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Today on Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ saying to her, you have to become more moral Relationship with God. You have to go through ceremonies to have a relationship with God. You don't have to go through notably have a relationship with God is what you need to do it is they – it's a gift you ask of you for joining us today on this additional Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhardt Fellowship in the Words the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible church located in Metairie, Louisiana going pastor Bill Gebhardt now is once again he shows us how God's word. Our world John Dickerson in the intro to his great evangelical recession writes these troubling words. He says the American church is on the precipice of a great evangelical recession and while we focus on a few large churches and dynamic national church leaders, the church's overall numbers are shrinking. That truth is kind of hard to take, especially in light of what you think evangelicals have tried over the last 40 years. There was evangelism explosion. James Kennedy saturation evangelism George peters lifestyle evangelism Joe Walbridge common ground Mauser Remsen apologetic evangelism with men like Norm Geisler for spiritual laws Bill Bright tracks and billboards and yet he says the church is overall numbers are shrinking. I'm sure the most if not all of those that I mentioned a biblically sound. But this morning I'd like to add another approach and the reason I went to a ditzy approach. I have supreme confidence in because it's the approach of Jesus Christ himself. Could there be a better role model and how do we evangelize in God's son and our Savior. If you remember, I'm doing a series on conversations that Jesus had last time he was talking to a man, a Jewish man.
His name was Nicodemus and he was a religious insider, but now he's gonna have another conversation, this time with a woman and she is in a moral outsider, open your Bibles to John chapter 4 John chapter 4. Think of the contrast of these two conversations Nicodemus is moral, religious.
He's an upstanding Jew he's learned he's a theologian he's a society elite is a prominent leader and he is respected by everybody this woman that I will introduce this morning is immoral. She's religiously indifferent. She's a Samaritan she's uneducated she's socially an outcast. She's completely ignorant about Jesus and yet Nicodemus seeks out Jesus, but Jesus seeks out the woman now is reason why we seek out this woman really got the last time in chapter 3. Remember what he said to Nicodemus, he said the Nicodemus and in verse 15 he said, so that whoever believes in him will have eternal life. And then he also said in verse 16 for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. He wants to back up that claim to be God so loved the world. Yes, the world yes Samaritans yes.
You see, that's what Jesus is doing here is showing that whoever believes will have eternal life, and it doesn't matter if you're Jewish or not. And so in verse four of chapter 4 it said, and he had to pass through Samaria. Now you have to pass through them Samaria because it was on the way to where he was going even though it was on the way to where he was going Judaism.
The South then Samaria, then Galilee. But Jews when they traveled north and south from Galilee to Judah or from Judah to Galilee always did the same thing that crossed the Jordan River. They went over to the east bank. Then they went up to Galilee and back in May never went through Samaria, but here it says in the text that Jesus had to pass through Samaria not because of the geography because of the point that he wants to make God so loved the world and menaces and so we came to a city of Samaria called sidecar near a parcel of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph becomes tool well sidecar is a small hamlet. The wells about 1/2 a mile south of the city and it's in Samaria you heard me speak on this before but the Samaritans are sort of like half breeds at one time. If you remember there was just Israel and had 12 tribes and David was King but and then Solomon's son became king but after Solomon it split 10 tribes to the north were called Israel. The two tribes. The South recalled Judah with the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin. Every King in the North was evil every single King and so there was a king named Omri he was an evil king in the north and he renamed a made a new capital in the north and Samaria, and it was called Israel the time, but he name that city. Samaria and so that's while the whole area got that way and so on 722 when the Assyrians took the 10 tribes captive when ended up happening to this 10 tribes was that some people stayed in the land and then the Assyrians came in and they sort of became a blended religion a religion of a lot of pagan beliefs and religion. A lot of Jewish beliefs. They only recognize the Pentateuch, they only recognize the books of Moses. No other book in the Old Testament to the recognize they hated the Jews, the Jews hated them. It's a very important thing to understand because that's the context here it says that in verse six, after he came to Jacob's well Jesus being wearied from his journey, there is humanity he's tired you see the humanity of Jesus Christ is tired.
Was sitting, it says. Thus, by the well and it was the sixth hour noon unusual time sitting by a well at noon, but it is a divine appointment. The woman is going to come by the way women do not go to Wells noon they go to Wells early in the morning right around sunrise or they go right around sunset evening but don't go this woman goes at noon because she's the kind of woman that other women don't want to be around so she comes at noon.
So the very first point that you're going to see here with the idea of Jesus evangelizing is this Jesus initiates an unexpected connection. Jesus initiates an unexpected connection, and it's a very strange thing to them, but not so strange to us. It says there came a woman of Samaria to draw water and Jesus said to her to give me a drink. See from our point of view was a big deal about that. Well, there's a lot of big deals about that. First of all Jewish men don't speak to strangers who are women.
Even in Judah. If you're Jewish woman your stranger do a Jewish man in public, you will not speak to you.
