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Objection Overruled

Notes & Transcripts

INTRODUCTION: ATTENTION

IT’S ALWAYS A SCARY THING. IN FACT, I NEVER DO IT BUT WHAT MY PALMS AREN’T SWEATY AND MY KNEES ALMOST KNOCK TOGETHER. NO, I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT RIDING SOME DEATH-DEFYING ROLLERCOASTER. I’M TALKING ABOUT THAT ACTIVITY THAT TURNS GROWN MEN INTO WHIMPERING EXCUSE-MAKERS. I’M TALKING ABOUT THAT ACTIVITY THAT MAKES GROWN WOMEN CRY. I’M TALKING ABOUT VISITATION.

ON THIS ONE PARTICULAR NIGHT, I WAS OUT BY MYSELF. I HAD FOUND NO ONE HOME, YET, AND I WAS TEMPTED TO GIVE UP AND JUST THROW IN THE TOWEL. BUT THERE WAS THIS ONE LAST VISITOR’S CARD. WHEN I LOOKED AT THE NAME, I WAS NOT ENCOURAGED. “THEY SHOULD HAVE GIVEN THIS CARD TO BILL AND DENISE,” I THOUGHT. THE NAME WAS OBVIOUSLY HISPANIC, AND I COULD JUST SEE MYSELF STANDING AT THE DOOR TRYING TO WITNESS TO A MAN WHO SPOKE BROKEN ENGLISH, SMILED AND NODDED AT WHATEVER I SAID, BUT HAD NO CLUE ABOUT WHAT I MEANT. I RODE BY THE HOUSE A COUPLE OF TIMES. IT WAS REALLY DARK AND THE NEIGHBORHOOD WASN’T THE BEST, AND I WAS SORELY TEMPTED TO TURN MY CAR TOWARDS THE CHURCH.

BUT MY CONSCIENCE WOULDN’T LET ME DO THAT, AND, SHAMED INTO ACTION, I STOPPED THE CAR AND MOUNTED THE STEPS TO THE FRONT PORCH. HIS SISTERS ANSWERED THE DOOR AND WHEN HE CAME TO THE FRONT, I WAS TOTALLY SHOCKED. HE SPOKE PERFECT ENGLISH AND SEEMED TO UNDERSTAND EVERY WORD I SAID. WHEN I SHARED THE GOSPEL AND ASKED IF HE WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE CHRIST, HE SAID, “SURE.” NO ARGUMENT, NO QUESTION, NO COMPLAINT. WE SAT ON HIS FRONT PORCH IN THE SWING AND HE ASKED CHRIST INTO HIS HEART.

I WENT BACK TO THE CHURCH PUMPED UP! I WAS PROUD OF MYSELF FOR HAVING DEFEATED MY FEAR AND WAS ANXIOUS TO TELL EVERYONE HOW THIS YOUNG MAN HAD FOUND CHRIST. I KNEW THAT THEY WOULD REJOICE WITH ME AND I LOOKED FORWARD TO SEEING HIM IN CHURCH.

AND I WASN’T DISAPPOINTED, AT LEAST NOT AT FIRST. YOU SEE, HE SHOWED UP FOR 2 WEEKS IN A ROW . . . BUT I HAVEN’T SEEN HIM SINCE. AND IT WASN’T BECAUSE I DIDN’T FOLLOW UP. I AND SEVERAL OTHERS TRIED TO REACH HIM, BUT TO DATE WE HAVEN’T HAD ANY SUCCESS.

NOW, I’VE GOT TO TELL YOU THAT INCIDENTS LIKE THIS LEAVE ME SCRATCHING MY HEAD. IT SEEMS LIKE EVERYTHING GOES SO WELL AND THERE IS SUCH WILLINGNESS TO PRAY THE SINNER’S PRAYER AND EVERYTHING YOU SAY TO THE PERSON IS AGREED TO, AND YET, YOU FIND THAT THERE IS NO FRUIT IN A PERSON’S LIFE. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

WELL, I THINK I HAVE AT LEAST PART OF THE ANSWER AND, WELL, I’LL JUST HAVE TO ADMIT THAT IT COMES FROM A VERY UNLIKELY SOURCE. WHEN I WORKED FOR SYNTEX PHARMACEUTICALS, WE WERE SENT AWAY FOR SEVERAL WEEKS OF TRAINING OVER THE COURSE OF ABOUT SIX MONTHS. I’LL NEVER FORGET WHAT ONE INSTRUCTOR TOLD US ONE DAY IN CLASS AS HE TAUGHT US PRINCIPLES OF SALESMANSHIP. HE SAID, “ALWAYS REMEMBER: NOTHING IS SOLD UNTIL RESISTANCES ARE ENCOUNTERED AND OVERCOME.” HE THEN EXPLAINED THAT STATEMENT, TELLING US THAT EVERY PERSON YOU MEET WILL HAVE RESISTANCE TO YOUR IDEAS, AND THEY MAY AGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU SAY JUST TO GET YOU OUT OF THEIR FACE, BUT THE TRUTH IS, YOU REALLY BEGIN TO BE PERSUASIVE WHEN THEY BEGIN TO OBJECT TO YOUR IDEAS, AND YOU THEN HANDLE THEIR OBJECTIONS.

NEED:

NOW, WITNESSING IS NOT ABOUT SALESMANSHIP, BUT ABOUT DEPENDENCE ON THE HOLY SPIRIT. BUT THERE IS A CONNECTION THAT CAN BE DRAWN FROM THE EXPERIENCE. DO YOU SEE THE CONNECTION? THAT GUY I WITNESSED TO, WHO AGREED WITH EVERYTHING I SAID, REALLY DIDN’T AGREE WITH ANYTHING I SAID. HE JUST PLAYED ALONG TO GET ME OUT OF HIS FACE. THE TRUTH IS HE HAD MANY OBJECTIONS TO THE GOSPEL, BUT I NEVER HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO ANSWER THEM BECAUSE I NEVER FOUND OUT WHAT THEY WERE.

NOW IF YOU ARE A WITNESS FOR JESUS CHRIST, SOMETIMES THE VERY THING YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR ARE THE OBJECTIONS SOMEONE HAS TO THE GOSPEL, BUT I MUST TELL YOU THAT THOSE VERY SAME OBJECTIONS ARE EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED TO HEAR IF YOU ARE EVER TO TRULY REACH THAT PERSON.

MAYBE YOU’RE NOT A BELIEVER THIS MORNING. YOU’VE NEVER TRUSTED CHRIST WITH YOUR LIFE, AND YOU MAY SMILE AND ACT LIKE YOU AGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU HEARD IN SUNDAY SCHOOL. OR YOU MAY ACT LIKE YOU AGREE WITH EVERYTHING THAT PERSON WHO INVITED YOU TO CHURCH HAS SHARED WITH YOU, BUT THE TRUTH IS THERE ARE OBJECTIONS IN YOUR HEART: UNSPOKEN RESISTANCE TO THE THINGS PEOPLE ARE TELLING YOU ABOUT JESUS CHRIST.

