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Wake Up

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
January 21, 2024 6:00 pm

Wake Up

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew

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January 21, 2024 6:00 pm

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You have your Bibles with you. Turn with me, if you would, to the Gospel of John chapter 4, and we're starting at verse 27 going down through verse 42.

Can this be the Christ? They went out of town and were coming to him. Meanwhile, the disciples are urging him, saying, Rabbi, eat. But he said to them, I have food to eat that you do not know about. So the disciples said to one another, has anyone brought him something to eat?

Jesus said to them, my food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say there are yet four months, then comes the harvest? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.

For here the saying holds true. One sows and another reaps. I sent you to reap for which you did not labor.

Others have labored and you have entered into their labor. Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony. He told me all that I ever did. So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them. And he stayed there two days and many more believed because of his word.

They said to the woman, it is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world. Let's go to our Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father, I lift up our sick to you this morning. I pray for Wayne Allen, that you would strengthen his body and prepare him for surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. Pray for Bill Fulton, who's having a kidney stone removed in the near future. Pray for Christian Greer, who's suffering right now with Guillain-Barre disease. Pray for John Key's family and Lynn Nicholas's family and the death of Jack Key and Carol Starkey. Father, we pray for Jeremy Carriker and Jim Belk.

Renda Torrance and Kim Oudy, we pray for their healing. Lord, we pray for Jay Crestar as he's leaving to preach at First Presbyterian in Stanley. Lord, we just ask that you use him there for your glory. Heavenly Father, today's passage is a scripture that is dear to my heart.

Jesus took a spiritually apathetic, sinful woman and turned her into a burning witness for Christ. We pray that you might do that work in our own hearts. Help us to be filled with excited, Spirit-filled zeal for the gospel. Lord, keep my lips from error. Give us spiritual ears to hear. For it is in the precious and holy name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

You may be seated. Praise the Lord for CPAPs. Now, you may know exactly what a CPAP is and you may say, what in the world is he talking about?

Well, a CPAP is a little machine that helps with a medical problem called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs in a person when that person goes to sleep and there's a little flap of skin in the back of the throat. And when the person relaxes as he sleeps, the skin falls down and it blocks the passage for airway. It blocks it completely.

Air can't get through. And then the body has all kind of mechanisms to wake you up very quickly so that you won't die. But if the body doesn't do that, there are some who have died with sleep apnea.

Some of you remember Reggie White, great football player for Green Bay Packers and later the Carolina Panthers. He died with sleep apnea. About 18 years ago, we were sleeping and Cindy all of a sudden started jostling me in bed and she said, wake up, wake up, you're not breathing. I had noticed that I'd been getting sleepy through the day.

I'd fall asleep in the barber chair, I'd fall asleep in the dentist office, my energy level had just dropped down to nothing. And my sister Carol, who's a nurse, told me that Steve went to the doctor, found out that he had sleep apnea, and they put him on a CPAP. A CPAP has got a little mass to it and you put it on and it's got some little tunnels that go into your nose. And then there's a hose that goes down to the machine. And the machine sends air, shoots air up into your nose, and that keeps the little flap of skin from falling and blocking up the passageway. And my sister Carol said, this CPAP machine has been unbelievably good for Steve.

His energy level is way up. And she said, and the greatest thing about it, he's not snoring anymore. Well, at Cindy and Carol's insistence, I went to the doctor, found out that I had a severe case of sleep apnea. And so they ordered me a CPAP.

I got it from Hometown Oxygen where Jay Krestar came over to my house, brought it and set it up for me right beside my bed. I put on the mask and looked a little bit like Darth Vader. And I can remember Cindy just laughing and our dog getting scared and he ran out of the room. But I tell you, that was the best night's sleep that I had had in years. And all of a sudden, I just wasn't tired like I had been. After about three days, my energy level was just unbelievable. I wasn't feeling like I needed a nap at 10 o'clock in the morning. I wasn't falling to sleep at red lights. And my energy level was just way, way up.

I've had sleep apnea going on for several years, but I didn't deal with it because it came on me gradually. As I was reading this beautiful Chapter 4 of the Gospel of John, I couldn't help but notice that the disciples had somehow gradually lost their spiritual alertness. And I said, what is that?

I think we might call it spiritual sleep apnea. There's a good comparison that we have here of the woman and the disciples. Here's this woman at the well. Jesus did a work in this woman's heart. And I mean to tell you, she was on fire. She couldn't keep her mouth shut.

She ran back to the town of Sychar. She shared with everybody, I found the Messiah. I know that this man is the Savior. He's the one we've been looking for. This is the Lord.

