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   The True Love - 2009 Passion Week Friday    
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
   John 8:1-11


John 8:1-11
[1] But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
[2] Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them.
[3] The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court,
[4] they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.
[5] "Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?"
[6] They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground.
[7] But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
[8] Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
[9] When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.
[10] Straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?"
[11] She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either Go From now on sin no more."

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

This week has been the Passion Week.
It is a week to mediate in piety on the Lord's suffering on the cross.
The reason our Lord was crucified on the cross was not because He did something wrong.
But it was only because of love.
The Lord took the terrible punishment of the cross because He loved God the Father and loved you and me.
By dying on behalf of sinners, He let all of those who believe in Him come to salvation.
With such love, our Lord desires us to love God and to love each other.
That's why even the worldly people are reminded of 'the cross' or 'love' when they think of 'Christianity.'
The worldly people are also greatly interested in love.
Countless people have talked about true love. They even presented many works of art with the subject of love.

In the world, however, it's impossible to gain true love.
People may profess they love with their very lives, but their love is mostly looking out for their own benefit; such love eventually decays and changes.
They don't even have the slightest idea about what true love is; they discuss love within the boundaries of their thoughts.
The love that is "spiritual love" is the only true love; and this spiritual love can only be given from God.
You have learned about this spiritual love, and you have tried hard to accomplish this love.
You've heard what kind of love God has given you, and what sort of love the Lord has given you.
You've learned what true love is from 'the Love Chapter' in 1 Corinthians and love found in 'the Fruit of the Holy Spirit.'
However, even if you hear, see, and learn the word, unless you accomplish this love, you cannot be said to understand true love.
Of course, when you receive great grace, you may shed tears thinking, "Ah, the love of God the Father is so vast."
As time passes by, to the extent that your faith grows up and that you accomplish love in your heart, you will feel the love of God all the more greatly.
You will receive a renewed sense of the love, and say, "The love of God is far much greater than I used to think it was."
But still, you feel it within your own limits.
The love of God is beyond the imagination of a man. Its height, width, and depth are infinitely unimaginable.
Our Lord took the cross also with this love of God, and the Holy Spirit is praying for us also with this love.
I hope you will feel the true love of God all the more deeply in your heart.
I pray in the name of the Lord that this love may come upon your heart completely.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
In the history of mankind, it is the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus that shows the love of God the most clearly.
When Adam, the first man, betrayed and sinned against God, God had to suffer from unbearable pain.
Despite the pain, God prearranged something to save Adam and his descendants; it was the cross of Jesus Christ.
For sinners, God gave up His only begotten Son. The Son He loves extremely and who is in the very nature of God.
Jesus, too, took the cross willingly and showed the love of God to the whole world.
This love has become the strength to cover all our transgressions and to change us.
Thanks to this love, we can say we have hope for heaven.
I'm going to testify to the love of Jesus Christ in three aspects.
Through them, I hope you can check how much you have accomplished the true love.

The true love is, first, the love of forgiveness and mercy.
Jesus showed His mercy from His innermost heart to people no matter how cruel a sinner they were.
He desired to save those dying souls to the point of sacrificing His own life.
In tonight's scripture is found a woman who was caught red-handed in adultery
According to the law, she had to be stoned to death.
However, Jesus didn't tell the people to 'kill her according to the law.' He rather opened a way for her to survive.
At this time, it was the sins of the people surrounding her that Jesus wrote on the ground.
First, He wrote only general sins.
He wrote only the sins such as hatred, anger, greed, stealing, adultery, and arrogance.
At that time, the people didn't know the list of sins was applicable to them.
However, when Jesus wrote on the ground second time, they turned pale.
This time, Jesus didn't write down their general sins.
He wrote down in detail the situation of the sins they committed with details like the time and place and the specific sin that was committed by someone there."
When they saw their own sins that were written down, unless their hearts were as hard as iron, they couldn't cast a stone at the woman.
One by one, they put the stones down and left the place.
It was the same as to condemn themselves if they stoned her while seeing their sins that had been written down.
When all of them left the place, Jesus said to the woman, "I do not condemn you, either. Go From now and sin no more."
Even if Jesus forgave her, if she continued to live in sin, she had no other course but to fall into destruction.
That's why He earnestly told her not to commit sin any more.
Well, not all of sinners can change, even if you show mercy to them and forgive them.
Some of them would change and receive salvation, but some others would do evil standing against God till the end so that they cannot reach salvation.
Jesus also knows this fact, and He surely knows each man's heart so well.
However, do you think Jesus would say, "Show mercy to this person because he will soon repent, but that person will not repent even if he is given an opportunity for salvation, and so give up on him."?
Or do you think He was in agony, thinking, "Do I have to sacrifice Myself for those evil people?"
Most people don't want to show mercy to those who don't seem to be worthy of forgiveness.
When impudent people don't show their gratitude, but do evil even when they were treated in goodness, people neglect them thinking, "It's not worth it to deal with them."