You see, that was the culture. Also, we find out. The Jews had nothing to do a Samaritan, but there's 1/3 thing here. If this woman gives Jesus a drink he would be ceremonially unclean because he is taken water that was given to them by a Samaritan. Jesus ignores all that and just says there were.
He says give me a drink is the site was gone away into the city to buy food yet already convince them you could buy food from Samaritans and you would be unclean. You see this whole idea is the Jews are so distinctly different from the Samaritans, but there's a difference with Jesus Christ. Jesus sanctifies anything he touches. If he touches something unclean, it becomes claim in Matthew eight, a leper comes to him and asked for mercy in Jesus touches the leper, you're not allowed to do that except he made the leper clean. Jesus is not worried about whether or not he's clean. Therefore, the Samaritan woman said to him, she's right on top of this, how is it that you being a Jew, asked me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman for Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. John writes so Jesus initiates an unexpected connection was she expecting to be evangelized that day. Not all by the way most people want to see one of the things is difficult about a lot of program evangelism is you know you say things like wallet to get together on Thursday night and Emily Blunt evangelized you the best evangelism takes place when you just walk into a person.
I call that a divine appointment. You see can happen. It can happen on a bus or an airplane a can happen at a ballgame. It can happen at work. It just happens that way. In this case, Jesus initiates an unexpected from her point of view connection. The second thing he does is he offers an unsolicited gift Jesus answered he said to her, if you knew the gift of God and who it is that says do you give me a drink, you would have asked him he would have given you living water.
I think her head, suspending no I think she's worried there something wrong with this guy. Please understand from her point of view she's alone. She's a half-mile from the city. There's one Jewish man there and he's talking like this. What is he talking about if you knew the gift of God and the one who was talking to use if you just knew. He says you would have asked him to give you living water. What a contrast, think of the gift of God here the word is Berea it's not Cara's word we get from grace and also is translated as a gift the New Testament. This is the word Maria and Berea means I get something is given to you without cost.
So he says if you know the deal.
I have for you. What's he offering her while in the context will see the grace, the mercy and forgiveness of God to gift.
She's not asking for anything that uses offer to and then he makes a statement of must of been befalling to her and he said if you did that he would've given you living water. Living water for that be moving in a what does it mean living water. He has a context for this.
He just didn't make this up once and hold your place and go back to Jeremiah chapter 2 with me. You see what Jesus is doing is an absolute contrast to all religion and I mean all religion, all the religions of the world basically are going to be exactly the same. The religions of the world are simply going to be this and that is you need to do something and if you do it well enough.
You might get right with God. You need to be morally better than you are. You need to go through some's ceremonies. You need to go through a ritual, whatever it is all the religions of the world are the same there something you need to do and then maybe if you do it well enough you get right with God.
That's the curse of religion by the way, even God's people slide into that religious habit.
That's what I want you to see in Jeremiah 2 verse 13 the prophet speaking, he says, for my people. Here's God for my people have committed two evils. They have forsaken me, and then he says let me describe why am they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters because that's who I am. I am the fountain of living waters, he says, and they have done so to queue for themselves cisterns open cisterns that can hold no water. What is he mean my people have become religious. That's what they've done they've gone through ritual and ceremony, and they believe that the ritual and the ceremony will please me.
You see, if you going to use the analogy when he talks about this living water. He is saying here what my people were doing is are just taking water and instead of you having it come from the inside out there splashing on their face and are saying there doesn't that work and he says bigger cisterns don't hold water.
Now back to John to see what Jesus is saying to her, you don't have to become more moral to have a relationship with God.
You have to go through ceremonies to have a relationship with God. You don't have to go through ritual to be have a relationship with God is what you need to do it is need to ask before it's a gift what it you ask. I'll give it it's the grace it's the mercy it's the gift of God. That's what he is saying to her, he is saying there.
I got something for you that is this basic and necessary to your spiritual life as water is to your physical life. I wish he has no idea it would stop. She said him sir. I many point this out. You have nothing to draw with in the well is deep where then he going to get the living water. By the way, the was about 100 feet deep unilateral and she's the worst worst living water coming from. By now I think she's thinking of when what is going with this guy Jesus. He understands, but notice what she says she's annoyed with them. She says you are not greater than our father Jacob, are you who gave us the well and drank of it himself and his sons is cattle. This is a very important place to her. This is where Jacob gave the well this is where Joseph by the way, after he died in Egypt the bones of Joseph were taken back and buried here.
This is a very special place to her and she saying basically the Jesus you know Jacob well write what you is no Jacob he's a son of God Jesus answered and said to her, everyone who drinks this water will thirst again. Now watch after he initiated an unexpected connection and after he offered her this unsolicited gift. He gives her nonparallel promise, he says, 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. Notice what he is saying. Once you drink the water.
I offer you'll never be thirsty again. By the way, it's a great verse with eternal security of a believer. Jesus is you'll never be thirsty again want to drink of my water.
You'll never be thirsty again seen it goes from the inside out.
