Sunday Morning Bible Study
January 7, 1996
It is the day after the Feast of Tabernacles has ended.
Jesus has gone to the temple early in the morning to teach the people.
The Pharisees bring Him a woman caught in adultery. Should they stone her or let her go?
The Pharisees are trying to catch Jesus in one of their little traps.
»John 8:7b - He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
When no one was left to toss a stone ...
»John 8:10-11 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
:12 The Light of the World
:12 Then spake Jesus
It would appear that there is some kind of connection between the previous passage and what is about to be taught.
:12 I am the light of the world
Keep in mind that it is about sunrise when this is all happening.
Verse 2 said "early in the morning", literally, at dawn.
This is Jesus' way of teaching the people, using the events around Him to teach.
When Jesus was with the woman at the well, He talked about giving the Living Water (John 4:14)
When Jesus had fed the 5,000, He talked about being the Bread of life (John 6:35)
What does the Bible mean by "light"?
The idea is that light helps make things clearer.
»Ps 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
When you're sitting in a dark room, it's hard to make things out, it's hard to understand what's going on around you, until you turn on the light.
If you have one of those micro-sized metal splinters in your finger, it hurts, but you can't see it until you get your finger under a real strong light.
Imagine driving down a strange road at night, without any headlights! You need light.
Light speaks of righteousness, of absence of sin.
»John 3:19-21 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Evil, scary horror movies are always shot at night! What's so scary and evil about the middle of the day?
When Jesus is saying that He is the "Light of the World", He is saying that He is the Light of purity and holiness, and that His light gives men a chance to have direction in their lives.
:12 he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness ...
he that followeth - the Greek tense indicates continuous action, a continuous following moment by moment.
If you go hiking at night in the woods, and your Friend is carrying a bright Coleman lantern, as long as you stay close to Him, you won't be in the dark.
Why is Jesus saying this?
I think this is all tied to what Jesus has just told the woman who was brought to Him.
This is why He clearly tells her to "go, and sin no more".
If she's going to start following Jesus, there will be some changes made.
Walking in the Light
If we follow Jesus, there will be a sense of Light in our lives.
1. We will have a sense of direction and understanding (illumination).
It's like the change that took place in the life of Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf.
Helen Keller tells of the dramatic moment when Annie Sullivan first broke through her dark, silent world with the illumination of language.
We walked down the path to the well house, attracted by the fragrance of the honeysuckle with which it was covered. Some one was drawing water and my teacher placed my hand under the spout. As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten -- a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that "w-a-t-e-r" meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away.
We may not have all the answers yet, but things start making sense little by little.
We begin to orient our lives around a new center.
Almost like changing the orientation of a compass, we have a new, better north pole to point us with.
God's Word begins to put a light on our lives, and it begins to show us what's on the path we're walking on.
»Ps 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
2. We will have a growing sense of righteousness and victory over sin (purity).
The Bible says,
»1John 1:5-7 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
If I had dirt and junk all over my face, but every time I found a mirror, it was in a dimly lit room, I may never get my face really clean.
But once a bright light is turned on, I can see all the impurities and things that need cleaning.
One of the benefits of having a good light in the bathroom is that you won't be embarrassed when you go out in the sunshine.
:13-20 True testimony
:13 The Pharisees therefore said ...
Remember that just a little while ago, they had all left, because none was without sin.
Now they're back.
:13 Thou bearest record ... thy record is not true
They're saying to Jesus, "Just because You're calling yourself something doesn't make it true."
One person's word on something isn't enough.
This is true.
The Bible says:
»Deuteronomy 19:15b ... at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
:14 yet my record is true
Just because somebody tells you something about themself doesn't mean that it's wrong.
It could be very accurate.
If Jesus really is the Messiah, and He tells us so, does that make it false because He's told us who He really is?
:14 I know whence I came, and whither I go
Jesus knows where He came from.
Jesus knows where He's going.
:14 ye cannot tell ...
You guys don't have a clue as to what's going on.
