Verse of the Day

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Pastor's Sermon Notes: Five Words You Must Understand (series), Part Twenty, “Neither do I condemn thee.” (John 8:11)

Sermon Series:  Five Words You Must Understand

1 Corinthians 14:19
Yet in the church I had rather speak
five words with my understanding,
that by my voice I might teach others also,
than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

Part Twenty: John 8:11
“Neither do I condemn thee.”


On the old Daniels and Webster program on ROCK107 we often heard from one Walter Nepasky.  He would begin his commentary with either, “I'm Walter Nepasky and today I wanna talk about three things.”, or “Hi. My name is Walter Nepasky. How you doin'? Today I want to talk to you about tree tings.”

What if we had a modern Christian radio station —The Rock of Ages 316 — with a program that began, “Hi, I’m Paul of Tarsus, and today I want to talk about five words.”

The Apostle Paul wrote: Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding,
that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.[1]

Paul follows up his introduction on The Rock of Ages 316 with his personal example — an extreme preference framed as a mathematical proportion: 5 versus 10,000. This is Paul’s “druthers”!  This is when 5 is better than 10,000!

If Paul were here, and you could pin him down to a literal selection of five words, what do you think he would choose?  “Gimme Five Paul!”

Before we get to a selected list of five word Scripture passages that might be in Paul’s “in box” we should also consider how Charles Haddon Spurgeon went even beyond Paul, perhaps due to “spiritual inflation” in the intervening centuries!

“But the seed, though very small, was a living thing. There is a great difference between a mustard seed and a piece of wax of the same size. Life slumbers in that seed. What life is we cannot tell. Even if you take a microscope you cannot spy it out. It is a mystery, but it is essential to a seed. The Gospel has a something in it not readily discoverable by the philosophical inquirer, if, indeed, he can perceive it at all. Take a maxim of Socrates or of Plato, and inquire whether a nation or a tribe has ever been transformed by it from barbarism to culture. A maxim of a philosopher may have measurably influenced a person in some right direction, but who has ever heard of a someone's whole character being transformed by any observation of Confucius or Socrates? I confess I never have. Human teachings are barren. But within the Gospel, with all its triteness and simplicity, there is a divine life and that life makes all the difference. The human can never rival the divine, for it lacks the life-fire. It is better to preach five words of God's Word than five million words of human wisdom. Human words may seem to be the wiser and the more attractive, but there is no heavenly life in them. Within God's Word, however simple it may be, there dwells an omnipotence like that of God from whose lips it came.”[2]

Now for some possibilities from Paul’s “in box.”

Note: The five word statements from Scripture selected may not actually be five word statements in  either the Hebrew or Greek originals, nor are they necessarily complete sentences or verses in English language translations from the Hebrew and Greek, including the King James Version  which is the source translation for the statements.  Nevertheless, they were selected for the fundamental truths and span of doctrine that they present.  The current list of 36 examples is not intended to be comprehensive, and may easily be expanded or consolidated.

The 36 selections are categorized under the following four headings:
The Person of Christ — The Redeemer
The Work of Christ (as Prophet, Priest and King) — Redemption Accomplished
The Salvation of Christ — Redemption Applied
The Return of Christ — Redemption Revealed

The five word statement to be considered on this occasion falls under the third of these four headings, The Salvation of Christ — Redemption Applied. The statement is found as part of a narrative whose textual pedigree is the source of sharp division. Mention must be made of the textual issue with this narrative, the Johannine Pericope, otherwise known as the Pericope Adulterae. If anyone has issues with the fact that this will be preached as Scripture, as the Word of God, we can discuss that afterwords.


I. What Christ could have said, but did not say
II. What Christ did say
III. The Significance of What Christ Did Say

Setting up the statement: two questions with one answer.

This woman was a sinner.
This woman was an adulteress.
This woman was guilty.
About these facts there can be no doubt.
They are indisputable.
This reality makes the ending, the climax of this event that much more shocking.

The Condemnation of men:

We are so ready to condemn, but not to the letter of God’s Law, to say nothing about the Spirit.
We want to twist His Law around for our own purposes.
We want to use God’s Law to make Him go away, to make Him appear less in the eyes of those around us.
We want to use God’s Law as a means to an end, and as a tool, an instrument, to further our own agenda, and to protect our position.

The issue now boils down to one Person. What about Him?
It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or says if Christ has an accusation or accusations to bring against someone.

Where are those who would accuse us when we stand before Christ?
Where is the Accuser of the brethren when we stand in that great day before His throne of grace and glory?

I. What Christ could have said, but did not say

You have sinned. You and I both know that. There can be no doubt about that since you were apprehended in the very act of adultery.

You are a sinner.

Your are guilty. Specifically, you are guilty of the sin of adultery.

Therefore, I condemn you.

I doesn’t matter what others think, or say, or do. It only matters what my judgment is. They may not have been able to charge you according to the Law since they did not produce the man who was your equally guilty partner in this sin, but I do not need the Law to condemn you since I am the one who searches the hearts. Before my throne all are guilty whether they have the Law as the Jews do, or not as is the case with the Gentiles. All have sinned, all are guilty, and all are deserving of my condemnation.

II. What Christ did say[3]

NASB — “I do not condemn you, either.”
ESV — “Neither do I condemn you”
HCSB — “Neither do I condemn you”
NIV — “Then neither do I condemn you”
NLT — “Neither do I.”

The issue is cast by Christ in His statement to the woman as one of condemnation, here phrased in the negative, i.e., as non-condemnation.

Condemnation in John’s Gospel/ Condemnation from the lips of Jesus:

3:17-19 — 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.

5:24 — Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Condemnation in Romans 8:

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit….31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

III. The Significance of What Christ Did Say

These are words of justification. If He does not condemn, then there is no condemnation. Condemnation is done away with, and made a non-issue. Whatever condemnation His people may have faced or deserved He has borne. If He does not condemn then there is no condemnation.

Condemnation is the counterpart to justification:

Romans 5:16-19 — 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

This is a word of justification.
Any who would attempt to condemn her now must do so by standing against the Lord Jesus Christ, which no one had ever been able to do, could to, or ever will be able to do.


Do you hear these words?
Do they resonate with you?
Have you taken them personally?
Are they more than just words on a page to you?

[Sermon preached 28 JUN 2015 by Pastor John T. “Jack” Jeffery at Wayside Gospel Chapel, Greentown, PA.] 

End Notes:

[1] 1 Corinthians 14:19.

[2] Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Mustard Seed: A Sermon for the Sabbath-School Teacher” (Lk. 13:18-19), Sermon No. 2110, delivered 20 OCT 1889, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, U.K.; in Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 35 (1889), pp. 565ff.; in Charles H. Spurgeon, The Parables of Our Lord (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 2003), pg. 707; and on The Spurgeon Archive at [accessed 23 DEC 2014].

[3] οὐδὲ ἐγώ σε κατακρίνω MT2, NA27/UBS4, and TR. RP/BYZ has κρίνω.

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