Summary: Discover how Jesus offered a safe place to hurting people and how we can create a church that offers a safe place.
Introduction: We have two small puppies in our home. These puppies are petrified of storms. Whenever a storm is brewing and they hear the thunder they immediately pursue a safe place. If it is in the middle of the night the safe place is in the bed with us. Even though it gets a little frustrating being awoken by two petrified puppies, it makes you feel good. Those tiny little creatures come to us for comfort and protection. I see a parable in this story. Jesus offered people a safe place. When people were in pain they came to Him. When people were hurting they came to Him. When people were discouraged they came to Him. When people were hopeless they came to Him. He offered a safe place. I see a flattering compliment in this concept. Jesus wants us to offer people a safe place.
Over the years people have come to me looking for a safe place. A man once came to me and asked if I would accept him, in spite of his social drinking. Another lady once asked if I would accept her in spite of the fact that she had had an abortion. Several years ago a lady said to me, “I would attend your church but I do not fit in with all of those people. They look like they have it all together.” A ten year old girl once walked forward, during the altar call, and asked me to pray for her. Do you know what she wanted me to pray about? She asked me to pray for her because she wet her pants. I later found out that she was being physically abused by her father. Several years ago, in a church I served, a man stood up in a men’s gathering and confessed that he was a homosexual. He told how he had been sexually abused as a boy. He told how his uncle brain washed him into thinking he was born as a homosexual. He told how his father and mother were both alcoholics. He cried as he poured out a tale of pain and heartache. Do you know what felt good in each of those situations? Those people came to church looking for a safe place. Jesus offered a safe place to which hurting people could turn. Even so, he wants churches to be a safe place to which people can turn.
In John 8 we find a story where Jesus offered a safe place. “Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” 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. 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.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 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. 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?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:3-1l. NKJV)
What did Jesus do that provided this safe place? He displayed two attitudes that provided a safe place. I want our church to be a safe place. I want my home to be a safe place.
Before I start I want to point out something. Today is sanctity of life Sunday. There are pregnant girls and ladies out there who need a safe place to turn for guidance during this time of their life. Also, there are girls and ladies out there who have already experienced an abortion. They need a safe place where they can turn to move beyond the condemnation and guilt they feel. This sermon applies to their situation.
The first attitude Jesus displayed was compassion. Notice verse 12. Jesus said “neither do I condemn you.” God never intended that faith be used as a sledge hammer. Jesus said “I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” (Jn. 12:47) “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (Jn. 3:17)