The Gospel of John
1. It is very difficult to expound this passage in just one message. On February 20 I preached on this Samaritan woman at the well, but I feel that I barely skimmed the surface. (We will continue tonight.)
2. Then the following week Dr. Ellison preached.
3. Then the following week I preached on the problem with television.
4. Then last week I preached on sanctification.
5. Now we are back in John 4 and since we had a three-week hiatus I feel I must back up and review.
6. John 4 is a wonderful lesson in soulwinning. W. Graham Scroggie graduated from Spurgeon’s College in London, and pastored Spurgeon’s Tabernacle during WWII (it was bombed).
7. In his commentary on John 4, Scroggie said, “Here is a detailed superb illustration of how Christ dealt with souls, and of the method whereby we too may reach them. The great underlying principle is, find a point of contact with the one whom you would win. Follow this out in the present instance. From start to finish there are seven stages…” and then Dr. Scroggie gives his seven stages.
(1) The preparation (4:1-6) – “And He must needs go through Samaria” (4:4).
(2) The approach (4:7-15) – “Give me to drink” (4:7).
(3) The assault (4:16-18) – “The moment had now come when a raid must be made upon this woman’s conscience” (Scroggie).
(4) The advance (4:19-24) – the woman admitted her guilt. “But her guilt admitted, she wishes to dodge the matter, and so starts an argument; but the shaft has found a lodgment. Mark the growth of Christ upon this woman: Jew (4:9); Sir (4:11); Prophet (4:19); the Christ (4:29)” – (Scroggie).
(5) The capture (4:25, 26) – “Here the conversation ends, because the goal has been reached…Jesus here plainly claims to be the promised Messiah (4:26)” – (Scroggie).
(6) The witness (4:27-30) – “Surely the most proper and natural thing for a saved soul to do, is to tell some one else of the Saviour. Have you done that?” (Scroggie).
(7) The consequences (4:31-42) – we will deal primarily with these last two stages tonight.
8. My message tonight is entitled, “What Are Our Priorities?”
I. THE WOMAN’S PRIORITIES (4:28, 29).
II. THE MEN’S PRIORITIES (4:30).
III. THE DISCIPLES’ PRIORITIES (4:31-33).
IV. OUR LORD’S PRIORITIES (4:34-39).
I. THE WOMAN’S PRIORITIES (4:28, 29).
1. Notice this Samaritan woman dropped what she was doing “and went her way into the city…” (4:28). What an example for us!
2. She had not been saved very long – in fact, she had just gotten saved.
3. She had not been to church yet, or Bible college or a soulwinning seminar – but she met the Lord.
4. She had her priorities right. She “left her waterpot, and went her way into the city…” (4:28). You may recall that her whole purpose for going to the well in the first place was to draw water (4:7). But now she had more urgent business to attend to.
5. And because of her soulwinning efforts, we are told in verse 39 that “many of the Samaritans of that city believed on Him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all ever I did.”
6. “And many more believed because of His own word” (4:41). This is the wonderful principle of soulwinning. You go out and win someone to Christ. He or she goes out and wins a few more. Then their converts go out – some as missionaries, some as pastors and pastors’ wives, some as evangelists, etc. Multiplied thousands are won to Christ, and it all started because someone cared enough to lead a sinner to Christ.
7. Beloved, we must have our priorities right.
II. THE MEN’S PRIORITIES (4:30).
1. The men did not waste any time either. As soon as they heard about the Christ (Messiah), “then they went out of the city, and came unto Him” (4:30).
2. “In the mean while…” (4:31), we see the disciples’ priorities and our Lord’s priorities. We will consider their priorities in a few minutes.
3. In the mean time, let us drop down to verse 39 and see the fruit of the Samaritan woman’s soulwinning efforts. “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on Him for the saying of the women…” (4:39).
4. Then our Lord tarried with the Samaritans for two days, and “many more believed” (4:40, 41).
5. We will see many more souls saved if we will just get our priorities right.
III. THE DISCIPLES’ PRIORITIES (4:31).
1. It would appear that their priorities were not spiritual, but carnal – food (4:31). But before we get tempted to criticize them, let’s give them credit; at least they were concerned with our Lord’s dinner, not theirs.
2. By the way, you will notice throughout the Gospel of John, that our Lord often used figurative language and His listeners usually misunderstood Him (4:31-34; cf. 2:19-22; 3:3, 4; 6:47-60).
3. Our Lord clearly taught them about His priorities (4:31-35).
4. Beloved, our Lord’s priorities ought to be our priorities.
IV. OUR LORD’S PRIORITIES (4:34-39).
1. We have already noted our Lord’s priorities – His enthusiasm for soulwinning. He deliberately chose to “go through Samaria” so He could talk to this lost Samaritan woman.
2. After her conversion, we see her going out and telling others the Good News, and then we see a great harvest of souls. And it is here that our Lord gave His disciples (and us) a wonderful lesson on sowing and reaping (4:35-38).
