear me, the work of discipleship is to detect the lie and having the courage to then face the truth. So how are we in today’s world, modern society by so our passion at passion Creek. To empower you to be disciples of Jesus.
And I’m telling you, we cannot be his faithful Tal Meade, if we don’t fight narratives with the truth. And so here’s the question we have to ask ourself. What’s a false narrative we believe because of the enemy and what is the corresponding truth. We need to fight it with from the Bible. Okay. So let me give you three self narratives.
You and I believe by default number one, my hope is in what I can. We see this a lot. We actually, people masquerade this as freedom. We think true freedom is just doing what you want to do. Doesn’t matter if you claim that it’s truth or not. What we say is man, true freedom. True hope is doing what I want when I want to.
And us as faithful believers, we have to start asking those tough questions. How’s that working for? You see our hope in just having freedom to indulge in the. Is leading to enslavement and it’s killing us. It’s hurting our relationships. It’s hurting our careers. It’s hurting just even our anxiety.
Everything just becomes about doing whatever the flesh wants to do has the picture of freedom, but it’s actually enslaving. The second thing is my hope. Isn’t what I can have. Some of us we’re tempted to put all of our time and effort into making money because that’s what gives us. I have a friend that I’ve been discipling and I’ve been, I called him out recently because he started not to come to church.
He doesn’t go here so I can, you know, whatever he goes, he lives in another state and he’s like, but I need to make the money. And I’m like, so you’re saying you don’t trust God enough to take care of you. So you’re gonna skip on God’s time to take care of yours friend. That’s a narrative that you’re believing and that narrative will lead to destruction.
So our hope, isn’t what we can have a few weeks ago. We looked at first, John, two 15 pride in one’s possessions, but friends, I don’t want to gain the whole world, but lose my soul. ECC says, man, you can have all the possessions in the world and it’s never enough. But the narrative, the self says you better try.
We have to fight against that. Number three, my hope isn’t what others think of me. This is by far the hardest one for. We put our hope in performing for others because we think we need their approval and that narrative can lead to all sorts of destruction and hear me, we cannot be fully formed by Jesus if we believe these narratives.
And so write this down, the teachings of Jesus, call us to Rere our vision of reality. What is true? And what is the lie? For example, my hope is not in what I can do. Cause first of all, one day I’m gonna be pretty useless. Instead. My hope isn’t what Jesus already did for me. My hope. Isn’t what I can have.
I’m not gonna take any of this with me when I die. My hope. Isn’t what I have in Christ. And the Lord is my shepherd. I sh I have all that I need. My hope is not in what others think of. Because opinions come and go like the wind. But in Christ, I know that the father delights in me and I delight in him and that’s the only approval I need.
See this takes a lot of time to take these lives, that the narratives that the world teaches and to push them away from our hearts, cuz the truth, Jesus says can set you free. And I wonder how many tonight feel enslaved? But you feel enslaved because you’ve never doubted the narratives that the world has been teaching.
And Jesus is saying revision reality and trust that Jesus is the ultimate teacher. That knows. What’s true. And good. Look at verse 31 again, it says, then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him. If you continue remain abide in my word, you really authentically you are my Tal Meade, my disciples, my apprentices of Jesus.
You will know the truth and the truth will set. You. This word, this word, continue. It’s just saying you’re sticking to the truth and you’re obeying it. Even when it doesn’t make sense. Galatians six, nine, let us not tired of doing good for, we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Here’s what’s so great about reality.
It always wins. Eventually. Doesn’t matter what you think about the world. Eventually reality will. And that’s what the scripture is saying. Jesus is saying, you follow this truth. The truth eventually will always try him. So how do we continue in his word? Write this down. We are formed by the leadership of Jesus when we don’t just look to God for reassurance, but for redirection.
This is how, you know, you can continue in his word, these people, they said, I believe in you because they were reassured, oh, great. You’re a light. This is gonna sound great. We’re gonna conquer the world again. And Jesus says, hold up, let me redirect you first. And if you don’t take this redirection, you are still enslave.
This has happened to me last Sunday, literally. Right after I preached last Sunday, I said, amen. I walked down these steps to go ask for you guys to sing and receive you in prayer. And I can’t tell you how many thoughts invaded my mind. Like literally I said, amen, walked down these stairs. And I was thinking thoughts like you’re terrible.
Preacher. If people are sleeping, probably they’re never gonna come back. Why are you still doing this? All sorts of lies? If I’m honest with you, I wanna be a preacher and say, and I knew they were lies. And I said in the name of Jesus, but no, I was sitting soaking over there during those whole two songs thinking you’re right.
