AGCC Sun. a.m. 1/9/2000

TEXT:     TEXT: John 4:4-42


The opportunities for ministry to others does not always come at a convenient time! The choices of who we would like to see saved doesn't always present itself conveniently at times! In fact, many of the greatest moments of leading others to Christ will come unexpectedly and they may be people that we ordinarily would not have chosen to lead to Christ. Christ's passion was winning the lost, and seeking out the lost, it did not matter to Him if they were Gentile or Jew, male or female, rich or poor … just that they were lost without Him! ILLUS:God's salvation takes into account the lost, the last, and the least. -- Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990). We cannot afford to bypass anyone in witnessing, everyone is a candidate to hear God's message of salvation, and every Christian is a witness of God's salvation! ILLUS:One day a lady criticized D. L. Moody for his methods of evangelism in attempting to win people to the Lord. Moody's reply was "I agree with you. I don't like the way I do it either. Tell me, how do you do it?" The lady replied, "I don't do it." Moody retorted, "Then I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 178. Tired, busy, hectic schedules, nothing should deter us from the greatest mission of mankind, sharing the message of Christ's salvation. Jesus utilized every moment to reach out, even when exhausted! PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that every contact with others is an opportunity to share our faith. There is no one excluded from God's love, Jesus reached out to touch even the morally lax with the offer of salvation.

