Thursday, December 01 2011
"The church would collapse" is something that I have heard repeatedly over my many years of inviting people to church. Obviously, it was their way of telling me that they did not want to attend, but it also was admission of past sin in their lives. In the minds of the invited, their past would somehow be accounted for and direct punishment from God would be served upon them at the entrance of the church building.
I am reminded of the story found in John 8 ...
1-2 Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them. 3-6The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, "Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?" They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.
In this story, the woman caught in the very act of adultery was brought before Jesus in the temple (church). At the time of the Gospels, the women's punishment for this sin/crime would have been death. Although, her sin was before all to see, Jesus did not support or call for her punishment. The story continues...
6-8Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, "The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone." Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.
Jesus was not tempted but knew the hearts of man when responding to their taunts.
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.
The woman's accusers became "convicted" because of the the sin in their lives. The Bible says...
9-10Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. "Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?"
11"No one, Master."
"Neither do I," said Jesus. "Go on your way. From now on, don't sin."What Jesus did for this woman was show her "grace". Grace is defined as "unmerited favor". We can not earn God's favor. He gives it to us freely.
The adulteress woman was minutes from death. Her life was over, but it was Jesus that kept her from a horrible ending through grace.
Jesus continues to extend grace. When you walk through the doors of the church, it will not collapse, but you will find a group of people that will love you despite your past. Jesus only looks to your future. He has already promised this to you...
Jeremiah 29:11(21st Century KJV)
11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.