Forgiveness - God's Golden Gift

Bible Book: John  8 : 1-11
Subject: Forgiveness; Revival; Repentance

This is, without question, the most tender and sensitive story in the New Testament. I want you to   feel with me the sensitivity, the embarrassment, the humiliation of this woman. She had committed a terrible sin and was walked in on and discovered naked, embarrassed with a man in the very middle of the act of adultery. I don't think they allowed her time to get dressed. They surely didn't care about her; there is not one suggestion of sensitivity to the woman in the story, except by Jesus. All they cared about was a chance to make a theological football out of her and trap Jesus with one of those impossible situations they supposed He could not get out of. The law Jesus said He had come to fulfill said stone her to death. The message he had been preaching was love, compassion, grace and forgiveness. How could Jesus harmonize the Law and grace?

I want you for one sensitive moment to imagine that you are that woman. Imagine that you are dragged in and flung down before Jesus. I want you to feel the 180 degrees difference with the Pharisees. We are not surprised that it was the Pharisees that found her - Pharisees that didn't care about her - Pharisees that embarrassed her - Pharisees! Oh, she had never been used by any man sexually like she was going to be used theologically by the Pharisees to try to make a point.

I raise a question. It was early in the morning, how is it that these Pharisees could stumble in on her? Was the man who found her, her husband? It seems to have been the Pharisees. Do people not commit such sin behind closed doors? How did they know where she was? I imagine this might have been the last of several flings through the night. Perhaps she was a prostitute. I think that's the case because they knew where she was. And the only way they would have known where she was is if some of them had frequented her. And I would not suggest in a million years that the Pharisees, who prided themselves on the external, would not have committed adultery themselves.

Another thing, what happen to the man? Why is he not embarrassed, humiliated, dragged before Jesus? Well, I think the reason is obvious. You put the two and two together and here is what you get. Some Pharisees, protecting their brother Pharisee who knew right where she was, went to find her. The entire scenario was a setup to trap Jesus and humiliate a woman.

Jesus didn't condemn her, but He also didn't condone her sin. He was furious with the Pharisees. Jesus found Himself in one of those "render unto Caesar and unto God" kind of impossible situations that the Pharisees liked to use to trap Jesus and convince people that He was not the Son of God. Jesus stooped down started to write in the sand. Immediately they gathered around and began to peer over His shoulder. What's he saying? What's he doing? What did he write? I think that he wrote the seventh commandment. "Thou shalt not commit adultery." You see, Jesus never compromised with sin. But He was always very tender with a sinner. Then He looked up, spoke and leaned back over and wrote a second time. What He wrote the second time so convicted them that in their humiliation they turned and started to walk out of their embarrassment.

I think this time He wrote the tenth commandment. "Thou shall not convent thou neighbor's house or thy neighbor's wife or anything that is though neighbors." He did say, did He not, on the Sermon on the Mount, that he who looks lustfully, covetously at another man's wife, a woman not his wife, has already committed adultery right in his own heart that they were as guilty as the woman? And they began to turn and walk away. Jesus didn't ask her to confess her sin. He made no analysis of the reason. He didn't seem to suggest a good Christian sociologists or some rehabilitation training in another kind of profession. He just said; "Where are your accusers"? And in that moment of grace, the light of all heaven came. And she realized she was free.

How could Jesus free people by just announcing them free? Because He saw into her soul and before she said a word knew the brokenness she suffered in her heart and He helped her to her feet. I always thought that perhaps He covered her with his own tunic said: "Darling, just don't do it anymore. Go thy way and sin no more.

"The golden word and the most important thing that you will ever experience in your life is the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. What a wonderful release and relief that all is well. The joy of knowing that your case has been settled out of court - dismissed by the Master- is a joy unspeakable. To know that the debt has been paid, the case thrown out of court and that you are free at last is simply golden!

I. Repentance Is More Than Admitting Sin

Forgiveness and repentance are twin truths of the Gospel. Repentance is the only key to forgiveness. The most important thing a pastor can do for a congregation is to try to teach his people how to know the forgiveness of God. Remember this, and it comes in one word, repentance. That is the only thing he told her to do. Stop doing it! Now if you don't hear anything else today, repentance and forgiveness are in separable and repentance means quit, stop! Repentance and forgiveness are in separable.

