Doing God’s Work

Doing God’s Work

Home Church Service 6/3/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

When our small group meets for worship, we like to discuss what we are learning, in the moment. Sometimes that happens right after the message and at other times we will address something during the message. These messages are designed to be interactive, discussing what we are learning right after I have addressed each point of the message. You will find the questions at the end of each section. In most formats they will appear in bold. Use these questions as a guide to meditate on the points being discussed. Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart and above all, be honest with yourself and the Holy Spirit. After all, He knows any way!

“At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why do You speak with her?” So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” They went out of the city, and were coming to Him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples were saying to one another, “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. “Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. “For in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ “I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor.”

                                                                                                                              John 4:27–38 (NASB95)

It is appropriate that we come to a passage like this today. Today is the day we celebrate Pentecost. The original day was celebrated at Mt. Sinai when God gave the Israelites the Ten Utterances, or Ten Commandments as we know them. In the New Testament we know this day as the coming, or giving, of the Holy Spirit. What we see in this passage this morning, is in the end, a massive movement of the Holy Spirit. In fact, one could make an argument that the conversation between Yeshua and the Samaritan woman is a movement of the Holy Spirit. What we have seen thus far is evidence of the involvement of the Holy Spirit in the mission of Yeshua to bring unity to the Jewish people and, in the end, the world.

While it is true that the Holy Spirit had not been given to Christ followers at this point, it is also true that the Holy Spirit can be seen working with Yeshua to bring the unity God has sent His Son to bring. For some unknown reason this Samaritan woman comes to the well at an odd time. But as we look closely at her words, questions, and comments, we find someone who has a Thirst for Truth. Even when it appears she has changed the subject, a deeper look reveals she is breaking traditional boundaries between the Jews and Samaritans as she seeks True Worship of the Father. In our passage this morning, Yeshua finally reveals why He felt compelled to travel through Samaria, and we are witness to the effect of this conversation on the Samaritan woman. In the end, both Yeshua and the Samaritan woman are Doing God’s Work.

The disciples return, amazed that Jesus is talking to a woman who quickly leaves to return to her hometown. There she tells the men about the man she has met who might be the Christ. The disciples are trying to get Jesus to eat but He has food they know nothing about – His food is Doing God’s Work. Jesus encouraged the disciples to lift their eyes to the fields, for they are about to reap a harvest for which they have not labored.

As Christ followers, sometimes, we too are amazed at how Yeshua works, at times choosing the most unlikely person to turn things upside down. While we are, at times, sidetracked by everyday needs, Yeshua reminds us to keep our eyes up, for there is more to our lives than our ordinary everyday needs. In fact, in Doing God’s Work at times, we will be allowed to enjoy the rewards from the hard work of others.

In this message we seek to understand how Doing God’s Work impacts the life of the Christ follower.

Doing God’s Work will impact the life of a Christ follower by helping to keep our eyes up and looking beyond the status quo.

1). We must first understand that Doing God’s Work will impact the life of the Christ follower through an unlikely person.

The most unlikely may, in fact, be the perfect fit for the work that needs to be done – it may even be you!

In our passage today, we find the disciples have now return to where Yeshua had been resting only to find Him talking to a woman, but not just any woman – a Samaritan woman. John tells us the disciples do not say a word, though they had questions running through their minds, until after the Samaritan woman has left to return to her village. We will look at the disciples again in just a bit but for now, we are going to focus on the Samaritan woman as she returns to her hometown.

As we read through this text, we find that the woman was in such a hurry to return to the village that she left her waterpot where she placed it on her arrival at the well. Why in the world would someone walk such a distance to gather water and then not gather water and to top it off, leave the waterpots behind when she left?!The short answer is, in her excitement to tell others about Yeshua she ran off to the village without a moments delay. The traditional interpretation of this story would have us believe she has had a “come-to-Jesus” moment and she return home to share this with others.

However, we have been learning that part of the mission for Yeshua is to bring unity to the Jewish people, meaning the northern tribes and the southern tribes are to be united under the Messiah. It is the Father’s will that His people become one, and live and worship together as a united people under the Messiah. So, yes, in a sense, this Samaritan woman has had a “come-to-Jesus” moment but not in the way we have always been taught. The conversation between Yeshua and this Samaritan woman are breaking traditional boundaries between the Jews and the Samaritans. For a Jew to talk to a Samaritan was unheard of, but for a Jewish man to speak to a Samaritan woman was of the most unlikely events imaginable!

