Jesus’ Strategy of Evangelism

(John 4:5-42)

By Rev. Sergio E. Arevalo, Jr.

Eagle Rock Lutheran ChurchCreated with The GIMP

Los Angeles, CA

March 23, 2014

 Introduction

While the disciples left to buy food in the nearby town, Jesus took the liberty to rest alone near the well of water in Sychar (Shechem), a Samaritan city.  And while resting there a Samaritan woman came to fetch water.

The well was 85 feet in depth, and is a fairly close to Mount Gerizim as well as to the ground given by Jacob to Joseph (Gen. 48:22).

Since Jesus had no tool to fetch water from the well, he asked for water from the Samaritan woman. The woman was surprised since the Jews had no dealing with the Samaritans.

Who are the Samaritans? Samaritans believe that they are the direct descendants of a faithful nucleus of ancient Israel.

They argue that the apostasy of Israel began in the time of Eli (11th century BCE) when the nation’s religious center was removed from Gerizim to Shiloh, and afterwards to Jerusalem. In the Middle Ages, they regarded themselves not just remnants of the old northern kingdom of Israel, but rather the original Israel, whereas the Jews descend from a splinter group.

The Samaritans also believe in one God, in Moses the prophet, in the Law, and in Mount Gerizim as the place appointed by God for sacrifice.

The Jews did not acknowledge the authenticity of the Samaritan observances (vv. 9, 22) (Joel B. Green, gen. ed., “Samaritans,” Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2013, p.833).

There was a dairy farmer and a committed Christian in a Presbyterian Church in North Carolina. William had a real desire to see his family and friends saved. So he and a number of others invited evangelist Mordecai Ham to their town.

At the time William’s son was 17 years old. William’s son went along to the meetings and Mordecai preached the gospel of salvation offered through Jesus Christ. The boy was so convicted of sin that he received Jesus Christ and was born again.

The boy offered himself to the ministry, and studied God’s word. Later on he became the most popular evangelist on earth – He is no other than Rev. Dr. Billy Graham (hotsermons.com).

billygraham1Billy Graham’s father had an evangelistic strategy to bring his family and friends to the feet of Jesus Christ.

In this passage, we could see the attitude, and the evangelistic strategies of Jesus. His strategies might be of help to all of us, even in this modern time.

Let us study more this passage:

I. Jesus Shared the Gospel While Resting (v.6).

As we could observe, Jesus shared the Gospel while resting. He should rest, sleep and keep his mouth shut but instead he open his eyes, open his mouth and made himself available for his mission. It reveals then the urgency of sharing the good news.

Like anybody else we could be exhausted, we are busy, we have other day to day priorities, but if we are in Christ, even though we are tired and resting we might have opportunity to share the Gospel.

Just close our eyes, meditate and teach ourselves like this: my body, I know you are tired, I know you have other priorities, but my spirit is not tired, and my priority is Christ, get up and help my spirit to share the gospel. (Repeat this ritual many times a day).

 II. Jesus Used the Necessity of Water as Point of Contact (v.7).

Jesus asked for water. He was indeed thirsty, and he used his being thirsty to approach the woman and share the gospel. In sharing the gospel, we might need some points of contact and the Lord will guide us to identify that when we are in the mission fields, and if we want to share the gospel.

Even though he should not talk to Samaritan woman because of their cultural situation, he crossed several boundaries just to share the good news.

Jesus crossed at least three kinds of boundaries: (1) he crossed the geographical boundary (vv.5, 9, 40), religious boundary (vv.9, 22, 40), and gender boundary (v. 9) in order to share the gospel. Thus, we conclude here that Jesus will cross any boundaries and he would contact his prospect just to bring his mission to the world.

“Point of contact” is like an anchor where you can cling with, and link the gospel. You might say, to break the ice we need to open our mouth, and find a thing or situation in order to talk with strangers, and consequently share the good news in our own ways.

