Complete: Desperate people need Jesus

 

Complete: Desperate people need Jesus

I just want to remind everyone what we are about here at …..
our goal is for every member of our church, having experienced the real presence and power of God, will move out of our churches and into our community in loving service in order to see God glorified in the homes and lives of our neighbors who without faith will too easily trip on fall into hopelessness.

 

Gospel of John…wrote these stories so we might believe.  He chose specific events from his time with Jesus and recorded them on purpose…with a purpose.

This story has probably 5 sermons in it, I’m going to preach just one, so there are some things that I will skip over.  It’s all important, but just part of the story is pertinent to what I want to share with you today.

John 4:1–4 NCV

1 The Pharisees heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more followers than John, 2 although Jesus himself did not baptize people, but his followers did. 3 Jesus knew that the Pharisees had heard about him, so he left Judea and went back to Galilee. 4 But on the way he had to go through the country of Samaria.

Why was this such a big deal?

– Samaritans had rights to distrust Jews, Jews had reasons to avoid Samaritans!

Samaritans were a mixed race culture due to the Assyrian rule.

Their religion had Jewish roots, but it had been co-opted by the cult religions of the settlers brought in by the Assyrians.  The  religion of their ancestors had been filled with sex practices, child sacrifice, pagan blood worship, all sorts of un-Godly acts….such was their practice that when the Temple was rebuilt in the OT, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah tell the story, the Samaritans were specifically excluded.

What did they do?  They built their own temple for God.  They in essence became a cult.

SIDEBAR: How do you recognize a cult?  It has roots in true religion, but it twists it to satisfy a selfish desire of a group of an individual rather than God.

Being rejected by the Jews certainly made them mistrust them, in fact they would eventually go to war.  In Jesus’s day, there was no love loss between Jews and Samaritans.

Because they were not pure Israelites, because they had a false gods, they were unclean and while you might travel through Samaria to get from Judea to Galilee, You would want to make sure you didn’t engage these folks more than absolutely necessary.

Culturally they were outcasts from Jews.

– Samaritans had rights to distrust Jews, Jews had reasons to avoid Samaritans…But not Jesus!

To reach people no one is reaching, you have to do things others won’t do.

Now I hear some of you now…I can’t do things like that…like what?  What did Jesus do here?  He asked for water.

Water is important, especially in the desert.  In asking for water he was building a bridge…he was showing the woman that need, when it is great, will drive you to cross barriers.

When he had shown his willingness to cross the barriers between them, he invited her to cross those barriers to experience living water?

John 4:14 NIV84

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.”

You can almost hear it in her voice…yea give me some of that water…..oh yea, you don’t have any…that’s right….

You see, just like N, she seemed to be missing the point that what Jesus was talking about was a spiritual life that is a gift of the God and it was right here available to her right now.

Just then Jesus takes the conversation deeper.

John 4:16–18 NIV

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.”

I’m sure there were bunches of stories that John could have told about Jesus and outcasts.  But here he tells one that I can’t skip the irony.

Looking back, in the Gospel of John, we saw JTB declare Jesus as the son of God…we saw him perform his first miracle at a wedding, and went to clean up the temple because it was a mockery, then JTB proclaimed him to be the true Bridegroom and the bride is his church.  This image of a wedding keeps coming up.

Now here we with a woman who has had 5 husbands and the current one is not really her husband.

We are in Samaria…a land where they have historically had many gods….and the current one wasn’t a true god either.

But back to the woman.  Obviously she is an outcast from the community.  She is an outcast among outcasts.

We don’t know why she has been married 5 times, but the story certainly seems a little like she has made some poor choices in life.  What we do know is that he current one isn’t actually her husband.  She could get married again, but I guess at this point, why bother.  She just needs someone to provide for her.  She doesn’t have much to offer anyone at this stage.

It’s not a relationship of convenience, it’s one of necessity in her mind.  5 marriages she probably has some kids…she has real needs and in their culture, she would be entirely dependent upon her husband to care for her….She needs someone.

