John 8:21-24 ONE DYING IN HIS SINS
As Jesus taught in the temple courtyard, He told a great
crowd of people that He is the Light of the world. The
Pharisees challenged His statement. They said that because
He bore witness on His own behalf that His witness was not
true. Jesus said that there were two who bore witness of
Him. Not only did He bare witness of Himself, but God the
Heavenly Father also bore witness of Him. The witness which
God the Father gave on His behalf was so conclusive that it
proved beyond a reasonable doubt that He is the Christ.
Only those who were extremely prejudiced against Him would
continue to doubt that He is the Christ.
Yet the Pharisees were so strongly prejudiced against
Him that they stubbornly refused to accept Him as the
In our text today Jesus warns the Pharisees that because
they refused to believe in Him as the Christ, they would die
in their sins.
I. Another declaration by Jesus that He would depart
V. 21, "Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way..."
Back about the middle of The Feast of Tabernacles on the
very first day of His arrival at the feast, Jesus had told
the Pharisees even then that He would soon depart. He did
not tell them how He would depart or where He would go. He
did tell them that He would be returning to the One who had
sent Him. Now He tells them again that He is soon to go
away. He literally said, "I go my way."
Jesus still did not give any details. If He had given
them details, He would have informed them that He would soon
allow them to put Him to death. He would have informed them
that He would be crucified and resurrected. Soon after His
resurrection He would rise up in the air and go away into
If He had wanted also to inform them of the time
element, He would have told them that they would not be able
to put Him to death at this present time as they desired to
do. They would have to wait for another six months until
the next Passover Feast before they could put Him to death.
II. Seeking the Christ, but not finding Him
(V. 21), "...and ye shall seek me..." Jesus said that
after He is gone they would seek Him. Again He does not
give any details. Since those events have already taken
place and we can look back upon them now and fill in the
details. They would not be seeking Him in repentance of sin
and seeking Him as a Savior to save them from their sins.
It was just that since they had rejected Him as the Christ,
they would still be looking for the Christ to come. They
would seek for the Christ to come. . In fact they would
very earnestly plead with God to send the Christ to deliver
them. But let me repeat, it was not that they wanted the
Christ to deliver them from their sins and save their souls.
Rather, in 70 A. D. they would be facing an overwhelming
invasion by the Roman armies and they would be pleading with
God to send the Christ to deliver them from the powerful
They wanted to be saved alright, but it was not the
salvation of the soul that they wanted. They wanted the
Christ to come alright, but it was not Jesus whom they
wanted to come. Even in the Roman invasion, they would
still persist in their rejection of Jesus as the Christ.
They would seek a Christ, but they would not find a
Christ. God would not send them a Christ, because they had
rejected the real Christ and were looking for a false
Christ. Much the same thing will happen in the end-time.
The world will reject the real Christ, but they will be
ready to accept a false Christ, the Anti-Christ.
III. Dying in sin
(V. 21), "...and shall die in your sins..." Jesus told
those Pharisees that they would die in their sins. Jesus
wanted them to know that they had, indeed, sinned against
God. The Pharisees were a self-righteous bunch. It was
hard to get them to see that they were guilty of sin. If
they had believed the Old Testament scriptures, as they
claimed, they would have known that they had sinned.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 says that there is not a just man on earth
that doeth good and sinneth not. Psalm 14:3 reads, "They
are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy:
there is none that doeth good, no, not one." Even if they
would believe their own Pharisee brethren, they would admit
their guilt before God. You will remember that when the
adulterous woman was brought before Jesus, Jesus had said,
"Let him that is without sin cast the first stone" and all
of that whole group of accusers walked away. By walking
away they all acknowledged their guilt before God. So would
they all, if they were honest.
They were all guilty of sin and the wages of sin is
death. They would all die because of their sin. What is
worse, Jesus said that they would die in their sins. That
is, they would die without forgiveness of their sins. They
would die to face the full penalty of their sins. They
would die unsaved. They would die lost. They would remain
IV. Not able to go where Jesus will be
(V. 21), "...whither I go, ye cannot come." Jesus was
going away, and He told them, "Where I go, you will not be
able to come." On the earlier occasion, He had told them
that He would return to the One who had sent Him. That
means that He would return to heaven.
He had even told them on that first occasion that they
would not be able to find Him. Now He speaks in even
stronger language. He says, "Where I will be you cannot
come." He is telling them that they will not be able to go
The Pharisees all of their lives had been taught to
believe that they would be in heaven. But Jesus told them
in no uncertain terms that they would never make it to
heaven. If they were not going to heaven that does not
leave but one place where they were headed. They were
headed into the everlasting fires of hell.
This was information that was not pleasant to hear, but
it was information that they desperately needed to hear.
