Memphis Belle

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John1:1-5 John 1: 6-18 John 1:19-51 John 2 John 3:1-21
John 3:22-36 John 4: 1-42 John 4:43-54 John 5:1-15 John 5:16-47
John 6:1-40 John 6:41-71 John 7: 1-53 John 8:1-30 John 8; 31-53
John 9:1-41
John 10:1-42
John 11: 1-57 John 12: 1-26 John: 27-50
John 13: 1-38 John 14:1-14 John 14: 15-31 John 15: 1-17 John 15: 18-27
John 16: 5-33 John 17:1-26 John 18: 1-16 John 18: 15-27 John 19: 1-16
John 19: 17-30 John 19: 31-42 John 20: 1-23 John 20: 24-31 John 21: 1-25
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John 8:1-30

 

“Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.  And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him, and he sat down, and taught them.  And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they said unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.  Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?  This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.  But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.  So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.  And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.  And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.  When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers?  hath no man condemned thee?  She said, No man, Lord.  And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee:  go and sin no more.  (verses 1-11) [RSV has verses 1-11 in italics because this text was not found in the older Egyptian (Alexandrian) text, an older text than the Received Text.]  Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.  Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true; for I know whence I came, and whither I go: but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.  Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.  And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.  It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.  I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.  Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father?  Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.  These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.  Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Wither I go, ye cannot come.  And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath: I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.  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.  Then said they unto him, Who art thou?  And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.  I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.  They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.  Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.  And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.  As he spake these words, many believed on him.”  (John 8:1-30)

 

“For years as a church, I’ve mentioned that the Lord has put it on my heart to be a church that focuses on the orphans and widows.  And of course this church started as a Bible study [of about 12 members meeting on Sundays] and it has grown [2.5 years after that Bible study began there were about 125 meeting], and bit by bit we add more things as we go, but it has been part of the vision of this church.  And for years we have given one offering a month to missions.  But recently the board met and we decided to go ahead with what’s been part of the vision here, and that is to also give a significant part of our finances to what we’re going to call ‘Orphans and Widows’.  Maybe we’ll change the name of it.  But I’m excited about it, and it does cause us to take a step of faith.  But I believe the Lord is grieved and cares for the orphans and widows, and as we join him in his work, and just loving and blessing people in various parts of the world, we’re going to see some blessing even in our own ministry.  It’s going to be basically divided up in various ways.  We’ll be ministering locally, maybe now we can start a youth center, we talked about that before, and maybe even a youth shelter, maybe we’ll have the funds to do things like that….we’ll talk about that as we go, but we’ll also have the means to start orphanages now in other parts of the world, at least support them.  We’ll be a part of Chapel Missions India, and then also anyplace in our country we can be further involved with Youth Crisis Ministry, YDI, and U-Turn and on and on.  You’ll be hearing about it.  But it is a step of faith for our church.  We haven’t necessarily waited until we have a big fat bank account to go ahead and start to give.  But we’re going to give what really is the equivalent of two offerings a month, so we’re going to basically, and it will definitely become this way next year, we’re going to start existing on half of our budget.  And the other half is going to go [to these missions].  And I think really, that’s what the Church in America needs, is to learn that we are a church that’s accountable, we’ve been given much, and we need to be people that give, and to be able to stand before the Lord and say “Look at what we’ve done with what you’ve given to us.”    So as a pastor that leads this church, it’s a burden on my heart.  But we see fruit, you can’t out-give God.  And it is more blessed to give than to receive.  And we’ll see that too as we go.  Please keep that in prayer.  I’ve mentioned it at different times, but now in October we’re going to start doing it.  [And you as an individual can do that same thing.  For some ideas on giving to some quality international evangelistic and Christian C.A.R.E. organizations, click on http://www.unityinchrist.com/missionstatement.htm.  This site features a tiny Christian orphanage found in southeast India.  To read about it and view the children log onto:   http://www.unityinchrist.com/evangelism/sisterchurches/BlessiOrphanHome.htm.]  So I look forward to what the Lord’s going to do.  Let’s say a word of prayer.  We are in John chapter 8.  ‘Lord, we thank you that you are a God that certainly blesses, and as we come together this morning and now study your Word, we have spent time in song and prayerfully our hearts have truly worshipped you Lord.  But now we worship in the study of your Word.  And we thank you that you bless us as we even consider and read and hear your Word.  So Holy Spirit I’d ask that you’d be upon all of us, and upon me as we go through your Word, and I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.’ 

 

Jesus, the Judge of the world

 

