Witnessing 101 – John 4:1-42

“Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water’” (John 4:13-15, ESV).

In the familiar story of Jesus and the woman of Samaria in John 4:1-42, Jesus provided a perfect demonstration of personal witnessing:

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Never Met A Man I Didn’t Like – Numbers 15:13-16

“Every native Israelite shall do these things in this way, in offering a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. And if a stranger is sojourning with you, or anyone is living permanently among you, and he wishes to offer a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord, he shall do as you do. For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations. You and the sojourner shall be alike before the Lord. One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you” (Numbers 15:13-16, ESV).

Will Rogers is a folk-hero of mine and of many of my fellow “Okies.” One of his most well-known sayings is this: “I never met a man I didn’t like.” Will Rogers endeavored to affirm the humanity of people–even those he didn’t know–by treating them with respect and good will.

In these verses from Numbers God seems to have a similar perspective about human beings–God never met a person He didn’t love!

Numbers 15, which describes laws for offering and sacrifice, is inserted between the stories of two rebellions: Israel’s refusal to enter the promised land in Chapter 14 and the rebellion led by Korah against Moses’ leadership in Chapter 16. After the Israelites’ rebellion in Chapter 14 God had determined to destroy the Hebrew nation. Upon Moses’ intercession God sentenced the Exodus generation of Israelites to perish in the wilderness.

So, Chapter 15 marks the point where the plan for entering the promised land became the punishment of wandering in the wilderness for the next 40 years. It indicates the beginning of the end of the Exodus generation who rebelled against Moses’ leadership to enter the promised land. Perhaps the Chapter 15 worship statutes are an appeal by God for the next generation to be reconciled to Him despite the severe punishment He had imposed.

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Empowered to Witness – Numbers 11:16-30

And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them…” (Numbers 11:17, ESV).

During their wilderness wanderings God told Moses to select seventy elders to help him judge and lead the people of Israel.  Moses gathered the elders and placed them around the circumference of the tabernacle. Then, God poured out His Spirit on them as they were gathered around the tabernacle and they prophesied.

Two of the elders were not present at the tabernacle when the Spirit was poured out. Yet, these two also received the Spirit and prophesied while they were still in the camp.

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A Living Example – 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9

setting-the-example“For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example” (2 Thessalonians 3:7-9, NASB).

What greater way to teach than to model or be an example of the lesson you are teaching! But, when you set yourself up an example, it requires an extremely high level of accountability and responsibility.

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The Power of a Good Reputation – Daniel 6:4

Daniel-in-Lions-Den“But they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him” (Daniel 6:4, ESV).

Daniel served the Babylonian empire faithfully for almost 70 years and then continued to serve the new Medo-Persian administration of King Darius.

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Paul’s John 3:16 – 1 Timothy 2:3-6

John316_Tim_Tebow“God our Savior…wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, Himself human, who gave Himself–a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:3-6, NLT).

If you are one of those laconic people who likes things stated simply, concisely, and succinctly, then you definitely like this summation of the gospel written by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to Timothy.

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Escaping Your Comfort Zone – Acts 8:4-8

“So those who were scattered went on their way preaching the message of good news. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. The crowds paid attention with one mind to what Philip said, as they heard and saw the signs he was performing. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed, and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city”  (Acts 8:4-8, HCSB).

Because of the persecution of the church in Jerusalem, the believers were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

Among those who were scattered was Philip, who went to a city in Samaria. Philip proclaimed to the people in that city that Jesus was the Messiah and performed many miracles among them and many people believed his message and were baptized.

The church in Jerusalem had become a megachurch and was adding new members faster than they could count. It seemed that just when things were going great and church growth was exploding, a great wave of persecution targeting these Jewish Christians caused them to scatter throughout the region.

What seemed to be a great success story had now become a tome of tragedy!

But, had this extensive persecution never been perpetrated against the Jerusalem Christians, who knows when they would have got around to fulfilling Jesus’s great commission to “be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (vs. 1:8).

God sends each of us on a mission for Him. But sometimes where God is sending us and what He wants us to do when we get there is, perhaps, beyond the boundaries of our respective comfort zones.

God’s plans and will for us may be located outside the box…of our own plans and wills.

Sometimes it becomes necessary for God to nudge, push, or even shove us out of our comfort zones through bad circumstances. Then, our discomfort helps us escape from our own zone of comfort!

In driving us from our comfort zone, it may be that God is sending us to do something quite different than what we planned to do, or even thought we were capable of doing.

That was certainly the case with Philip. Philip was appointed to help administer the daily food distribution in the church in Jerusalem. But in Samaria Philip was conducting a full-blown preaching-healing-deliverance ministry!

God advanced Philip from a behind-the-scenes administrative role to front-line ministry!

So, what is God sending you to do?

Accept His call, even if it requires you to escape from the comfort zone of your everyday existence.

“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to you! As the Father has sent me, I also send you'” (John 20:21, HCSB).