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4 1-10 Why Do We Fear Evangelism

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                                                  liberty bible church          2/3/08 a.M.

By Tom Zobrist

“Why do we fear evangelism?”

John 4:1-10


Illus. of Gift of Motivation When the second man thought he was in the grave with a dead man “talking,” he was suddenly motivated enough to climb out; to do what he thought he couldn’t.

The same can be true for us in evangelism. If we really had a grasp on the destiny of those that are all around us, we would be much better evangelists. But why does it take that? Why do we have to go into the place of the dead to get that motivation? How can we overcome that fear?

OPEN to passage. Over the net couple of weeks, we’ll learn from the best to overcome fear in witnessing.                                       

Prop. In this passage today, we understand the fear of evangelism and begin to see how we can overcome that fear.

Open in PRAYER.

PREVIEW the passage. Once again, Jesus is our supreme example. He had the insight into death and eternity that we can only imagine. So, why do we fear so much and how does Jesus show us how we can overcome that fear? First, we are so afraid because…

 i. we will have to enter scary places vs. 1-6

Illus. of recently having two MRI’s. For some, this is a scary place. But, for many Christians, they’d rather take a sedative and have an MRI than witness to someone. Why? Probably because you can’t take a sedative and witness. You must have all your wits about you. Here, we see Jesus enters a couple of scary places. The first is…

a. jesus enters a no fly zone  

Illus. of this is where you can be shot down. Jesus has entered an area of unfriendlies as His ministry gets underway.

            1. Verses 1-3 in the Greek make up one long sentence introducing us to another long conversation that Jesus is going to have with someone. It tells us why Jesus goes where He goes.

V 1-3   2. Jesus’ ministry had been growing and was surpassing John’s in popularity. He was the one that was being watched by the religious leaders who would eventually pose a threat. This may appear that Jesus is fearful and running from trouble. But, nothing could be further from the truth. He was on God’s timetable and He knew how all this would end. But, not yet. He had much work to do and it would not all be done in Judea. Until His “hour” would come, He always stayed away from conflict. We’ll see instances of that as we go through John. Right now He enters a no fly zone; an area that many were afraid to enter. Where does He go?

b. jesus enters Samaria

V 4      1. Samaria was the shortest route to Galilee. It was not the only one. Most traveled through Perea, east of the Jordan River to avoid Samaria. The Jews hated Samaritans. They were half-breeds, their worship was skewed, and they were considered outcasts.

            2. But Jesus “needed” to go there. He had to go. His desire was to reach these despised people. Cf. Luke 19:10 says that the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost. And the Samaritans were lost.

V 5      3. This village was near Shechem. This plot of ground is mentioned in Genesis 48:21-22. Joseph’s descendants eventually returned to the land.

V 6      4. There is a well there today that may have been Jacob’s well. We see a little of Jesus’ humanity here. He was weary from His travels. He showed His humanity throughout His life. He experienced hunger, thirst, and pain. But, as God, He also possessed and sometimes used the attributes of God; omniscience, omnipotence, etc.

            5. When He sat down here, it was, by Roman time, about 6:00 p.m. The context fits Roman time better than Jewish time, which was reckoned from 6-6 rather than from 12-12.

  Trans. We sometimes fear evangelism because WE WILL HAVE TO ENTER SCARY PLACES. Jesus was not afraid to enter one of these; Samaria. Second, we are fearful of evangelism because…

ii. we will have to be exposed to seedy personalities vs. 7-10

Illus. of the fake bullet hole stickers people put on their cars. I knew a guy in KC who had real ones. He carried a gun, lived with prostitutes and carried a gun. I had opportunities to share. I told him if I took him home, he could not take his gun. This may be an extreme, but there are others that we may feel uncomfortable at times talking with for whatever reason. It could just be that there are philosophical, religious, political, or economic differences, but they make us feel uncomfortable. What does Jesus do?

a. Jesus talks to a seedy person

            Let’s see how she contrasts with His last conversation.

V 7a     1. Nicodemus was seeking the Truth; this woman was not.

            2. He was a respected ruler; she was an outcast.

            3. He was serious, she was flippant.

            4. He was a Jew, she a Samaritan.

            5. He was considered moral; she immoral.

            6. He was learned in religious matters, she was not.

            Yet…they both needed to be born again.

b. Jesus builds a bridge to the seedy zone

Illus. of finding that common ground that leads to spiritual issues. Jesus does that here.

V 7b-8 1. This may sound impolite, but it was nothing of the sort. As a matter of fact, it was a compliment that He even spoke with her.

            2. His disciples were absent, so He would be less threatening alone.

V 9      3. She is shocked that He would speak to her. Jewish men would never speak to such a woman or any woman for that matter. The normal customs prevented men from publicly speaking to women at all. Jews and Samaritans had no contact at all; strangers even had little contact in the customs in that day. Jews wouldn’t use dishes if they had been used by Samaritans. A Rabbinic law from AD 66 stated that Samaritan women were considered as continually menstruating and so were considered to be unclean. Therefore, Jesus just drinking from her cup would become unclean. Any self-respecting rabbi would go thirsty before asking a Samaritan woman for a drink. But, Jesus was negatively affected by all these customs. His love for the lost superseded any of these manmade rules.

V 10    4. Jesus now has her full attention and stimulates her thinking even more with these statements. She would be really shocked if she knew who was talking to her and what He could offer. If she did, the tables would be turned. It would be she who was asking for a drink and Jesus would give it…only He would give her living water. What is that?

            5. In a sense, it was running water. That is the best kind to drink. Illus. of bottled water is sometimes fresh mountain spring water. But Jesus was referring to the HS. Cf. Jer. 2:13; John 7:38-39 Jesus uses practical issues of daily life to present to her a deep spiritual principle. He builds a bridge. If we can learn to do this, we can become much more effective in evangelism and we will also overcome some of our fears.


But, sometimes, WE WILL HAVE TO ENTER SCARY PLACES and sometimes, WE WILL HAVE TO BE EXPOSED TO SEEDY PERSONALITIES. But, that is so scary. Once we come to grips with this “fear factor”, we can begin to face the fear and stop avoiding it. How?

1.      Live like you’re saved. GOSPEL Then when you talk about it, people won’t be surprised.   

2.      Do you believe the Great Commission? It is for us all.  

3.      Pray about opportunities, wisdom, and boldness.

4.      Begin to build bridges with people you already know.   

Illus. of the show Fear Factor. People faced fearful situations. What motivated them? Attention, fame…ultimately money.

What motivates us should be love. The same love that took Jesus into an area no one else would go; that motivated Him to build a bridge; that kept Him from worrying about what others would say. Evangelism can be scary, but that fear can be overcome. We can share God’s love, the forgiveness of sins, and the power of Spirit. What a privilege. Don’t miss the opportunities that you have. Don’t let fear rob you of your joy and someone else the chance to know Jesus.


“Why do we fear evangelism?”

John 4:1-10


Over the net couple of weeks, we’ll learn from the best to overcome fear in witnessing. In this passage today…

 i. we will have to                                                           vs. 1-6

a. jesus enters a __________________________________ 

b. jesus enters _________________________

                Cf. Luke 19:10; Genesis 48:21-22

ii. we will have to                                                        vs. 7-10

a. Jesus talks to a ____________________ person

b. Jesus builds a bridge to the seedy ___________

                Cf. Jer. 2:13; John 7:38-39


Once we come to grips with this “fear factor”, we can begin to face the fear and stop avoiding it. How?





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