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Look To the Fields

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Introduction:

I have told you before of my vision for Kingsway Baptist Church.  My vision is to see God build a church that is evangelistic and missions minded.  I continue to schedule missionary speakers throughout the year and we fully intend to take on as many missionaries as we possibly can to spread the good news of the gospel all around the world.  I want to announce my intention on taking a church mission trip for those who are interested next year.  We want to do this in order for our people to have the opportunity to see the gospel going forward in different parts of the world.  We need to catch a vision of a world in need of a Savior and how we can do our part in taking that Savior to the world.  Would you begin to pray and ask God if you could go on our mission trip?

The other part of our vision is taking the gospel to our region of the world - locally Lake Wylie, Clover and S. Charlotte.

Rom. 1:13  Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. 

Gal. 6.9  And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 

Matt. 9:35-38  Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

We have these contests to give us some incentive for doing what we know is right to do - invite people, care for people, pray for people, encourage people to come to Christ. 

I want us to turn to John 4, and notice Jesus speaking to the woman at the well.  I have preached from this passage before but always in the context of "worship."  This morning I would like for us to examine this passage in the context of the "harvest field."

My Message Title is "Look to the Fields"

I. A Woman Who Is No Longer Thirsty

Jesus and his disciples had been traveling south to north, from Jerusalem to Galilee, and their journey had taken them to the town of Sychar. While Jesus rested by the village well the disciples went off to purchase lunch. It was high noon. As Jesus sat alone, a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well. The Lord struck up a conversation with her, very quickly steering the conversation toward the Gospel. He spoke of her thirsty soul and of the water of life. 

John 4:7-13  A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said to her, “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.” 11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 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?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

What did Jesus mean by "living water?"   In the Old Testament, many verses speak of thirsting after God. In promising to bring living water that could forever quench a person’s thirst for God, Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah. Only the Messiah could give this gift that satisfies the soul’s desire.

Ps. 36:8-9  They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink for the river of Your pleasures.  For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.

Ps. 42:1-2  As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God..."

Jeremiah 2:13  For My people have committed two evils:  They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns - broken cisterns that can hold no water.

People need water daily because thirst will always return. The water from Jacob’s well would indeed satisfy the woman’s thirst, but only temporarily. She would always need to return for more water. So also are all the other “drinks” of life—they never satisfy. Some of them even create more thirst. The human needs for love, food, sex, security, and approval, even when met, do not give complete satisfaction. Attempts to find full satisfaction will lead only to disappointment and despair. The Samaritan woman would have to admit that she was not satisfied, for she had had five husbands, and the man she now lived with was not her husband.

Her thirst for hope and fulfillment and security and assurance had been suddenly fulfilled through the discovery of the Messiah. People have never been thirstier than today for something to satisfy their hearts. Television producer Norman Lear said some time ago, "I'm shocked by the hole in America's heart." This woman in John 4 had a hole in her heart. She had tried to plug it up with one romance and sexual tryst after another. But only the living water of Jesus Christ could quench her existential and inner thirst.

She that day accepted Christ!!!  Have you trusted in Christ?  Have you satisfied your need for living water?

What did she then do? She immediately ran off to tell her friends what had happened to her and about the wonderful man sitting by the well. She apparently went house to house, spreading the news in great excitement for later in the passage the entire population of Sychar comes out to see Jesus, and he spends two days among them.

Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread./

Success in witnessing is simply taking the initiative to share Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, then leaving the results to God.

I. A Woman Who Is No Longer Thirsty

II. A Savior Who Is No Longer Hungry

John 4:31-34   In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” 33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.

But meanwhile, after the woman had gone to spread the news, the disciples returned with lunch, but to their astonishment they found a Savior who was no longer hungry. Jesus was saying that he was spiritually satisfied by having shared the Good News with the Samaritan woman. If receiving the Gospel is water for the soul, sharing the Gospel is food for the soul.

1.  Counselor at the Wilds of the Rockies - led a little Korean boy to Christ

2.  My girls basketball team in Tulsa - two twins were led to Christ

3.  Spanish fellow who trusted Christ - came to the church while I was doing some yard work and thanked me

4.  John Stevens - Applebees

5.  Travis Smith - Salsarits

Evangelizing, witnessing, leading someone to saving faith is nourishing and fulfilling for those who do it. It is more satisfying than the richest bread and meat in the world.  

But it can be difficult:  Many have had to say goodbye to brothers and sisters, placing a farewell kiss on a son or daughter (Phil and Cindy Peterson saying goodbye to their oldest daughter Carey while they went back to Scotland as missionaries and Carey stayed in Minn to finish her senior year.

Mary learned the heartache of saying goodbye.  Mary is now older.  Her hair is gray. Wrinkles have replaced her youthful skin.  She has raised a houseful of children and now she watches the crucifixion of her firstborn.  Mary learned the heartache of saying goodbye.  Jesus said, "Woman, behold your son."

Joseph was called to be an orphan in Egypt.  Jonah was called to be a foreigner in Ninevah.  Hannah sent her firstborn son away to serve in the temple.  Daniel was sent from Jerusalem to Babylon.  The Bible is bound together with goodbye trails and stained with farewell tears.  Missionaries know it well. 

