The "Who's Your Daddy?" Debate

September 16, 2012 Speaker: John Hansen Series: The Gospel of John

Topic: Salvation Passage: John 8:37–8:47

The “Who’s Your Daddy?” Debate
John 8:37-47

• Like Father, like son.
• The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
• Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “He’s like a son to me.”
o Meaning he’s very close to me.
o He thinks like me. He acts like me. He looks up to me.
o He walks in my footsteps.
• It can be such a beautiful relationship between a father and a son when the son walks in his father’s footsteps.

Bill Graham & Franklin Graham
• Billy Graham had the sorrow of having a son that did not walk in his footsteps.
• He had a prodigal son named Franklin, who sought to live in opposition to the lifestyle of his father.
• CBS News: As a youngster, Franklin said, he was attracted not to the gospel, but to guns and motorcycles, cigarettes and alcohol.
• To the sorrow of his father, Franklin was thrown out of both high school and college. He was known for excessive drinking and fighting.
• Shower Flood: While at LeTourneau College in Longview, Texas, Franklin was the mastermind of an elaborate shower flood. He and other students in the Tyler Hall West dorm took bookcase shelves and blocked off the opening to the community shower on the top floor. They then proceeded to plug the drains and fill the shower with water several feet deep. After a few days however, the shelves broke and flooded the entire building. To this day, the top floor of that dorm is known as "Flooders".
• Franklin said of himself: "I wanted to be a hell raiser that lived my own life. And if it made people mad, tough. If it disappointed people, tough. It's my life, I'm going to live it the way I want to live it, and if you don't like it, get out of my way. That was kind of my attitude."
• Teenager Needed Some Money from Dad: - in Franklin’s autobiography, Rebel With a Cause. He tells how he rode over to his father’s office on his motorcycle, long hair whipping in the wind. When he got there, Billy Graham was in a board meeting--surrounded by important people. *But when Dr. Graham learned that his son had arrived--he invited him in and introduced him to each of the board members. *Years later, Franklin wrote: I never forgot that feeling. My dad wasn’t ashamed of me.
• at age 22 – Finally, at age 22, Billy Graham gave his son a choice. He looked him in the eyes and said: "Franklin, your mother and I sense that there is a struggle for the soul of your life. And there's no halfway. Either you're going to have to accept Jesus Christ and what he says and obey him and follow him, or you'll have to reject him. There's no middle ground."
• Franklin Graham received Christ.  Life underwent a transformation. And Father, Billy Graham, was able to receive Franklin, not merely as one of his offspring, but as a son who would walk in his father’s footsteps and go on to become the president and CEO of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
• Father’s Day Video in June 2011: Franklin Graham’s message was: "You’ve got…to learn from your father."
• Franklin said: “Being the son of Billy Graham is interesting because he is such a fantastic person, he’s bigger than life. My father always wanted to lift people up, he always showed respect, even to his enemies and I remember that, it has helped me in life…One of the greatest lessons my father taught me was "to love the Bible"…One of the things that my father did at home was we had devotions every morning and every evening. We started that practice [in our home] and I [have] noticed that my children now do that with their children."
• Franklin is now truly following Jesus Christ. He is not only patterning his life after his earthly father, but also after his heavenly father.
• Interview with Byron Pitts of "60 Minutes": Toward the end of the interview, Byron asked with a chuckle, "Why is it that every time I meet a member of your family, they start preaching to me?"
"Well, that's just the way we are," Franklin said.
• Like Father like son.

• Children have a tendency to become like their parents.
• We refer to the founders of our country as the Founding Fathers
• We refer to ancient Christian leaders as our Spiritual Fathers…we seek to learn from them, to walk in their footsteps.
• We quote them and attribute authority to what they say.
• Paul saw himself as the spiritual father of the believers in Corinth. He said: “14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me.”
• When Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, he has them begin by addressing God as their father. He says, “Our father, hallowed be thy name.”
• What was your father like? --- Some of us have dads we love and highly admire. We want to be like them in so many ways. Others of us hope and pray that we don’t end up like our dad. Very few people are indifferent about their fathers; we usually have a strong opinion whether good or bad.
• Jesus de-emphasizes the importance of physical family lineage and debates with the Jews regarding who their father is here in John chapter 8.

Sermon Title: The “Who’s Your Daddy?” Debate
o Jesus Debates the Jews – John 8:37-47
o Main Question Jesus Discusses: Are you a child of God or a child of the devil?
o Jesus regularly points out the dichotomy of good versus evil: He makes it clear that there really are only 2 sides:
o Jesus says: “You’re either for me or against me.”
o You’re walking in the light or the darkness.
o You’re serving God or money.
o From above or below.
o Truth or lies.
o Faith or Unbelief.
o In this passage: Is God your father or are you a son of the devil?

Dean Davis: This is a sobering text, in which Jesus goes toe to toe with the dead for the benefit of those whom he will graciously make alive. And that is us. We too, at one time, had no room for the Word of God; we too hated Christ; we too were lying, murdering, sons of the devil. But, because of God’s sovereign grace, we became a people who were “of God.” As the old spiritual says, “Sometimes it causes me to tremble . . . “ It should! And it should also cause us to thank and love the Lord with all our hearts.

