AN ENCOUNTER INFLUENCES US.
In 2016 Australian model Miranda Kerr and Snapchat CEO (then 26 now 29-year-old) billionaire Evan Spiegel announced their engagement. In that same week, Miranda Kerr announced that they’re not having sex.
In a Times of London article, Kerr shares about her engagement with Evan and how they are approaching sexuality. In conversation about more children she mentions her sex life and says, “I don’t!”…the interviewer asks. “So are you going to have another baby?” “Not yet. Not until after we get married. My partner is very traditional.”
SHE WAS INFLUENCED BY HIM. Real change in our lives is sourced from a real encounter. Particularly in a good encounter with the basis of love we are motivated to live differently. In our culture today we often over estimate the power of the platform for change. Jesus in John 4 will show us a new pattern for sustainable change in our lives and in the lives of others.
In the YouVersion, One Year Bible plan called Alpha Nicky Gumbel writes, “There is no doubt that preaching can make a big impact, but we often over estimate the amount of truth that is assimilated between the pulpit and the pew. In my life, truth shared in proximity has been a key to my own personal growth.”
Who is close to you? Who is in proximity to you? Who are you drawn to? This is where change happens.
The encounter at the well (in John 4) when Jesus is compelled to go through Samaria (the modern day region in the center of the West Bank, between Galilee to the north and Judea to the south) teaches so well the art of encounter. I want to learn from Jesus here. Conversation that isn’t forced or unnatural. It’s here we see Jesus share truth in close proximity. The very focus of their conversation is where I’m going tonight. HER misdirection (the woman) and HIS redirection (Jesus) . This is what Jesus offers, a redirection for where we have missed it, missed him.
An exchange with Jesus despite her short comings and challenges, despite her past is offered.
Her misdirection (where we worship) is ours- we are obsessed with our way of doing it. The misdirection about “the who’s who of worship. Can you relate? Logistics and race take center stage instead of relationship.
Cultural worship ignores the main focus of truth and spirit. But to get it, to really get it she had to encounter HIM. He had to be real to her. She needed a 1 Corinthians 13:12 reality.
Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
WE need to become aware of God’s presence and know He has a proud of us no matter our citizenship, mistakes, or background kind of love. Jesus throughout his life and ministry defines real relationship.
He has an I won’t back down from life with you no matter the popularity or social hate towards your profession (we see this in his selection of Matthew the tax collector, and this woman and her reputation). You can experience this love physically in your needs being met an I’ll buy you lunch ie the feeding of the 5,000. To the bold rescue and heroic understanding of love where God’s only son dies for you (really for the whole world) so you can live LOVE. This is sort of a saving Private Ryan military scene except the only son dies so everyone else can survive. All these descriptions are practical, and relatable. The idea of a rescue when desperately needed is a ground wire to the an encounter with God. Loved enough to be rescued. Loved enough for grace to overlook the stigma of 5 men. And say what God is looking for is real worship.
For us to encounter Christ tonight we need to pay attention to our emotions not to be ruled by them but to acknowledge them. And to align them with the truth of God’s unfailing steadfast love. When did you feel mercy? When have you felt forgiveness? To ground ourselves to this, think of the safest person in your life. The person who knows the most about you and still loves you. Your Husband? Your mom? Your grandma? Your dad? A close friend? My Grandma Phyllis is like this for me. I could tell her anything about me and I would hear the words, “I forgive you.”
Relationship with Jesus is the gift of your whole story being known and now quite effectively you are still loved. Loved enough to be forgiven. Loved enough to forgive. My Grandma knew God in this way. (SHARE THE STORY about Gram)
Look toward tomorrow with an expectation that God won’t change his mind about you. He died for past, present, and future mistakes. He knows your defeats and still associates himself with you.
Eliminate the opposition ie fake religion:
Religious people can often think they really know something. They believe they are definitively better. Identify when fake religion is rubbing off on you. It starts with envy, which is often the sin of the religious. There is a temptation to envy those who God appears to be using more than he is using us, this is a self interest or self focus rather than humility and contentment. However if you are on the Subway and lose your balance subsequently falling in front of an oncoming train and someone grabs your hand strong and powerfully pulling you to safety and in the process they are clipped and killed by the train. You would not respond with pride. The rescue would be an ultimately humbling experience. Gratitude and honor toward this person would be more than natural.