WELL, I WANT TO TELL YOU, YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE THIS MORNING, BECAUSE TODAY I WANT US TO FOLLOW THE MASTER OBJECTION-HANDLER AS HE ENCOUNTERS PEOPLE JUST LIKE YOU AND ME WHO HAVE RESISTANCE TO THE GOSPEL. AS WE SEE HIM ANSWER EVERY QUESTION AND BRING THE LIGHT OF TRUTH INTO THE DARKNESS OF DOUBT, YOU MAY HEAR SOME OF YOUR OWN OBJECTIONS ANSWERED. IF YOU ARE A BELIEVER, I CHALLENGE YOU THIS MORNING TO OBSERVE HOW CHRIST ANSWERS THE QUESTIONS OF AN UNBELIEVER AND LEARN HOW TO BECOME MORE EFFECTIVE IN YOUR OWN WITNESS. THE STORY IS FOUND IN JOHN CHAPTER 4. WILL YOU READ WITH ME?: (READ JOHN 4:1-10)

JESUS IN THIS ENCOUNTER SHOWS US TWO THINGS: FIRST, IF YOU ARE AN UNBELIEVER THIS MORNING HE KNOWS HOW TO ANSWER YOUR DEEPEST OBJECTIONS. SECONDLY, IF YOU ARE A BELIEVER THIS MORNING, HE SHOWS YOU HOW YOU CAN ANSWER THE OBJECTIONS OF THOSE TO WHOM YOU MIGHT WITNESS. HOW DOES HE DO IT. WELL, HE GIVES US FOUR ANSWERS TO THE OBJECTIONS OF THOSE WHO JUST AREN’T READY TO COMMIT THEIR LIVES TO CHRIST AND, BY DOING THIS, HE DEMONSTRATES HOW YOU AND I CAN ANSWER THOSE SAME OBJECTIONS. THE FIRST ANSWER IS FOUND IN THE VERSES WE JUST READ: YOU SEE, IF YOU REALLY WANT TO REACH THAT LOST PERSON FOR CHRIST, YOU CAN

DIVISION STATEMENT 1: OVERCOME PREJUDICE WITH COMPASSION

EXPLANATION: THE FIRST RESISTANCE JESUS ENCOUNTERS ON MEETING THIS WOMAN IS HER PREJUDICE. NOTICE HOW SHE REPLIES, IN VERSE 9, TO HIS REQUEST FOR WATER. SHE ASKS, “HOW IS IT THAT YOU, BEING A JEW, ASK A DRINK FROM ME, A SAMARITAN WOMAN? FOR JEWS HAVE NO DEALINGS WITH SAMARITANS.” YOU SEE, SHE EXPECTED CONDEMNATION BECAUSE OF WHO SHE WAS.

NOW READING THAT QUESTION YOU GET THE DISTINCT IMPRESSION THAT THIS POOR LADY REALLY HAD HER GUARD UP, AND WITH GOOD REASON. YOU SEE JEWS LOOKED UPON SAMARITANS AS HALF-BREED IDOLATERS. WHEN THE NORTHERN TRIBES OF ISRAEL SEPARATED FROM THE TRIBE OF JUDAH, JEROBOAM, THE KING HAD SET UP HIS OWN BRAND OF WORSHIP, REFUSING TO ALLOW THE PEOPLE TO GO TO JERUSALEM TO WORSHIP IN THE TEMPLE FOR FEAR THAT THEY WOULD BE BROUGHT BACK UNDER JUDAH’S RULE. BECAUSE OF THEIR CORRUPTION, GOD HAD JUDGED THE NORTHERN TRIBES, SENDING THEM INTO CAPTIVITY SOME 140 YEARS BEFORE JUDAH FELL. TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE, THOSE JEWISH BROTHERS WHO HAD RETURNED HAD BROUGHT WITH THEM THEIR ASSYRIAN GODS AND THEIR ASSYRIAN MATES, FURTHER CORRUPTING THEMSELVES.

BUT THAT WASN’T ALL, FOR, YOU SEE, NOT ONLY WAS THIS PERSON A SAMARITAN, SHE WAS A WOMAN. JEWISH RABBIS HAD A SAYING ABOUT SAMARITAN WOMEN. THEY BELIEVED THAT SAMARITAN WOMEN MENSTRUATED FROM THE CRADLE WHICH MEANT, ACCORDING TO JEWISH LAW, THAT THEY WERE ALWAYS UNCLEAN. TO TOUCH ONE, OR TO EVEN SPEAK TO ONE WOULD MAKE THAT PERSON ALSO UNCLEAN.

BUT EVEN THAT WASN’T ALL, FOR YOU WILL NOTICE THAT THIS LADY WAS COMING TO GET WATER AT THE SIXTH HOUR AND SHE WAS ALONE. NOW THE SIXTH HOUR WOULD HAVE BEEN LUNCH TIME, 12:00 P.M. AT THE VERY HOTTEST PART OF THE DAY. NO ONE CAME TO GET WATER THEN, THEY WOULD WAIT INSTEAD UNTIL THE COOL OF THE EVENING. BUT YOU SEE, THIS WASN’T JUST ANY WOMAN. AS JESUS REVEALS LATER, SHE WAS MORALLY LOOSE. SHE HAD BEEN MARRIED FIVE TIMES AND WAS NOW LIVING WITH HER SIXTH MAN. NOW IN OUR SOCIETY, THAT IS BECOMING PAR FOR THE COURSE, BUT IN THAT DAY, SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN A PARIAH. SHE CAME TO THE WELL ALONE BECAUSE NO ONE WOULD COME WITH HER.

CAN YOU BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND HOW SHOCKED SHE WAS THAT JESUS WOULD EVEN SPEAK TO HER? I THINK THAT SHE EXPECTED CONDEMNATION AND EVEN MOCKERY. AFTER ALL, JESUS WAS A JEW. IT WAS THE JEWS WHO HAD TURNED DOWN THE SAMARITAN OFFERS TO HELP THEM REBUILD THEIR TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM. IT WAS THE JEWS, BELIEVING THAT THEY WERE DOING THE WILL OF GOD, WHO HAD COME TO MOUNT GERIZIM IN 128 B.C. AND BURNED THE SAMARITAN TEMPLE TO THE GROUND. NO WONDER THIS WOMAN HAD A PREJUDICE. IT GREW OUT OF HER OWN SIN AND IT GREW OUT OF HER DISTRUST OF JESUS, THE JEW.

BUT JESUS OVERCAME HER PREJUDICE WITH COMPASSION. I THINK YOU SEE THAT IN THE OFFER HE MAKES TO HER IN VERSE 10. THERE HE SAYS, “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.” YOU SEE HIS COMPASSION IN THE FACT THAT HE TAKES THE RISK OF EVEN TALKING TO THIS WOMAN. SUCH BEHAVIOR COULD HAVE BEEN CONSTRUED AS FLIRTING AND MAY HAVE BEEN MISUNDERSTOOD. FURTHERMORE, HE MAKES HIMSELF VULNERABLE TO HER, ASKING HER FOR A DRINK, AND THEN HE OFFERS HER WHAT SHE HAD COME TO GET: WATER. ONLY THIS WATER WASN’T JUST WATER THAT MADE YOU WET; IT WAS WATER THAT MADE YOU WHOLE. IT WOULD QUENCH THE REAL THIRST THIS WOMAN HAD. JESUS OVERCAME HER PREJUDICE WITH COMPASSION.

