Summary: Base on series #4 in the pursuing spiritual transformation by Willow Creek & Zondervan
*Before this sermon, I handed out or had the ushers pass out stones to each person in the church. Makes for some good humerous comments. I told them to hold the stones in their hands and when they felt it was time to set them down then they could do so. Some held on to them through the entire sermon, others laid them down as they went out and a few dropped them to the floor. The idea is for them to get what the sermon is saying and lay down the stones without you having to tell them to do so. You can really run with this idea.
“Finding Mercy in the Dust”
Think for a moment how quickly technology is transforming our world. I think in my own life what has come to pass; inventions like the Microwave Oven, VCR’s, DVD’s, and the personal home computer.
In this rapidly transforming world in which our reality changes so rapidly it is no wonder that our society is moving from a rational mind set to that of a relational mind set. In the past you could make a strong defense of the gospel, by bringing out all your facts and evidence and proving without a doubt the God’s Word is true.
But in today’s society the facts are not as important as the relationships. People are looking for a sense of community or belonging. Something to hold on to. As our facts change with each new discovery, what was impossible yesterday becomes possible today and so individuals are looking for something to anchor their souls upon. And what they seek is community.
You see relationships have an amazing potential to transform our lives for better or for worse. “It takes people to make people sick, and it takes people to make people well.”
Throughout the History of the church great revivals led by the power of the Holy Spirit created and began within the spirit of community.
Psalm 133:1 says; “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!”
In the book of Acts we read; “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their numbers daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:44-47)
The very nature of God fills this longing for community. This spiritual bond of brotherhood found in being a Christian. Today I want to share with you two elements found in Christ that bring us into unity with one another and help us grow spiritually.
I. Nature of Christ
-Now at first glance these two elements may seem in opposition to one another, but in balance both elements bring unity to the body of Christ.
-Both of these elements are found in the very nature of Christ in perfect balance.
A. Grace the reflection of Forgiveness.
-The first element is Grace; which means ‘good favor’ or kindness
-Grace allows us to come out of hiding and bring our weaknesses into the healing light of another’s gaze.
-Grace reflects Christ’s forgiveness
-How Jesus can look upon our failures and show us kindness by pardoning us or our wrong doings.
B. Truth the reflection of Holiness.
-The second element is truth, that holy righteous aspect of Christ.
-Truth presents us with a sense of Christ’s direction and boundaries that work to protect us from falling further into sinful and destructive patterns of living.
-Truth in our relational world confronts our tendency toward self-deception.
C. Both Elements are in Harmony within Christ.
-Yet for Christ both truth and grace exist.
-Let’s look at an example of this in the Gospel of John [John 8:3-11]
(Read John 8:3-11)
Contextually I want to make you aware that this passage does have some problems. It is not found in most Biblical manuscripts we have today. It was most-likely inserted as a later time as most church father’s in the 1st century do not speak of it. However, it does fit beautifully with the very character of Jesus Christ and demonstrates His attitude on grace and truth supported by other passages in the Bible. Jerome, translator of the Latin Vulgate Bible, in 346-420 AD wrote, however during his time there was enough ancient manuscript support to count this passage as authentic. With all that aside:
-The Pharisees had tried to trap Jesus by forcing him to choose between truth and grace.
-The truth was that this woman was a sinner, she had been caught in the act, she had violated God’s law and deserved death. (Deut. 22:22)