Someone God has encountered is humble. They often reflect with an attitude of I have what God wants me to have. I can’t be more loved by God than I am right now. Circumstances can’t strip this from me I’m already saved. And I’m here to be a champion of the reality of God. I’m here still showing up known and accepted by God. You find them telling of his great rescue. Frankly we are flat out cherished by God. All of us here tonight are cherished. There is zero superiority here.
We see this modeled in Christ’s encounter with her. It was food to him. The God of all power, the God of the Universe and all Creation is consistently faithfully available to us. He went out of his way to meet her AT THE WELL. She would be forever marked by the fact that GOD sees me. She would see HE was the Savior. She a samaritan. He the better stock the superior group, and yet his superiority meant nothing to Jesus. ENCOUNTER JESUS here, really worship. The heavens, the skies were made to declare the work of the Lord, rocks praise him, everything and everyone is created to worship. Her misdirection about a specific location is ours, we can miss Jesus right in front of us because of where we are at. Don’t miss the connection he has for you tonight.
For those tonight who know Jesus, you love him, you know all the lyrics to the latest get you in the feels worship song basically you are all in for God— I have a question for you. Are we (I include myself in this) saying YES to what we are called to?
It’s not really about us being BIG and GOOD, it’s about GOD in us who is big enough and good enough. Are we willing like Jesus to step out of our comfort zone? Christ is literally in you. When you take God seriously and step out God takes you seriously and steps in. The water you drink satisfies and becomes a well with you. His Spirit is right there saying this one, talk to this one. No one else will —won’t you? Free from any moral Christian superiority complex you will go after it. No ideology or belief makes us better they are thirsty and we have Christ the source. Everyone who is a citizen of America is entitled to a free and public education. Salvation is the same. Everyone is offer a free salvation. Wherever and whenever. Christ talked with the samaritan woman and even the disciples wondered about it. AND IT DIDN’T STOP HIM.
Beyond your comfort zone is the place of your next encounter. We know this because it was filling for Christ. He isn’t even hungry afterward. The Father’s will satisfies.
THIS SAME Father is there in the places of our lack with practicality and provision. The right words. Right there when we are out of it. Right there when we’ve done all we know, HE DOES THE MORE. Exceedingly abundantly beyond. Look again at our samaritan woman, HER BEYOND was the entire town came out to see him. She had the right priority, she had the encounter, she got it worship in spirit and truth, and from this encounter she was empowered to do the thing she was born for—with a new identity, a new purpose, a fresh start. WOW WOW WOW You encounter not only influences you it influences an entire city. We are no different than the samaritan woman. We need to connect to His presence, encounter him, let go of our fear and let God lead. Take the next step.
AN ENCOUNTER INFLUENCES YOU TO INFLUENCE YOUR CITY
Tonight you may be ready to encounter JESUS for yourself. He offers you the satisfaction to your thirst. He offers you a well within. Choose him as the Lord over your life. SURRENDER to the grace HE offers you. Surrender to the GO in the gospel. Go share this good news in your region of influence.
WE BELIEVE JESUS IS ENOUGH, WE BELIEVE GOD THE FATHER’S WILL IS GOOD. WE BELIEVE JESUS IS GOD’S DIRECT EXPRESSION AND INSTANT ACCESS TO LOVE. JESUS WAS SENT TO SAVE our lives. AND FOR SOME OF US THE CIRCUMSTANCES MAY BE REALLY BAD OR CHALLENGING BUT GOD DOES THE IMPOSSIBLE ON THE REGULAR. HE IS OUR RESCUE. AND WE RESPOND. WE WORSHIP. Remember this IS YOUR best and most true act of WORSHIP —give God your life, your body, your twenties, thirties, forties, like my Gram rally and even in your eighties offer God the whole thing—
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1