It’s better to lie on a bed of hard truth, than soft lies

Pastor Jeff Struecker

Chances are, you’ve stayed in a hotel room and looked at the hotel bed, certain that it is the most comfortable bed you have ever seen. This bed looks like it is a cloud of uniform unicorn kisses. I’m going to sleep like a prince or a princess tonight. Then you curled up in bed and sure enough, it was soft and comfy.

However, when you woke up in the morning. You were tired, achy and there was something wrong with your neck so you asked yourself, what just happened to this bed last night?


It was perfect when I went to sleep and when I woke up in the morning, I feel miserable. It feels like I slept on a factory floor. Maybe you’ve had that experience.


Like I’ve had that experience, chances are what you saw and what you were looking at wasn’t what you were used to and it deceived you.


We are going to cover one of the most often used verses in the Bible. These words, the truth will set you free and the Bible is going to describe this relationship between Truth and freedom for us.


It was vividly described in the book of Proverbs chapter 27 verse six says, the wounds of a faithful friend are better for you and your soul than the kisses of an enemy.


Here’s why those kisses from an enemy as sweet as those words sound, they’re not true and going to leave you disappointed. The truth is, it is better to sleep on a bed of hard truth than it is to lay down on a bed of soft lies because those lies are deceiving you.

It’s better to lie on a bed of hard truth, than soft lies.

In this passage, Jesus is going to deal with the crowd of people and he’s just going to get real honest with them about the truth. And I tell you some people are going to get their feelings hurt by what Jesus says to them today, but for others in the crowd, they get set free. I hope that somebody’s tuned in and watched this broadcast online and today is the day that you get set free.


I hope for every believer myself included. You remind or you remember today what this freedom that Jesus offered you that no prison doors, no circumstances can possibly hold the child of God back.

Truth is the key that unlocks all prison doors

In John chapter eight today beginning in verse 30. As this conversation starts between Jesus and a group of people in Jerusalem, a lot of religious leaders, let’s just call them hypocrites, because that’s what they are.


Jesus starts talking to them about truth and what he’s trying to do is set the captives free and I want you to hear that truth is a key. It is the key, not a key, it is the key that unlocks all prison doors. Whatever it is that you’re struggling with, you cannot find the way out without going through the truth.

John 8: 30-33 As he was saying these things, many believed in him. Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “We are descendants of Abraham,” they answered him, “and we have never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”

There may be 15 other things that you need to figure your way out of a problem. But I promise you, you’re not going to figure your way out. You won’t make it to the other side unless you face hard truths and that’s what Jesus is doing with people in this crowd today.


As Jesus was saying these things, many believed in him. Jesus is teaching, he’s teaching his message about how to become a son or a daughter of the king and many hear what he has to say. The first thing that the Bible says today, they believe in what he has to say.


Next thing that the Bible says and then listen to this next verse. This is the verse etched in stone all over the world, John Chapter eight says this, then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed already believed in him. If you continue in my word, then you really disciples and then I’m going to add this then and only then well, you know the truth and the truth will set you free.


Did you see the chronology here? People have already heard, they’ve already started to believe, they prayed a prayer. They walk down an aisle and Jesus says, “Listen, it doesn’t stop right there when you continue in my word. If you continue doing my commands and following my words, then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”


And people were confused so here’s their response to Jesus. “We are descendants of Abraham and we’ve never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say you will become free?”


By this point, it shows that there are some confusions about the freedom that Jesus is describing and the freedom that they’re trying to figure out today.


Now the chronology doesn’t let you miss this, Jesus has been on the scene. Jesus has been sharing his message. He has been offering people freedom and some in the crowd are starting to hear what he has to say and start to believe it. But there’s a group of people in the crowd that can’t hear it literally from the Bible, cannot hear what Jesus has to say today because something is blocking it. He’s going to tell you before we’re done why they can’t hear the truth? Because they’ve been listening to lies for so long and so often that those lies are preventing them from ever really facing the truth.


Jesus is on the scene to set people free from themselves. The only one who can set people free from themselves and now you have a little bit of a disconnect when they hear freedom, they immediately think Abraham because, in Jesus’s day, your PSA status in society, your role in the community was all based on your direct lineage to Abraham, the father of the faith. How can you say that we need to be set free?


They’re talking about status in society and Jesus is talking about spiritual status. Spiritual freedom, basically saying, I could give a flying rip about your societal freedom.” I’m here to set you free at the soul level and your relationship to Abraham doesn’t make a bit of difference.  All of us, every single human being on the planet needs to be set free at the soul level from ourselves.


Not long ago I had a chance to talk to former NFL quarterback Tom Flick and he made this statement about how incredibly freeing is this. To learn that you’re a sinner and your life is a mess, that’s the moment where you’re now in a good place, where you can hear the truth.


