The ‘No Mores’ of Jesus
John 5:14 (Pastor Brian)
Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.’”
- Isaiah 43:25 “For my own sake”
- Jeremiah 31:34 “No more”
- Hebrews 8:12 “No more”
- Hebrews 10:17 “No more”
- John 5:14 (also John 8)
Writer to the Hebrews is saying, “Hey! Don’t go back! Keep on keepin’ on! Keep on trusting in Jesus. He’s FINISHED it. You can’t go back.” There are many severe warnings about going back (apostatizing).
What was done in type and shadow in the Old Testament is now FULLY fulfilled in Christ. Don’t go back to Moses, Abraham -> they all spoke of Jesus’ coming.
Jesus is the ULTIMATE hope.
- The Law doesn’t offer forgiveness, it merely opens our eyes to our sins so that we can see more clearly. We know there are consequences for our wrongdoing and sin – he is just, he will punish, but he is also merciful.
- By our own experience and observation, we can also see that SIN HAS CONSEQUENCES.
- Satan, the accuser of the brethren piles it on. “Call yourself a Christian? Ha~~~ Look what you just did ‘Christian’!” But by the blood of the Lamb, we overcame him.
There is a way of victory – through Christ.
Through various demonstrations, God wanted to show his mercy – he gave LIFE where death was threatened – even in the Garden of Eden when they ate of the tree. He spoke of the coming of his Son – he promised salvation at the birth of humanity. LIFE was promised despite the act that brought about the deserved death of humanity.
Where there’s LIFE, there’s HOPE.
Throughout the Old Testament, there were examples of life and hope and the forgiveness of sins.
- The shedding of animal blood, the provision of the Tabernacle and the temple, the priesthood, the atonement, the sin offering. The Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement was the day that God expressed his desire to forgive sins and the people expressed their desire to be forgiven.
- There was also the example of the cleansing of the leper. Two birds were there – one killed, the other dipped in its blood and released – signifying Jesus’ blood sacrifice to free us from our sins.
- There was the type and shadow of the scapegoat – one goat was taken out into the wilderness “carrying the sins and the guilt” of the people and it was killed or pushed off a cliff or otherwise not allowed to come back into camp.
There is no approach to God without the shedding of blood. This ALL points to Jesus (Jesus IS in EVERY book of the Bible).
So, we can see throughout the Old Testament Laws and rituals, God’s willingness and want to forgive sins.
In fact, why repent if there is no forgiveness of sins? One goes along with the other. Repentance leads forgiveness and forgiveness grants repentance – one leads into the other. God prompts repentance, grants forgiveness, then grants greater repentance.
Jonah – the reluctant prophet.
He didn’t want to go to Ninevah – yet, God “persuaded” him with a “big” messenger (whale) – he was coughed up on shore and went to Ninevah and the king and the people and the animals repented, prayed, and left off sinning.
Jonah waited under a tree (with popcorn) awaiting the fiery destruction of Ninevah – which never came…
God chooses NOT to fulfill his just judgment when there is genuine repentance.
JOB: Elihu –
“He looks upon sin and if any man says, ‘I have sinned and it profited me not’ – he (God) shall save the man from the pit and carry him into the light.”
CHRONICLES: God –
“If my people, called by me, turn from their sins, and call on my name, I will heal their land.” (IF my people – God identifies with his people – “humble themselves” – “pray” – “I will hear from heaven” – “pardon their sin” – “heal their land”) Beginning with a conditional, this single verse walks through the entire process of repentance and forgiveness.
Throughout the Bible, we have Psalms and stories and the church (later) who prove and show that God WANTS to forgive his people.
“He who believes in Jesus is justified from all things that he could not be justified by in the Law of Moses.”
After OUR forgiveness…
We must FORGIVE.
Spurgeon: Was talking with a man, he left. The next man came up and told him of a previous misdeed of the former man. But Spurgeon said, “I’d totally forgotten – so it was a wonderful thing to be totally unbegrudging toward him.”
If you forgive someone, do it from the HEART – again and again and again (forgiveness often isn’t a ONE time thing – especially if you were painfully offended or hurt).
These things were seen in the Old Testament and reiterated in the New Testament – particularly Hebrews.
Here, today, let’s look at when and how JESUS says “No more.”
God in Christ (the 3 Fs)
- Faced up to sin
- Forgave our sins
- Forgot our sins (did not call to remembrance – remember that forgetfulness is an infirmity – but CHOOSING to not recall something is gracious)
- (Today) FORSAKE our sins – Jesus advocates this in John 5:14
Sometimes, when we forsake our sins (so long as we continue to LOOK to the Lord), he continues to forgive us and guide us, empower us.
- John 5: (a man’s story)
- John 8:1-15 (a woman’s story)
But Jesus went to the Mt. of Olives. At dawn, he appeared again and sat down among the people to teach them. The teachers brought a woman into the midst of the crowd who’d been caught in adultery – they were trying to trap Jesus by accusing her. But he bent down to write in the sand. They kept at it, but he said, “OK, whoever is without sin – you start the stoning.” Eventually, they all started to leave, until she remained alone.
“Go now and sin NO MORE.”
John 5:1-15 The healing at the pool of Bethesda
Some time later, Jesus went to the pool of Bethesda – there were a great number of disabled people lying there. When Jesus saw the sick man lying there, he asked, “Do you want to get well?” The man said, “No one can help me” Jesus said, “Pick up your mat and walk.” He did so. The Jews said to him, “Hey man, it’s the Sabbath – you can’t DO that.” But he said, “The man who made me well told me to.” But they couldn’t find Jesus as he’d slipped off into the crowd.
