Faithlife Sermons

Nudge! “How to Reach an apathetic Culture with a Real Christ.”

Vision 20/20  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  44:52
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Good Morning we are in our series entitled Vision 20/20 and we talking about our mission and our vision as we head towards 2020, which is only just over a month away. Last Sunday, talked about the importance of a Direct Hit and the importance of getting our mission right... if we don't have a direct hit when it comes to our mission we are going --- expend energy and resource circling the wagons…and not have too much to show for our efforts…
Jesus intentionally chose his first disciples they were a cohesive team… who were all ready working together in the fishing industry…Jesus was clear in communicating his mission… they were to leave their nets behind and instead of fishing for fish… they were to become fishers of men..
Instead of fishing making live things dead… they were going to be about the discipling business and to make dead this come alive…
The mission of the church has always been a life giving message… It’s a resurrection message… We were once dead in sin and we have been made now been made alive in Christ…The message frames it like this...
Ephesians 2:5 The Message
5 he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us!
… Our Purpose as a church is to know Jesus and to make Jesus known.. Our mission is reach out with the life giving message of life that is found in Christ..…
The question we are going to look at this morning is how do we as a church reach out to a world that is apathetic towards the gospel?
Leonard Sweet has a book entitled _ Nudge:Awakening Each other to the God who’s Already there…
The premise of the Sweets book is outreach is first allowing God to nudge us --- the life blood of outreach God grace working first in us and then through us…
Leonard Sweet says it like this....
“Evangelism is not propositions, but prepositions. For God to do something through us, God must be doing something in us”.
What is a nudge? Nudges are not contrived but are the natural consequence of being with someone in a moment and wishing them to join you in recognizing a God-moment.
The best nudges culminate in a grunt of mutual recognition. God nudges me because God likes me. I nudge others because I like them.
Jesus called his disciples to be fishers of men... to make dead things come alive.. mission is to REACH OUT...
The question is How?
How do we reach a world that is apathetic to the message of Jesus? Jesus strategic in the way he employed the mission.. .. Jesus is moving away from Judea towards Samaria. It's this centrifugal force of moving out… Our goal in this sermon is to Simply our understanding our Purpose, mission and strategy...
In order for this to happen we have deploy and Outreach strategy. And begins with our willingness
We are going to be looking at a well known story in John 4 and this interaction between Jesus and Samaritan woman… Jesus and the disciples travel from Judah to Sameria.. and they are hungry and tired… the disciples go to the city find food.. and Jesus goes to Jacobs well… Here we see Jesus in humanity --- tired and weary.. but it is out of tiredness that he is going to have this encounter… with a woman that is going literally change a whole city…
How many can relate to weariness?
Many men of God worked from the place of tiredness....
Luther said he worked so hard that when he went to bed, he literally fell into bed. In fact, one account says he did not change his bed for a year! Now that’s tired! Moody’s bedtime prayer on one occasion was, “Lord, I am tired. Amen.” Calvin’s biographers marvel at his output. John Wesley rode sixty to seventy miles a day and on an average preached three sermons a day...
How did Jesus and others manage to keep going… Well, I think the key to spiritual vitality.. is found in the middle of our text… When the Jesus and the disciples arrive in Samaria they are tired and exhausted.. and the disciples.. go to the city to get food… during this time Jesus has this dialogue with the the Samaritan woman… When they see Jesus again he has been talking to this woman and he looked energized… to the point they they thought someone had fed him… they urged him to eat… Jesus responds..
John 4:32–34 ESV
32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
When we talk about our Purpose, Mission and How this is accomplished… Humanly speaking it may seem like it is too much… Here is the thing…
... if we are going to reach our word it has to come from an attitude of willingness — But that wilingness has to be fueled the Holy Spirit.
T/s How do we reach a world that is apathetic towards the message of Jesus?