How tragic it would be to believe all your life that you are
going to heaven only to find out when it was too late that
you were not allowed in heaven! Jesus told them the truth,
not to vent His anger against them, but rather to show His
love for them. He told them so that they could yet repent
of their sin and get saved before it was too late.
V. The question which the Pharisees raised
V. 22, "Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself?
because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come." I want you
to note how these men so easily shrugged off the news that
they were in danger of going to hell. They totally ignored
the fact that Jesus just told them that they would not go
heaven and started asking one another, "What is He going to
do? Is He going to kill Himself? He seems so sure that He
is going away. How can He be so sure? Is He going to kill
We cannot be sure just what they had in mind by this
question. It could be that they were genuinely confused
about His statement about going away and wondered how He
could be so sure.
On the other hand, it could have been that they were
saying this in mockery. Jesus had told them that they would
not be able to come where He was going. It could be that
they immediately assumed that the reason they would not be
where He would be was because He would be in the very worst
possible kind of place. The Pharisees considered suicide to
be such a horrible sin that those who were guilty would not
only go to hell, but they would be in the very worst part of
hell. They may have thought, "That's right. We are not
going to be where you are going, because you are going to
the very worst part of hell and we could never go there. We
don't even want to go where you are going."
VI. An effort to correct their erroneous thinking
V. 23, "And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am
from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world."
The understanding of the Pharisees was woefully lacking.
They thought they would be in heaven in the hereafter and
that Jesus would be in hell. However, it was the other way
around. He would be in heaven and they would be in hell.
Jesus tried to correct their thinking by pointing out
that they understood only from an earthly point of view.
They were from earth and had limited knowledge. They saw
things from a prejudiced earthy point of view. They were
sinful in their nature and evil in their thinking.
On the other hand Jesus was from heaven. The
information which He had given to them was from heaven. He
was from heaven and every word which He had spoken to them
was exactly what God the Father had instructed Him to say.
There was no error on His part. He spoke from unlimited
knowledge. There was no prejudice on His part.
VII. A repeated warning from Jesus
V. 24, "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in
your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die
in your sins." Jesus sounded out another warning to the
Pharisees. He had already told them that they would die in
their sins. Now He repeats that warning. He repeats it for
emphasis. He wants them to wake up to the fact that they
are in grave danger of dying in their sin and missing out on
In the latter part of the verse He gives the reason why
they will die in their sins. The reason is that they have
not received Him as the Light of the world, the Christ of
God. They have not believed in Him and trusted in Him to
save them from their sins.
But note especially the word "if." Jesus did not say
that absolutely positively they would die in their sins.
Rather Jesus said, "...if..." He said, "...for if ye believe
not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." There was
still time for them to repent of their sins and to believe
in Him and be saved. But "if" they would not trust in Him
they would die in their sins.
VIII. Looking at ourselves and at those around us
Now let us forget about the Pharisees for a few minutes.
Let us concentrate our thoughts upon ourselves and the
people we know in our family and in our neighborhood and in
the communities around us. It is just as important for
people today to believe in Jesus and be saved as it was for
people back in that day.
We were all born with a sin nature inherited from Adam.
We have all sinned and come short of God's perfect standard.
There is not a sinless man, woman, boy or girl among us.
The truth is that we have all sinned and we would all die in
our sins if it were not for the saving grace of God through
faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
People do not die in their sins because they have not
been baptized. People do not die in their sins because they
are not members of a church. People do not die in their
sins because they are not members of some certain kind of
church. People die in their sins because they are sinners
and because they have not trusted in Jesus Christ to save
them from their sins.
On the other hand, people do not get saved from their
sins because they get baptized. People do not get saved
from their sins because they come to church or join a
church. The only way that people can get saved from their
sins is by repenting of their sins and trusting in Jesus
Christ to save them from their sins.
If you are still in danger of dying in your sins, let me
point out to you that once you die in your sin it will be
forever too late to try to seek the Lord and ask Him to have
mercy on your soul. If you want Jesus to have mercy on you
then now is the time to call on Him and ask Him for mercy
and salvation. If you want to go to heaven then you had
better not wait until you die in your sins to seek
Let me also point out to you that there is no question
about whether or not you will die. You will die. The
question is whether or not you will die in your sins.
If you are saved, then perhaps you need to start looking
around in your family or friends and start warning them to
trust in Jesus and be saved. Don't brow beat them and don't
hound them. Just pray for them and witness to them. It
will then be up to them to either trust Jesus Christ to save
them or to die in their sins. Let me say that everybody who
is unsaved needs somebody who is interested enough in their
soul to pray for
them and witness to them.
If you are unsaved, would you like to make preparations
this morning so that when your time comes to die, you will
not die unprepared to meet God? Will you trust Jesus Christ
to be your Savior so that you will not die in your sins?
If you are already saved, will you get someone on your
heart and start praying for them? Will you seek an
opportunity to witness to them?