“Sin no more, or something worse may happen to you.”
Jesus went up to Jerusalem. There were many major feasts in Jerusalem – (but this was probably the Feast of Booths/Tabernacles – to remember the duration of the pilgrimage through the desert for 40 years).
Jesus went up to the Sheep Gate, there was a pool (Bethesda) – surrounded by 5 large covered areas. They were waiting for the waters to be “stirred” by an angel of the Lord to be healed. The healing mineral waters likely helped them get well – it may have been like a spa.
This man had been sick – very incapacitated – for 38 years. Jesus saw him and asked him, “Do you want to get well?” This might seem strange – he’d obviously wanted to get well for 38 years, right? Well, sometimes people who are ill give up hope – especially if they are getting a state pension for example – some people get a lot of attention – ego boost. There are various reasons WHY a person might NOT want to get well.
And actually, the man doesn’t give a straight answer. Jesus just cut through all of that and said, “GET UP!” Boom! He did. And he walked. Imagine that after 38 years.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath. The Jews said to the man, “It’s the Sabbath, buddy! That’s illegal!” He replied, “The man who healed me said, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” They said, “Who is he?” The man didn’t know because Jesus had slipped away into the crowd. The man later met Jesus at the temple – probably to offer thanks to God for his healing. Jesus said to him, “See, you are well again. Go and sin no more, or something worse may happen to you.”
Jesus obviously knew that the cause of his suffering was sin. Perhaps sexual sin, or something else that had caused him to suffer in his body. (There is no CLEAR source of his suffering here, but this is a pretty good guess.)
That’s a pretty severe warning – he was lost, diseased, hopeless, helpless – until Jesus came along and healed him and then gave him a very solemn warning.
Peter, Jude, and others write of this “returning to sin” after receiving the blessing of forgiveness in such a way:
“A dog returning to its vomit.”
Peter knew well the meaning of sinning and repentance and forgiveness – what was actually the difference between Peter and Judas? Both sinned against Christ – only Peter went back to Christ for forgiveness.
Peter: “Be diligent, sober, watchful because your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” RESIST and be steadfast in the faith.
That’s what sin is in God’s sight: vomit. Would you be a dog who returns to it?
“Go and SIN NO MORE.”
Sometimes when people return to the original sin – it becomes WORSE than it was before. Some people think that they cannot go back to God again.
Hopefully the man took heed, certainly he was very grateful for the grace and mercy of Jesus. He went on and demonstrated that it was Jesus who’d healed him.
John Piper’s thoughts on John 8: this section is either in italics, or footnotes.
Most NT scholars DON’T think this was a part of the gospel of John but was added centuries later.
“Despite the best efforts to prove this was part of the original version, the evidence is against them and the modern versions of the Bible are right to keep it separate.”
The conclusion: It wasn’t originally in John’s gospel, but was added later.
Piper agrees. Part of the conclusions are:
- The stories are missing from all the Greek scrolls before the 5th century
- All the scholars pass over this portion in their writings
- The story flows well from the previous story to chapter 9
- The Eastern scholars didn’t use it until the 10th century
- This shows up in DIFFERENT places in different manuscripts
- This story, in style and vocabulary is more unlike John’s gospel than any other part.
- Saying all that assumes a lot of facts – part of “textual criticism”
So, what’s a preacher to do?
Don Carson and Bruce Metsger think this event REALLY happened and that the story circulated and was later put into the gospel of John – it has all the earmarks of historical truth. It’s just the way it was juxtaposed and put into the gospel at a later point.
Yet, this doesn’t have the authority of Scripture – because it wasn’t in there originally – so, I’ll prove it’s points from OTHER Scriptures. Let THOSE be the authority.
- Jesus exalts himself above the Law
- He re-establishes the story of Grace over Justice
This is an effective echo of the WHOLE of the New Testament.
- The woman is caught in adultery
- The Pharisees put Jesus to the test (we’ve seen this more than once already) – will Jesus contradict Moses’ Law? Deut & Lev. say “if a couple is caught in adultery, BOTH of them must die.” – so…… how committed to the Law are they really?
- The were USING the Law to get rid of the woman and get rid of Jesus (bring a charge against him)
- Jesus says, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” – this is no way to work justice, right? even judges are sinful. Yet, here is Jesus standing against the Pharisees’ understanding of justice and showing grace.
- Go and understand this: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”
- “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” – Jesus exposes their own misuse of the Law.
The point is: Righteousness and Justice should be founded on a gracious spirit. Otherwise, there is no mercy – and no mercy for the one who shows no mercy.
When they leave, Jesus says, “No one condemns you? Neither do I. GO AND SIN NO MORE.” – She’s received grace and mercy and now she must walk in that grace and mercy and cease the sins she’s been walking in. He’s talking about a change in LIFESTYLE – a lifestyle CHOICE here – because people continually sin and stumble. No one is perfect.
“You’ve met God and been saved by his grace.”
This is the pervasive message of the New Testament: Jesus exalted himself ABOVE the Law
John shows that – and re-establishes the forgiveness of God based on Grace
Thus, John Newton, a slave trader, could write “Amazing Grace” based on his own personal testimony.
We must be holy if you want to see God – he hates sins – he knows what its done to his Son, he knows what it does to us. We may have that way before, but Jesus says, “I come that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Justice in life, in place of grace – makes us cruel and unmerciful.
Jesus came into this world to give grace and mercy and forgiveness. His appeal is “Come to me, all you weary and heavy-laden. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.”
- Come to Christ for grace, set your face to SIN NO MORE.
- His grace is accompanied by his direction: SIN NO MORE.