Living in the Stone Age

Bible Book: John  8 : 1-11
Subject: Forgiveness; Judgment; Grace

[All scripture in this sermon is taken from the KJV of the Bible.]

In observing this text we will find a woman that was caught in the midst of adultery brought before Jesus. The real issue of this text is not the act of adultery but the evil that was in the heart of her accusers. In reality these men had no concern for this woman’s lifestyle; they only wanted to trap Jesus. The sins of these men were even greater than the sins of the woman. The accusers were supposed to be religious men but they were nothing more than mere frauds and religious hypocrites.

I am not so sure that our churches are much different than these evil men. We claim that we love people but we really only look for opportunities to run people down. Rather than trying to help people we would rather criticize them. Instead of loving them we prefer to stone them, not with literal stones, not a stone that we pick up off the walkway, but the hurtful stones of assonating words. The stones that we secretly disguise as a prayer request. The stones that we hurl due to a lack of love in our hearts.

The church was put here to extend grace and mercy not to fling rocks and condemnation. It has been my goal as a pastor to offer hope and help to sinners. It is not my job to hurl rocks of hatred and heartbreak at people already struggling with life and its horrible hardships.

In the movie “Forrest Gump” Jenny and Forrest are walking down a long driveway and they come upon her old home place. After a long glaring silence Jenny begins to hurl rocks at her old dilapidated home. She hits the house with several rocks, throws one through the already broken windows and then fails to ground weeping. Forrest lovingly sits down beside her and says “sometimes I guess there just aren’t enough rocks”.

I think we could all learn from this illustration. People are already being haunted by their past, their own personal pain, their own heartaches and heartbreaks; they don’t need us to be hurling rocks at them.

I. The Perfect Scenario (1 – 2)

When I first read these two verses it made me think of how a church ought to be. This is the perfect scenario, the place was full and all of the attention was centered upon Jesus.

I honestly feel like many people are clueless that the only reason we go to church is to make a big deal about our wonderful Lord and Savior. The moment church becomes about you and your self righteousness, and then you have devalued the entire reason we gather to worship.

A) Morning Time
B) Majestic Temple
C) Massive Throng
D) Main Thing (Jesus)
E) Marvelous Teacher

II. The Plotting Schemers (3)

The text identifies the plotters; they are the scribes and the Pharisees. These men had been trying to get at Jesus but up until this time all of their attempts had been in vain. In reading the entire text you are led to think that this was a setup. One in their very own circle could have set this lady up, this does not minimize her sin, but it does magnify the evil that identifies these evil men. The co-adulterous was not even brought before Jesus, nor was the actual eyewitnesses. This leads us to assume that the entire fiasco was not about the woman but about entrapping Jesus with a specific statement.

A) The People that were Corrupt (3a)

The men were corrupt; they were not concerned about the sin of this woman. They were more desirous of portraying Jesus as a fraud, overlooking their fraudulent fakery. I am never amazed at the steps hypocrites will go to in hiding the evil in their own lives. These religious men were out and out evil and their hearts were hardened and filled with hate.

1. Corrupt due to their Hypocrisy

The bible mentions hypocrite 10 times, hypocrites 20 times and hypocrisy 6 times. The term actually implies one who is fake; someone that wears a mask. The term is depicting someone that is in a play and they are disguised and wear mask; they are actors or pretenders. I like how James admonishes us to not have hypocrisy, as follows:

James 3:12-18, Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

2. Corrupt due to their Hatred

This group was filled with hate. It was their goal to destroy and to kill Jesus; and the driving force behind this was bitter hatred. Hatred is as bad as Idolatry and witchcraft. If we are truly saved and born again, we need to banish the very idea of hatred from our lives.

Galatians 5:19-24, Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

The bible gives us clear mandates of Christians hating one another; as follows:

1 John 2:9, He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.

1 John 2:11, But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

1 John 3:15, Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

1 John 4:20, If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

3. Corrupt due to their Hostility

The people in this scenario had a vengeful hostility towards Jesus and they wanted it to be injurious. I think many that sit on our pews today are deemed as faithful followers of Jesus, but the truth is they are filled with hateful hostility towards other people, even towards other Christians.