IN OUR CULTURE, THERE IS ALSO GREAT PREJUDICE AGAINST THE GOSPEL. SOME OF IT JUST COMES WITH THE TERRITORY. I HEARD BILL O’REILLY ON THE JIM BOHANNAN SHOW THE OTHER DAY AND HE SAID THAT PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THAT THEY HAVE THE EXCLUSIVE TRUTH ABOUT GETTING TO HEAVEN ARE TRULY DANGEROUS PEOPLE. WELL, NOW IF YOU ARE REALLY A CHILD OF GOD, MY FRIEND, HE WAS TALKING ABOUT YOU, FOR YOU SEE, JESUS SAID “NO MAN COMETH TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.” SOMETIMES THE VERY MESSAGE WE PREACH BRINGS PREJUDICE.

BUT SOME PREJUDICE IS DESERVED. WHEN TELE-EVANGELISTS STAND UP AND PREACH AGAINST SIN, THEN ARE CAUGHT VISITING PROSTITUTES, AND ARE SEEN CONTINUING TO PREACH, NO WONDER THE WORLD GROWS PREJUDICED AGAINST CHRISTIANITY. SOME OF THE RESISTANCE WE ENCOUNTER IS, REGRETTABLY, RESISTANCE WE DESERVE. BUT DESERVED OR UNDESERVED, IT IS REAL AND IT CAN BE OVERCOME. JESUS OVERCAME PREJUDICE WITH COMPASSION. EVEN THOUGH SHE RESISTED HIM, HE STILL LOVED HER AND REACHED OUT TO HER.

AND COMPASSION IS ALWAYS THE BEST CURE FOR PREJUDICE. IF WE ARE TO REACH THIS GENERATION FOR CHRIST IT WILL NOT BE BECAUSE WE HAVE THE BEST MUSIC PROGRAM OR EVEN BECAUSE WE BUILD THE BEST LOOKING AUDITORIUM IN WILSON. IT WILL BE BECAUSE GOD GIVES US SUCH A GENUINE LOVE FOR PEOPLE THAT WE OVERCOME THEIR NATURAL PREJUDICE TO THE GOSPEL.

ILLUSTRATION:

THE GREYHOUND BUS SLOWED—THEN STOPPED. IT WAS JUST A WAYSIDE STOP WITH A GARAGE AND A SMALL STORE. A YOUNG INDIAN STEPPED ABOARD AND AFTER HE HAD PAID HIS FARE HE SAT DOWN BEHIND ME.

IT WAS FEBRUARY. WE WERE TRAVELING FROM FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA, TO ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO. THE NIGHT WAS COLD. IN THE WARM BUS THE TIRED YOUTH WAS SOON ASLEEP. BUT AFTER ABOUT 20 MINUTES HE GOT UP AND WALKED TO THE FRONT OF THE BUS TO ASK IF WE WERE NEAR HIS DESTINATION.

“WE PASSED THERE A LONG TIME AGO,” THE BUS DRIVER SNAPPED. ACKNOWLEDGING HE HAD KNOWN THE BOY WAS RIDING BEYOND HIS STOP, HE ASK ANGRILY, “WHY DIDN’T YOU GET OFF?”

THE QUIET PASSENGER’S SHOULDERS DROOPED. HE TURNED AND CAME BACK TO HIS SEAT. BARELY HAD HE SAT DOWN, WHEN HE ROSE AGAIN AND WENT TO THE DRIVER.

“WILL YOU STOP AND LET ME OFF?” HE ASKED. “I’LL WALK BACK.”

“NO! IT’S TOO FAR AND TOO COLD. YOU’D FREEZE TO DEATH. YOU’LL HAVE TO GO INTO ALBUQUERQUE AND THEN TAKE A BUS BACK.”

DISAPPOINTMENT SHOWED IN HIS WALK AS HE CAME BACK TO HIS SEAT.

“WERE YOU ASLEEP?” I ASKED HIM.

“YES, AND MY SISTER WAS WAITING FOR ME THERE.” HE DROPPED INTO THE SEAT BEHIND ME.

I WAS RETURNING TO WISCONSIN AFTER SERVING A QUARTER TERM AS A VOLUNTEER TEACHER IN AN INDIAN MISSION SCHOOL. THIS EXPERIENCE HAD TAUGHT ME THE HARD LIVING CONDITIONS OF THE INDIANS IN THE AREA. THE SMALL ADOBE HOUSES WITH EARTH FLOORS, THE LACK OF PRIVACY IN THOSE LITTLE ONE-OR-TWO-ROOM HOUSES.

THE ROLE PLAYED BY TEENAGERS WAS VERY HARD. THERE WAS NO ROOM FOR THEM AT HOME, YET THEY WERE NOT REALLY READY TO GO OUT ON THEIR OWN.

ALL THE WHILE WE WERE NEARING ALBUQUERQUE, A LARGE AND STRANGE CITY. I THOUGHT HE MUST BE WONDERING WHAT HE WOULD DO AFTER HE GOT THERE. I TURNED TO HIM AND ASKED, “ARE YOU AFRAID?”

“YES,” HE SAID, IN A “HATE-TO-ADMIT” WAY.

“STAY WITH ME,” I SAID, “AND I’LL HELP YOU GET ON THE RIGHT BUS BACK.”

I TALKED TO THE DRIVER: “WILL YOU PLEASE CHECK WITH THE RETURN DRIVER, SO HE NEED NOT PAY RETURN FARE?”

“OK,” THE DRIVER RELUCTANTLY AGREED.

“EVERYTHING WILL BE ALL RIGHT,” I TOLD THE BOY. “YOU NEED NOT WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING.”

HIS EYES SAID, “THANK YOU!”

WE RODE ON FOR POSSIBLY TEN MORE MINUTES. THEN A HAND TAPPED MY SHOULDER. I TURNED TO SEE MY YOUNG FRIEND LEANING TOWARD ME. IN A REVERENT VOICE HE ASKED:

“ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?”

