Sermon #20 John’s Gospel
Title: What will it take
to bring you to Christ?
Text: John 4:1-26
Subject: The Conversion of the Samaritan Woman
Date: Sunday Morning — August 24, 2008
Tape: John #20
Reading: John 4:1-26
1. When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,
2. (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)
3. He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.
4. And he must needs go through Samaria.
5. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
6. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.
7. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
8. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
9. Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
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.
11. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
12. Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
13. Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
15. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
16. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.
17. 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.
19. The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.
20. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
21. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
22. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
23. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
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.
26. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.”
What will it take to bring you to Christ? Many of you have heard the gospel for years. You have been and are now the subjects of much prayer.
· Your Parents
· Your Pastor
· This Congregation
Yet, you are lost! I often ask myself this question, as I look into your faces and prepare to preach to you week after week. — What will it take to bring you to Christ? Today, I want to answer that question by showing you how our Lord Jesus brought the Samaritan woman to life, giving her faith in himself by his omnipotent mercy.
Proposition: Conversion is the work of God alone.
May God the Holy Spirit be pleased to do what only he can do for you this hour. O Spirit of God, visit us this day and bring sinners to the Savior by your irresistible grace and power.
I want you to hold your Bibles open at John chapter four, as I show you what it will take for you to be saved. When I have finished preaching, there will be plenty of room for more preaching from this passage and about this subject. But, for now, I want to show you five things that are necessary for the conversion of a sinner. I can’t save you. Your parents can’t save you. This church can’t save you. But God can! And if he is pleased to do so, these five things must take place.
First, I want you to see that you will never come to Christ until he first comes to you. You will never come to Christ until the Lord Jesus Christ himself crosses your path.
(John 4:1-3) “When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (2) (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) (3) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.”
The Son of God left Judea. — What a solemn word this is! Our Lord was in the midst of the Pharisees. He preached in their streets. He who is God’s salvation walked the streets of Judea and preached the gospel. But the Pharisees despised him and his gospel. They would not receive the Word of God. They preferred religion to righteousness. Therefore, the Lord Jesus left them. He left them in the darkness of their imaginary light. He left them to go to hell in the delusion of their self-righteousness. He left them to themselves!
Hear me and be warned. – If you trifle with Christ and the gospel of God’s grace in him, you court the wrath and judgment of God! If God leaves you to yourself, you are as sure for hell as if you were already there. I pray that God will not leave you to yourself.
If you go to hell, you will have no one to blame but yourself. It will be your own work, your own doing, your own fault (Proverbs 1:23-31).
(Proverbs 1:23-31) “Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. (24) Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; (25) But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: (26) I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; (27) When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. (28) Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: (29) For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: (30) They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. (31) Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.”
Illustration: “My God, preacher,
for Christ’s sake, leave me alone!”
But do not be so foolish as to imagine that your unbelief will alter or in any way affect the purpose of God (Romans 3:3-4).
(Romans 3:1-4) “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? (2) Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. (3) For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? (4) God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”
God’s purpose does not depend upon the consent, will, or work of any man. You may not trust Christ. You may never come to him. But someone will. There is an elect remnant who must and shall be saved. At the appointed time of love, Christ will come to the sinner chosen by grace and redeemed by his precious blood. Look at verse four.
At the appointed time of love the Good Shepherd comes seeking his lost sheep.
(John 4:4-6) “And he must needs go through Samaria. (5) Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. (6) Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.”
This looks like a chance meeting, a lucky break, but it was nothing of the kind. In God’s eternal purpose, that place had been fixed before the world began. That parcel of ground was bought and that well was dug by Jacob because he desired it. But, more importantly, that parcel of ground was bought and that well was dug so that Christ our Savior might come there to meet and save a lost, ruined sinner. The Son of God came here seeking one of those the Father gave to him before the world began. The woman did not come to the well seeking Christ; but he came to the well seeking her (Isaiah 65:1).
(Isaiah 65:1) “I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.”