You know, I thank the Lord for our government, I thank the Lord for the judicial system that we have in this country.  And the Bible makes it clear that the government has been given to us to help restrain evil, to punish evil-doers, and to keep back iniquity, to restrain iniquity.  So I thank the Lord for our government, I thank the Lord for our judicial system.  But also I confess, you read the newspaper, you turn on the radio, you hear stories of various decisions made by judges in our nation, and at sometimes I’m distressed and disheartened by some of the things that I hear.  Sometimes there are folks that have done some tremendous iniquity that for whatever reason the judge determines that they should be lightly punished.  And you hear that, and you’re disheartened by that.  And then there are times that you hear of judgment made where maybe even an innocent person, or somebody who hasn’t done much at all, gets a harsh penalty for a seemingly insignificant crime.  [That reminds me of the movie “Cool Hand Luke” with Steve McQueen.]  And then there’s even times when judges make decisions that significantly seem to work against the Church and against spreading the Gospel.  So I’m thankful for our government, I’m thanking for our judicial system, but I confess there are times too that I’m disheartened by the decisions that seem to go down from our judicial system.  No doubt, it’s clear from history, it’s not easy for men and women to make judicial decisions that are consistently good, and consistently just.  And of course as we consider the fallen nature of man, and that fact that sinful men and women are making decisions, I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise.  But with all this, I say this as we get started because I’m disheartened by that, thankful in one way, disheartened in another way.  But I am certainly extremely comforted by the fact that there is a Judge, a true Judge, a perfectly righteous Judge, a Judge who never makes any error.  He always makes the perfect decision in every way, and he is the final Judge in all matters.  And that I am thankful for.  And I’m speaking of no less than God himself.  He is indeed the true Judge and the final Judge.  Not only is he a righteous Judge, I also take incredible comfort, and you’ll see as I go on, I take a lot of comfort that not only is he righteous, but he’s also incredibly gracious and incredibly merciful.  And as a sinful man, I need a righteous Judge.  But [also] as a sinful man, I am desperately in need of grace, and desperately in need of mercy.  And wonderfully in the Judge of this world, both of those truths meet together, perfectly.  Psalm chapter 85 I think says it well.  “Mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have kissed.”  And that is true, in the Judge of the world, that is God, that is Jesus Christ.  We’ll see that in today’s text as we go on.  This true Judge, this Jesus, in him is perfect righteousness.  But also in him is incredible mercy and grace, indeed they’ve met together, they have kissed.  And he is always true, always true in all his judgments.  So we can be comforted by that.  Let’s begin with verses 1-12 of chapter 8, “But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.  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.  Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman caught in adultery.  And when they had set her in the midst they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.  Now Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned, but what do you say?’  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.  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.’  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.  Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience went out one by one, beginning with the oldest to the last.  And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.  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?’  She said, ‘No one, Lord.’  And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you.  Go and sin no more.’  Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world.  He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of live.’”  Well, this is certainly a popular story here from the Gospels.  This message, especially verses 1 to 8, are not found in all the manuscripts, especially some of the ancient manuscripts.  And when it is found in some of the older manuscripts, it’s not always located where it is here, between chapters 7 and at the beginning of chapter 8.  Sometimes it’s located in other places.  But most scholars say this is certainly authentic Gospel material, this is inspired by the Word of God, and if you have heard somebody say otherwise, there’s good reasons to say it is inspired, and I believe that it is, even though it might not be in some of the ancient manuscripts.  No doubt, as you go from here, the text just seems to flow from the story, without this story it seems to be, well, it’s not continuous, it fractional, it doesn’t seem to flow.  And Jesus makes certain statements about being the light of the world, statements about being a true and false judge, and we see that also in this very text, and it certainly connects with what comes after, as far as the narrative from this point on.  He’s going to also, in the following verses we’ll see a little bit later, speak of dying in your sins, and that’s something you certainly see in this passage as far as reflected in this woman here.  But also the chapter ends with people wanting to stone Jesus, so it seems fitting that there would be this stoning here as far as this woman, this parallel story here at the beginning.  But again if you would just read from chapter 7 into what follows this, it wouldn’t work, it needs this story inbetween.  But I want to quote to you by F.D. Myer, and I think he says it really well.  “There is no possibility of accounting for it’s existence, save on the supposition that the incident really took place.  It reveals in our Savior’s character a wisdom so profound, a tenderness to sinners so delicate, a hatred of sin so intense, and insight into human hearts so searching that it is impossible to suppose that the mind of man could have conceived or the hand of man invented this most pathetic story.”  I think he says it well.  What’s here, man, can only come from one place, it comes from God, and it certainly is a true story.  Well, it begins with Jesus, he has gone to the Mount of Olives.  Things certainly were pretty tense, as you remember from last time, the end there of the Feast of Tabernacles as he stands there at the last day and says the things that he does.  And there’s certainly men, it was noted a couple times in the last chapter, that want to come and have him arrested and want to take his life.  Well, you see here it’s early in the morning, Jesus comes now from the Mount of Olives, and in the Greek it says it’s essentially at daybreak.  And he comes and he sits down and teaches those who have come there to see him, and who have come and sought him out.  He sits down and teaches the Word of God to them.  And some people think of the Proverb here in the King James, chapter 8, verse 17 of Proverbs, “I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me.”  