This man is the Son of God. She was so excited. I mean, she had a burden for her friends. She had a burden for the lost. Evangelism was just pouring out of her. Disciples weren't quite like that. They'd been walking with Jesus for about two years.

And I think over those years, they somehow were gradually a little bit losing that burden that they'd had for the lost. Gradually, evangelism was not quite as important as it was at one time. And I think Jesus kind of had to kick start them. Kick start them to get them back to spiritual alertness where they should have been. And Jesus had to do that. And he did it by making this comment. He said, the fields are white unto harvest. Now, I want you to think back just for a minute to the days when right after you became a new Christian, you wanted to tell everybody, didn't you?

Nobody could shut your mouth. And you didn't care if somebody asked you some deep theological question that you couldn't really answer because all you were concerned about is that they come to know the Jesus that you knew and loved. It's easy in a Bible-believing church that is serious about theological correctness and church polity and personal sanctification. It's very easy in those situations to take the purpose of evangelism and to kind of put it on the back burner. And we say, my goodness, I don't have time for evangelism. I'm worried so much about me.

I'm worried so much about us. There's a church in Cambridge, Massachusetts that got very concerned about the students at MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Those students there are unbelievably intelligent. They're engineers.

They have analytical minds. And so they decided, this church did, to send their greatest theologians to debate with these students. And so they sent some seminary professors that they had in that church and some Bible college professors that went to that church. And they sent them up to the school to talk to these students, and they did, and they debated. And they did really well. But there was not one conversion.

There was nobody that came to visit their church. So they prayed about it. And they said, let's do this. Let's send some new converts.

And they did. And the new converts went to talk to these students. The students started asking them some very deep theological questions. And the new convert said, well, we don't know the answers to all that yet. But this is what we know.

This is what we know. If we die, we're going to heaven. And we have joy like we have never had before. Our sins have been forgiven.

The guilt is all completely, totally gone. And Jesus did it all. And guess what? Some of those MIT students were broken by God. And they were drawn to Christ. And they were converted. And they became members of this church.

I've got five points that I want to share with you today as we look at this. And point one is this woman's ministry. Look with me at verse 27 through 30.

Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman. But when no one said, what do you seek?

Or, why are you talking with her? So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, come see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ? They went out of the town and they were coming to him.

Let me point out something here. Jesus has broken the ice with this woman. This woman starts talking to him about the Messiah. And Jesus responds this way. He says, I am. That's a Greek word, ego ami. And the Hebrew word would be Yahweh or Jehovah. Jesus was saying, I am God.

Larry Oldham is teaching a class on Wednesday night. And he's teaching it on the great I am sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of John. I am the bread of life. I am the light of the world. I am the good shepherd. I am the door of the sheep. I am the way, the truth, and the life. But the primary thing you need to see in this is that Jesus is proclaiming his deity. He is saying, I am Jehovah.

I am the God of this universe. That's a crucial point. That is a point of no return.

And what happens? Right at that critical point, there's an interruption. And it's the disciples who are doing the interrupting. If I had been Jesus, I think I would have been totally frustrated. I think I would have looked at those disciples and said, no, guys, no, no, no, not now.

Back off, back off. That's horrible timing. Was it horrible timing?

No, it wasn't. Because the Holy Spirit of God had already done its work in this woman's heart. People, don't let interruptions frustrate you. God knows what he's doing. And sometimes you may get stopped in the middle of a Gospel presentation and you think, well, I got stopped and I didn't get to finish and so this conversation was no good at all.

That's not true. It may be that God planted a seed in that heart that one day is going to grow to fruition. And it could be that that person was not yet ready to hear the rest of what you had to say. Folks, God is sovereign over our interruptions. I think some of you all might remember L.A. Heron. L.A. Heron used to be an elder here in our church. He was a dear, dear friend. He's gone to be with the Lord now.

He's in heaven. But I remember about one Monday night we went to visit a family and we walked in and sat down with this man in his living room. And we began to talk with him and share the Gospel with him.

The man was listening intently. Had a little five-year-old boy that was with him. And that little boy wanted our attention.

And he was taking his little trucks and rolling them over there at our feet. And then he starts crying. And then he starts yelling. Nobody's paying him attention and so he runs over to the television.

He takes a plastic wiffle ball bat and he starts beating the television set, beating the screen on the television set. And the man says, guys, I'm sorry, but I just can't concentrate. So, we left.

And I remember just feeling so disappointed. The next Sunday that man was at church and he heard the full Gospel and he came to know Christ as his Lord and Savior. He spoke to me on the way out of church that day. And he said, I just want you to know that I want you to know why I'm here today. He said, I'm here today because my son embarrassed me Monday night. He said, my son made me realize that I have been a passive daddy. That I have been an apathetic husband. And that I have been a lover of my sin. And he said, that chaos broke me.

