Summary: If we fail to practice the gospel we preach, can we expect our preaching of the gospel to be effective?

TITLE: Neither Do I condemn You

TEXT: John 3:16-17; 8:2-11; Romans 8:1

Preached by Louis Bartet at Point Assembly of God, February 23, 2003

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

17 For God did not send the Son into the world to condemn [judge, punish and pass sentence on] the world; but that the world should be saved through Him.

John 8:2 And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them.

3 And the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the midst,

4 they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.

5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such a women; what then do You say?"

6 And they were saying this, testing Him, in order that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground.

7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

8 And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

9 And when they heart it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she had been, in the midst.

10 And straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?"

11 And she said, "NO one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you’ go your way’ from now on sin no more."

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

In 1994, the movie Forest Gump caught the hearts of thousands of people. The main character, played by Tom Hanks, was mentally challenged and physically handicapped. One of the reasons Forest got into our hearts was his unconditional acceptance of people. Most of the people in Forest’s life were misfits, but he loved them without conditions. Forest loved and accepted them all--Bubba, Ginny and even the embittered Lieutenant Dan. He loved them without filters.

I think all of us are looking for loving acceptance and approval.

„X From our peers.

„X From our friends.

„X From our Church family.

„X From our parents.

For Carla Barnhill it became an obsession at the young age of 12. She writes:

ILLUS: ...I remember the moment like it happened this morning. My older brother had gotten himself into trouble¡Xagain. My mom and I were folding laundry, talking about the situation and how worried she was about my brother’s actions. Then she said to me, "I know we’ll never have to worry about you, honey."

Now my mom meant it as a compliment. Her intention was to tell me she knew I was well-behaved and smart enough to avoid some of the stuff that had gotten my brother in hot water. But in my mind, her words set a huge weight on my shoulders. When she said, "We’ll never have to worry about you," I heard, "Make sure we never have to worry about you."

That simple conversation set me on a mission¡Xto be the perfect daughter. My goal was to make sure my parents never had a doubt about where I was, what I was doing or who I was with. So I never missed a curfew, never drank a beer, never hung out with anyone who might lead me into trouble.

Those few times I did get into trouble with my parents, I felt horrible. And even though I got off with a few stern words, I still felt like I’d let them down.

My desire to be perfect carried over to my relationship with God. I honestly thought God would love me more if I went to youth group, if I said my prayers, if I went to Bible camp. I believed I could impress God if I did all the right Christian things. I didn’t always do those things because I wanted to. I did them because I wanted God to think I was perfect.

And I know I’m not the only one who has felt that being a good person¡Xbeing a perfect Christian¡Xis the key to God’s heart.

[Carla Barnhill, If I Could Only be Perfect, 1998, Campus Life, May/June, Vol. 56, No. 9, Page 40.]

Striving to please God is good. According to Paul, "Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). In Matthew 5:48, Jesus said to His disciples, "be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

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