But this is the very point of this portion of the passage. The Samaritan woman is the last person anyone would expect to come with the news of the Messiah having arrived. She returns to her village and immediately we read she “said to the men.” Remember, this is a patriarchal society, meaning the men are the heads of the house as well as forming the leadership of the village and nation. So, naturally, she runs to the leadership to make known she has found someone who just might be the Messiah. Again, the woman uses herself as the example, this man, “told me all the things that I have done.” Turns out this woman, this Samaritan woman, was the perfect fit for the work that needed to be done. This is the most unlikely person to break the news of the coming Messiah, and in the most unlikely of locations, but she is the perfect fit for doing just that!

But it is not unlike God to use the most unlikely of people to accomplish His desires. It begins with Noah living in an area that sees little rainfall being instructed to build an ark. Then we find Moses, a man who is tending the sheep of his father-in-law. He is a known stutterer and a murderer. But God uses Moses to free His people from 400+ years of slavery in Egypt. God used David, the youngest son and in the fields with his father’s flock when God called him, to be the greatest King of Israel. In the New Testament we find Peter, a fisherman called to follow the Messiah. Peter – impetuous, hot-tempered Peter will become one of the pillars of the early church. And what about Matthew? A tax collector of all things! Worse than the lowest of sinners, and yet God calls Him to follow the Messiah and help spread the good news of the Kingdom of God.

This is just the short list, there have been others to be sure. And I am certain that if we sat long enough and thought hard enough, we could find a list of people from our own history that have made such an impact as well. And what of this group right here? Who is to say that each of us might one day soon be that “most unlikely person” that God uses to turn things upside down? In fact, if we think about it, there has been someone in your life that turn things upside down. Perhaps they were the most unlikely in your story…or maybe not. The point is this, God can and will, use people, even the most unlikely of people, to accomplish His will. That person doesn’t even have to be a Christ follower for God to use them.

This is the power of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps you have heard, or even said, the phrase, “God does not call the equipped, He equips the called.” Well, this is the perfect example of sending the “most unlikely person,” to do a job that seems nearly impossible. Even God’s Son came as a lowly carpenter, ill-equipped in the eyes of humans, to teach and reveal the truth of God the Father. God will use the weak, the foolish, and the most unlikely to turn the wise of man inside out and upside down.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

Can you identify, when someone who might have been the “most unlikely” person, made an impact in your life?

How do the stories of those who are “most unlikely” impact your faith?

How might God use you as the “most unlikely” to turn things upside down?

How do you sense the Holy Spirit empowering you for a job that seems nearly impossible?

Doing God’s Work will impact the life of a Christ follower by helping to keep our eyes up and looking beyond the status quo.

2). Secondly, we must understand that Doing God’s Work will impact the life of a Christ follower when we enjoy the rewards of the hard work done by others.

We will enter into the labor of others that those who sow and those who reap, may rejoice together.

Finally, in the last half of this passage, we find out the reason Yeshua had to travel through Samaria. Remember, we looked at the Greek word for “had” and it carries the sense of being compelled. Well, we will find out why He felt compelled in the conversation Yeshua has with His disciples. When we return to the disciples, we find them trying to convince Yeshua to eat something. That was, after all, the reason they went into a nearby village, to find food. But Yeshua makes a statement that thoroughly confuses the disciples. “I have food to eat that you do not know about” rocks the disciples “back on their heels” so to speak. You can just hear the confusion in their question.

“No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?” Here is an interesting point we did not address earlier, perhaps not all of the disciples left to go find food. We simple assume that all the disciples have gone together to look for food because the word is in the plural, but that does not mean that ALL of the disciples left together, it simply means more than one, several. The question is framed in such a way that none of the disciples thought for a moment that Yeshua would take food from a Samaritan, thus the question seems to indicate that perhaps some of the disciples remained behind.

The answer Yeshua provides answers the question of why He had to travel through Samaria. “My food is to do the work of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” Yeshua had to travel through Samaria because it was the will of God, the One who sent Him, to bring unity to the Jewish people. Yeshua is the King of Israel; thus, it is His mission to bring the Northern tribes and the Southern tribes together again, in unity under the Messiah. The issue we find with the disciples is a common issue, that of being caught up in everyday needs. In this case it is food since they have been traveling for some time and it is already noon and time to eat. We can easily understand the need for food as well, it is, after all, a daily need for us.

