John 4:28-29 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
This passage gives us the end results of a conversation between Jesus and a Samaritan woman. It is bad enough that Jesus, being a Jew, is having a conversation with this Samaritan woman, but to make matters worse this woman was an outcast even among her own people. She was coming to this well alone and thirsty. She had drank from a lot of wells but nothing had ever satisfied her. The well of relationships did nothing for her other than leave her with five different men that only used her to get what they wanted. She drank from the well of religion only to find out that true worshippers will worship in spirit and in truth. She drank from the well of reason, and yet it left her with no answers and certainly no satisfaction.
Many today are drinking from the same wells. They are living their lives using the same vessels, hoping that they will satisfy a thirst. The reality is that Jesus is the only one that can truly satisfy the thirst that all of us long for throughout life. Jesus can offer water that will never leave us thirsty. What does all this mean? It means Jesus is enough. He is sufficient. The end result of this passage demonstrates to us that the woman left her water pots of religion, relationships, and reason because she found that Jesus was enough. We all have to come to that same place. We have to quit trying to drink from wells that leave us thirsty. We must come see the man, Christ Jesus.
I am personally burdened that many are suffering from the same thirst of this woman. So many among our Bible communities want a little religion but they do not want Jesus. A little church never changes anyone. However, Jesus will change everyone. Maybe that is the problem. Nobody wants to change. They want the appearance of good but not the relationship that produces change. To the one reading this that needs something more fulfilling than dead religion, please come see the man Christ Jesus. To the one trying to find approval from the relationships in life, come see the man Christ Jesus. To the one trying to reason their way through life when all life requires is trust, come see the man Christ Jesus. He will give you water from the well that never runs dry.
John 7:37-39 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
The overflow of salvation is indicated by rivers, not streams or mud puddles, but rivers. There is a correlation between the Holy Spirit and rivers being taught in this passage. Running water is being used to paint a picture of the work of the Holy Spirit within the the life of the believer. Once a person drinks, there will flow through them rivers of living water.
The first principle of importance is the word “flow.” I cannot help but think how many rivers that once flowed freely have been dammed up by sin. In some cases we have allowed the sin of bitterness, unforgiveness, addiction, and anger to create dams that hinder the flow of the Holy Spirit. It is not that the river does not exist, but it has been dammed up so that it cannot flow to certain areas of our lives. Rivers that flow become power sources of power, energy, and resources. By damming up the work of the Holy Spirit it reduces the ability to generate power. The one thing needed today is power, not might or ability but God’s Spirit.
The second principle is the aspect of “living water.” Out of our lives should flow “living water,” life producing water. The Holy Spirit is a river of life that flows out of our lives. There is a song that says “I have river of life flowing out of me. Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see. Opens prison doors and sets the captive free.” What flows out of our lives should bring life into a world of death. People refer to the believers as people of light, but we are also people of life. We are no longer dead in sin, but we are alive unto God. There is living water flowing from us, life producing and life sustaining water flowing out of our lives into that of the world.
It is so vital that we allow God’s Spirit to flow freely throughout our lives. God did not intend for us to live in stagnant water. He did not intend for us to live with small portions of water. Clint Lewey said this, “I don’t want to live with a travel size water bottle, brother, give me rivers.” So today let’s go see a man, the man Christ Jesus, and let rivers flow.
Philippians 3:12-14 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Complacency is one of the greatest hindrances within the realm of American Christianity. There is a sense of satisfaction without going to the point of sacrifice. Christianity in America is one where people have become way too satisfied with status quo. They get to a certain point in their Christian walk and they start to become inactive. It is as though they feel like in their heart that they have arrived. This text teaches against such thinking.
Paul said he has not yet apprehended. In other words, Paul states that no matter how advanced he has become in his Christian life that he has not arrived to the place he believes he needs to be. What is basically being said is that I am forgetting everything that is behind me and I am going to keep pressing forward. The key principle is that we cannot allow ourselves to get so caught up with past accomplishments and past failures that we allow them to prevent advancement. We have to keep pressing forward. It may require endurance. It may require effort. It may require suffering. No matter the requirement we have to press forward.
The mark is always Jesus. If we cannot see Jesus in the mirror then we have work that needs to be done. This means that we cannot compare ourselves by ourselves nor should we compare ourselves to others. We look to Jesus. If we do not look like Jesus then we keep pressing forward. Basically, we cannot stop pressing forward until we arrive at the feet of Jesus. We can stop advancing when we make it to Jesus. He is our mark and He is our finish line. Christian, we must keep pressing forward.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
When this life is over, I want to have made it count for something. Life is such a fragile and short experience. Time has been called a thief. The reality we must embrace is that we do not get a “do over” in life. When we do life we need to make it count. It is so easy to put things off, become complacent, or even do things with a half hearted mentality. God reminds us that life is a one time event and we better take advantage of it.
You may be thinking what is the point of doing my best when I do not get to take any of this with me. Let me put it to you like this: if you knew it was your last chance to do something would you not want to give it your very best? We are walking around with chances of a lifetime and not taking advantage of the life God is giving us to live. God wants us to use every opportunity as it is our last opportunity.