ARGUMENTATION:

JESUS SAID THAT THEY WILL KNOW US AS CHRISTIANS BY WHAT? OUR BUDGETS? IF WE OPERATE IN THE BLACK, PEOPLE WILL BE IMPRESSED, RIGHT? OR MAYBE BY OUR EDUCATION: IF WE KNOW ALL THE ANSWERS PEOPLE WILL BE CONVINCED BY OUR EXPLANATIONS AND TURN TO CHRIST. OR MAYBE BY OUR PROGRAMS: IF WE HAVE A MINISTRY FOR EVERY POSSIBLE NEED, THEN PEOPLE WILL BE ATTRACTED TO CHRISTIANITY:

NO JESUS NEVER SAID THAT! HE DIDN’T TELL US TO IMPRESS PEOPLE WITH OUR BUDGETS: WALLSTREET CAN DO THAT! HE DIDN’T TELL US TO IMPRESS PEOPLE WITH OUR EDUCATION: HARVARD CAN DO THAT. HE DIDN’T TELL US TO IMPRESS PEOPLE WITH OUR PROGRAMS: THE REC CENTER CAN DO THAT. HE SAID THEY WILL KNOW WE ARE CHRISTIANS BY OUR LOVE. JESUS SHOWED HIS COMPASSION FOR THIS LOWLY WOMAN. HE MET HER WHERE SHE WAS. HE SPOKE IN TERMS OF HER NEEDS. HE SHOWED AN ETERNAL ANSWER TO HER TEMPORAL PROBLEM. HE OVERCAME HER PREJUDICE WITH COMPASSION.

APPLICATION:

YOU MAY BE SAYING HOW CAN I DO THIS? HOW CAN I OVERCOME PREJUDICE WITH COMPASSION?

FIRST OF ALL, DON’T CLEAN UP THE OUTSIDE BEFORE YOU DEAL WITH THE INSIDE. IF JESUS WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE SOME BELIEVERS, HE WOULD HAVE INSISTED THAT SHE PUT ON A MODEST DRESS, AND MOVE OUT OF HER ADULTEROUS RELATIONSHIP BEFORE HE WOULD SPEAK TO HER. WHEN WE HAVE THAT ATTITUDE WE INCREASE PREJUDICE. HERE PEOPLE ARE DEALING WITH SIN IN THEIR LIVES AND HEADED TO HELL, AND WE ARE MAJORING ON MINOR ISSUES. COMPASSION SAYS, WE’LL DEAL WITH THE OUTSIDE LATER. RIGHT NOW, JUST LET ME SHOW YOU HOW MUCH GOD LOVES YOU.

AND THE SAME THING IS TRUE FOR YOU IF YOU DON’T KNOW CHRIST TODAY. YOU MAY BE THINKING, “I’VE GOT TO CLEAN MYSELF UP BEFORE I COME TO CHRIST.” THE TRUTH IS YOU CAN’T CLEAN YOURSELF UP. THE HARDER YOU TRY THE MORE FRUSTRATED YOU WILL GET. ALL HE WANTS IS FOR YOU TO COME TO HIM AND GIVE HIM YOUR LIFE AND HE WILL CLEAN YOU UP. TRUST HIM! HE LOVES YOU!

SECONDLY, MAKE YOURSELF VULNERABLE TO THAT PERSON YOU WISH TO REACH. ISN’T IT INTERESTING THAT JESUS ASKS HER FOR WATER. NOW, I ASSUME HE COULD HAVE GOTTEN IT HIMSELF, OR MAYBE HE COULD HAVE JUST WAITED FOR HIS DISCIPLES TO RETURN, BUT NO, HE ASKS HER TO GIVE HIM WATER. HE MADE HIMSELF VULNERABLE TO HER.

YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES IT IS OUR VULNERABLILITY THAT WILL REACH THE LOST. AS LONG AS WE TRY TO BE “MR. SPIRITUAL” AND HOLD THE WORLD AT ARM’S LENGTH, WE WILL NOT REACH PEOPLE, BUT WHEN WE MAKE OURSELVES VULNERABLE TO THEM, THEN THEY MAY BE WILLING TO LISTEN TO US.

JESUS OVERCAME THIS LADY’S PREJUDICE WITH COMPASSION. AND THAT IS WHAT HE WANTS TO DO IN YOUR LIFE. YOU MAY HAVE A MILLION AND ONE REASONS WHY THIS “CHRISTIAN THING” WON’T WORK FOR YOU. YOU MAY HAVE A MILLION REASONS WHY YOU THINK CHRISTIANITY IS A HOAX, BUT THERE IS ONE THING YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO GET AWAY FROM, BECAUSE, YOU SEE, TODAY STANDING IN FRONT OF YOU IS THE LIVING CHRIST. HE KNOWS ALL ABOUT YOUR PREJUDICE AND STILL HE HOLDS OUT HIS HAND IN LOVE AND COMPASSION. HOW WILL YOU RESPOND TO HIM?

YES, MANY PEOPLE YOU AND I KNOW HAVE REAL RESISTANCE TO THE GOSPEL. THEY MAY TRY TO HIDE IT FROM US AND THEY MAY SEEM TO BE INPENETRABLE FORTRESSES OF UNBELIEF, BUT I TELL YOU WE SERVE THE MASTER OBJECTION-HANDLER. HE OVERCOMES PREJUDICE WITH COMPASSION, BUT NOTICE SECONDLY:

STATEMENT 2: HE OVERCOMES CYNICISM WITH CONFRONTATION

EXPLANATION:

IN VERSE 11 THIS WOMAN RESPONDS TO CHRIST’S OFFER OF LIVING WATER BY BASICALLY IGNORING ITS SPIRITUAL OVERTONES. LOOK AT WHAT SHE SAYS, “YOU HAVE NOTHING TO DRAW WITH, AND THE WELL IS DEEP. WHERE THEN DO YOU GET THAT LIVING WATER?” NOW, COME ON, SHE WASN’T DUMB. SHE KNEW THAT CHRIST COULDN’T POSSIBLY MEAN THAT THIS “LIVING WATER” WAS IN THE BOTTOM OF THAT WELL. SHE MAY HAVE REJECTED THE EXISTENCE OF THE SPIRITUAL TOTALLY AND REFUSED TO EVEN DEAL WITH THE ISSUE. SHE WAS A SPIRITUAL CYNIC.

BUT LOOK AT WHAT SHE SAYS FURTHER IN VERSE 12: “ARE YOU GREATER THAN OUR FATHER JACOB, WHO GAVE US THE WELL, AND DRANK FROM IT HIMSELF, AS WELL AS HIS SONS AND HIS LIVESTOCK?” SHE HAD BEEN TAUGHT THE IMPORTANCE OF JACOB AND HAD SOME RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND SO SHE IMMEDIATELY ASKS IF HE THOUGHT HE WAS GREATER THAN JACOB. ITS AS IF SHE IS SAYING, “EVEN IF THERE IS LIVING WATER, AND I CERTAINLY DON’T THINK THERE IS, WHY SHOULD I BELIEVE THAT YOU COULD POSSIBLY DELIVER IT? ARE YOU GREATER THAN JACOB WAS . . .?” AGAIN, SHE WAS VERY SKEPTICAL.

NOW NOTICE HOW JESUS RESPONDS. HE REFUSES TO LET HER MISS THE POINT HE IS MAKING. HE TAKES HER AWAY FROM THE WELL AND PROMISES HER WATER THAT WILL SPRING UP INSIDE OF HER AND QUENCH HER THIRST. LOOK AT VERSES 13-14: ITS ALMOST AS IF JESUS MAKES AN EVEN MORE OUTLANDISH CLAIM THAN BEFORE.