The point here, is that Yeshua has come to Samaria to do the will of the Father – He is Doing God’s Work! To add emphasis to why He has come to Samaria, Yeshua turns to the subject of the coming harvest. In human terms, the harvest of crops is yet four months away. However, Yeshua is speaking of a spiritual harvest that is about to happen, an event in which the disciples have invested no labor. Throughout this conversation with the disciples, Yeshua moves between the earthly and the spiritual. The disciples suffer from earthly, natural hunger; they speak of earthly, natural food while Yeshua speaks of spiritual food. The disciples and farmers like them, speak of earthly natural harvest, while Yeshua is pointing to a great spiritual harvest about to come. It is hard earthly, natural work to harvest crops and others have already performed the spiritual work for the spiritual harvest that is coming now.

This is not meant to bash or belittle the disciples. We have the same needs today; we need food and water to sustain our physical life. Likewise, we need the living water that only Yeshua can provide and the spiritual food that comes from doing the work that God has prepared for us. Our spiritual food also comes through the word of God, through prayer, praise, and worship. The disciples are going to be front and center to a great soul harvest that others have worked to prepare. Yeshua, the Samaritan woman, the prophets and the Torah, all speak to the Samaritan people and have prepared them for the coming of Messiah. And now they are coming out to Yeshua, the One they will identify as the Savior of the world.

We are also similar to the Samaritan people; someone told us about the Messiah, we had to know for ourselves, and we came to Yeshua. We experienced the need for the living water provided by Yeshua, we had a hunger that only the word of God could satisfy. We asked questions, we read and studied, and finally, we too made a decision that Yeshua is the Savior of the world. And now it is time for us to be like the Samaritan woman. We need to be available, willing to listen to what Yeshua and the Father would have us doing. We need to be willing to step up and tell others about the good news of the One we know as the Savior of the world. We need to be willing to walk with others until they too find Messiah. 

We too will feel compelled to do something, go somewhere, or say something to a certain person. We must learn to be discerning when we feel so compelled. Many times, it will be the Holy Spirit giving you the nudge you need to act, move, or speak at the appropriate time. But we must be able to discern when we are acting on our own desires as well. Trust the Holy Spirit, if it is He who compels you, it will not easily stop and will certainly not disappear.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

Is God calling you to “travel” somewhere you might normally avoid, to do His will?

How do you identify with the Samaritan woman?

Are you keeping yourself available to God? If so, how? If not, what is holding you back?

What is the Holy Spirit compelling you to do today?

Doing God’s Work will impact the life of a Christ follower by helping to keep our eyes up and looking beyond the status quo.

As Christ followers, we know our lives were never meant to be easy. We have come to expect difficulty, attacks, harsh treatment, and even hate in some cases. But we have also come to realize the many benefits we have available to us in Yeshua, the Savior of the world. While we might not have all the material riches in the world, each of us have, at some point, been through times of financial struggle. And we have all learned that through it all, God met our needs in ways we never could have imagined. We have faced sickness, the death of a loved one, employment issues, strife in our relationships, and yet, through it all, we had the undying sense that Yeshua was with us the entire time.

We are also aware that there will be difficult times ahead. Yeshua has told us He would never leave us nor forsake us. He will never leave us as orphans, but rather, He will be with us, waking beside us or carrying us, when need be, but He will always be with us. As difficult as it is, we need not worry about our daily needs, for the Father already knows what those needs are and when we will need them. And true to His form, those things will arrive just as we need them. We may not be able to understand how they got there but they will be there just when we need them.

Yeshua challenged the disciples to think beyond the status quo. For them it meant looking beyond the things that separated the Jews and the Samaritans to see a group of spiritually hungry and thirsty people, ready for a soul harvest coming from an unexpected place and at an unexpected time. Doing God’s Work means we must be prepared to see beyond our status quo, beyond our comfort zones and see those we think “most unlikely” as those who are the most hungry and thirsty for God’s word and the good news of Yeshua, the Savior of the world.

I challenge you, in the coming days, weeks, and months to keep your eyes up, looking beyond the status quo, to those around you who might be the “most unlikely” and in the greatest need of Yeshua. We can never tell where we might be or what we might be doing, when Yeshua sends us someone or a group of someone’s who are indeed hungry and thirsty for the living water and the bread of life, the One we know as Yeshua, the Savior of the world. On this Day of Pentecost, learn to trust the Holy Spirit IN all things, IN all ways, and FOR all things.

We do all things for the glory of God through Christ our Lord,

Amen and amen.

Next week: John:  4:39-45

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