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Neighbors #4: Love All the Time

Neighbors  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  51:18
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A Loving Jesus any time!

I’d like to start today by reading a story out of the bible… It’s found in John 4 and I’m going to read it from the message, because it’s a great story telling version.
The Message Chapter 4

So Jesus left the Judean countryside and went back to Galilee.

4–6  To get there, he had to pass through Samaria. He came into Sychar, a Samaritan village that bordered the field Jacob had given his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was still there. Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well. It was noon.

7–8  A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.)

9  The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (Jews in those days wouldn’t be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)

10  Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”

11–12  The woman said, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this ‘living water’? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?”

13–14  Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”

15  The woman said, “Sir, give me this water so I won’t ever get thirsty, won’t ever have to come back to this well again!”

Can I draw a few points out of this passage for you tonight as we finish up our series on neighbors? and these points I think perfectly show us how Jesus meant us to love our neighbors

#1 This was not a convenient time for evangelism

This was the middle of the day while Jesus was waiting on “The Guys” to get lunch. It wasn’t durring church or in the midst of a crusade or convention. There was no alter call music going on, and he didn’t hand out any tracts.This wan’t a “Scheduled appointment”. This was Jesus taking some time out of his day to witness to one person in his “downtime” (no lunch break for Jesus)
This also want’s a particularly convenient time for the woman either… look this was a woman who had 5 husbands and was even living with yet another. which means that besides the religious establishment who would likely have had persecuted her. There may have been 5 or more women who bore her a direct grudge (I don’t know that for sure)… but I do know that gosip works… there was a reason that this woman was coming to the well at noon and not in the morning with the rest of the women.
She didn’t want to be seen. Noon time was stay home and seek shade time.. not walk to the well and draw a heavy pot of water time. IT was the quit time of day where few people were around because no one wanted to be out at that time of day.... it was hot! so here we have this woman coming to the well to draw water for her man… and she was probably in a rush and wanting to be low key about the whole thing. I’m sure she was thinking “Get there, draw water, get home, avoid people”.
And so she gets halfway through her plan and some stranger breaks into her day… “draw me some water”....
Can you imagine… I’m sure she felt flustered… maybe even annoyed, She just wanted to get some water and go home... but Jesus wanted to give her something much more.
So what van we learn from this?

Loving your neighbor is not something that needs to take place in public

Loving your neighbor is an act that often takes place in private quiet moments. It’s often not heralded with trumpets and fanfare… it’s simple small acts that show someone that you care.
The simple act of a Loving God happened at a simple moment when the opportunity arose. it wasn’t planned or scheduled. and in the same way when we love our neighbors, we need to make sure that we are not making a show of it. when one loves for the sake of show it is not love at all.
This is where the pharisees often got themselves in trouble. it was a common practice for them to show off the tithe that they were giving… ro gather a crowd when they were going to give alms. They would show off their good works so that all could see how good they were. and in doing so they lowered their acts from an act of a person loving their neighbor, to a performance, acted out for the benefit of others. and ultimately God rejected these shows of “Love”.
When you read through he life of Jesus you find that the majority of his acts of love were not done in front of the public for all to see, but simple, often private (his disciples where there, but not the crowds). were simply conversations had with others just at the point of their need.
You won’t find Jesus organizing crusades, or conventions to show how loving He was… he simply went about his life and showed love at every opportunity he was given.

#2 Loving your neighbor may mean interacting with “Others”

In this passage we find that Jesus was walking through what might amount to the rough end of town.... where the Samaritans lived… He wasn’t in his comfy neighborhoods, with the people who where like him and spoke like him, and looked like him , and dressed like him. He was walking amongts the “others”.
You know I find it funny that we complain that churches often complain that their people don’t evangelize, but then we only leave a few hours once a week to do so. We have every programs conceivable to bring us to the church or to group ourselves together.... we have programs or groups that run every day’evening of the week, and don’t get me wrong. they are important.. but they don’t leave us much time to get to know our neighbors, let alone love them.
But my point here is that Jesus was (yet again) interacting and keeping company with Those that his own people thought of as outcasts, sinners, and less than… in fact this woman likely fit into all 3 categories.
You notice that the first thing she says to Jesus is “why are you, a Jew, asking me, a Samaritan or water” see in normal society a Jew would rather go find their own bucket and raw their won water that to ever talk to Samaritan let alone ASK them for something like water. In fact most Jews wouldn’t come into Samaria in the first place.
Certainly no self respecting Pharisee would be caught dead in Samaria.. unless is was to judge and condemn them...
So what do we learn from this?

Get Ready to Get Messy!

I remember once.. during a youth conventions just like the one we just had. I made a commitment to God… the Commitment was this “God, in any way you want, use me...”
Now let me tell you. if you want to take a walk on the wild side… if you want to turn your life upside down, if you want your life to truly “never be the same again” I invited you to make the same commitment to God. BUT I warn you clearly. if you make this commitment God will take you at your word. Let me tell you what happened the very same day that I prayed and committed this to God:
Illustration about homeless Guy at Eau Claire
I can’t say that that guy changed his life and became a follower of God… but then we also don’t see that in the women of the well… in fact in many of the Stories of Jesus showing live we don’t see the outcome, so one must assume that not ever person that Jesus showed love to turned their lives around… but does that fact that one might not turn their lives around disqualify them from receiving love? of course not!
and in fact in the case of my story, the act of loving this person was more about me and my spiritual journey then it was about him and his. because simple act was the catylist that moved me towards doing missions on Skidrow in LA, doing missions with orphans in Thailand and Cambodia, and would ultimately lead to me meeting my wife, and coming to All Nations. So it was an act of love the set me on a certain path… and who’s to know that the Guy I showed love to wasn’t also set on a path… maybe to recovery, maybe even more… but my point here is that we don’t show love because we expect to see that person immediately change, repent, and come to church next week… ti could happen.... but like I preached last time… we don’t show love with an ulterior motive… because that is not love at all.

#3 You may not get your water

And maybe this runs together with the last point.... but you notice that Jesus never got his water… in fact When the disciples came he didn’t even eat the food he brought… my point here is that you may not get any satisfaction from showing love. it is entirely possible that you may show love to someone and never get any sort of rewards from the experience… and again I’ll bring on the point that if you are showing love to get some sort of satisfaction from it then you’re not really showing love anyway.... but be prepared for the fact that you may never see anything from showing love to your neighbor.
Now this may seem kind of unfair at first look… after all showing love is supposed to be a rewarding experience right? and let me assure you… on the whole it is. it feels good to show and receive love, but that doesn't guarantee that you are going to get anything from your acts of love. and Jesus explains why just after this encounter with the woman at the well. He says in John 4:34-38
John 4:34–38 NKJV
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”

Are you a Sower or a Reaper?

Jesus tells us here that there will be those who sow and those who reap.... that means that there will be ties when you will be a sower… you will be the one that plants a seed of God’s love in someone… you will be the person that shows love to your neighbor, and even thought they may not show it, you will have changed something on the inside.
being a sower is hard because you don’t know what that seed is going to produce and, not only do you not get to see it right away, but you may never see what it produces. There are people in my early days that sawed the seeds that culminated in me being here in front of you today. for some it was a word of encouragement, or a prayer, for one it was a word of prophecy spoken over my life… and for most of them they may never see what came of that act of love.
Just like a farmer who sows he seeds in the spring and must wait for months to see if, or how much of his crop will take, we too much constantly sow love… knowing that we may never see the harvest of it… but trusting God that that seed will produce a harvest.
Being a harvester on the other hand. is often very hard work but also rewarding. The harvester, gets to see the full growth of the seed and then cultivate it. When you are the harvester you see the potential of your neighbor and get the honor of loving your neighbor in such a way that brings about the change that God has been working on… maybe for years…
see when you show love to your neighbor you never know weather you are going to be the sower or the reaper, but we are called to love non the less
When you show love to your neighbor, you never know weather they will receive it or reject it, but we are called to love non the less.
When you show love to your neighbor you never know, just exactly how it is going to turn out. but we are called to non the less.

God calls us to love all the time

All throughout the Bible God is trying to teach us that Love is for all the time.. not just sometimes. He’s trying to teach us that we are meant to love our neighbors and to be loved by our neighbors.
He is trying to teach us that who our neighbor is is not defined by how alike you are, or how close you are, or how much to like them. our neighbor is literally everyone around us.
He is trying to teach us, through the Bible, that we aught show love even to the “least of these”, the people that you would not normally associate with.
He’s trying to teach us that Love is an act of inclusion not exclusion… and He desperately wants us to include everyone.
I pray that I’ve show you that God wants you to play a role in loving your neighbors… and I pray that I’ve shown that this church can be lovers even in this neighborhood!
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