Casting The First Stone

Bible Book: John  8 : 1-11
Subject: Adultery; Sexual Sin; Judgment of Others
[Editor's Note: This sermon was delivered by Dr. Rogers on the occasion of the adultrey of President Bill Clinton and answers questions regarding how we judge others when they sin against God and HIs Word.]

“But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 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.” JOHN 8:6–7 Take your Bible and turn tonight, if you would, to the Gospel of John, chapter 8. We’re going to look at a passage of scripture tonight that, very frankly, is often quoted but very seldom preached from. It’s the story of a woman taken in adultery. And, she was to be stoned, according to some, and Jesus forgave her. Now, we, as a nation, are going through this moment, this very time in history—a very, very, very grave and serious time. The President of the United States, the man who is reputed to be the most powerful man, politically, upon the face of the earth—I don’t think he is the most powerful man; I believe that a prophet of God is more powerful than a president—but the most powerful man, politically, on the face of the earth is facing an adjudication in the Senate of the United States of America that could possibly redound in his removal from office, though many people think that will not happen. They don’t think there will be enough votes for this to happen in the Senate. I don’t know whether there will be or not, and I’m not going to venture an opinion on that. But I, like you, have been listening to talk shows. I have been listening to conversations. I have received some mail and some other things. And, there are two scriptures that are being quoted today—floated and quoted—more than they ever have in my lifetime. One is “Judge not, that [you] be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). Now, very frankly, it’s almost amusing that people who would have nothing to do with the Bible heretofore love to quote it. And, the other is, “Let him that is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:7). And, we’re hearing those scriptures over and over again.

Well, let’s look at the situation that deals with casting stones—John chapter 8. And, by the way, let me say, if you have a more modern translation or edition of the Bible, you may find some footnotes here, because this story is not found in some of the older manuscripts, though I believe it is a part of the inspired Word of God. Listen to it:

“Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 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. And the scribes and [the] Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned”—and, boys and girls, that literally means “to cast stones at an individual until they die.” It was a form of capital punishment that was practiced by the Jews in the time of Moses. And so—“Moses…commanded us, that such should be stoned”—that is, “a person—man or a woman—taken in adultery—“but what sayest thou?”—that is, “Jesus, what do you say about this?” Now, notice verse 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. 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. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 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. When Jesus had lifted up himself, he saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are…thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:1–11).

Now, I want you to get the scene. Here are some angry men. They are dressed in long, flowing robes with wide borders. They have their religious paraphernalia on them. They have their phylacteries bound on them, and they are dragging a woman with them into the temple to throw her down before Jesus. Now, of course, we were not there, but we can imagine the scene. Her hair is disheveled; her garments are torn. Perhaps on her face there is a sullen and defiant look. Maybe there’s a look of rebellion. But doubtless, there’s also much fear in this woman.

Now, to the men who came dragging this woman, she did not matter at all. She was not important to them. She was nothing to them. She was simply a pawn in their game. The game that they were playing was simply this: get Jesus; catch Jesus; discredit

Jesus. It was a “get Jesus” committee. The woman was incidental. They could not have cared less about her, but they had a scheme. And, here was their scheme: they wanted to put Jesus Christ on the horns of a dilemma; they wanted to put Him between two choices. Either one of them would have been wrong in some way, they thought. They said, “Moses said she ought to be stoned. What do You say?”

Now, if Jesus said, “Release her and let her go,” they would have said, “Look, everybody—He claims to be a religious teacher, but He doesn’t obey the law of Moses.” Now, if He said, “Stone her,” number one, He would have been a lawbreaker, because the Roman law did not allow the Jews to stone—the Roman law did not allow the Jews to practice capital punishment. That’s the reason they could not put Jesus Christ to death. They had to get Pilate to agree to it. Now, it is true that sometimes they did stone people, like they stoned Stephen, but they did that as outlaws. And, when they did that as outlaws, they never preached it—they never bragged about it. It was not a practice that anyone would dare have flung in the face of Rome. And so, they were trying to put Jesus on the horns of a dilemma: on the one hand, to be against Moses; or, on the other hand, to be a lawbreaker. And also, if He had said, “Stone her,” they said, “Some friend of sinners He is.” And so, they can hardly restrain their glee. They think now they have Jesus between the rock and the hard place. And so, they’re standing there with their long ecclesiastical robes, smirking at Jesus. Now, having said that, I want you to notice with me tonight three things.