:15 ye judge after the flesh
»NIV You judge by human standards ...
The Pharisees are sizing up Jesus based only on what they see and a few things they've heard about Him.
How much like us!
We can fall into the trap of sizing people up according to "human", fleshly standards.
What do you do for a living?
How much money do you make each year?
What color is your skin?
Where do you live?
What kind of car do you drive?
What shape is your body in?
Where were your ancestors from?
Warning: Questions like this are "Pharisee" questions.
New Standards of Judgment
Paul says that it is to change for us -
»2Corinthians 5:16-17 (NIV) So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
The real issue is, "Do you know Jesus?"
If the answer is yes, then the other questions don't matter.
If the answer is no, then all that is important is that they come to know Jesus.
:15 I judge no man
Don't be mistaken, Jesus will indeed one day judge this world.
»John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
But the reason He came the first time was to save people, not condemn them.
»John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
This was all made very clear by the living example He's just given them, in not condemning the woman that was thrown before Him.
:16 my judgment is true: for I am not alone
He isn't just testifying about Himself alone.
There's another witness.
:17 It is also written in your law ...
As we mentioned in Deut. 19:15 (back in verse 13).
:18 the Father that sent me beareth witness
Jesus is witness number one.
The Father is witness number two.
How did the Father bear witness of Jesus?
At Jesus' baptism:
»Matthew 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
At the transfiguration before Peter, James, and John:
»Matthew 17:5-AV While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
:19 Where is thy Father?
I wonder what kind of tone of voice they're using here.
Is is a little skeptical?
Are they being cautious?
Do they really know what they're asking?
Maybe they're asking about Joseph.
Maybe they're asking about God.
Maybe they're alluding to the question about Jesus' birth, and that Mary wasn't married when she got pregnant.
:19 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also
Jesus was a package deal.
If you knew Him, you knew the Father.
If you knew the Father, you knew Jesus.
Jesus explains it later to His disciples (John 14:6-11)
:20 in the treasury
Treasury - A name given by the rabbis to thirteen chests, called trumpets, from their shape, which stood in the court of the women, at the entrance to the treasure-chamber.
It would be as if Jesus were holding His Bible Study back near the Agape Box.
What's the significance here?
Are we going to take an offering now? NOT!
It was in the court of the women.
This was a place where the Jewish women were allowed to come in to.
This makes sense as to why the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery in here. It was allowable for her to be there.
The temple was surrounded by concentric courts, and the further you got to the temple, the more select the group.
The outer most court was the court of the Gentiles.
Then came the court of the women.
Then the court of men.
Then the court of priests.
Then the temple.
By being in the court of women, Jesus would have had the potentially largest Jewish audience, both men and women.
But no Gentiles.
The gospel wouldn't go out to the Gentiles until after Jesus' death, and the rejection of the gospel by the Jews.
Reach your audience!
Who are you trying to reach with the gospel?
Who's salvation are you praying for?
What are you doing about it?
Are you out where they are?
Are you spending time with the people you're trying to reach?
:20 his hour was not yet come
We've spoken of this before.
There is a sense of peace that comes from knowing that you're in God's will.
Jesus was walking in God's will, and because His hour to be betrayed was not yet there, He had nothing to be afraid of.
:21-30 Where He's going, Who He is
:22 Will he kill himself?
They don't understand what Jesus is talking about.
:23 ye are from beneath; I am from above
How clear does He have to make it?
Jesus is going to go back to heaven, and these Jewish leaders aren't going to be going there.
:24 if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins
What a horrifying thought!
Just what does it mean to "die in your sins"?
It means that when you die, that you are going to have to face God's judgment on your sins.
God does not do a balancing trick, balancing your good deeds against your sins.
God requires that you pay full price for your sins.
What's the price?
»Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death
That means that you must pay for your sins through a spiritual death, through an eternal separation from God.
Is there a way out of this?
If you believe on Jesus, then the debt is already paid in full.
When you arrive before the judge, the ticket will be stamped "paid in full", because it was paid in full by Jesus on the cross.