Divine providence arranged for the needy sinner and the mighty Savior to be at the well at the same time. — She came to the well at noon (the sixth hour of the day), in the heat of the day, when it was most likely that no one else would be there, because she was a woman with a name and a reputation that made her the object of great scorn. Yet, she came at this hour because this was the hour fixed by God to save her.
Notice this, too. The Lord Jesus arranged to be alone with the object of his mercy, love and grace. — He sent his disciples away to buy (TO BUY, NOT TO BEG) bread (v. 8). — “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her” (Hosea 2:14).
(John 4:7-9) “There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (8) (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) (9) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”
Do not fail to observe that, as Robert Hawker pointed out, that “The conversation which took place at the well, between Jesus and this woman began with our Lord. Yes! all the overtures of grace come first from the Lord (1 John 4:19). “
This Samaritan woman would never have come to Christ, had he not first crossed her path and come to her. And you will never come to him, unless he steps in your way, steps into your life, crosses your path, and comes to you. Oh, may he be pleased to do so!
Once he crossed her path, second, the Lord created an interest in her (vv. 10-14). — He asked her for a drink of water because he was thirsty, yes; but the thirst he had come to quench was his thirst for her soul. His request was designed to get her interest and attention.
The woman answered his request with a rude retort. Essentially, she said, “You’re a Jew. You wouldn’t have anything to do with me, if you didn’t need me. How dare you ask me to draw water for you! I know what you think of me.” But our Lord is long suffering toward his elect, not willing that any of them should perish. So he ignored her insult and pursued her heart. Look at verse 10.
(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.”
There is much more in this verse than I can deal with now; but I want you to see the obvious things.
1. Salvation is the gift of God. (Romans 6:23 – Not the Present – Not the Offer – Not the Opportunity – THE GIFT!) — Who can measure the gifts of God? They are innumerable! Yet, in one great gift, God gives all! Christ is the gift of God! The unspeakable gift of God! Christ is salvation! Christ is eternal life!
· Luke 2:30
· John 17:3
2. You will never be saved, you will never come to Christ, until you are made to know the gift of God.
Henry Mahan wrote, “This is the root of man’s whole problem. The gift of God is salvation; it is eternal life (1 John 5:11). God is the giver; all we do is receive. Man does not know the gift, and he does not know Christ, the Giver! Neither does he know his need for mercy. ‘If you knew these things, you would ask of me.’ Asking proceeds from knowing. Before we ask, God has to deal with us in conviction and revelation. Notice Christ deals with her on the basis of who, not what; it is not doctrine, any more than doing, that saves. It is the person — Jesus Christ!”
3. Salvation is to be had for the asking. – “Thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” — How close at hand salvation is! “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:8-9). Christ is willing to pour out this living water of grace, salvation, and eternal life to sinners in overflowing superabundance! “Ask and ye shall receive.”
(John 7:37-38) “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.”
(Luke 11:9-13) “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (10) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (11) If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? (12) Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? (13) If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
4. All men by nature are totally ignorant of all things spiritual, until we are taught of God the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-14).
(1 Corinthians 2:9-14) “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (10) But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (11) For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. (12) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (13) Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (14) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
In verses 11 and 12, this poor woman did what all unregenerate people do when they talk, or try to talk about spiritual things. She showed her total ignorance. She had no idea who she was talking to, or what she was talking about. She was just talking.
(John 4:11-12) “The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? (12) Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?”
Now, look at verses 13-14. Here the Lord Jesus declares the vanity of all earthly things.
(John 4:13-14) “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: (14) But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
How I wish we could see this. – These words are written by the finger of God over all the wells of this world. “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again.” The thirst that is in you, the thirst of your soul is too deep to be quenched by the waters of this world. Have you not found it to be so?
· Wealth and Position
· Fame and Honor
· Religion and Philosophy
· Lusts and Pleasure
But that person who is born of God, who receives the water of life, who has the grace of God, the Spirit of God, the Christ of God and the light and life of God in his soul, shall never thirst again (1 Corinthians 1:30; Colossians 2:9-10).