So you see, early in the morning, Jesus having a Bible study with people that have come out.  I think it’s a great picture indeed.  But this picture I also love, and it’s related to what we mentioned last week too, but you remember there are people that want to take his life.  There are people that very much want him done away with.  But though that may be the case, he doesn’t fear, but early in the next morning, comes down from the Mount of Olives to the temple, right in the focus and center of things, and sits down and has a Bible study, regardless of what men think, regardless of what they want to do to him, he trusts in the protection of the Father.  He trusts in the deliverance of the Father, knowing that, as noted before, his time had not yet come, his time where he would go to be with the Father.  So he trusts just in the sovereignty and the protection of God the Father, and he sits down even in the front of his enemies and just teaches the Word of God.  And Jesus has people against him and against his message.  And he’s also said that the same would be true of us, as we teach his Word in the North County, as we herald the Gospel message, there also will be people against us.  The Word of God, Jesus’ words also made that clear.  And I think even of what I read in the newspaper this week in the North County, a little article was passed onto me about “See you at the poll”, that day where high schooler’s go out to stand at the poll there in front of their school, and they say a prayer for their school.  It was an interesting article that was passed my way, that there in Winchendon at Murdock High School.  For certain reasons the superintendent didn’t want that to take place, so in fact he said it wasn’t going to happen.  And I guess the next morning some high schooler’s came out to pray anyway, and for certain reasons he arranged to also have police officers there.  But to me, you’re reading, the students are coming out to pray, and there’s police officers there because students are praying around the flagpole of their school.  Man, that is certainly something that gets you thinking.  Now, I will have to admit, and I realize when you speak publicly you need to be careful what you say.  I don’t know all the reasons why superintendent did that.  He has reasons I’m sure and I don’t know them, so I have to be careful.  I also understand that there are Christians that at times, even people that are supposedly Christians that have a Christian message, but live so contrary to the Word of God, they create a fear in the secular world and fear among authorities, and maybe something’s occurred that has caused fear with the superintendent, so he’s decided that “See you at the pole” wasn’t supposed to take place, and when it did he had such fear that he actually had police officers there.  But I consider the words of Christ, and it’s true, man, Jesus says there will be people that oppose us and oppose our message.  There will be people in fear and not understand what we represent.  But my prayer for the high school students there at Murdock High, again I don’t know the reasons for it all, but I hope they haven’t become disheartened and discouraged because of that.  I hope, man, they’re even bolder than ever, and to be able to have their prayer-meetings, to have their Bible studies, and I refer to student initiated Bible studies and student initiated prayer-meetings, things that I believe are Constitutionally allowed.  But I pray they are not disheartened, but they take comfort.  Look at Jesus here as our example, and there are people against him, but he sits down, opens the Word of God and has a Bible study, even with his enemies there present.  And we’ll go on, even while he does it they try to set him up.  But I hope you take courage too, maybe you’ve had opposition, but consider the example of Christ.  And our lives are in the hands of God.  We have nothing to fear, our day will come when it comes.  And as some have said, we are essentially invisible until our day comes.  We don’t get weird about it, but we can just walk confidently and give out the Word and point people to Christ, knowing that we have the Father’s protection.  I heard too of Dr. Freddie’s son, I read it this week so I’ll mention it to you from a Christian Aid Newsletter, but this man was ministering recently in China, touring China, had actually gone 25,000 miles as he visited he house-church movement in China, which I guess is exploding.  There are now, I think it’s sixty million Christians in these house churches in China, so the Church is exploding.  This man logged 25,000 miles last year as he went around visiting and encouraging the churches in China.  But of course the government isn’t really receptive to these house churches, and certainly wasn’t receptive to Dr. Freddie’s son.  And a document was put out stating that if people saw him, if people met with him, they were going to arrest Dr. Freddie’s son….the Chinese government was out to arrest him.  Yet he continued to minister, certain of God’s protection, trusting in his Lord, and he just went on and taught the Word and loved people regardless.  I think also of Daniel, having read it recently, this particular man was thrown into a den of lions, though he was a man who stood for the truth.  He was a man of prayer, and it was because of that he was thrown into the den of lions.  Yet God’s protection, as you remember, was with him, and an angel came and stopped the mouths of these lions.  And even the king Darius, and this stood out to me, king Darius even said about Daniel and his God, he said “Your God whom you serve continually, he will deliver you.”  So even the king of the land [Persia, the Medo-Persian empire] said “Daniel, your God will deliver you from these lions mouths” and against even these men who were working to stop Daniel.  Well, that is a truth for you and I.  God is with us, we can minister with confidence, God is our protector, God is our deliverer.  And we see that as Jesus ministers so confidently, even before men that want to kill him.  Verse 3, as he ministers, his enemies, working hard to trap him, they bring this woman now, who they evidently caught in the actual act of adultery, caught in the very act.  You can only imagine how they caught her in the act of adultery.  People have theorized ‘how could they catch her in the very act’, but they caught her in the very act, they say.  And they bring this woman before Jesus.  The question is, where is the man?  They bring the lady, it takes two to tango, she was caught in the act of adultery, she was not alone.  And where is the man?  We don’t know.  That brings up some possible theories, did the man have something to do with it, was he conspiring too with these religious leaders?  But according to the Law he’s just as guilty, and guilty of the same punishment, but he’s not there, just this one particular lady.  But they take this lady, just imagine, Jesus is teaching, there’s a crowd, it’s early in the morning, they’ve gathered to hear, and the religious leaders come, and they bring this lady.  I’m sure it creates a hustle and a bustle, they bring her right up front to where Jesus is, in front of the crowd, and they stand her there, and they begin to ask Jesus certain questions.  