But, it was not so with Jesus.
He loved even people like Judas Iscariot; until the very end when he could still repent and turn back, He loved him.
He didn't forgive people only with His lips; He even sacrificed His own life to save them.
He was crucified on the cross not only for those who followed Him, but also for those who nailed Him on the cross.

Now, what about you?
Both you and I were all sinners, and we were destined to receive the punishment of death.
But by the mercy of God, we were forgiven and came to have hope for Heaven.
If we don't show mercy to others, we will be like those who would stone others even if they saw their sins had been written down in front of them.
By the way, some people easily come to a conclusion about others, saying that they are 'discerning others'.
They may conclude like this: "I've examined him so far, and found that his heart is hardened and that he doesn't understand the truth even when he is told the truth," or "He always professes he will do better, but in the end he hasn't changed at all."
They think it is not worthwhile to take care of such people with all their strength.
However, this is not 'discerning', but rather this is judging, condemning, and giving up on him without mercy.
No matter how short someone is of deserving mercy, you can show mercy to him if you regard him as a soul.
When Jesus saw the evil people nailing Him on the cross, He saw their dying souls instead of their evil deeds, their mocking and their insulting.
It was the heart of Jesus that He could exchange any pain only if He could save just one more soul.
Now, please imagine this.
You are holding someone's hand who is hanging giddily over a cliff.
If you were to let go of his hand, he would fall far down.
There's no more strength left in you to pull him up, in fact you are actually losing the strength and you may fall down together with him.
Now, could you let go of his hand?
Staring at him in the eyes as he is imploring you for help, could you say, "I want to survive, too," and then let go of his hand?
If I am in the situation, I could not let go of his hand even though it meant that I would fall down together with him.
This is why I make a plea for his forgiveness before God and hang onto God as if my blood were draining from my body when I see he committed sin.
It is the same for those who committed such an evil and detestable sin or those who don't repent but continue to stand against God.
It is because I cannot stand seeing him fall into the eternal fire.
Even if it means I have to stay up all night almost every day, I can endure it only if I can save just one more soul.
Even if it means that I have to endure the longer days of suffering and pain, I can overcome it only if I can save just one more soul.
It is because I know the love of the Lord who took the cross for me and for all souls, and because I know the burning heart of God the Father.
I hope you will store in your heart the eyes of the Lord Jesus who looked at the woman who was caught in sin.
I urge you to resemble the heart of the Lord who showed mercy in order to save a soul who was trembling in fear.
This true love is, secondly, the love that never changes.
When people are greatly indebted to someone, or receive love from someone, they may confess their love.
However, the true love is the love that never changes not only in good times but also in hard times.
It is the love that never changes no matter how many years pass by.
It is also true when you love God.
If you truly love God, your love should never change no matter how severely you may be afflicted or disadvantaged for that love.
Even if you undergo trials from time to time, you don't hold the mistreatment against God, but you rather continue to devote yourself and be faithful despite it.
When Apostle Paul had hardships while preaching the Gospel, his love didn't change.
Even when he was severely beaten, bled, imprisoned, or drifted in the deep sea for a night and a day, he gave praise to God from the depth of his heart.
He didn't have the slightest unjust feeling even thinking, "I was faithful according to the will of God, so why should I be beaten and shamed? Why does God let me be cast into the sea like this?".
He was rather emotionally saying, "Such a mere sinner like me can undergo trials like this for the sake of the Lord's name."
So was I.
For the last 36 years since I met God, I have loved God the Father without changing at any moment of that time.
I gave God my wife and children. I have been faithful by giving my possessions, my health, and my entire life.
There is only peace and happiness all the time when accomplishing the work of God.
In 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, Apostle Paul says, "We were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves"
Likewise, there were times when I had to drop myself down as if I were dead, and there were many heart-breaking incidents.
Even at those times, I never thought, "Why does God make me face this kind of thing although I only believed and obeyed God?"
Whether I live or die, my entire life is God's and the Lord's.
Even if I become as low as the dregs at the bottom and even if I lose everything and face death, I only make the confession, "Father God, I love You, and thank You."
There are many among you who confess that you love God.
Then, take a moment to check your heart while thinking of Ruth's situation.
Ruth, and her sister-in-law, Orpah lost their husbands at very young ages, but they served their mother-in-law, Naomi with all their strength.
They didn't serve her just because they wanted to get some benefit from her, but because they loved their mother-in-law.
But one day, Naomi said she would go back to her home land.
Now, it was time for her daughters-in-law to make a big decision.
So far, these women managed their lives by depending on each other in conditions that were familiar to them.
However, if they go to the unfamiliar foreign land, their future would become quite gloomy.
A normal person would naturally fall in agony over such a situation.
"I'm still young. I may find a good husband among my people. But how can I survive in a foreign land? Besides, when my mother-in-law dies, I may be old by then, and it's difficult to get married. On whom should I depend where I have no relatives, and no children?" Don't you think a normal person may think like this?
So far they have done their duty and served their mother-in-law. They may follow her to the foreign land for now.
However, if they think about their future, they are taking a great risk.
In her own way, Orpah loved her mother-in-law.
At first, she intended to follow her mother-in-law to the land of Judah.
Even though Naomi told her to go back to her home land, she couldn't do it, but she said she would follow Naomi to the land of Judah.
However, when Naomi told her once again to go back and explained to her that there would be no hope for her, Orpah cried and kissed her good-bye.
This is how those who have fleshly love appear.
By the way, Ruth neither considered her life, nor tried to find her own way to survive.
Her love was not for the moment; it was the love to give up her entire life.
Better than thinking of her life in the future, she only thought of 'staying together with Naomi' till the end.
When she could give such love to people, how much more she could love God once she realized the love of God?
That's why God recognized the heart of this woman, and raised her up.
When you are burning in the heart for a moment, you can say that you may give up even your life.
Even if one is ardent about giving his whole life once, if he has to give it all again could he give it with the same heart as the first time?
Let's say that you have given all your possessions, remained completely faithful, and given up your health repeatedly, but now, if you are to give it all again, could you give it with gladness?
You have given like this so far, but instead of enjoying glory, you are placed in a very low position. Will you not have any unjust feeling or misunderstanding?

