Sermon Notes 9th Sunday after Trinity, 25 July 2016 Anno Domini
St Andrews Anglican Orthodox Church
Ninth Sunday after Trinity
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).
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.
Please note the verse precedent to this account in chap 7:53 And every man went unto his own house. And now the beginning verse of this chapter.
Jesus prayed daily, but not for the observation of the public. His daily bread was communion with the Father in Prayer.
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 17:1And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
Luke 6:12 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
And many other times did Jesus resort to the mountain.
Why mountain? 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.
Now to this most beautiful account of Grace to be found between the pages of the Holy Bible:
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 absence 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?
Lev 20:10 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.
Judging….Who is judging here, and with what authority?
What does God say about judging?
Mt 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. Mt 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Mt 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Mt 7:4 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?
Mt 7:5 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.
The modern church claims that we must not judge, but is this a true command?
1 Cor 6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
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!
What does the text say?
6. This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.
7. 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.
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! Luke 11:20 – But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.
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!
Wouldn’t you rather that your name be written in God’s Book of Life?
Rev 3:5 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.
When we are sinful and hypocritical, God will blot our name out of the Book of Life by writing it upon the earth!
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.
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.
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
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. (see Jeremiah 17:13)
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
Only Jesus and the woman left alone. Every one of us will face that circumstance one day when we go before the Lord.
If we are accepted, 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.
Mt 7:21 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. Mt 7:22 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? Mt 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
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?
The wicked flee from the Lord, but this woman did not flee. She had come to know the Savior of her sinful soul.
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:
11 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.”
Read the fullness of Jesus words: Neither do I condemn thee
Does Jesus condone adultery and other sins? Absolutely not, but He does forgive the repentant soul:
Read the last phrase: “go, and sin no more.”
And you should do likewise for we are all that woman taken in adultery – caught red-handed in our sins.