19 Sep 2021
19 September 2021

19 Sep 2021

Passage: John 8.1-11
Service Type:

John 8 – Drop the stones


John 8:1-11 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said.“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”


Which character in the story do you identify with? (6.05s)

Woman - judged by people

Jesus - peacemaker: caught in the middle

Pharisee/teachers of law - trying to uphold Gods standards and frustrated when people don't live up to your expectations


1st point to remember today is to DROP THE STONES


Maybe we don't throw stones but we throw criticisms - sticks and stones may break my bone but names will never hurt - rubbish!!!


Names hurt - people get depressed and even suicidal because names. Kids get bullied at school.  I remember as a kid being called four eyes, boffin, monkey and other racial slurs that I won’t repeat. It hurt.   Other kids got called other names like fat, ugly, smelly.....we probably all got called names. Maybe we get called names now.


Drop the stones - names hurt (drop stone!)


None of us would condone that kind of name calling in the playground or the church. But maybe we do it more subtle ways. Maybe we criticize people for what they wear or don't wear. Maybe we are critical because they don't do the things we expect them to. Maybe we put too high expectations on others.  Maybe there are some people we would happily welcome in a church service or to our small group or to our home. Maybe there are others we wouldn't dare invite


We need to drop the stones or people will get hurt.


  • stones today: names, physical bullying, exclusion, high expectations.
  • stones hurt: depression, lack of confidence, suicide: A few years ago, 14-year-old Lizzie Lowe took her own life because she did not believe she would be accepted at her church as a gay Christian.
  • Since then her church, St James in Didsbury, Manchester, and its sister church Emmanuel, has formally become an inclusive church — embracing everyone, regardless of gender, race, disability or sexuality.
  • Lizzie’s parents believe embracing inclusion could help save the lives of other teenagers.
  • In our reading from John 8 Jesus said “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”


Often we can be so quick at pointing out the sins in other people yet so slow in recognizing our own sins!


Plank in own eye - get a plank as a visual aid (2.54s)

Jesus said: Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.


Drop the stones: we are all sinners, get rid of our own sin first.

  • drop the stones : stop judging others
  • drop the stones : arms are free to welcome - Jesus more concerned with forgiveness than punishing people.
  • Luke 17:3-4New International Version (NIV)

So watch yourselves.“If your brother or sister[a] sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

He wants us to forgive others...7 times in a day


I want to share with you The Church of England’s Pastoral Principles for living well together:




We need to acknowledge these six pervading evils mentioned in the video and work together so that we can:


acknowledge PREJUDICE

cast out FEAR

speak into SILENCE



pay attention to POWER


Together our church communities are called to LOVE:

Listen attentively and openly
Open our hearts and minds without judgmentalism

Value everyone’s vulnerability and perspective

Express concern and empathy.


My hope is that as a parish we can live well together in love and faith in God Strength.


Let’s drop the stones and show love in our words and actions.


second point to remember today is: come as you are

No condemnation in Christ Jesus - come as you are


Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said.“Then neither do I condemn you,”


Jesus does not condemn us when we sin.  He welcomes us and forgives us when we repent.


Jesus wants us to come as we are before him. Free from condemnation and guilt.  Free to worship him without fear.  Every day as we say the Lord’s prayer we can pray it knowing we are forgiven and we are forgiving.


One of our values is to be welcoming – encouraging you to come as you are.  We already do this really well but we want to be even better because God welcomes all!  Jesus said Come to me all who are weary & I'll give you rest - come as you are: does matter what you wear, what you look like or smell like, doesn't matter about your gender or ethnicity or age or sexuality – Jesus says: come as you are!


There are people in our congregations who identify as LGBTI+ or have family members who identify in that way. We must welcome them and not talk about them as if they are ‘others’ or as if they are not in the room.


Living in Love and Faith

Starting Tuesday evening, we will be running a 5 week course in the parish – that we hope most people will want to take part in. It’s called “Living in Love and Faith” and it’s really important both for us and for the Anglican Church across the world.


Living in Love and Faith sets out to inspire people to think more deeply about what it means to be human and to live in love and faith with one another. It tackles the tough questions and the divisions among Christians about what it means to follow Jesus in a society in which understandings and practices of gender, sexuality and marriage continue to change.


Each of the 5 sessions explores one key topic, with an opening reflection about learning together, followed by teaching, time for discussion and Bible study and prayer. You can share or speak as much or as little as you like, as we all recognise that we may have very personal and deeply held views.


Please watch this short trailer which explains more:


Some of us in parish leadership have already done the course and warmly commend it to you. Indeed, our archbishops and bishops have “invited every church to use the Living in Love and Faith resources to learn together, and they appeal to us to join them in discerning a way forward for the church that is open to new vistas on our disagreements and new perspectives on our differences”.


If you have any questions at all about the course please do speak to Ben Goodyear or Gill Tayleur. And of course, if this course or the topics above raise any personal issues for you or your family or friends that you would like to discuss in confidence, please do speak to Ben Goodyear or Gill Tayleur.


The course will run for 5 weeks starting on the 21st September 7.30pm at St Paul’s Church.


To sign up please click here or send me a message: https://hernehillparish.churchsuite.co.uk/events/bc2ntdtr


We highly recommend doing some further research yourself by reading or listening to some of the resources on our website which includes the Living in Love and faith book. We have a few hardback copies in the office or you can download the digital version here along with other things: https://hernehillparish.org.uk/small-groups-courses/living-in-love-and-faith-llf/


Please come to Living in Love and faith as you are.   Please come to any of our church activities as you are.   God’s loves you as you are and so do we!


Jesus said to the women at the end of our passage ‘Go and Sin no more, Jesus didn’t condemn her but he knew her lifestyle was only going to cause her harm so he says : go and sin no more.


In other situations, Jesus also challenged other sins including greed, lying and hypocrisy.  He knew that those things brought harm to others and so the loving thing to do was to challenge people’s behaviour.


Jesus welcomes us with open arms into a loving relationship with him. But because he loves us he wants what is best for us!  Sometimes God’s best is not what we want.  Over time as we read the Bible the Holy Spirit prompts us about different areas of our lives and says maybe you need to think about this, maybe you need to change that...


As his followers today Jesus calls us to follow in his footsteps, live a life that pleases God, obeying him in all things as part of our love for him.  It is tough to do on our own.  But we are not on our own! We have the Holy Spirit and we have each other!  Seek out people who can be your encouragers and people who you can encourage.


If we connect with God and each other everyday - Jesus will do beautiful things in our lives.


Conclusion: Drop the stones - come as you are


Heavenly Father,
you have called us in the Body of your Son Jesus Christ to continue his work of reconciliation
and reveal you to the world:
forgive us the sins which tear us apart;
give us the courage to overcome our fears
and to seek that unity which is your gift and your will;


God, bless us with discomfort at easy answers and superficial relationships,

so that we might live deeply from our hearts.

God bless us with courage to challenge prejudice in our lives and community,

so that all people might be seen as made in your image.

God, bless us with tears for those who feel the pain of fear, rejection or exclusion,

so that we might reach out our hands in love.

God, bless us with enough faith and hope to believe that we can make a difference in our world.

Adapted from a traditional Franciscan blessing

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


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