Sermon Ninth Sunday in Trinity, 29 July 2018 Anno Domini

Sermon Ninth Sunday in Trinity
St Andrews Anglican Parish Church

GRANT to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as are right; that we, who cannot do any thing that is good without thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will; through

Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The sermon text from the Lectionary of the Book of Common Prayer today is taken from the 8th Chapter of the Book of John. (the woman taken in adultery).

This incident in the life of Christ provides the most beautiful and complete example of the free Grace of God. Our Lord knew this woman long before she knew Him. As her fate was being decided by the dialogue between those who despised her and wished her dead, and the only One who could grant her both temporal and eternal life, the Holy ghost was drawing her according to the purposes of God – she was drawn to know Jesus as her Lord and Savior as a fisherman draws his nets to shore.

The text begins immediately after Jesus has thwarted the plans of the Jewish rulers to have Him taken for the purpose of killing Him. According to the last verse of the previous chapter, every man, “every man went into his own house.” John 7:53  This is revealing of the austere existence our Lord led upon earth – He had no home into which to turn, so He went to the Mt. of Olives to pray. The sins of the city grow more oppressive to the righteous heart during hours of darkness. The feast is on-going, and many sins proliferate when men and women collect at population centers, especially at holiday time. Perhaps the woman in today’s text was tempted at such a time.

1  Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2 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. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6  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. 7 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. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 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. 10 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? 11  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

He generally prayed in private and most often on the higher ground: Example – “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.” Matthew 17:1

And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, Matt 17:1

And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” Luke 6:12

And many other times did Jesus resort to the mountain.

Why mountains? Because of the solitude, the aloneness with God. Because it illustrates that genuine prayer occurs in a high place even if our feet are in Death Valley. The higher up to the peak we climb, the less world that surrounds us to distract us.

Now to this most beautiful account of unbounded and unmerited Grace to be found between the pages of the Holy Bible. The woman said not a single word in her defense because there was nothing she could say. She was caught red-handed.

2 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. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

 

Note first of all the absent of the man who had committed precisely the same sin. If the woman was caught in the very act, why did they not take the man? Political correctness even existed at that day.

And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” Lev 20:10

The muslims still practice this wicked punishment on women. Apparently their men are incapable of sin.

Judging….Who is judging here, and with what authority? Remember, if we admonish a friend for the mote in his eye, we must first remove the beam from our own eye. This was the failing of the Jewish leaders.

What does God say about judging? “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Mt 7:1 This is the point that most sermons stop on the matter, but the context is important to garner the full meaning:

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:2-5

The modern church claims that we must not judge, but is this a true command? We are even commanded to judge:  “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” John 7:24 (KJV) Righteous judgment is only those things revealed in Scripture. Therefore, not our word, but God’s, that judges.

So judging is not only necessary, it is also a command. But the judgment must be a righteous judgment.

Why did these brigands bring the woman to Christ? To catch Him in a trap by having this woman stoned, or Christ caught in violation of the Roman law or the law of Moses. They cared nothing for the woman. They were merciless in their deeds. But those who desired the worst fate for the woman were the very ones who brought her to the only One who could bless her with life eternal.

What does the text say?

  1. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.”

Why did Jesus do this? In the Middle East, it is a characteristic of a person, when embarrassed, to write upon the ground. Jesus felt, not only pity, but embarrassment for the woman and situation. But, I believe, He had a reason of far greater gravity. Jesus is God. God wrote upon the ground!

What did Jesus write? We are not explicitly told, however, we may have a clue in Jeremiah 17:13 –

O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.”

When the finger of God writes, the issue is important! “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.” Luke 11:20

The names of these evil men are not written in heaven – in the book of Life – so God writes there name upon their eternal graves – the ground! This is my interpretation. Wouldn’t you rather that your name be written in God’s Book of Life? “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” Rev 3:5

When we are sinful and hypocritical, God will blot our name out of the Book of Life by writing it upon the earth which will be our ruined inheritance.

7 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.” Simply seeing their names written in the dust had no great impact on these rascals, but that which Christ writes next will condemn them to the bone!

Often, when Jesus stands to speak, it is in terrible judgment. The men brought the woman for judgment, but they themselves receive the judgment.