NOW I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, BUT I DON’T THINK THIS WOMAN WAS CONVINCED. THERE ARE A COUPLE OF WAYS TO READ VERSE 15, BUT I THINK THE READING THAT MAKES THE MOST SENSE IS TO SEE IT AS AN ALMOST SARCASTIC RESPONSE. YOU CAN ALMOST HEAR THE WEARINESS IN HER VOICE AS SHE SAYS, IN ESSENCE. “YEAH, RIGHT, SURE YOU’VE GOT LIVING WATER THAT WILL SPRING UP INSIDE OF ME. YEAH, I BELIEVE THAT ONE. OK, GIVE ME THAT WATER AND JUST GET OFF MY BACK.” SEE, SHE REALLY DIDN’T BELIEVE IT. SHE WAS CYNICAL ABOUT THE EXISTENCE OF THE SPIRITUAL AND SHE SAW HERSELF AS TOO SAVY TO GET TAKEN IN BY THIS CHARLATAN. SHE DIDN’T REALLY BELIEVE.

BUT NOTICE HOW JESUS HANDLED HER CYNICISM. HIS NEXT STATEMENT IS ALMOST LIKE A SLAP IN THE FACE, FOR IN VERSE 16 HE SAYS, “GO CALL YOUR HUSBAND.” IN THE MIDST OF HER CYNICISM, DO YOU SEE WHAT CHRIST DID. HE REACHED DOWN AND PUT HIS FINGER ON HER SPIRITUAL HOT BUTTON. YOU SEE, HE KNEW WHY SHE DIDN’T BELIEVE. HE KNEW WHY SHE COULD NOT ACCEPT THE POSSIBILITY OF EXISTENCE OF THE SPIRITUAL. HE KNEW WHY SHE WAS CYNICAL AND HE DIDN’T BACK AWAY FROM CONFRONTING IT. HE SAID, “GO CALL YOUR HUSBAND.”

WELL, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE? IMMEDIATELY, THIS LADY TRIED TO COVER UP. SHE SAYS, “I HAVE NO HUSBAND.” BUT JESUS WOULDN’T LET HER ESCAPE, IN FACT THE CONSTRUCTION IN GREEK IS VERY POINTED. HE LITERALLY SAYS, “YOU ARE RIGHT TO SAY THAT HUSBAND (SINGULAR) YOU DON’T HAVE, FOR YOU HAVE HAD 5 HUSBANDS AND THE ONE WHOM YOU NOW HAVE IS NOT YOUR HUSBAND; IN THAT YOU SPOKE TRULY.”

TALK ABOUT CONFRONTATIONAL EVANGELISM! JESUS LAID IT ALL OUT ON THE TABLE. HE HELD NOTHING BACK. HE CONFRONTED HER CYNICISM AND BROUGHT HER FACE TO FACE WITH THE VERY THING THAT WAS CAUSING HER TO DOUBT: HER SIN.

DO YOU EVER WONDER WHY THE PEOPLE YOU KNOW ARE SO CYNICAL ABOUT SPIRITUAL THINGS? EVER WONDER WHY THEY LAUGH ABOUT HEAVEN AND USE HELL AS EXCLAMATION POINT OF THEIR CONVERSATIONS? AND YOU WHO ARE HERE WITH GREAT RESERVATIONS ABOUT THE GOSPEL, DO YOU EVER STOP AND ASK YOURSELF WHY YOU ARE SO FILLED WITH DOUBT? DO YOU EVER WONDER WHY YOU JUST CAN’T SEEM TO BELIEVE ALL THAT “GOD” STUFF?

THERE’S ONE REASON AND ONLY ONE: IT IS YOUR SIN!

ILLUSTRATION:

CHURCHES ARE GETTING INTO THE DOUBLESPEAK SPIRIT. ... TAKE THE TERM "SIN," FOR INSTANCE. THERE'S A WORD WE COULD ALL LIVE WITHOUT. I MEAN, WHO WANTS TO BE TOLD THEY'RE GUILTY OF--SIN? NO ONE I KNOW. YET THAT KIND OF THING GOES ON IN CHURCHES REGULARLY.

SO I THINK WE SHOULD FOLLOW THE LEAD OF THE NOTED CHRISTIAN TELEVISION PERSONALITIES WHO, AFTER HAVING BEEN INVOLVED IN VARIOUS QUESTIONABLE ACTIVITIES, REPLACED ANY REFERENCES TO "SIN" WITH TERMS LIKE "MORAL FAILURE," AND "MOMENTARY LAPSE." WOULDN'T OUR CHURCHES BE MORE CHEERY PLACES IF WE ALL DID THE SAME?

MANY ALREADY ARE, AS THE MODERN RENDERING OF (ROMANS 3).23--FROM THE SMNAV (SHIRLEY MACLAINE NEW AGE VERSION)--ILLUSTRATES: "FOR ALL HAVE EXPERIENCED MOMENTARY LAPSES AND HAVE COME UP A TAD SHY OF THE DIVINE ENTITY'S ABSOLUTE IDEAL, BUT HEY, NOBODY'S PERFECT. SO DON'T WORRY. BE HAPPY!"

THAT ISN’T THE WAY JESUS DEALS WITH OUR SIN!

ARGUMENTATION

JESUS KNEW THAT THIS WAS THIS LADY’S PROBLEM AND HE TOOK ACTION. HE CONFRONTED HER WITH HER GREATEST RESISTANCE: HER SIN. AND THAT IS ALSO WHAT HE IS CONFRONTING YOU WITH THIS MORNING. IF YOU ARE RESISTANT TO THE GOSPEL, I BELIEVE GOD, THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SHOWING SOME OF YOU RIGHT NOW THE REASON. HE IN ESSENCE IS SAYING TO YOU, “GO CALL YOUR HUSBAND.” HE IS PUTTING HIS FINGER RIGHT WHERE IT HURTS IN YOUR LIFE. HE’S SAYING “GO BRING ME YOUR BOTTLE OF ALCOHOL.” HE’S SAYING, “BRING ME THAT CRACK PIPE.” HE’S SAYING, “INTRODUCE ME TO THAT PERSON YOU’RE LIVING WITH OUT OF WEDLOCK.” AND WE SQUIRM AND MAKE EXCUSES AND CLAIM THAT WE JUST CAN’T BELIEVE, BUT IT IS NOT OUR INTELLECT THAT MAKES US DOUBT, NO, IT IS OUR SIN THAT MAKES US CYNICAL.

APPLICATION:

WHAT IS IT THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SHOWING YOU RIGHT NOW? YOU MAY SAY “I JUST CAN’T BELIEVE ALL THAT SUPERNATURAL NONSENSE,” BUT IF YOU WERE TO BE HONEST THERE ARE SOME VERY SPECIFIC THINGS THAT SATAN IS THROWING UP IN FRONT OF YOU RIGHT NOW THAT ARE CAUSING YOU TO DOUBT.

