The Business of Every Christian

John 4:27-39

Jesus' encounter with the woman at the well shows how concern He was, and how concern
we should be for our lost friends and lost loved ones

I read of a business that had gone out of business.
There was a sign on the front door that said:
"Going Out of Business.
Didn't Know What Our Business Was."

This can happen in the business world, and it also happens in the spiritual world.
There is a often a loss of purpose in all worthwhile endeavors.
We need a steady reminder and a continual refocusing to keep us mindful of our main business..

A newspaper article reported that a mainline Protestant denomination was making a study
to redefine the church's mission.
They were saying that it was entering its third century as a denomination adrift without a vision
or sense of identity.
One hundred and twelve seminary professors recommended the study.

The professors were saying the denomination had lost the sense of it's main business.
One professor said that "The question before us is of the loss of a common sense of mission,
which is indeed the mission of God
."
The he added: "When that mission is lost, the people perish for want of a vision."

What has happened to that denomination can happen to all of as Christians when we stray away
from our main reason for existence.

In John 4:27-39 we meet this "woman of the streets," Jesus led her to a new life,
a new identity, and a new joy.
She met someone who turned her into a new creation.
Because Jesus fulfilled His mission, her life was changed eternally.

In that encounter, we can learn some great lessons about how Jesus dealt with people.
There are several essential things that we can learn from this encounter.
This encounter reminds as Christians that our main business is a missionary business.
This is the job of every Christian.

Jesus saw people as more important than anything.

Verses 31-33 shows us the passionate concern of Jesus.
Jesus must have been really hungry.
He had been traveling on a long journey, and the demands of His ministry had drained Him
of His energy.
Yet, He forgot His needs because the woman had a far greater need.

The disciples were amazed when Jesus said: "I have food to eat that you know nothing about."
(John 4:32, NIV).
Jesus was telling them that He had some soul food.
Jesus' reply was not so much to rebuke them, as it was to remind them of their main business.
And we should get the massage that it is also our main business.

We cannot study the life of our Lord Jesus Christ without seeing what mattered most,
and what He considered as most important.
That which was His business should be our business.
It is the business of every Christian -- pastor, deacons, elders, church leaders, Bible teachers,
mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and even children who are Christians.

Bringing others to Jesus is the job of every Christian.

This message is a reminder to every church of its principal reason for existence.
God knew that we can be so absorbed in our pursuits that we ignore our main business.
Throughout the life of Jesus, we see the tremendous love He had for people.

He cared for a widow whose son was dead.
He cared for a soldier with a dying daughter.
He cared for a thief on a cross.
He cared for a blind man in Jericho,
He cared for ten lepers, a seeking Pharisee, children on the shores of Galilee.
Every day Jesus was finding people in need, and meeting those needs.

We need to be like Jesus!
Jesus is in the people business.
The church's mission is people.

Jesus was always obedient To God.

Jesus tells us of His motive in His ministry in His statement in John 4:34 (NIV):
"'My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.'"

When this word, "will" is found in the Gospel of John (6:38-39, 17:4; 19:28-30)
we understand that His prime mission was to die for the sins of lost humanity.
His death was truly essential in God's eternal will. (I Peter 1:17-20)
God's will was always the will of Jesus.

A soldier studying the word, "command," in the New Testament discovered an amazing thing.
He knew that a command meant that a commander-in-chief gives an order.
He said, "When I was in the military, I knew that the general was the commander,
and that he gave the commands.
As a soldier I carried them out, and passed them on
."

So when God our commander-inchief, gives us a command, we must carry out His orders!
So why don't we carry out our great command to be witnesses for Jesus?

There are probably many reasons.

One reason may be because some of our church members have never been saved.
Having no life with Christ -- they have nothing to tell.

Another reason could be that we have accepted the good instead of the best.
Most of our churches offer a variety of excellent programs and ministries.
We can be consumed with so many good activities that we overlook our priority to go,
and to tell others about Jesus.

Traditions can also hinder our mission.
There is a tendency to think that the Holy Spirit is bound to the way we did something
5 years ago or 50 years ago.
Our traditions can hinder us instead of helping us.

Openness to the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit can bring a revitalized direction, plan,
and sense of purpose to accomplish our Lord's mandate.

Then there are times when we are too comfortable.
Probably the truth is that we are not willing to pay the price.
We'll do some things if the price tag isn't too high.

