Sermons

Summary: Salvation, Evangelism, God's Plan

THE WELL – A Place for Divine Appointments

John 4:1-5 (p. 741) February 1, 2015

Introduction:

[My wife called me Monday morning right as I was putting pen to paper and she said she’d come upon an accident immediately after it happened, a young girl had slid through a red light and hit a mother with her baby in the car. All of them seemed OK, but Kari got the baby and her mother in her car and they made sure. The baby was crying but was OK. It just so happened that the mom was Valerie Williams, the wife of our principle at James Lane Allen. Greg and I thought...God gave Kari a chance to love and minister to a scared, hurting mom and I couldn’t have chosen a better instrument to bring comfort...at just that moment...a divine appointment.]

And some of you might think...Oh come on Rick that was just a coincidence...an accident...but my response would be...I don’t believe in coincidences...I believe in “God-incidents.”

God’s Word tells us: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

(Heb. 4:13)

In fact Jesus himself said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.”

(Matt. 10:29-31)

One of our truest beliefs is that God is omniscient...He’s all knowing. And this scriptural precedent comes from these verses and hundreds of others.

But we don’t believe that God is just an observer of our lives. We as God’s people believe He is an active participant. “And we know that in...all things God works for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purpose.”

(Rom. 8:28)

God is continually working through His people, He is continually guiding, directing and protecting His people, so His purpose can be fulfilled.

By the way that purpose is revealed in Romans 8:29. “It’s so we can be made into the image of His son Jesus, the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

So let’s look at that firstborn son’s life. How He lived it and the example it should be for us as we consider our purposes daily.

I. SOMETIMES WE HAVE TO LEAVE A COMFORTABLE PLACE FOR AN UNCOMFORTABLE PLACE

David Kibler shared something that will resonate in my mind for a long time. He said, “Many people treat the Church like a country club...they pay dues and expect benefits in return.”

I’ve even had someone say to me...“I’m a paying member!!! I really don’t think I helped the situation...because I laughed out loud and asked, “what does that mean?”

I knew the answer even before David reminded me...“I give therefore I should receive the benefits I want...I paid for them.”

We live in a culture that constantly teaches this philosophy...work for money....but stuff that makes life better, more comfortable...pay for benefits...receive those benefits.

The problem for the child of God is that this is the exact opposite of God’s kingdom...Jesus said:

MATTHEW 20:25-29 (p. 690)

The world says exercise your authority, demand your rights. Figure out a way to have people serve you...put yourself first.

Jesus said, “Not so with you...If you want to be great in my kingdom, serve others like me, put yourself last...give your life.”

I’ve had this thought running through my heart and mind all this week after a phone call earlier...

[What if you had a tree that produced fruit that tasted sweet, people liked eating it...but the fruit was poisonous...it caused those who ate it to be sick, but it tasted so good they got other people to eat it, and it made those people unhealthy as well. What would you want to do with that tree? I’d want to cut it down....the fruit it produced is hurting people I love.

Sometimes in what we call the church...there is that kind of fruit produced when we allow the philosophy of exercising authority, demanding rights, figure out how people can serve me....to be what we adopt...instead of the “not so with you” fruit of servant hood. Jesus said, “you recognize a tree as good or bad by the fruit it produces.”

In our text Jesus and his disciples are impacting their community...so much so the news reaches the Pharisees...what news do they hear...“Jesus is gaining and baptizing more disciples than John.”

For the Pharisees it truly was a numbers game. More people following you is what it’s all about.

But Jesus knew that it wasn’t about the numbers...“In fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but His disciples...So they left Judea!”

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