We should also show our intentional hospitality. Welcome them in our conversation, in our group, in our homes, and in our church. Who knows we are welcoming an angel in our midst.

Long time ago, a young spiritual searcher from India was looking for Pastor C. F. Andrews in a South African church. South Africa was in apartheid before. He visited Pastor Andrews’ church, and he wanted to hear his message.

However, he was not allowed to attend the church because of his brown color skin. Soon afterwards he rejected Christianity, and went on to lead more than 400 million people as Hindu. Mahatma Gandhi led India for independence.

When E. Stanley Jones met with Gandhi he asked him, “Mr. Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?”gandhi1

Gandhi replied, “Oh, I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.”

“If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today,” he added (christiantoday.co.in).

III. Jesus Used Every Opportunity to Share the Gospel (v.40-41).

The invitation of the Samaritan community was a big deal. Jesus and his disciples might have had other priorities, but that invitation was important for them since that’s the opportunity to share the gospel.

How many invitations did we already receive since we arrived in America? In tours, concerts, ball room dancing, picnics, charity events, etc. Yes, most of the time we attended those events. But let me ask you, how many times did you share the good news to one or two people there? Do they know that we are Christians? Is there any instance that we intentionally invited them to attend our church services, especially in our Bible studies?—Just asking.

Many years ago in St. Louis, a lawyer visited a Christian client to transact some businesses. Wikipedia notes he was a lawyer acquaintance.

Before the two parted, his client said to him, “I’ve often wanted to ask you a question, but I’ve been afraid to do so.”

“What do you want to know?” asked the lawyer.

The man replied, “I’ve wondered why you’re not a Christian.”

The man hung his head, “I know enough about the Bible to realize that it says no drunkard can enter the kingdom of God; and you know my weakness!”

“You’re avoiding my questions,” continued the believer.

“Well, truthfully, I can’t recall anyone ever explaining how to become a Christian.”

Picking up a Bible, the client read some passages showing that all are under condemnation, but that Christ came to save the lost by dying on the cross for their sins. “By receiving Him as your Substitute and Redeemer,” he said, “you can be forgiven. If you’re willing to receive Jesus, let’s pray together.”

scofieldThe lawyer agreed, and when it was his turn he exclaimed, “O Jesus, I am a slave to drink. One of your servants has shown me how to be saved. O God, forgive my sins and help me overcome the power of this terrible habit in my life.”

Right there he was converted.

That lawyer was Cyrus I. Scofield (August 19, 1843 – July 24, 1921), who later edited the reference Bible that bears his name (sermonillustrations.com).

The Christian client saw the opportunity to share the gospel to Scofield, and later he became famous pastor, theologian and Christian writer in America.

Conclusion

If we want to be used by God in sharing the gospel, we need to follow Jesus, follow his strategy of doing evangelism. You don’t need to be like evangelists, pastors, or like Billy Graham, or like Scofield, or like Martin Luther, or John Wesley.

Just be open to God and grab any opportunity to share the gospel.

Let me tell you the Parable of the Starfish.

A man was walking along the shoreline of an ocean when he saw a little boy standing in the midst of thousands of starfish that had washed up along the shore.

The man watched the little boy as he picked up a starfish and one by one threw them back in the sea. The man watched for several minutes afterwards he approached the boy and asked, “What are you doing?”

The little boy answered, “I’m saving these starfish so they won’t die.” The man said to the boy. “There are too many too save, it won’t make any difference.”starfishes1

The little boy reached down and picked up another starfish and said, “it will make a difference to this one” as he threw it into the ocean (illustrationexchange.com).

It is like sharing the love of God to others. We may not be able to show God’s love to everyone, but we can show it to someone.

It may not make a difference to everyone, but it will make a difference to that one person. And when it makes a difference to one, it makes a difference to God.

Do you want to make a difference to God? Go out and share the Gospel to the one you love, to your best friend or even to nobody. Remember, it makes a difference to God.

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