Sermon Title: The “Who’s Your Daddy?” Debate

1) One Concession: (37)

2) Thesis Statement: (38)

3) 5 Arguments (39-47)
(Jews: 3 Counter Arguments)

1) One Concession (37)
You are offspring of Abraham. (37)
37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.
• Right away Jesus concedes: You are offspring of Abraham.
o In your family tree, you can trace your lineage back to the patriarchs.
o I won’t fight you on that one.
• However, Jesus points out the Irony of Them Being Offspring of Abraham
o Abraham was the man of faith, and yet they don’t believe.
o Abraham’s line was chosen for Jesus to be born into.
o Abraham rejoiced at the arrival of the promised messiah, and yet these men seek to kill Jesus.
• After making his one concession, in VERSE 38 Jesus lays out his thesis statement which he plans to argue.
Romans 4 – Who are children of Abraham?

2) Thesis Statement (38)
We have different fathers.
38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
• 2 Points
o Something different about us: We have different fathers. My Father & Your Father: Clear that they don’t have the same father.
• Different from the Lord’s prayer where he teaches his disciples to pray: “Our father”
o Something the Same About Us: We are both following in the footsteps of our fathers. You’re walking in your father’s footsteps and I’m walking in my father’s footsteps.
• Jesus makes His thesis statement 3 times:
1. We have different fathers. (38)
2. You are of your father the devil. (44)
3. You are not of God. (47)
Verse 38 is the Thesis Statement: Verses 39-47 Jesus and the Jews banter back and forth arguing about this statement.
3) Five Arguments Why God is Not Your Father
1. Sons and daughters walk in the footsteps of their Father. (39-41)
2. If God were your father, you would love Jesus. (42-43)
3. If God were your father, you would want to do His will. (44)
4. If God were your father, you would love the truth. (45-46)
5. If God were your father, you would hear His words. (47)

While Jesus is Sharing These 5 Truths, the Jews Make 3 Rebuttals
1. Abraham is our father. (39)
2. We were not born of sexual immorality. (41)
3. God is our father. (41)
This is a debate: I told you this was a debate. There’s some bantering back and forth. Jesus is definitely the one doing most of the speaking, but the Jews fire back with rebuttals. You see their first rebuttal in VERSE 39.
39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works Abraham did.
• The Difference Between Offspring and Sons
• Jesus conceded already that they are offspring of Abraham, but he refuses to concede that Abraham is their father.
• Offspring: just means they are physically descended from Abraham
• True Sons: follow in the footsteps of their father
o In light of the way you live, you have no right to call Abraham your father because you are not doing the works Abraham did.
1. Sons and daughters walk in their father’s footsteps. (39-41)
• Jesus argues to these Jews regarding Abraham: Offspring yes. Sons no.
o I’m sure you can trace your lineage all the way back to Abraham, but you have no right to call him your father.
• Despite family lines, people can have different fathers.
o God is not so concerned with whether or not you are related to Charlemagne.
o I’m related to Robert E. Lee and Daniel Boone, and I like to mention that now and then especially when I’m talking with a history buff…but God is not so concerned with that.
• He cares whether or not you are His son or His daughter, and if you are you will prove that to be true by walking in His footsteps.
• Sons and daughters walk in their father’s footsteps.
40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.”
• Notice He doesn’t say yet who their father is.
• He begins speaking of their father in 38 and continues to do so here, but he doesn’t say that harsh truth about the identity of their father until verse 44.
• Matthew Henry comments here about the discretion of Jesus Christ. He is not so forward to say immediately that truth that would come across as harsh.
o Sometimes I think we as Christian witnesses often with good intentions are too quick to jump to harsh realities.
o Yes, you may be speaking to a son of the devil, but don’t slam him over the head with that truth in your first statement to him.
o Yes, the person you are speaking to may be headed to hell, but don’t be so quick to say, “Turn or burn dude!”
• Even though Jesus hasn’t pulled out the big guns yet, the Jews sense he’s going somewhere with this that they don’t like and they come back with rebuttals #2 and #3 in the second part of verse 41.
They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.”
1) Abraham is our Father. (38)
2) We were not born of sexual immorality.
a. Our parents were married when we were conceived.
b. We’re from good stock.
c. Jesus would respond: Agree. That’s not what I’m arguing here.
d. You are offspring of Abraham. I’m not fighting you on that one.
e. Here, the Pharisees are making a snide innuendo about Jesus’ parentage, which was shrouded in mystery, rumor, and gossip. Later, they will openly charge him with being a Samaritan.
3) God is our father.
a. That’s what I’m fighting you on.
b. Offspring yes. Sons No.
c. I will not concede that point. [VERSE 42]
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me,
2. If God is your father, you will love Jesus. (42-43)
• You can’t claim to be sons of God and not love Jesus.
• Jesus said very clearly, “No man can come to the Father but by me.”
• There’s no way around Jesus.
• Do you love Jesus today?
o Is he your prized possession? Is he the joy of your life?
o That’s a good sign that God is your father.
• Dean Davis: “Earlier, Jesus said, ‘I know you, that you have not the love of God within you.’ Neither did we. Lovelessness towards God and Christ is the primary mark of the unregenerate man. But by the grace of the new birth, God makes us lovers of himself and Christ. This is love is imperfect, but is being perfected (see 1 John 2:5, 4:12, 17). Loving Jesus is not so much an obligation as it is a destiny, a destiny with which we can choose to align ourselves, and in which we can always rejoice!
• Jesus continues in VERSE 42: ---2 CLICKS---
for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.
• I came from the Father with His message.
• If you sought to walk in His footsteps, you would love me and you would want to hear every word that I have to share with you
o But you don’t understand.
o You don’t want to understand.
o And as VERSE 43 says, “You can’t even bear to listen to what I’m saying to you.”
• I am God’s love letter to the world. Don’t you want to open up your mail? Don’t you want to read what God would say to you? Don’t you want to hear the message? I’m it.
• You’re not interested in me because you’re not interested in God.
• Your will is set against me because your will is set against God.
• Now, let me tell you plainly who your father is. Let me tell you plainly who’s footsteps you are walking in…who’s will it is that you are pursuing. [VERSE 44]
44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires.
• You’re cut out of the same cloth.
• You have set your heart to do your father’s bidding:
o You Seek to murder me: VERSE 44 says The devil was a murder from the beginning.
o You speak lies: Jesus says, “Satan is the father of lies.”
• You seek to do his will, not the will of God.
3. If God were your father, you would want to do His will. (44)

