Establishing Worship Where There Is None

Learning How To Start A Conversation About Jesus?

Ross Sawyers
Jan 3, 2021    58m
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Have you ever wondered how to start a conversation about Jesus with someone who doesn't know Him? This informative message uses the conversation that Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well to give us tips for successfully introducing Jesus to others for the first time. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Ross Sawyers: 00:06 What a fantastic morning in worship. And just, I love thinking about all churches that are gathered up today in the praise that goes to God, as he is worthy of it, and what a beautiful thought to think about what he hears with all of us together.
Ross Sawyers: 00:26 Everybody worship something, and everybody lives for something. The word worship means to ascribe worth to, that's what it means. So when we talk about worship, it's not just what we do with song, it's really about our lives. Because we are all centered on something, something motivates us, something is an ultimate for us, it drives us, and ultimately everybody is a worshiper. In Timothy Keller's book Encounters With Jesus, he writes one chapter on an encounter that we'll talk about here in a few minutes in John chapter 4. And in your Bibles, if you have a Bible or a device, we'll be in John chapter 4. If you don't have one, we'll have the scripture on the screens, so you'll be able to track that way. But Keller, in thinking about this story, quotes David Foster Wallace, who is an American writer and not a religious man, not a Christian. And in a commencement speech at Kenyon college to the graduating class, this is what he said. I wanted to read it, because I think it really captures where we're headed in these few minutes together. He says, "Everybody worships." And remember, this is a college commencement, from a man who's not religious. "Everybody worships, the only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of God to worship, is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you'll never have enough, you'll never feel you have enough. It's the truth, worship your own body, and beauty, and sexual allure, and you always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you'll die a million deaths before your loved ones finally plant you. Worship power, and you'll end up feeling weak, and afraid, and you'll need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. Look, he says, the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they are evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious, they are default settings."
Ross Sawyers: 03:04 Keller goes on and talks about what Wallace says here, and he says, "That he understands everyone, worships, everyone trusts in something for their salvation, everyone bases their lives on something that requires faith. Even those who say they don't really track something that's faith oriented, they do have a faith. Ultimately we all have faith. The question is, what is the object of that faith? This man Wallace actually killed himself two years after he gave this speech. And Keller goes on to say this non-religious man's parting words, something will eat you alive". If Jesus Christ himself is not what is ultimate, whatever it is that we make ultimate, will eat us alive.
Ross Sawyers: 04:00 Wow, John chapter 4 verses 1 through 42, is how we'll launch into 2021. I think it's interesting in hearing different people speak as we move into 2021. I know you probably know this, I just want to say it out loud. If our hope is in 2021, it's misplaced, we have no idea what 2021 holds. And my hope quite candidly is not in a new year, my hope is in Jesus Christ, no matter what that year might be. Wendy said that earlier. As we think about 2021, I want us to spend some time with Jesus, learning from him how to have real conversations with truth and grace. It seems true and grace is lacking in the public square, and it doesn't appear to me that we know how to have healthy conversations with people, whatever the topic is, there is so much fracturing in our dialogues.
Ross Sawyers: 05:17 In First John, he writes and says that, "The one who says he abides in him, abides in Jesus, ought to walk in the same manner as he walked." So what better place for us to learn how to have really good conversations then from Jesus, himself, in the kinds of dialogues he had. We want to look at those conversations, while we're doing that we'll see really who Jesus is, and we'll see what he's about. And I can't think of a better period of time, where we can be inviting people who don't know Christ, or who might even have an interest in exploring Christ, to join us then in this series over the next three or four months. If you're online and not comfortable yet in person, invite your friends to watch online with you. They don't have to come to your living room and watch, but they can be where they are, and then you can have conversation about what we speak of. But my hope is that we'll have such an awe of God, and such a desire for him, that as we look into how Jesus did life, and specifically how he had conversations, that it might cause us to really desire to invite others to be a part of that with us.
Ross Sawyers: 06:43 So in John chapter 4, we see a model of how to have a conversation with someone that does not know Christ, and we'll have different kinds of conversations we'll see Jesus model, that's what this particular conversation is. Our vision for 2025, vision 2025, we cast last year. Underneath it, the why, is to establish worship where there is none. And by establishing worship where there is none, we mean establishing the words of Jesus, where there currently is none. That there would be a life group in every neighborhood where there's not one, where Jesus is been worshiped. There would be in the hearts of people in homes where they don't know Jesus, that that would be established in the home all over the world. In the vision, the different parts of it, we're thinking of how do we establish worship where there is none. We established a partnership in Burkina Faso in Africa, it's part of the vision last year. And already through one of the planters we're sponsoring, a tribal chief, came to Christ, and there's now 15 to 16 home groups meeting in that village. There was no worship there of Jesus, six months ago, now there is. And that's the hope, that's the vision as we look ahead, that that would be increasingly the case. The problem with that phrase, establishing worship where there is none, is I just made a case that everybody worships. There's worship established everywhere, but when we speak of it, from our perspective, we're speaking of establishing the worship Jesus where there is none.
Ross Sawyers: 08:24 I'd encourage you today, if you could, to take notes. I've laid out in this story in John 4, Jesus's conversation with the Samaritan woman. And in this conversation, I believe Jesus gives us a really clear model of how to have a dialogue with someone that doesn't know Jesus. And the question that I hear people ask often, and our staff hears people say often, is I know God's story, I understand the gospel, but I don't know how to get into a conversation. I don't know how to start a conversation, I don't even know how to keep the conversation moving. So I know the content, I just don't know how to have the conversation. And I just think Jesus gives us such a cool picture of how to have a conversation in this story. If you just walk out of here in a little bit, and have just listened, and don't actually practice what we talk about, then none of us will gain any strength or any more ability, to have meaningful and nonjudgmental conversations than we did before we walked in here. It will call for us to really look at this again and again, and to practice, what it is that we see in this particular part of scripture. So, I would encourage you if you would, to take notes, so you at least have it to go back and look. Okay, this is how Jesus did this conversation, and this is how I can do it.
Ross Sawyers: 09:52 Well, let's start in the first six verses, and I called this just the awareness of God's leading. In order for us to have conversations about Jesus, it begins with an awareness of where God's leading us in those dialogues. And this actually takes the pressure off of trying to force something, we don't want to force conversations, we want to follow God's lead. And as we increase in our friendship with God, more and more, then we'll more and more know his leading. In his kindness and mercy he'll lead us, when we oftentimes aren't even aware that's what he's doing. But the more we're aware of where God's leading, that's how we know the kinds of conversations to have.
Ross Sawyers: 10:36 In verse 4 of chapter 4, it says, "He had to pass through Samaria." Now, Jesus was in Judea and he was headed to Galilee, and the normal route would be shorter to go through Samaria, most people that were Jews would not take that shorter route because there was a hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans. And it's interesting that in verse 4, it says that Jesus had to pass through Samaria. Some have referred to this as divine necessity, that he didn't have a choice. This is where God was leading him, the path he wanted him to go, on this particular journey. It's about 40 miles from where he was beginning to where he was headed, and he took the shorter route through Samaria, even though Jews and Samaritans hated each other.
Ross Sawyers: 11:31 Why did they hate each other? In 722, 721, BC, the Assyrians conquered Israel. When they did, they removed all the influential Israelites, and they brought in people from foreign lands. Over time, the Jews who were remaining intermarried with those foreign people and created another kind of race from the Jews. So the Jews and the Samaritans, they saw themselves as two different races. They also combined their religion, they took some things of Judaism and they combined it with the religions from the foreigners, that's called syncretism, they brought that together. So there was a purity lost in the mind of the Jew, so the Jews and the Samaritans hated each other. They also set up separate temples to worship, and they used different parts of the scripture that separated them.
Ross Sawyers: 12:25 It's into this context, that Jesus goes, so he was aware of where God was leading him. And then he ended up in verse 6, at Jacob's well. Jacob is one of the founding patriarchs of the faith, and this well was significant in Jewish history. And we find Jesus at that well, he's wearied from his journey, he was sitting there, it was about the sixth hour, it was noon on this day. A hot day, he's weary from his travel, and that sets us up for the conversation.
Ross Sawyers: 12:59 But the first thing, is an awareness of where God's leading. I was talking to a friend earlier this morning, and he said, I think the equivalent to Jacob's well today, would be a coffee shop. I'm at that shop, and I'm waiting, who does God have at the coffee shop? Who does God have at any particular place that he would have me to be? The second thing, when we think about the conversation, is to break down barriers. We see Jesus now entering into dialogue, we've got the setting, he's gone exactly where God led him. Verse 7, "There can a woman of Samaria to draw water. And Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away to the city to buy food. Therefore, the Samaritan woman, in verse 9, said to him, how is it that you, being a Jew, asked me for a drink, since I'm a Samaritan woman? (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.). What I've just described.
Ross Sawyers: 13:53 What does Jesus do here though? He breaks down the barriers. How does he do it? How does he break it down? Well, the barriers are cultural, a Jewish man was not supposed to speak to a woman, a strange woman, in public. He was not to speak to an immoral woman in public. And we discover later, she's living in immorality, that was one of the cultural mores of the day. So he breaks the cultural barrier, he breaks the racial barrier. He goes across racial lines, Jews and Samaritans different races, in the way they saw themselves. And then he breaks the religious barrier, Samaritans worshiping one way, the Jews were worshipping another way. He breaks the gender barriers of a man and woman in public. He breaks the barriers. How did he do it? He initiated the conversation for one, Jesus initiated the conversation.
Ross Sawyers: 15:07 When we think about having spiritual conversations with people, at least in this model of what Jesus was doing, he initiated the conversation. I don't find that many people, even as a pastor, and you would think I have a real distinct advantage as a pastor, but if I'm just out and about, I'm not talking about when I'm at the church, because everybody knows I'm a pastor and might come to me for something, or one of our staff. But when I'm out and about, people know that, rarely does somebody come to me and start asking me questions that are spiritually related. And I've worn the bracelets, just like many of you do. I wore one last year that was for the persecuted church, it had a symbol on it for the persecuted church. I can't think of one person last year that asked me about it. If I just sit around and wait for somebody to ask me questions about Jesus, I'm probably going to be sitting around a long time. Jesus initiated the conversation, he went across racial barriers, across gender, across social barriers. He didn't wait for somebody to come to him, he was the initiator. So how do you break barriers? You initiate it. That's what Jesus did. We initiate it to break them down.
Ross Sawyers: 16:20 And how did he do it when he initiated it? He expressed a need that he had, this requires a lot of humility. And I would say, as a norm, we tend to be more self-sufficient, more individualistic, more we'll take care of it ourselves, rather than leaning on someone else to be a help to us. And especially to lean into somebody that there's a barrier between us and them. Jesus asked for water, he was thirsty, and this Samaritan woman had something that would satisfy that physical thirst and his weariness. We break barriers by being vulnerable to other people, and expressing our need to them. If we're hurting, we let them know we're hurting. If we need help with our car, we let them know we need help with our car. And if we can find people that normally there's a barrier between that have ability to help there, it breaks that barrier down. Jesus broke the barrier down by expressing a need that he had. We can do the same.
Ross Sawyers: 17:45 We've learned in our global work, and in missionary cultures, people that are more vulnerable and marginalized, it doesn't probably go well when other people come in and act like they're the hero to serve them, and rescue them, and meet their needs. What creates and breaks barriers down the best, is when we mutually meet each other's needs. When we don't just look and say, I can help them bless their heart. But it's, I wonder how they can help a need that I have, that would enable us to build a friendship and relationship, because we're mutually meeting needs with each other. That's what Jesus did, he broke down barriers.
Ross Sawyers: 18:40 The conversation continues to flow from here, and there had to be some kind of safety here, right? Because you've got a strange man with this woman out alone in this context around Jacob's well, and she staying, she's, she's indulging the conversation. There is something safe about Jesus, something caring about the way he's doing what he's doing. The next piece, when we think about how we can have conversations like Jesus, is to create interest. So let's be aware of where God's leading, breakdown barriers, create interest.
Ross Sawyers: 19:12 Verses 10 through 15, Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God." And I want to pause there a second, I had a friend years ago, say to me that when she's having conversations with somebody or meet someone new, if she doesn't bring God into the conversation, she actually said in the first five minutes, it gets increasingly difficult in that conversation, and over time, to actually have a conversation about God. It doesn't mean you have to have a full-on, share the gospel in the first five minutes, but somewhere we get God on the table in the conversation, and who knows what God will do with that in time. But that's what Jesus does, he says, "If you knew the gift of God." He just brings God into it almost immediately, "And who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”.
Ross Sawyers: 20:03 Now here's how he creates interest, he uses metaphor, he uses a picture, he stirs up, the conversation is actually getting a little weird now. See, they're at the well, he asked for water and now he says to her, hey, if you actually knew who I was, I could give you living water. Her interest is peaked. Now some believe she's being sarcastic in this next part, She said to him, “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?" You can't get into this well, so how do you have something to offer me? "You're not greater than our father Jacob are you?" You're not greater than the patriarch, "Who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his cattle?” Do you think you're greater than him? "Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”. He's talking about living water, and water that's going to spring up to eternal life. She's got to be thinking what in the world, this man at midday seems to be the one that's struggling. Which by the way, she was there at noon because she was marginalized by the other women in the city who came in the cool of the day in the morning to draw water, she had to come in the heat of the day when she was by herself.
Ross Sawyers: 21:36 But I wonder if she's thinking, I think Jesus has been in the heat too long, he's talking about this eternal water springing up from within. But he's giving her a metaphor, a picture, that when real satisfaction comes, it's not going to come from the water in this well, it's going to come from within. And if you seek satisfaction from external things, it will not ultimately satisfy. The writer of Proverbs says in 4:23, "Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life." Life flows from the inside out, not from the outside in.
Ross Sawyers: 22:16 And he's giving her this picture, "And the woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” It'd sure be nice not to have to come back here again, it's a long walk from the city, so give me some of that water. So when we think about having conversations, create an interest. Now here I have an assignment for you, for everybody, for families, friends to get together, your life group, whatever it might be, but can you get together and talk about what are metaphors today, that I could use to bridge, to show the truths of Jesus. Well, what about in the IT world? What are things that go on in the IT world that could be metaphors for spiritual truths? Sports metaphors, those are easy and fun. Just a side note, A and M did wax the team last night. And it did show that they got the shaft by not being picked in the top four, because Notre Dame got beat once again on Friday, that has nothing to do with the sermon. Metaphors are really big deal. What about in the construction world, business, medical? What are things that you can think of, that you can brainstorm, so that you could be prepared in a conversation to help people have a bridge to understand what is talking about?
Ross Sawyers: 23:46 Jesus was a master at the metaphor, the metaphor in the story, people can understand that. People pay millions upon millions of dollars today to marketing agencies, and people in their own corporations through the marketing department, to come up with the right brand, the right picture, that communicates, so that people will have an interest in what your particular product is. We have mental mapping that we lean into it, and Jesus leaned into that kind of mental mapping. Now, everything I've said so far, our culture would apply. The culture would applaud the breaking of barriers, racially, gender, socially, culturally, every kind of barrier that's being broken, they would applaud. I'm not sure our culture would applaud the next thing Jesus did.
Ross Sawyers: 24:41 And when I think about a way to have a conversation, I would say this this way, we have to help people see where they are seeking ultimate satisfaction, help people see where they're seeking ultimate satisfaction. What do I mean by that? There's a twist in the conversation here, he talking about living water. Then he says, "Go call your husband and come here." She says, she wants the water, and he says, go call your husband and then come here. "The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” The one who you're with now, you're cohabiting with, you're walking in immorality. Now, why would Jesus take this moment to shame this woman? Why would he condemn her after he's offering her this living water? Well, he's not shaming her, and he's not condemning her. I can only imagine what it would be like to have looked into the eyes of Jesus, and to see the compassion that he had for people. The scripture tells us, he looked on people and he had compassion on them because they were distressed like sheep without a shepherd. He wasn't condemning or shaming her, he was helping her see that she was trying to find satisfaction and fulfillment in men, and that ultimately was not going to satisfy. In order for her to really understand Jesus and the living water that comes from within, first it needed to be exposed where she was trying to find that satisfaction and joy. that's all he's doing.
Ross Sawyers: 26:50 When we're in conversation, we need to help people see where they're finding their ultimate satisfaction. That requires us to listen well to people's stories and to understand them. And what we may find is their career is what is the ultimate satisfaction for them, and they're putting everything into their career. It could be wealth, it could be power, it could be, and I don't want to be misunderstood here, it could be that you're looking for ultimate satisfaction from your spouse. It could be, as a parent, you're really looking for your joy in your child and your child's success. [inaudible] those things I've just said are not wrong, but they do not ultimately satisfy. A spouse will disappoint sometimes, and probably a lot of times. Children will disappoint. A career, how many people and how many stories have we read? People know where they're aimed, they're willing to sacrifice everything they can to get to it, and when they're there, they look around, this was it? It doesn't ultimately fulfill them.
Ross Sawyers: 28:20 So he's just helping her see where she's finding that satisfaction. Now, we actually don't know why she had five husbands. It's possible that one husband died, or it's possible that she was mistreated by some of those husbands, and they freely divorced her like Jewish men could do it. It could be that [inaudible] we don't know. We do know she's currently in an immoral relationship, and he's helping her see this will not satisfy.
Ross Sawyers: 28:50 We continue in the conversation in verses 19-24, I call this roll with the person's thoughts. Roll with the person's thoughts. Are you ever in conversations, and you kind of have a way you want the conversation to go. And the person, like they asked some random question, or they changed something around, and you're wondering, how did we just get over there? And I would say in looking at how Jesus did things, when we're having conversations like this, spiritual conversations, just roll with what the person's asking. Just roll with it. Remember, God is the one who arranges these conversations, that takes the pressure off of us, and we just roll with what is happening.
Ross Sawyers: 29:37 And she might be getting a little uncomfortable here now that exposing some things, but he's trying to show her what I said, but she may be a little uncomfortable. So she changes the topic again, we have another topic change. She says, "Sir, I perceive, in verse 19, you're a prophet." There's no way you should've known this about me, so I think you're a prophet. And I would say this, people do this with me, and they probably do it with you depending on what you do for a living. But it's like, somebody might not really have a question they would seek me out for, but if they see me and they say, oh, he's a pastor, I'm going to ask him this question. It's just because they saw me, they're not going to take time otherwise to ask it. It's like if I see a doctor, you might just say, oh, I think I'm going to ask this question, but I wouldn't have asked him if I hadn't seen him.
Ross Sawyers: 30:27 It's kind of like, okay, well now she thinks she has a prophet on her hand, and she has this question about worship. She says, hey, "Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem." How do you like that, and you people? "You people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." They had two places they worshiped, the Samaritans on Mount Gerizim in Samaria, the Jews in Jerusalem, and they actually mocked each other's places of worship. This would probably be a good SNL skit, in the way that they treated one another. But, "Jesus says an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father." It's not going to be about the place, "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”. So Jesus rolls with her question about worship. And he says, hey, look, let me give you a different understanding of it, it's not about a place, it's about a heart, it's about spirit, your spirit connecting with the spirit of God. It's about truth, so it's not just this spirit connection, it's spirit and truth. Jesus is truth, scripture is truth, "God is spirit, those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.", he says.
Ross Sawyers: 32:02 This is one of the first encounters we see Jesus having, it's with this marginalized, outcast, woman in her city. And he's revealing to her what true worship is, and telling her that the Father seeks these kinds of worshipers and he seeking her. Can you imagine with the life she lived, she didn't think she was worthy at all. And now she's being told that the Father, God himself, is seeking her to be a worshiper of his. Roll with the person's thoughts, go with their questions, help them with what they are. One of the most, I think, one of the most damaging things we can do to our kids, students, teenagers, children, is to not answer their questions thoughtfully. I can't tell you how many adults, you might be one of them, they got kind of frustrated and put off with the whole Christian thing because they asked a question, and somebody didn't know how to answer the question because it was a hard questions. Kids ask great questions, and they didn't get good answers for their questions. There are good answers for their questions, we just have to be willing to go find the answers. And I don't know is okay in the moment, and then going and helping them find the answer to the question will be next. Just roll with it, go with what's going on in their heart and mind, and see what God does with it.
Ross Sawyers: 33:47 And then the conversation needs to get back to Jesus, if it changes, we need to get it back to Jesus. Verses 25 and 26, make it known who Jesus is, "The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” So as she's listening to him, she thinks he's a prophet, and he's saying some really cool things. And then she says, when the Messiah comes, then I'll know all these things. And "Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” Jesus didn't make that declaration very many times. but he did to this Samaritan woman, one of the last people, someone would think, he would reveal himself to. Sometimes we think we'd be the last person he might reveal himself to, but you're who he's after, that's the Messiah.
Ross Sawyers: 34:40 Somewhere, in dialogue, over a period of time, we have to make Jesus known, who he is. And we know looking back, she wouldn't have known this yet. We know looking back, Jesus, perfect, God himself in the flesh, crucified on the cross. If she would have understood that this encounter she's having with him, that he would die on a cross to carry the sins that she had committed, out of his deep love for her. Crucified, risen, conquered it, we don't have to live in that. He appeared to many, he ascended, and he's coming back to get those who are his. Somewhere we have to do what we see in John, "Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." Jesus Christ is the one who does that. Somewhere, we make Jesus known, so people actually know who he is.
Ross Sawyers: 35:45 In Colossians chapter 4 verse 5 and 6, Paul writes this, he says, conduct yourselves in a manner. "Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned as it were, so that you'll know how to respond with each person." We see Jesus doing that, he's conducting himself with wisdom toward an outsider, he's making the most of the opportunity. His speech is with grace, so that she stays in the conversation, and his conversation with her will be different than conversations he has with other people, just as ours will be. This is a general motto we can follow, but every conversation will is different, and we trust God to lead us in every particular conversation because everyone's coming with a different story. People know if we care about them and love them, and if they know we care, and they know we love them, they'll listen to what we have to say about Jesus. I don't know what they'll do with him, but they'll at least consider it. If they don't know we care and love them, they're probably not going to have much to do with the Jesus we speak of.
Ross Sawyers: 37:11 The next piece of the conversation is eagerly watch their reactions. In Psalm 5:3, I've quoted that often over the last couple of years, it says, "In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch." And I can't think of a greater thing than to just look and see what God's going to do in a day, and when there's actually conversations like this, eagerly watch the reactions of people. In what we find in this, "The disciples come back, they're amazed that he'd been speaking with a woman." Remember it's a cultural faux pas that he is committing there, yet they didn't say anything. Then the woman, she'd come for water for the day. She was so excited, "She left her water pot and took off running back to the city." She didn't even take it with her. And then she goes and says, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” They went out of the city, and were coming to Him." There's something that happened in that encounter that she had with Jesus, where she couldn't help, but go back and tell the men of the city.
Ross Sawyers: 38:08 And I have to believe in a city, the size of the city it was and the reputation she probably had, that she was going back to the very men who probably would not speak to her, marginalized to her, and some took advantage of her. And yet she goes back with Jesus to say to them, you've got to come see him. Now we do a lot of training on how to share our faith, she didn't get trained. She just got excited about Jesus, and what he was doing with her, and she couldn't help but go tell somebody. And my prayer for us as we launch into this year at 121, is that God will be so exciting to us, that we'll be so in awe of him, that will so behold him, just pause and look at him. And we'll see his grace, and be overwhelmed by his grace on us. We'll see his truth, and be stunned that he would reveal that to us. That we'll see his love, and that we'll be so amazed that he would love us in spite of us, that we could do nothing but run to the city and tell somebody, come see this man, this is what he just told me. Something about that encounter, she couldn't help it.
Ross Sawyers: 39:32 So watch eagerly to see what God's doing. I've seen different people come to Christ this year, in this past 2020, that God just did it. There were ways, it was just kind of stunning the way he did it, God does it all kinds of ways. Just eagerly watch, we get to lay it out there and then see what he does. In verses 31 through 38, take advantage of teachable moments. Jesus. I'm not going to read this part here, he's speaking to his disciples, they're kind of debriefing. And he says, hey, the will of my Father, that's my food. They'd gone to get food, he used another metaphor. There's nothing more satisfying than doing the will of my Father. And then he starts telling them about the harvest, another metaphor. And he said, the fields are they're white and to harvest. There are people that are waiting to hear the message of Jesus, they're just waiting. In Matthew, earlier on in that book, he says the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. So were praying that God will raise up laborers out of 121, who will labor in the spirit of God for the sake of the gospel, and have these kinds of conversations. People are waiting to hear, to hear the good news, the refreshing news, of Jesus. Take advantage of the teachable moments.
Ross Sawyers: 41:07 And the last thing, when we think about how we can learn how Jesus had a conversation, is to leave margin in your schedule. In verses 39-42 it says, "Many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified." She just went and talked about him, and they believed it. "And then they came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days, and then many more believed." And they said, "It's no longer because of what you said to the woman we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.” Look what happened there? Jesus stayed two more days because they wanted him to stay. He left margin in his schedule, there was room for him to stay, for people that were eager and wanted to learn. And I think we run into people all the time that if we just had room for them, left some margin, they might have more questions they want to ask, more things they want to learn. And we've all got something to pass on and share, leave some margin so we can have real conversations.
Ross Sawyers: 42:23 These things that I've started at the outset, will be helpful if we practice them. Can I encourage you to do that with somebody safe, somebody that you're comfortable, and just kind of walk through the way Jesus had this conversation. And kind of think about what would this look like with a friend of mine who's a teenager, what would that look like? What would it look like if I were sitting in the stands with somebody at a two hour soccer practice, and I'm just waiting on my kids, and we're just talking up in the stands. What would a meaningful conversation really look like? How could I have that? What would it look like in your world, in the sphere that you have right now? And then my prayer, in Second Corinthians 4:15, we did this memorizing over the last month, and this was one of them I locked into. And Paul says, "For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God." What a cool thought to think that this grace of Jesus would spread to more and more people, and that would just cause the giving of thanks to God for it. Establishing worship where there is none
Ross Sawyers: 43:56 We wanted to launch into the year thinking about these things, and then reflecting on Jesus through the Lord's supper. When you came in you received the elements, if you did not in just a minute, we'll have somebody upfront here or in the back, you'll see them they're people with baskets, if you were not able to get one. If you're online with us, could I encourage you again to get some form of bread, you probably don't have unleavened bread available, but whatever you have, I think God will honor the heart, and then juice, or wine, or whatever would work well for you. And we constantly want to encourage those who are online when Jesus talks about worshiping in spirit and truth, I'd love for you to not think about you're watching but worshiping wherever you are, that we're worshiping God together.
Ross Sawyers: 44:51 When we thinking about the Lord's Supper, why do we do this? For some people it's a foreign idea, and then it's always a good reminder for us. On the Thursday night before Jesus would be crucified, he had what's called the Lord's supper, it was his last meal with his disciples. And he reinterpreted the meaning of the Passover on that meal, and the Passover happened, in Exodus is where it's described, and God brought us people out from Egypt, from slavery, and he rescued and freed them. And Jesus says, this bread is a reminder that from now on, it will be a reminder of my broken body for you. And keep in mind when he was saying this, he had not yet gone to the cross. And I think this would still be kind of a, I don't know what you're talking about moment. And then he said, with the wine, he said, when you drink of this, he said, this is my blood, that shed for you. It's the new covenant, this new binding promise that I'm giving you. And I don't think that would have connected either, but later, it certainly would, as they think about the broken bread, the wine, the juice, representing the shed blood and the broken body of Christ.
Ross Sawyers: 46:24 When we take this, we look back and we think about what Christ did for us on the cross. But it's not just about looking back, it's also about now, and it's a reminder today of how God has bound us together in himself in Jesus Christ, as a community of followers of Jesus, and he brought us together at the cross and the resurrection. It's not only though about the present and the past, it's about the future. And Jesus says that there will be one day at the marriage supper of the lamb, there will be a day when he is gathered up all those that have received him, that have believed him for eternal life, and we'll have a meal that is beyond all meals with him, with every person that knows Jesus that has gone before us and will go after us. So it's a threefold reminder.
Ross Sawyers: 47:31 And then Paul reminds us in First Corinthians 11, to actually be careful how we take it. This is a sober, it's not to be taken lightly, and our understanding is it's for believers. And Paul says, "Don't take it in an unworthy manner." Meaning if there's any kinds of besetting sins, sins that we've just embraced and said, you know what, I'm just going to do this, I really don't care what God says. That's different than the ongoing fight and battle we have with sin all the time, because we all do. In an unworthy manner would be taking it, knowing that I'm willfully choosing to sin against God, and I'm going to continue to do it. And I think that makes this a really good time to just consider why that is before God, and there've been multiple times over the years where this has been a real freeing and repenting time for people as they consider. So if that's the case, I hope that will be what God does with your heart today.
Ross Sawyers: 48:40 So I'd like for us to just be still before the Lord, give you a little bit of time to contemplate before him. Wendy and the band, they'll play over us, and then we'll sing one more song in a moment of praise to God in our reflection. And then whenever you're ready to take the Lord's Supper, you take it. We won't tell everybody at once, but when you're ready in your heart before God, you can take that.
Ross Sawyers: 49:05 And again, where are the extra ones, somebody, in the back in the middle. If you need the elements, you can either raise your hand, Charlie we'll find you, or you can go to the back, either way during this space.
Ross Sawyers: 49:17 All right, let's be still before the Lord.
Worship Band: 50:27 (Music plays.)
Unknown: 58:10 Thank you so much for joining us this morning. What a wonderful time of worship we had, just setting our hearts, right, and our minds on God. And I wanted to let you know that we do have a membership class coming up, the time may be up here. Ah, there it is, January 17th at 12:30 PM, if you would like to find out more information about our church, we welcome you to attend that. Other than that, we will see you next week, and I hope you have a blessed week.



Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051
817.488.1213