No Shame

John 4:7-10 WEB

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” [8] For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. [9] The Samaritan woman therefore said to him, “How is it that you, being a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) [10] Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

Jesus was tired and he took his rest in the most unlikely place. He sat down at Jacob’s well in Samaria. In Jesus’ time, Israel had a right place to live and a wrong place to live. The right place was Judea, and the wrong place was Galilee. However, all Jewish people agreed that they were better than Samaritans. When Jesus sat down in Samaria and sent his disciples for food, he was ignoring basic protocol that any decent Jew would know and come into conformity. His disciples went for food and Jesus stayed for a drink.

The drink would come from the hand of a sinner. Not only a Samaritan but one that had lived a scorn-worthy life. For Jesus, this was another level of non-conformity. Yet, the Samaritan woman loved God and Jesus had a believing heart set as the target of his attention. Without a doubt, Jesus was hearing from the Spirit of God. He did not shrug off conformity because he was anti-social. Jesus was not a nonconformist for attention. He was simply more interested in the condition of people’s hearts than he was interested in social mores.

Lord, please help me care more about the spiritual condition of the people around me than I care for my reputation and social standing. Forgive me for caring so much about conformity that I have refrained from sharing the gospel. Help me follow your example. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Wise yet Harmless

John 4:1-3 WEB

Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John [2] (although Jesus himself didn’t baptize, but his disciples), [3] he left Judea, and departed into Galilee.

Jesus epitomized the scripture that says, “Behold, I send you out as sheep among wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 WEB) When he learned he had attracted the attention of the Pharisees he departed Judea and went to Galilee. In chapter 3 of John, John the Baptist pronounced Jesus as the way to heaven. John as much as declared Jesus the messiah. Jesus’ response to this was to pack up and leave the area.

Jesus understood the Pharisees hated him. While professing zeal for God, they demonstrated with their behaviors that they actually despised God. What they liked was the glory of standing before the people. Jesus was threatening their glory.

Have you ever heard a minister preaching compromise? Why would they do this? The exact demonstration of hatred for God may have changed, but the root cause of the sin is the same. Namely, a desire for people to glorify themselves rather than God. Preaching the untainted gospel has with it the risk of people rejecting the messenger.

Jesus was often scorned and rejected by those to whom he ministered, On the other hand, many were saved as well. This is important to notice. Jesus experienced both rejection and acceptance. He told his disciples to shake the dust from their feet when they were rejected. Literally, to pronounce condemnation on those who rejected their message.

Can you imagine a modern-day preacher declaring condemnation for rejection of the gospel? They would be heckled and counted as a hypocrite for such preaching. People still have little tolerance for the untainted message of the gospel. That message is that Christ alone saves those whom he will and rejects the disobedient. Telling people that Jesus will save them is not too hard. On the other hand, telling people they must be obedient to the whole Bible or face eternal torment is not accepted by most people.

People want salvation to be a democratic affair. As if we can choose which passages are relevant while declaring others irrelevant. Some of this has been caused by modern-day zealots. Ministers who teach a heartless gospel of condemnation drive the lost away from God. They preach to a mouth-foaming crowd that wants confirmation that they are better than everyone else. But the word of God does not counsel this. Rather, it says to be wise as a serpent but harmless as a dove.

As Christians, we have to learn to declare the truth from a place of love for the world. The Father desires the world to be saved (John 3:16). We can declare condemnation for the lost in love. We can plead with the lost to turn their hearts fully to the Father through the grace of Jesus Christ. We can demonstrate obedience thereby duplicating it in those who are new in the Lord.

Lord, please help me walk wisely while remaining harmless to those with whom I share the gospel. Please forgive me for being immature and heartless. I’m sorry for withholding love from the lost. Please forgive me. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

God Loves the World

For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 WEB

Often we hear preaching that speaks of the world derisively. Yet, in this passage, it clearly says that God loves the world. So, while it’s popular to condemn the world from the pulpit, it is not what God does. God does not currently condemn the world, rather, God wants to save the world. This is why Jesus was sent so that anyone who believes in Him will be saved. But here is the problem, when preachers condemn the world in one message and teach the great commission in another message they are defiling the word of God. The great commission is the command from the New Testament for the church to bring the lost into a saving relationship with Christ. However, Christians are often taught to hate ungodly people from the pulpit. What other outcome can there be from a message of condemnation? God does not condemn the world. Rather, he endured the cross so that the world could be saved. If anyone is going to be a soul winner for Christ, they have to love the lost. So, rather than defile the hearts of believers with an unbiblical message of present condemnation, preachers need to teach a message of love for the world.

Lord, help me to love the world without being defiled by the world. Help me to love people without letting their sin infect my heart. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Visitation

John 1:26-28 WEB

John answered them, “I baptize in water, but among you stands one whom you don’t know. [27] He is the one who comes after me, who is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I’m not worthy to loosen.” [28] These things were done in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.


If Jesus walked into your church would you recognize Him? We all miss numerous opportunities to encounter the Lord especially through the poor and needy. The Word says, “The King will answer them, ‘Most certainly I tell you because you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Mt 25:40 WEB)

My husband was needy for several years. He is a severe alcoholic and for 10 years he was in the habit of drinking daily. He was homeless due to his alcoholism. Worse, by the end, he was drinking a gallon and a half of vodka a day. He finally stopped after he nearly died. When my husband woke up in the hospital, he cried out to the Lord.

My husband drank to forget. He drank to numb the pain of severe childhood trauma. Because he was raped by family members through his childhood, he struggled with his bowels. So for about 3 years, you could find him running about filthy or passed out drunk. He frequently smelled like vomit and feces. He wasn’t very popular with the residents that had to deal with him in their neighborhood.

He wasn’t very popular with the churches either. In fact, one church caused him to lose everything he owned. My husband went to church seeking help to move from an apartment he had at the time. It was a Sunday and the ministers told him if he would attend church they would help him. So he stayed for the service. Then, after the service, they offered him a referral to another agency. He left hungry and angry. It was too late to get help from another church, so now He was out of options. He was hurt. He could not believe they told him to stay with the promise of help and then referred him to an agency that wasn’t even open.

He was Jesus to that church at that moment. And like so many, they missed their visitation.


Lord Jesus, help me see you in the people around me. Your Word teaches me to care for the poor. Lord, please help me love the poor and all people equally. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.