But he said, when I came here today, I found out what to do about it. 2 Corinthians 5 17 says, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away. Behold, all things are become new. Folks, this woman is a beautiful illustration of that truth. And as she talked with Jesus, the Spirit of God did a work of regeneration in her heart. I mean, she got saved. And what happened when she was saved?

Let me share with you three things that I see here. Number one, she confessed her faith. Man, she didn't waste any time. She ran out to her friends and she ran out to the people of town.

And she began to share with them. I have found the Messiah. I have found the Savior.

I have found the one that we've been looking for. His name is Jesus. She was so excited about that. Jesus said, I am. And she said, yes, you are.

I believe you are. Romans chapter 10 verse 9, the Scripture says, if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Number two, there was a change of values. She dropped her water pot, didn't she? She dropped her water pot and she ran all the way back to town. To me, that's a picture of repentance.

The things that used to mean everything all of a sudden were losing their appeal. Her physical need of physical water took a back seat to her spiritual need for living water and that living water had a name and his name was Jesus. She was forsaking her old life and she was embracing a new life in Christ. The third thing that I see that I think is a fruit of her salvation was there was a deep concern for the lost.

She ran back to town. She was grabbing people and begging people to come back and to meet this Jesus. This lady is an immoral woman. She's a loser.

She's an adulteress. And she could have very easily just said, they're not going to listen to me anyway. They know what I am. They know how horrible a sinner I was.

They're not going to listen to me. She didn't do that. Her burden for people was greater than her fear of rejection and embarrassment. Two seconds after conversion, this lady had a ministry. She had a ministry and that little woman's ministry shook a whole town for Christ's sake. Most of you have heard the testimony that I'm going to share here, but it just fits perfectly to what I want to say, so if you remember it, please just stick with me for a minute.

I just feel like this was a work of God. But Chip Sloan shared the gospel with me. We were at Clemson and going to school there together and came to know Christ as my Lord and Savior. The very next day, Chip came by my house. He said, Doug, we need to go witness. He said, why don't we get in the car, go over to Anderson, South Carolina, and just go door-to-door knocking and witnessing.

I said, Chip, I don't know how to do that. He said, well, I got a gospel track here, and we got his gospel track out. There were five verses that we memorized, and then we prayed. All that week, Saturday afternoon, we took off to Anderson. We went off to this community there, and he said, where do you think we ought to start? I said, well, how about this house over here? It was a farmhouse. It had a big fence around it. We said, that's great. So we prayed about it, started to walk in the gate. As soon as we started to walk in that gate, this Cujo-type dog came flying up. I mean, he banged against that fence, about knocked the fence over. I just couldn't believe it. He was baring his teeth, saliva was pouring out of his mouth.

I mean, he was angry, hair standing up on the back of his neck. I looked at Chip, and Chip looked at me and said, maybe we better start somewhere else. Chip said, you know, maybe there's somebody in that house that needs the Lord.

Maybe Satan's using that dog to keep us from witnessing to these people. So I said, well, let's pray again. We started praying again. Right in the middle of Chip's prayer, that dog yelped and jumped up about two feet in the air. And he took off running as fast as he could go, and he hid behind a tree in the side yard.

I could not believe it. We said, man, this is God. And so then we walked all through the gate, all the way up to the man's door. We knocked on his door. The man came through the door.

He's an old farmer, had overalls on, T-shirt. He said, how'd you guys get in here? I said, well, we went through the gate. He said, where's my dog? And we said, he's back there behind that tree. And so he whistled for the dog, and he called him by name.

That dog didn't budge. And so the farmer said, well, what do you want? And we said, well, or Chip did, he said, Doug got saved this week, and he wants to talk to you about Jesus.

Could he do that? And the guy said, I guess so. Come on in. And we went in, and we sat down in his living room with him. I shared my testimony with him. And then Chip went through those five verses. And Chip looked at the man and said, sir, do you need Jesus?

That man started crying. And he said, I've been living in this house all my life. I was born here.

It was my dad's house. He said, I've been living here for 60 years. He says, nobody has ever talked to me about Jesus before. And he said, yes, I need this Jesus.

I'll never forget it. We bowed down on our knees in that living room floor, and that man started praying. And he trusted Christ.

He repented of his sins right there. He got up right after that, and he looked at us. He said, where do you guys go to church?

We said, we go to North Anderson Baptist. He said, I'll be there tomorrow morning. And we got there the next morning.

