The Love of Jesus

The Love of Jesus

Jesus Loves the Whole World!

Well hey there everyone and welcome to China Grove First Baptist Church’s online service this morning.  We’re so excited that you have joined us for the third Sunday of the Advent season. Today we’ll be looking at the theme of love. There are four Advent themes.

There is hope, which we took a look at our first week; how to have an eternal, everlasting hope which is found in Jesus.  The hope that He offers us through salvation and through faith alone in Him.

Last week we took a look at that eternal peace, that lasting peace that starts with a peace between us and God. You know, we talked about having peace in the vertical relationship so that we can have peace in our horizontal relationships with others.  Then our inner peace so we wouldn’t worry as much and just so we would be able to go to bed at night, give everything to God and rest in peace as we gave Him the burdens that we carry each and every day.

Today we’ll be looking at love and then next week will be looking at joy and then on Christmas Eve we would invite you to come and be a part of our Christmas Eve service on December the 24th at 6:00 PM.  It will be a candlelight service and we’ll observe the Lord’s Supper during that service as well. But we will be focusing on the Christ candle and the story of Christmas. So, we hope to see you there on December the 24th at 6:00 PM for our Christmas Eve service.

You know love can be expressed in a lot of different ways and I want you to think about how you expressed love for the things that you love. You may love pizza.  I don’t know how many of you love pizza. I like pizza. Pizza is one of my favorite foods. My kids will eat pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In fact, just about every day, TJ my son wakes up and when I say, “what do you want for breakfast” he says, “well, I want pizza.” Can’t have pizza. Why not? I said it’s because you can’t have pizza for breakfast.  They make breakfast pizza. I said no, they don’t it. It says breakfast pizza, but it’s not. But he loves it and he eats it. If you maybe you love your spouse, I love Jennifer and I do things that express my love like I fold the laundry, usually every Friday. You know it’s my day off and I’ll fold the laundry. I’ll get all caught up. I’ll do some if it needs to be done.  I’ll clean the dishes.  I cook. I love to cook for my family, and so I cook for them.  Every night and when Jennifer cooks, it’s usually KFC or Bojangles because I forget to bring Bojangles.  You can go back and look at a previous sermon for that story, but we love things.  We love a lot of things and we express our love in a lot of different ways.  The Greek people had, well, they may have had a lot of words for love, but there were four main words.  And I’m not going to share with you the Greek pronunciation, but I’m just going to tell you what they are.

The first one was a family love. This was you’re going to love the people in your family no matter what.  It doesn’t matter if they look like you, it doesn’t matter if they talk like you, although there in your family so they will. It doesn’t matter if they share the same interest as you, you’re going to love him because they’re your blood. They always said old saying goes blood is thicker than water. You know me and my brother can be at odds and we can be fussing and fighting. We can not be speaking to each other, but if somebody came against him, we are united and we will fight that person because we have this family love and blood is thicker than water.

The next one is a romantic love and just as it sounds, this is the love between spouses. This it’s a sexual kind of love that the Greeks are speaking of. You are completely preoccupied with your significant other.

Then you have a friendship, love, or a brotherly love.  That word is used quite often in the Bible and this love comes from a bond over similar interest.  You know Super Bowl is going to be coming up, Lord willing, and in a few months and you know it’s not that we like the people we gather around, but we all love football and so we’re bonded together over football. And so we have that brotherly love that connection over stuff.  We wouldn’t have that relationships with those people if it wasn’t for that stuff.  That’s the kind of brotherly love that the Greeks are talking about it. We are connected because of our love for things, not each other.

Now the 4th one is the highest level of love. It was used very rarely in the Greek culture because it was perceived to be unattainable or unable to be expressed in any measurable way by people. And it’s the word that you may be familiar with. It’s agape love.  Jesus says in John 15:13 that “there is no greater agape, there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.”  You see, agape is this love that is unconcerned about your own life, your own self, your own interest, and it is totally concerned about the interest of others and the greater good of others. Agape is not just born out of our emotions.  It’s not born from our familiarity with things or an attraction, but the will and choice.  The agape is a choice.  We have to choose to love others in this high level of unconditional love. It is a love that requires faithfulness. It requires commitment. It requires sacrifice without accepting anything in return. Listen if you express your selfless love, this agape love, you are doing so knowing you will get nothing in return.  You’re not asking for anything in return. You don’t expect to get anything in return, you are just showing your unconditional love.  Oftentimes agape requires actions.

