- Sermon Notes
Living Water For Our City
This week we witnessed God calling home His servant, the Rev Billy Graham.
While in college, Sherri & I had the unique opportunity to know Sandy Ford, a nephew of Billy Grahams. He was the president of Inter-Varsity, our student Christian fellowship. Billy Graham came to the Univ of NC to speak for 3 days – The secular school didn’t want to call it a crusade so they called it something like a speaker series.Sandy would die from heart surgery in November 1981.
- We would have never thought we would see the Gospel on a secular campus and experience watching students respond to the Gospel and go forward.
- Billy’s simple message to millions of people inspired me this week as I prepared for today’s message.
In our message today, we are going to experience an amazing story that reveals the heart of God for sinners in an amazing and powerful way;
A witnessing lesson from Jesus Himself in the Gospel of John when He encounters the woman at the well.
MAP OF SAMARIA DURING BIBLICAL TIMES
- Jesus needed to go from Jerusalem (Samaria) to Galilee but to get there He chose to pass through Samaria.
- Now during those times Jews hated Samaritans – Why?Well – – a little history will help us today.
- In 722 BC The Assyrian Empire conquered Samaria.Over time, many Jewish people departed to some far-off places, while Assyrians and others came in to replace them. The Samaritan people became the result of the intermarriages of these newcomers with the Jews who chose to remain.
- What a great lesson this is for us. We need to reach out to people who are not like us. This is the heart of the Lord. This is the example Jesus shows us in this story.
Galatians 3:28; There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
- So, Jesus could have, like most Jews, gone around Samaria but He had other plans and took the direct route.
- But He had an appointment to keep.An appointment that God Himself wanted Jesus to keep.
- The same Living water He offered the Woman at the Well – is available to each one of us –
- In many ways the Samaritan woman represents the spiritual thirst of those without God and without hope.
- She has been married and divorced five times and the man she is now living with is not her husband.
- Many have drunk from this well of success, or materialism, or pleasure.
- This is also what the prodigal son discovered in Luke 15, everything he was searching for was already at his father’s house.
It’s a lengthy passage so I encourage you to have it in front of you and follow along.There is a lot we can unpack from this story and apply to our lives.
I. JESUS MAKES THE ULTIMATE OFFER
- :10 – Yet while the Samaritan woman questions Jesus about His presence – He offers living water.
- :14 …but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
- I believe He’s dangling Spiritual bait in front of her and she completely misses it.What she was looking for all along was found in Him.
- :15 – She still doesn’t get it – we were once just like her.She’s sarcastic and flippant– perhaps part of her attitude towards men; they are all corrupt, they don’t care, they just take and never give.
- I think what’s happening here is that Jesus shows us that not every evangelism moment is ready for the harvest – She is not ready yet!He does not get impatient.
Were we ready the first time we heard the Gospel?I was in College before I was truly ready.
A. Be prepared to receive God’s gift
- :16-18 – Jesus identifies her greatest need; tells her to go and bring her husband.She is honest with Him…”I have no husband” – – – He reveals her sin.
- This is no Mother Teresa now – but when confronted she tells the truth – no excuses or fake stories.
- Again she tries to change the subject but Jesus, in grace and love, draws her to a relationship to God.
- There is no conversion without conviction and there is no forgiveness without repentance.
Matthew 21:31-32; Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. For John came in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did believe; and you, seeing this, did not repent and believe.”
B. The power of His name
- :25-26 – The Messiah is coming – He tells her “I who speak to you am he.”
- Can you imagine this scene?Are you prepared to give account of your life when you come face to face with God Himself?
- Are you here today and someone shared Christ with you and you chose to pass and move on – and again you find yourself here today and we are talking about this Messiah who is confronting you right now?
- Jesus is not just something you add to your life; He comes to transform our lives. That means that some things have to go, that’s what repentance is all about.
- This is the most straightforward declaration of His lordship to anyone so far in the New Testament.
- And He made it to a Samaritan woman – an outcast – but she was now ready!
- Christ doesn’t care who we are if we are ready to do business with Him.
Mark 8:36; “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Now the man who lead me to Christ was my college baseball coach. He took his bible and laid it on the table in front of me at his house because He knew when I went to him for life counsel, I WAS READY to hear about Christ.I had no idea what he had planned.
Then when I told my “friend” @ the time, Sherri – my wife now, about that conversation she knew I was ready too.She gave me her personal bible to take home over Christmas break, 1979, and told me to keep it nearby, to read it and let God speak to me.I’m thinking, How in the world is He going to reveal Himself to me? Or speak to me?
Less than a month later I got on my knees and asked God into my life @ the age of 19 & couldn’t wait to tell Sherri – who was no doubt praying everyday for me to enter into the Kingdom – and of course my coach was praying too.
- 2016 – 45% of Oregonians claimed to be non-religious or unchurched = 1.8M people
- 25% = 450,000 people waiting on invite
C. God’s lessons for us
- Jesus sat down and had a conversation with a stranger – Why?
- It was Evangelistic – our Lord Himself is teaching us about evangelism here in this text.
- Remember – the Good News was so good, so simple, that she left her pale or bucket :28 and ran back to town – she forgot or didn’t care about the water now.
3 Principles of Witnessing from Jesus Himself – Ready?
1. Talk to those who are interested :10
- He would have let her go if she wasn’t ready.
John 6:44; No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
- We need to recognize this about people and make simple conversation to check their interest.
2. Emphasize the need for Repentance
- A willingness to admit sinful behavior / Awillingnessto turn from sinful behavior.
Acts 20:21; …testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ..
- The work of the Holy Spirit convicts us.
John 16:8; And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement.
3. Keep people focused on Jesus
- :20 – She gets off track and Jesus brings her right back to His message.
- Keep the Main thing the Main thing – witness Jesus example.
- See the world the way God sees it – Be Harvesters.
- Ask God to open the door and give you 1 person to invite to church or witness to – Be deliberate.
- Pray about it; I believe He will give it to you.
John 4:1-42 NASB
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ 31 I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” 32 John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”