I. MESSIAH'S MISSION       4:4-6

A. Systematic     4:4 1. Jesus was passionate about His mission. a. He traveled extensively and systematically as much as possible. b. Even in this passage He "had to go through Samaria" c. The necessity wasn't as much geographical as it was in the mission itself. 2. Christ refused to take the long way around the territory of the Samaritans just to avoid contact with them, necessity of getting to the next place meant using the shortest route possible, which was the direct route through Samaria. 3. Any normal Jew would have avoided this if at all possible since the Samaritans and Jews had a very poor relationship with one another, they despised each other! a. This was a long standing feud, going back to a time hundreds of years earlier when some poor Jews who were left behind in a captivity sweep married non Jews and thus became impure. b. Jesus however refuses to be ruled by prejudices, He sees people the same, as all in need of a savior. He came for the "WORLD". 4. For Christ, ministry is not a duty, it is a passion! As Christians this should be our attitude as well! ILLUS:It is our privilege to have world evangelism as a passion, not our responsibility to have as a burden. -- Attributed to Mary Nordstrom; quoted by Gary Ginter in a sermon. Christianity Today, Vol. 38, no. 6. 5. It is not enough to hope for a harvest, Jesus made Himself available to make it happen also. ILLUS:Everybody wants a harvest, but few want to plow. -- Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990). 6. Christ looked at every moment as an open invitation to reach someone. a. We as Christians would do well to emulate Him in this. b. So often we pray for a harvest, but this is wrong! Jesus never said "pray for a harvest" - He said, Mat 9:38 "Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." c. There IS A HARVEST … the only lack is workers!!! B. Sacrificial     4:5-6 1. Jesus was exhausted and in territory where Jews would be unwelcome, it was at noon and the heat of the day was no doubt terrible, hence His thirst. And He had just finished a grueling time of ministry to huge crowds before stopping here. Since the disciples had gone into town to buy food He was probably also hungry. a. Jesus had every excuse to avoid ministry to anyone else that came into contact with Him! b. Most of us would have said, "I deserve some time away from ministry" 2. Instead of some well deserved rest Jesus finds Himself coming face to face with a Samaritan woman of very questionable character! a. What will He do? b. He finds Himself once again sacrificing His own needs for the needs of others … this is the love of God at work! 3. Many times we will find ourselves in situations where we understandably could relax and yet there we are, faced with someone who needs ministry. a. So often our own need then has to take a back seat to the greater need of the other person! b. Jesus eventually would lay down His own life for us, but He showed this trait long before the cross! ILLUS:Andrew Meekens, an elder in the International Evangelical Church of Addis Ababa, was one of those who died on November 23, 1996, when a hijacked jet ran out of fuel and crashed near the Comoros Islands. According to survivors of the crash, after the pilot announced he would attempt an emergency landing, Meekens stood up and spoke, calming passengers on the Ethiopian Airlines flight. Meekens then presented the gospel of Jesus Christ, and invited people to respond. A surviving flight attendant said that about twenty people accepted salvation, including a flight attendant who did not survive the crash. We preach as dying people to dying people. -- Beacon (1/97). Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership. 4. Where are our priorities when it comes to ministry to others? II. MESSIAH'S MESSAGE     4:7-42 A. Salvation     4:7-26 1. Jesus finds Himself exhausted facing a very needy lady. a. She was a Samaritan woman … the Samaritans were hostile with the Jews. b. That fact that she comes at noon instead of the usual dawn or dusk when most women came to draw water indicates that she was probably a woman of low moral character … by coming alone at a time when the women didn't normally come assured her of not being hassled. c. It was completely improper for a Jew to interact with a Samaritan, much less a woman, much less a woman of low repute! 2. Jesus doesn't see however a hopeless case, or racial barriers, or someone who may make Him ceremonially unclean … He only saw someone with the need of forgiveness! 3. It is important to not ignore those around us who are need. ILLUS:The world has more winnable people than ever before ... but it is possible to come out of a ripe field empty-handed. -- Donal McGavran. Leadership, Vol. 12, no. 4. 4. Jesus' greatest need wasn't rest, it wasn't water, it wasn't food, it was to do the will of the father who sent Him! 5. The world's greatest need is not material in nature, and while it is important for us to do as much as we can materially to help others, we must not ignore the spiritual nature of the world's need! ILLUS:Charles Malik, Lebanese ambassador to the United Nations, asked in a speech: "What has been the greatest American contribution to the rest of the world? Has it been money? Has it been food? Has it been medical skill? Has it been military might? Has it been industrial know-how?" Then he answered, "The greatest thing to come out of America has been the American missionary effort: the quiet, selfless men and women who have left the comfort and security of their homeland to bring the gospel of Christianity to less favored nations. -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 358. 6. Jesus attempts to get this woman to recognize her true need. a. She is thinking in terms of physical water at first. b. She would be happy to have this special water from Jesus so she wouldn't have to come and draw water from the well anymore. c. Jesus however moves her from the physical need to the spiritual need. 7. Like so many today, once it is clear that Jesus is driving home a spiritual issue, she begins to argue theology and forms of religion. a. This has always been the way people attempt to avoid the real issue of their soul, get into an argument over religion. b. Her diversion tactics however fail as Jesus puts the issue back on her and her need. 8. Jesus exposes her sinfulness …. a. While Jesus may have been able to guess she was a woman of low moral standing by the fact that she had come to draw water alone during the heat of the day instead of with the other women at dusk or dawn there was no way anyone could have guessed her 5 other sexual affairs and the present one she was now in! b. Her response to Jesus' exact details is finally to acknowledge the spiritual dynamic of Christ, albeit only as a prophet. c. She is in need of further revelation, and so Christ tells her plainly who He is. 9. She needed more than a prophet, she needed a savior! a. So many people today are running to new age prophets or even prophets in the Church for answers, the world's greatest need however isn't prophets, it needs a true savior! b. Jesus is the only savior of the world! c. Christ's offer of salvation is genuine, although she was a sinful woman estranged from the Jews and her own people Christ sees a person who has a real chance to be something in Christ! B. Spiritual     4:27-42 1. It was bad enough that the Samaritan woman could only see the material realm at first, now Jesus' disciples return and they are frustrated that Jesus is talking to a Samaritan woman … but they say nothing! a. Their only concern was for Jesus to eat something!! b. They could care less about this woman … they were only concerned about Jesus! c. Isn't it ironic that we can be so concerned about our Lord that we forget about those in need? 2. How about us? Can we be so concerned about proper worship services and how much we pray to the Lord that we do nothing about lost people around us? a. The woman in the meantime "left her water jar, …went back to the town and said to the people, 'Come see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?'" (4:28-29) b. Isn't it interesting that she left her water jar behind, after all, it was physical water she had come for originally! c. She had found something better, something more satisfying … and suddenly the spiritual was far more important than the material! d. When we have contact with God through Christ our understanding of the importance of spiritual things vs. material things takes on a whole new dimension. 3. She could never have expected what she found, but it was her greatest joy! ILLUS:My mother and I arise early on Saturday mornings to catch all the garage sales. One typical Saturday we spotted a garage sale that seemed to be just opening for business. We quickly walked into the man's garage and began looking over his wares. After a few minutes and several stern looks from the solemn-faced garage owner, he asked if there was anything he could do for us. "This is a garage sale, isn't it?" my mother asked timidly. The gentleman chuckled, somewhat relieved. "No," he said. "I was just cleaning out my garage. But if there's something you want, let me know." We did--and now he's five dollars richer. -- Teri Leinbaugh, Shelbyville, KY, Christian Reader, "Lite Fare." 4. Isn't it ironic that the disciples of Jesus didn't want Jesus bothering with this woman, yet she is in town witnessing to everyone! a. She wanted to shout from the streets her newfound joy in having the Messiah come to her! b. Though an outcast is so many ways, God saw in her value, and she became a daughter of God through Christ! 5. Many in the town believed in Christ because of her witness … and they too made their way out to see Jesus. a. Some rest for Christ! - now He has a whole town to minister to! b. Even more believed in Him after they heard Him speak themselves! 6. From a simple opportunity to minister to an adulterous woman an entire Samaritan village found the greatest gift of all, the gift of salvation! 7. And in all this Jesus has to teach His own disciples the importance of keeping a priority on ministry when it presents itself, not on food, rest, or anything else! a. They went into town to buy bread … she went into town to give the bread of life to everyone! b. They went into town for their own needs, she went to meet everyone else's needs. c. They wanted to minister to Christ, but Christ wants them to minister to others! 8. What about us? a. Can we get lost in our own little world of happy worship of the Lord and forget about the kinds of people Jesus ministered to? b. Do we who have Christ get too caught up in the material things that we forget the importance of the spiritual realm? c. Is there a "woman at the well" in our lives … someone who desperately needs Christ - and are we too busy or tired to reach out to that person? 9. Though Jesus had originally taken the short cut through Samaria to obviously get through here quickly He instead stays 2 extra days just to minister to these hungry and thirsty souls … Jacob's well wasn't good enough for their needs, they needed LIVING WATER! CONCLUSION:    Though exhausted from a busy schedule, Jesus found both the time and energy to minister to someone whose lifestyle and values were not even accepted by the ungodly citizens around her! Are we sensitive to the spiritual needs of those around us, or does our busy lives keep us from ministry? Shouldn't the passion and the mission of the Messiah be ours too?