They put him right on the spot, trying to trap him.  First of all, as they try to trap him, they remind him in front of everyone, of the Law of Moses.  And the Law of Moses makes is clear in the nation of Israel, their law, that if a man or woman was caught in adultery, they would be stoned.  I’ll read to you from Deuteronomy chapter 22, verse 22, “If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die.  The man that lay with the woman, and the woman.  So you shall put away the evil from Israel.  If a young woman who is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones.  The young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor’s wife.  So you shall put away the evil from among you.”  The law was clear, God’s Word to the nation of Israel.  If you committed adultery, and it was clear, then you would be stoned.  Of course stoning was such a harsh way to die, you can only imagine.  And I looked in the American Tract Society Bible Dictionary and read there about stoning.  And this is basically what it says.  “The person was led out of the city to the place of execution, and there exhorted to acknowledge and confess their sin.  He or she was then stoned in one of two ways, either stones were thrown upon him until he died, or he was thrown headlong down a steep place and a large stone rolled upon his body. The former, that is, that they were pummeled with stones, was the usual mode, and the witnesses were required to cast the first stone.”  Brutal way of execution, you can only imagine.  Right?  But regarding the case of adultery, there is the Mishnah, that is the Jewish interpretation of the Law, there was some more instruction regarding adultery, how stoning was done then.  And I’ll quote to you there from another commentary.  “When a couple was caught in adultery, they were to be taken into the center of town, where they would stand in a square wooden box filled with cow manure three feet deep.  A man would stand on either side of the box and pull on the ends of the cloths which were wrapped around the necks of the guilty pair.  After thus dying by strangulation, they were pushed over face first into the manure, wherein they were buried.  A tree was then planted in the box as a reminder of the penalty of adultery.  If an unmarried person involved in an adulterous relationship, he or she was also to be placed in the manure filled box, but instead of being strangled, he or she was to be stoned to death.”  Now that’s not in the Bible, but that’s in the Jewish interpretation of the Law, that is their codified law, the Mishnah.  So, evidently, if you committed adultery, or if someone did, they were placed in a box of manure and either strangled, or stoned to death, and then buried in the manure, and a tree planted there.  Man, that is certainly a severe sentence.  And you would think it would provide a fear in the community and people would give a second thought to committing adultery.  But there are also safeguards to protect the innocent.  I mean, you could be unjustly accused of adultery.  Like in our courtrooms, there had to be no doubt to the evidence, the evidence had to be certainly conclusive, unmistakable.  In fact, there had to be multiple witnesses of the very act, and their stories had to match perfectly.  And there is even a historical account of a couple who was set free, they were set free simply because they couldn’t remember the name of the tree under which this act supposedly took place.  So there was also protection.  If you were accusing somebody, with a few people, you had to know all the details.  You had to have it down exactly right.  This is how it happened, here is even the name of the tree it took place under, if it took place underneath a tree.  Well, with that Josephus, the Jewish historian, says from that time, that the punishment of adultery was hardly ever enacted, only about once every seven years did somebody actually get convicted of adultery and die in that way.  You know, I mentioned this, recently I was in the doctors office a week or two ago, and I actually sat down and was reading about, in a Time Magazine article, about people being stoned to death in the modern day, for adultery.  And of course that is under the law of Islam.  Time Magazine had articles on this, had one particular African lady, who had left her husband, was living with as man, and was now pregnant in this particular African country, this radical Islamic government had taken over, and this lady has been told, ‘when your baby is going to be born, you’re going to be stoned to death.  We’re going to wait until the baby is born, and then you’re going to be stoned to death.’  So she was waiting for her baby, but also waiting to die, in this radical Islamic country, where they live in this type of legalism.  Well, they need to consider this story here, because of course the Jewish law was pointing to the need for Jesus Christ, a Righteous Judge, but also our merciful and gracious Judge.  We certainly need both of them.  And I think that those who are radical Muslim need to consider this beautiful story here.  Well, anyway they present the fact that the Law of Moses says that this woman should be stoned.  They’re testing him, and they then pose a question to him in verse 6,  “What do you say?”  “This is what the Law says.  What do you say?”  I mean, they’re basically setting him up against the Law.  There’s a question there, ‘Do you believe in the Law?’  If he says anything different, of course now they have means of accusation.  ‘This is what the Law says.  What do you say?’  Maybe they’re hoping he’s going say something different, and they can pin him.  But I see in that too, they know Jesus, they’ve watched Jesus, they understand that this man does have a gracious spirit to him.  Jesus isn’t harsh.  He’s not condemning.  He’s very loving, and they know that.  So, there is this sense, ‘Well hey, this guy’s gracious and merciful.  Let’s put him in a place where he would say something in his gracious and merciful spirit, and maybe not stick to the Law, and maybe say ‘Hey, this lady should be forgiven, yeah, she’s done that, but let’s go easy on her.’  That’s what they’re trying to do.  But it’s interesting, even his enemies knew he had a gracious and merciful heart.  You know I was reading not long ago in Daniel, and again thinking of this, I read Daniel’s prayer to God.  Daniel stands in the gap for the nation of Israel [Judah] there, and as he stands in the gap he says this intercessory prayer, and he says this about God.  First he confesses the righteousness of God, he says “Righteousness belongs to you God”, and then he says God’s people though, what belongs to them is shame because of their great sins.  But then his next words that he prays in Daniel chapter 9 are “To the Lord our God belongs mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against him.”  So then he prays later, he says “O Lord hear, O Lord forgive.”  He says ‘God, you’re righteous, God we’re shameful and sinful, but God you’re merciful, God you’re forgiving’, and then he says ‘O Lord hear, O Lord forgive.’  And that is something obviously we can do before our God, and he’s a righteous Judge, but yet he’s merciful and righteous and gracious.  So “O Lord hear, O Lord forgive”, beautiful prayer.

