Saving Some

John 4:36-38 WEB

He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to 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 haven’t labored. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”


Jesus is telling his disciples they are about to reap a harvest that another planted. Jesus and the disciples are waiting for the Samaritan woman and her countrymen to return. While they are waiting Jesus lets the disciples know what is about to happen (Jeremiah 33:3). In the preceding verses, we get the idea that the disciples do not like what Jesus is doing (John 4:27). The disciples’ prejudice towards Samaritans would have caused them to walk through the area without stopping. That same prejudice has their minds dulled but Jesus tells them plainly what is about to happen (John 4:33). Namely, the disciples’ are about to reap a harvest of souls that they did not sow (John 4:39-42).  

This passage brings so much hope to those who labor to see the lost won for Jesus. It does not matter if we are planting, watering, or reaping. We all share the joy with Jesus when a lost soul is saved from damnation (Romans 2:7, Proverbs 11:23-25). For this reason, we must both wait and labor with patience. How we wait matters. We should be in a posture of readiness as we wait (1 Corinthians 9:22-23). Thus, we present ourselves ready to labor in every situation so that some may be saved. That interaction with the sales clerk matters. That interaction with the postal worker matters. That interaction with the person who cut you off in traffic matters.

It matters that we do not uproot the work in the lives of people that others have planted and watered. It is important that we recognize God desires all people to be saved (John 3:16). So, how we treat all people matters. Holiness matters. We should be putting our best selves out for all people, not just those who can do something for us. Our most significant contributions may be bringing smiles to those that serve us out in the marketplace. You are meant to be sharing Christ, so it seems reasonable that many of the people you interact with recognize you are a Christian (Matthew 6:20-21).


Lord Jesus, please forgive me for not recognizing the immeasurable worth of the people around me both at home and in the marketplace. Please help me represent you well and have a word of salvation for all people. Please help me not uproot what others have planted and watered. 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.