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Jesus' Most Outrageous Sayings - The Fields Are Already White Unto Harvest - Part 7

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
November 1, 2021 7:00 am

Jesus' Most Outrageous Sayings - The Fields Are Already White Unto Harvest - Part 7

So What? / Lon Solomon

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November 1, 2021 7:00 am

Some of the most outrageous things Jesus ever said. 

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You know, my wife Brenda comes from a long line of farmers. Her dad grew up on a farm. Her grandfather lived on a farm. Her great-grandfather lived on a farm. Her great-great grandfather lived on a farm, all in Pennsylvania. And when her grandparents were still alive, Brenda and I would often go up and visit them on the farm. Now, I had never been to a farm before.

I mean, Jewish people don't generally farm. And so I had never been to a farm before in my life. And I learned a lot of interesting things that I didn't know.

And let me tell you one of the things that I learned. At that time, they were raising a lot of hay. And I noticed that when hay is ready to be harvested, it turns a bright white color as it sparkles in the afternoon sun.

And when you see that white color, you know it's time to harvest the hay. And seeing that made a passage from the Bible come alive to me. It's a passage I want to talk to you about today as we continue in our series called Jesus's Most Outrageous Sayings. Remember what we're doing here. We're going through the New Testament. We're picking out twelve of the most radical and significant things that Jesus ever said.

We're spending a week on each one of them asking the question, Well, so what? We've already done six. If you missed any of those, you can get the text.

You can pay for the CD in the bookstore. Today we're ready for number seven. And so if you brought your Bible, I want to ask you today to open to the Gospel according to John chapter four. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, fourth book in the New Testament. If you did not bring a Bible today and you're in our main auditorium, you will find a copy of the Bible right under the armrest next to you.

Reach under there. We're on page 752. Page 752 in our copy of the Bible. John 4 in your copy.

And while you're turning, let me give you a little bit of background. The Lord Jesus up to this point has been preaching and teaching around Jerusalem. But now he decides to head back up to the Sea of Galilee.

And that's where we pick up the story. Verse four of chapter four. But Jesus had to go through Samaria, the Bible says.

We'll show you a map. And you'll see that between Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee lay the province of Samaria. Now the Samaritans lived here.

What about the Samaritans? They were a race of half-breeds in 721 B.C. when the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom of Israel, which was called Samaria now at the time of Christ, same area. What the Assyrians did is they exported almost all the Jews from the northern kingdom and they imported Gentiles from around the rest of their empire. The Jews who were left in the Samaria area married, intermarried with these Gentiles.

Producing a race of half-breeds called Samaritans. Now the Jews despised these guys. They considered them the lowest thing on the food chain. Even though they claimed to worship the same God as the Jews, the Jews would have nothing to do with them.

They wouldn't even speak to them. And that lies behind the story that is about to unfold. Verse 5. So Jesus came to a town in Samaria called Sychar.

Let's show you the map again so you get an idea of where Sychar is. It's about halfway between Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee. Verse 6. And Jacob's well was there. And Jesus, tired as he was from his journey, sat down by the well. Verse 7. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, Will you give me a drink? You say, Why didn't he ask his disciples to draw water?

Well, the Bible tells us they had gone off looking for food. Verse 9. And the Samaritan woman said, How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a Samaritan?

For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. And Jesus said to her, Verse 10, If you knew who it is that asked you for a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water. First she said, You have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep.

Where are you going to get this kind of living water? And Jesus said to her, Verse 13, Everyone who drinks the water from this well right here we're standing at will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water that I give him will never thirst again.

Verse 15. The woman said to him, Sir, please give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water. Now she didn't exactly get it yet, but at least she's interested. Now it's fascinating what Jesus says next.

The woman expressed interest. Look what he says next. He says, Okay, well, then go call your husband and come back. She replied, I have no husband. Jesus said, You know what? You're right when you say you have no husband. The fact is you have had five husbands, and the man that you're now living with is not even your husband.

What you have said is quite true. Here Jesus confronts this woman with a major sinful issue, a major sinful behavior in her life. She's been divorced five times.

She's now shaken up with some guy. And yet would you notice she makes no excuses? Would you notice she gives him no alibis? Would you notice that she is willing to be honest about her sin?

She is willing to openly acknowledge her wrong and offensive behavior. And she next says, she says, Well, I know that the Messiah is coming, who's called in Greek the Christ, and that when he comes, he will explain everything to us, kind of like you've just done to me. Then Jesus declared, I who speak to you, am he. Now, this is an amazing thing because this is the clearest, most straightforward declaration of his messiahship that Jesus has ever made up to this point.