There he was in the parking lot. Went into church that day, and David Wilson, the pastor, preached a powerful sermon, gave an invitation. I was the first one down the aisle, and I made my profession of faith public. That man was the second one down the aisle, and he made his profession of faith public. Two weeks later, we both got baptized. Two years later, that man became a deacon in that Baptist church. After that day, I thought, wow, man, this evangelism stuff is fun. God's whacking on dogs and making the farmers cry.

Man, this is easy. So the next week, we went back out. And we got one door slammed in our face after another, after another, after another.

And then some rednecks threatened to beat us both up. And so I got to realize evangelism is not that easy, and the Lord has to be with us in power for anything good to happen. It made me realize that God saved me for a purpose.

And one of those purposes is that I would be a witness for Christ's sake. I didn't know much, but I did know Jesus. And he went with us that day, just like he went with this woman. She didn't know much, but she knew this, Jesus was her answer. Jesus was her Lord, and Jesus was the Messiah that they'd been looking for. This lady had a ministry, came very quickly for her. And people, if you know Jesus, you've got a ministry too. All right, point number two is the disciples' meal. Look at verse 31.

Meanwhile, the disciples are urging him, saying, Rabbi, eat. Most of you women will probably understand this better than the guys do. But ladies, have you ever been working hard on a meal for your husband? And man, you've been slaving over that oven for hours, and finally your husband gets home. You can't wait to put it down before him. And your husband kind of looks at you and says, you know, I'm not really that hungry this evening.

And you think, man, that's frustrating. I think that's a little bit of how the disciples felt. Jesus had given them a mission to go out and get food. Now, this was Samaria. Jews and Samarians do not get along. And I imagine they went into Sychar, and they probably got charged exorbitant prices.

They got called all kinds of ugly names, and it was not fun. Finally, they got their food. And they took the food back, probably were going to put it out picnic style there by the whale. And I think they were saying to themselves, okay, our mission is accomplished. This is what's really important.

This is the most important thing right now because we're hungry, and it's all about the food. And then they saw this woman. They saw Jesus talking to her. And that did not bode well. Number one, it was a woman. Number two, she was a Samaritan. And number three, she was wasting the Master's time. And they didn't like it.

Why? One of the reasons was because they were hungry. Takes us to point three, and that is the Lord's food.

Look at verse 32 through 34. But he said to them, I have food to eat that you do not know about. So the disciples said to one another, has anyone brought him something to eat? Jesus said to them, my food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.

Go back with me a moment in time where Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Jesus had been fasting 40 days and 40 nights. Satan knew how hungry he had to be. Satan went to him and said, if you're the Son of God, then turn these stones into bread. Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy chapter 8 verse 3 and said, man shall not live on bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. I have to believe that as Jesus is dealing with the disciples here that his mind went back to those spiritual words of combat as he gives this rebuke to the disciples.

And this is what he said to them. My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish the work. The food of Jesus was to do his Father's will. Folks, this woman's hopeless condition, her desperate need, her spiritual hunger was the food for Jesus.

It was his motivation. He was more concerned about her eternity than he was about his supper. Now, why was Jesus like this? I think the greatest answer is because Jesus is God.

Jesus is the creator. Jesus created heaven and hell. Jesus perfectly knew about all the glory, the grandeur, and the excitement of heaven.

He also knew about the horror and the terror of the destination of the lost, which is hell. Heaven wasn't some nebulous hope for Jesus. It wasn't some fantasy in Jesus' mind that might exist and it might not.

No, no, no. Heaven was reality. Heaven was so real. His throne was there.

His Father was there. His angels were there. Heaven was not a hope.

Heaven was home. The disciples are interested in lamb chops and goat burgers, but Jesus said that stuff can wait. This woman's soul is being dealt with. That's the Lord's meat. Takes us to point four, the disciples' mission, verse 35 through 38. Do you not say there are yet four months, then comes the harvest? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.

For here the saying holds true. One sows and another reaps. I sent you to reap for that which you did not labor.

Others have labored and you have entered into their labor. What's Jesus rebuking the disciples for? He's rebuking them for apathy. He's rebuking them for not having a sense of urgency. He's rebuking them for not getting serious about the things of God. Jesus said to them, guys, you're looking at the harvest like it might be months and months away. It's no real hurry, no real reason to get excited and just jumping on this right quick.

You don't need to do that. Jesus said, wait a minute, guys. The fields are white in the harvest and they're white in the harvest right now. This lady is a perfect example of that. Did she look like a candidate for salvation? No, she did not. No, in fact, she looked so much like a non-candidate that the disciples weren't even going to have a conversation with her. What's even worse, they broke into the conversation that Jesus was having with her. And I think what they were saying was this lady, our lamb chops and our fried chicken are more important than your eternity.