4. This principle also applies to stewardship. In fact, if you look at the context of Galatians 6 you can see how it applies it to stewardship (Gal. 6:6 and Scofield’s margin; cf. Luke 6:38; I Cor. 9:7-14; II Cor. 9:6, 7).
5. Here in John 4, our Lord applies this principle of sowing and reaping to soulwinning (4:35-39).
6. First, we must remember that there is a great harvest waiting to be reaped (4:35). C. I. Scofield was a worldly lawyer with a drinking problem. One day a friend led him to Christ. Scofield was very happy, but he asked his friend why he had not spoken to him sooner.
7. There are lost souls all around us and many of them could be won to Christ if we would only make the effort. Our Lord says, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (4:35).
8. If the fields were ripe then, what about today? What is the world’s population today – 6 and a half billion!
9. I went on the Internet and found a web site that has a clock with the world’s population. Every second it grows!
10.I remember driving with Darcel McCoy to a meeting in Brooklyn. As we drove through the crowded streets he commented on the thousands of lost people walking up and down the streets, sitting on stoops, hanging out on the corners, playing in Prospect Park, etc.
11.Then we would arrive at the church in Brooklyn and most of the streets were empty (4:35)!
12.Regarding this great harvest, our Lord taught that we are called to sow what others will reap, and we will reap what others have sown (4:36).
13.When I started this church in 1990 I went out several nights a week knocking on doors, often till 10:00 PM. I noticed right away that certain people had heard the Gospel and were somewhat responsive and tenderhearted.
14.Others were hard as a rock but at least I was able to talk to them and give them a Gospel tract. Many of our early converts were witnessed to by friends and relatives before they ever met me.
15.On the other hand, I believe that many of those hard cases got saved later on. I was driving to church one night with my wife and I spotted an old foreman of mine that I had not seen in many years. He told me that he remembered how I always preached to him and after I quit construction and went into full-time preaching he got saved. Praise the Lord!
16.Only eternity will reveal how many souls get saved that way! (cf. I Cor. 3:6-9).
17.I heard that President Reagan had a sign on his wall, “It is amazing how much can get done if we don’t care who gets the credit.”
18.Let us suppose Bro. Randy is out knocking on doors and places a tract in someone’s storm door. The man who lives there reads the tract and decides to visit our church that Sunday. On that particular Sunday we have a visiting evangelist preaching for us. He preaches a good Gospel message and when he gives the invitation, that fellow with the tract comes forward. I ask Bro. Thompson to go and lead the man to Christ. When the man gets saved we can all rejoice.
19.I am trying to illustrate this principle (I Cor. 3:6-8).
20.Our Lord said in John 4:36, “that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.” What a joy it will be up in glory to meet all of the souls that were saved through knocking on doors and supporting missionaries, etc.
21.Bro. Baker down in Tabernacle Baptist Church in Virginia Beach was encouraging his members by reminding them of all the souls that were saved through their Bible college. He said you may not meet many of them down here but you will meet many up in heaven.
22.Our church is meeting here tonight because others have gone out before us preaching the Gospel. Again I will quote W. Graham Scroggie, “Our churches are products of men and women whose footprints across the pages of Church history can be traced by blood.”
1. Before we conclude, I would like to make a comment on John 4:42. This verse does not teach that Jesus will save every one in the world.
2. By the way, we see the same title for Christ in I John 4:14.
3. What it does mean is that He is “the Saviour of the world,” not just the Saviour of the Jews. He is the Saviour of the Samaritans, the Greeks, the Africans, the Chinese, the Persians, the Arabs, the Irish, etc.
4. It also means that He died for all and salvation is available for all. Hebrews 2:9 says He tasted death “for every man.”
5. First John 2:2 says “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not ours only, but for the sins of the whole world.”
6. Second Peter 3:9 says it is not God’s will “that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
7. Beloved, let’s get our priorities right! We know what the Lord’s priorities are – He said it right here in John 4:34, 35.
8. He said in Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” What are we waiting for?
9. Harry Ironside told a story about a life-saving crew that went out in a boat through a ferocious storm and rescued a man who had been fastened to a mast on a wrecked ship caught in the rocks. The crew had seen him clearly from the shore through their binoculars, and so they went out and rescued him.
10. They brought this man back to shore. He was unconscious and so they brought him to a nearby hospital. After a while he revived and his first words were, “There is another man.”
11. Those gathered around his hospital bed said, “What do you mean?” The man said, “There is another man…another man…” They said, “Do you mean there is another living man out on that wrecked ship?”
12. The man said, “Yes, there is another man.”
13. So the crew went back out again through the raging storm, and this time they searched the ship till they found the other man. He too was unconscious, and so they brought him back to the hospital where he was restored to good health.
14. Dr. Ironside’s point: “There is another man, there is another woman, there is somebody else needing Christ. Do what you can to reach them.”