And would you notice he makes that declaration not to a Jewish person. He makes that declaration to a Samaritan woman, a woman who was considered an outcast, a woman that all of Jewish society rejected. She was the one that he revealed himself to and told her straight up that he was the Messiah. Listen, if you're here today and you've never trusted Jesus Christ in a real and personal way, I don't want you to miss this because what this teaches us is that this woman was open to spiritual things. This woman was willing to listen to Jesus Christ. This woman was ready to do business with God.

And as a result, Jesus revealed himself to her. Friends, Jesus will always reveal himself to people who are where this woman was. And if you're a person who is open to spiritual things, and if you're a person who is willing to listen to Jesus, and if you're a person who, if he reveals himself to you, is willing to do business with God, then I'm here to tell you that it doesn't matter what this world thinks of you.

It doesn't matter whether they consider you a big shot or a reject, doesn't make one bit of difference. Jesus will reveal himself to you if you'll just give him the opportunity. These are the people he shows himself to. And I hope that's where you are in your heart.

And if you are, what I challenge you to do is start reading the New Testament and saying, Lord, show me that Jesus is really who he says he is and I promise you he will because that's what he did for me. You say, Lon, how will he do that? What are the mechanics?

Friends, I don't understand the mechanics. All I know is the result that I became convinced Jesus was the Messiah when I went in with an attitude just like the Samaritan woman. And if you'll go in with that kind of attitude, you will find Jesus because he will reveal himself to you like he did her.

Something to think about. Well, let's go on. Verse 27. Then leaving her water jar, the woman went back into town and said to the people, You need to come and see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this man be the Messiah? Then they all came out of the town and made their way towards Jesus.

Wow. Can you imagine what this must look like? A whole town full of people walking through the field on their way to meet with Jesus and listen to him. And then at this point, his disciples had returned and Jesus says to them an outrageous and a significant thing.

And here's what he said. He said, Hey, fellas, do you not say four months more and then comes the harvest? Jesus pointing to all of these people walking out from town on their way to meet with him. Jesus said, Hey, fellas, open up your eyes and look, look at the fields, not fields of grain, but fields of people. Look, fellas, I tell you, these fields are already white under harvest. You don't have to wait four months to harvest in that field.

It's already ready and waiting for you. What was Jesus doing here? Why did he say this? Jesus was trying, friends, to help the disciples see the world the way he saw it. Jesus saw the world as being white under harvest, full of people who are spiritually ready to believe in Jesus Christ. If his followers would just engage those conversations, if the disciples would simply share with those people the claims of Christ, if his disciples would simply lovingly press these people for a decision.

And you know, we have the very same situation today right here in Washington, D.C. I'm telling you that the fields in Washington, D.C. are white under harvest. There are people out there in Washington, D.C. who are ready to believe in Christ, who are willing to believe in Christ. If we as followers of Christ will go out there and simply harvest. But sadly, Jesus's lament from 2,000 years ago is still true today. He said in Matthew chapter 9, verse 37, the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Well, Jesus was so right about this harvest, coming out to meet him, all these town people.

Look what happened, verse 40. So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they urged him to stay with them and he stayed two days. And because of his words, many became believers. Then they said to the woman, we no longer believe just in him because of what you said.

Now we have heard him for ourselves and we know that this man really is the savior of the world. How many people in this town did he lead to Christ? 50% of the town? 80% of the town?

Well, the Bible doesn't tell us, but it certainly gives us the indication that a large percentage of that town came to faith in Jesus Christ. Were the fields white under harvest in that little tiny town of Sychar? You bet you they were.

And are they white to harvest everywhere in our world today? Friends, you bet you they are. Now that's as far as we want to go because we want to stop and ask our most important question. And everybody knows our question. Don't we know our question? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. All right, here we go now, nice and loud.

One, two, three. So what? Right. You say, Lon, so what? You say, something happened in Sychar, I'm not even sure I could spell it. And how in the world has that changed my life today?

Well, I'm going to try to help you make that connection. Let's go back and remind ourselves what happened here. Jesus was sitting down after a long day's journey resting. This woman comes up and who started the conversation? Jesus did. He started a conversation with her. And friends, what was Jesus' purpose in starting a conversation with this lady?

You say, well, he was just trying to be polite and friendly. Nope. You say, well, he was thirsty and he wanted some water. Nope. You say, well, he was lonely and he wanted some human companionship.