She’s obviously a religious woman, she tries to change the subject…and get Jesus talking about worship, but the problem is, Jesus is prepared.  He tells her that misdirected worship is her biggest problem…just like the Samaritan’s.

A misdirected worshiper doesn’t understand when God is near, when God is speaking, or what God has to offer.

It wasn’t that she was worshiping in the wrong place but rather it was lacking spirit and truth.  You see, her worship wasn’t directed to God at all, it seems to be directed at men…or perhaps at what men can provide.

You see worship is simply an expression of love…it’s how we communicate love.  We cheer when our team wins…that’s worship because we love our team…Praise is an act of worship.
we serve our parents or our siblings or our spouse when they are in need…because we love them.  Service is an act of worship.  All these are an expression of love.  Usually we think of worship as directed to God, but functionally often times our worship, our dedication, our praise, our service, our devotion is focused somewhere else.

That’s what worship is.

AW Tozer wrote:

“Not only are we all in process of becoming; we are becoming what we love.  We are to a large degree the sum of our loves and we will of moral necessity grow into the image of what we love most; for love…changes and molds and shapes and transforms…Loving wrong objects is fatal to spiritual growth; it twists and deforms the life and makes impossible the appearing of the image of Christ in the soul. It is only as we love right objects that we become right and only as we go on loving them that we continue to experience a slow, but continuous transmutation toward the objects of our purified affection.”

The root of our _______ problem is a worship problem.

Our outcast (rejection, pain, guilt, relationship, stress, sin, etc.) problem is actually worship problem.

We stopped worshiping God and allowed someone or something…our rejection, our pain, our sin…whatever take our attention, our devotion, our love from God.

That’s why when Jesus invited her to bring her husband was such a powerful moment.  Let me ask you, if Jesus were here today standing at the altar, what would Jesus invite you to go and bring back?

Misdirected worship leads to misguided lives.

Our worship orients out life. My old phone had a compass on it.  When you would open the app, it would tell you to turn the phone in a figure 8 pattern in order to reset the compass.  I don’t know how it worked, but it did…and often North would be in a different place than I thought originally.

Jesus resets our worship…focused on Jesus, we worship God in spirit and in truth.  It’s not that our worship is wrong, it’s just that some times, it gets misdirected.

 

There are some here today who’s worship is in the right direction…at least you don’t feel like you worship your job or your family or your stuff or anything like that.  You worship Jesus!

Good, But just because you are on the right track, I want to tell you not to congratulate yourself or relax because I believe that we are all Samaritans really….we all tend to misdirected worship.  See what I mean in today’s text:

John 4:31–34 NIV84

31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.

Jesus is in the thick of ministry and the disciples show up and say, are you hungry?  Want a fish sandwich?

They were hungry.  Sure Jesus was hungry, and food is essential…just like water, except at this moment, it wasn’t important.  What was important was this woman and this community of hopeless people.  There would be plenty of time to eat.

I got to thinking how often I acted just like the disciples in this story, allowing things that seemed urgent take the place of what I knew was most important.

Just like the Samaritans, the disciples had taken their focus off of God and put it on themselves and their stomachs.

Don’t allow the urgent to replace the important!

Now you may argue, that urgent should take precedence over important, but I say that important is always important and we should measure what is urgent by what is important.  I think that’s what Jesus was saying here.

Jesus told his disciples, Open your eyes and Look….the harvest is all around.  People all around are desperate and they need hope.  These people aren’t to be pitied, they are ripe for the harvest.  God has called us to go and show them the hope we have.

It’s the same for us here in Rock Hall.  I’ve heard – I’ve even said –  how people don’t come to church like they used to.  I could say their worship is misdirected and that is why so many in our community have lives that are misguided.  They know this.  God has called us to go and help them see that in him they find the true object of worship.

Desperate people need Jesus

We are all desperate…some of us have never worshiped God in spirit and truth and we need to be redirected…some of us have allowed our attention to wander from God from the most important to the urgent

Jesus is the only one who deserves our worship

What has your attention?  Where are your priorities?

I want to pray for you…for us all.

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