 

Jesus doesn’t respond

 

Well Jesus surprisingly doesn’t respond to these men.  It’s interesting, I mean just imagine the picture.  They create this bustle, they bring this lady up there, they pose the question, and he basically ignores them.  And they then start to prod at him, but not only does he act as if he doesn’t hear them, he then stoops down and begins writing on the ground with his finger, unusual.  Very unusual what he’s doing.  And you can only imagine the people straining their necks and their eyes trying to see what in the world is he writing.  And I wish maybe John had better eyes, and maybe he could see what Jesus was writing and could have given it to us.  But we don’t know what he wrote.  But he ignores these guys and just starts writing with his finger on the ground.  Very interesting.  Of course, a lot of people have written about theories, ‘What did he write?’.  There are some traditions that have gone around that, and some of it goes back a way, I have an old commentary, and even the writer of the commentary mentions this tradition, that Jesus wrote down the names of the sins of the accusers.  I mean, those guys standing in front of him, maybe he does.  He just writes, Levi, and John, the different religious leaders, writes their names, and starts to write sins next to those names.  And maybe that’s what takes place.  We don’t know, we can only theorize.  It’s interesting too, if you consider Jeremiah chapter 17, verse 13, if you theorize that, this verse is interesting, because there we’re told “O Lord the hope of Israel, all who forsake you shall be ashamed.  Those who depart from me, God says, shall be written in the earth.”   Their names shall be written in the earth.  Jeremiah 17, verse 13, those that depart from God.  So maybe he is, he’s writing their names, and writing things about them.  That would help explain the reaction, but we don’t know for sure.  Well they continue to prod, he’s writing, they continue to prod. 

 

 

“He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone”

He finally lifts his head and poses this question to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (verse 7).  ‘You brought her out here,’ and of course the Law says, you know, the accusers, they’re the ones to throw the stone first.  But he adds this to it, ‘But he who is without sin among you, those of you who have lived a perfect life, those of you who haven’t done any wrong, those of you who haven’t had any lustful thoughts.  Of course to have lustful thoughts is to be guilty of the very act too.  “Those of you who are without sin, let him throw the first stone.”  And then Jesus goes right back to writing on the ground.  I mean, the way he just deals with these guys is always really intriguing.  Well, that of course, I mean it was like a spear, man, and ouch(!) when he said that.  It certainly clearly, as you see in the story, it pierced their hard hearts.  It got through that real steel they had in their hearts, got through those hard minds, and maybe again coupled with what he’s writing, these guys began to really squirm.  So much so, I mean, just imagine, people are watching, they’ve stated these things, he’s writing on the ground, people are trying to look, and then one by one, those that have said these things, they don’t say anything, they just start to walk out, file out, until eventually it’s just the lady and Jesus.  Tremendous.  I’m sure the crowd that is there is just in awe of what is going on.  [taped transfer, some text lost.]

 

“Woman, where are your accusers?”

 

“When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, ‘Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?’” (verse10).  She responds interestingly to me, she says, but she says it interestingly,  “No one, Lord.”  “No one, Lord”, I think that’s real interesting.  She doesn’t say “No one, teacher.”  She doesn’t say “No one, Rabbi.”  She doesn’t say “No one, Jesus.”  She says “No one, Lord.”  I think that’s interesting.  It makes me wonder, is she recognizing Jesus as Lord, Jesus as Lord of her life?  That would also help explain what he then says from that point.  He then says to her, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”  (verse 11)  They were trying to set this lady up, and Jesus says “Neither do I condemn you.”  And then he says “Go and sin no more.”  But ‘Neither do I condemn you.’  How those words must have melted this lady’s heart.  I mean, just this day, this day didn’t start out very well for her, it’s early in the morning.  Maybe it was the previous night she was caught in the act, now she’s been dragged to this place, she’s in fear, she I’m sure understands the Law, and she stands now in front of all these people, and these questions are posed to Jesus.  I mean, this lady is dying a thousand deaths emotionally.  And then these people leave, and she’s standing alone, and Jesus actually says to her, “Neither do I condemn you.”  I am sure those words, man, they just melted her heart, just melted her heart.  You know, when I read that I think of the tears that we see sometimes on Sunday morning when somebody comes forward for an altar call and they accept Christ into their life.  That incredible emotion that happens at times, when we realize all our sins are forgiven, and that we’re not condemned.  I mean, when you have the realization at times in your life as a Christian, those first moments as a Christian, man it can be overwhelming.  ‘I am forgiven of my sin.  He doesn’t condemn me.  I’m not condemned.’  And I can just imagine the tears, and maybe even the audience, maybe they’re overwhelmed.  You know, sometimes somebody will come forward, the audience when you look out are crying too, you know, just watching, just hearing these words of Jesus maybe caused some to really be stirred in heart and say ‘Oh, that’s so beautiful, that’s amazing!’  You are not condemned.  Jesus says there’s no condemnation.  Maybe they even erupted and clapped, clapping.  Sometimes that happens here on Sunday mornings.  Somebody will come forward….”Praise God”, just the emotion.  Maybe that’s even what happens here, tears and clapping.  Just the emotion.  He says “Neither do I condemn you.”  This lady was just inches from death, for her sin.  She was that close to being condemned, and he says “Neither do I condemn you.”  But, as you see there, he doesn’t stop, but he continues on.  But we should mention, and maybe the Lord wants to encourage you this morning, and as Christians, man, the same is true.  Maybe you need to be reminded of that in your life, God says the same to you as a Christian, “Neither do I condemn you.”  Some of us really struggle with condemnation.  Some of us, it’s maybe because of a parent when we grew up, maybe the household we were raised in, and there was this guilt trip, this heavy condemnation thing.  Maybe we had a father or mother that was just for whatever reason, man, they were really into just making you feel pretty lousy when you did wrong.  I’ve met people like that, and then as adults, even as Christians they still struggle with condemnation, thinking that God is angry with them or something, that God is mad at them.  Maybe you struggle with the same.  But look what Jesus says to this woman caught in adultery, he says “Neither do I condemn you.”  And God says the same to you this morning, there’s no condemnation.  Romans 8:1, great chapter, if you struggle with condemnation, read that chapter every day, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, those that walk  not according to the flesh, but according the spirit.”  That is because of the work of Christ.  Man, that’s liberating, man.  That’s healing.  That just touches the heart.  That just touches the soul, that causes you to live differently, that’s also why Jesus says then what he says.  But if that’s you this morning, man, understand, neither does Jesus condemn you, that is, if you are in Christ. 