He died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins.
If you will receive His payment for your sins, then you will pass through God's judgment and enter into eternal life!
The urgency of this statement
For Christmas, the boys got a new video game, "Yoshi's Island".
In the game there is a level called "Balloon Toss", played between you and the computer.
A balloon that is tossed between your character and the computer's character.
Your character is given a code, which you have to match by pressing the right sequence of buttons on your controller.
Then the balloon is tossed to your opponent, who has to do the same.
You keep tossing the balloon back and forth, as it gets bigger and bigger and bigger.
Finally it pops, and you don't want to be the guy holding the balloon when it pops, so you keep frantically trying to key in these little codes.
You never know when it's going to pop.
The same is true of life.
You never know when the game is over.
And you don't want to let the game be over while you're "holding the balloon", or, holding on to your sins.
All it takes is knowing what to "key in".
All it takes is asking Jesus for help.
:25 Who art thou?
Hey, this guy is making some pretty heavy statements here.
Just who does He think He is?
:25 Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning
Listen up guys, I've been telling you who I am from the start.
Hello! Is anybody home?
:26 I have many things to say and to judge of you
Jesus, being God, and being omniscient (all knowing), knew an AWFUL lot of things He could be judging these Pharisees about.
But He's going to restrain Himself, and just stay with the things that the Father has told Him to say.
Learn to hold that tongue!
There are times when you can indeed say a whole lot more in a conversation, and you aren't even Jesus!
But it's not always wise to say everything you can about a subject.
Sometimes it's wiser to hold back and just say what's necessary.
Learn to ask the question: Lord, what do YOU want me to say?
»Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
»James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
Consider this: The Lord's Prayer contains 56 words; the Gettysburg Address, 266; the Ten Commandments, 297; the Declaration of Independence, 300; and a recent U.S. government order setting the price of cabbage, 26,911.
It's not how long we talk, it's what we say that is so important.
-- From the Book Positioning
A Bad Illustration:
Tony Manconi, vacationing in New Hampshire, visited a Nashua church for the service. The pastor's sermon was very brief, but the pastor explained. He said his family's new puppy got into his study the night before and chewed up his notes. Afterward at the door, Tony asked, "Pastor, are there any more puppies in that litter? I'd like to take one to my pastor."
-- Paul Harvey, 8-18-93.
Illustration - good/bad example:
British author and playwright George Bernard Shaw once sent Sir Winston Churchill two tickets to the opening night's performance of one of his plays. Accompanying the tickets was Shaw's terse note, "Bring a friend if you have one."
Churchill, also adept at saying a lot in a few words, replied: "I'll wait for the second night if there is one."
:28 when ye have lifted up the Son of man
He's talking about His crucifixion, and being lifted up on a cross (John 12:32-33)
:28 then shall ye know that I am he
When they have Jesus nailed to the cross, then it's going to hit home just who He really was.
Some would come to believe in Him.
For others, despite knowing the truth, they would still harden their hearts.
:29 the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him
The little word "for" is kind of important here to me.
It joins the previous statement (the Father hath not left me alone) with the next statement (I do always those things that please him).
It give us the reason why the Father doesn't leave Jesus alone, because Jesus is always doing what pleases the Father.
Intimacy grows as we learn to please Him
Caution: The very basis of our relationship with God is not based on our doing good works, it's based on God's grace, and all the tremendous things that God has done for us.
When one of my sons is acting up and doing everything he can to get into trouble, though I may have to discipline him, he never stops being my son.
But there seems to be a sense in which depth of that relationship is relative to how we're trying to please the Father.
It's not so much as trying to be "obedient" all the time.
It's going beyond and "pleasing" the Father.
David was in one of those moods last night and came in to my office and just gave me a great big hug "for no good reason".
If he had wanted to ask for something, there wouldn't have been much I would have said no to at the moment.
»1John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
What pleases God?
What pleases a Father?
:30 as he spake ... many believed on him
Where are you at this morning?
Is it time for you to start believing?