MAY I SAY THAT YOU WILL NEVER OVERCOME THESE THINGS BY TRYING TO OVERCOME THEM. LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN: YOU WILL NEVER OVERCOME THESE DOUBTS BY TRYING TO OVERCOME THEM. THAT’S RIGHT. YOU MUST SIMPLY LOOK AWAY FROM THOSE DOUBTS AND LOOK TO JESUS. YOU MUST SIMPLY COME TO HIM BY FAITH AND SAY, “LORD, YOU KNOW MY CYNICISM AND YOU KNOW MY SIN, BUT I GIVE YOU MY LIFE RIGHT NOW. YOU TAKE OVER.”

JESUS IS THE MASTER OBJECTION-HANDLER. HE OVERCOMES EVERY RESISTANCE. HE OVERCOMES PREJUDICE WITH COMPASSION. HE OVERCOMES CYNICISM WITH CONFRONTATION. BUT NOTICE:

DIVISION 3: HE OVERCOMES RELIGION WITH A RELATIONSHIP.

EXPLANATION

NOW, I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT IT PROBABLY SEEMS VERY STRANGE TO YOU THAT I WOULD SEE RELIGION AS AN OBSTACLE TO SALVATION, BUT I’VE JUST GOT TO TELL YOU THAT, IN ALMOST EVERY CASE, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT IT IS.

WELL, IT CERTAINLY WAS FOR THIS LADY. IN VERSE 19, IT SEEMS THAT THE INSIGHT JESUS HAS INTO HER LIFE HAS CAUSED HER TO FINALLY GET SERIOUS ABOUT THIS CONVERSATION AND SHE SAYS, “SIR, I PERCEIVE THAT YOU ARE A PROPHET.” BUT AFTER THAT CONFESSION, SHE IMMEDIATELY REVEALS JUST HOW CONFUSING IT CAN BE WHEN YOU CONFUSE SALVATION WITH RELIGION. LOOK AT THE QUESTION SHE NOW ASKS: “OUR FATHERS WORSHIPED ON THIS MOUNTAIN AND YOU JEWS SAY THAT IN JERUSALEM IS THE PLACE WHERE ONE OUGHT TO WORSHIP.”

I THINK THIS WAS A QUESTION OF HONEST RELIGIOUS CONFUSION. I THINK SHE HAD ALWAYS WONDERED WHY THERE WAS SUCH HOSTILITY BETWEEN SAMARITANS AND JEWS AND NOW THAT JESUS HAS GAINED HER TRUST SHE REALLY WANTS AN ANSWER TO HER QUESTION.

YOU SEE, BECAUSE JEROBOAM, THE FIRST KING OF THE NORTHERN TRIBES, HAD FEARED LOSING CONTROL OF HIS KINGDOM, HE HAD SET UP FALSE WORSHIP FOR THE SAMARITANS. IN ORDER TO MAKE IT WORK, HE HAD REJECTED ALL THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE EXCEPT THE 5 BOOKS OF THE PENTETEUCH. YOU MIGHT SAY JEROBOAM HAD INVENTED HIS OWN RELIGION TO MAINTAIN HIS POLITICAL POWER AND ALL THE SAMARITANS HAD BEEN CONFUSED EVER SINCE. THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE TO WORSHIP IN MOUNT GERIZIM INSTEAD OF JERUSALEM. FOR CENTURIES JEWS AND SAMARITANS HAD DEBATED THIS, CREATING MUCH MORE HEAT THAN LIGHT AND NOW ALL OF THAT RELIGIOUS ARGUMENT WAS JUST ONE MORE BARRIER THIS WOMAN HAD TO THE GOSPEL.

JAMES PACKER WRITES OF THIS BARRIER . . .

WE FIND IN NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS A RESTLESS SENSE OF THE HOSTILITY OF THE POWERS OF THE UNIVERSE; AN UNDEFINED FEELING OF GUILT, AND ALL SORTS OF MERIT-MAKING TECHNIQUES DESIGNED TO GET RID OF IT; A DREAD OF DEATH, AND A CONSUMING ANXIETY TO FEEL THAT ONE HAS CONQUERED IT; FORMS OF WORSHIP AIMED AT ONCE TO PLACATE, BRIBE, AND CONTROL THE GODS, AND TO MAKE THEM KEEP THEIR DISTANCE, EXCEPT WHEN WANTED; AN ALARMING READINESS TO CALL MORAL EVIL GOOD, AND GOOD EVIL, IN THE NAME OF RELIGION; AN AMBIVALENT ATTITUDE OF MIND WHICH SEEMS BOTH TO SEEK GOD AND TO SEEK TO EVADE HIM IN THE SAME ACT.

SALMON RUSHDIE, THE FAMOUS INDIAN WRITER WHO HAS BEEN ON THE ISLAMIC EXTREMIST HIT LIST BECAUSE OF HIS CRITICISM OF ISLAM, RECENTLY EXPANDED HIS TARGET TO INCLUDE ALL RELIGIONS. HE SAID THAT RELIGION IS THE “POISON IN THE BLOOD OF SOCIETY.” HE SAID, “IT IS FASHIONABLE TO SPEAK OF RELIGION IN TERMS OF RESPECT, BUT THE TRUTH IS THAT RELIGION, IN ESSENCE, DESTROYS THE INNOCENCE OF SOCIETY.”

NOW, AT THE RISK OF BEING CALLED A HERETIC, I GOTTA TELL YOU THAT I BELIEVE RUSHDIE IS RIGHT! RELIGION IS THE POISON IN THE BLOOD OF SOCIETY. IT HAS NO GOOD EFFECT WHATSOEVER. I’LL TELL YOU WHAT RELIGION DOES: IT GIVES YOU JUST ENOUGH HOPE TO DESTROY YOU; JUST ENOUGH RELIEF TO ENSLAVE YOU; JUST ENOUGH FORGIVENESS TO DELUDE YOU; JUST ENOUGH TRUTH TO INNOCULATE YOU. THIS LADY WAS JUST LIKE YOU MAY BE TODAY. SHE HAD ENOUGH RELIGIOUS UNDERSTANDING TO KEEP HER AWAY FROM CHRIST, BUT NOT ENOUGH TRUTH TO SAVE HER. RELIGION ALWAYS KEEPS PEOPLE FROM CHRIST; IT DOESN’T BRING THEM TO HIM.

BUT WILL YOU NOTICE WHAT JESUS ANSWERS THIS LADY: HE EXPLODES HER EXPECTATION WITH MORE THAN RELIGIOUS FACTS. INSTEAD OF RELIGION, HE OFFERS HER A RELATIONSHIP. LOOK AT VV 21-23:

JESUS SAID TO HER, ‘WOMAN, BELIEVE ME, THE HOUR IS COMING WHEN YOU WILL NEITHER ON THIS MOUNTAIN, NOR IN JERUSALEM, WORSHIP THE FATHER. YOU WORSHIP WHAT YOU DO NOT KNOW; WE KNOW WHAT WE WORSHIP FOR SALVATION IS OF THE JEWS. BUT THE HOUR IS COMING AND NOW IS, WHEN THE TRUE WORSHIPERS WILL WORSHIP THE FATHER IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH; FOR THE FATHER IS SEEKING SUCH TO WORSHIP HIM.’