 

“Go and sin no more”

 

But he doesn’t stop there, but he says again, “Go and sin no more.”  This isn’t cheap grace, he isn’t just being flippant, he’s not just going easy on her.  He isn’t just a guy who goes ‘Hey, man, I got no backbone, and I don’t want to deal with truth.’….But then I think the heart of what he says here, ‘You are forgiven, but you’re life is now changed.  Go live accordingly.’  That’s what he says in the next verse too.  He says, “I am the light of the world, he who follows me”, you know, he who says that I am their Lord, those that are now in Christ and forgiven of their sin, “they shall not walk in darkness, but now have the light of life”, they should live differently.  That’s what he’s saying there. 
“Neither do I condemn you, but go and sin no more.”  ‘You’re life has been touched, you’re life has been changed.’  But with forgiveness, man, there should also be a healthy fear of God.  Psalm 130, verse 4, “But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared.”  I mean, forgiveness does create a fear too, a healthy fear of God, the fact that he can do that, that he can touch me, he can forgive me and cleanse me of my sin, that all that isn’t going to be held against me.  It should also create a healthy fear in our lives to walk humbly before our Lord.

 

“I am the light of the world”

 

Well Jesus says “I am the Lord of the world”, one of the seven “I am’s” in the Gospel of John, that John notes.  We’ve seen some of this before, and we’ll see more of it.  He says “I am the light of the world.”  In saying that, he’s claiming again to be God [whom they would have known as Yahweh in the Old Testament, Exodus 3:12-15], and those that are listening understand that.  He’s essentially comparing himself, “I am the light of the world”, I mean, physically there is only one light of the world, it’s the sun, the sun rises and gives light.  And maybe the sun is just coming up at this point.  He says “I am the light of the world.”  Now to the Jew, the sun was a symbol of Jehovah God.  [Malachi 4:2, “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings: and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves in the stall.”  Notice it is not spelled Son in the King James, in verse 2, but Sun.  Malachi was given a prophecy to write down, and was inspired to spell it Sun, referring to Jesus Christ.]   Psalm 84, verse 11, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield:  the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”  ‘The Lord God is a sun.”  The Jew saw that God was the Creator of the heavens and the earth, so they associated, of course, the sun as a symbol of Jehovah God.  I mean, he is the only one in the universe, he’s the center of all life, just as the sun is the source of physical life in ways, and is the center of our solar system.  [And if the sun were to give off too much heat, say like in a continuous solar max cycle, all life would perish in the heat, and if the sun went into a continuous solar minimum cycle, everything would freeze.  The sun, as God fine-tuned it, is absolutely perfect for life on earth.]  So is God the center of all life.  So he says “I am the light of the world.”  So he’s essentially saying to them again that he is God.  [Again, the Jews were aware of what Psalm 84:11 and Malachi 4:2 said.  So just as calling himself “I am” referred back to the name of Yahweh in Exodus 3:12-15, so this other name for God did the same.]  But also when he says “I am the light of the world”, this would also bring back thoughts of what just happened, the Feast of Tabernacles, in the Feast of Tabernacles there would be these huge candelabras, this was just the week before, where these big light candelabras would be lighted in the temple, and they would remind the people of the pillar of fire there in the wilderness that God provided so graciously, through his presence to lead the people through the wilderness.  So, he says “I am the light of the world.”  That would also remind them of God’s gracious light in leading the people.  And it’s interesting, John lays out his gospel, John chapter 6, 7, and 8, and there’s this imagery of the wilderness journey of God’s graciousness to the people of Israel.  In John chapter 6 we see the bread, the manna, John chapter 7 we saw the water from the Rock, and now we see the pillar of fire represented here in chapter 8.  But Jesus [Hebrew: Yeshua] the light of the world.  And if he’s touched your life, man, and he’s moved in your heart, and you’ve accepted Christ into your life, man indeed we should be living differently.  And we should be living in a way of the truth “Go and sin no more”.  If that’s not your heart, man, if you say you’re a Christian and been touched by the Lord, and that isn’t a conviction in your heart, that isn’t a desire in your life, maybe you haven’t been forgiven of your sin.  Maybe Christ isn’t the Lord of your life.  Because if he’s forgiven you, there should also be a changed life, and a response to that, and a desire to go live rightly.  And if you are listening, and there’s no conviction of sin, and you live in sin and there’s no desire to do it right, well then maybe it’s safe to say you haven’t been forgiven of your sins.  You’re still under your sins, Christ isn’t the Lord of your life.  He hasn’t really touched your life.  Because when he touches a life, he changes a life.