1. Be Willing to Deploy a Mission Strategy.

Most churches have talked about mission and vision strategy. Often the problem is not about having a mission statement it is about we have never Deployed the mission of the church…
When Jesus called Peter, Andrew, John and James… He had them launch from the side of the lake… then they dropped their nets into the water for the catch.... Jesus himself showed us how we can live our lives on mission...
This morning we are going to look at an unusual interaction between Jesus and a woman from Samaria. In this text we see that the strategy Jesus deployed is not what we might consider “normal.”
The story begins with the movements of Jesus… Jesus is moving from Judea to the region of Samaria… it is reminiesnt of the missional language.. found in Acts 1:8… Where after the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit.. the church is empowered to be witnesses beginning in Jerusalem, moving toJudea and then the ends of the earth.. Mission has movement.. lets read our text..
John 4:1–6 ESV
1 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
As Jesus is moving away from Judea where there has been a growing population of Jesus followers… two things mark this New movement, teaching and training (discipleship) and baptism… Baptism is really an outward declaration of an inward reality… There is this outward manifestation of the work of God…
The ministry of Jesus was never in competition with John the Baptist..... in fact ministry was complementing.. John’s ministry is that of the forerunner… preparing the way for the Lord… John recognized that Jesus was the fulfilment of the Messianic promise… He said behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
The relationship between John and Jesus… should be the example that we have when we working with other churches… We are not completing with others but we are complementing others ministries…
It was becoming obvious that Jesus ministry was begining to eclipse the ministry of John the Baptist. The religious leaders were taking note and watching Jesus and his new followers closely… wondering what kind of threat Jesus was going to be… Jesus knowing that his would could friction between himself and the religious rulers, removes himself from the growing tension and he withdraws from the region t… Ending his Judean ministry.... Jesus understood the escatalogical clock --- simply his time was not yet.
What is interesting in our text is the intentionality in Jesus movements.. Jesus chooses an unusual path to Galilee…a route that was never used by the Jews… Jesus intentionally head for Sameria.... “And he had to pass through Samaria.” The greek word had - DEI means something that is necessary… There is intentionality to Jesus itinerary....
If there was ever a text where understanding the context — it’s this section in John 4… In order to get the full impact what is in front of the text we have to go behind the text...
Normally Jews would have done everything in their power to avoid travelling through Samaria.. The reason is that there was hatred between the Jews and Samaritan… There was a long history of hatred between these two groups.. It went back to the year 722 BC when the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel and they carried them off into captivity to join other conquered people back… in Assyria… The long term effects was an intermingling of races and these Jews lost much of their former Jewish identity… When the remnant of Jews returned to Israel under Ezra….. the Samaritan and other mixed backgrounds were excluded in the repopulation of the nation. Samaritan had this back lash response to their rejection and they in turn rejected the Temple in Jerusalem and developing their own Temple on Mount Gerizim… They rejected the Jewish cannon of scriptures and the only adhered to the five books of Mose the Pentateuch… rejected the history of Israels kings, wisdom and prophetic literature… What is interesting is that there still a group of Samaritans today that make worship in mount Gerzhim and still do animal Sacrifices…
The Hatred between these two groups ran deep. You would have Rabbis in the day saying things like, “The only good Samaritan is a dead Samaritan.” When Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan it would have been offensive…to his hearers. Not only the people but the whole land of Sameria was considered unclean… No self respecting Jew should ever go there…When Jews travelled to the feasts they would take the longer route — crossing the Jordan, going down the Kings highway and reenter the Holy land in Jericho to avoid Samaria....
It tells us a lot about Jesus mission when —He goes to Samaria out of necessity.’
Jesus goes to the WELL
Jesus goes to Jacobs well.... “the watering well.” The place where people often gathered… it was like going to the city square…
When we think about the bulk of Jesus ministry it was really done in the Market place… It was done during the events of regular life… We need to remember that an kind of outreach is probably not going to happen on Sunday mornings... It’s going to happen in places like Jacobs well… And it is here that Jesus chooses to reveal himself to this woman from Sameria ...
