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Moments With The Master Series
A TERRIFYING MOMENT
Intro: On March 22, 1824 an incident took place in Madison County, Indiana, which came to be known as the Fall Creek Massacre. Six white men murdered nine Seneca and Miami Indians and wounded another. Among the nine dead were three women and four children. The six men were apprehended and tried and some were executed. One of the men named John Bridge Jr. was sentenced to death by hanging for his part in the massacre. He was to be executed on June 3, 1825. His father, John Bridge Sr. and another man named Andrew Sawyer, who was John Bridge Jr.’s uncle, were also to be executed that day.
John Bridge, Jr., along with a large crowd, witness the hangings of his father and uncle as the crowd waited expectantly for a pardon from the governor. With no sign of a pardon, a sermon was preached as the crowd waited expectantly. Finally, John Bridge, Jr. was lead to the gallows and the rope was lowered over his head. But as the men waited for a signal, a cheer arose from the back of the crowd.
A stranger rode forward and looked the condemned man in the face. "Sir, do you know in whose presence you stand?" Bridge shook his head. "There are but two powers known to the law that can save you from hanging by the neck until you are dead, dead, dead; one is the great God of the Universe, the other is J. Brown Ray, Governor of the State of Indiana; the latter stands before you…" Handing over the written pardon, the governor announced, "you are pardoned."
In an instant, what had looked like a hopeless situation became a door of hope. John Bridge Jr. went back home, settled down, opened a dry goods store and died peacefully, fifty-one years later!
I told that story to ask this question: Can you imagine the fear that must have gripped the heart of that young man as he watched his father and his uncle die, knowing that he was next. Can you imagine the terror as he was led onto the gallows and that noose was placed around his neck? It must have been a moment of terror like few have ever experienced!
But, I know one person who had experienced that feeling. This poor sinful woman, who’s story is related in this text, she knew that kind of fear. As she is led trembling into the presence of Jesus, she knows in her heart that she is about to die a horrible death by stoning. However, her path had led her into the presence of “the great God of the universe”. And, when she met Him, everything changed, forever!
I would like for us to look in on this Moment with the Master today. Why? Well, because I want you to know that what Jesus did for this poor, wretched women, He will also do for you. You see, she came into His presence as a condemned sinner, but she left His presence a changed woman with a new lease on life. If for no other reason, it is worth our time to investigate this matter this morning. Let’s take a few minutes today to look at this passage as I share with you A Terrifying Moment.
I. V. 3 A CONDEMNED SINNER
A. Her Sin - According to the narrative, she was caught in the very act of adultery. She was guilty before the face of the Lord and before the world. Now, adultery is a vile sin, but it is no worse than any other - James 2:10. In fact, even if we never committed a sin with our bodies or our minds, we would still be guilty before the Lord! (Ill. Rom. 3:10; 3:23; Gal. 3:22) We are all as guilty as this woman, our problem is that we simply won't admit to it - Pro. 28:13.
B. Her Shame - In their haste to bring this woman to Jesus, her accusers probably didn't give her sufficient time to get properly dressed before they brought her into public. However that may have been, she was certainly humiliated by the public accusation and disclosure of her sin.
(Ill. Sin is a shameful thing! No matter how skillfully it is hidden from the eyes of men, Jesus knows all about it and one day it will be revealed before all - Luke 12:3. Saddest of all, the truth about your profession will also be made public one day - Matt. 7:21-23. Wouldn't it be far better to get everything right with the Lord and have nothing to fear out there. There will come a day of judgment and of full disclosure - Rev. 20:11-15.)
C. Her Sentence - Her accusers were absolutely correct! According to the Law, she deserved to die - Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22. There was one small problem here: Where was her partner? Both were supposed to die for this sin! The man may have been part of this scheme to attack Jesus. He may have been allowed to slip away. Nevertheless, this woman was guilty and she deserved to die.
(Ill. Nobody gets away with sin! The penalty of sin always come due - Rom. 6:23; Eze. 18:4. There will come a payday someday! The only hope any sinner has is to flee to the arms of Jesus. He offers the only hope anyone has in this world or the one to come. He is the only way - John 14:6; Heb. 2:3.)
(Ill. In their effort to humiliate this woman and to discredit the Lord, they brought her to the best possible place. They brought her to the very man who could deal with her past and her problems and who could make it all right.)
(Ill. Never think that Jesus doesn't care for you. He is the sinner's Friend! Even in His day, He was known to hang out with notorious sinners, Luke 7:34; Luke 15:2; Luke 19:7. Jesus proved His love and His friendship when He died at Calvary - John 15:13! Jesus isn't concerned about His reputation, He is only concerned with your eternal soul!)