Nope. None of those were the purpose. The purpose Jesus started that conversation was evangelistic. His purpose in starting that conversation was to bring that lady to saving faith in himself. In fact, hear this, every conversation Jesus ever had with non-believers, he intended it to be an evangelistic conversation. Everywhere Jesus went, he saw the fields being white unto harvest, and everywhere he went, he tried to be a harvester. Now, as followers of Christ today, we need to pick up the same vision and the same passion. We need to see the world the way Jesus saw it. We need to understand that in Washington today and around America and the world, the fields are still white unto harvest, and we need to enter into every conversation with non-believers hoping and praying that that conversation will evolve into an evangelistic conversation. Let me repeat that. We need to enter into every conversation with non-believers hoping and praying that that conversation will evolve into an evangelistic conversation. You say, well, Lon, I understand what you're saying, but you know what?

Can I be really honest with you? I don't know how to have an evangelistic conversation with people. You know, it's wonderful that Jesus did it.

I don't know how to do that. When I talk to non-believers, I don't hope it's going to turn into an evangelistic conversation, and I don't pray that because I don't know how to do that. Well, okay, fair enough.

Let's learn. Let's look at the example of Jesus. I mean, what better model could we have for running an evangelistic conversation than the model of Jesus right here? He ran an evangelistic conversation with this lady, so let's learn how he did it. There were three things that he did, three things that comprise a good evangelistic conversation, and let me tell you what they are. Principle number one in having an evangelistic conversation, which Jesus did here, is you deal with the interested.

You deal with people who are interested. Verse 10, Jesus said, If you knew who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water. And notice Jesus' strategy here for having an evangelistic conversation. He didn't open up by telling the woman he was the Messiah. He didn't open up by laying the whole gospel message right on this lady. Jesus dangled some spiritual bait in front of this woman to see if she would bite, to see if she were interested, and she was. But let me ask you the question, what if this woman had said to him after Jesus said this, what if she'd have said, hey, look, pal, I am not interested in living water. You understand, I got a lot to do today.

I'm behind schedule already. I don't care about living water or any other kind of water. I just want to get my bucket filled from this well, and I want to go.

So would you kindly move yourself over, let me get my water, and go? What would Jesus have done? You know what he would have done? He'd have let her go.

She wasn't interested. Hey, that's what happened to the rich young ruler. You remember Matthew chapter 19. He was more interested in money than he was Jesus, and he walked away sorrowful. And what did Jesus do? He let him go.

You know why? Well, Jesus tells us why in the Bible. John 6 44, Jesus says, nobody can come to me unless the Father is drawing them. And friends, this is the first principle of having an evangelistic conversation. When we meet people and we begin to engage them in conversation, the first thing we want to find out is whether the drawing ministry of the Holy Spirit is full and complete in this person's life yet. If it isn't, then all the preaching in the world, all the sharing in the world, all the pleading and the prodding in the world is not going to get this person to a decision for Christ. You say, Lon, how do we find out if the Holy Spirit's really drawing them in a strong way?

How do we find out whether the drawing ministry of the Holy Spirit is full in their life? Well, it's very simple. We do it the way Jesus did it. You hang a spiritual teaser out there. You say something like, I'm a blessed man. Or you say something like, Lord willing. Or you say something like, the Lord's really been good to me. Or you say something like, it wasn't luck, it was the Lord.

Or something, anything like that, and you wait to see what people do with what you just said. If they grab a hold of it like the woman at the well did, then, friends, they're ready for step two. And if they don't grab a hold of it, then at that point we have to switch our strategy from preaching to praying, praying that the Holy Spirit will convince them of their spiritual need, praying that the Holy Spirit will draw them to the place where they're spiritually hungry and they're dying to satisfy that spiritual hunger. You can't do that in a person's life. Only the Holy Spirit can do that, and until He does it, a person's not coming to Christ, friends. You know, I went through this with my dad. When I first came to Christ, I would talk to my dad and talk to my dad and talk to my dad. And finally, I'll never forget, one day I was praying and the Holy Spirit said to me, Clear as a bell, Lon, you know what? You need to reduce the talking and increase the praying for your dad because he's not ready yet and you're not going to get him ready just by talking to him.

You need to pray that I will do my work in his heart. And I began praying for my dad and talking to him very little, praying that the Holy Spirit would draw him to the fullness of being spiritually hungry and ready. And five years later, my dad received Christ seven days before he died in the hospital. I walked in to see him five years later.