Jesus doesn’t avoid but rather He had to go to Samaria…
T/s How do we reach a world that is apathetic towards the message of Jesus?
1. Be Willing to Deploy a Mission Strategy

2. Be Willing to Step out of our Comfort Zones.

There are certain people that we might consider impossible to reach with the Gospel…But the contrary to this belief we see over and over in scripture that those whom we might deem the most difficult to reach… accepting Christ.. from Religious leaders, tax collectors, Jewish Zealots, criminals, prostitutes…
There is no person on this planet that is outside of the reach of the grace of God....
Then there is this interaction with the woman at the well..
John 4:7–14 ESV
7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
It is noon and the disciples have left Jesus and have gone to the city to seek out some food..
Jesus is sitting at Jacobs well… when a woman arrived at the well, carrying a large water jar. Her eyes were averted to avoid people’s stares. They knew who she was, this woman who had been married five times and was now living with another man. She knew what it meant to love and receive nothing in return.
Jesus respectfully asked her for a drink of water. We learn something about Jesus approach…
In quietly asking her for help, Jesus had cut through centuries of suspicion and animosity. This breakthrough had not been the outcome of a conference on “cross-cultural evangelism,” which had developed a theology for “reaching the Samaritans.”
No, there had been simply the honest expression of a basic human need. And at a deeper level, there had been the loving concern of one reaching out to touch that other solitary, needy person.
There is an immediate response an the woman can hardly believe what is happening… She asks Jesus directly...
“How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?”
There is a good reason for her question… Because an interaction like this would never happen… it was unthinkable… there are several reasons.. here are a few...
Firstly,
Jewish rabbis of this era would say that, “A Samaritan woman — a menstruant from the cradle.” In other words they were considered perpetually unclean. No self-respecting Jewish man would ever ask for a Samaritan woman to hand him a cup of water—no way.
Second she is a woman whom Jesus did not know..
Jewish men who were pious were not supposed to talk to women they weren’t related to or did not already know from their village. They could talk to their wife, to their mother, to their cousins, to their children, to neighbors, that sort of thing; but they were certainly not supposed to talk to strange women—certainly not to immoral women, certainly not to Samaritan women.
Thirdly, she is an immoral woman.
Which did not have been appropriate for him to be having this conversation..
We learn from Jesus how we are to approach others…
Jesus does not come to this woman from the place of power, but from this platform of weakness.. He is reaching out with humility, transparency… he cares about the relationship… there is real connection..
Jesus answers this question… in a way that is going to disarm barriers and instead of making their differences the subject… He brings ups something that that they share in common and that is the need for water…
…Jesus message is it not that he needs a drink… The Giver of living water has come in weakness to share God’s gift
.. Jesus says the S Woman, if you knew who this Gift of God --- … you would be asking me for a drink…
because the drink I give will quench your thirst and you will never be the thirsty again…
This simply what Jesus is offering in Salvation… Life now that leaps into everlasting life..
What makes Gospel powerful is that it addresses a missing ingredient of life.. this ingredient of feeling satisfied… Human experience is definitely these moments of satisfaction.. we always think that it’s ahead of us..
When we are the age of a young child, we think life will come together when we become teenagers and get big and strong. When we are teenagers, we think life is going to shape up (from a boy’s perspective) when we get a car. When we get our car, we expect life will be fulfilled when we graduate from high school. When we are in college, we think our needs will be met by marriage. When we are married, we think it will come through children. After that, it is when the children leave home. And finally, we pin our hopes on retirement.
