Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
I’ve been reading a book by Philip Yancey called “Vanishing Grace,” which fits so well with this message. Yancey says evangelicals are not seen in a positive light today. Instead of being full of grace as Jesus was, they are seen as full of hate, particularly those on the other side of them politically. We know this isn’t true of most, but is very true of some, and the media takes those stories and runs with them.
We must demonstrate genuine love. We must invite them into our homes and love them. We must listen to them with caring hearts. I love Rosaria Butterfield’s story for demonstrating how she was won over by love despite being a lesbian who thought so little of evangelicals.
Indeed, that’s what Jesus did. He didn’t have a home, but He went out of His way to meet with the Samaritan woman, waiting for her, caring about her “lostness.” Eventually, He showed her who He was.
Yancey says: “How differently will I relate to the uncommitted if I view them not as evil or unsaved but rather as lost.”
Have you ever been literally lost? I was so lost and scared in the Copenhagen airport as a seventeen-year-old. I was traveling to Sweden to spend a month as an exchange student. I couldn’t find anyone who spoke English to help me read the monitor and find my gate to Stockholm. One man ran up to me and put his hands on my breasts. I fled into a hall, slid down against the wall, and sobbed. I was so lost in every way.
Then a kindly man who spoke English came over and bent down. He looked at my ticket and walked me all the way to my gate.
So many people are so lost, scared, and do not know the way. May we be filled with compassion as Jesus was, and not filled with hate.
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1. How have you experienced the presence of the Lord this week?
2. What stands out to you from the above?
Monday: The Text
3. Read John 4:27-42
Why were the disciples surprised (vs 27)
Darrell Bock said Jews believed Samaritan women were perpetually menstrual and therefore perpetually unclean, as would be her vessel. This made me think of how the blacks were made a caricature of a century ago, and the Jews during Hitler’s time.
B. What is the significance of her leaving her water jar?
C. What is her witness to the people? Does this surprise you? Why do you think she doesn’t seem to be ashamed but confesses freely?
D. What question does she ask? Have you ever asked a question like that of anyone?
E. In the interlude with the disciples, we see a third misunderstanding (Nicodemus and being born again and the Samaritan woman and living water) What is it?
F. What does Jesus say his work is — and their work and ours?
G. What does Jesus say in verse 37?
H. Share a recent time when you sowed. Then share where you reaped where you know another sowed.
I. Describe how the Samaritans responded to Jesus in verses 39-42. What evidence do you see of their hunger? Their faith?
The Samaritans were the first to declare Jesus as the Savior of the World. And it started with a woman!
Tuesday: Intro to Message
Listen up to when he says harvesting happens because of truth, love, and friendship.
This is a message Keller did in his late 30’s upon first coming to Redeemer. They probably didn’t realize how influential these messages would be, for again, the tape recording starts late.
4. Why did Keller think the public has a negative reaction to the word “evangelism back then?” Why might they now?
5. Why is it that a true Christian should not reject evangelism?
6. Describe the person that had the biggest impact on you evangelistically. What made them persuasive?
Listen to about 13:40 when he says, “Secondly…”
Jesus obviously knows what the disciples are thinking and knows they don’t get it. His whole work was to come to seek and to save. To harvest! And He does it by telling the truth.
7. How did Jesus talk to the woman in truth about her need? Her sin?
8. In what ways did He talk to her about Himself?
9. How do her words to the Samaritans show she received both the truth about herself and about Him?
10. What does evangel mean?
11. Give an example of how ignorance is weakness and truth is power.
12. What two illustrations does he give to illustrate holding to the truth is not the same as being narrow-minded?
Listen to about 27:42 when he says “the last thing is the method.”
How often have I heard a testimony of someone having the love of Christ drop to their heart and they had to pull off the road with their car or their bike as they were weeping uncontrollably. That was Charles Colson’s testimony, and I heard it again recently from a young woman whom I thought was a believer, but though she seemed to believe, she equated a particular style of living and a political alignment with being born-again. She hadn’t gotten it at all! Like the Samaritan woman, Jesus showed her both her sin and His love, and she had to pull off the road, weeping at His amazing grace.
13. What stands out to you from this portion?
14. What does Keller say moved the woman — and what would not have?
15. What did he mean when he said “When the gospel sinks in it is like you are getting a huge compliment?”
16. What was Keller’s point in telling the story of Robert J. Thomas?
17. (Optional) Read this and share what stands out to you:
18. How did Keller handle the touch question of “What about the people who’ve never heard?” How would you handle it?
I can’t remember who said it, but concerning evangelism he said, “Be yourself and don’t hide.” So simple. You don’t have to give the whole gospel, but you can drop seeds that come up organically, as Jesus did in talking about water with the woman.
I’ve said things that came up naturally such as:”Jesus really helped me get through my grief of losing my husband.” “I love my church because it feels like family.” The person may ask more about it or they may not, but I’ve dropped a seed.
19. What seeds have you dropped in natural conversation with someone who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus?
Listen to the end.
20. What stands out to you from this part?
21. How did he define friendship and how does that relate to good-newsing?
22. Do you have this sense of mission? Explain.
23. What is your take-a-way and why?