JESUS TELLS HER THAT THE ANSWER SHE IS LOOKING FOR ISN’T FOUND IN THE RELIGIOUS ARGUMENT ABOUT GERIZIM OR JERUSALEM: IT IS FOUND IN THE WORSHIPING IN “SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH.” WHEN HE SAYS “IN SPIRIT,” IT IS THE HUMAN SPIRIT THAT HE HAS IN MIND, AND WHEN HE SAYS “IN TRUTH,” HE POINTS TO THE NEED FOR COMPLETE OPENNESS, SINCERITY, AND REALITY IN THE WAY WE APPROACH GOD. BUT THE BEST PART OF VERSE 23 IS IN THAT LAST PHRASE: “FOR THE FATHER IS SEEKING SUCH TO WORSHIP HIM.”

JESUS IS IN ESSENCE TELLING THIS LADY: “MA’AM YOU NEED TO LET GO OF YOUR RELIGION AND FIND A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD THAT WILL BRING THE LIVING WATER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT INTO YOUR LIFE, AND, BY THE WAY, GOD ISN’T JUST SITTING OUT THERE SOMEWHERE WAITING FOR YOU TO FIND HIM, HE IS ACTIVELY SEEKING TO HAVE YOU DEVELOP A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIMSELF. THE ANSWER TO HER RELIGIOUS CONFUSION WAS A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LIVING CHRIST.

ILLUSTRATION:

I HAD HEARD MANY THINGS ABOUT HIM. MY FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH THE GUY WAS AT A FUNERAL THAT HE PREACHED. I REMEMBER HEARING HIM PREACH A MESSAGE AT THE FUNERAL. IT WAS UNUSUAL. HE GOT UP AND SPOKE AND EVERY SYLLABLE WAS IN PLACE. THE PRESENTATION WAS UNUSUAL, ESPECIALLY FOR A FUNERAL. I WAS IMPRESSED.

BUT I HAD HEARD A LOT OF NEGATIVE THINGS ABOUT HIM. SOME PEOPLE SAID THAT HE WAS A “LIBERAL” BECAUSE HE DIDN’T TOE THE LINE SOME PEOPLE THOUGHT THAT HE OUGHT TO TOE. SOME SAID HE DIDN’T PREACH HARD ENOUGH AGAINST SIN AND THAT HE DIDN’T BELIEVE IN PERSONAL HOLINESS, BUT SINCE I RARELY HAD AN OCCASION TO TALK TO HIM, I JUST KNEW WHAT I HAD HEARD.

AND HE WAS KIND OF A MAVERICK AT THAT. WHEN THE REST OF THE PREACHERS WOULDN’T BE CAUGHT DEAD IN A POOL IN A BATHING SUIT, HE WENT SWIMMING AT THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FREE WILL BAPTIST. HE WAS KIND OF A LIGHTENING ROD FOR CONTROVERSY AND I WASN’T SURE HE WAS USING GOOD JUDGMENT.

BUT THEN THE DAY CAME WHEN I MET HIS MOTHER. SHE WAS ONE OF THE GODLIEST WOMEN I HAD EVER MET. I WENT TO HER MOUNTAIN HOME IN TENNESSEE AND SHE WALKED ME AROUND HER YARD SHOWING ME PLACES THAT SHE WOULD GO TO BE ALONE AND PRAY. LATER, GOD WORKED IT OUT SO THAT FOR THREE AND A HALF YEARS I WAS ABLE TO LEAD MUSIC IN THE CHURCH HE PASTORED. DURING THAT TIME I REALLY GOT TO KNOW HIM. I DISCOVERED THAT YES, HE DID BELIEVE IN HOLINESS; YES HE DID BELIEVE IN WINNING PEOPLE TO CHRIST; YES HE DID HAVE A DYNAMIC WALK WITH GOD. YOU SEE I HAD HEARD ALL OF THOSE BAD THINGS ABOUT ROB MORGAN AND I HAD JUST ENOUGH INFORMATION TO KEEP ME AWAY FROM HIM. BUT WHEN I REALLY GOT TO KNOW HIM I DISCOVERED A MAN THAT TRULY LOVES THE LORD.

YOU SEE, RELIGION IS LIKE THE INFORMATION I HAD RECEIVED ABOUT ROB. I KNEW JUST ENOUGH TO SCARE ME AWAY. AND THAT’S THE WAY RELIGION IS. IT GIVES YOU JUST ENOUGH STUFF ABOUT GOD TO KEEP FROM REALLY DEVELOPING A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM. O, BUT WHEN YOU GET TO KNOW HIM, THE FOG LIFTS, THE CONFUSION LEAVES AND TRUE LIFE BEGINS.

APPLICATION:

SOME OF YOU ARE IN A STATE OF CONFUSION ABOUT SPIRITUAL THINGS. YOU’VE TRIED RELIGION AND ALL YOU HAVE TO SHOW FOR IT IS CONFUSION. I WANT TO TELL YOU THE ANSWER: GET TO KNOW JESUS CHRIST. IT IS ONLY THROUGH A DEEP ABIDING RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST THAT YOU WILL BEGIN TO KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE CONFUSION WILL LEAVE.

YOU SAY TO ME, “RUSTY, HOW DO I GET INTO A RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST?” WELL, THE ANSWER IS SIMPLE: YOU COME TO KNOW HIM JUST LIKE YOU WOULD GET TO KNOW ANYONE ELSE. IT STARTS BY JUST TALKING TO HIM. THAT’S RIGHT. YOU JUST TELL HIM YOU ARE A SINNER AND THAT YOU KNOW HE DIED TO SAVE YOU AND THEN YOU COMMIT YOUR LIFE TO HIM AND YOU TRUST WHAT HE DID FOR YOU ON THE CROSS AND AS YOU SURRENDER TO HIM, A RELATIONSHIP BEGINS.”

