Summer of Scandal 3
John 4:1-14, 39-41
4 Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.
Three weeks ago we began a series entitled a summer of Scandal. And we talked about a scandal being something that people talk about. And I encouraged you to give the people in your circle of influence, your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors something to talk about. And if we’re going to give them something to talk about we need to give them Jesus. We talked about a man by the name of Zacchaeus, who was a tax collector that wanted to see Jesus, and because of his short stature he climbed a tree so that he could see Jesus. Jesus came to the tree and told Zacchaeus to come down from the tree because he would be going to his house today. Immediately the people began to talk and say he is going to the house of a sinner. The scandal had begun. So we discussed that in order to have a summer of scandal we need to know what we believe, and we believe in the father who produced us, protects us, and provides for us. We believe in the son who preaches to us, parishes for us, and presents us. And we believe in the Holy Spirit that prepares us, produces through us, and prospers us. Two weeks ago we talked about having a summer of scandal by the way we behave. We talked about the ten lepers that Jesus healed between the cities of Galilee and Samaria, and how only one out of the ten lepers came back to to praise God for his healing. And I told you that in order to have a summer of scandal you need to display the following three behaviors. Practice, prayer, and praise. We practice with patience, peace, and perseverance. We pray personally, people minded prayers, and persistently. And we praise God on purpose, for a purpose, because it is our purpose. And today we are going to close out the series when I tell you not only is our summer of scandal based on our beliefs, not only is our summer of scandal based on our behavior. But our summer of scandal is based on the benefits we receive from God because of our beliefs and behaviors.
Now there is a reason that Shannon and I ended up in Columbus, Ohio 20 years ago to be teachers. We had family here. They recruited us, basically hiring us on the spot in Pennsylvania, and the starting salary was pretty good compared to other stated that we looked in to, but the benefits were even better.
Insurance was good.
Dental was good.
Vision was ok.
The retirement plan was good.
We could go to The Ohio State University for free.
And let’s not forget summers off.
But as good as our benefits are they do not compare to the benefits we receive as children of God. Remember who your daddy is! How many of you know that there are benefits when you are a child of God when you are living the Christian life? And if we are living it right those benefits will cause a scandal. Those benefits will get people taking about us. But more importantly, those benefits will get people talking about Jesus!
ZShall we look at the text… I know we were just looking at this particular text last month, but this just shows how rich God’s word is. Many things can be gleaned and learned from the same passage of scripture. So if you remember in this story Jesus is heading back to Galilee and he passes through Samaria because it is the quickest way to get there. On his way he ends up on a plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph, and Jacob’s well is there. And since Jesus was tired from his journey he stopped to rest and get a drink. So let me say parenthetically on the way to where I’m going, if Jesus got tired and rested, don’t you think that it’s ok for us to get tired and rest every now and then. You can’t keep going like the energizer bunny! You have to take time and rest, relax, and refresh. Because if you don’t your body will take a break on you! You have to rest! You have to relax. You have to refresh, and this gives you time to reflect. Let’s get back to the text. So Jesus was at the well and about noon a Samaritan woman came to the well.
Somebody say scandal.
Most women came to the well in the morning to get water, but this woman came at noon to avoid the crowd, to avoid the stares, to avoid the gossip, to avoid the pointing fingers.
Somebody say scandal
But Jesus is there, an unexpected surprise, and he asks her for a drink.
Somebody say scandal.
Jews don’t associate with Samaritans.
Somebody say scandal.
Men do not talk to woman in public.
Somebody say scandal.
But Jesus did. And she responds, how can you ask me for a drink. Because Jews do not associate with Samaritans and Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” And they go back and forth for a while because this woman is trying to figure out how in the world is Jesus going to give her water when he has nothing to get the water out of the well with.
Little did she know that he was not talking about physical water. He was not talking about natural water.
He was not talking about spring water.
He was not talking about purified water.
He was not talking about distilled water
He was not talking about Dasani, Evian, Fuji, Aquafina, or Ice Mountain.
He was not talking about H2O at all.
He was talking about living water.
He was talking about the Holy Spirit.
Because he told her, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
So she asked for the living water!
She asked to be delivered!
She asked to be saved!