If you accomplish this true love, you will receive extreme love from God.
The true love is, third, the love that understands others' hearts.
Some people give their love to others according to their own standard.
Instead of giving what others want, they give what they want to give, and they expect to receive what they want in return.
True love is, however, to be in the other person's shoes and consider their hearts and be able to give what others want and need.
Even when others don't give back what is wanted, true love is not having unjust feeling or misunderstandings about it.
Even worldly people closely study what others like and what pleases them in order to win their hearts.
Well, most of time, after they win the hearts of others, they change. But still, in the beginning, they, too, consider others' hearts.
When you love God, you should also understand the heart of God.
Our Lord Jesus did just that.
The will of God for Jesus was that Jesus should be crucified on the cross to accomplish the providence of salvation.
Jesus knew that this was the will of God, and completely obeyed.
However, He didn't obey only by deeds.
If He had only wanted to accomplish His duty since taking the cross was His duty, all He would have had to do was to enjoy His life, and then to be crucified on the cross at the last moment.

But, Jesus understood the deep heart of God. He knew why God had sent Jesus to the earth; and He obeyed.
Even though at times He was not able to eat and rest, in order to heal and teach just one more soul, He did His ministry with all His heart and strength.
In order not to lose any souls that God sent to Him, but to lead them before God, He used all His strength.
Finally when He took the cross and walked up Golgotha, He didn't confess in His heart, "Father, I love You. Even though I am hurting and it's so difficult, I can do it for You, Father."
This would be the confession of a child who doesn't understand the heart of his father even though he says he loves him.
Jesus said to God that many souls would receive salvation through His suffering, and He tried to reduce the sorrow of His Father by all means.
"O Father, I can overcome all these sufferings with the overflowing love of Father. Please don't mourn for me, and hold Your tears."
He rather comforted God the Father.

I hope you will love God the Father like this heart of an adult child.
Then, even when you do your smallest of duties, your attitude and its fruit will be different.
You will not think only of accomplishing the duty.
In order to make the procedures and the results the way God can be pleased, you will do it with all your strength.
When you visit a soul, if you understand the heart of God, you will not just diligently pay a visit to a soul.
Since you understand the heart of God the Father who wants the soul's spirit to prosper, you will work with all your strength to make his spirit and soul prosper.
Even when you meet with someone for just one time only, in order to give grace to him, you will fervently pray before you meet with him.
Then, you will eagerly long for the power and authority to change souls and solve their problems.
In addition, when you teach the truth, you don't teach as you see fit, and hurt others' hearts or cause them to react with opposition.
You will pray and receive wisdom to understand others' hearts, and have conversation with a humble heart.
And then, you can make others open their hearts and accept the truth.
If you truly desire to understand others' hearts like this, you should be able to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Besides, the Holy Spirit searches even the depths of God. (1 Corinthians 2:10)
Therefore, to understand the heart of God, you should receive the clear inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
In order to understand even deeper, you should resemble God the Father and change your heart into the heart of goodness and love.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
1 John 4:16 says, "We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
Tonight, you will be able to deeply think about the love of the Lord and of God the Father once again through the Cantata.
Please check yourself to see how much you have accomplished this true love.
Whether you have the heart of forgiveness and mercy, whether you can give never-changing love, and whether you love while understanding others' hearts. I urge you to check yourself and bear proper fruits.
May you become comfort and joy to God the Father, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray!