But if they don’t like me… John 12

How many times do we shy away from sharing Christ, from spreading light in the darkness, from standing up for The Lord and what’s right, simply because we love praise from men?  And we make up all sorts of excuses.  Among the worst of those reasons is this one… if they don’t like me I won’t be able to evangelise them effectively.

How dare we blame our shortcomings on God.  It’s one thing to honestly misunderstand, but to lazily settle for less and say someone else is to blame… shame on us.

While we must become all things to all men, that does not mean they must like everything we do.  Indeed if they are not a Christian then there will be things they simply won’t like about us.  There’s no getting around that, for the flesh does not like dying to the Spirit.

God did not call us to “Go unto the world and be liked.”  There are enough people who are liked, that’s not what the world is starving for.  God called us to love, and to speak the truth plainly in that love.  He called us to be like Christ.

In our passage, starting in vs. 42, we see that while some denied the plain truth of Christ, others believed.  Even some among the leaders believed!  But they fell short.  They would not confess their belief out of fear.  Fear of being put out of the synagogue.  Fear of losing the praise of men.  They loved that praise, more so than praise from God.

But Jesus encourages them.  He tells them, and indeed us, that those who believe in Christ believe also in the Father.  He tells us that He came to give us light, so we won’t have to remain in the darkness.

Jesus even says that He did not come to judge us.  No, He came to give us life.  Now there is judgment, and it will come by the words Jesus spoke to us.  But those very same words lead to eternal life!  We only need to heed them!  It isn’t God’s goal to cut us off and leave us in darkness.  Quite the opposite!  He came for our good.  And all that He did is for our good.  All that He continues to do is for our good, if we love Him and His calling.

God’s commands lead to true life.  And He has commanded every vessel of His Spirit to go and show the world that there is indeed light.  We need to warn them of the darkness they’re in by showing them that light.  Even if it means they don’t like us.  It’s not their opinion of us that will judge us on that Day, it’s the words of our Saviour.  The Saviour we claim as Lord.

And it’s not their opinion of us that will get them into heaven or hell.  It’s their standing with the Lord.    Are you living for yourself, so that hell will be full of people who like you and were never offended by the light you didn’t bring to their eyes?

You may enjoy your time in the synagogue that is the heart of the lost.  But will it be at the cost of Jesus not coming into their place of worship?  Has it become a place for the worship of you?

But they won’t listen to me if they don’t like me…

I desperately need to be different in this, and I fear I’m not the only one.

It’s Your Ministry… Your Sustenance (John 4)

As I’ve read through the Scriptures over the years I found myself comparing Bible characters, both good and bad, to other people.  I’d commonly read a passage, and tell myself “This is how I should react when dealing with these kinds of people.” 

But as I grow in my walk with Christ, I’m coming to see myself represented by the characters instead.  I’m realizing more and more truth about my own participation in the fall, my own inabilities, and my own heart.  And I’m coming to realize more and more that God is the one responsible for all the good that I’ve done, not me.  And in turn I have a fuller appreciation for the good He has in fact done through me and in me.  I have a deeper reverence and love for He who is able to work so mightily in fallen man.

Today, for the first time, I saw myself as the woman at the well specifically in the passage from John 4:39-42…

From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”

Though I wish I could say that my influence for Christ has been as great as this woman’s, I cannot.  But I can see yet another picture of my role in the Kingdom of God.  Jesus spoke to this woman, and she was affectly so deeply that she passionately spoke to her people about Him and what He did in her life.  She spoke in a way that touched the people so much that they came to have a belief in Christ.  Then the people met Christ directly, and they came to a belief in Him because of what He Himself did in their own lives.  All these things happened in a matter of only days.

Her role is the role that all Christians are called to.  If a person has truly given their all to Christ then they have come to recognize, in a limited yet overwhelming sense, that God has deeply affected their own life.  And they have something immense to share.

I mentioned in the post before this one that one of my favorite passages is in the verses just before our text here.  It’s where Jesus says that His food is to do the will of the Father.  The specific case of the Father’s will is seen in the context we are now considering. 

Spreading the gospel was His food.  It is our food.  Though we have other duties in regard to His will that are just as important, we cannot therefore forget this ministry of reconciliation.  It is something that gives our soul necessary nourishment.  We need this.

When we consider how much people need Him, how can we remain silent?

When we honestly consider How great He truly is, how can we not shout it from the mountaintops?

Get Personal 2 (John 4)

I’d like to reiterate a point I made in this post a while back.  We need to reach out to people’s hearts, not waste their time with the things that don’t really matter.  Rich Mullins said in a song…

Well you can talk about fashion
You can talk about the weather
It’s all just stuff and it all goes up in flames
Just in case somebody comes askin’
Why don’t you do ’em one better
If you got to talk why don’t you tell ’em
‘Bout the things that remain the same

Please, don’t be scared to talk to people right where they are, however it comes up in the conversation.  And show the world that you truly believe Romans 11:36 by relating their life directly to Jesus…

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

If we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us. 

And always, speak to people with truth and with love.  Just like Jesus did…

The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” He said to her, “Go, call your husband and 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 woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. “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.” 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.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

Do you look away? (John 4)

I found a pretty cool Keith Green video today on Arron Chambers’ blog, and I thought it fit in well with the story here in John 4.

What do you do when you meet the Samaritan at the well?  They all have the need for living water…

Heavenly Well(John 4)

In John 4 we have the well known account of when Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well.  I wonder how many times we’ve gone over this story.  I wonder how many times we’ve thought of ourselves as the woman…

I never picked up completely on her misunderstanding before.  Jesus told her He would offer a water that would never leave a thirst.  Water from a continual spring.

She responds in verse 13 with “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty…”  I always skimmed over her answer and assumed that she was catching on.  I thought it was obvious to her that Jesus was speaking of a spiritual water.  But then I consider the rest of her reply, “… and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 

Her focus is still on a physical fulfillment.

Too many times I have done likewise.  Jesus has promised me eternal things, and I mistake them for temporal gifts… things that will burn away.  It’s hard, because we live in a culture where physical reward is king.  Even much of the broadcasted preaching, from those who claim to have God’s message, is filled with this fallen focus.  God doesn’t need to make us rich, powerful, popular or beautiful.  There are plenty of those people in the world. 

What God calls us to is something beyond this far country.  Something that carries the scent of our true home.  We must long for the spring of water that wells up to eternal life.

And we must be careful when we tell other people about the promises of God.  The average person will be looking for physical gifts, things that can help them in their present circumstance (from an earthly point of view).  We must shine in the darkness so people can see that their needs are beyond what is seen.  So they can find the well that longs to eternally burst forth within them.

Can we see taste clearly enough to tell when the water is not from the physical well, but rather from the eternal well?

What would you ask? (John 1)

So here He is, the Messiah!  Jesus Christ in the flesh, the Lamb of God, is standing right in front of you!  And He looks at you and asks “What do you want?”

What would you ask?  I mean, this is God here!  As a religious person, you’re likely to have a whole lot of questions in mind and heart.  So many things have happened in your life, and you want to know why.  What they all mean.  And you want to know what all these passages in Scripture are talking about.

Well, this was the situation with the first two disciples of Christ.  They finally meet the Lamb of God, face to face, and He has asked them what they want.  Their deep desire is the answer to the question… “Where are you staying?”

What?  Are you kidding me?  They could have asked so many things, but they want to know where He’ll be sleeping tonight?!

Maybe they were overwhelmed.  Maybe they didn’t understand the opportunity before them. 

Or maybe they did understand.  I don’t think there’s enough information here for us to conclude what was going through their minds.  But there is enough information to tell us something about their character.

Jesus answered their question in a way that He often answered questions.  With opportunity to learn in ways that a simple answer could not afford.  He said “Come, and you will see.”

What did they do?  They didn’t press Him to tell them, they followed. 

How many times has God said to us “Come, and you will see,” only to have us reply “No, I’d rather an answer now thank you.”  I’m not looking to make some deep metaphor out of “Come and see” here.  I’m simply trying to consider our response to God.  When He calls us beyond the limits of our understanding, calls us to step off of the cliff and out of our lives, how do we respond?  Do we continue to push for our selfish desires, for our comfortable Christianity?  Or do we walk with Him, following Him whether it’s a leap off of the cliff or to simply see where He’s laying His head that night?

Knowing where Jesus was going to go to sleep was probably not the most exciting thing to learn when faced with God Himself.  But they listened to the answer and followed.  Not only that, but they took advantage of the opportunity it provided them to bring others to Christ.  The first thing Andrew did was run off and tell Peter “It’s Him, it’s the Messiah!”  And then he brought Peter to Christ.

What is your question for God?  And how are you going to use that answer for the Peters in your life?  I hope that we use what He has given us to bring others into the presence of the Messiah.