Had it not been for these evil men, the woman may never have come to Christ but THEY brought her wishing her woe, but the woman found grace and salvation instead. It was rather the Jewish rulers who left condemned in their own consciences.

And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.” I believe the first writing was merely the names of the men who brought the woman to Christ, but it is likely that the second time He wrote upon the ground, it may have been the names of some other woman with whom those very men had committed adultery.

What did Jesus write this time. We are not told, but whatever it was, it had a strange effect on those who demanded the woman be stoned. Perhaps a name, a date, a sin.

And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last:” It is a natural course of life that the older among us has sinned more. The most sinful departed first to the youngest.

“ . . . . and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.” Only Jesus and the woman left alone. Every one of us will face that circumstance one day when we go before the Judge. We, like the woman, will stand before the Judge alone with Jesus. And the Judge is the Father of our Advocate. Our prospects are sure!

If we have been called and chosen as the Elect of God, as the woman sinner, we shall be admitted to heaven. But if we are hypocrites and liars as the Pharisees, we will be sent away from God. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23

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?” No man will stand in judgment against God’s chosen on that last Day. Only God has the power to condemn!

Those wicked men had fled from the Lord, but this woman did not flee. She had come to know the Savior of her sinful soul. She came to know Him, by the enlightenment of the Holy Ghost, as LORD!

Just imagine her terror and humiliation as she listened to the dialogue concerning her fate.

She uttered not a word, and neither will the sinner at the last day, for our guilt will be revealed. We will have been caught, as this woman, red-handed until the question from Christ:  “She said, No man, Lord.

Now Jesus utters the most beautiful words this woman’s ears have ever heard: “And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”  Please do not stop, as many modern preachers do, at the first phrase, “Neither do I condemn thee.” That would abrogate the justice of God. Remember always to add the last phrase.

Does Jesus condone adultery and other sins? Absolutely not, but He does forgive the repentant soul:

Read the last phrase: “ . . . . and sin no more.”

 

And you, my friend, should do likewise as must we all who seek the Kingdom of Heaven!

Sermon Ninth Sunday in Trinity, 29 July 2018 Anno Domini

St Andrews Anglican Parish Church

 

GRANT to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as are right; that we, who cannot do any thing that is good without thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will; through

Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The sermon text from the Lectionary of the Book of Common Prayer today is taken from the 8th Chapter of the Book of John. (the woman taken in adultery).

 

This incident in the life of Christ provides the most beautiful and complete example of the free Grace of God. Our Lord knew this woman long before she knew Him. As her fate was being decided by the dialogue between those who despised her and wished her dead, and the only One who could grant her both temporal and eternal life, the Holy ghost was drawing her according to the purposes of God – she was drawn to know Jesus as her Lord and Savior as a fisherman draws his nets to shore.

The text begins immediately after Jesus has thwarted the plans of the Jewish rulers to have Him taken for the purpose of killing Him. According to the last verse of the previous chapter, every man, “every man went into his own house.” John 7:53  This is revealing of the austere existence our Lord led upon earth – He had no home into which to turn, so He went to the Mt. of Olives to pray. The sins of the city grow more oppressive to the righteous heart during hours of darkness. The feast is on-going, and many sins proliferate when men and women collect at population centers, especially at holiday time. Perhaps the woman in today’s text was tempted at such a time.

1  Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2 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. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6  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. 7 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. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 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. 10 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? 11  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

He generally prayed in private and most often on the higher ground: Example – “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.” Matthew 17:1

And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, Matt 17:1

And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” Luke 6:12

And many other times did Jesus resort to the mountain.

Why mountains? Because of the solitude, the aloneness with God. Because it illustrates that genuine prayer occurs in a high place even if our feet are in Death Valley. The higher up to the peak we climb, the less world that surrounds us to distract us.

Now to this most beautiful account of unbounded and unmerited Grace to be found between the pages of the Holy Bible. The woman said not a single word in her defense because there was nothing she could say. She was caught red-handed.

2 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. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

 

Note first of all the absent of the man who had committed precisely the same sin. If the woman was caught in the very act, why did they not take the man? Political correctness even existed at that day.

