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FRANgelism (Part 2 of 5)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
January 14, 2023 3:00 am

FRANgelism (Part 2 of 5)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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January 14, 2023 3:00 am

Talking to others about Jesus can be intimidating. But evangelism doesn’t need to be a big production of prepared speeches and handing out tracts. Join us on Truth For Life as Alistair Begg examines Jesus’ simple interaction with a Samaritan woman.


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John MacArthur

Does the thought of talking to other people about Jesus intimidate you?

If so, you're not alone. And on Truth for Life weekend, we're going to learn why evangelism doesn't need to be a big production of prepared speeches or going door to door and handing out tracts. Alistair Begg is teaching from John chapter four today, but he begins by explaining how Jesus ended up talking with a Samaritan woman. So John says Jesus had to go through Samaria. One possibility is that he had to go, because he had to go.

He was in a hurry, he wanted to get to where he was going quickly, he wasn't going to fool around, going on the long journey, and he had to go through there. I think that's highly unlikely, and I'll address that now as we come to the third aspect of context, which is to view the verses not simply in an historical context, in a geographical context, but then in a theological context. Now, don't let anybody be put off by that word. It's a kind of high-falutin-sounding word, but it simply means that which deals with God. If geography has to do with places and people, and history has to do with times and seasons, theology has to do with what we know of God, what we know of ourselves, and what the implications are of those two things coalescing. We need to set it in a theological context. Let's just stay, then, with this idea of the necessity of Jesus going through Samaria. He had to go through Samaria. I think the answer to that has probably little to do with time, and it has everything to do with the nature of the mission of Jesus. Jesus is seen leaving Judea at a time when, apparently, he was being very, very successful. The Pharisees were concerned that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John. The ministry was exploding.

More and more people were seeing his miracles, hearing his words, getting baptized, following him. And Jesus says to his disciples, That's it, we're out of here. We're going to Galilee. That doesn't seem right. You would assume that since everything was going so well, the urgency would be, Now, let's just capitalize on this.

Let's develop this. But no, Jesus says, We're going. Now, do you understand that? Only in terms of the fact that Jesus was working within the framework of, if you like, a divine calendar. He did not want any kind of premature crisis in Judea to move forward the timing of what he knew would be his eventual demise. And he resists this all the way through the Gospels. Whenever people are prepared to come and make him king, for example, he's gone. When people come and they think they're going to shut him down, he's gone.

Why? Because he knew that he was moving towards a point in time. In the wedding at Cana of Galilee, when his mother comes to him and says, We've got a bit of a problem here with the drink situation, Jesus says, Woman, my time has not yet come. By the time he gets to John 17, he says in his high priestly prayer, Father, the time has come.

Glorify me now with the glory that I had with you before I ever came into this time-space capsule. And so, what we see here in Jesus in this event in Samaria is Jesus recognizing the fact that he was there, according to verse 34, to do his will and to finish his work. Whose will? The Father's will.

Whose work? The Father's work. Jesus, why are we leaving Judea? Because I must do his will and finish his work. Jesus, why are we going to Galilee? To do his will and finish his work. Jesus, why are you talking to this person? To do his will and finish his work.

To get the focus? It's an all-consuming passion. There's no question with Jesus and his operation about whether he had a purpose statement. Could you give us your purpose statement, Jesus? Could you reduce it to a verse? Could you reduce it to a phrase? I'll give you it in a phrase. I'll give you it in two phrases. To do his will to finish his work. Now, can we expand on that? Yes, we can.

But it is the irreducible minimum. What are you doing, Jesus? This is what I'm doing. Now, when you understand this, loved ones, and realize that when he finishes up, he says, listen, as the Father sent me, so send I you. It's the same purpose statement. It's the same commission to do his will to finish his work. Not to play a church, not to scratch one another's backs, not to become the perfect husbands, the most wonderful wives. All of those things are means to an end. If I spend my last breath proclaiming Jesus, all will be well.