And repentance is to stop. Don't do this anymore! That's the key, the golden key. Everything God wants to do for you is wrapped up in holiness and forgiveness. Through forgiveness your burdens are lifted, burdens that affect you mind, your business, your heart, your soul, your kidneys, your liver, your brain, your family, your wife, your children. Everything deteriorates because of sin and it is so easy to deal with. Stop!

II. Repentance Is More Than Confessing Sin

I want you to understand that it is not simply confessing. Naming you sin is not the same as leaving your sin. You can take out an ad in the chronicle for 6,000 big ones and a full page and say "I, Bill Smith, did so and so." And you will find no relief from the burden and no release from guilt of sin.

Confession of sin can be prideful.

I was in a service one time and a man got in his mind, and the devil is so subtle, that it was his sin that was blocking the blessing of God on that church. Now the more he thought about this the more the devil subtly used it to make him think that he was really important. And he was actually looking forward to the time of a public acknowledgement of his sin. And when he did it, it was done so boastfully and pridefully that a chill came across the church. What God had started was shut down immediately.

Confession can be done wrong. Confession can be prideful, it can be self-centered and intended to draw attention too yourself. It can be a disguise for titillating the fancy. The counselor, the pastor must be very careful, for here many a man has fallen in moral failure and has been ruined in the ministry. It happens like this. He hears the sexual details of an affair confessed by another man. He begins to experience mental gymnastics with himself and puts himself in the place of that man having that affair with that woman. Confession is a very subtle matter.

I heard about a young priest that called the old priest in to listen to his first confession. After it was over he said; "Well Father, how did I do?

"He said; "Well, son, you did pretty good, but I would make one suggestion. When they get done I would say just a simple,'God bless you my child,'" rather than, 'G-ah-a-ah-ly (golly)!'

"We have to be careful with the confession of sin. It could be prideful; it could titillate the fantasy, the fancy of a person. It could lead us into fantasy. It can be a cover for gossip. It can be ammunition for gossip. Many times we preachers do this. "Hey! Did you hear about so and so? I want to tell you what Rev. Brother So and So did. I want you to pray for him." What we are really doing is gossiping. It's just a cover, an excuse to tell something exciting. That is wrong!

So confession must be done personally to God in the heart with purity and sincerity. As important   and as wonderful as it is to confess, it is not repentance. Confession moves the lips but repentance moves the heart. Remember Saul? Saul presumed on God and offered a sacrifice as king that could only be offered as a priest and he wasn't a priest. And so when he came back and Samuel told him that he was in a mess. He said, "Okay, okay, I did it. I'm sorry I should not have done it." Samuel walked out in front of the congregation with him anyway, just like everything was okay, like it use to be. And he said, "You hypocrite! God has taken your kingdom and ripped it from you and given it to a man after his own heart! God wanted you to be king forever, but no way!" Why! Because he did not confess right.

III. Repentance Is More Than A Change Of Mind

Repentance is not a change of mind. I want you to understand this closely. Changing your mind is the first step to repentance. It is included in repentance. But simply changing the mind does not lead to changing the behavior and is not biblical repentance. Biblical repentance is one word, "Stop"!

Don't do this anymore. The Pharisees changed their mind about John the Baptist so much that they were willing to take a long walk and even get baptized. John the Baptist said, "Hold it a minute. I don't see any fruits of a changed mind. I don't see any evidence of repentance. Let's see something different in your behavior." And they turned and walked away. He said, "You generation of vipers." That's French for you barrel of rattle snakes! Jesus said that the Pharisees were like beautiful white gravestones on the outside but full of dead bones on the inside. Real repentance begins with a changed mind. But it is a change of attitude that leads to a change in behavior; and if it doesn't do that, simply changing your mind about something only makes you twice as guilty, because now you are doubly convinced that what you are doing is wrong but you keep doing it anyway. Changing you mind is not repentance; it's the beginning of repentance.

IV. Repentance Is More Than Being Sorry For Your Sin

Emotional heartache and sorry and guilt and depression is not repentance. I know people who come to the altar and pray and pray and tears flow. They are so sorry for what they did. But they find themselves still doing it. Sorrow is not repentance. He says that godly sorrow leads to repentance is another step toward repentance, but you are not there yet until you do what? Stop! Everything in the goodness of God that you have, yet long for, and want to know and know as promised is contingent upon the full presence of the Spirit of God creating Jesus in you life - nothing between the Master and you. And when you blow it and sin you've got to have His forgiveness to stay in that state and the key  is "stop". Sin no more.

