Judging One Another
Sunday, November 19, 2017
John 8:3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
11 "No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
Why did these men bring this woman to Jesus at this time?
Verse 6 “They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.”
They were trying to trap Jesus. He was a nuisance and they were looking for a reason to have Him killed. They wanted a way to get rid of Him!
What was their attitude toward the woman?
They were using her! They cared nothing for her! To them she was a tool! She was just an object, a way to get what they wanted.
What was Jesus’ attitude toward her?
She was worth saving! He loved her.
How often do we use people to get what we want? Do we see people as objects to be used for our own selfish reasons? When you go to a store and get up to the check-out counter, do you see the checker as a person, or just as a means to complete your purchase so you can get on with your life, with the things that are important to you? If he is a little slow do you get irritated? Why? Because you are in a hurry to get on with your life? You have important things to do, right? Perhaps this checker needs a word of encouragement. Jesus died for him. The flesh says he is slowing me down. The Spirit of God in me tells me to love him.
Do you think about the fact that Jesus loves this person? He wants to have a relationship with him or her. He died so that she could have a relationship with Him. This is the single most important fact in life. God loves people and calls us to love them as well.
How important are people to you? Is a clean house more important than spending time with people who need to know the love of God? Is your time watching TV or surfing the web more important to you than loving God and loving people?
Some of my friends have taken up the practice of asking their servers at a restaurant if they have anything we could pray for them about when we ask God’s blessing on our meal. Most of the responses have been positive and the servers have seemed appreciative. If I was quick enough, I would like to take up this habit. I suppose I am too often, just thinking about who I am with, and what I am going to eat. I need to remind myself that God loves this person, this servant. This truth needs to be the most important truth in my life. People need to know that they are loved by their Creator. He has a plan and a purpose for them.
When we ignore the people God brings across our path each day we are telling them they are not worth our time. When we ignore our children while we play video games, we are telling them our pleasure is more important than they are.
Judging people or loving them. How valuable are people to you? Condemning is not just the role of a judge, or God. We condemn others when we fail to tell them about the gift of salvation. We treat them as less valuable than God does.
Jesus told the woman, “Neither do I condemn you.” What does that word condemn mean? The Greek word is katakrino. It means to sentence, condemn, or damn. We would never use the phrase, “God damn you!” But do we, by our actions, tell people they are not worth the time it would take to show them we care about them? God loves them. Do we care enough about them to tell them that God loves them and we love them too?
One of the English definitions of condemn is to pronounce as unfit for use! When we refuse to have a relationship with someone, we judge them as being unfit to share in our lives.
Notice I said ‘refuse’. We cannot love everyone. However, there are people we must love, because God puts them in our life and we must love them. When God puts someone in our path and we refuse to love them we are refusing to obey God. We are sinning, just as surely as someone who has sex outside of marriage, just as surely as the woman caught in adultery or the man she was caught with.
Families in the church who are broken up by refusing to have anything to do with one another are an affront to God. Does He still love you? Yes, He still loves you, but His heart is broken by the choices you have made.
Every time we sin, no matter how large or small the offense, God grieves over the loss of what could have been if we had not disobeyed, if we had not refused to love Him, or one of his children. We should grieve. We must repent, not because God will not love us if we do not, but because we love God, and we want to do what He says is best, because we love Him.
Every sin we commit is a failure to trust God and it breaks His heart. Every time we fail to love someone He wants us to love is a failure to love Him, a failure to trust Him.
There are many ways we could let people know they are of great value to us because they are of great value to Our Lord.
Two books that were on my desk when the church burned… The Prayer of Jabez and Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson. Bruce Wilkinson was the person who headed up Walk Through The Bible. Anyone ever go through that program? It was a program to help you have an overview of the Bible. From the small amount of exposure I had with it, it was very good. I would recommend it.
I miss The Prayer of Jabez. The main point of that small volume was a prayer that God would enlarge our borders. We need to ask God to enlarge our influence in the world so that others would come to know Christ. I would ask you to begin praying that prayer.
I thought of this book the other day so I once again prayed for God to enlarge my borders. That day I met a young mother who is a friend of Hunter’s that day. She lives up Hampshire drive. I put her on the list of people to invite to our Holiday dinner.
That may seem like a small thing to you. It does not seem small to me. I have prayed many times for God to enlarge my influence and every time I do, He brings someone across my path for me to serve in some way.
Yesterday, (actually this morning as I write this) I had just sat down to work on this message and the doorbell rang. I was a little annoyed. Someone asked for a ride to Christ’s Kitchen. My flesh was annoyed. God’s Spirit told me to relax and serve this one that He loves.
Yes, I took them to Christ’s Kitchen.
When we listen to the flesh, we will not love others; we will love ourselves. When we listen to the Spirit of God He will always tell us to love God and to love other people because we love God.
How do you love God? You obey Him. How do you love people? You obey God. You walk in the Spirit instead of listening to the flesh, the old man, the old nature that looks out for number one first and foremost.
There are some great philosophies out there that teach people to love. Loving others is not enough. Loving others is a good thing. It is not enough.
The greatest commandment is to Love God. If we love God we will love people. Living in a relationship with God and loving Him and loving people because we are in a relationship with God is what Christianity is all about. That is why I have told you that obeying the rules is not good enough. Anyone can learn a set of rules and live by them.
We come into a relationship with God when we accept, when we believe, when we trust God to love us and to lead us. We admit that on our own we are not what God wants us to be. God proved He loves us by coming into the world and dying. This is what Jesus teaches us.
For God so loved us (the world) that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.
We are reconnected to God because we accept the gift, the grace of God. We put our trust in Him to love us even though we are not worthy of His love. Then we begin living in a relationship with Him. He will teach us, lead us, to love Him and love other people.
Each day, we will be confronted with opportunities to listen to the flesh, the selfish nature, or to listen to God and love Him and love other people. If you love God you will walk in obedience to the Spirit who will lead you to become a servant of God, a servant of the people that God loves. (In case you are wondering, that is everyone else.)
How do you look at other people? Are they just an annoyance? Do they get in the way of getting what you want? Do you see them as tools, as objects to use to meet your own needs? We need to look at every relationship we have with these questions in mind.
We need to train ourselves to see people as Jesus saw the woman brought before Him. We need to see our relationships as opportunities to share God’s love and the gift of salvation with them.