 

“My witness is true”

 

Verses 13-20, “The Pharisees therefore said to him, ‘You bear witness of yourself.  Your witness is not true.’  Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Even if I bear witness of myself my witness is true.  For I know where I came from, and I know where I am going.  But you do not know where I come from and where I am going.  You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one.  And yet if I do judge, my judgment is true, for I am not alone, I am with the Father who sent me.  It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true.  I am one who bears witness of myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness of me.’  And they said to him, ‘Where is your Father?’  Jesus answered, ‘You know neither me nor my Father.  If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.’  These words Jesus spoke in the treasury as he taught in the temple, and no one laid hands on him, for his hour had not yet come.”  So he just boldly speaks the truth.  It’s possible here the religious leaders, if you remember when we studied in John chapter 5, they’re referring maybe back to Jesus’ own words.  Jesus understood that they would want this rabbinical proof outside yourself, testimony of more than just Jesus.  They wanted and demanded the testimony of other evidences.  [Comment: They had John the Baptist as another physical witness.  But they rejected John, because he was not part of their religious “club” or “clique”, the established leadership.  John the Baptist was outside of that circle.  But he was valid, as valid as they come.  His very birth was a divine miracle, announced by a holy angel to John’s father, who was doing temple duty.  Now we see, Jesus brings up the most important witness.]  And as you remember as we studied, I mean, this is according to the Scriptures, Numbers 35 and Deuteronomy 17, that there would need to be more than just one witness.  But if you remember, Jesus has already declared to them, ‘There’s plenty of evidence to back up my claims.  There’s the things that I do presently, there’s the things that I’m going to someday do in the future.  And then he also noted four significant sources of proof.  John the Baptist, his very works [miraculous healings of people, which cross references to Isaiah 35, what God said the Messiah would be doing], God the Father, and the Word of God [fulfilled prophecies about Yeshua’s, Jesus’ first coming (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/1stcoming.htm )].  ‘All those’, he says, ‘clearly demonstrate that what I say is true.  You have all the evidence that you need.’  And evidently they’re referring to his claims, and maybe forgetting though the heart of what he was saying earlier.  They say, ‘You’ve got witness of yourself, I mean, you say all these things, but hey, that’s not enough, there needs to be more witness.’  And Jesus said, ‘But even if I do bear witness of myself, I know it’s true, I know where I’ve come from,’ I mean, you can be the only witness and knowing you’re declaring the truth, because you know it’s the truth.  And he’s saying, ‘Even if I do declare this myself, it is still true, because I know where I came from, and I know where I’m going.  And you don’t understand, you’re not spiritually discerning.’  The problem with them, he says, ‘Is you’re blinded and you judge therefore according to the flesh.’  Like many judges in our nation today, judge according to the flesh, using their own reasoning, judging according to the outside, and not be able to truly discern the heart of the matter.  He says “I judge no one”.  Of course, at this time he says ‘I’ve not come to judge or condemn, I’ve come to save.  Although later, later Jesus will judge the world.  Later Jesus will sit on his throne before the people and judge the world. 

 

Jesus will judge the world

 

Yet he says “If I do judge, my judgment is true.”  His judgment is always true, it is always right.  It is always perfect.  I thank God for that, that his judgment is true, but not only is it always true, he’s full of mercy and full of grace, and he’s perfectly righteous, as we’ve seen in this text.  I was again thinking of Daniel as I was reading through Daniel recently and considering the truths in chapter 8, and Jesus says “I do not judge”, that is the truth then.  But one day he will judge the world, and Daniel got a vision of that.  Daniel chapter 7, beautiful picture, I’ll read it to you from verse 9 of Daniel chapter 7.  This is a vision of Daniel.  He says “I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated.  His garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head was like pure wool.  His throne was a fiery flame, it’s wheels as a burning fire.  A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him.  A thousand thousands ministered to him, ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.”  Then he writes “The court was seated, and the books were opened.”  So Daniel looked ahead and saw the Day of Judgment, there Jesus seated, and then he says the courts were seated, that is, the heavenly courts, whatever all that means, and their books were opened, and judgment was being readied to be made.  And the judgment, of course, that God makes is true, because he is perfect, he is righteous, he knows all things, he sees all things, and he always does what’s right.  And one day he will judge the world for it’s iniquity and for its sin.  [cf. Matthew 25]  Well, he says “it’s written in your law that the testimony of two men is true.”  Then he says “I have the witness of two, I have myself and I also have the Father who sent me, he bears witness of me.”  And they said “Who’s your Father?”  And Jesus said “You neither know my Father, you’ve not known me, and because you don’t know me, you don’t know my father.  If you’d have known me, you would also have known God.”

