Summary: The American Church has a bad image problem with the new generation, which is leaving in droves. Here are suggestions for fixing that image -- we need to become known for WHAT WE'RE FOR instead of being known for WHAT WE'RE AGAINST. We must be known as people of love & compassion.
THE LOVE OF JESUS ON DISPLAY
1. Gary Dearing told a story about his Air Force Colonel, who served as inspector general of his command, and paid particular attention to how personnel wore their uniforms.
2. “On one occasion the Colonel spotted a junior airman with a violation. "Airman," he bellowed, "What do you do when a shirt pocket is unbuttoned?" The startled airman replied, "Button it, sir!"
3. The Colonel looked him in the eye and said, "Well?" At that, the airman nervously reached over and buttoned the Colonel's shirt pocket.”
4. The Colonel was being critical of others, but he himself was guilty of the same infraction! A similar situation happened in our text this morning.
B. THE AMERICAN CHURCH: AN IMAGE PROBLEM
1. Jesus said, “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:35, MSG.
2. But unfortunately, Christians in America are not seen as loving. In polls taken recently of Generation Zers, 90% say Christians are too judgmental, 85% describe the Church as hypocritical, 70% say they are “insensitive to others.”
3. HOW DID WE GET TO THIS PLACE IN AMERICA?
a. For decades movies and news media have worked hard to portray the church in a negative light. Church leaders who have fallen into sin (of which there are very few) are painted as normal of all preachers.
b. The good Christians do is usually ignored and any wrongdoing is magnified. Unfortunately, CHRISTIANS HAVE BECOME KNOWN FOR WHAT THEY’RE AGAINST RATHER THAN FOR WHAT THEY’RE FOR.
4. Christians have become known as people who are
boycotting events, are judgmental, are intolerant of different lifestyles, are critical. Now I’m not saying we should change our moral positions – but Jesus said we should be KNOWN for our love and compassion and not for our judgmentalism.
5. So this morning I want us to look at an incident in Scripture where the Lord Jesus had the opportunity to be harsh toward a sinner, but instead He found a way to show love and redemption.
1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.2 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. 3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they 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?” 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. 7 So 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.” 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then 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. 10 When 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?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
1. We’re going to see this morning how Jesus diffused this explosive situation.
2. We're also going to see how redemptive/merciful Jesus is compared to many of the religious crowd.
3. We're also going to see how Jesus restores the dignity of those who’ve been the down and outers.
4. Title: “The Love of Jesus on Display.”
I. SIN EXPOSED!
A. SETTING THE SCENE
1. Verse 2: "AT DAWN"
a. JESUS AT TEMPLE at 6 a.m., diligent.
b. Dawn Crowd: Cream of the Crop, (Holy, loved God). There were possibly 1,000 people there because it was the Feast of Tabernacles.
2. THE WOMAN
a. Put Yourself In Her Shoes
b. Caught in the Act of Adultery (but where's the man?). Can you imagine being dragged into the holy Temple area, before a 1,000 holy people and the great Prophet, Jesus of Nazareth, and having your sin loudly declared? How humiliated, how embarrassed, how frightened – they were calling for the death penalty!
c. Imagine the sneering, hateful voices of the Scribes & Pharisees – shaming her, wounding her with words. We all know this was a charade. She was a pawn and maybe even was framed so that the Jewish leaders could try to condemn Christ.