I. Their Ruthless Accusation

First of all, I want you to notice their ruthless accusation. Look at it in verse 3: “And the scribes and [the] Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery” (John 8:3). It doesn’t say that they said she was taken in adultery. She was guilty. The Bible says, “She was taken in adultery” (John 8:3). Now, notice—they didn’t bring the man. It takes two to commit adultery. But, they just came, dragging this woman, and they took her. Evidently, they had found her—or, someone else had found her—and reported her, and they set her in the midst.

Now, they make this ruthless accusation, and “they [said] unto him”—verse 4—“this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act” (John 8:4). Now, I say it was ruthless because of the motive that they had. They’re not looking for justice. They’re really not upset about adultery. The Bible makes it very clear what their motive was: their motive was to get Jesus. Verse 6: “This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him” (John 8:6). They were not interested in accusing this woman; they were interested, really, in accusing Jesus.

Now, there are some people who read this story, and they think that, after they read this story, that Jesus might have been light or Jesus might have been cavalier or lax concerning adultery. Oh, no—if you know the Bible, you know that Jesus certainly was not lax, light, cavalier about the sin of adultery. As a matter of fact, Jesus went beyond what Moses said. And, you just put in your margin what Jesus said about adultery in Matthew chapter 5, beginning in verse 28: “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). And, by the way, that ought to deal with what some of the men and women in this congregation are watching. You ought to get that filth out of your house, out of your television, and get Hell’s Box Office out of your home and be done with putting all that evil and that vileness in front of your face.

You say, “Well Preacher, I look at these undressed women. I look at people committing acts of immorality on the screen. It doesn’t affect me.” Well, if you’re a man and you say that, you’d better go see your doctor. Either you’re no man, Superman, or you’re a liar. The Bible says, “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and…be [not] burned?” (Proverbs 6:27). Jesus said, “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart”—and, Jesus said—“If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:28–30). Friend, what Jesus is saying—it would be better to go limping into Heaven than to go skipping into Hell. I’m not saying that you’re going to get to Heaven by taking out your eye or cutting off your hand, but what Jesus is talking about is the seriousness of this matter of adultery. Don’t you ever think for a moment that Jesus, in this episode, was in any way—in any way—countenancing the sin of adultery! The Bible is very clear. Jesus was a Bible-believer.

Now, one of the things that I believe is the most disconcerting of everything that is happening in America today—and I’ve heard it time, and time, and time again: “It’s only about sex.” Have you heard that? “It is only about sex,” as if that is some little, insignificant peccadillo. What has happened in America is this: we have gone from authority to relativism. We pick, today, and choose our morals as if we were in a cafeteria line. And, we have moved from truth to pragmatism: whatever works is right. And, religion today is supposed to produce health, and wealth, and happiness, and it’s all man-centered. And, we’ve gone from reason to feeling. And, physiology has been substituted for theology. And, sin is no longer the great enemy, but sadness is. To feel good in America is the number one priority, not to be holy. And, we’ve gone from convictions to opinions: few believe anything today except their right to their own happiness.

A. The Fourfold Strategy of Hollywood

And, what is happening is our children—and many adults—have been systematically seduced by the dirty-minded people of Hollywood. Hollywood has done more. Well, I’m going…I’m going to get off. Let me just stay right here; let me say this much: they say the movie producers and the television people—that what they are doing is only holding up a mirror to society. May I tell you that is a sophisticated lie? They are projecting their own moral sickness, and they have a four-fold strategy.

