Written and preached by David P. Nolte

JOHN 8:1-11

On my desk are three stones. One of them is rough and abrasive. One is small, smooth and painted blue. It has the words, "I Love You" painted in white. The other is a larger rock, painted purple and it, too, says, :"I Love You!" The first rock I got behind the building. On it are the words, "The First Stone." It is a good hurling rock. It would do some damage when striking the target. Today I want to talk about the three stones, beginning with the one I found behind the building.
    1. Under the Old Testament Law, certain offenses, including adultery, were punishable by death by stoning. After a fair trial, with at least two honest witnesses, and a sentence had been declared, stoning would follow.
    2. In this case, there was no fair trial, there was no co-defendant (where was the man???), and no duly authorized judge to pronounce sentence. It was a kangaroo court, with a mockery of justice and a sham pretense of righteous indignation.
    3. But in the midst of hatred and wrath, hypocrisy and self-righteousness, Jesus teaches a great lesson:
      1. He implied, "All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones!" John 8:7 (NLT). Be sure you are guiltless before you stone the guilty.
      2. He teaches us to examine ourselves before we criticize or judge another. "And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, 'Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye." Matthew 7:3-5 (NLT). Take care of your own sins first.
      3. Justice hurls the stone of wrath, but only innocence qualifies the hurler. The woman, by Law, deserved stoning; but the only One qualified to do it, didn't! Jesus put the onus on the guiltless - and there was not one to be found in that malevolent mob.
    4. A boy stood before the justice of the peace accused, and guilty, of stealing watermelons from a farmer's patch. The justice looked stern and disapproving. He said, "Do you have anything to say for yourself before I pass sentence?" The boy said, "Sir, didn't you never steal a watermelon when you was a kid?" Suddenly, the justice remembered that he had and gave the boy a firm lecture, ending it by saying, "I'm giving you another chance, but son, don't steal anymore melons!" To the woman, accused, and guilty of, adultery, the sinless Jesus said, "I don't condemn you, but go and sin no more!"

So that brings us to a second stone:

    1. When she was 7 years old, my daughter, Keri, painted this rock for me. I have had it for 29 years. It is priceless. I would rather have it than a gold nugget its size! It is precious because it says, "I love you!" It is the expression of a child's heart to her daddy. You can't put a price on that rock. It is a stone of love.
    2. Jesus knew the woman was guilty. No doubt about that. He knew the motives of the mob were not justice or righteousness. They were setting her and Him up for a fall. But love won the day. "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?" and she replied, "No, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I. Go and sin no more." John 8:10-11 (NLT).
      1. No stone of wrath, but a stone of love thrown at her.
      2. Not condemnation, but a second chance.
      3. Not compromise with evil, but conquest over it.
      4. Not lowering of the standard, but lifting the fallen.
    3. If you are going to hurl a stone at someone, let it be a stone of love - an action of kindness, a deed of mercy, a gift of compassion.
    4. Jesus felt toward this desperate woman what a missionary felt toward another woman. She had longed to manifest Christ's love to others but was finding it extremely difficult to have genuine affection for the worst outcasts of society. One day she had to face the issue in a police court. A dirty and unkempt woman to whom she had previously witnessed had just been sentenced to jail. As the Christian saw this wretched soul sobbing bitterly, she was filled with compassion and wanted to help her. Quickly going to her side, she put her arm around her and kissed her. Never having been shown such love, the distressed woman was deeply moved. It wasn't long before she was led to the Lord Jesus for cleansing and salvation. Later, being released from prison, she was nursed back to health by the mission worker, who took her into her own home until she was fit to return to society. Not only was that needy sinner rescued from an evil life, but the Christian who helped her was brought into a deeper relationship with the Savior.

So that brings us to a third stone:

    1. This stone was painted by my, then 7 year old granddaughter, Alisha. She had been interested in the blue stone which her mother made. She decided to make one, too! She imitated her mother - and replicated a message of love.
    2. Imitation is a form of compliment, actually. Imitation is not entirely bad, in spite of the epithet , "Copy Cat! Copy Cat!" Imitation can be desirable provided:
      1. You imitate the right person. If you imitate a sinner in his / her sins, you have made a poor choice of mentor.
        1. Solomon says, "Do not envy violent people; don't copy their ways." Proverbs 3:31 (NLT).
        2. And, "Do not carouse with drunkards and gluttons, for they are on their way to poverty." Proverbs 23:20-21 (NLT).
        3. Paul could say, "Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NASB). I.e., "insofar as what you see in me is like Christ, imitate it!"
        4. "For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Hebrews 6:10-12 (NASB).
        5. "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; Ephesians 5:1 (NASB).
      2. You imitate for the right reason: you know that the person sets a good example and your imitation will improve your live!
      3. You imitate without losing your own creativity and God-given individuality in the process.
    3. Who is your role model? What is the example you follow? What pattern do you emulate? What sort of things should we imitate in others?
      1. When you see someone loving, especially loving the unlovely, learn from that example and imitate it.
      2. When you see someone being generous and sharing, get in step with that person and imitate that giving.
      3. When you see someone witnessing for Jesus, join in and become an imitator of that evangelism.
      4. When you see someone exercising self-control, learn from that worthy example.
      5. When you see someone forgiving another, deem that a worthy model and imitate it.
    4. During the French Revolution a howling mob surged through the streets of Paris bent on violence and destruction. Soldiers with their glistening bayonets were unable to stop them. The people even defied a loaded cannon aimed in their direction. Suddenly a white-haired man dashed into the square and signaled for attention. "Halt! That's De la Eure!" cried the leader of the disorderly crowd. "This man's character has been pure and blameless. Let's listen to him!" Immediately the rioters were silent. What weapons could not do, a single person who had lived a consistent Christian life was able to accomplish. Through his appeal the uprising was stopped. So, what kind of role model are you to others" And who is your role model? What is the example you set and what is the example you follow? What pattern do you show and what pattern do you emulate? Is it the angry accusing crowd? Or is it the merciful, loving and kind Jesus? It makes all the difference in the world as to how you treat others, and what kind of person you become.

When you remember the stone of wrath, you know that you can criticize and convict and condemn - but if you do, be absolutely sure of your own innocence. When you think of the stone of love remember to be kind, compassionate, generous, merciful and forgiving. Be as gracious to others as you want God to be to you. And when you recall the stone of imitation be sure you imitate Jesus - don't follow my steps, I may lead you astray. Don't follow my example, I may set a bad one. There are worthy examples in the world - but none so perfect and worthy and right as Jesus. Be like Jesus, for "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. 'He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.' When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly." 1 Peter 2:21-23 (NIV). Remember the three stones. And then, remember, there is another rock. The Rock of Ages. The rock in which we can hide ourselves when life overwhelms us; when enemies throw stones of wrath and judgment at us; when we need to be sheltered and secured and safe. Come to that rock, Come To Jesus, the Living Stone. He'll welcome, embrace, save, and secure you.

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