And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” Lev 20:10

The muslims still practice this wicked punishment on women. Apparently their men are incapable of sin.

Judging….Who is judging here, and with what authority? Remember, if we admonish a friend for the mote in his eye, we must first remove the beam from our own eye. This was the failing of the Jewish leaders.

What does God say about judging? “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Mt 7:1 This is the point that most sermons stop on the matter, but the context is important to garner the full meaning:

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:2-5

The modern church claims that we must not judge, but is this a true command? We are even commanded to judge:  “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” John 7:24 (KJV) Righteous judgment is only those things revealed in Scripture. Therefore, not our word, but God’s, that judges.

So judging is not only necessary, it is also a command. But the judgment must be a righteous judgment.

Why did these brigands bring the woman to Christ? To catch Him in a trap by having this woman stoned, or Christ caught in violation of the Roman law or the law of Moses. They cared nothing for the woman. They were merciless in their deeds. But those who desired the worst fate for the woman were the very ones who brought her to the only One who could bless her with life eternal.

What does the text say?

  1. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.”

Why did Jesus do this? In the Middle East, it is a characteristic of a person, when embarrassed, to write upon the ground. Jesus felt, not only pity, but embarrassment for the woman and situation. But, I believe, He had a reason of far greater gravity. Jesus is God. God wrote upon the ground!

What did Jesus write? We are not explicitly told, however, we may have a clue in Jeremiah 17:13 –

O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.”

When the finger of God writes, the issue is important! “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.” Luke 11:20

The names of these evil men are not written in heaven – in the book of Life – so God writes there name upon their eternal graves – the ground! This is my interpretation. Wouldn’t you rather that your name be written in God’s Book of Life? “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” Rev 3:5

When we are sinful and hypocritical, God will blot our name out of the Book of Life by writing it upon the earth which will be our ruined inheritance.

7 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.” Simply seeing their names written in the dust had no great impact on these rascals, but that which Christ writes next will condemn them to the bone!

Often, when Jesus stands to speak, it is in terrible judgment. The men brought the woman for judgment, but they themselves receive the judgment.

Had it not been for these evil men, the woman may never have come to Christ but THEY brought her wishing her woe, but the woman found grace and salvation instead. It was rather the Jewish rulers who left condemned in their own consciences.

And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.” I believe the first writing was merely the names of the men who brought the woman to Christ, but it is likely that the second time He wrote upon the ground, it may have been the names of some other woman with whom those very men had committed adultery.

What did Jesus write this time. We are not told, but whatever it was, it had a strange effect on those who demanded the woman be stoned. Perhaps a name, a date, a sin.

And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last:” It is a natural course of life that the older among us has sinned more. The most sinful departed first to the youngest.

“ . . . . and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.” Only Jesus and the woman left alone. Every one of us will face that circumstance one day when we go before the Judge. We, like the woman, will stand before the Judge alone with Jesus. And the Judge is the Father of our Advocate. Our prospects are sure!

If we have been called and chosen as the Elect of God, as the woman sinner, we shall be admitted to heaven. But if we are hypocrites and liars as the Pharisees, we will be sent away from God. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23

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?” No man will stand in judgment against God’s chosen on that last Day. Only God has the power to condemn!

Those wicked men had fled from the Lord, but this woman did not flee. She had come to know the Savior of her sinful soul. She came to know Him, by the enlightenment of the Holy Ghost, as LORD!

Just imagine her terror and humiliation as she listened to the dialogue concerning her fate.

She uttered not a word, and neither will the sinner at the last day, for our guilt will be revealed. We will have been caught, as this woman, red-handed until the question from Christ:  “She said, No man, Lord.

Now Jesus utters the most beautiful words this woman’s ears have ever heard: “And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”  Please do not stop, as many modern preachers do, at the first phrase, “Neither do I condemn thee.” That would abrogate the justice of God. Remember always to add the last phrase.

Does Jesus condone adultery and other sins? Absolutely not, but He does forgive the repentant soul:

Read the last phrase: “ . . . . and sin no more.”

 

And you, my friend, should do likewise as must we all who seek the Kingdom of Heaven!

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