AN EXAMPLE

John 4

 

“A teenage girl got lost in her car in a snow storm. She remembered what her dad had once told her: "If you ever get stuck in a snow storm, wait for a snow plow and follow it."

 

“Pretty soon a snow plow came by, and she started to follow it. She followed the plow for about forty five minutes. Finally the driver of the truck got out and asked her what she was doing. She explained that her dad had told her if she ever got stuck in the snow, to follow a plow.

 

“The driver nodded and said, ‘Well, I'm done with the Wal-Mart parking lot, now you can follow me over to K-Mart.’

 

“There's nothing wrong with following others as long as we know that they are headed in the right direction. Even the apostle Paul was careful to limit those who sought to follow him:

‘Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.’ (I Corinthians 11:1, NIV).

 

“Following a snow plow blindly may have minor consequences, but following someone blindly in the realm of religion can have serious (and eternal) consequences. Be careful who you follow!” Alan Smith www.TFTD-online.com , http://www.sermonillustrator.org/illustrator/sermon2/following_the_snow_plow.htm

 

1 John 2:6 - He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

 

We are to follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ.   

 

“On one occasion the great Paderewski came to London for a piano concert. Joseph Parker, a former pastor of City Temple in London, and an accomplished musician himself, went to hear him play. The minister was so moved by what he heard that he did a very strange thing when he returned home. Standing by his piano, he called to his wife, ‘Bring me an ax! Today I heard great music for the first time. By comparison, what I can do amounts to nothing at all. I feel like chopping my piano to pieces.’

 

“Although Parker did not follow through with this threat, he realized that he could never be a Paderewski by simply following his example. To do so, he would need Paderewski’s hands—yes, the very soul of the great musician.” Source unknown http://www.bible.org/illus/c/c-37.htm#TopOfPage

 

We are told that we should follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, and yet it is humanly impossible to do so.  It is only when the Spirit of Christ controls us that we will be able to follow his example.

But to follow his example is something we should strive to do with the help of His Holy Spirit. Jesus by example cared about the souls of men.

 

Luke 19:10 - For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Mark 6:34 - And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.

 

We have been talking about soul winning.  Jesus was a soul winner.  A soul winner is someone that brings people to faith in Christ for forgiveness and eternal life.     

 

This week we are looking at a classic example of how to win souls presented to us by our Lord Jesus Christ in John 4.It is the story we call “The woman at the well”.  Here we find:

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S HUMILITY

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S HELPFULNESS

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S HONESTY

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S HUNGER

 

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S HUMILITY

 

You are probably familiar with the fact that the Lord Jesus had to humble himself in order to come to earth and to die for us.

Philippians 2:5-8 - Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: [6] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: [7] But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: [8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

 

While our Lord walked the earth He was humble.

He was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and yet He lived among men, He ate with them, He allowed them to ridicule Him and even humbled Himself to die for everyone’s sins.   

 

In John 4, Jesus shows his humility in at least two ways.

 

·        HE WENT TO AN UNLOVELY PLACE

John 4:4 - And he must needs go through Samaria.

 

The main reason why Jesus had to go to Samaria was that He had an appointment with a sinful woman at a well (More about her in a minute.). 

 

The woman didn’t know she had an appointment, but Jesus did.  Also he had appointments with other Samaritans, many of which would have their lives changed by Him. 

 

Jesus was traveling. He was leaving Judea, sort of the greater Jerusalem metropolitan area, and going to Galilee, the area where He grew up and often ministered.  Cana in Galilee was His headquarters.

 

As we already saw in verse 4, it was necessary for Him to go through Samaria.  He could have avoided Samaria by doing what some devout Jews did. He could have traveled the long way around instead of taking a straight route that went through Samaria.

 

Why all the fuss over Samaria?

The Jews hated the Samaritans.

The Samaritans, in turn, hated the Jews.

 

Samaria, at one time was another name used for the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Remember, after King Solomon died the nation split up into a Northern Kingdom called Israel or “Samaria”, and a Southern Kingdom called Judah.

 

Because of the sin of the Northern Kingdom, Israel was carried into captivity by the Assyrians. The Assyrians had a policy of removing conquered people from their land and resettle them in another land. So, most of the Jews were taken out of Samaria and replaced with other conquered people from other areas.  The new inhabitants intermarried with the poor Jews who were left behind in Samaria.  Hence, the Samaritans of Jesus’ day were half breed Jews.

 

The Samaritan religion was also a half breed religion. It was a mixture of heathen religion with the Jews’ religion. 

 

When the Jews would not permit the Samaritans to worship at the temple in Jerusalem, they built their own temple.

 

Samaria to the Jew was an unlovely place.

But Jesus went to Samaria.

Why did Jesus go to Samaria?  It was an unlovely place where people needed help.

 

Let’s face it. When most of us share the Gospel, we prefer to go to lovely places.  We prefer to go where it’s respectable and easy to share.

 

But unlovely places are places where people need Jesus.

One day when I was working as a school teacher my mother gave me a call to tell me that I had a letter saying that I had been drafted in the army.  I was skinny as a rail and could have easily starved myself and been too light to be drafted.

However, I did not feel that starving would be the thing the Lord would want me to do.

 

I ended up going to some unlovely places including some army camps in the U.S. and then going to Viet Nam.  At one of those unlovely army bases I had the opportunity to witness to other soldiers through a Christian Servicemen’s center.  Somewhere along the line, I think perhaps in Oakland California while I was waiting to be shipped, I had the opportunity to lead someone to Christ.  In Vietnam, I worked in an office and guarded airplanes and helicopters.

But I also had opportunities to witness, teach and even preach one Sunday.  Unlovely places? Yes!  But they were places where people needed Jesus.