We hadn't talked much in five years about the Lord, a little bit here and there. I walked in the hospital room and he was lying there in bed. And he said to me, You know, Lon, he said, I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. And he said, I've begun to think that maybe everything you've been telling me about Jesus Christ all these years is right. Friends, I thought I was going to need a hospital bed.

I about fainted right there in the room. But the Holy Spirit had done his work. He had drawn my father to the place where he was spiritually hungry and he was spiritually ready to do business with God.

And then it was a simple matter to lead my dad to Christ the next morning right there in the hospital. Many of you have friends and relatives and co-workers and neighbors just like my dad, where the drawing ministry of the Holy Spirit is not mature in their life yet. Friends, remember what Robert Murray McShane, the great Scottish preacher, said. He said, When preaching fails, try praying. And sadly, prayer is the lost jewel of evangelism. We don't do enough of it as part of our evangelism.

But you know what? Good witnesses know how to be good prayers. When they meet somebody who's not ready, they switch from witness into prayer. Now, let's assume you come across somebody in a conversation and they are spiritually interested. They bite at the bait like this woman did. Then what do you do? You say, Oh, Lon, then I know what I do after that.

I just go right to tell them they need to give their life to Jesus Christ. That isn't what Jesus did. You say, He didn't?

No. The next thing Jesus did, look at this, is He emphasized repentance. Look what He did. The very next thing He says to her is, Go call your husband. He doesn't say to her next, I'm the Messiah. He says, Go call your husband. And she said, Well, I don't have a husband. And Jesus said, You're right. You're right.

You had five. You're shacking up with a guy now. What exactly was Jesus doing with this woman here in step number two, friends? Well, He's forcing her to confront her sinful behavior. He's forcing her to acknowledge her offensive behavior before God.

And He strips the woman clean. He's got her dead to rights. And she only has two choices. She can make a bunch of alibis. She can make a bunch of excuses. She can make a bunch of justifications. Or she can acknowledge her sins. She can admit her lifestyle has been wrong and offensive to God.

She can display a willingness to turn from it. And this is what repentance is. Repentance is a willingness, number one, to humbly acknowledge our sinful wrong behavior before God. And a willingness, number two, to turn from that behavior as part of embracing Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.

Now listen carefully to me. We don't have to clean ourselves up in order to come to Christ. But we do have to be willing to let Jesus Christ clean us up once we come to Him.

Let me repeat that. We do not have to clean ourselves up to come to Christ. But we have to be willing to let Him clean us up once we get there.

That's repentance. You know, as many of you know, I was led to Christ by a street preacher, 1971, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Thirty-five years ago, I'll save you the trouble.

I'm fifty-six. And so anyway, I'll never forget walking down the street and having my first major conversation with this guy, Bob Eckhart. And Bob said to me as part of that conversation, he said, You're a sinner. And I said, I know that. He said to me, You've broken God's laws and you've earned His judgment. And I said to him, I know that. He said to me, He said, You are separated and alienated from God. And I said, I know that. He said to me, And you need a radical change in your lifestyle and your behavior. And I said to him, I know that. I said, I know what my problem is, Bob.

What I want to know is, can you help me fix it? Well, you know what? What did that guy on the street do to me? That guy on the street demanded repentance from me. Before he introduced me to Jesus Christ, he demanded that I come clean about my sin, just like this woman came clean, that I acknowledge it before God.

And then I acknowledged I was willing to let Christ change my life to live a different kind of life. And friends, this is what we have to do. So often we go out and try to give people a prescription before they even understand that they're sick. We want to go out and talk about the love of God and the mercy of God.

And that's wonderful. But we've got to give people the whole counsel of God. And part of the whole counsel of God is telling people that they're spiritually sick, that they're sinners in the sight of God, that they're separated from God and headed for a terrible place in eternity.

You see, only when people understand the bad news does the good news really make sense. And this is the second piece of any good evangelistic conversation, and that is calling on people to acknowledge their wrongdoing and their sin and repent. Now you say, well, Lon, what if someone's not willing to do this? What if they're not at all gripped by their offensive behavior before God? Well then, friends, they are not ready yet to make a decision for Jesus Christ. And we have to do for them exactly what we did for a person in the first case that wasn't interested. We have to start praying for them, because this kind of conviction of sin only comes as a ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, John 16, 8, the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. Again, no amount of arguing, no amount of trying to reason with a person is going to get them to this point. Only the Holy Spirit is going to get somebody here, and we need to pray that the Holy Spirit would do that.