And they continue the conversation in which Jesus gets all up in the woman’s business and she acknowledges him as prophet. And goes onto say how the Jews used to worship where they were. And Jesus told her a time is coming when we shall worship God in spirit and in truth. Because that is what God desires. Regardless of your race, color, class, gender, or ethnicity. God wants true worshippers. And true worshippers worship the father in spirit and in truth.
The disciples return, and the woman leaves and goes into town, and tells everyone, come see a man that has told me everything I’ve ever done. The people come and the people believe.
Somebody say Scandal!
So let me share with you three benefits that will assist you in your summer of scandal and then I will bid you good day.
One of the first benefits that we receive from God is his protection. Now I know we discussed this when we talked about our beliefs. When I expressed to you that we believe that God is our father and because he is our father he protects us. But today I want to go a little deeper and tell you what he protects us from. He protects us from dangers seen and unseen. He protects from the things that go bump in the night. But I would like to get a little more specific than that. Here are three things that God protects us from.
The first thing that God protects us from is people.
Yeah I know you have 500 Facebook friends.
I know you have 736 twitter followers, and everyone is always liking your pictures on instagram.
I know you think that everyone loves you.
And everyone has your best interest at heart.
But let me drop some knowledge on you from the great theologians the O’Jays, they smile in your face and all the time they wanna take your place. The back stabbers.
Everyone is not your friend.
And everyone does not have your best interests at heart.
As a matter of fact there are a number of people that don’t like you at all.
They may even hate you.
And it’s not because of anything you’ve done to them.
It’s just because of who you represent.
And there is a scandal all around you because of what you believe, how you behave, and the benefits you receive.
But if I’ve told you once I’ve told you twice people only hate on people that are doing something. So if you don’t have any haters you must not be doing anything. But I thank God that he protects us from people.
He protects us from their lies
He protects us from their flattery
He protects us from their jealousy
He protects us from their gossip
He protects us from their drama
He protects us from their mess
He protects us from their agendas
Is there anybody in the room excited about the fact that God protects us from people.
But not only does God protect us from people, he protects of from Personal Sabotage. You guessed it, he protects us from ourselves. He protects you from you and he protects me from me! How many times have you messed up on purpose?
Failed on purpose.
Made mistakes on purpose.
How many times have you got in your own way and did not achieve all that God had in store for you?
Think of all the times you doubted yourself.
All the times you thought you could not do it.
All the times you thought you couldn’t make it, but you did.
Why? Because God protects us from personal sabotage. God protects us from ourselves.
When you want to go where you know you shouldn’t go.
When you want to do what you know you shouldn’t do.
When you want to say what you shouldn’t say.
When you want to watch what you shouldn’t watch.
When you want to listen to what you shouldn’t listen to.
When you want to visit that person you have no business visiting.
God protects us from personal sabotage.
So God protects us from people, he protects us from personal sabotage, and he protects us from the prince of darkness. Yes, the devil is real. The enemy does exist. And he has come for no reason but to steal, kill, and destroy you. But Jesus said, I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly. And that is why the devil hates us because he hates God, and he hates the fact that God protects us because God loves us!
He wants us to fail.
He wants us to suffer.
He wants us to go through.
He wants us to doubt ourselves.
He wants us to give up.
He wants us to give in.
He wants us to give out.
He wants us to throw in the towel.
He wants us to fall so far away from God that we forget that God loves us.
We forget that God called us.
We forget that God has a purpose for our lives.
We forget that God sent Jesus to die for us.