• You listen intently to Jesus Christ. You believe His words, meditate on them and seek to live in accordance with them.
• That’s what happens when you are a child of God.
• Satan is the Father of Lies. God is the Father of truth! And those who believe in Jesus become sons of the truth.
• It is God who is at work within you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. – Phil. 2
45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?
• Why don’t they believe? Because God is not their father.
4. If God were your father, you would love the truth. (45-46)
• John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the truth!”
• You have itching ears. You’d rather hear a lie.
• Have you ever been convinced of the truth of something, and yet still not believed.
• How can we do that? If we know it’s true, wouldn’t that necessitate that we believe.
Romans 1: 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie!
• If God is your Father, you love the truth!
• You don’t exchange it for a lie.
• But you cling to the truth. You believe it. You walk in it.
• And so prove that you are a child of God.
• When a seeker loves truth, he loves Jesus, even if he is not yet a Christian. Lee Strobel disliked Christianity, and set out to disprove it. But he loved the truth enough to disprove it honestly. So his honest search led him to the truth he sought, and he is a Christian today! The world’s best advice to the non-christian: If only you will honestly seek the truth, you will find it.

• Jesus says: “Which one of you can convict me of sin?” Here, Christ claims sinless perfection; perfect righteousness;
o This is the same righteousness he credits to us who believe.

5. If God were your father, you would hear His words. (47)
47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God.
• Luke 8:18: Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away (Luke 8:18)?
• Remember Jesus parable of the 4 soils. He said, “If you do not understand this parable, how will you understand all the other parables.” This parable held the key to deciphering all of Jesus other parables. When Jesus explains the parable, the key has to do with how you “hear the words of God”.
• The word of God is the truth. Notice that in 3 out 4 types the way people “Hear” the word of God results in the truth being taken away. It results in the truth of God’s Word being lost. (Luke 8:12-15)
1) Path: “The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word.”
2) Rock: “And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.” – Verse 30 - “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.”
3) Thorns: “And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life.” --- (Is this plant dead, or just relatively fruitless?)
4) Good Soil: “As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.”
• Jesus concludes that these Jews are one of the first 3 types. They are not the good soil hearers of the word of God. [See the next part of VERSE 47]
The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
• Understand that you can “hear” the word of God but not “hear” the word of God.
• It just goes in one ear and out the other.
• Do you believe something is true because you want to believe it’s true or do you believe it’s true because it really is true?
o Too many believe things simply because they like them. It sounds good. It feels good. It doesn’t produce negative emotions in me like guilt or sorrow.
o Abandon your druthers and believe that which is true.
• Be a good soil hearer of the Word of God!

God, in his sovereign grace, enables his children to hear the word about Christ. He causes us to be born again by the living and enduring word of God.

So…the main question for us today is not so much who was the father of the Jews Jesus was talking to, but more importantly who is our father. Or, like I said earlier…
Who’s your daddy?
The Who’s Your Daddy Checklist
1. Am I following in God’s footsteps? (41)
2. Do I love Jesus? (42-43)
3. Do I want to do His will? (44)
4. Do I love the truth? (45-46)
5. Do I hear His words? (47)

Take a moment to pray for yourself. Think through each one. And pray that God would help you with these.

• John Piper: “When you hear preaching or read your Bible take hold of it like a miser taking hold of gold and silver. Take hold of it like a pearl of great price and a treasure in a field. Take hold of it like a drowning man seizes a float. Fight off every word-destroying demonic bird and burning affliction and deceitful desire. Then you will “have” and “more will be given.” You will bear fruit with patience.”
• And I would add, you show evidence that God is your Father.

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