1. They Want to Normalize That Which Is Abnormal or Subnormal

Number one: They want to normalize that which is abnormal or subnormal. They picture unwed people cohabitating and make it as normal as shaking hands or sharing a meal. Profanity and filth in America today are looked upon as polite conversation.

2. They Have Desensitized a Generation

As a result, secondly, they have desensitized a generation. We have a generation today that is desensitized. And, what used to shock us—or even amaze us—now amuses us and entertains us. As a society, we have forgotten how to blush and we’ve forgotten how to flinch. And then, having desensitized us to what is already wrong, then these Hollywood moguls and purveyors of filth go into the moral jungle to push back the frontiers for even greater depravity. The reason they do this is to keep the audience coming back.

3. They Have Legitimized the Illegitimate

And then, they have legitimized the illegitimate. That which, in simple terms, used to be wrong is no longer wrong. Perversion—sexual perversion—has gone from sin to sickness to a socially accepted practice in today’s world. And, we look at the destruction of unborn babies. We call that now choice, and who could be opposed to choice? To bear children out of wedlock is freely accepted in the Hollywood mentality—and in our very city today. And, nobody thinks anything about it.

4. They Have Stigmatized the Good and the Godly

But, Hollywood is not finished yet. Having normalized sin, having desensitized society, having legitimized that which is wrong, they have now stigmatized—listen to me—they have now stigmatized the good, and the decent, and the godly. Now, if you stand up today for what is right, you are wrong. The only sin today is to call sin sin. The word virgin is almost a dirty word. Monogamous marriage is a laughable idea. And, those who stand up for righteousness and what is right are today called the radical Right for saying that sin is sin, that wrong is wrong. To stand up for decency and morality in today’s society is to make you a threat to society. That’s where we are, ladies and gentlemen. And, the Bible seemed to anticipate that time. In Isaiah chapter 5 and verse 20, where God says, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

B. Jesus Was Not Minimizing the Sin of Adultery

Now, I want to say that Jesus was not minimizing the sin of adultery. And, don’t you ever, ever, ever, ever, ever say, “It’s only about sex.” You see, the family—the family— is the core of society. And, people who treat sex lightly will treat people lightly, and society has lost its cohesion when we say it’s only about sex.

1. Adultery Is a Sin Against One’s Self

Adultery is a sin against one’s self. First Corinthians chapter 6 and verse 18: the Bible says, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18).

2. Adultery Is a Sin Against the Home

The Bible teaches that adultery is a sin against the home. The lives of innocent children are being torn apart, and shame is brought upon the home.

3. Adultery Is a Sin Against the Church

Adultery is a sin against the Church. The Bible teaches that we’re “members one of another” (Romans 12:5). We’re in this together. We are the temple of God. “If any man defile the temple of God, him [will] God destroy” (1 Corinthians 3:17). If you are an adulterer and a member of this church, you are doing grave damage to the Body of Jesus Christ.

4. Adultery Is a Sin Against the Nation

Adultery is a sin against the nation. Adultery is an act of treason. Deuteronomy chapter 22, verse 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”—now, listen to this—“so shalt thou put away evil from Israel” (Deuteronomy 22:22). God said, “Get it out of the nation! Put away evil from Israel.” In the Old Testament economy, when there was a theocracy where there was no king, but God was king, the sin of adultery warranted the death penalty. Now, if you don’t like that, don’t come argue with me. Take it up with God, okay? I’m giving you the scripture. I’ll give it to you again if you didn’t hear it—Deuteronomy 22, verse 22 (Deuteronomy 22:22).

5. Adultery Is a Sin Against the Lord

Now, adultery is not only a sin against one’s self, against the home, against the church, against the nation, it is a sin against the Lord. When another national leader committed this sin, he recognized that. His name was David. He said in Psalm 51, verse 4, to Almighty God, “Against thee, [and] thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight” (Psalm 51:4). You see, this sin shows a contempt and a disrespect for the Almighty, and the Bible clearly warns in Hebrews chapter 13 and verse 4, where it says,

“Marriage is honourable…and the bed undefiled: but [adulterers] and [whoremongers] God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). That’s what the Bible says. In the Old Testament, the death penalty was required for the sin of adultery. In the Roman occupation, the death penalty was no longer allowed. But, do not think for a moment that Jesus ever, ever, ever looked askance, lightly, upon the sin of adultery.