See Jesus stays right on message. She tries to get him to talk about Jacob and Jesus wants not of it. He just dismisses her remarks, he dismisses her gender. He dismisses her nationality. He just dismisses he stays on track and he gives her this promise of eternal life. It comes from the inside. Some of the Keller says this about what Jesus is doing.
Jesus is not just telling us that he has, to offer a lifesaving water to us. He is also revealing that it satisfies from the inside. He is saying my water. If you get a will become a newer spring of water welling up to eternal life. He's talking about deep soul satisfaction about incredible satisfaction and contentment that does not depend on what's happening to us. To the outside. Using religious duty. Religious services you splice yourself Jesus. So when you going to relationship with me. It comes in the inside comes out its internal well. The question is based on colors remarks what is the gives you a satisfying life. What is it that gives you a satisfying life or someone said you you want a life that is satisfying what you want, almost always have your honest your your answer will be to be something from the outside, that's what you'll say what I wanted something from the outside. I mean, some people set their hope when romantic love.
You might be thinking ladies you know when Mr. Wright comes in the my life is likely to become Mr. wrong. You see is not that some people set their hope on an exciting career, but when I get that job when I get that promotion when I get that I'm to be satisfied with my life.
That's going to be satisfying to me. Some people get satisfied because if they want to back the right social cause if I just back the right social cause. My life will be satisfying. Some of us are more simple than that if I just have enough money, I'll be satisfied.
You see, it can be travel with them, but it's always something like that. You think in this way, if you're thinking you got to be most satisfied when you have that or when you get there. You're doing exactly what Jesus is your thinking you can satisfy your life from the outside in, and all you're doing to splashing water interface Jesus that I can give you an absolute unfathomable satisfaction in the core of your being that will last forever. That's what he is offering. If you think about it is that the way the world works is that would people really looking for. No, no, were always believing it's one of those great lives that we believe that I'll be satisfied when and if it's a lie.
I remember a few weeks ago I read an article by Boris Becker, the, the German tennis star.
It was interesting what he said in this article he wrote he said I have one Wimbledon twice once is the youngest male player to ever win. I was rich beyond my wildest imagination. I had all the material possessions I could've ever needed, but my life became like that old song of movie stars and pop stars who commit suicide. They have everything and yet there so unhappy. You see I had everything you could imagine in life, but I had no inner peace and nothing satisfied me yet. We believe the work will I be different than him. If I had what he had, I'd be satisfied.
And what happens then as we end up making an idol out of what it is that we think will most satisfies we end up worshiping it. That's what we think about. That's were driven to succeed because we think that's when satisfaction is going to come is not only the view of the church is the view of anybody who's really astute man named David Foster Wallace, and you can look them up at some time he was at the top of his profession is an author and award-winning, best-selling postmodern novelist. He's known for pushing all the envelope agnostic at best, atheistic, likely no friend of Jesus of the church. He once wrote a sentence. By the way, that fascinated me over a thousand words long that takes some doing, but he is famous now for this commencement speech that he gave David Kenyon College. This is what he said. Interestingly enough, everybody worships the only choice we get is what the worship and the compelling reason for maybe we should choose a sort of God to worship is that if you choose anything else but a God to worship and reach you alive.
He says if you worship money and things they are, where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough. You'll never feel you have enough it's the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual lore and you always feel ugly and wanted time and age begin to start showing on you. You will die a million more desk before your loved ones finally plan you worship power and you wind up feeling weak and afraid and you will need evermore power over others to numb you of your own fear.
Worship your intellect being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid fraud always on the verge of being found out look the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they are evil or sinful that this perspective, it is that they are our default settings as human beings we always want to worship something that will never satisfy. By the way couple years after the speech he committed suicide. Jesus says unless you receive living water. You will live your life with the first pastor broke your heart on the radio ministry of fellowship in the world. If you ever missed one of our broadcast or maybe you just like to listen to the message one more time. Remember, you can Google a great website called one place.com that's one place.com and you can listen the fellowship and the word online at that website you will find on with today's broadcast but also many of our previous audio program, had Fellowship in the Word. We are thankful for those who financially support our ministry and make this broadcast possible. We ask all of our listeners to prayerfully consider how you might help his radio ministry continuous broadcast on this radio station by supporting us monthly with just a one-time gift support for ministry can be sent to Fellowship in the Word.
4600 Clearview Pkwy., Metairie, LA 7006 if you would be interested in hearing today's message in its original format that is is a sermon that Pastor Bill delivered during a Sunday morning service of fellowship monitored visit our website FVC Nola.org that FVC and of LA.O RG at our website you will find hundreds. Pastor Bill sermon. You can browse through our sermon archives to find sermon series you're looking for or you can search by title. Once you find the message you're looking for.
You can listen online or if you prefer, you can download the sermon and listen your inquiry and remember all this absolutely free of charge. Once again our website is FVC Nola.org forecaster Bill Gebhardt and Jason Denhardt thanking you for listening to fellowship in order