Check out this letter from Satan…
A letter to you from Satan
I saw you yesterday as you began your day. You awoke without kneeling to pray. As a matter of fact, you didn’t even bless your meals, or pray before going to bed last night. You are so unthankful, I like that about you. I cannot tell you how glad I am that you have not changed your way of living, fool, you are mine. Remember, you and I have been going steady for years, and I still don’t love you yet. As a matter of fact, I hate you, because I hate God. I am only using you to get even with God. He kicked me out of heaven, and I’m going to use you as long as possible to pay him back. You see, Fool, God loves you and he has great plans in store for you. But you have yielded your life to me and I am going to make your life a living hell. That way we’ll be together twice. This will really hurt God. Thanks to you. I’m really showing him who’s boss in your life. With all of the good times we’ve had…… We have been watching dirty movies, cursing people out, partying, stealing, lying, hypocriting, fornicating, overeating, telling dirty jokes, gossiping, back stabbing people, disrespecting adults and those in leadership positions, NO RESPECT FOR THE CHURCH, and bad attitudes. Surely you don’t want to give all of this up. Come on, Fool, let’s burn together forever. I’ve got some hot plans for us. This is just a letter of appreciation from me to you. I’d like to say “THANKS” for letting me use you most of your foolish life. You are so gullible, I laugh at you. When you are tempted to sin, you give in HA HA HA, you make me sick! Sin is beginning to take a toll on your life. You look twenty years older, I need new blood. So go ahead and teach some children how to sin. All you have to do is smoke dope, get drunk, cheat, gamble, gossip, fornicate, and get high . Do all this in the presence of children and they will do it to. Kids are like that. Well Fool, I have to let you go now. I’ll be back in a couple of seconds to tempt you again. If you were smart, you would run somewhere, confess your sins, live for God with what little bit of life you have left. It’s not my nature to warn anyone, but to be your age and still sinning, it’s becoming a bit ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, I still hate you… IT’S JUST THAT YOU WOULD MAKE A BETTER FOOL FOR CHRIST… This is what the devil thinks of us.
So aren’t you glad that God protects us from the prince of darkness. Now we could all go in right there. If we just took a few moments to think about all the things God has protected us from. Someone in the room needs to give God praise for his protection!
So the first benefit is God’s protection. The second benefit is God’s presence. Now I have to be honest this afternoon. I do not know what I would do without the presence of God in my life. The fact that he walks with me, and talks with me, and tells me I am his own. And the joy we share as we tarry there. No other has ever known. Grounds me and allows me to walk in my purpose.
His presence is what keeps me.
His presence is what completes me.
His presence is what holds me up.
His presence is what keeps me going.
His presence let’s me know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
His presence let’s me know that greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.
His presence let’s me know that I am more than a conqueror through Christ who loves me.
Is there anybody here that wants to give God praise for the benefit of his presence? His presence comes in three ways.
The first way that we have God’s presence is in the form of peace. Now I told you two weeks ago that we need to behave with peace. Meaning we should have peace among our family, friends, and neighbors. As children of God we should operate with peace with other people. But the peace I’m talking about today is an inner peace that can only come with the presence of God. That is why Paul tells the church in Philippi, and the peace of God which transcends or passes all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. God’s presence gives us peace.
How else could you stay so calm, cool, and collective in the midst of all the hell you’re going through?
God’s presence gives us peace.
How else could you stay so steady in the midst of the storm you’re going through?
God’s presence gives us peace.
How else could you be worry free on the job that is firing people at will?
God’s presence gives us peace.
How else are you holding it together when your world is falling apart?
God’s presence gives peace.
How else could you make it through this COVID-19 pandemic?
God’s presence gives us peace.
How else could we stand in the midst of the racial injustice and unrest that we continually face?
God’s presence give us peace.
But not only does God’s presence come with peace, God presence comes with passion. Because we have his presence we have his passion. If we remain in him, he will remain in us. Have you ever been sitting alone or even in the midst of a crowd and you begin to think about the goodness of the Lord and all that he has done for you. And you begin to feel his passion for you. His love for you.
That love that sent his one and only son to the cross.
That love that forgives us no matter what we do.
That love that calls us.
That love that uses us.
That love that keeps us.
That love that sustains us.
His presence brings his passion.
And because we have his passion we must share it with others. We can’t keep it to ourselves.
We must love our neighbors as ourselves.
We can’t be stuck up Christians and turn our noses up at other people whether they are believer or not we have to share the love and the passion of Christ with everyone.
Even if we are mad at them we have to love them.
Even if they’ve hurt us we have to love them.
Even if they get on our last nerve, we have to love them.
Even if they’ve offended us, we have to love them.
Even if they have done something or are doing something they should not be doing we have to love them.
You know why, because when we have done all of the above and so much more God still loves us!
His presence brings his passion.
So his presence brings us peace. His presence brings us passion. And his presence brings us a person. What are you talking about Pastor Brian? Well we seem to think of the Holy Spirit as a ghost or something eerie and weird, like beetle juice or Casper the friendly ghost. But the Holy Spirit is a person, and this person lives in us. And because he lives in us we can be all that God has called us to be.
We can serve the way that God wants us to serve.