(1 Corinthians 1:30-31) “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
(Colossians 2:9-10) “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:”
You will never come to Christ until he comes to you and creates a thirst in your soul for something more than you can find in this world. Read on. Look at verses 15-18, and learn this.
Third, you will not come to Christ until he exposes your sin to you. Before a sinner comes to Christ for mercy, he must be made to know and acknowledge his sin before God. Because he intended to be gracious to her, the Lord Jesus made this woman know that she was utterly naked before him.
(John 4:15-18) “The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. (16) Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. (17) 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.”
He laid bare what she thought she could keep hidden. This always makes sinners uncomfortable. You love darkness rather than light. You will not come to the light, lest your deeds be reproved. And when the light falls on you, you will immediately take refuge and try to turn the light away from yourself. That is exactly what happened next. — Look at verses 19-20.
(John 4:19-20) “The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. (20) Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”
Notice, she immediately changed her tone and the subject. She began to speak respectfully, and started talking religion. She wanted to get away from the subject of her immoral, lascivious, perverse behavior. Her conscience was pricked; and she tried to soothe her conscience by talking about her religion. She tried to break the barb off the Master’s arrow with the shield of religious controversy. Men love to talk about religion in general terms, just like this salty old girl. Here she is, a woman with less respectability than a prostitute, a woman who shacked up with one man, then another, without the least compunction, defending her father’s religion!
· Talking about Historic Doctrine!
· Talking about Future Things!
· Debating about Denominations!
But the Lord Jesus would not be led into her trap. He was far more concerned for her soul than he was in proving a point. So he did what only he can do. He destroyed her refuge of lies. Look at verses 21-24.
Fourth, you will never come to Christ and find refuge for your soul in him, until he destroys every false refuge, every refuge of lies, in which you attempt to hide from God. I do not know what your refuge of lies is; but I know you have one. You have built some kind of fortress around your soul, a refuge in which you are, like Adam in the garden, hiding from God.
Notice how the Lord destroyed this woman’s refuge. He did not shake his finger in her face and say, “You Arminian Samaritans are all going to hell.” He simply told her the truth; and the truth, penetrating her heart, destroyed her refuge.
(John 4:21-24) “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. (22) Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. (23) But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (24) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
· “Woman, believe Me.”
· All true worship is spiritual worship.
· All true worship is based upon revealed truth (Philippians 3:1-3).
(Philippians 3:1-3) “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. (2) Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. (3) For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
· God is seeking sinners to worship him in Spirit and in Truth.
If we would worship God, we must worship him in Christ, in the Holy Spirit, in the spirit of sincerity, in the spirit of faith, and in the truth of the Gospel (Isaiah 28:14-22; Hebrews 4:14-16; 10:16-22).
(Isaiah 28:14-22) “Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. (15) Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: (16) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. (17) Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. (18) And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. (19) From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. (20) For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it. (21) For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act. (22) Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth.”
(Hebrews 4:14-16) “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. (15) For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (16) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
(Hebrews 10:16-22) “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; (17) And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. (18) Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. (19) Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, (20) By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; (21) And having an high priest over the house of God; (22) Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
Before you will come to Christ, he must first come to you, — Create an interest in you for the things of God, — Expose your sin, — Destroy your refuge of lies, and one more thing must be done. This is what it will take to bring you to Christ –
Fifth, the Lord Jesus Christ must make himself known to you (vv. 25-26).
(John 4:25-26) “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. (26) Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.”
Slowly, but surely, the Word of God had done its work (Romans 10:17; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23). This woman was driven from her refuge of lies into the arms of the Son of God. As soon as she expressed a desire for the Christ of God, in whom alone sinners can worship God, he said, “I am!” – “I am he.” — That is salvation! That is what it takes to bring you to Christ – The revelation of Christ!
(Zechariah 12:10) “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”
Once Christ is revealed to you and in you, that is enough. Nothing more is needed. The needy sinner and the sovereign Savior met face to face, and all was settled forever (Isaiah 45:20-25; Matthew 11:28-30).
(Isaiah 45:20-25) “Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. (21) Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. (22) Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (23) I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (24) Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. (25) In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
(Matthew 11:28-30) “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
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