Pastor Cox Discusses Condemning People
The church service in the Laurelbrook Seventh-day Adventist Church on July 29, 2017 with Ricardo Reid welcoming everyone and making a few announcements. He reminded everyone about various events at Cohutta Springs conference camp. August 12 may be the date for the next communion service and ordination service. Pastor Mark Cox reminded everyone about Mark Kent’s music sign-up sheet, making sure to put their names on the sheets.
Jacqueline Miller played an introit. The congregation had a silent invocation. The congregation then sang “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name”. Hillis Jeffries then had the Morning Prayer; the congregation sang “Hear Our Prayer”.
Ricardo Reid then called for the offering. Jester Felarca and Daryll Ellis then collected the morning offerings; the loose offering went to the local conference camp (Cohutta Springs). The congregation sang the doxology, and Ricardo Reid prayed for the offering.
Juanita Smith then told the children a story about a girl who was tired of getting water so she climbed a tree, eating fruit and having a good time. Her mother went to the river and called for the girl, but the girl didn’t respond. Instead she climbed a little higher and disturbed a bunch of bees. Her mother reminded her that when she didn’t obey her mother bad things can happen to us.
For the scripture reading, Hillis Jeffries read John 8:1-8 responsively with the congregation “1 ¶ Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with [his] finger wrote on the ground, [as though he heard them not]. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.”
Barbara Ellis then played her harp for special music. Pastor Mark Cox discussed the topic “Neither Do I Condemn Thee”. The congregation sang “I Will Sing of Jesus’ Love”. Pastor Cox had the closing prayer.
All the academy students were off camping at Elkmont in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park northeast of Laurelbrook. Scott Sterling ran the P.A. system during the service.
Personnel Other Than Students:
Barbara Ellis – former Laurelbrook staff member / wife of John Ellis, retired mechanic and former Laurelbrook staff member
Daryll Ellis – local church deacon / Laurelbrook graduate working for nearby Majestic Stone Company
Hillis Jeffries – local church elder / one of the academy Bible teachers
Jacqueline Miller – semi-retired nurse living on the Laurelbrook property
Jester Felarca – C.N.A. in the Laurelbrook Nursing Home
Pastor Mark Cox – Laurelbrook church pastor / pastor also of the Ogden Road and Pikeville Seventh-day Adventist churches
Ricardo Reid – Laurelbrook Academy teacher / local head church elder
Scott Sterling – returning academy teacher; he is expected to teach physics, computer science, and aviation
Following are some notes from the sermon:
- Some young people are called “tattletales”. Police have informants, people who tell on others to condemn them in secret. Most of the time these people have an ulterior motive and often are just as or more than guilty than their victims.
- A “whistleblower” brings the truth to light and has to publicly stand behind his/her word. There are many risks involved.
- How does God advise us as Christians to handle problems or situations we notice?
- Matthew 18:15 “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”
- Step 1 – go to that person alone and explain the problem.
- Matthew 18:16 “But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.”
- Step 2 – bring in more people. This is not “tattletailing”.
- Matthew 18:17 “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the church: but if he neglect to hear church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”
- Step 3 – get everyone involved. If the person doesn’t want to listen, he/she has excluded himself/herself from the group.
- But don’t undertake to correct wrongs someone else had.
- “Confession” means that we show our perception of what we think is truth. When we “confess” the truth as we understand it to fellow church members, we forge an alliance with others.
- How does God approach the problem of sin in this world? When God sees you sinning, He follows the same procedure of coming alone and then with other people.
- John 3:16-21 “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 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.”
- In the Last Days, whatever is private will become public. With God eventually everything will be public. God works right here in light.
- Truth and love are the prevailing powers of God. The sinner condemns himself/herself.
- Satan operates in darkness and works in secret, concealing his purposes and plans.
- Can we condemn one another?
- This story shows how Jesus related to those who were sinning. John 8:1-11 “1 ¶ Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with [his] finger wrote on the ground, [as though he heard them not]. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard [it], being convicted by [their own] conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, [even] unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 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.”
- Religious leaders set this woman up, watched her to set a trap for Jesus. These leaders condemned her from the beginning.
- Shouldn’t these leaders have followed Matthew 18, the three-step program for dealing with sinners? Were these people worshipping the wrong god?
- All of us have sinned and are injured by sin so we shouldn’t condemn and discard those who sinned even LBGTs.
- Mary must have gone home and felt that she was condemned for her behavior but realizing that she had no other way of making a living.
- Then Jesus said that He wasn’t going to condemn her but to go and sin no more.
- Jesus comes, allows the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin, and then in love draws us to Him.
- Jesus in this instance wrote the men’s sins in the sand and tried to reach them in love.
- We should deal with fellow church members in the same way Jesus did.
- Church members often chase away sinners who need to be in church to learn how to be saved.
- Look at Jesus and realize that He shows us how to react to others the way that God wants to react.
- John 3:16-17 “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
- God hates sin because it hurts both victims and victimizers.
- We need to encourage and save those who want salvation.