The Power of Forgiveness (10/26/14)

Posted by on Oct 27, 2014 in Sermons | 0 comments

Pastor Jim’s sermon on 10/26/14 was on the story about the women caught in adultery who was brought to Jesus by the religious leaders who wanted to stone her.  How does grace and forgiveness fit into holiness and The Law?
Click the “Play” button to listen to the recording and then scroll down to follow along…

 

 

The message was from John 8:1-11.  Pastor Jim read from the New King James Version.  Click the box to open the passage…

John 8:1-11

1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them.

3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst,

4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.

5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”

6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

11  She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

NKJV

 

Busted!  Caught Red Handed!!!

This woman was in trouble!  Caught red handed in the very act of adultery, she was dragged through the crowd and thrown to the ground in front of Jesus.  Jerusalem was packed; people were celebrating the feast of the Tabernacles. (Deuteronomy 16:16).  Humiliated, this woman was brought before Jesus by the religious leaders.  It’s like getting caught speeding by the police, the town council, the mayor… and even by your parents.  They were all there.  This woman didn’t have a chance.

 

John 1:17

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

NIV

A Two for One Trap…

Jesus was in Jerusalem, “working the crowd” as He always did.  He was with the people to teach them the ways of God.  He’s minding His own business when all of the religious leaders burst in and interrupted Him with this case of adultery.

But what they didn’t understand, is that God also commands us to confront someone else’s sin with humility:

Hebrews 10:31 says:  

“It’s a “dreadful  thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

F.B. Myer wrote:

“It’s a terrible thing for a sinner to fall into the hands of his fellow sinners.”

These “guardians of religion” were bringing a woman who was caught in the “very act of adultery.”  According to Deuteronomy 22:22 this guilty woman must be stoned!  She was guilty- caught red handed!

But there were two problems with this:

  1. Just how did they “catch her in the very act” anyway?  This probably wasn’t done in full public.  Somebody must have known about it or was constantly spying.  This sounds like a set-up.  Religiouos people might set someone up, but Godly people won’t.
  2. Where was the man?  It takes two to tango!  The Pharisees were stuck on Deuteronomy 22:21 which says that the woman should be stoned, but they somehow ignored verse 22 which says the man should be stoned too!  Where was he?  Maybe in the crowd, high fiving his friends knowing he did his “job” in setting up this woman for the Pharisees.

So this setup put Jesus into a bit of a trap.  He had two choices…

If He told them that she had violated the Law and told them to go ahead and stone her, He would run into the Roman Law which prohibited Jews from executing the death penalty.

If He simply said “you guys are a bunch of hypocritical nuts,” He would have violated the Jewish Law. The Law was clear that adultery was wrong and that sin deserved punishment.

The Pharisees figured that not only did they have this “evil sinful woman” cornered, they also thought that they had Jesus trapped.

They confronted this sin with pride and self righteousness.  The ones who should have been helping and encouraging people were being hateful and oppressive.  They were judgmental when they should have been humble and loving.

 

Jesus Exposes the Pharisees…

The crowd presses on Jesus with their demand that the woman should be stoned.  They think they have Jesus in a dilemma, but He simply stoops down and starts writing on the ground as if He didn’t hear them.  So the big question  is, what is He writing,  and why did it have such an effect on them?

Two possibilities to consider:

The Law Giver…

Exodus 31:18 talks about how God wrote the Ten Commandments and the Law on the stone tablets. He wrote them with His finger.

These Pharisees were trained and smart (at least when it came to the letter of the Law and the scriptures).  They would have recognized that the Law Giver wrote the Law with His finger. 

That Jesus would claim to be the Law Giver (God) is consistent throughout the scriptures.  In fact,  if you jump ahead to John 8:58, Jesus claims to be  the “I AM” who was before Abraham existed.

 

The Wall Writer…

Daniel 5 tells of the vision that King Bellshazzar had of a finger writing some words on the wall.  A finger appeared and wrote four words:

Writing on the Wall _063

  • Mene
  • Mene
  • Tekel
  • Upharsin (or Parsin)

 

You have been found in the scales of justice and you have been found in need.  In your mind, the law says one thing.  But in the eyes of My Law, you’re in big, big trouble.

They know that they’re guilty.  So one by one, the rocks begin to drop.  We also should realize that we are “found wanting.”  All of us are guilty before God; we have no defense.  All we can do is to drop the rocks and leave in humility.

 

In verse 7, Jesus says “let he who is WITHOUT SIN cast the first stone.” The Greek word translated as “without sin” is anamartetos. This literally means NO sin. No room for “white lies.” No room for “the Devil made me do it.” No room for “everybody does that.” The word doesn’t even allow for evil thoughts. If you’re driving on Route 55 and somebody weaves in between you and the car in front of you, chances are you’re pretty far away from anamartetos.

 

A Clean Slate!

So the accusers all walk away.  When she sees what has happened, she picks herself off the ground where she had been thrown and stands up.

Jesus knows that this woman is not without sin.  And yet He gets up, looks her in the eye, and and tells her that nobody is condemning her.  For the first time in her life, somebody recognizes her value and gives her dignity.  And this from the Son of God.  He recognizes the sin; all of the impure thoughts and deeds this person has done.  And yet He restores her.  He allows her to stand up.

And this woman- once worthless- is having a salvation moment.  She stands before Jesus and recognizes Him as Lord.  She simply gives a statement of faith.

In this act we see the words of Paul in action:

  • Romans 8:1   “There is no condemnation for those in Christ.”
  • Romans 5:8   “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

If Jesus didn’t love this woman, what would have happened to her?

A girl wanted to show her favorite doll to a visitor. Her mother was embarrassed when she pulled out a raggedy looking doll; dirty, eye missing, feet twisted. The guest asked the girl, why is this your favorite doll? Why do you love this doll more than the others?  She answered, “If I didn’t love her nobody else would.”

Christ looks back towards Adam and Eve, at the adulterous woman, and into the future at us.  He tells us “give Me your sin so you can be called a child of God.”  He offers restoration, not condemnation.

What about us?  What do we offer others who trespass against us???

 

 


 

Quiz Time!

As you reflect on what you’ve just heard/read, give this quiz a try.  If you don’t understand an answer (or if you disagree with the “correct” answer, post a comment…

 

 

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