In fact, it’s better for you to hear what he has to say straight from him about seeing, being set free from yourself.


No one has achieved more in sports in America than being a quarterback in the NFL and Tom Flick has made it to this level. He’s been in the league for years when he goes to this Bible study and describes this moment that he’s telling about.


In every aspect of his life, he has been judged by who he is and how he performs on a field. Listen, you are being fed millions of little lies and by themselves, they’re innocent and they’re not harmful. But when one another after another starts to barrage you, it becomes almost impossible to ignore those little lies. You’re being fed the same lies that Tom flick was fed. And those lies are your special.


If you perform well, you’re special. If you’re smart, you are special. If you’re beautiful, if you can run faster, if you can throw a ball, or if you’re successful, those are the things that make you special and those lies are trying to define your worth by what you do instead of who you are.


There’s a moment when Tom flick felt the pressure of the world on him to perform on a football field and he realized, “no matter how good I am at sports, it doesn’t make me special. I am a sinner in need of rescue.” And in his own words, he says, “it’s a great day when you realize just how much of a mess you are because that’s the first step to figuring out the truth and being set free.”


Jesus is trying to set people free today and I am begging you, believer. Don’t listen to the million little lies that tell you, your worth and your value are in what you do know. Your worth and your value is spelled out on the cross, in blood, and by a broken body. And that alone tells you just how special you are.

Truth is a mirror, not a window, for the human soul.

Let’s pick the story up where Jesus leaves off. He’s using truth like a mirror to reflect what you see about yourself. But some people in the crowd are trying to turn Jesus’s words against him. These hypocrites in the crowd are using truth as a window to point their fingers at somebody else.


We have all been around hypocrites who like to use the truth against you, but they don’t apply it to their own lives for them, truth is a mirror, not a window. In verse 34, Jesus responded, “truly, I tell you everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” Say the word slave out loud. A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does. And the son of God comes directly from the household of God. But a son does remain forever.

John 8: 34-38 Jesus responded, “Truly I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free. I know you are descendants of Abraham, 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 the Father; so then, you do what you have heard from your father.”

I would like to add parentheses to the Bible. Only if the Son sets you free, you will be free. I know your descendants of Abraham, but you’re trying to kill me because my word has no place among you. I speak what I have seen in the presence of the Father so then you do what you have heard from your father.



Jesus is dealing with their hearts right now and he’s getting really honest with him. All hypocrites try to apply truth to your life for you, but they struggle to apply it to their own life. And Jesus is using this analogy of truth and he’s treating it like a mirror so that we would look in the mirror and we would see what’s true inside of us, not trying to force that on somebody else.



He says, my words don’t have any place among you because you can’t hear it. And the reason why you religious hypocrites can’t hear it is because you’ve been listening to lies so long that those lies have pushed out any ability to hear the truth.



You see a slave sins, just one in one time, and that sin plunged you into slavery and you can’t find your way out. Somebody has to step in and deliver you from prison, rescue you from slavery. You can’t deliver yourself from prison. And so Jesus is declaring, I’m coming to set captives free, deliver you from slavery to set you free from prison. One incident in the past carries with you today, but one incident today will go back and undo everything that’s happened to you in the past. When the Son sets you free, you will be free.



Indeed, when the Son sets you free, you will be free forever. And that’s what he’s offering people today. But unfortunately, many of them can’t hear it. They can’t hear it because they’re so focused on other people that they can’t see what’s going on in their own lives. You want to know how you can identify a hypocrite. It’s by the way that they start the sentence. If she was a Christian, she would never, doesn’t matter what they fill in next. If he calls himself a believer, he wouldn’t dare do and whatever they fill in next. You can tell that they’re using the truth like a weapon, like a window to examine what’s going on in your heart. But I want you to notice something when the same thing happens in their life. Here’s what they say. You know what, I’m just human. We all are sinners and we all have problems.



You’re criticizing somebody else for the very thing that you’re doing and you condemn them for it but you want grace in your life when you do it. That’s the definition of a hypocrite and that’s what Jesus is dealing with today and when I hear Jesus’s words. I’m just going to stand up in front of you and tell you I am a sinner in desperate need of God’s grace.



When I hear his words today, I start to use it as a mirror to my soul and I start to realize, “Man, when I examine the motives of my soul and compare those to Jesus, like a mirror, his truth, I start to see there’s a really big difference between the motives of my soul and the motives that I see in Jesus.” I start to hear my words, what they are, and why I’m using those words and compare those to Jesus, using truth like a mirror, I start to see there’s a big disconnect between where I am and where he is.



I start to look at my actions and how I’m supposed to act or what I’m not supposed to do and compare that to the actions of Jesus, I cannot miss the fact that I am a long way from where I should be. Where he wants me to be. And when I hear the truth of Jesus, I’m saying God, I need you to use that truth, like a scalpel in my soul to cut out what doesn’t need to be there, I wouldn’t dare try to use it like shrapnel in your life because there’s enough junk in my soul to deal with.