B) The Person that was Caught (3b)

This story is obviously very one sided due to the other participant not being also brought before the Lord. In reality the woman was involved in an adulterous event. It had to be a shameful yet sobering experience as she was hastily ushered into the presence of Jesus.

1. Her Adulterous Actions

2. Her Avenging Accusers

C) The Punishment that was Commanded (3c – 5a)

The bible is very clear and concise concerning those involved in an act of adultery.

1. Punishment of her Partner (Lev. 20: 10)

Leviticus 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.

2. Punishment of her Personally (Deut. 22: 22)

Deuteronomy 22:22, If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.

D) The Plan that was Calculated (5b – 6a)

The men had really planned this event down to the smallest detail. They would press Jesus for a verdict and make him either condemn this woman and therefore minimize his notable relationships with sinners and his desire to help them; or he could devalue the law, thus alienating his from all of the religious believers. If they stoned her at his bidding, this would invoke the Roman Government to classify him as a trouble maker and an instigator. As far as this crowd was concerned, they had Jesus backed into a corner, he was trapped with no feasible way out, by mans thinking.

III. The Perceptive Savior (6b – 9a)

What they failed to realize was that he was God and his thoughts were not their thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Ezekiel 18:25, Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?

A) Jesus Stooping “His Actions”

Here we find Jesus being evasive to the evil cries of the rabble rousers. He just stoops down and refuses to even look at them or her. Jesus shows us that we should use restraint whenever possible, don’t just hastily reply.

1. His Silent Words

Silence can be loud. We should learn to use it more often.

2. His Suggested Writings (Jeremiah 17: 13)

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 Jesus wrote on the ground, he drew something that would be mysterious until he returns. In reality we have no idea what he wrote upon the ground. We can say it was obvious to his audience, they knew what he wrote.

The better question is what he would write upon the ground if you and I were the accusers. What would he write to get our attention? Would it be a list of our sins? Would he identify secret sins from our lives? Those in attendance absolutely understood what he wrote upon the ground.

B) Jesus Speaking “His Answer”

The moment he begins to speak, the crowd went totally silent. In this passage we find that not one of the accusers responded to his words.

1. The Plain Scripture of his Reference (Deut. 17: 6-7)

Deuteronomy 17:6-7, At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you.

If you were going to invoke the death penalty upon someone the witnesses had to be there and they had to throw the first stone. It was mandatory for them to be present and involved, you could not lightly do this, it was serious.

a. The Mouths of the Witnesses

b. The Hands of the Witnesses

2. The Personal Sins of his Reference

I am not real sure what Jesus wrote upon the ground but it convicted his audience.

a. Sin’s that were Discovered

The accusers begin to feel conviction within their conscious; this is a powerful thing to feel. It seems that Jesus may have begun to list sins that would indict his audience.

b. Stones that were Dropped

As the power of his words begins to grip their evil hearts, the men begin to leave. The men begin to leave according to their ages, the older men caught on quickly and they hurriedly rushed away. I dare say Jesus was listing the sins of this group and the oldest man’s was the first sins to be listed, he realized Jesus was declaring that he knew, so he retreats without a single word.

IV. The Pardoned Sinner (9b – 11)

Jesus never minimized the sin of this woman, but he did greatly impact her humanity. The woman was shamed, disgraced, ostracized, but he afforded her grace and mercy.

I think too often those of us that have been saved change so much that we forget that we were once sinners. To me one of the greatest characteristics of a Christian is not how much they have changed but how much they are willing to help others change. We can help them by loving them and forgiving them. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to live in the Stone Age, especially not at church, I chose to drop my rocks.

A) Jesus Lovingly Addressed the Woman (10a)
B) Jesus Mercifully Absolved the Woman (10b – 11a)
C) Jesus Gracefully Admonished the Woman (11b)

There is a scene in the later portion of the movie “Forrest Gump” where we see Forrest drive a bulldozer and he is dozing down Jenny’s old home place. He is burying the old memories of her past, those that hounded her and haunted her.

I think all of us could do this to help others out rather than stoning them. We should try to help them and not spend all of our power and energy in trying to hurt them.

These men were willing to stone this woman until something invoked conviction upon them. I dare say most of us hold other people to a higher standard than the one we hold ourselves up to.