 

“I am going away---where I go you cannot come”

 

Verses 21-30, “Then Jesus said to them again, ‘I am going away, and you will seek me, and will die in your sin.  Where I go you cannot come.’”  Jesus says some really strong statements.  He says, ‘I am going, and you will seek me, and will die in your sin.  Where I go you cannot come.’  “So the Jews said, ‘Will he kill himself because he says where I go you cannot come?’  And he said to them, ‘You are from beneath, I am from above, you are of this world, I am not of this world.  Therefore I said to you, that you will die in your sins.  For if you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.’  [“he” is not in the Greek.  So Jesus actually said, “For if you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins.”  “I am” is one of the names of God found in Exodus 3:12-15.]  And they said to him, ‘Who are you?’  And Jesus said to them, ‘Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning.  I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but he who sent me is true, and I speak to the world those things which I heard from him.’  They did not understand that he spoke to them of the Father.  And Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he, and I do nothing of myself, but as my Father taught me I speak these things.  And he who sent me is with me, the Father has not left me alone, for I always do these things that please him.’  As he spoke these words many believed in him.”  Man, he doesn’t beat around the bush with these religious leaders, that is for sure.  And because of the things he says, they actually are wondering if he’s going to commit suicide.  They aren’t even understanding, and they’re wondering ‘Is he going to kill himself?’  ‘I mean he’s saying he’s going away, and where he’s going we cannot come, and we’re going to die.  What does he mean?  Of course, we’re so righteous, if we cannot go where he’s going, if he’s going to die, he’s going into a bad place and we’re going into a good place.’  So they’re thinking he’s going to commit suicide, and suicide to the Jew was an abhorrent thing.  In the Jewish understanding they honored life, and suicide to them was just really a sin.  And they believed that if Jesus committed suicide, he would go to a place of judgment, and of course in a place of judgment they would not go, so they could not follow him.  So that’s their discerning here.  But Jesus then says, ‘Man, you’re from the world, man.  You’re from the earth, you’re the flesh.  But I’m not of the world, I am from above, I’m from heaven.  Therefore I said to you, you will die in your sins, for if you do not believe that I am he.  The word he there is not in the literal Greek.  Basically what he says there is, “If you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.”  Now that is a tremendous statement that he is making to them.  And my question to you this morning, are you prepared to die this way?  If you’re here this morning without Christ in your heart as Lord and Savior, I mean Jesus says the same to you.  “Without me, man, you will die in your sin.”  So my question to you this morning, are you prepared to die that way?  If you’re without Christ, are you prepared to die in your sin?  And I tell you, to die in our sin is to stand before God and there on that judgment day the books will be opened, the court will be seated, and he’ll say your name is not written in the book of life, and you have committed all these iniquities, and because of that, then you will endure my wrath, for I am a righteous God, I’m perfectly merciful, perfectly gracious, I’ve given you all the opportunity to be forgiven of your sin, to come to me and believe.  But if you refuse to believe in me, then you will indeed die in your sin.’  And that’s what he says.  [Comment: There are many differing beliefs within the greater body of Christ on the subject of eternal judgment and hell, it’s not a cut and dry doctrine.  This makes it a secondary doctrine.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm.]   But for a Christian, for somebody who puts their faith in Christ it is different.  Revelation chapter 14, verse 13, John says, “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Write blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’”  Blessed are those who die in the Lord.  “Yes says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”  To die in the Lord is blessed, but to die in your sin is to stand before a perfect judge who’s given you all the opportunity to be forgiven of your sin, but if you do not take that opportunity now, when you die, you will stand before him, and he says to die is to die in your sin without Christ, is to die in your sin and to stand in judgment.  Well, they said to him, “Who are you?’  And he says ‘I’ve been telling you from the beginning.  You just aren’t hearing.  I tell you the truth, I judge the truth, and I would even judge more and speak more, but you’re just not discerning.  And then he says in verse 28 a very beautiful thing, he says “This you will understand later.  When you lift up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself, but as my Father taught me, I speak these things.”   They don’t understand now, ‘but when you lift me up,’  that is referring to the cross, when he dies, but also his glorification when he’s lifted up [raised from the dead].  When these things take place, he says they will understand.  Of course we know that there when Jesus died on the cross, there were people that were scoffers, there were people standing there, even a centurion, that when it all took place, the words of the centurion, Matthew chapter 27, verse 54, “So when the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they greatly feared, saying, ‘Truly, truly, this was the Son of God.’”  And that’s what he’s saying.  You don’t understand now, you’re not discerning, you have these hard hearts, but you will know and some of you will be standing there, and you’ll see me die, and in the manner that I die, you’ll see the earthquake and you’ll hear the things that you’ll hear, and you’ll know that indeed I am the Son of God, and that I was sent from him.  “The Father has not left me alone, and I always do the things that please him.” (verse 29b)  Man, that’s a tremendous thing for him to say.   Well, “He said these words, and many believed in him” (verse 30).  Let’s close in prayer, as we’ve come to the end of our time.”  [Transcript of a sermon on John 8:1-30, given somewhere in New England.]        

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