Summary: Testimony, Witness, Unashamed of Jesus
THE WELL – A Place You Learn Your Story
John 4:27-38 (p. 742) March 29, 2015
“Faith comes by hearing”...that’s what the Apostle Paul told the Christians in Rome.
You cannot believe in something that’s never been communicated to you. And amazingly Jesus’ plan for the salvation of the entire world would be that “His follower” would be the communicators of this “good news.”
I get this picture in my mind...
When Jesus ascended to heaven after his mission on earth, the angels asked him, “Did you accomplish your task?”
“Yes. All is finished.”
“We have a second question,” said the angels. “Has the whole world heard of you?”
“No,” he said, “not yet.”
“Then what is your plan?”
Jesus said, “I have left 12 men and some other followers to carry the message to the whole world.”
The angels looked at one another, down onto the earth, then back at him. “What is your Plan B?”
His answer: “There is no plan B.”
In John Chapter 4 Jesus is teaching not only the Samaritan woman, but His followers an essential truth... “Lost people are valuable to God...lost people are why I’m here...but people are my priority.”
Not because they are targets, or notches I can carve into my gospel gun because I’ve converted them...They are important because they are people “created in the image of God.” The Samaritan woman never felt Jesus was talking AT her...or that she was just a target...Jesus, according to John in his gospel “came from the Father full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
And Jesus never avoids the truth...whether it’s about her life, or when she tries to sidestep it with a discussion on worship...but He just as passionately pursues her with grace. “If you knew who it was that asks you for a drink you’d ask Him for living water!” She almost cries out after looking at the truth “I know that Messiah is coming...He’ll explain it all to us!” And Jesus responds, “The one speaking to you is that Messiah...I AM He.”
I. UNTIL WE MEET THE MESSIAH THERE IS NO GOOD NEWS IN OUR STORY
That doesn’t mean that some good things don’t happen...I’m sure even in this woman’s life there were some “good moments.” The birth of a baby...Her wedding days...First loves...the trip to her aunts.
God’s grace...His goodness is given to the best of us and to the worst of us...That’s why grace drives “so called good people” and religious people crazy...Grace isn’t fair...God apportions it as He sees fit...It’s a gift...not as some would prefer...a pay check for good works.
It’s why Jesus tells the story of workers who work all day in order to receive a promised coin...but other workers are called all through the day...including an hour before quitting time...each are given the same coin...and even though the original workers get what they agreed to...they question the fairness of the owner doing this. He simply says...You get what was agreed on...it’s only Money...and I can do with it as I please!” At the end of this story the landowner asks “Are you envious because I am generous?” And it finishes... “So the last will be first and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:1-16)
The religious people of Jesus’ day, the Pharisees believed they were the most worthy to be paid by God. So when Jesus shows up and offers grace to Samaritan women, tax collectors and zealots and fisherman....they become “envious” of His generosity...so envious they begin to plot to kill Him.
Jesus tells the crowds in His sermon from the mountain in Matthew 5 an essential truth about the difference between the Pharisee’s philosophy and God’s Kingdom. Listen:
MATTHEW 5:43-48 (p. 678)
Showing yourself to be God’s child requires “Grace.” The world can love its friends and hate its enemies. The world can rejoice in the sunshine. The world can be friendly to its own kind.
But only in the Spirit can we love and pray for our enemies. Only as we crucify ourselves can we find joy and meaning in the rain, only because we care about thirsty people can we offer it to those outside these walls. I’ve met a ton of pagans who come to church but never live as children of the Father.
Until we live our lives in view of eternity can we really show the good news of our story.
Romans 8:28 promises “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
That promise is only for those who love God and understand why we are here.
His purpose is recorded in Romans 8:29, “That purpose is “to shape us into the image of His son.”
Let me ask a very real question right now. It’s an eternal question...and maybe the most important one you can honestly answer.