Lay down your rock
Hand out or had the ushers pass out stones to each person in the church.
ILL>>> Pet rock, rock hound, quartz, silver, arrowhead
An elementary school , recently had a problem with students throwing rocks. The principal made an announcement over the intercom warning students that anyone caught throwing rocks would be taken home by him personally. Later that day, during afternoon recess, a teacher admonished a kindergartner for throwing a rock.
"Didn’t you hear what the principal said this morning?!" the teacher said in disbelief.
"Yeah," replied the proud lad, grinning from ear to ear. "I get to go home in the principal’s car!"
Jim Taylor in Currents tells the following story about his friend, Milton:
One morning Milton woke up at five o’clock to a noise that sounded like someone repairing boilers on his roof. Still in his pajamas, he went into the back yard to investigate. He found a woodpecker on the TV antenna, "pounding its little brains out on the metal pole." Angry at the little creature who ruined his sleep, Milton picked up a rock and threw it. The rock sailed over the house, and he heard a distant crash as it hit the car. In utter disgust, Milton took a vicious kick at a clod of dirt, only to remember--too late--that he was still in his bare feet.
I. People need the church
John 8:1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them.
A. A place where people care about you
ILL>>> Care measurements, Care contacts, Can we say, “Cuthbert we care about you?”
B. A place where people are contacted regularly
ILL>> Human contact is life or death to us all.
C. A place where people can commit to serve
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. People can live their whole life without talking to a neighbors or family.
In today’s society the reality is not as important as the relationships.
The people are more important than the place.
People are looking for a sense of community or belonging. Something to hold on to.
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 spiritual elements that people need from Christ.
These are life or death issues for the church.
Only these things will bring us into unity with one another and help us grow spiritually.
So what are these two vital elements that people need from Christ.
II. People need Christ
3Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5“Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”6This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him.
A. We need the truth from Christ
(John 14:6 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
1 The truth was - she deserved death
a. by law
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.
(Deu 22:22 KJV) 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.
b, but not by themselves
-I guess they let the guy off the hook, another indication that this was a setup.
- Jesus says we are guilty of this same sin in our minds
Matt 5:28 But I say unto you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
But here is the good news.
B. . We need grace from Christ
But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. 7So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 8And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
1. God’s Grace is there when we are lying in the dust
-Now, grace called for mercy; to give her another chance, to let her go unpunished. Grace is God favor to us that we don’t deserve.
So Jesus has a choice here TRUTH or GRACE. -But with God, both truth and grace are possible.
-Jesus never condoned the woman’s sin, he never said hey that’s all right, God loves you anyway.
-No, he first gives her grace, pardons her sin, then says, go and sin no more.
HE DOES THIS FOR US EVERYDAY!
-- Steve Brown in Key Life
It’s worth noting that Jesus didn’t condemn bad people. He condemned "stiff" people. We condemn the bad ones and affirm the stiff ones. Whether it was a prostitute or a tax collector or an outcast ... Jesus reached out to them. It was a motley crew of riffraff that followed Him around, and it never embarrassed Him or made Him feel uncomfortable. One of the most radical statements Jesus ever made is found in Matthew 9: "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ’I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (vv. 12-13).
2. God’s Grace is there when we trapped by legalism and tradition.
-The Pharisees had tried to trap Jesus by forcing him to choose between truth and grace.
-The Pharisees saw that if Jesus sided with truth and the woman was stoned, then her blood would be upon his hands, and His message of love would be drowned out by the screams of death.
-Yet if Jesus gave grace, then he would have violated the Mosaic Laws, scripture. Jesus himself would be labeled as a law breaker.
-And Jesus would also have violated Roman Law by ordering someone put to death.
-So for the Pharisees, both truth and grace were opposites, they had laid a masterful trap, but they didn’t know who they were really dealing with.
10When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
III. People need Christians
A. People need the truth from Christians
1. Some people avoid the truth
-For some people, words of encouragement and affirmation flow easily, but there is a fear of truth telling if it involves confrontation.
-There is that attitude of I’m okay, your okay and let’s not even deal with sin in our lives.
-Truth Avoiders may see themselves as loving Christians, but they are missing the point of Christian Community
*A young man was walking through the church yard one Sunday morning on his way to the store, when a stray dog chased him and started biting him on the leg. In his effort to get away from the dog he ran up the steps and in the front door of the church. At the sound of music the boy stopped and stood in the lobby and the dog too stopped growling but hung on to the boys legs which was now bleeding. >>> An usher walked by and said “son your late you need to find a seat.” SO in pain and frustration the young man spoke to the next person to walk by and it was the lady that cleaned the church. Before he could ask for help to get the dog off of him she said, “Please don’t bleed on the carpet” and she walked off.
The dog in the parable stands for the truth, and no one helped the boy with his problem everyone avoided the truth.
Finally the boy realized he better leave and find someone to help him get this dog off of him. When he moved however the dog growled real loud and shook his leg like a rag doll making the boys scream in pain. Hearing this the pastor ran back to where the boy was opened the door and pushed him out. He followed him ou tthe door and said, son, “I don’t know how you got my dog out of my back yard but you better not do it again. “Get out of here” and with that he kicked at the boy accidentally kicking the dog and the dog yelped. “Now see what you made me do! Get out of here.
The dog in the end of the story represents the truth again but this time the truth is used as a tool to wound him.
2. Some people use the truth as a weapon
We can lovingly speak the truth.
(Prov 15:1 KJV) A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
-Think about that adulteress, her life was a mess, she was selling her body, sleeping with men she barely knew. She didn’t need someone to tell her she was okay, she needed to get free of the sinful lifestyle that was holding her down.
-The truth will set you free.
-As a community of believers we must help people to be spiritually transformed, we must help people to get well, to get rid of the spiritual cancers that are eating away at their lives.
B. People need grace from Christians
That we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:14,15)
1. Unbelievers need God’s grace -
look for ways to show it!
-As people come into our church, who may have issues they are dealing with, then lets give them a little grace, love them, care for them, then clean their wounds by sharing the truth of God’s Word and helping them move past their sins.
-Let us not be so quick to stone them, but realize we too have missed the mark, we too have rebelled against God.
-The last thing these people want is to come into church and be condemned by some self righteous Christian who really doesn’t know their situation.
-The last thing these people need is to be told that they are okay, because they are not, they need the love of Christ to help them clean up their messy lives.
2. Believers need God’s grace -
In Christ Jesus is the balance of both grace and truth.
We too can walk that balance, by putting down our stones, and loving the lost and gently leading them to life time relationship with Jesus Christ.
In that way we will grow spiritually more like Christ in our attitude toward others. It is the rock of ages that gives us grace to lay down our rocks. Even Jesus was almost stoned. Have you thrown any rocks lately?