Summary: Part 6 on a series based on the study by Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale. Jesus was a superb conversationalist. Like him, we need to spend more of our time conversing about meaningful topics, especially spiritual ones.
Jesus was a superb conversationalist. Like him, we need to spend more of our time conversing about meaningful topics, especially spiritual ones.
A new pastor was asked to teach a boys class in the absence of their regular teacher. He decided to see what they knew, so he asked who knocked down the walls of Jericho. All the boys denied having done it, and the preacher was appalled at their ignorance.
At the next board meeting, he told about the experience. “Not one of them knows who knocked down the walls of Jericho.” he lamented. The group was silent until a seasoned veteran spoke up. “Preacher, this appears to be bothering you a lot. But I've known all those boys since they were born and they’re good boys. If they said they don’t know, I believe them. Let’s just take some money out of the repair and maintenance fund, fix the walls and let it go at that.”
Each one of us is placed by God to be an insider into people's lives so they can find a personal, intimate relationship with Him. Our family members, co-workers, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances are all around you so you can be a personal and positive influence.
Our study has given us a look at common beliefs in the world that are counter-cultural to God's plan of salvation. This insight is not just for our own benefit, but so that we can develop ways to have meaningful conversations with others that answer questions many people are searching for in life. The key to this is understanding that God has strategically placed you in your sphere of influence to be an insider.
Today as we conclude this series Jesus Among Secular Gods, I want to leave you with a challenge to be the Jesus the people in your sphere of influence needs. You may be the only opportunity they have to see and talk with a true believer in Christ. For some reason, most Christians are afraid to share what they believe and what Christ has done in their life. Sometimes we think there must be some kind of formula. Other times we're afraid of rejection. Still, other times we just don't know what to say to hard questions.
I think a big root in all of this is we've lost the art of being great conversationalists. To really sit down and listen and converse. So this morning, I want to talk to you about the most meaningful conversations you will ever have in your life and how you can comfortably share about Jesus in your sphere of influence, by going back to the master conversationalist, Jesus.
I. Be Willing to Break Through Social and Cultural Barriers
3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
6 Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) (John 4:3-9)
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH?
Jesus was a master conversationalist. I pray all the time that God would give me that same boldness and skill of Jesus to have the kind of conversations he did with people. Jesus went out and had honest conversations with people because ultimately he cares about them. What became deep and meaningful conversations about spiritual things started off as conversations about everyday things.
One thing that Jesus did well was cross-cultural and social boundaries. He was not afraid of differences between him and other people. He talked with the wealthy, the poor, men, woman, religious, or secular with the same amount of ease. He even talked with people labeled "the enemy."
In our culture today we are hostage to our prejudices or fear of being prejudices. What we the church need to do is stop looking at all the differences between us and the rest of the world and start looking at the common needs. What Jesus did here was break cultural barriers with 4 words by connecting him and the woman with something universal. Thirst.
The greatest source of sin and separation from God today is a different kind of thirst. We have all the water we need with just a 20-foot walk to any faucet. But there remains a single and universal thirst that we are still longing to satisfy. Loneliness.