Sermon: Judging Righteously Summary: In the account of the woman caught in adultery, we learn some principles of righteous judgment. We need to look to Jesus first and imitate his character as a savior rather than a prosecutor, and also look to ourselves, recognizing that we are all sinners, and only then look at others. Know: The character of the Lord we serve demands that we be not only righteous, but also merciful Feel: The desire to forgive and let go Do: Reflect on your attitudes toward sin and toward sinners and compare the two. Identify ways they are the same or different, and how they line up or do not line up with the character of Christ as demonstrated in his life. List ways to overcome attitudes that are not of God. Text: John 8:1-11 Scripture Reading: Eph 4:29 - 5:2 Intro: 1. A preacher boarded a ship bound for Europe a. When to his cabin, saw his cabin mate b. Took gold watch and other valuables to the desk and asked for them to be put in ship's safe - Explained he typically not use this priviledge - But this time, he saw his cabin mate, and it not look like he was trustworthy c. Person at desk say - That's okay, your cabin mate was just here and has already put his valuables in the safe d. Sometimes we make wrongful judgments - This morning's text is about judgment 2. (Jn 8:1-11) - Try to picture what is happening here a. Jesus is teaching in the temple b. 7:46 - No one speaks the way he does c. Interruption - Crowd brings a woman caught in adultery, probably wrapped in just a sheet d. Law said to "stone" her. What is stoning? - Pit with stones of various sized all around - Put someone in the pit, everyone, men picks up stones - Stone 3. Questionable things: a. Early in the Morning / Caught in the Act - People usually don't do this in public, but in secluded secret place - Did Pharisees know that this was going to take place? Were they watching the whole time? - Did they wait till morning until after the deed was done to drag her out of bed? - Why did they not prevent it from happening? b. Where is the man? - Law says that BOTH the man and woman were to die - Was the man part of a plot to trap this woman into adultery so they can bring her to Jesus? c. Testing - Motivation was not the law, but to have grounds to accuse him - They waited until Jesus was teaching a crowd - If Jesus said, "Yes stone her!" -- Would lose credibility with the crowd, they would no longer see him as forgiving and gracious -- Would put him in trouble with the Romans - Capital punishment was only allowed at the orders of a Roman official. - If Jesus said, "No don't stone her." -- Could say that he is soft on sin, and sin is what had gotten them in trouble with God in their past -- Could accuse him of not respecting God's law 4. Jesus' reaction a. Wrote in the dirt - What is he doing, is he doodling? If so, shows he not impressed - Word used is katagrapo, not just grapho - wrote "against" , implying he wrote something "against" them - Many theories - Wrote a scripture passage about judgment? Wrote a list of sins? - His writing had no effect on them, kept pressing him b. He who is without sin, throw the first stone - Law said in Dt 17 & 19 - Witnesses to cast first stone - But Jesus said that "he who is without sin cast the first stone" - Jesus turned the attention onto themselves c. All eyes are no longer on Jesus, but on Pharisees - How many have never ever sinned? - Mt 5:28 - Anyone who lusts has committed adultery - Who has never ever lusted after anyone - How many have never even sinned in their hearts? - One by one, they leave d. To the woman - I do not condemn you either, go and sin no more 5. What is this story all about? a. From chapter Seven to Ten is Jesus defending himself - They accuse Jesus of breaking the law b. Legal language appears: Law, Testimony, testify, judge, to convict, condemn, etc. c. What Jesus says about judging - 7:24 - Do not judge according to appearance, use righteous judgment - 7:15 - You judge according to the flesh, I am not judging anyone d. Need to "look deeper" I. Look at Jesus: Savior: He is savior, not prosecutor A. 3:17 - God did not send the son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 1. Jesus did not come to prosecute sinners 2. Jesus came to save sinners B. This story gives a good example 1. Was the woman guilty? YES. a. Caught in the very act of adultery b. Regardless of the motives of the Pharisees, she was guilty of a capital crime 2. Did the law call for her to be stoned? YES a. (Dt 22:22-24) - For a husband and wife and betrothed b. The law is very clear on this 3. Did Jesus set aside the law? Was he soft? NO. a. Some misunderstand this story and think sin is not really a big deal to Christ b. Jesus did not set aside morality, righteousness, ethics c. Jesus set aside ONLY PUNISHMENT in the interest of grace. Why? - What is central to God's character? - 1 Jn 4:7 - God "IS" Love - Jn 3:16 - God so "loved" the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him not perish… 4. He didn't really set punishment aside, but took it on himself a. What if he really did write sins on the ground? b. What became of those sins? c. (Rom) - Made him who knew