God, I’m pathetic, man. And do I have what this takes? And it, it was so hard. Me and my wife, I tried not to talk about her in this way. Cuz anyway, she was mad at me LA last week cuz I was just, oh, like EOR, why bother? You know, all that. and I was like, Jordan, you need, and she goes, just stop. I’m like, no, you know, like I just, was it good enough?
Was it, she goes, just stop. I’m not playing this game this week. And it’s what I needed. But I was very mad at her at the time. I was like, you need to soothe my soul. Like, I’m a teenage boy right now. You know, you need to just care for me. And so Monday morning I woke up and I was like, okay, I can’t let this, I can’t let this control my life, especially cuz I knew I was preaching on narratives this Sunday.
So I was like, Lord, this is a narrative. So I began to rock. On my back door, Poe porch, hitting the mosquitoes all over my legs. Worst thing in the world. Don’t like the smell of DET. So I deal with it. But anyways, as I was rocking, I was praying to God saying, God, and here’s where I messed up to God. Can you just tell me I did a good job.
Can you just, can you send, can, can somebody send me a text today? I said, man, Trey VanCamp, that sermon you preached yesterday changed my life. I was like, I’ll take that. God, you. I’ll take it. I’ll even take a, Hey, where’s that sermon again? So I can hear it one more time. You know, Lord, what can you do for me?
And it didn’t comfort my soul. I’m so frustrated. Come on, Lord sitting there looking at my phone, breaking my rule. Cause I’m not supposed to touch until 10:00 AM. Somebody text me. Got nothing. Thank you guys, by the way anyways. And but I realized in that moment, oh Jesus. If you’re my master. I’m actually trying to demand from you reassurance, but what I need right now is redirection.
See like, if God reassured me Monday morning, then my sermon was actually good. I would still be vulnerable to being hurt tonight. Cause I don’t think it’s going well, just gonna, right. I, I would be fearful. So the Lord, I feel like says, look, you don’t need reassurance that it was a good sermon. You need to be redirected that, Hey, you’re my child.
It doesn’t matter if you do good or bad, your identity is that your loved so on your great days, I love you. And on your bad days, I love you just as much. See, what I needed was redirection. And some of us, we are not open to allowing God to redirect us cuz we think God’s only job is to reassure us. But God and his grace hear me.
I am just so grateful. Jesus. He did reassure me, but at first came by redirecting me. And that’s what Jesus is saying to them. If you allow me to redirect you, you will find. But if you’re just coming for reassurance, you will still be enslaved. You read the gospels, Jesus constantly redirected people and told them what they didn’t want to hear to the rich young ruler.
What did he say? He called him to give all of his money to the poor, to the self-reliant. Peter, what did he do? He calls Peter to step out of the water. Out of the boat, onto the water to disciples, following Jesus, because all they loved all his miracles. He told them, eat my flesh and drink my blood. He knew if you really are my disciples, you’re gonna follow the things you also don’t like to hear.
And if Jesus is your rabbi, you have to submit yourself to his leadership. No matter if you like it or not. But the good news is John 8 32. You will know the truth and the truth will set you. So as I close in Christ, we no longer live at the mercy of the world’s narratives. We live in the grace of God’s truth.
This is why we gather every week. This is why I encourage you to read your scriptures. This is why we tell you to get into a together group, to constantly friends, fear, shame, pride are always at our door and we must fight it with his teachings of reality. So I’m so excited. This is this week’s practice with your together groups.
This. And I really if you receive this on your way in, amazing, if you didn’t on your way out, we’ll make sure you grab one of these. This is what we call combating the world’s narratives with the teachings of Jesus. And so this is three steps. I want, I just printed out one for you to get started, but I encourage you to actually make this a rhythm of your life.
This actually was taken from John mark comer. He wrote a book called live, no lies. He actually calls it a monastic handbook for combating demons. That’s probably what I should have put up there. That sounds amazing. You probably would do it because it sounds so cool, but here’s the process. Here’s what we want you to do this week.
I don’t want you just to be inspired and go home. Let’s do the word. Amen. So how do we follow his leadership? Number one, think about what’s the negative thought feeling and or sensation. Think about your body. What gives you anxiety? What has given you fear and shame and all of those things. Write those things down, start to examine your life for me.
I get butterflies in my stomach. So writing down, okay. I’m feeling butterflies in my stomach of anxiety when I’m getting ready for the day, something like that. Right? So identify that now. Number two. So now after you’ve identified some weird feeling this anxiety within now begin to ask yourself, what’s the lie beneath a thought feeling and or sensation that is revealing your false narrative.