They didn't say that, but that was the attitude that they were portraying. My fifth point is the resulting miracle. Look at verse 39 through 42. Many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman's testimony.

He told me all that I ever did. So when the Samaritans came to Him, they asked Him to stay with them, and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word. They said to the woman, it is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.

Man, I love this. This huge crowd comes from Sychar. I don't know if they ran to get there or not, but they got there quick. Jesus and the disciples are probably sitting there eating by the well, and all these people walk up. And they're standing there right before Jesus. And it's like they're saying, Lord, we're lost.

We're empty. We're spiritually hungry. Lord, can you deliver us from destruction? Lord, will you feed us with your truth? Can we follow you? You talk about an open door.

Wow. A few years after this, there was a deacon named Philip. And where did he go? He left Jerusalem. He went right to Samaria. He went into Samaria. He preached the gospel, and there were a multitude of people who came to know Christ. They were saved. They were filled with the Spirit of God. He even did great miracles of healing as well. Now, I may be wrong, but I believe that Samaria was ready for revival because of what happened right here in John chapter 4.

Logistically, it's in the very same place, in the very same place. Many in that town of Sychar, right there when they came to meet with Jesus, they trusted Christ, and they went back home. And I think they witnessed, and I think they prayed.

And then just a few years later, here comes Philip the deacon, and Philip shares the gospel with them, and an unbelievable spiritual awakening happens, and there is a great, glorious revival. Guess what Jesus did? They begged Jesus to stay with them. He did stay with them for two days. Jesus slept in their homes.

He ate at their tables. Preached in their meeting houses. Folks, what a glorious lesson for the disciples. I want you to listen to this carefully because this is what Jesus taught the disciples. Race and color and ethnicity and social status and culture don't mean squat. Folks, what Jesus is concerned about is your heart. Not your color, not what race you are, but your heart.

One last thing. The new believers in Samaria said, now we believe not just because of the woman's testimony, but we believe Jesus because we have encountered you and we have heard your word. May we never forget that truth. Folks, you can't depend on somebody else's faith. You can't depend on your daddy's faith or your mama's faith. You can't depend on your grandpa's faith or your friend's faith or your pastor's faith. Jesus said, you must be born again. How do you know if you're born again? If you're born again, then you're going to repent of your sins and you're going to trust Jesus Christ as your Lord and as your Savior.

Folks, the message is urgent. If you're not a Christian this morning, will you believe? If you are a Christian, will you take part in the harvest? I wanted to close sharing something with you that Charles Spurgeon said about the importance of the harvest. He said, you shall have a harvest, whatever you're doing. I trust you are all doing something. If I cannot mention what your peculiar engagement is, I trust you are all serving God in some way and you shall assuredly have a harvest wherever you're scattering your seed.

But suppose the worst. If you should never live to see the harvest in the world, you shall have a harvest when you get to heaven. If you live and die disappointed man, you shall not be disappointed in the next world.

I think how surprised some of God's people will be when they get to heaven. They will see their master and he will give them a crown. Lord, what is that crown for? That crown is because they'll give a cup of cold water to one of my disciples.

What? A crown for a cup of cold water? Yes, said the master. That is how I pay my servants. First I give them grace to give that cup of water. Then having given them that grace, I will give them a crown. Wonders of grace to God belong. He that soweth liberally shall reap liberally. He that soweth grudgingly shall reap sparingly.

Ah, if there could be grief in heaven, I think it would be the grief of some Christians who have sown so very little. After all, how little the most of us ever sow. I know I sow but very little compared with what I might. How little any of us sow. Just add up how much you give to God in the year.

I'm afraid it would not come to a farthing percent. Remember, you reap according to what you sow. Oh, my friends, what surprise some of you will feel when God pays us for sowing one single grain. The soul of heaven is rich in the extreme. If a farmer had such ground as there is in heaven, he would say, I must sow a great many acres of land. And so let us strive for the more we sow, the more we shall reap in heaven. Yet remember, it is all of grace and not of debt. Amen.

Let's pray. Heavenly Father, we thank you for the woman at the well's testimony. She'd been an unconcerned, miserable sinner.

She'd been married four times and was now just living with a man. She repented. She turned to Jesus in faith. Why did she do that? Not because she sought Jesus, but because Jesus sought her. Lord, we're amazed at what happened to her. She became a flaming witness for Christ. Father, do that work in us. Don't let us flounder with spiritual sleep apnea, but fill us with a hunger to spread the gospel. For it's in Jesus' precious name I pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-21 18:25:36 / 2024-01-21 18:39:28 / 14

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