As a matter of fact, Jesus said, “If you have a lustful eye, if you have a heart full of adultery, just by lust, you are in danger of hellfire.” (Matthew 5:27–29) That’s what Jesus said. People talk about Jesus being so loving. He was loving, but Jesus Christ had more to say about Hell than any other preacher in the Bible. Never criticize a preacher; never look down upon a preacher when that preacher warns about Hell. Never, somehow, scathingly put a preacher down by calling him a hellfire preacher, because friend, whether you know it or not, you’re talking about Jesus Christ. Christ had more to say about hellfire than any other person in all of the Bible. So, when you criticize that, as many are wont to do, as a hellfire and brimstone preacher, what they’re really doing is talking about the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, what do we have, first of all, here, as we look at this passage of scripture? What we have is a ruthless accusation. Now, I say it was ruthless because these people were not looking for justice. They cared not for this woman. They were not concerned at all about purity. What they were up to was “Get Jesus! Put Jesus on the horns of a dilemma.” The Bible makes it very clear in verse 6: “This they said, tempting him” (John 8:6).

II. The Revealing Confrontation

Now, here’s the second thing I want you to see—not only a ruthless accusation, but I want you to see a revealing confrontation. Friend, it’s not very smart to get in a contest with the Lord Jesus. And, notice now, beginning in verse 4, and see what happened: “[And] they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?”—now, they want to confront Jesus—“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. [And] 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” (John 8:4–7).

Now, rather than examining the woman, the accusee, He examined the accuser. He examines these people. Now, the Bible records that Jesus stooped down, and He wrote in the dust with His finger. What did He write? None of us know, because the Bible does not tell us what He knows what He wrote. But, I think that we can assume that He wrote something that brought them under serious conviction. What did Jesus write that put these rock-holders out of business? Well, the word for write here is a word that is used to write down an accusation. It’s used in other ways, but it can be used to write down an accusation, like an indictment against someone. And, it is obvious from what happened that in spite of their long robes with their broad rims and in spite of their pious prayers, they had hearts that were full of rottenness.

Now, our Lord is not saying that we’re not the judge, and the Lord is not saying that sin is not to be punished. But, what He did say is, “Let him who is without sin first cast a stone” (John 8:7). Jesus is not saying she should not be judged, and Jesus is not saying that people can only judge if they have never, ever sinned. Jesus did not say, “Let him who has never sinned cast the first stone.” Pay attention! Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin first cast a stone” (John 8:7). What was Jesus saying? You are not fit to pass judgment on someone else when you have the same kind of sin in your own heart. Even the Old Testament law required that when a person was stoned, those who were witnesses and those who did the stoning had to be free from the same crime. What Jesus is doing is not requiring perfection because then there could never be any judgment in any matter, but what Jesus is doing is disallowing hypocrisy. And, these people were filled with hypocrisy, and Jesus knew it.

Now, a corresponding Scripture is Matthew chapter 7, verses 1 through 6, and it fits and intersects so much right here: Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”—“Why are you looking for sawdust in someone else’s eye when you’ve got a saw log in your own eye?”—“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? 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” (Matthew 7:1–5). Is our Lord saying not to get a mote out of your brother’s eye? No, He’s just saying don’t try to do it when you’ve got a crossed eye in yours—do not be a hypocrite about this thing. And so, what our Lord is talking about is this—that you cannot judge, you should not judge, you must not judge with hypocritical, unrighteous judgment.