no sin to BE sin - Chose to suffer as though he were a sinner - For this woman, he took on the suffering C. ILL: Jesus is savior, not a prosecutor 1. We do not see Jesus in this role in scripture 2. If you in a court room before, who is the prosecutor? a. It is Satan b. Rev 12:10 - He is the accuser c. Job 1-2 - Satan accuses Job of selfish motives 3. Satan has ability to build a watertight case against each of you a. All have sinned in some way b. Many have been underhanded, dishonest, etc. c. Unlike Job, many may serve with self-serving motives d. If Satan wanted to build a case against you, what would the jury hear? 4. Jesus is the one who pays the penalty a. Jesus didn't excuse it, but paid the penalty b. He is faithful, he is merciful, he is love D. If we are to be his disciples, we need to be like Christ 1. We do not take role of prosecutor 2. Our desire needs to be like his - for others to be saved 3. Does not mean putting aside God's high expectations a. That will not lead to salvation b. It will lead to damnation 4. It means loving the sinner in the way that Christ did II. Look at Self: We are all sinners A. You who are without sin, cast the first stone 1. If they really look in mirror, would see that they have sinned 2. Would have seen that they have thought about committing sin 3. Would have seen the ugly ulterior motives B. We need to constantly do honest self-evaluation. How? (Jas 1:22-25) 1. Doers not hearers only. How? 2. Look intently a. At the law of liberty - Read it intently - Spend plenty of time in it b. At the self-reflection - If read carefully, get insight into human nature - Get insight into yourself - May not be pleasant to look at, but look intently at it 3. Abide by it as a doer, not a forgetful hearer a. Bring self in line b. Fix what needs to be fixed c. Thank God for the changes you see in you C. ILL: Use of a mirror in your life 1. Post one by the door on the way out of the house a. Pause as you go out to see if you are okay b. If not okay, what do you do? Make an adjustment 2. When out in public, will run into other mirrors a. Some appear in public restrooms b. Some appear in other random places c. Sometimes we stop momentarily to look at ourselves 3. Surrounded by mirrors throughout the day 4. Need the true mirror throughout the day - God's word a. It will allow you to see yourself deeper than mirror b. Will see parts of yourself that nothing else will show you c. Look intently D. How often do we look and not do? 1. Many times we nod and agree in class to Christian principles: a. Love enemies and pray for them b. Go second mile c. Never take own revenge d. People are lost, they need Christians to share Gospel 2. If coming up short, maybe need to look more intently at law III. Look at Others: Properly A. Can only do this if start with Christ, and see selves through Christ B. What should be our attitude toward others? 1. Example Christ sets a. Not be eager to condemn at all cost - They wanted to condemn Christ to death - They going to use this woman to do so - Not really concerned with justice or mercy b. Be willing to forgive - God is faithful, gracious, merciful, love - Remembering God's character and seeing myself as I am will help me to be able to forgive c. Do not excuse sin - Jesus never said, "Oh it is okay to sin" - Challenged her to STOP sinning - Not just about forgiveness, but a change in life d. Jesus was both just and merciful - Both part of God's character 2. Because of his character, have other scriptures that instruct… a. 1 Thess 5:14-15 - We urge you brethren, - Admonish unruly, encourage fainthearted, help weak - Be patient with everyone b. 2 Tim 4:2 - Preach word, ready in/out season - Reprove, rebuke, exhort - With great patience and instruction c. Gal 6:1 - If anyone is caught in any tresspass - Restore (not condemn) in a spirit of gentleness - Each looking to yourself, so that you not be tempted - This what Jesus had them to do 3. Way we act toward others needs to be the way Christ was a. Jesus did not shame, condemn, beat up, etc. b. Jesus forgave and led to repentance, change, restoration c. We need to do the same C. ILL: Jewish folk story about Abraham 1. Stranger comes to his tent, Abraham runs to meet him Washes feet, prepares dinner for him 2. The man settles down and eats without prayer or blessing a. Abraham asked, do you not worship God? b. The man answered - "I worship only fire, and reverence no other god" c. Abraham became angry, threw the man out into the night 3. Later, God called to Abraham where the visitor was Abraham answerd - "I threw him out because he does not worship you!" 4. God replied - I have endured this man for 80 years even though he dishonors me. Could you not endure him for just one night? D. We need to see others as God sees them, and treat them as God does 1. God is holy, righteous, and just 2. God is also faithful, merciful, and gracious Concl: 1. Next time you find yourself condemning someone - Look at Jesus and yourself 2. Our Lord came to save sinners (invitation) 3. If you are a Christian, remember that our Lord left you here not to condemn, but to continue his mission of bringing salvation to sinners.