Maybe it is because of a misguided understanding of missions.
If we say "missions," some people immediately think, "Africa, Bangladesh, Brazil etc."
But missions are where we are -- in our home, our jobs, our schools, in our sports -- wherever we are!
It begins at home, in the office, in the community, and it expands until it encompasses the world.

Every Christian must have a world-view.
That is the view from God.
God's will is for the world to come to Him.
We are to be witnesses in that plan.
Our main business is to fulfill God's eternal plan to witness to all humanity.

A look at John 4:35 gives us the discernment that Jesus had for the opportunity at hand.
I think this is the scenario.

The disciples came to Jesus and said, "Lord, it's tough over in Samaria.
We have worked hard and have had few results.
This is a hard situation, if not impossible.
It will be at least four months before we see any harvest
."

While the disciples were complaining to Jesus, the woman at the well is on her way to Jesus
with a large contingent of her village following her.
Jesus saw what was happening.

He said in essence, "Listen, men. You say there are four more months until harvest.
Turn around and look!
The harvest is coming in right now
!"

Jesus surveyed the world, and saw an immediate harvest.
Many in the world are ready to be harvested.
It only takes laborers.

The up-and-outs are ready to be saved.
They have tasted all of their lives, and they are still empty.
The down-and-outs are ready, too.
One defeat after another has left them in despair, and they are looking for answers.

The skeptics are ready.
Their cynicism has left their souls bone dry, and they are thirsty.
Those who have never been told the good news are ready, and will often receive the gospel
more readily than the calloused.

The world is ready.
Our governments, systems, programs, and philosophies have been tried
and found wanting.
The successful are also ready.

Newsweek magazine ran a feature article on the rapid changes taking place in Japan.
Successful Japanese businessmen, when interviewed, showed an uncertainty
about their reason for living.

Young people and children are ready.
Someone has said, "The young people are dancing now, but someday they will have to face the music."

With a needy and ready world like ours; with a surge in new converts, churches, preaching points,
and enthusiasm in Third World countries; with urban complexities driving American citizens
to look for fresh answers; with humanism and dead religion leaving Western Europe hungry
for real faith -- the fields are already white unto harvest.

Sowers and reapers share the same joy and the same reward.

I read of a pastor who had witnessed to a man for nearly three years without seeing him come to Christ.
He had been on his new church field only a brief period of time when he heard that the pastor
who followed him had led this man to Christ and baptized him, and that he had become active in the church.

He confessed that his reaction was not so much joy as it was jealousy.
After all, he had sown seeds for three years, and then someone else reaped the harvest.
He said: " Years later, when this principle that Jesus laid down in verses 36-38 became a reality to me,
I learned to rejoice in the role of sower, as I do in the role of reaper
!"

This principle doesn't apply in most other fields.
A farmer expects to reap what he sows.
An insurance salesman expects remuneration from the policyholders that he has developed.
A car dealer works hard to make a sale to a reluctant buyer, and looks forward to his commission.

But in the business of missions and evangelism, the sower may sow, and someone else will reap,
but they both share the same joy.

Annie Armstrong understood this principle.
Lottie Moon understood it.
Adoniram Judson understood it.
William Carey understood it.
Bill Wallace understood it.

Understanding this truth brings the sense of releasing a spiritual time bomb
that can explode anytime or anywhere.
As someone has said, "There is no limit to what can be done if it doesn't matter who gets the credit!"

The business of every Christian is to go and share the gospel of Jesus to everyone.
This commitment to "Go and tell" is a commitment for life, and not even one Christian is excused
from that command.

It's the same for every Christian.
Once we have received Jesus, we are to be His witnesses!

People Need The Lord

"Everyday they pass me by,
I can see it in their eye;
Empty people filled with care,
Headed who knows where.
On they go through private pain,
Living fear to fear;
Laughter hides the silent cries
Only Jesus hears.

We are called to take His light
To a world where wrong is right;
What could be too great a cost
For sharing life with one who's lost?
Through His love our hearts can feel
All the grief they bear;
They must hear the Words of Life
Only we can share.

People need the Lord,
People need the Lord;
At the end of broken dreams,
He's the open door.
People need the Lord,
People need the Lord;
When will we realize
That we must give our lives,
For people need the Lord.
People need the Lord.

CHORUS:
People need the Lord,
People need the Lord;
At the end of broken dreams,
He's the open door.
People need the Lord,
People need the Lord;
When will we realize
People need the Lord."
-- Words and Music by Greg Nelson and Phill McHugh

Sermon adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White