II. V. 3-9 A CRUEL SCHEME
A. The Plan - These men were attempting to pin Jesus on the horns of a dilemma. If Jesus simply let the woman go, then He would be seen as being easy on sin and could have been arrested for being in violation of the Law. If, however, He gave permission for the woman to be killed, He could then be accused before Rome as an upstart and a seditionist, and He would have destroyed His reputation as being the "friend of publicans and sinners". They felt that no matter what Jesus said, He had no wiggle room.
(Ill. These religious men are just like legalists in our day. They couldn't have cared less about this woman, her sin, her soul, or her eternal destiny. All they cared about was pressing their agenda, and their brand of righteousness. Thing haven't changed! All Pharisees are the same!)
B. The Problem - Their plan might have succeeded with an ordinary man, but they were dealing with Jesus Christ, and He simply refused to play by their rules! When they tried to stump Jesus, They discovered that they had met their match. Notice how He responded to their arguments.
1. V. 6 Jesus Ignored Them - While they were talking to the Lord, He just knelt down and began to write on the ground. He had no use for their pettiness and lack of love for sinners.
(Ill. What did Jesus write? Well, for 2,000 years, men have tried to solve that little mystery. Today, I am going to give you a deep theological answer: I don't know! And, neither does anyone else! However, let me give you a little food for thought in this matter. Maybe He wrote:
a. The Ten Commandments. After all, it was his finger that wrote them the first time!
b. Perhaps He wrote their names in fulfillment of Jeremiah 17:13.
d. Maybe He simply wrote the names of their girlfriends in the sand.
e. Maybe He simply wrote the word "Forgiven"!
Whatever the Lord wrote on the ground, it surely got their attention. By the way, He knows how to speak to your heart as well! How much better it is to come to Him by faith and miss all that exposure and punishment!)
2. V. 7-9 Jesus Exposed Them - When Jesus did speak, He said, "He that is without sin among, let him first cast a stone at her." Jesus wasn't requiring that any judge be sinless. If that was the case then no human would ever be able to render judgment in any matter, even in a court of law. I think what Jesus may have been saying to these hypocrites was, "He that is free from this particular sin, let him first cast a stone at her."
You see, adultery can be committed with the head and the heart just as surely as it may be committed with the body! At this point, all the shouting came to a stop and all that could be heard was the dropping of their rocks and the shuffle of their sandles as they slipped quietly away. You see, these men had been exposed before their fellow man, the accused lady and most importantly before the Lord.
(Ill. Let's at least give them credit for the fact that when they saw themselves as they really were, (Perhaps the most painful realization of all), they stopped calling for the death of this woman. I want you to know that one of the hardest things you can face is yourself as you really are! However, when you see yourself as being sinful, then you can do something about it. (Ill Paul would have went to Hell had he not been brought face to face with himself on the road to Damascus - Acts 9) When we are convicted of our sins, then is the time to come to Jesus. After all, He is the only One who can deal with Man's sin problem!)
III. V. 9b-11 A COMPLETE SALVATION
A. V. 9b -10 Jesus Faced Her - Only Jesus could have cleared the Temple after that fashion, and when the last rock had hit the Temple floor, Jesus stood up and faced this sinful woman. As He stood before her, He was the only One the world has ever known Who was qualified to take up the first stone, as well as all the rest of the stones, and stone her to death. When she faced Jesus, she was facing the ultimate judge!
(Ill. She had reached a place in her life where it was just her and Jesus. It always comes down to that! Eventually, somewhere, someday you are going to have to face Jesus. Eventually, somewhere, someday you are going to have to bow to Jesus!
Oh, I am sure that He has given you opportunities in this life to come to Him. What have you done with them? My friend, you will either receive Jesus at one of life's encounters, or you will face Him on judgment day. Which would you rather it be? In the end, it always comes down to just you and Jesus. And, what you do with Him will determine where and how you spend eternity!)
B. V. 11 He Forgave Her - The only One qualified to throw a stone refused to! Jesus dealt with her on the basis of grace. The religious men had condemned her and considered her as good as dead, Jesus however, saw someone worthy of His love and worth salvaging. When she came to Jesus, she received A New Lord - By her simple confession of Christ as Lord, salvation became her's. That is all there is to being saved! Rom. 10:9 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved!" It doesn't get any easier than that! Even small children can comprehend that truth and make it real in their lives. What about you? Have you taken this step of faith?
(Ill. Anyone who wants to be saved can be saved through faith in the shed Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ! Rev. 22:17; John 3:16; John 6:37. Notice what Jesus said to her: “Neither do I condemn thee.” when a sinner comes to Jesus by faith, they receive forgiveness for all their sins and absolute liberation from all condemnation, Rom. 8:1, 1 Cor. 6:9-11. That is shouting ground!)
C. He Freed Her - She got A New Life - Ill. All of her life, she had been subject to the god of this world, Satan. She had been a prisoner of her own lusts and desires, Eph. 2:1-3. Jesus, however, came and unlocked the shackles that held her bound in sin and He set her free! (Ill. How her life changed! Think of her years later as she looks at her children and her husband. A family she would have never had if she hadn’t met Jesus.)