You say, all right, Lon, so let's say we got a person who's interested, okay? And let's say we got a person that's willing to repent, then where does the conversation go next? Well, the third and final principle that Jesus employed here is that He kept this woman focused on Jesus.

He kept her focused on Him and her relationship with Him. Watch what happens, verse 20. She said, after all of this, you know, she says, our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem. Now, this lady, she's interested, she's willing to repent, but suddenly she gets off on a rabbit trail. Suddenly she defaults to talking about religion, about where people are supposed to go and worship. And I love what Jesus does here. He gets her right back on the highway to heaven, and the way He does it is He brings her right back to Himself. Verse 21, He says, the time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. The time is coming and has now come when God's true worshipers will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Jesus says to her, listen, ma'am, the real issue isn't this mountain or the mountains in Jerusalem.

That is not the issue. The issue is Me and where you stand with Me and your spiritual connection with Me. And you know our world today is full of people who want to go right where this woman wants to go. They want to all of a sudden think that religion is the secret to their problem. They're interested, they're willing to do business with God, and they want to do it by way of religion, by way of rules and regulations and rituals and rights, but that Jesus says no. The true end, the final piece of any good evangelistic conversation is that it ends up pointing people squarely at the person of Jesus Christ, not at religion. I run into people all the time who when they find out I'm a pastor, they say, well, you know, I'm sorry, I don't go to church as much as I ought to, and I don't give like I should, and I don't serve in the church like I should, and I'm not a church member like I should be, and you know what I say to them?

I say, you got it all wrong. This has nothing to do with church. This has everything to do with Jesus Christ and where you stand with Him. Church is not bad, but church is not what this is all about. It's all about Christ. Friends, this is the foundational issue to which we need to constantly be bringing people back.

And so let's review. We're ready to stop. The Lord Jesus Christ wants us to go out and see our world as fields that are white under harvest, that are ready to be harvested. He wants us to take seriously the call on our life, to go out and be workers in the field. He wants us praying and hoping that every conversation we have with non-believers evolves into an evangelistic conversation. How do you run an evangelistic conversation? Friends, you do it the very same way Jesus did it right here in John 4. You start off by finding out whether people are really interested in spiritual things, and if they're not, you stop talking to them and start praying for them. The second thing is you emphasize repentance. Are people willing to come clean before God and make a change in their life? If not, you stop talking and you start praying for them.

And if they're willing to do those two things, you don't point them to church, you don't point them to religion, you don't point them to psychobabble, you point them to Jesus and their personal relationship with Him. This is an evangelistic conversation. And you know, a half an hour of a message like this is not enough to teach you everything you need to know, and that's why inside of your bulletin I want you to look at this insert. We have training coming up on the 21st of this month, Saturday, with the Louise Palau team that will teach you even better and give you more practical help in having evangelistic conversations with people.

This is free. I want you to sign up and I want you to take this. Many of you, we want you to become counselors for the Louise Palau Crusade in town.

But even if you don't want to do that in October, just taking this little one-day workshop will help you immensely in having these kind of conversations with your friends. Folks, let me just tell you that under all the plastic smiles here in Washington and under all the plastic conversations here in Washington, there are people all over this city who are spiritually hungry, who are spiritually desperate, who are willing to do business with God, just like I was on the streets of Chapel Hill 35 years ago. And what we need are Bob Eckhart. Just like Bob Eckhart came out there looking for me, we need you to be a Bob Eckhart for the people that you know and go out there and have an evangelistic conversation with them. Remember what Jesus said. He said, The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. And then He said, Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers, more workers into His harvest field.

You know what? That's exactly what I pray for you every week. And that's exactly what I want to pray for you today, that you'll be willing to become one of those workers out there.

Let's pray. Father, thanks for chatting with us today from the Word of God about being harvesters in a field that is white. Lord, teach us to see this city underneath the plastic smiles and the plastic conversations the way You see it, a desperate city, a lost city, a spiritually hungry city, in the case of so many people. And help us to go out there, Lord, committed to being harvesters for the Lord Jesus, hoping and praying that every conversation we have turns into an evangelistic conversation. Lord, there are people out there willing and ready to believe if we will simply talk with them and pray for them the way You've taught us today. So change our lives because we were here today, Lord. Help us walk out of our house every morning differently because of the Word of God to our life today. And we pray these things in Jesus' name. And God's people said, Amen. Thanks for being here. Go harvest this week, huh? Bless you. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-11 16:52:27 / 2023-06-11 17:05:05 / 13

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