BY THE WAY, IF YOU’RE A CHRISTIAN HERE THIS MORNING AND YOU’RE TRYING TO REACH SOMEONE WHO IS CONFUSED BY RELIGION, MAY I SAY TO YOU THAT YOU WILL PROBABLY NOT BE ABLE TO ARGUE THAT PERSON TO YOUR WAY OF THINKING. NO, IT WILL ONLY BE AS THEY BEGIN THEIR OWN PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST THAT THEY WILL BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH. YOU SEE, RELIGION IS A GREAT OBSTACLE TO FAITH. IT REALLY IS THE “POISON IN THE BLOOD OF SOCIETY.” BUT JESUS CHRIST KNOWS HOW TO OVERCOME RELIGION WITH A RELATIONSHIP. BUT THE FINAL OBSTACLE JESUS OVERCAME WE FIND IN VERSES 25 AND 26. THERE HE

DIVISION 4: OVERCOMES HUNGER WITH A REVELATION

EXPLANATION:

IN VERSE 25 YOU SEE HOW MUCH THIS WOMAN’S HEART HAS ALREADY BEEN CHANGED. AT FIRST SHE IS PREJUDICED AND CYNICAL, BUT NOW YOU CAN ALMOST HEAR THE HUNGER IN HER VOICE AS SHE SAYS IN VERSE 25, “I KNOW THAT MESSIAH IS COMING (WHO IS CALLED CHRIST). “WHEN HE COMES, HE WILL TELL US ALL THINGS.” FROM A GUILTY, CYNICAL LADY, JESUS HAS TURNED HER INTO SOMEONE WHO IS FINALLY HUNGRY FOR GOD, AND THE GREATEST PART ABOUT THE HUNGER THAT CHRIST CREATES IS THIS: HE KNOWS HOW TO SATISFY IT.

NOTICE HOW JESUS RESPONDS: THIS LADY SAYS “WHEN THE MESSIAH COMES, HE WILL TELL US ALL THINGS.” JESUS SAYS, “I WHO SPEAK TO YOU AM HE!” JESUS SAYS WITHOUT EQUIVOCATION: “I AM THE MESSIAH THAT YOU HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR.” HE HANDLES HER HUNGER WITH A REVELATION.

APPLICATION:

SOME OF YOU ARE HUNGRY THIS MORNING. AS YOU HAVE WATCHED AS JESUS ANSWERS THIS LADY’S OBJECTIONS, HE HAS ALSO BEEN HANDLING YOURS. YOU HAVE SENSED HIS LOVE FOR YOU AND THAT HAS UNDERMINED YOUR PREJUDICE. YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED AS HE HAS CONFRONTED YOUR CYNICISM. YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN HOPE THAT IN COMING TO KNOW CHRIST, YOUR CONFUSION CAN BE OVERCOME AND YOUR HONEST QUESTIONS CAN BE ANSWERED. AND THE SAME CHRIST WHO HAS SHOWN YOU COMPASSION, CONFRONTED YOUR CYNICISM, AND CLEARED YOUR CONFUSION NOW STANDS IN FRONT OF YOU, AND HE SAYS TO YOU, “I WHO SPEAK TO YOU AM HE. . . I’M THE ONE YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR . . . I AM THE ONLY ONE YOU REALLY NEED.” HE IS, RIGHT NOW, REVEALING HIMSELF TO YOU. THE ONLY QUESTION IS, HOW WILL YOU RESPOND TO HIM?

VISUALIZATION:

I could out-cuss the most crass of men and women; I could out-drink many of the Dallas taverns’ regulars; and I was known for my hot temper. When pro-lifers called me a murderer, I called them worse. When people held up signs of aborted fetuses, I spit in their face.

I called Flip Benham, the brash and bold leader of Operation Rescue, Flip "Venom." Flip called me "responsible for the deaths of 35 million children." We were supposed to be sworn enemies, but due to the persistence of a local real estate agent, we became next door neighbors whose offices shared a common wall.

God began working on my heart through a 7-year-old girl named Emily, the daughter of O.R. volunteer Ronda Mackey.

Emily’s blatant affection, frequent hugs, and direct pursuit disarmed me. The little girl’s interest was all the more surprising considering Emily made it very clear that her acceptance of me wasn’t an acceptance of my lifestyle. Early on in our relationship, I explained to Emily, "I like kids and wouldn’t let anyone hurt little kids," to which Emily responded, "Then why do you let them kill the babies at the clinic?"

On another occasion, I invited Emily into my office. As I made appointments, Emily kept herself occupied. During one phone call, I lost my temper and said to a caller, "I’d just as soon see you in hell as see you in here," and Emily responded, "You don’t have to go to hell, Miss Norma. You can pray right now and Jesus will forgive you."

Finally, I said yes. I didn’t agree to go to church out of a sudden need for God in my life. I just grew tired of telling Emily "no," so I said "yes." Ronda was skeptical. "Norma? In church?" But when they went to pick me up, I was dressed and ready to go.

Whatever my reasons for going, one sermon was all I needed. Pastor Morris Sheats of Hillcrest Church ended his sermon with a compelling evangelistic call from John 3:16 asking, "Is anyone here tired of living a sinner’s life?" Immediately I felt overwhelmed with my need to respond.

How could I say no? I had been tired of it for years, but it was the only life I knew! I cautiously raised my hand, then opened my eyes and looked up to see if that really was my hand raised up high. It was. I couldn’t believe it. I walked forward, leaning heavily on Ronda for support.

When I reached Pastor Sheats, I saw Jesus in his eyes. It made me feel so incredibly sorry for all my sins, especially for my role in legalizing abortion. I just kept repeating over and over, "I just want to undo all the evil I’ve done in this world. I’m so sorry, God. I’m so, so sorry. As far as abortion is concerned, I just want to undo it. I want it all to just go away." Finally, I stopped crying and broke into the biggest smile of my life. I no longer felt the pressure of my sin pushing down on my shoulders. The release was so quick that I felt like I could almost float outside.

My conversion is one for the ages. The timing was precise--O.R. was next door to my clinic for less than a year (Flip has said, "We moved in just long enough to pick up Miss Norma")--but it wasn’t until I had a regenerated heart that the truth of what abortion does could find a place in my intellect. Once that truth took hold, there was no turning back.

"I’m one hundred percent sold out to Jesus and one hundred percent pro-life," I like to say. "No exceptions. No compromise."

O, who is Norma? It’s Norma McCovey? Well, You know her better as the litigant in the famous case Roe vs. Wade. It was Norma’s case that legalized abortion in this country. If God can do that in Norma’s life, He can do it in yours

APPEAL:

NOW GOD MAY NOT MAKE IS SNOW FOR YOU, BUT THAT’S REALLY NOT THE POINT. THE POINT IS THIS: GOD KNOWS HOW TO REVEAL HIMSELF TO YOU IN SUCH A WAY THAT YOU KNOW BEYOND ANY DOUBT THAT IT IS HIM WHO IS SPEAKING TO YOU. I AM CONVINCED THAT HE IS DOING THAT IN THIS SERVICE RIGHT NOW.

APPEAL FOR UNSAVED.

APPEAL TO REACH OUT TO THE UNSAVED.

ARE YOU SHOWING COMPASSION TO THAT PERSON THAT IS PREJUDICED AGAINST YOU?

ARE YOU WILLING TO CONFRONT THE CYNICS IN YOUR LIFE AS THE HOLY SPIRIT REVEALS THEIR HEARTS TO YOU?

ARE YOU WILLING TO STOP ARGUING ABOUT RELIGION AND START OFFERING A RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST?

ARE YOU WILLING TO COMMIT YOURSELF TO PRAYER THAT GOD IN HIS SUPERNATURAL WAY WILL REVEAL HIMSELF TO THAT PERSON YOU ARE TRYING TO REACH.

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