Two things happen when we drink the water that comes from God. First, our thirst is completely satisfied, and second, it is permanently satisfied
Being spiritually satisfied... doesn mean we will never experience spiritually hunger or thirst again, but he is saying that within us is implanted such a supply of water that we never have to go thirsty… The spring of water is within us.. Once God puts his fountain of life within us, our life streams out to others
Jesus invites the S Woman to drink for stream that never runs dry ad that will always satisfy…
We learn something from gramatical structure of this verse.. Jesus says whoever drinks from the living water.. “never be thirsty again” is written as a Empathic negation… there is a double emphatic…its a double negative.. it is the same as saying in English… “never ever”… John us this phrase double negative.. several times and reinforces the point..…
John 6:35 Who comes to Jesus will never ( ever) Hunger
John 6:35 whoever believes shall never (ever) thirst.
John 6:37 whoever comes to him he will never (ever) cast out
John 8:12 Whoever follows me will never (ever) walk in darkness
John 8:52 whoever keeps my word will never (ever) taste death
What incredible promise...
When you think about going to the well day in and day out --- You are going to get tired… but there is fountain thats that never ever… runs dry..
There is this recurring theme in this text where there are two realms the Spiritual and the physical.... the disciples are looking for food in the natural realm.... while Jesus food is spiritual… Jesus is offering this woman spiritual water.. that will always satisfy.... The woman interprets Jesus words from as spring water..…
We need to understand that when we reach-out we are dealing with a natural mindset… Spiritual things are spiritually discerned.. The samaritan woman responds.. Where are you going to get this spring water… obviously, there is only one well here…
Do you consider yourself greater than Jacob himself who dug this very well..
Jesus says He is offering living water. She thinks He’s talking about running water, because the phrase “living water” meant creek water, water that moves; that’s what it normally meant. Jesus is talking about something much deeper than a stream of moving water. He’s talking about the water that quenches the thirst for everlasting life....
John 4: 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.
Jesus does not argue about the place of Jacob in Samaritan history. But He makes it clear that water from this well can satisfy thirst only for a brief time. She will have to return to the well again and again. No “water from below” can quench the parched longing this woman brings to this well..
God’s age of grace has come. The One at the well offers “water from above” that can quench this woman’s deepest thirst, not for a day, but forever! Water that is not tame and tepid, but full and abundant, “springing up” within her into everlasting lif
Jesus is all about breaking down barriers… Jesus is moved with compassion for this woman… who day in and out was on her on own on the fringes and rejected by society…When Jesus offers her water that would never run out…
This seemed too good to be true… Whether she believed it or not… she said give me that water… If we were wondering where people are at today… it is in that place of daily grind of life… Jesus offerers something attractive… inner fountain… life like they have never experienced before… All it takes is a nudge...
Leonard Sweet tells that “nudges” happen within the proximity… Nudges are not contrived but are the natural consequence of being with someone in a moment and wishing them to join you in recognizing a God-moment. The best nudges culminate in a grunt of mutual recognition.
We learn from Jesus that Every person and every interaction and conversation is important.
The way that we deal with differences is always to reach out with acceptance...We we reach out with acceptance we begin to disarm barriers.. The Gospel breaks down all the barriers...
T/s How do we reach a world that is apathetic towards the message of Jesus?
1. Be Willing to Deploy a Mission Strategy
2. Be Willing to Step out of our Comfort Zones.

3. Be willing to Have a meaningful Conversations.

The goal of outreach is never to be right…to make a point or to win an argument… It is always about loving, respecting and taking the time understand others world views… And engage in meaningful conversations.. Over the past several months, I have been getting to know this guy who is into New Age teaching.. He is into meditation.. he talks about positive and negative frequencies.. He talks about finding god..within... Every time, I see him… the last time I saw him he said to me… we need to have a cup of coffee and talk…
Over time there has been some trust building… simply by willing to have a conversation...
Research has showed us that people actually welcome spiritual conversation especially when it comes from someone they trust…
like a family member, close friend or trusted associate..... One of the reasons that the early church was so successful in it’s evangelistic outreach… it spread through trusted relationships…Author Michael Green says, that
“The Gospel was shared like gossip over the backyard fence.”
We need to be willing to have meaningful Conversations… with those who are within our sphere of life...