Personally, I would like to get to the end of this journey and be able to say that I have done my very best. When an opportunity to learn was put in front of me then I learned the best I could. When an opportunity to work arose, then I worked harder than ever. When a chance to serve came in front of me then I did my very best. Look, we are all going to have enough regrets in this life with failure. We do not need to check out of this world with the regret of not giving it our best. I just hope and pray we tackle each day with the determination to do the very best possible. When we fail, and we will, we need to be able to say that we failed having done all that could have been done. If I fall then I will fall fast forward. God deserves our best, but at the same time there must be a sense of recklessness in operation knowing that time is stealing the opportunities to do my best. Therefore, do your best today, because we cannot take today with us.
1 Corinthians 16:9 For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.
God will open doors that no man can open and God will shut doors that no man can shut. When we start to advance or move forward for the Lord we often times assume it will be without obstacles or adversaries. We have to always remember that the enemy hates progress in our lives. Therefore, when God begins the process of advancing us we must realize there will be adversaries trying to prevent us from going through God’s open door.
Notice the text uses the word “and” and not the word “but.” The word “and” recognizes the fact that God opens a door, and at the same time recognizes the fact that with open doors come many adversaries. The word “but’ recognizes the open door, but makes an excuse as to why the door cannot be entered. As Christians, we must realize that obstacles will always be in our path. Something will always be in front of us trying to prevent us from advancing. We must not make the excuse that we cannot go forward because of the adversaries. We have to make a determination that we must go forward in spite of our adversaries. I will compile a list of some of the phrases you and I may use:
- I know there is an opportunity to serve, but my schedule is too busy.
- I know that I am suppose to give, but I have Christmas coming up.
- I know that I am suppose to get involved, but COVID-19 is still around.
- I know that I am called to go, but I am sick.
- I know that God has opened this door for me, but I am too old.
You see we can always make excuses as to why we cannot go through the door. The believer that is determined to advance figures out a way to advance in spite of the adversaries. The obstacles that stand in the way of God’s will and victory are the very obstacles that God can use to strengthen our faith and reveal his power to us. May God help us to see the door “and” at the same time move through it even though there are several adversaries.
Isaiah 43:1-5 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;
It is so important that we are committed to the Lord. Commitment is one of the missing ingredients in our world today. People struggle with commitment in so many areas of their lives. A lack of commitment is evident in the church, marriages, the workforce, and it is even trickling into athletics and academics. Long story short, the concept of quitting has become all too common. One of the reasons we struggle so much with commitment is that we have forgotten God’s commitment to us.
While our commitment to the Lord is important, it is equally important that we remember God’s commitment to us. Be honest with yourself, how often do you consider God’s commitment toward you? The commitment of God is one of unwavering support. He has committed himself to be with us wherever we go. It makes sense though. A God that is in us will be a God that is with us. The waters of life rage yet God is with us. The fears of life overwhelm us and yet God is with us. Darkness surrounds us and God never wavers from his commitment to never leave us. Does this not encourage you? Please for a moment consider this commitment and then let it revive your commitment toward the Lord.
When we got saved God made a commitment that for better for worse, richer and poorer, and through sickness and health He would be with us. God promises an unwavering commitment. As we journey throughout our day we must now remember that God is with us because God is in us. We are taking him with us everywhere we go. It is a calming and yet convicting principle of the omnipresence of God. My hope today is that God’s commitment toward us will keep us advancing God’s Kingdom for him. Are you committed?
It is time to advance. God does not desire that His children wonder in the wilderness. He has called us to move forward. There are always going to be obstacles and set backs. The need to follow God does not need to be hindered by the fight we know that is necessary. God has commanded us to move forward. We have to quit making excuses and start moving forward. We need to look at God’s open door of opportunity and quit making excuses. Things may look different and we may have to operate differently. Just because our country is in turmoil does not mean that we cannot advance God’s Kingdom.
This week we will look Joshua’s command to “go over Jericho” after the death of Moses. Keep in mind three things:
- The Call to Advance
- The Command to Obey
- The Commitment of God
Psalms 108:1 O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.
A fixed heart results in praise. A fixed heart gives the believer an inner joy that is not affected by exterior influences. Surrounding our lives each day are perversions, wickedness, and destruction. There are those that want to pull us into the same degradation that they themselves have fallen into. While surrounded by external hardships and difficulty we must be willing to fixate our heart on the Lord. It is one of direction and determination. A fixed heart is a heart that has directionally turned itself to the Lord. It has consciously decided to turn in the direction of Jesus. A fixed heart says “I have decided to follow Jesus. With the world behind me and the cross before me, I have decided to turn toward Jesus. A fixed heart is determined to never turn back. It is a heart that does not quit and does not ever give up on the Lord.
The praise that comes from a fixed heart is not one that is dictated by circumstances, but rather a relationship. It is was Daniel that fixed his heart on the Lord and prayed anyway. The three Hebrews boys fixed their heart on the Lord and stood anyway. David fixed his heart on the Lord and defeated the giant. Stephen fixed his heart on the Lord and accepted the stoning for his faith. Peter fixed his heart on the Lord and was crucified upside down. Paul fixed his heart on the Lord and endured excruciating circumstance in order to present the gospel to the lost world. A fixed heart produces praise regardless of the difficulty we have to endure.
Somewhere along the line we must realize that we can sing in darkness. It is the fixed heart that positions our heart to sing during moments of darkness. It is a fixed heart that awakes the inner glory for revival. It is the fixed heart frets not because of evil doers. If we are not singing in darkness then our heart is fixed on the darkness and the Lord. We must fix our heart on the Lord. Turn toward him. Point the inner compass of the heart toward the Lord. If you have gone one moment with the Lord then you have gone too far to turn back.