And the same for each of us. If our last conversation in leaving the office, on a day that we will never know to be our last day, sets forward the work of Christ, then we're within the line of his great preoccupation and his great passion. And in this, the apostles followed him. Paul himself, in 1 Corinthians 9, Paul, what are you doing? What's the passion of your life, Paul?

Well, he says, let me tell you, I can give it in a phrase. Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, and here it comes, to win as many as possible. What are you doing, Paul?

I'm seeking to win as many as possible. Verse 22, to the weak I become weak. I become all things to all men, so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. I tell you, my heart is stirred by this this morning, loved ones. I spend my life, I spend my days in the work of the church.

Every so often I get myself out of this building, I go to McDonald's, I go anywhere to find anyone who may just be sitting around that I could share Jesus Christ with, to get myself back in focus and remember what it is that I'm supposed to be doing. It's not about running an organization, it's not about building buildings, it is that I may do his will and finish his work. His work. You're a typist? What's your objective?

To do his will and finish his work. You're a doctor? The same. A teacher? The same. A carpenter? The same.

A sweeper? The same. His will, his work. And our children and our friends and our neighbors and our loved ones will know if we are driven by such a passion. That's the first thing we learn theologically. The second thing we understand is that God the Father is seeking worshippers. He is an initiative-taking God.

In the coming of Jesus, he is the one seeking to save that which is lost. Did you come to do miracles, Jesus? No. Did you come to teach great sermons? No. I came to seek and to save the lost.

Why? Because God the Father is seeking worshippers. It's very clear. The third thing that we notice theologically is that God is no respecter of persons. God is no respecter of persons. If you turn back one page, if your Bible is open, you'll turn back to John chapter 3. And there in John chapter 3, we're introduced to another encounter between Jesus and an individual.

This individual is a man, not a woman. His name is given to us, unlike John 4, where no name is given. And also, this man is a member of the Jewish ruling council.

He is a member of the Sanhedrin. He is a representative of Orthodox Judaism, and Jesus addresses him in chapter 3. You turn the page into chapter 4, and here Jesus addresses a woman who comes from a group that was wholeheartedly despised by Orthodox Judaism.

You couldn't get a greater contrast. In 3, Jesus is addressing the individual from all of his religious background and all of his finery and all of his business. And then in chapter 4, he turns aside and he addresses somebody that this individual would never have spoken to. And incidentally, that's the fabulous thing about the body of Christ. That should be the fabulous thing about the body of Christ. None of this homogeneous stuff—all from the same group, all from the same background, all the same color, all the same interests, just a bunch of clones sitting around—but no. Jesus comes to this man so unlike this one, redeems them in the same way, and unites them in his purposes.

It's an interesting thing, is it not, that between chapter 3 and chapter 4, the encounter of Jesus with these two individuals puts them both in heaven, and here you have two folks, although they never met in time, will be up in heaven. They're having the conversation. Hello. Hello. My name's Nicodemus. What's your name?

I've got to give her a name now. Sylvia. Ah, Sylvia, uh-huh.

Where were you down there? Oh, Samaria? Uh-huh. You weren't a Samaritan, were you? Yeah, I was. Why, you weren't a Jew, were you? Yeah. You weren't, like, a big-time, you know, Pharisee, Sanhedrin Jew, were you? Yeah. I'm not supposed to like you.

But I love you. God has got to stir our hearts up with this. Crosses ethnic backgrounds, racial backgrounds, financial backgrounds, all kinds of backgrounds. You see, the redeeming work of Jesus Christ has got to make a variegated community. I understand all the social implications of where a church is, and it represents the community, and I buy all that stuff. We are what we are because of where we've been placed, and we want to represent the community in which we've been placed. But not in any exclusive sense.

We want to go out into the highways and byways. We want to live in John 3, and we want to also live in John 4. Why? Because God is no respecter of persons. All the rivalries and hatreds that marked chapter 4 were of little import to Jesus. His ministry was for all—for the Samaritan as well as the Jew, the ignorant as well as the learned, the poor for the rich, women and men, religious and irreligious, those who were morally corrupt and those who were morally upright. Jesus sits down as easily with this intellectual, religious chap as he does with a woman with a checkered history and a live-in lover. Now, be honest. Don't you fight the sneaking tendency to believe that we might do better with the sort of people with a religious interest, and we'd like to talk to them a little more, but we'll let somebody else handle the five times married with a live-in lover. Jesus says, I want you to open your eyes.