We can walk the way he wants us to walk
We can talk the way he wants us to talk
We can go where he wants us to go
We can do what he wants us to do
God’s presence gives us a person. That person is the Holy Spirit that is why we sing anointing fall on me…. Which leads me to the last benefit.
The first benefit that God gives us is His protection. The second benefit that God gives us is His presence. And the last benefit that God gives us is His Power. Now there is a number of things that we think we can accomplish on our own. But those things that we think we accomplish on our own we really don’t accomplish on our own. Nobody does it on their own! So I dare you to tap into the power of God. I double dog dare you to tap into the power of the true and living God. As a matter of fact, I triple dog dare you to tap into the power of almighty God. Because when we tap into the power of God the sky is the limit to all that we can accomplish for His glory. Here are three things that happen when we tap into the power of God.
The first thing that happens when we tap into the power of God is that we’re able to Proceed. With all this woman at the well had gone through she was able to proceed. Oh you thought I forgot about her didn’t you. Remember Jesus got all up in her business. You’ve had five husbands and the man you’re with now is not your husband. With that alone she could have tucked tail and ran off, but she accepted his invitation and received the living water giving her power to proceed.
The power to keep going.
The power to keep on keeping on.
The power to persevere.
The power not to give up.
The power to press on.
Which leads me to my next point.
Because the power of God allowed her to proceed she was able to go back in town and Promote. Promote? What in the world are you talking about preacher? She ran back to town and told everyone come and see a man that told me everything I’ve ever done.
Come see a man that looked beyond my faults and saw my needs.
Come see a man that loves me in spite of myself.
Come see a man that uses me in spite of my mistakes.
Come see a man that talked to me when he was not supposed to. Come see a man that was willing to start a scandal to save my soul. The power of God allowed her to promote God, and because she could proceed, because she was able to promote she was able to produce.
The final thing that tapping in the power of God allows us to do is Produce. I know what you’re thinking. What in the world did this woman produce besides a bunch of bad relationships? What in the world can we produce? Look at the text.
39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” Because she tapped into the power of God she was able to proceed, she was able to promote, and she was able to produce. And you know this caused a scandal. So ask yourself, self, what am I producing? If your answer is nothing, than it’s time to get to work.
It’s time to get off the bench.
It’s time to get in the game.
It’s time to stop window shopping.
It’s time to put your hands to the plow.
It’s time to get to work.
It’s time to get your hands dirty.
It’s time to get down to business.
It’s time to produce!
Now I don’t know about you, but I thank God for the benefits.
We have a pretty good retirement plan.
We have great health benefits.
We have great life insurance policies.
We have a few annuities.
We have some great benefits.
But none of those benefits can compare to the benefits that come from God.
The market can crash
But God’s benefits remain the same
The insurance claim may be denied
But God benefits will always remain the same
You could lose your job and lose your benefits
But you will never lose the benefits of God
The insurance company may not cover preexisting conditions
But you will always be covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Is anybody in the room excited about the fact that your preexisting conditions are covered.
Your lying is covered!
Your stealing is covered!
Your over eating is covered!
Your bad attitude is covered!
Your fornication is covered!
Your mistakes are covered!
Your short comings are covered!
Your depression is covered!
Your lack of faith is covered!
Your health is covered!
Your bereavement is covered!
What a great benefit to know that no matter what your preexisting condition is, you are covered. And this is going to cause a scandal.
People are going to wonder how in the world are you receiving all these benefits when you use to do this and you use to do that?
But that’s what I love about Jesus is he uses us in spite of ourselves. And he knows that you have to catch a fish before you clean it and he has called us all to be fishers of men and women.
And he blesses us with his benefits
He blesses us with his protection
He blesses us with his presence
He blesses us with his power
And these benefits will give us a summer of Scandal
Let’s give them something to talk about!
Let’s give them Jesus.
My hope is built on nothing less.
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame.
But Wholly lean on Jesus name.
When darkness veils his lovely face.
I rest on his unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale.
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, his covenant, and blood.
Support me in the whelming flood.
When every earthly prop gives way.
He then is all my hope and stay.
When he shall come with trumpet sound.
Oh, may I then in him be found.
Clothed in his righteousness alone.
Faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ the solid rock I stand.
All other ground is sinking sand.
A Summer of Scandal
What we believe.
How we behave.
The benefits we receive because of what we believe and how we behave.
Let’s give them something to talk about.
Let’s give them Jesus.