 Airports. Luggage. Embraces. Taillights. “Wave to grandma.” Tears. Bus terminals. Ship docks. “Good-bye, Daddy.” Tight throats. Ticket counters. Misty eyes. “Write me!” Question: What kind of God would put people through such agony? What kind of God would give you families and then ask you to leave them? What kind of God would give you friends and then ask you to say good-bye?

Answer: A God who knows that we are only pilgrims and that eternity is so close that any “Good-bye” is in reality a “See you tomorrow.”

Answer: A God who did it himself.

R. A. Torrey said, I waited and watched fifteen long years to get my chance to speak with one man. Never a day passed in all those fifteen years that I did not speak to God about that man. At last my chance came, and it was my privilege to lead him to Christ.

Charles Spurgeon said, Our great object of glorifying God is to be mainly achieved by the winning of souls.

I’m just a nobody telling everybody about somebody who can save anybody.—elevator operator at a hospital in Nashville

The Gospel is not something we come to church to hear; it something we go from church to tell.—Vance Havner 

When Jesus shared the gospel - It fed His soul!

I. A Woman Who Is No Longer Thirsty

II. A Savior Who Is No Longer Hungry

III. Fields That Are No Longer Barren

Then he challenged the disciples toward the same discovery: John 4:35-38  Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”

 In other words, look at these fields that are no longer barren. Look around you. God has placed you in the middle of a harvest field. And those words are every bit as applicable to us as they were to these dusty disciples, for God has placed us in the middle of a incredible harvest field today, in two ways.

First, The Harvest Is Global. There are more people coming to Christ in our day than ever before in the history of the world. The 20-21st Century has been the greatest era of expansionism in church history, and every day when you read the headlines from around the world you can be certain that those headlines are shouting forth from nations and lands where God is at work.

Second, The Harvest is Local.  The Lord wants to use you and me to win people to Jesus Christ wherever he places us. We are harvesters where we are in three ways.

1st - We are witnesses vocationally. We must think of ourselves are harvesters by vocation. It is what we are called to be. It is our major occupation and preoccupation in life.

Jesus said in Acts 1:8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

Paul said in II Cor. 5:20, "Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God."

God has left us in this world in order to be harvesters, to be soul-winners, to be witnesses. And that is to be our major occupation.

1.  Witnesses vocationally

2.  We are witnesses visually. The Bible says in II Cor. 6:17, "Come out from among them and be separate." Christians are to dress differently, to act differently, to talk differently than those around us. We don’t go to the same places, and we don’t entertain ourselves in the same way. Jesus said in Matt. 5:16  "Let your light so shine before men that they might see you good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Furthermore, our faces and lives are to reflect the joy and fulfillment that comes from Victorious Christian Living. Peter said in I Peter 3:15  "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear."

1.  We are wintesses vocationally

2.  We are witnesses visually

3.  We are witnesses verbally.

Paul said in Romans 1:16  "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." 

Don't ever be ashamed to share your faith verballyt with someone.  God can use your testimony for Him to light the world with the gospel.  It is not only the right thing to do but it is our responsibility to share our faith.

 There are over sixty references to Ethiopia in the Bible, and Christianity there goes back to the days of Philip in Acts 8. But the modern story of the Ethiopian church also sounds like readings from the book of Acts, especially among the Wallamos. In 1927, the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) sent missionaries to evangelize this wild tribe, worshipers of Satan. During its annual “Passover” the Wallamos sacrificed a bull to Satan, sprinkling its blood on the doorposts of their houses and serving its raw flesh to every member of their families. The atmosphere smelled of demons.After several years a small church was established, but missionary labor was interrupted when Mussolini invaded Ethiopia in 1935. When Italian troops reached tribal areas, they demanded SIM leave. The missionaries met a final time with Wallamos believers. When they had arrived, not a single Wallamo had known of Christ. Now after nine years, forty-eight native believers gathered around them. The little church worshiped, wept, and shared the Lord’s Supper. Then the twenty-six SIM missionaries boarded army trucks for evacuation. On April 17, 1937, their first day without missionary support, the little Wallamo church found itself having to stand on its own feet. “We knew God was faithful,” wrote missionary Raymond Davis, “that he was able to preserve what he had begun among the Wallamos. But still we wondered—if we ever come back, what will we find?”The invasion of Ethiopia marked the beginnings of World War II, and it wasn’t until July 4, 1943, that the missionaries returned. What they found almost defies belief. The Italian soldiers had tried to stamp out the small church. Church leaders were given one hundred lashes, and one in particular was given four hundred. They were unable to lie on their backs for months. Several had died. One of them, Wandaro, beaten in public, preached to the crowds between lashes. Another, Toro, stripped naked in the marketplace and flogged with a hippo-hide whip, bravely shouted out the Gospel. Conversions multiplied, and tribal villages began sending missionaries to other villages.Instead of forty-eight believers, the returning missionaries now found eighteen thousand.Well, may the Lord help us to say the right stuff, to be his witnesses vocationally, visually, and vocally, to be a part of his harvest both locally and globally, to be a part of the most exciting and expansive era of the Gospel in human history. Surely we know people who are going through problems and crises who might be open to a cheerful word. Surely we know people we can invite to church. Surely we know people to whom we can share some Gospel literature. At the very least, we certainly know people for whom we can begin to pray. That’s our job, our vocation. We are harvesters. Galatians 6:9  And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.John 4:35  ...lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest." 
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