 

Jesus may ask you to go to an unlovely place to share the Gospel.

It might be an unlovely work situation.

It might be an unlovely school situation.

It might be an unlovely neighborhood.

Or Jesus may even send you to an unlovely country.

The important thing we must do is humble ourselves to go with the salvation message wherever God sends us.

 

·        HE WENT TO AN UNLOVELY PLACE

·        HE WENT TO UNLOVELY PEOPLE

 

Vss. 5-6 – Our Lord arrived outside of a village called Sychar. A well that had evidently been dug by Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, was there.

 

Jesus was very tired.

This reminds us that He, as God in the flesh, experienced all the physical limitations that we experience.

It also reminds me that He did not use being tired as an excuse for not witnessing to this woman.

 

According to Vs. 8, the disciples went to buy food. Jesus was left by himself.

 

Vs. 7 – The time was probably high noon.  It was not a time when the women usually came to the well. It was too hot.

But this woman came probably because she was shunned by the other women.  This woman was an immoral woman, unlovely as a sinner.

 

Etiquette of that day would have frowned on a Jewish Rabbi talking to any woman in public, let alone a Samaritan woman. But Jesus’ care for souls went beyond man’s etiquette.

 

Vs. 9 – The woman was shocked that Jesus would talk to her.

 

She was shocked that he would drink out of a water picture that belonged to a Samaritan, for this was something that the Jews did not do.

 

Would Jesus have survived without the drink of water? Yes.

Jesus’ motive was to draw this unlovely, immoral woman into a conversation.

 

I want you to realize two things. 

First of all, we are all unlovely.  As we saw last week Isaiah 64:6 says, But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

 

Second, as Jesus humbled himself to talk to unlovely people, we should do the same.   

Last summer Amanda worked at Camp Promise on the other side of Pittsburgh.  Many of the kids she worked with were unlovely.  They were inner city kids. Their behavior was unlovely. Some of their habits were unlovely.

But while at camp some of those unlovely kids put their faith in Christ as Savior. 

 

Undoubtedly you know some unlovely people who need Jesus.  They are often crude, immoral, antagonistic, and down right unpleasant.  They need you to humble yourself, become their friend, and tell them about Jesus.

 

We need to follow Jesus’ example of humility.

·        HE WENT TO AN UNLOVELY PLACE

·        HE WENT TO UNLOVELY PEOPLE

 

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S HUMILITY

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S HELPFULNESS

 

An unlovely person has just given an unlovely response to Jesus.

He could have ignored her.

He could have lashed out at her with a brutal, righteous reprimand.

 

Instead Jesus chose to be helpful.

John 4:10 - Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

Our Lord begins a gentle process of witnessing to this lady. He mentions to her that if she knew who she was talking to, she could ask Him of Living Water. He is helping her by beginning to point her to Himself.

 

May I remind you that the most helpful thing that you can do for anyone is to talk to them about their soul, and their need to trust Jesus as Savior?

 

Of course our Lord was talking of Spiritual things. As the conversation with the woman continued, our Lord pointed out in Verses 13-14 that anyone who drinks of that well will thirst again. But the living water that Jesus gives will be a well springing up to everlasting life.

 

When a person places their faith in the Lord Jesus, turning their back on everything and everyone else for eternal life, that person is “born again”. As a result of being born again, the Spirit of God comes to live inside a believer and hence the well springing up to life.

 

 

John 7:37-39 - In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. [38] He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. [39] (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

 

John 4:15 - The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

 

The woman is still thinking of physical things. She wants that water, so she does not have to come to the well to draw water.  

 

Our Lord saw the woman’s need.  He knew she needed help, and the opening conversation with her is the beginning of that help.  But Jesus needed to go a step further.

 

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S HELPFULNESS

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S HONESTY

 

John 4:16 - Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.

 

Our Lord is now ready to help her in her immediate area of need, her sin. In order for anyone to be saved, they must see how sinful they are.

This woman’s problem is a moral one, so Jesus says to her, “Go, bring your husband.”

 

As we strive to help needy souls, let us remember to be honest.  We need to get people lost, so to speak, before they will turn to people for salvation.

   

John 4:17-18 - The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: [18] For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

   

The woman says that she has no husband. Jesus agrees with her. “You’ve had five husbands, and this one you are living with is not your husband.”  The Lord points the finger of conviction right at her.

   

Let us remember to show people just how sinful they are. That takes honesty.

 

Next Jesus did what was necessary to point her to himself.

By the time that Jesus is done talking to her she says in

Vs. 25 - The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

 

Jesus gives the honest answer that she needed to hear in Vs. 26, Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

 

Our talk with people is to follow Jesus’ example of honesty.

Not only must we tell people of their sin, but we must point out to people that Jesus, the sinless Son of God died for that sin, was buried and rose again.   

 

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 - For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

 

Also in our honesty we must tell them that faith in Jesus is the only way to forgiveness and eternal life.

   

The good news is that the woman believed on Christ.

 

John 4:28-29 - The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, [29] Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

 

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S HUMILITY

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S HELPFULNESS

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S HONESTY

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S HUNGER

   

His disciples returned.

John 4:31-34 - In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. [32] But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. [33] Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? [34] Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

 

Jesus was hungry to do the will of God.

The “meat” that He had was the satisfaction of doing the will of God.

Part of Jesus’ hunger to do the will of God, was to see souls come to know Him as Savior.

 

John 4:35 - Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

 

The fields that Jesus referred to are people.

He was hungry to see them saved.

You claim Jesus as your Savior.

You say you want to do his will.

  

Do you have any of that same hunger to see people come to Him?  

 

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S HUMILITY

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S HELPFULNESS

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S HONESTY

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S HUNGER