Do I expect the President of the United States to be a righteous man? Yes! Do I expect the Congress to be righteous? Yes! Do I expect the Senate to be righteous? Yes! Do we have a right to expect righteous, and godly, and law-abiding people to run our nation? The answer is yes, we do. Do we expect there to be no judgment in our land? Of course not! As a matter of fact, the Bible commands us to judge. In John chapter 7, verse 24, the Bible says, “Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24). That’s what the Bible says. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2, verse 15: “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things” (1 Corinthians 2:15). What was happening here was there was a lynching party. In their motive, and in their method, and in their hearts, they were terribly wrong. What they needed to do was to put down their rocks and get their hearts right.

Now, Jesus was not saying that there are civil cases that need not to be adjudicated and settled in law courts. That’s not what was at issue here. What was at the issue right here, in this particular incidence, was not a civil case, because it was no longer a civil law that this woman was breaking because of the Roman occupation. It had become a moral case. Civil law was not done away with. You read Romans chapter 13. Now, if you believe—if you believe—that we, as a nation, are not to have godly judges, honest men, honest women, judges and jurors to judge, then, my sweet friend, where are we? If that is true, logic says that we need to go to every prison in America and open the doors, apologize to the people, and invite all of them out, if we say we cannot judge. I mean, use a little logic.

I was reading an article just the other day. It’s written by William Bennett. By the way, William Bennett was the former Secretary of Education. He’s not a Baptist; he’s a Roman Catholic. But, here’s what he said in this article that I picked up: “Social regression”—regression, social regression—“and decadence are glaringly obvious in the current presidential administration. Now, whenever I make a comment these days criticizing Bill Clinton, someone inevitably asks, ‘Aren’t you casting stones?’ It shows how far we have fallen that calling upon the President of the United States to account for charges of adultery, lying to the public, perjury, and obstruction of justice is regarded as akin to stoning. It is an example of what sociologist Alan Wolfe refers to as ‘America’s new Eleventh Commandment’: ‘Thou shalt not judge.’” And then, William Bennett, this doctor of philosophy, said this—and I underlined it: “If a nation of free people can no longer make pronouncements on fundamental matters of right and wrong—for example, that a married 50-year old Commander-in-Chief ought not to have sexual relations with a young intern in his office and then lie about it—it has lost its way. The problem is not with those who are withholding judgment until the facts are in but with the increasing number of people who want to avoid judgment altogether.” And then, Dr. Bennett asked this question: “What would happen if those sitting on a jury decided

to be nonjudgmental about rapists, and sexual harassers, embezzlers, and tax cheats? Justice would be lost. Without being judgmental, Americans would never have put an end to slavery, outlawed child labor, emancipated women, or ushered in the Civil Rights Movement, nor would we have prevailed against Nazism and Communism or known how to explain our opposition.”

No, the Bible never says that people are not to judge. As a matter of fact, to the contrary, the Bible commands us to judge righteous judgment. What the Bible is against is the hypocrisy that was being practiced that day. So, there was a ruthless accusation. There was a revealing confrontation, where the Lord just took the lid off and showed that these Pharisees were certainly not fit to be the judge, the jury, and the executioner. He was not at all condoning adultery.

III. The Redeeming Transformation

As a matter of fact, I want us to see the final point here, and you’ll see that. The third thing I want you to see is what I want to call the redeeming transformation—a ruthless accusation, a revealing confrontation, and a redeeming transformation. Begin to read now in verse 10: “[And] when Jesus had lifted up himself, [He] saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers?”—of course, they’d all dropped their rocks and slinked off into the darkness—“hath no man condemned thee? [And] she said, No man, Lord”—underscore that—“No man, Lord”—just underscore the word Lord—“And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:10–11).

Again, I want to remind you that Jesus was not condoning adultery. So many have used this passage to think that Jesus did. As a matter of fact, there was a case where there were some prostitutes who were plying their trade near an army base. And, when the military police and others came to round them up and to move them out, and the other people from the local law came to move out these prostitutes, one of them said this: “Why are you harassing us? Why are you condemning us? Why are you judging us? Jesus did not judge what we’re doing, and why should you?” Friend, listen—Jesus did not condone this sin; Jesus conquered this sin. I want you to see it—Jesus forgave and cleansed this sinful woman. He did not condone her sin. Now, what we have here is only the skeleton of the conversation, but we have the meat of it. We have the gist of it, and there’s so much to learn.

