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Happy Independence Day!  We are thankful that the founders of our country were seeking a genuine and lasting freedom.  It began with seeking to be free of the tyranny of King George, but it became part of our DNA as a nation.  We are struggling more than ever with our definition of freedom.  This definition is an important and foundational truth. In our sermon series Truth or Consequences, we have a great Fourth of July theme, True Freedom.  How do we define freedom?  Is it just the ability of self-expression?  Or does our freedom simply breed a deep selfishness?  What type of freedom will give us a genuine sense of wholeness and joy?  Jesus is speaking to the Jewish people in John 8:30-43 and he says: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The people who were talking with Jesus struggled to understand this, much less believe it.  Yet, we inherently know that genuine truth has the great power to break the chains of our lives and liberate us.  This conversation with Jesus helps us to understand the truth of God’s freedom and claim it as a reality in our lives.  Are you truly free, despite the apparent freedom of our country?  As you read John 8:30-43, it is our ardent prayer that you will sense the joy and power of God’s truth for your life!  John 8:30-43: Even as he spoke, many believed in him. 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father. ” 39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would 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. (NIV)