ALTAR CALL: Reverend urges: Judge not . . .
He who is without sin, cast the first stone!
Just as Jesus made this statement as He addressed the Scribes and Pharisees who brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to Him (John 8:1-11), so too, Reverend Robert Burns issued the challenge to the congregation at Faith Temple Ministries International last Tuesday night.
He was acknowledging the fact that too often people were quick to judge others without recognising the sin in their own lives.
Burns, who spoke during the church’s four-night New Life Crusade at the Roebuck Street, Bridgetown church pastored by Reverends Pauline and Lemuel Rawlins, noted that just as it was back then, “there are a lot of people today who come to the House of God just to judge. They judge the service, the praise and worship team or what people wear to church”.
In his message, which evoked much laughter and was filled with anecdotes, Burns said the Scribes and Pharisees were not playing fair when they brought the woman to Jesus since the man with whom she committed adultery was not brought along as well.
“There is no limit today of what an individual will do to destroy someone else’s character. That woman could not have committed adultery by herself.”
The United States-based minister said the three major concepts of John 8:1-11 were the hostility of Jewish leaders towards adulterers (and leaders); Jesus’ wisdom in dealing with the situation, and Jesus’ compassion for the sinner.
He said when the Scribes and Pharisees brought the woman to Jesus, they thought they could accuse, tempt, test and discredit Him. But, Burns noted, Jesus’ response was indicative of His wisdom and it caused the accusers to examine themselves.
“We too need to examine ourselves, for there is no one who does not sin.”
He next asked: “Who was really on trial? Was Jesus on trial? Was the woman on trial? Were the Scribes and Pharisees on trial?”
The minister pointed out that the woman’s accusers had no evidence and that condemnation could only be given where evidence was found.
“If you were brought before the court and charged with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” he asked.
Burns charged that Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but those who did not believe in Him “are already condemned”.
He added: “Jesus did not convict the Scribes and Pharisees; their consciences did, but there is no condemnation to those who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.”
Burns said when convicted of sin one must repent, seek God’s forgiveness and turn away from the particular sin.
As he looked at those familiar words spoken by Jesus to the woman after her accusers had fled the scene in Matthew 8:11 [“Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more”], Burns told the congregation: “God will not uphold us in our sin. If we come to Him and ask for forgiveness, He will forgive us.”