How did this transformation take place? What did Jesus Christ do in the heart and life of this woman? When the episode ends, she has a new life because she has a new Lord. Let me tell you how this woman was transformed.

A. Transformed by Grace

Number one: It was by grace. And, grace can never be offered until law is established. She was under condemnation. She deserved what the law of Moses said. The law did condemn her and would have condemned her had not Jesus, the giver of grace, reached out to her. Now, remember this: God is not fair; God is just. If you think God is fair, you’re going to think God owes you something and you’re not going to be satisfied when you get it. You’ll think you deserve it, and you won’t still be happy if somebody else gets more than you get. And, you wouldn’t be happy if somebody else got it before you got it. But, when you realize that God is just, then you’re ready for mercy. You’re ready for the grace of God. It was by grace. Only when justice is established can grace be extended. Moses was right. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). But, here you see the grace of God. It was by grace.

B. Transformed Through Faith

And, it was through faith. “For by grace are [you] saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).

She calls Jesus Lord—She calls Jesus Lord. Now, what does the Bible say? Romans 10:9 and 10: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9–10). Her confession of her Lordship meant that she was now yielding her life to Him. She has become His servant. He has become her Master. That’s what the word Lord means. It was by grace; it was through faith.

C. Transformed unto Good Works

And, it was unto good works. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Ephesians 2:8–10). What did Jesus say to this woman? Jesus said, “I don’t condemn you, for the Son of man came not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).

But then, Jesus said to this woman, “Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11). He didn’t say, “Go, and sin some more.” He said, “Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11). Her life is radically and dramatically changed by the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who gave the law through Moses. And now, the One who is Master of the law has extended grace to this woman.

Now, this episode—listen to me—this episode does not exclude civil matters, such as perjury, the suborning of justice, abuse of office. God has magistrates to take care of these matters. Romans chapter 13, verses 1 through 7: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake” (Romans 13:1–5).

Now, we—none of us—are fit to judge another person in moral matters with unconfessed and unclean hearts, but I want to tell you something, folks: the same Jesus that cleansed and forgave this woman so long ago is the Jesus who has cleansed and forgiven Adrian Rogers. By the grace of God, I’ve never committed adultery. I’ve never committed fornication by the grace of God. But, it took just as much of the grace of God to save me as it did this woman—and to save you. And, there’s grace for all of us.

I got a letter the other day from a woman—a lady. I’m not sure which. But, she said, “Mr. Rogers, I heard you preaching on television about sin.” She said, “You looked so angry.” She said, “You ought to just watch yourself preach. You ought to just look at one of the video tapes”—said, “You were so full of hate, and you were so full of spite.” She said, “Who are you to put yourself up on a pedestal and judge sin? You’re so selfrighteous.” She said, “Don’t you know that Jesus would never condemn anybody for sin? Don’t you know that?” And, she said, “When I saw you preach that way, I made up my mind I would never set foot in a church again.” That broke my heart, not because… You know, I get a lot of funny letters, folks. I got a barrel full of them. That’s not it—that’s not it. It’s just the mentality that’s in the world today. As a matter of fact, if you think that I enjoy preaching this kind of sermon, you don’t know my heart.

This morning, Joyce and I held hands and prayed for the President of the United States of America, as we do most every Sunday morning. We pray for our nation, and I pray for this man. But, I’m telling you, folks—this nation is in a moral freefall. And, if we don’t come back to some common, old-fashioned, biblical decency, you can write it off. Hey, it’s all right for me. I’m saved, and I know where I’m going; but I’ve got some children and some grandchildren, and I want them to grow up in a society where right is right and wrong is wrong. And,

Jesus loves me! This I know,

For the Bible tells me so. (Anna Bartlett Warner)