Summary: This is part four in a series dealing with the need for God’s people to break down the barriers that keep us from effectively building up the wall (God’s Kingdom). Having broken down those barriers we must build up the wall.
Breaking Down Barriers & Building Up The Wall (Pt. 4)
Sermon – 18 July 2004
Previous to last week I preached for three weeks on a series entitled “Breaking Down Barriers & Building Up The Wall”
Last week the Lord led to preach the sermon “Why Am I Here?” But this week I believe the Lord has led me to finish the series I had started. The first three sermons focused on the barriers that Jesus Destroyed in ministering to the woman at the well.
This week we will focus on building up the wall. The title may seem like a contradiction in terms but it really is not.
As it relates to what we have been discussing, barriers are those things that divide us, those things that keep us from the unity we should be walking in as the body of Christ.
The last few weeks have seen extraordinary events happening in and through this church. It all goes back to a word of prophecy that the Lord spoke to us over a month and a half ago followed by God touching many through the ministry of David Hogan at RWAG.
Then the Lord brought Pastor Mark and I together with a common heart for unity within the city of Holyoke. Last night I was out with Dan and Angel putting up fliers for the tent meetings and going to churches throughout the city visiting pastors.
God is moving in the city of Holyoke in a powerful way! Several pastors shared their heart to be seeking God together and breaking down the barriers that have divided the church for so long in this city.
One minister shared with us that he was talking to people who are not even Christians and they told him that they have the sense that something good is about to happen here!
God is moving in the hearts of his people to break down barriers of division and cause his people to rise up as the royal priesthood we are called to be and stand in the gap for the people.
In the first three parts of this series we looked at the account of Jesus’ visit with the Samaritan woman at the well in Sychar. In looking at that account we discussed the barriers that Jesus destroyed in ministering to this woman.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
Jesus left for us an example through what he did. We will quickly review the barriers he destroyed…
1) Geographical barrier – in going to Samaria when Jews would have nothing to do with Samaritans. Jesus went to Samaria because he had an appointment to keep (John 4:4)
2) Ethnic Barrier – in ministering to a Samaritan woman who was of a people that were viewed as “half-breeds” by the Jews because of the fact that their lineage was convoluted by intermarriage with other peoples.
3) Cultural Barrier – in ministering to a woman in public. It was taboo for a Jewish man to even speak to a woman in public, never mind a Samaritan one.
4) Religious Barrier – in ministering to a Samaritan at all, due to the religious heritage of the Samaritans which was one of mixed religion. Where the Jews left in the land after the Assyrian occupation intermarried with the nations that the Assyrians brought into the land and began to serve their gods, mixing the worship of Yahweh with the worship of pagan gods.
5) Historical Barrier – The Samaritans esteemed their history where the Jews looked down upon them precisely because of their historical background.
6) Personal Barrier – This woman tried to keep her life hidden from the people she lived around…and from Jesus. When he told her that she had been married five times and the man she was now living with was not her husband she acknowledged that he was a prophet and then tried to quickly change the subject.
Following that we looked at spiritual barriers – those things that keep our focus from being wholly focused on the Lord Jesus and doing His work.
The disciples tried to get Jesus to eat something but his response to them was…
34 "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. (John 4:34).
Jesus was not saying that there was anything wrong with food per se, his point in this was that he was not going to let anything of the world distract him from doing the will of his Father and finishing His work.
In destroying these barriers Jesus was doing the work of His Father in heaven…
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.