The fields are white for the harvest. Last thing by way of the context is to notice it not only geographically, historically, theologically, but immediately. The immediacy of this should not pass us by. We don't want to be guilty of trying to make this something other than it is, but I think it is not wrong for us to recognize the intense humanity that is represented in this scene.

For the divine Christ is the human Christ. And he was on a journey with a group of men who were his colleagues in ministry and his friends and those who were learning from him. And as they made their journey from Judea and on their way to Galilee, there is little doubt that at some point somebody must have said, Am I the only one that's hungry? Or does anybody want to stop and get anything? I mean, if you have anybody that goes on a journey as a group, eventually that question comes up.

Are we stopping any time? Now, admittedly, when you have your children in the car, it comes up about five minutes after you've left your house. But by and large, if you've got a relatively sensible group, there are certain key points in the day where somebody says, It's not unlikely that we would get somebody to eat and drink. It's the sixth hour. It's noon. It's the middle of the day. And somebody says, I'll tell you what, I'm hungry if nobody else is. And so, presumably, they said, Fine, let's go. We'll get something. Jesus stays by the well, perhaps in the hope that someone will come. After all, he's got nothing with which to draw. And he says to the disciples, You go get the food, and I'll see what we can do here with water.

Maybe somebody will come by, and I can get the water arranged before you come back. This is the immediate context. Try in your mind's eye to look and see the incarnate Son of God sitting by a well, as I said, at a point in the longitude and latitude scale, at a moment in historical time, tired, dusty, hot from the rising sun, and thirsty. And suddenly, into the scene walks a woman. A Samaritan woman came to draw water. Well, why did she come?

To draw water. When did she come? She came in the middle of the day. Was that normal? Abnormal. Was it normal to come on your own? Abnormal.

What was normal was to draw water in the early hours of the evening. What was normal was to go as a group of ladies to the well. It was highly unusual for a woman to make the journey on her own, and it was decidedly strange that she would do it at high noon in the middle of the day. Why, then, would the lady make this journey at this time?

When you put the pieces together, it would seem that the career that she had of five husbands plus her live-in lover had made her a social outcast. Would we have spoken with her? Would we have asked a favor of her? Would we have begun a conversation? That's all the context. Now we come to the conversation.

Look at how the conversation begins. Will you give me a drink? Gotta sort of ring to it, doesn't it?

Sort of down-to-earth ring. Sort of thirsty feel to it. Sort of lunchtime, hungry, tired, hot, sticky, drink-of-water time sort of feel to it, doesn't it?

That's exactly what it has to do, because that's exactly what it is. Jesus was not reading a manual on personal evangelism, you understand? And chapter 4, subpoint B said a very good way to start a conversation is to ask people for drinks of water. So he said, oh, this is one of the drink-of-water times. Must try the drink-of-water question. No, this is thirsty Jesus, deep well, no way down a well, lady with pot, chance for drink of water.

May I have a drink of water, please? Okay, we've established one thing. That was a very natural beginning, wasn't it? That Jesus doesn't launch into the lady and say, Excuse me, madam, have you ever read Leviticus chapter 18?

Leviticus 18 would be a good chapter for you. I've heard a little about you. He doesn't do that. But you know, some of our approaches to people are embarrassing. I mean really embarrassing. I don't mean a wee bit embarrassing. I don't mean marginally embarrassing.

I mean downright, totally, obnoxiously embarrassing. We think that somehow or another what we're supposed to do is get fired up with this big semi-automatic machine gun full of verses and just go roaming the neighborhoods looking for unsuspecting people like you're looking for crows or something. It's just roaming around the first person that stays still longer. I was giving it to John 3, Romans 3, Romans 6, Romans 10, Revelation 3, 20, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. Have you got that now? Jolly sinners! How about, would you like a hamburger? What?

Yeah. I don't usually go around offering people hamburgers, but man, I'm in this church. You may have seen it down there.

