New Wine for New Wineskins May 2012

By , May 1, 2012 11:37 am

JesusHistoryOurDestinyLogoJesus’ History Is Our Destiny (Part 4)

Jesus the Evangelist

John 20: 30 – 31

30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

When the church ends up in a position where it has become nothing more than a monument or memorial to a historical Jesus or a previous move of the Holy Spirit that has been consigned to history or when it has become the promoter of a new and reconfigured culturally relevant Jesus it is in trouble.  The church is here to be a continuation of Jesus’ life, an amplification of Jesus’ message and an extension of Jesus’ works.

The New Covenant very clearly reveals to us that Jesus’ history is our destiny!  We just have to look at Paul’s life and ministry as it is recorded in the New Covenant.  What do we see in Paul’s life and ministry?  Basically, it is a continuation of Jesus’ life and ministry – preaching, teaching, healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead!  Scripture is clear!  As Jesus is so are we in this world!

And so that is why we are taking a trip through the Gospel of John that will help us to not only see Jesus’ history but also discover our destiny!

John 4

Jesus the Evangelist

Verses 1 – 6

1 The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John,
2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

1.  HE HAD TO GO!

God’s love sent Jesus into the world to bring salvation, healing and deliverance to the lost, the sick, and the oppressed.  Everywhere he went he was doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil!  It doesn’t matter where we go – we are sent as ambassadors of the kingdom.  Paul put it this way:

2 Corinthians 5: 14 – 15

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Some years ago the Lord said to me, “If you can’t reach them with love then they can’t be reached!”  People who don’t respond to love cannot be reached with the gospel because the gospel is the message of God’s love!

Jesus said, “…Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14: 23)

The same love that compels us to go will compel them to come in!  The love of God is what compels!  To compel means to “bring about something by use of force or pressure.”  There is no force in the universe more powerful than God’s love!

Verses 7 – 9 (The Message)

7 – 8  A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.)
9 The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (Jews in those days wouldn’t be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)

2.  HE HAD TO SHOW

Jesus had to show (demonstrate) that his love / friendliness was unconditional and not tainted by pride, prejudice, or preconceived ideas.  Naturally speaking this woman didn’t have a lot going for her because she was (i) a Samaritan (ii) a Samaritan woman (iii) a Samaritan woman of dubious reputation.

By asking her for a drink Jesus was showing her that he didn’t think she was unclean or contaminated in any way!  Remember – Jesus demonstrated his love for us by going to the cross and dying for us while we were still sinners!

Our evangelism must be free from pride, prejudice, and preconceived ideas about people if we are going to be effective in showing / demonstrating God’s unconditional love.

Verses 10 – 12 (NIV)

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

3.  SHE HAD TO KNOW

She needed revelation of what was being offered to her and who was actually reaching out to her.  What is the gift of God?  Eternal life!  Who is the giver of eternal life?  Jesus!

Effective evangelism is not simply about converting people to an ideology but introducing them to a person!

Verses 13 – 18 (NIV)

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

4.  HE HAD TO FLOW

Jesus was flowing in the Spirit!  He wasn’t just reciting a learned witnessing technique that he memorised at some seminar on ten steps to effective evangelism!  The Bible says that we should speak as the mouthpiece of God and minister with the ability that God supplies and so we must be quick to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying and slow to speak the first thing that comes into our heads!  We must allow the LORD who knows the heart and sees beyond the outward appearance to give us the right words at the right time for the right people!

In verse 15 it is clear that this woman was weary of the drudgery of her life and the reproach that her lifestyle brought.  This woman probably had men coming onto her all the time and she had no doubt heard every chat up line that was out there!  But nobody who is coming onto you is going to ask you to go and get your husband!

And so, Jesus operating in the word of knowledge moves this encounter up a gear!

Verses 19 – 26

19 – 20 “Oh, so you’re a prophet! Well, tell me this: Our ancestors worshiped God at this mountain, but you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place for worship, right?”
21 – 23 “Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem. You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter.
23 – 24 “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”
25 The woman said, “I don’t know about that. I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, we’ll get the whole story.”
26 “I am he,” said Jesus. “You don’t have to wait any longer or look any further.”

5.  SHE HAD TO GROW

This lady had to grow in her understanding and realise that it is nothing to do with our religious background or denominational affiliation – it is all about whether or not we have a personal relationship with the Father.

Don’t ever try and sell people “church” because every person tends to already have their own definition of church!  Always seek to introduce people to your God and make sure that they understand that he is alive and active in your life – that your relationship with him is real, relevant, and radical.  Tell them what he has done for you and make sure they know that he wants to do the same things for them!

The incredible truth is that Jesus gives the revelation of true worship to this outcast of society that would never have no doubt been counted as unworthy of acceptance by respectable church folks!  He shows her the way to the Father that bypasses church!  Church is not where you come to know God – it is what you are added to after you come to know Him!  Evangelism that is focused simply on growing the local church will always inevitably fall short of God’s best plan!  We don’t need converts to churches – we need churches full of true worshipers!

You have probably heard the phrase “church without walls”.  When I first heard it I thought it sounded really good but as I meditated on it I realised that maybe it wasn’t so good after all!  A church without walls is actually a dangerous place to be because it affords no protection from what is outside!  What we actually need is not a church without walls but a church that also functions effectively outwith the walls!  The church is the habitation of God and its purpose is to get the word out to the world that will be effective in changing the world.  The walls around the church are to prevent the world coming in and changing the church!