V. Repentance Is More Than Regret For The Consequences For Sin

Repentance is not regret over the consequences or fear of reprisal because of your sin. Biblical repentance is not regret over the consequences nor is it fear of reprisal. "Boy, I better repent or I'll get it. Somebody is going to find out! I'm going to get nailed! And I'm going to pay a dear price, so therefore, because of what might happen, I'm going to do better."

Repentance is more than feeling bad about what happened when sin is found out. Some people get arrested or caught and they make a "jail house" confession. But that act is not real repentance.

Repentance is more than fear about what could happen to me because of my sin. Repentance means to stop sinning! Stop doing it! Now listen carefully, only the Holy Spirit can give you power to do that!

VI. Repentance Is More Than Stopping The Act

Repentance is not simply stopping the act of sin. Let me explain. It is not enough to just change your mind. Repentance is also stopping within a disdain for the sin. Here is a man that at one time in his life committed adultery. He has stopped doing it and for the next fifty years of his life until he dies never does it again. But he has never gotten over the ecstasy of the moment and the sweet taste of the forbidden fruit. He replays it over and over and over again in his mind. Now there are some of you that are dealing with things you don't do anymore but you still love far too much what you did. You replay it and enjoy the nectar and wish that you could do it again. Repentance is allowing God to clean me in His blood and to take out of my soul and conscience and psyche any joy that Satan desires to reside in my heart or mind from past sin.

VII. Repentance Is Not Stopping One Sin For Another

Repentance is not stopping one kind of sin for another. Here is the scenario that we play out. Two or three habits will become besetting sins in a person's life. One is really rough and finally he gets the grace to quite doing it. He determines to never do that again. And because he got a little bit of relief it is easier to compromise and justify another sin in a different area of his life.

VIII. Repentance Is More Than A General, Non-specific Act

Repentance that is general and not specific is not repentance. Frankly I struggle here because I don't know how far to go. Except, to just let the Lord go as far as He wants too. In any kind of prayer meeting or service where sins are publicly named, God must have His hands on every portion of it. In fact, in public meetings confessions are usually very general in nature and that is good. That is how it should be. But what about private prayer sessions, what kind of confession should take place there? That is a different matter altogether.

If you committed a sin and the Holy Spirit convicts you about it, don't pray some silly kind of general prayer. Get alone with God and call the sin by its name. Do business with God! Get specific about the sin, the time, the place, the people and everything related to that sin. This is it! Real repentance is not, "Oh God we are such sinners. Lord forgive us of all of our sins where we failed you." Real repentance is personal and specific and not just general in nature. Proverbs 28:13 says; "He that conceals his sins shall not prosper". And I found that general confession of sin is usually a good way to cover a deeper, more specific sin that's the real problem. And that way you don't prosper in any and all areas of your life. That way you can't be blessed.

IX. Repentance Must Not Be For The Love Of Blessings

Repentance, to be genuine, must not be for the love of blessings or for the love of family. A person may know that sin is affecting his family. You cannot repent in the hope that God will give you money and make you prosperous because if it. You can't repent just because your pastor wants you to or your wife wants you to or your husband wants you to.

X. Repentance Must Be For The Love Of God

It's got to be for the love of God that I repent. I have to realize that I have offended God. When I determine to stop sinning because of that, I am really repenting!

Repentance always precedes blessings. In every solemn assembly people came clean before God - they became pure and holy. They made the effort to walk in purity and holiness. When Joshua brought the people to the Holy Land, he told them to sanctify themselves. He told them to cleanse themselves of sin. He told them to repent and stop sinning! He told them to do this because on the following day they were going to see God do something wonderful. Repentance always goes before blessings!


Everyone here can remember the last words of Jesus. He told His disciples to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. But, do you remember the first words of Jesus. His first sermon was, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." He told them to repent for blessings were just around the corner.

God has blessing just waiting for the man, woman, home, couple, or church that will really repent! You say, "That's easy talk preacher. Just quite doing it?"

Yes! Jesus told a brand new Christian who had been caught in the very act of sin to just stop doing it. And because of her relationship to Jesus, she could stop sinning if only she would rely on His power and not her own. Jesus Christ is in you. And if every one of you would say, "Lord I can't, but you can, you can have victory over sin and blessing in your life."

Just remember this great truth, "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!"