I don’t even have time to start to deal with the junk that’s going on in your life. And apparently, these religious leaders couldn’t hear it because they’ve been listening to the lies for so long. Unfortunately, some friends of yours, the people that you know, are exactly like these religious hypocrites that Jesus is dealing with today, who cannot hear the truth because the lies have been so loud for so long. That’s all that they can hear 

Truth hurts, but lies kill.  


The truth hurts sometimes. Truth when it comes from a friend who really loves you and something you don’t want to hear. It hurts bad, but lies will ultimately kill. And I just kind of wonder how many of you would rather have a friend who would tell you the hard truth, as difficult as it is for you to hear than who would tell you a lie knowing that it’s not the truth.



How many of you want that kind of friend? Because the truth hurts. It hurts me as it does to you. But lies lead to death. Ultimately eternal death is what Jesus is describing today.

Here’s how this conversation ends between Jesus and these religious hypocrites. “Our father is Abraham, they replied.” The new testament tells us, Abraham believed in God, and then it was credited to him as righteousness.

John 8: 39-47 “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. You’re doing what your father does.” “We weren’t born of sexual immorality,” they said. “We have one Father—God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn’t come on my own, but he sent me. Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to my word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Who among you can convict me of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? The one who is from God listens to God’s words. This is why you don’t listen, because you are not from God.”

They’re saying we have direct lineage to Abraham, the founder of the faith. And Jesus is going to just blow up that argument by saying, what made Abraham the father of the faith is his belief and the way that you’re conducting yourself and the way that Abraham conducted himself is opposites.



“Our father is Abraham, they replied. And Jesus says if you were Abraham’s children, Jesus told them, you would do what Abraham did. But now you’re trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.”



“We weren’t born of sexual immorality”, they said. That’s exactly what they just did to Jesus when He starts to get honest with them and starts to hit a nerve. We have one Father, God. And Jesus told them if God were your father you would love me because I came from God and I am here for I did not come on my own, but he sent me.



Why don’t you understand what I say here? You are your father’s, the devil and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own, because he is a liar. And the father of all lies. Ultimately, every lie at its essence goes back to the first lie in the garden and our temptation to believe half-truths and full lies. Yet, because I tell you the truth, you do not believe me.



Jesus is trying to deal with these religious leaders and when he starts to hit a nerve, they get so angry that they, in Jesus’s vernacular say, your mama in his day, there was a lie that was spread around Israel about the birth of the Messiah, the shepherds, the people that saw it and heard the stories believe this virgin did have a baby. And it must be the work of God because virgins can’t have babies. But some of the religious leaders to stop that word from spreading, declared that Mary had a sexual relationship with a roman officer or a Roman soldier. And it is trying to hide the illicit affair from a Roman that she delivered this birth and lied to everybody about having a baby.

That’s essentially what they’re saying. “Jesus, we know what your mama did. The rumors are all over town about your mama. What Jesus did is incredibly generous. He says, “let’s talk about your daddy the devil because those lies that you’re spreading about me and my mother, ultimately come from the source of all lies. They ultimately come from the devil. I came from the father in heaven and I’m trying to set you free, but you cannot hear it and you cannot hear it because you’ve heard lies for so long that you can’t even recognize the truth when I tell you the truth and I’m trying to set you free, but you’ve been hearing lies, that being a good person, it’s going to get you into heaven. That by doing some religious ritual at the temple in Jerusalem, you’re going to heaven and you cannot see.”



This is the real tragedy of this whole passage. The Son of God is standing in your very midst and you can’t even recognize Him because you’ve been hearing lies and believing lies for so long that you’ve completely missed it.



They can’t hear it, because they’ve missed it. Because what they would inevitably have to be confronted with is what every Christian in history has had to be confronted with My son is so terrible that there’s no amount of giving money in that offering box when I walk out the door that can make it go away. My sin is so offensive to a Holy God that I can’t pray hard enough. I can’t read my Bible enough. I can’t help little old ladies across the street enough, I can’t go to church enough to make that stuff go away. I am enslaved by this sin that I was born into and I’ve contributed to it, by my actions, my thoughts, and my attitudes.



What I need is somebody that set me free and from the beginning of this week, when I started working on this sermon, I started praying to God, would you deliver somebody who is a slave to sin today? Somebody who doesn’t know your son Jesus for the first time, would you show them that only through the blood of a perfect sacrifice, the sinless son of God, can they be made free that he was willing to give his body up in exchange for their sin to purchase them and to make them right. That was my first prayer for us. But my second prayer was that we would never give in to the million little lives that are trying to tell you you’re valuable. You’re special because you do good things or because you’re pretty or because you’re smart or because you’re successful, those lies lead people straight to hell.