You’ve been there haven’t you? You may be there right now. You might be at the place where you know someone who is lost, or you know someone needs to reach out. It may be that co-worker you’ve been just inches away from bringing up Jesus to. It may be a friend or a family member that you are so close to mentioning Jesus to. You might even find yourself saying… “I am not a minister, I have not had the training to be able to have a Bible study with someone.” “I just do not know what I could say that might convict someone, that might change someone’s mind.” “It is so hard to memorize Scripture and have all those references handy.” “I think it would just be best if I let someone more qualified be evangelistic for me.” The question I have today is… what if that was the same mindset the person who studied with you or I had when we were lost?
This is a question you may not want to hear today, but it is the question that needs to be asked, needs to be examined, and needs to be answered in every single one of our lives. What if the person who brought us to Christ had the same evangelistic mindset that we have now? Where might we be as a result of that? Any honest evangelist would tell you, and Scripture tells all of us that it is not up to the sower, planter, or waterer to bring the increase. It is not up to us to come up with anything new, anything revolutionary, or anything creative to manipulate someone to obey the Gospel.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago Paul’s reminder in 1 Corinthians 1:17, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.” When we begin to think that we hold the power within us to come up with some new fancy approach to soul winning that is better than what the first century used, we may be guilty of allowing the cross of Christ to be made of no effect. If we are going to TRULY win souls for Christ, we must hang our egos at the door and submit ourselves to the gospel and the good news that it bears. When we think that our role in a study or conversation is more important than the role of the cross of our Lord, then we are gravely mistaken.
Numerous sermons, articles, devotionals, and applications have been made about the account of the Samaritan woman recorded in John 4. Most of these lessons have been from the perspective of either the Samaritan woman or from Jesus’. Today I want to take a different approach to this passage and talk about it from the perspective of the rest of the Samaritans primarily found in John 4:39-42. I want us all to imagine we are one of the Samaritans that the woman ran to tell about Jesus. How would we have responded? Here is a woman who had been married to five men, and had at least one other partner according to verse 18. She’s rambling on about some Jew who you, as a Samaritan, were supposed to HATE. How would you respond? How did they respond?
“And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did,’” John 4:39. We can see that many of them believed her because of the testimony she had to bring about Jesus. There is no debating and no doubting that the Samaritan woman was pure in heart and pure in motive when telling her neighbors and family members about Jesus. However, we can find that this was not the BEST approach she could have used. The passage continues to say, “So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world,’” John 4:40-42.
When we decide to get out of the Gospel’s way and out of Jesus’ way in evangelism and soul winning, we will have people who believe NOT BECAUSE OF US but because they have seen and heard Jesus for themselves! The Samaritan woman was successful in convicting and convincing SOME of the village, and so will we when we try to go about it with wisdom of our own words. When we decide to SHOW THEM CHRIST however, many more will believe because the cross of Christ and the good news of the Gospel. It all depends on whether we want to be given the credit of convincing SOME of the village, or whether we are willing to allow Jesus to convince MOST of the village.
So whether you have been through immense study in evangelizing to others or not, all of us can be comfortable knowing that it is only up to us to proclaim, to preach, and to teach. When it comes to our neighbor, co-worker, friend, family member, classmate, or teammate… All we are asked to do is to show them Christ and show them His word. He will do the rest.
– Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism