Evangelistic Speaking — Part 2

2008/10/18 at 9:01 上午 發表留言

        And
Jesus asked her for a drink, and then He used His natural thirst to go on talking
about a spiritual thirst that is present in this woman. This woman, for
whatever reason, tried to hide her feelings from this stranger, a man, a Jew,
of course. But Jesus then went on to reveal her true condition, about her
marriage, and He was so precise to know the details of her life. From here we
see that Jesus was someone who was very, very, extremely approachable. I don’t
know what your idea of God, or Jesus is, but from the Word of God, from His own
Word, we see very unambiguously that God is someone who is very approachable.
In fact, I would say that He is the most approachable person you and I will
ever know. He knows you and my life and all the details, because He is
omniscient. He’s also omnipresent and omnipotent. These three omni’s simply
means all-knowing, all-present everywhere, and all-powerful. Here Jesus was
operating certain gifts of the Spirit called the Word of Knowledge, trying to
help the woman. The purpose of Jesus’ revealing was not to show off. If He’s
already God and all-knowing, there would be nothing to show off. He was merely
showing the lady that He is the Christ, the Savior, He is the Messiah that they
had been waiting and looking for, He was the Son of God, that is why He could
know her life detail without her telling forth. Jesus also described a
condition in which you and I are probably very familiar with. In verses
thirteen and fourteen, He said that the water we drink will not satisfy our
bodies forever, we need to keep on drinking and drinking. But the spiritual water,
the spiritual satisfaction that He gives, will make us full and satisfied. By
the natural water example, Jesus is implicitly referring to all the things and
pleasures in the world that may give us some happiness and satisfaction for a
time, but they do not last. It’s not infrequent to hear people say that life
feels or is empty, meaningless, and they don’t know what the purpose of life
is, if it had any to begin with. Are we accidents, is there absolutely no
meaning in this life, all sorts of questions like these. Jesus was being very
practical here. Besides being God and all-knowing, He had lived and walked on
this earth, He knew what it’s like to live the earthly life with its various
trying challenges and difficulties that you and I face today. Here’s the Good
News. He said, He came to give this woman, and to give us today, a different
kind of drink, a living water, a satisfaction that will truly satisfy our lives
and give us meaning. As a result of this close encounter with Jesus, this
Samaritan woman’s life was completely changed. She went into the town and told
many people, and the townsfolk begged Jesus to stay with them. After two days,
many more believed because of Jesus’ own words. So we see here that it is not
just with this Samaritan woman, but many more who have had a genuine encounter
with Jesus, their lives were changed.

        So,
what did Jesus give to her? What was the spiritual living water that Jesus
promised? Jesus gave her respect. Jesus gave her love, a very different kind of
love that she has experienced in her life with her past marriage troubles.
Jesus gave her a revelation of truth of reality. Jesus revealed to her that God
is all-knowing, He knows her, and He loved her. And Jesus gave her a restored
relationship with God. Jesus gave her life, not a religion, not some rules and
regulations, not some do’s and don’ts, not just a moral code, not some
cold-hearted doctrines. Jesus broke the social norm and showed her that there’s
nothing wrong with approaching a woman in His days. Jesus gave her respect. She
knew that Jesus knew very well about her past, but He still regarded her highly
and was sincere in offering true life and hope to her. Jesus came to tell her
the Good News. Jesus has shown her the power of God and His omniscience, but most
importantly, He has shown her that God is not concerned with His own power, but
His concern is for her heart. How she feels, how she is doing in her life, and
He knew this Samaritan was thirsty, and nothing in this temporal world could
ever satisfy her heart apart from Himself. And this was not unique with this
woman at the well only, many in the town also came to the source of life and
believed and drank it. Lastly we see that as Jesus talked to His disciples when
they came back with their lunch, bringing people truth and life and love is
what brings pleasure and joy to Jesus—it was like His food. Jesus pointedly
said that it is the will of the Father. It is the Father’s will to give you
life, to give you true and lasting happiness, to give you meaning and purpose
of this life, to give you love, joy, and peace that this world can never offer
nor take away.

