29 May 2022 – John 4:34-38 – Missions – Scott Childs
Introduction: Someone wisely said, “The reason some folks do not believe in missions is because the brand of religion they have isn’t worth propagating.” If our faith in Christ is worth having, it is worth sharing with others. Jesus said, (Matthew 5:16) “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.“
In John 4, Jesus rested at Jacob’s Well while his disciples went into town to buy food. While there, Jesus witnessed to a sinful woman who came for water. He initiated the conversation and made statements that got her to think and interact. In that brief time, He led her to salvation.
Transition: In the interaction that followed, Jesus gave His disciples witnessing instruction from which we can learn.
His first witnessing instruction is…
1. Realise that the Gospel can defy nature
a. Jesus began by asking a question (v.35)
1) Being in a farming community, the disciples knew that farmers could not expect to plant seed one day and harvest a week later.
2) Four months was the common time between sowing and harvest. When a farmer sows wheat, he knows that he must wait about four months before he will harvest wheat. That is still true today.
b. Spiritual harvest does not always take that long
1) Unknown to the disciples, Jesus had just witnessed to the woman at the well. She had believed on Him and was now returning from town with others who were eager to hear.
2) God is able to bring lost souls to salvation quickly if their “ground” is prepared. (Remember the parable of the sower!)
3) We help prepare the soil when we pray specifically for unbelievers and against Satan’s interference.
His second witnessing instruction is…
2. Look up and behold the ripe fields
a. Jesus then urged His disciples to open their eyes
1) Very likely, the woman was returning to Jesus with others she had invited (see Jn 4:28-30).
2) Many had already believed her brief testimony (Jn 4:39).
3) The disciples had an easy harvest. This woman’s transformed heart and excited testimony drew the lost to Jesus.
b. We, too, must look up and behold
1) We must lift our eyes and look for prospects.
2) Many times, we do not see those around us who would listen to the Gospel if presented by a caring friend.
3) Open your eyes, at work, at school, at the park, at the shops, at the café! Who have you seen this past week? Are they all Christians? (Probably not.) Do they have broken hearts? (Many do.) Do they know you are a Christian? Have you tried to be a caring friend to them? Have you ever asked them a spiritual question?
His third witnessing instruction is…
3. Reap and gather in fruit while you can
a. Reaping is not as difficult as we often think.
1) If Christ has changed your heart and life, excitedly share that testimony with others so they too will want to come to Jesus.
a) You do not need to know all the salvation verses. If others can see a change in your life, you can bring them to church where they will hear the Gospel.
b) By memorising helpful salvation verses, this will aid your witness for the Lord.
2) Pride and fear are two great hindrances to harvesting for Christ. These are lies of the devil.
a) We do not want to embarrass ourselves.
b) We fear that we will not know what to say.
3) Telling a friend about the peace you have in knowing Jesus is not difficult, and it could help to rescue that friend from an eternity in hell.
4) Learn to ask questions that get people to think.
b. You have a limited time to gather fruit
1) In the garden or orchard, ripe vegetables and fruit will fall to the ground and begin to decay if you do not pick them in time. Someone has said, “The gospel is only good news if it reaches the lost in time.”
2) Picking spiritual fruit is limited by opportunities, by the devil’s hindrances, by death and by the Lord’s return.
c. Harvesting is very rewarding
1) In verse 36, Jesus speaks of receiving wages. God will reward those who win others to Christ.
2) There is great joy in leading others to salvation.
3) The new believer will rejoice that he escaped hell and had a home in heaven.
1) The THEME of our witness is Jesus Christ. God created us. He sets the rules. We were all are born sinners. We have also chosen to sin. God is holy and must separate from sinners. God loves us. The Gospel is about Christ’s death, burial and resurrection as our substitute. We must receive it. (Romans 10:13) “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.“
2) The POWER of our witness is the Holy Spirit. He gives us the power we need to witness. He is the one who transforms lives. We must depend on Him. (John 16:8) “And when he [Holy Spirit] is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:“
3) The VALIDITY of our witness will be shown in how we live our lives. If our lives do not back up our words, others will not listen. (Matthew 5:16 quoted in intro).
4) The PREPARATION of our witness is diligent Bible study. (Hebrews 4:12) “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” We must be familiar enough with the Scriptures to be able to present the gospel accurately and coherently to others. Memorising a few Gospel verses will help you greatly (find some in a good Gospel tract).
b. Here are some tips that will help you witness.
1) Pray before and during your witness. Ask God to give you opportunities to witness and the words to say.
2) Witness regularly. The more we do it, the easier it becomes.
3) Be kind, polite, patient, sensitive, and empathetic.
4) Make conversation. Listen for burdens or openings. Watch for clues that the person wants direction.
5) Turn the conversation to Christ by sharing what He has done for you in similar situations.
6) Realise that the Gospel is only good news to those who see they are in a bad news situation.
7) Ask questions rather than arguing. For more question ideas, Google Search “Greg Koukl YouTube”.
a) How do you think life began? Why do you think that? Could you explain what you mean by that? What proof do you base that on?
b) Do you believe in God?
c) What do you think the future holds?
d) Where do you think you will go when you die? Why?
e) Do you consider yourself a sinner? Go through some of the 10 Commandments with them to help them see that they are a guilty sinner.
8) You may try asking how you can pray for them.
9) Invite the person to church.
Conclusion: The Gospel is powerful. The fields are ripe. It is time to harvest. God has given Christians the privilege of leading others to His salvation. If Christ has saved your soul, you have something to share. Do not be ashamed of Christ. Talk to your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbours about Him. You can do it! God will reward you with great joy and a crown in heaven.