Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday Sermon Notes 1/29/2012

This past Sunday's sermon continued the series we are currently studying titled "In His Image" and is the fifth sermon in the series.  The sermon was titled "Like Jesus in our Witness" and was given by Dr. Bill Brewer.  Just like last Sunday, this sermon was one that not only made me think about my relationship to those in the world who are lost, but it was one that convicted me as well.  Here are my notes from his sermon.  I pray that they are of use to you.

The sermon covered two different passages: Matthew 9: 35-38 and John 4: 1-42 but before Dr. Brewer dove into the passages, he made the following observations:

He reminded us of what Jesus said in Matthew  5: 13-14
"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;
(Mat 5:13-14)
For salt to be used, it must first be taken out of the container.  It must go out into the world.  In other words, you have to get out of your little area and go out into the world.  One of the quotes Dr. Brewer used really stuck with me, and does even now.  There is no impact without contact!  Then he said something else that really hit home.  Most Christians, after two years  after surrendering to Christ really do not have non Christian friends.

Now think about that and then take a look at your own life as I did with mine.  Don't think about acquaintances, or co-workers, but friends you spend your time with, doing things together.  How many do you have?  Now, how do you view them?  Read on to see how we need to see them.

Matthew 9:35-38
Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He *said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. "Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest."
(Mat 9:35-38)
 At the very beginning of Jesus' ministry was having a tremendous impact among the people.  People were bringing the sick, the demon possessed, the blind, lame, leprous, you name it and they brought it.  Here was no exception.  Jesus did not ignore the people, and as they came to him, surrounded him, he did something not many others did.  Jesus cared for them.  And the people knew it.

One of the first things Dr. Brewer showed us was how Jesus felt about the people.  He had compassion for them.  Now the word compassion in Greek has three meanings.  It means:
      1. To show kindness
      2. To have symphony
      3. (the most intense) To enter into a distress of another to help alleviate their pain.
In Mat 5: 35, the compassion Jesus had for the people was that intense feeling, the feeling you have in the pit of your stomach that makes you hurt for them, to want to do whatever you can to help them in their misery and pain.  Jesus looked at the people around him as lost and wandering, looking for a way out, looking for someone to lead them.  Now think about this: Do you know anyone who is discouraged, or distressed, or depressive, someone who is fighting for, trying to find help?

I do.  And it's more than just the prisoners I go to with Bill Glass' Prison Ministry.

So here's another question.  When you do see people like this, what do you do?  Do you feel sorry for them and then move on to your next thing in life, walking away?  Maybe you utter a small prayer for them, asking God to bless them, to take care of them.

That's what I do a lot of times.  Much to my shame.

There is no contact without compassion.

In verse 37 Jesus makes a challenge to His disciples.  Jesus moves from the metaphor of sheep to one of a harvest.  As Jesus is looking out at the people, He tells His disciples that the harvest of souls is great but the workers are few.    Dr. Brewer had this to say about this: "The greatest need is NOT the conviction of sin in a sinner BUT compassion for sinners from saved people!"

So the first response is to pray.  Pray for compassion of the saved!  We and by we I mean me, and everyone who claims to be a follower of Christ, we are reluctant, afraid and most of the time are apathetic towards sinners.  I know that there are those out there to which this statement does not apply to, but to the of us, it does.

Dr. Brewer then took us over to John 4: 1-42.  ( I am not going to quote the entire passage here but would suggest you click the link and read it.)

John 4:1-42 is the story of Jesus at the well in Samaria, speaking to the Samaritan woman.  The background here is that Jews and Samaritans had what amounts to a feud going on, and even though going through Samaria would be the quickest way from Judea to Galilee and vice verse, most Jews would take a longer route to avoid going through Samaria.  For this part of Jesus' ministry, John 4: 4 states that He HAD to pass through Samaria.  Note that here the word had in the Greek is Dei and means necessary, must, ought and should.

As Jesus and the disciples journey, they come to the city of Sychar.  Jesus is tired, weary and hungry from the journey and sits at a well.  It is about 12 noon (the sixth hour) and a woman comes to draw water from the well.  This in itself is unusual in that most women draw water in the early morning and do so together.  For this woman to draw water at this time and alone must have had meaning.  What Jesus did next did have meaning.

Jesus asks the woman for a drink of water.  This is unusual in several ways.  First, it is a Jew speaking to a Samaritan.  Second, it is a man speaking to a woman.  Third, it is a man speaking to a woman who apparently has a reputation.

There *came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus *said to her, "Give Me a drink." For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman *said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
(Joh 4:7-9)
 Jesus models for us in this passage and those that follow, seven principles of how to interact with the lost:
  1. He took initiative.  Jesus asked the woman for a drink
  2. He asked a favor.  "Give me a drink"
  3. He establishes common ground.
  4. He communicates acceptance.
  5. He arouses interests in the gospel.
  6. He relates the gospel to real needs.
  7. He did not try to force a decision and actually avoided a forced decision. 
Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." She *said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? "You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?" Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." The woman *said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw." He *said to her, "Go, call your husband and come here." The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus *said to her, "You have correctly said, 'I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly." The woman *said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. "Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Jesus *said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman *said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us." Jesus *said to her, "I who speak to you am He."

(Joh 4:10-26)
Now a little later on she leaves for the town to tell the townsfolk just as Jesus' disciples are approaching.  They must have been completely shocked.  They saw their Master speaking with a Samaritan woman.  Why, Jesus must be delirious from hunger.  So they said to Jesus, "Here Lord, Eat!"

Jesus however, was no longer hungry, but satisfied in a way they did not understand.  Jesus finally says to his disciples that His food is doing the will of His Father.

And the will of His Father?  We find that in Luke 19:10
"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
(Luk 19:10)
Jesus was refreshed from meeting with the Samaritan woman and presenting the good news to her and he challenged His disciples to have the same priority as He did.  He pointed out the Samaritan people coming to Him and once again Jesus points out that the harvest is ready!

Jesus in this encounter does not show one of the biggest hindrances to reaching the lost that we as ordinary humans do and that is prejudice.  In this encounter we know that the Jews are prejudiced towards the Samaritan people yet Jesus ignored that and pressed forward.

Prejudice.  A lack of acceptance of a person.  For what reason?  Social?  Sexual?  Racial?  Nationality?  Jesus did not worry about this in this or in any encounter and shows us how we MUST be.  So what are you waiting for?  Indeed what am I waiting for?

Jesus was totally about the people who were coming towards him.   This is WHY he had to go this way for this period of his ministry.

Dr. Brewer ended with this challenge to us.  "If we don't share the message of Jesus Christ no one will.  No other organization on this planet has been given the privilege and challenge to share His message.  Not the Rotary Club, not the Lion's Club, not Mothers Against Drunk Driving.  No one but us.  This is the reason we exists on this planet!"

So there is the challenge and Jesus is the model.  Remember your friends I asked about earlier?  If they are not followers of Christ, if your co-workers are not followers of Christ, but they are hurting and looking, if they are like sheep gone astray...if not you then who?

Even though I go into the prisons, I have been convicted that it is NOT ENOUGH!  I need the compassion that Christ showed the Samaritan woman.

That is my prayer.  Will it be yours as well.

Have a great night and God Bless.

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