        I
think probably many of us could relate to this Samaritan woman. I’m not sure
what your concept of God is. Jesus is the fullness of God, the exact representation
of God, and in the same Gospel of John, it explicitly says that, in fact, Jesus
is God Himself as one of the Godhead members of the Trinity. We don’t have time
here to explain what the Trinity is, but it’s ok. The Word of God, and the
passage today, clearly tell us what God is really like and who God is. He is
not a set of doctrines, not a religion, He is not something but someone, a
personal someone who lives and loves you today, tomorrow and forever. Jesus is
with us right now right here, and He is loving each one of us now. How can we
respond and relate to Him. You see, in verses twenty-three and twenty-four,
when He was discussing the place of worship in the Old Testament times with the
Samaritan lady, He further elucidated that the temple of God
was only in effect in Old Testament times because revelation of God is
progressive. The real purpose that God has set up the temple worship in Old
Testament times was because Jesus hasn’t came and Jerusalem was the chosen
place that represented the presence of God, although God’s presence was also
everywhere in Old Testament times. So the purpose of the Jerusalem
Temple was to teach and reveal to us
certain aspects and working of God, and God’s special presence did manifest in
the Temple
before. However, Jesus now is making this revelation of God complete. He said
God is Spirit, therefore, He is not confined to a geographical region or
building, and although He chose the Jews to carry out His purposes on this
earth in the beginning, it is never exclusive nor intended for specific chosen
people only, but it’s for all and everyone. Hence, the way to respond to Him
and have a relationship to Him is to what Jesus referred here to approach Him
in “spirit and truth.” To put it simply, this means to approach God with a
sincere heart and the right attitude. Whether you are a Christian for years and
years or do not really know who Jesus is yet, God looks at our hearts. Our
heart is the most important. If there’s a yearning in your heart, if there’s a
hunger in your heart, if there’s a thirst in your heart. If you feel that
nothing in this world is giving you eternal meaning, if you feel that this life
is not all that there is, God is here, He knows your heart, and he sees your
heart. Don’t be alarmed by this fact when He knows the deepest pain and secrets
of our hearts, because He still loves you the same, He still loves you truly,
madly, and deeply, and He knows that I am not exaggerating here. This church
and what we do here every Sunday is not a religion. Yes, we may classify “Christianity”
as a “religion” in terms of library and human philosophical categorization, but
in its essence, it’s not a religion in the sense of just a bunch of rules and
regulations. Jesus did not come to give just some rules and a good moral code.
He is a Person, He is alive today. It’s a relationship. He came to give you
life. Have you noticed that in the same verse twenty-three that the Father is seeking those who will come to Him and
worship in spirit and truth? He is right now seeking after you much more than
us seeking Him, because He cares for you and He loves you. He is not someone
distant and angry. No a million times, and no. Contrary to popular belief or
whatever this society tells you, it’s the exact opposite. God is near and loving.
And He’s so near and loving that He is here right now, and we can come to Him
anytime because it’s our hearts that matters. This service will end pretty
soon, but He is not bounded by this building or only on Sunday. He is there for
you twenty-four-seven, all the time, at all places, at all circumstances. You
don’t have to know all the theology and doctrines in order to have an intimate
relationship with Him. Yes, there are truths and theology in the Bible that we
need to know so we can know Him and relate to Him even better, we’re not
playing down our intellects nor theology, but to show that those kind of things
in themselves are not synonymous with God or having a relationship with Him.

        As
the worship team comes up the stage, I invite you to seek Him and just to bring
whatever is in your hearts to Him. He knows and He understands even if you
don’t know what you’re feeling deep inside your heart. Maybe it’s pain, maybe
it’s something that you don’t know how to say to others, or can’t say it, or
don’t have anyone to say it. Whatever is in your heart and life, He is there to
meet you and listen. He is there to help. Prayer is not a set of pious words,
but it is simply our heart communicating with God. I can sense the love and
compassion of God in my heart right now, that He feels for you, His deep, deep
love for you. You don’t need to be good to earn this love. It is exactly
because we’re not perfect, that we’re all sinners, that He came to take our
place of guilt and shame and in exchange to give us love and life. He wants to
speak to us right now. Let’s take some time now as the musicians play, and
close our eyes and wait on Him and commune with Him now. If this is something
you feel is important, don’t let how others see you hinder your coming to know
God and the truth, whether you’re a Christians or not. Let’s just take a moment
to close our eyes and wait on Him.

(After about 2 minutes of
waiting, as I sensed the presence of God and the Spirit of God moving and
touching people’s hearts, I signaled the worship team to start leading us into
worship to give room for the Spirit to work further. I continued some closing
remarks for the service as the worship approach an end.)

        Let’s
pray. “Dear Father, You are seeking us this morning. Because of You love us, this
love is what compelled and drove You to seek us ceaselessly and tirelessly. As
a lover searches for his or her lost love, so You’re seeking us, only with a
much greater intensity. I pray that You would open our eyes and see that You
are embracing each one of us even right now. I ask that You would open our ears
to hear the sound of Your voice, speaking tenders words to our hearts right
now. Whether we see it or not, or feel it or not, we know that this love is
here for us. I pray as we leave this place, we know that You are still with us.
In our homes, workplace, school, whenever and wherever. Oh we love Your
presence and You being with us. Thank You for who You are and Your presence and
all Your goodness and blessings, as we never, never take anything for granted. Father,
keep us strong in Your grace, so that we also live like Christ to the people in
our lives. Help us to live and love like Jesus did and does today. Help us to
be transformed to His image in our character more and more. Help us to be like
Jesus. This day we do not ask for blessings of material or raise or our desires
for more materialistic or financial success. It’s not about that although we
know You are a good God intending for us to prosper in all areas of life. But
Father, we ask to know You more and to have a closer relationship with You, so
that we carry Your presence and live like You do. I ask that Your love will
just increase and abound and flow in our hearts and spirits, and melt our
hearts, so that we fall in love with You over and over and over again, day by
day, it’s such a joy and blessed state to know You Father. My Father, our
Father, dear Heavenly Father, we love You, with all our heart, soul, mind and
strength. Thank You Jesus.”

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Evangelistic Speaking — Part 1 睡過頭的超溫馨

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