One of the things we should take inventory of is whom are we speaking too on a regular basis..
According to a study published in Scientific American, we each speak an average of 16,000 words per day. We like to imagine ourselves conversing with a very rich and diverse variety of people every day. But separate research studies show that we routinely talk to a very small group of the same people over and over again.
Although most of us converse with 7 and 15 every day, about 80 percent of our words are shared with a small group of about five trusted confidants, allies, and buddies.
That means that close to 13,000 of our 16,000 daily words are directed at a very small group of friends and confidants. These closest coworkers, team members, family members, and friends make up our true inner circle. These are the people who think like us, care about us, and believe in us.
After Jesus has gained the Samaritan woman’s trust… He goes deeper in the conversation…
John 4:16–21 ESV
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
b. Jesus is going to go deeper... Jesus talks about her personal life..
Everything that has taken place between Jesus and this woman has been a preparation for this delicate moment. Now with an incisive, deft stroke of His spiritual scalpel Jesus lays bare the woman’s deepest self. With one simple sentence, “Go, call your husband...
You have to love her answers.... you've got it all wrong... I am not married!
Jesus says you right you have been married five times and the man you are with is not your husband.....
First Jesus amazes this woman by asking her for a drink… crossing racial barriers… social norms… now Jesus has this insight into her life that nobody knows… This is when the Holy Spirit works in evangelism… If we allow the holy Spirit to lead conversations… he will reveal areas that we could never know in the natural… The woman immediately acknowledges that Jesus is a prophet..
It is so interesting what happens next.. because Jesus has just revealed something personal about this woman and now the woman.. changes the the topic to a theological question… going back to worship...
20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”
Jesus, I know you are Prophet… but do you know what I have my religion and you have yours… She falls back on the old antagonism, the competition between Jerusalem and Gerizim. This woman was also well aware of the stubborn loyalty every Jew had for the Jerusalem, the “Holy City.” She said, “You Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.
I have my belief system and you have yours...… You stick to your beliefs and I’ll stick to mine..
What is facinating is that Jesus doesn't make it about religion...
John 4:21–24 ESV
21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Jesus does not attack or belittle her worship practices… Rather he says, you are worship what you don’t know…but we we worship what we do know and that Salvation initiated with the Jewish faith…
But now Worship is not designation to a place… Because Worship is about a relationship with a living God… You can worship right where you are at… God is Spirit and seeks for those who worship him in Spirit and truth...
At this point theologically is pedaling hard to try and keep up...
The woman says
John 4:25 ESV
25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.”
Jesus has offered a profound eschatological theology of worship. He’s offered a theology of worship that suggests it’s no longer about sacred zones, but about sacred times and sacred persons. It’s about the condition of the worshiper: worshiping in Spirit and in truth
Jesus uses her concluding statement… to Reveal… that the Person standing in front of her.. was not a Jewish man, was not a Rabbi, was not some Prophet… but the very one that she had mentioned.....
According Leonard Sweet a
A Nudge: (Is) Awakening Each other to the God who’s Already there… Leonard Sweet
Do you know that expression — Getting all your ducks in a row… Well, I think this is what happened in this woman mind… All of a sudden… Jesus approaching her with kindness and compassion, breaking social boundaries… the offer of living water and eternal life… There is only one person in the world that would do that ---And that was Messiah…We know this because all of a sudden…
Her priorities suddenly shifted from the physical to the spiritual… she leaves her water pot behind and she runs back her village and begins to share what she had just witnessed..
There must have been such a transformation in this woman’s life because she brought the whole village with her...
John 4:39–42 ESV
39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
The Samaritans were the first to call Christ “the Savior of the world,” and it came as a result of Jesus’ approach to life.
How do we reach a world that is apathetic towards the message of Jesus?
1. Be Willing to Deploy a Mission Strategy
2. Be Willing to Step out of our Comfort Zones.
3. Be willing to Have a meaningful Conversations.
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