It appeared from nowhere. I'm basically here to say, would you—are you interested in coming down for a hamburger? The great temptation, I think, for me at least, is to forget that when Jesus spoke to this person, he spoke to her as a person. And that when we go to people, we go to people.

We don't go to numbers, statistics, entities, demographics. We used to do this regularly in Edinburgh. We went one night to the home of a couple in an apartment building.

We always went on Monday nights. It was prayer meeting night. Most of the people stayed and prayed, and the rest of the souls went out and visited. And we used to knock the door and simply say, We come from the church down the street here, and we wanted to let you know that we are having a friendship service, and we just thought that you may care to come. And if the person expressed any interest at all, we would say, if you would like the opportunity, we would be glad to take the chance just to tell you why it is that we would even make this visit. And on one night, we went to this door, and it was an elderly couple, and the gentleman came to the door, and he had the door a crack open, the initial introduction. No, I don't think so.

Well, maybe. And eventually, I don't quite know how it happened, but the two visitors were inside. They're sitting down, they have the literature, they explain. One of them says, Well, we should go. The lady, who had said nothing, said to one of the two visitors, Could you say a prayer before you leave? The person said, Yeah. He said, Could you say a prayer for people who have cancer? He said, Yeah. So they bowed their heads, and one of them prayed, and when he prayed, he said, Lord, I do pray that you bless those people who are suffering from illness, and are facing difficulty, and everything else, and that you'll be to them, etc. Amen. Brief prayer.

He opened his eyes, and the couple, the tears running down their faces. I'm going to tell you all the story, except to tell you the end. I conducted the funeral service of that lady. She was a French Huguenot. She was from a very rarified, interesting background.

Long, long story in the center of Edinburgh. She chose her own funeral hymns. She chose her own Scripture readings. She put in the Scotsman newspaper for all her fancy friends to see the fact that she was not having a funeral service, but she was having a celebration of thanksgiving. And she insisted that we made it clear that she had come from darkness into light and from fear into faith.

Why? Because out of a sense of total routine, with no splash and no height, two people walked up the door and said, Hey, we got a little friendship thing coming. Would you like to come? That was their part. What was God's part?

Through all the years of her life, preparing that lady for that couple to knock that door in that moment so that she might come to faith in Jesus Christ. And Jesus said, I tell you, open your eyes. Let's open our eyes and look at the fields. They are already white for the harvest. Jesus saw people as people, not as projects.

And so should we. You're listening to Truth for Life weekend. That is Alistair Begg reminding us that God is the one who prepares people to come to faith in Jesus. If you'd like to find out more about sharing the gospel with others, you can find additional messages on our website at Just click on sermons in the blue bar at the top of the homepage. You can browse by topic and then click on evangelism and you'll find a list of messages from which you can choose, including the Great Commission and the Power and Message of the Cross. There are other messages available there. You can download or watch or listen to as many sermons as you'd like.

They're absolutely free. While you're on our website, check out the book we're recommending called Habits of Grace, Enjoying Jesus Through the Spiritual Disciplines. This is the last weekend we'll be offering this very practical book that will help you grow in your relationship with God. In the book, you learn how to establish basic spiritual practices like regular Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with other believers. You'll learn about habits like scripture memorization, fasting, meditation, journaling.

You're sure to grow in grace as you put these habits into practice, as you become more aware of God's abundant grace in your life. Once again, you can learn more about the book Habits of Grace when you visit our website at To help you establish some of these spiritual habits, add the Truth for Life mobile app to your smartphone or your tablet if you're not already listening through the app. This is a convenient way to hear these programs each day or access the daily devotions, our blogs, and more. There's even a complete ESV Bible in the app, so you have access to God's word right at your fingertips no matter where you go.

Download the app for free when you search for Truth for Life in your app store or visit slash app. I'm Bob Lapine. Thanks for listening today. Join us again next weekend. We'll look at how Jesus transitioned a natural conversation into a life-altering event. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life, where the Learning is for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-14 04:15:57 / 2023-01-14 04:25:47 / 10

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