(Ill. Jesus specializes in taking wasted, ruined lives and saving them by His grace and restoring them to usefulness. Every person who comes to Jesus for salvation receives this new lease on life - 2 Cor. 5:17. We get a chance to begin again, and this time, we actually have a chance of making something out of our lives - 1 Pet. 1:23.)
(Note: Jesus called her “Woman”, verse 10. He only used this term twice in the Gospel of John. Once in chapter 2 and again in chapter 19. Both times it was a title of honor applied to His mother Mary. It would be equivalent to the term “Lady”. It was a term of honor given to a woman worthy of honor. This woman was anything but a “Woman”. But, Jesus has a way of seeing things that are not as though they were. In other words, He did not see this woman as she was, He saw her as she could become through Him! Jesus took a wicked, godless, carnal person and turned her into a lady!
When Jesus looks at a lost sinner, surely He sees the potential in their lives. Like He did with this woman, He sees them as they can be through Him. Friend, life doesn’t have to remain like it is today for you. It can be better and it can be new, if you will come to Jesus!
By the way any male or female can live for the devil. But, it takes a real man and a real woman to live for Jesus!)
(Ill. At a special chapel service in an Ohio penitentiary, the governor was to grant freedom to several convicts. The suspense mounted as it came time for the governor to announce the names of those selected. "Reuben Johnson, come forward and receive your pardon!" No one responded. The chaplain directed his attention toward Johnson and said, "Reuben, it's you, come on!" But the man looked behind him, supposing there must be someone else by that name. Then, pointing directly at him, the chaplain exclaimed, "That's right, you're the man!" After a long pause, he slowly approached the governor to receive his pardon. Later when the other prisoners marched to their cells, Johnson fell in line and began to walk with them. The warden called, "Reuben, you don't belong there anymore. You're a free man!")
(Ill. Caleb Young, in Kentucky, thought that a man in the state's prison who was serving a life term had been too heavily sentenced. Bringing influence to bear upon the governor, he obtained a pardon for the man. He went to the prison and had a talk with the man. He said to him, "If you were to be released from this place, what would you do?" The man vindictively replied, "I would go and shoot the judge that sentenced me, the lawyer that prosecuted me, and the witnesses that testified against me." Mr. Young said nothing to the man about the pardon. He went out of the prison and tore the pardon to pieces.
Jesus doesn’t pardon sinners to leave them as He found them. He pardons them to change them forever! He won’t save you and leave you in your sins. Along with His salvation comes a new life and liberty from sin’s dominion, Rom. 6:14.)
Conc: Maybe, like this woman, your life has been wrecked and ruined by sin. Maybe you have been hurt by religious people. Maybe you are looking for a compassionate Savior, One who will make everything right. I want to invite you to come to Jesus. He cares about you just like you are. He loves you and wants to save you. He wants to deliver you from your bondage. He wants to set you free. Therefore, He invites you to come to Him today.
George Wilson was sentenced to hang after he was convicted of killing a guard while robbing a federal payroll from a train. Public sentiment against capital punishment led to an eventual pardon by President Andrew Jackson. Unbelievably, Wilson refused to accept the pardon. Can one do that? The case became so legally confusing that the Supreme Court had to rule on it. Chief Justice John Marshall delivered the verdict: "A pardon is a parchment whose only value must be determined by the receiver of the pardon. It has no value apart from that which the receiver gives it. George Wilson has refused to accept the pardon. We cannot conceive why he would do so, but he has. Therefore, George Wilson must die." Consequently, Wilson was hanged. God's grace becomes a pardon from sin only to those who receive it.
Friend, if you have never been saved, if you have never trusted Jesus as your personal Savior, if you are still lost in your sins and headed to Hell, you are in terrible danger today! You see, you stand condemned before God, John 3:18, and you are destined for Hell. But, there is a pardon available to you if you will have it! You see, Jesus, the same gracious Savior Who intervened in this woman’s life and changed everything for her, went to a cross at a place called Calvary. There, He died on that cross. When He died, He was dying for you. He was dying so that you might live. Three day after He died, He arose from the dead Now, He invites you to come to Him, by faith, for salvation, Matt. 11:28; John 6:37. If you will come, He will receive you and He will save you.
Friend, in a spiritual sense, you stand condemned before God. You are on the gallows and the noose is around your neck. At any moment, you could find yourself dead and lost forever in the fires of Hell. Don’t let that happen to you! Jesus stands ready to pardon and to receive you if you will come to Him.
Is He calling you to come? If He is, then come to Him for salvation today! If there are issues in your life that need to be settled, this altar is the place where they be taken care of forever. Will you bring your life to Jesus and let Him make it over?