So for me last week, The lie was that I need people to like me. That’s a lie. I don’t need that. Write that lie down. My hope is, and not what others think of me, but that’s what I’m believing when I’m getting ready for the day. And that’s why I have anxiety. And then number three, what’s the truth from God’s word.
And this is gonna require you getting into your Bibles. This is gonna require community. I encourage you in your group say, Hey, this is what I’m struggling with. Is anybody here have a verse for this? Do you know of a text of a memory verse, something that I can think through and hold onto? And so for me, what’s the truth.
One thing for me is Joshua nine has been encouraging my soul. Joshua one nine is what I read on there. It says be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid. And this is the line for me. Don’t be discouraged. Why it goes on to say for the Lord, you gotta be with you wherever you go. I don’t need to be discouraged because the Lord is with me and you fight that truth.
You fight with that truth, you fight that narrative and say, this is the truth. And you look at it and you gaze over it and you declare that truth over your life. I’m telling you friends to beat his disciples. It takes practices like this. What’s that feeling? What’s the lie beneath the feeling. And what’s the truth that we need to start memorizing together.
This is what it means to be a Tal. Meem a disciple of Jesus. And I promise you, I believe. It is worth the effort. Would you practice that practice with me this week?
Meal & Conversation
Open the night with a quick prayer over your time together. As your Group shares a meal, use one or two of these questions to check in with everyone:
- What’s been the best and worst part of your week so far?
- What’s something that’s been giving you joy lately?
Overview of Teaching
Life is more demanding and complex than we all imagined it would be. To take the edge off, we look to stories to help us make sense of life. In the modern age, the default narrative we believe is the myth of self-actualization and self-expression. But have we ever stopped to question how helpful this story has been for our souls and our society?
Following the leadership of Jesus, we learn to resist the lies of the Enemy by adopting His teachings of reality. We experience this freedom by (1) identifying an anxious thought or feeling, (2) detecting the lie beneath the sensation, and (3) declaring the truth of God’s word to our weary and wounded souls.
- Read John 8:34-36. Reflecting on your own life, how have you experienced sin become enslaving? What did it look like when Jesus set you free from that sin? If you’re still struggling, what would it look like for you to experience freedom in that area?
- Read John 8:42-46. Why is it significant that Jesus identifies Satan with lies? How is this consistent with what you know about Satan? Would you agree or disagree that the enemy’s primary strategy against us is to twist reality and enslave us with lies?
- Now go back and read John 8:30-32. Where in your life do you think God wants to redirect you and not just reassure you? When you think about submitting yourself to the leadership of Jesus by following and obeying his word, what fears and apprehensions do you have? What excitements do you have?
Before moving on to this week’s practice, quickly debrief last week’s practice with your Group:
- How did last week’s practice go? Are there any thoughts or insights from last week that you’d like to share with your Group?
Download PDF handout of this week’s practice.
This week, we’re focusing on tackling the false narratives of the world head on. To do this, we have to pause and reflect on our values, priorities, fears, habits, and lifestyles. By making ourselves aware of what drives and motivates the decisions that we make in these areas, we allow the false narratives from the world that we believe to come to the surface. Here’s a simple way to put this into practice this week:
- When you experience a negative thought, feeling, fear, or physical sensation, pause and recognize it. For example, you might notice yourself feeling anxious while getting ready in the morning, or that you’re always fearful when you have to tell someone no. Or you might recognize recurring fearful thoughts about losing finances or your job.
- As you reflect on those feelings, fears, and emotions, take a minute to recognize the lie beneath them that reveals a false narrative you’re believing. For example, anxiety while getting ready for the day might reveal a false narrative that you’re value comes from your performance at work. Fear that arises when you say no to someone might reveal the lie that your job is to make other people happy. The pervading fear about losing your job or making less money might reveal the lie your security is in your job or that happiness comes from having nice things.
- Now ask the Spirit to remind you of a truth from scripture to combat those lies, and take a moment to meditate on that truth. Consider verses like Joshua 1:9, Psalm 103:11-13, or Romans 8:1-2.
Discuss the following questions as a Group.
- What are some pervading thoughts, fears, or sensations that often go through your mind day to day?
- What lies and false narratives from the world and the devil do you find yourself believing on a day to day basis?
- What truths from scripture are the hardest for you to really believe and apply to your life?
As you end your night, spend some time praying for and encouraging one another.