Verses 27 – 28

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people…

6.  SHE HAD TO GO!

The first thing someone who has a genuine encounter with Jesus does is run and tell everyone else!  The revelation of God’s unconditional love is too awesome to keep to yourself!  Now she is compelled to go!

Verses 29 – 30

29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

7.  SHE HAD TO SHOW!

The reject and outcast is overflowing with the revelation of God’s love and acceptance and cannot be silent!  The reject is now calling others to know that they are accepted!  She is not pointing a finger at them for all of the ways that they have made her life miserable – she is simply calling them to an encounter with the one who knows all about you and still loves and accepts you!

Verses 39 – 42

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers. 42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

8.  THEY HAD TO KNOW!

Jesus said that he had come that they might have life in all of its fullness!  We need to overflow so that they can have their own personal experience of God and his goodness!  If we only have an inlet and no outlet we will become like the Dead Sea!  Some people think that the gift of evangelist mentioned in Ephesians 4 is supposed to come along and do all the evangelism and outreach but this gift is given to the church to prepare and equip all of the people for the work of evangelism in their everyday lives!  An encounter with a true evangelist should fire you up for evangelism!

Jesus makes evangelism look easy, doesn’t he?  The reality is that it is easy if you have the right attitude and perspective!

In verse 27 it is clear that when the disciples saw Jesus talking to this woman they wondered what on earth he was playing at!

Verses 31 – 34

31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” 33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.

1.  THE RIGHT ATTITUDE:  HOOK UP

Remember – Jesus’ history is our destiny!  Our purpose is to do the will of him who has sent us and to finish his work!  Remember – Jesus said that we would do the same works that he did!  We are all called to engage in effective evangelism and so we must HOOK UP with the Father’s love for the lost and his desire to seek them out and to save them!

Verses 35 – 38

35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”

2.  THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE:  LOOK UP

Lift up your eyes!  LOOK UP!  We need to stop looking down at lost people!  They are not stupid!  They are made aware through our words and actions that most Christians are self-righteously looking down at them and thinking that they are better than them!  Remember how Jesus modeled successful ministry when he wrapped a towel round his waist and got down to wash his disciples feet!  It is as you get down to serve and LOOK UP that you begin to see and discover that the harvest is already ripe for the picking!

Verses 43 – 53 (NLT)

43 At the end of the two days, Jesus went on to Galilee. 44 He himself had said that a prophet is not honored in his own hometown. 45 Yet the Galileans welcomed him, for they had been in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration and had seen everything he did there. 46 As he traveled through Galilee, he came to Cana, where he had turned the water into wine. There was a government official in nearby Capernaum whose son was very sick. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son, who was about to die. 48 Jesus asked, “Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?” 49 The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.” 50 Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home. 51 While the man was on his way, some of his servants met him with the news that his son was alive and well. 52 He asked them when the boy had begun to get better, and they replied, “Yesterday afternoon at one o’clock his fever suddenly disappeared!” 53 Then the father realized that that was the very time Jesus had told him, “Your son will live.” And he and his entire household believed in Jesus.

EVANGELISM AND SIGNS AND WONDERS

Remember what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman regarding salvation being of the Jews?  This man who came to Jesus on behalf of his son was a Jew!  Salvation, healing, and deliverance was already available to them!  Miraculous signs and wonders are primarily for the lost – to reveal God’s goodness to them and to show them the way into relationship with the Father!  They are designed to be an introduction to the good that will be a stepping stone to the BEST!

In this encounter with the Jewish nobleman Jesus exhibits his perplexity at the slowness of God’s people to believe in the fullness of God’s provision unless they see miraculous signs and wonders!  Sadly, nothing much has changed for the majority of God’s people in our generation as they are still chasing after signs and wonders instead of living in the fullness of what already belongs to them!

Remember – God designed his people to be a sign and a wonder to those who don’t know him!  And so, here in this incident Jesus again shows us the BEST!  This man – as a Jew – already had God’s promise of healing as a part of the old covenant blessing!  And so, he simply repeats the word to him, “Go back home, your son will live!”

The man believes the word and heads for home!  On the way he meets some of his servants who tell him that his boy is fully recovered!  He then realises what he should have had a grip on all along – that THE WORD WORKS!  We are called to live by faith – believing that the word always works!  We access the grace of God that is more than sufficient for every circumstance by simply taking God at his word!

Salvation is of the Jews – they already had salvation, healing, and deliverance made available to them – and SO DO WE!  If God’s people could truly grasp this truth in its fullness I believe that it would completely eradicate sickness and oppression from the Body of Christ!

The problem is that many of God’s people don’t know how to appropriate the miraculous deliverance that is already theirs!

As God’s people we are not supposed to be queuing up in front of the evangelist for healing – we are supposed to be engaged in the ministry of evangelism out there in the world and overflowing salvation, healing, and deliverance into the lives of those who are without God and without hope in this world!

Is the love of Christ compelling you to GO, to SHOW, and to FLOW so that others can KNOW and GROW?  Are you ready to HOOK UP and LOOK UP so that the harvest can be compelled to come in?

Jesus history is our destiny!  If Jesus was an evangelist then so are we!

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