For me, the best way I can describe it is how I love my children. You know, I’m not sure I knew what agape love was until I became a father. Because I’m always going to love my daughter. I’m always going to love my son no matter what they do. There’s nothing that’s going to separate my love for them. It’s unconditional. The things I do for them is out of my love for them and they don’t have to do anything in return.  A thank you would be nice every once in a while, when I cook them breakfast, but they don’t have to say it. I don’t expect them to do it. I do it because I love them.

You know, Jesus also says in Matthew 22:37-39 that you need to love God, agape, and you need to love God and your neighbors. In Matthew 5:43-46, Jesus says, love agape, love our enemies.  And in John Chapter 4 Jesus gives us a really good example of this kind of love.  In John Chapter 4, we see how Jesus expresses the agape love because He goes somewhere He should not go. He talks to someone He should not talk to. And He does something that only He can do. And it’s all because He loved this person. We’re going to see how an encounter with a woman at a well, an outcast, a woman of reputation, so to speak, experiences the unconditional agape love of Jesus and it changes her life.  But not just her life, but the life of an entire village.

Listen, if you want to change the world, then you need to show the world love. And that’s what Jesus does. If you want the world to see Jesus, then you need to follow what Jesus tells us is that they will know us by our love for each other. You know when the great persecution was taking place early in the 1st and 2nd centuries, people were coming to Christ in droves, even though it was costing them their life. And you wanna know why? Because the Christians were showing agape love like nobody else in the world. They were showing love to those who were persecuting them. They were showing love to people who the world the government had forgotten about.  And in spite of all the persecution and all the dangers, that love is attractive and it changes people’s lives, and so we’re going to take a look at these verses in John 4:1-42 is the whole story.

I’d encourage you to read it on your own. We’re going to read some of it as we go through this, but the first thing we see is that Jesus loved this woman enough to go to where she was at.  He loved her enough to go to where she was at in verse 4.  In John Chapter 4:4, “now it was necessary for Him to go through Samaria.” Now we’re going to stop there, because that’s an important part of the story, and that word necessary is an extremely important part of the story, because there’s not a Jewish man living during this day and age that had to go through Samaria.  Now for you and I it makes sense, because if you’re going from the South to the North, the straight line takes you right through Samaria. That’s the quickest way, and if you’re a guy you understand this because if you’re like, well, not me,’cause I don’t drive, but my wife drives to the beach. And if you’re like her, she wants to be able to pull in on two wheels at the hotel, jump out of the car and say I made it in 2 hours and 42 minutes!  She wants the fastest way.

Now, so it makes sense to us, but for Jesus and the disciples, going a straight up through Samaria doesn’t make sense. Because if you’re Jewish, you don’t go into Samaria because they are mixed-race people. They’re a mixed-ethnic group. The Jewish people look down on them because if you go all the way back in history around the time of the exile, you know when we looked at Nehemiah, so around the time of the exile, the Jewish people intermarried with some other people, and they became known as Samaritans. They were seen as not purely Jewish, they couldn’t worship in the temple. They had their own mountain to worship on, which we’ll see in a minute and Jewish people ignored them at all costs. They stayed away from. They want to have nothing to do with them because they were lesser than they were.

So what is normally a three day trip straight through.  They would make a five day trip in order to avoid these people. But Jesus loved these people and He loved this woman. Remember, Jesus knows there’s going to be a woman there because he’s all-knowing.  Jesus loved her enough to break down the cultural boundaries and to break down the racial boundaries.  He says I don’t care, if it’s the right thing to do.  I’m Jesus.  I’m the Son of God. They need to hear the gospel. I’m going to go take it to them because I love them.

Now I want you to keep that in your mind when we get to the conclusion you’re going to see how it ties into the Gospel and the things that Jesus has been teaching throughout the Gospel of John. And so He goes through Samaria. And here’s what it says. Verse 5.  “So He came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near a piece of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.  Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired by the journey, set down by the well. And it was about noon.” So it’s middle of the day. It’s hot.  Verse 7.  “A Samaritan woman came to draw water and Jesus told her, ‘please give me a drink.’ The disciples had gone off into the town to buy food now.”

Just put yourself in this situation. It’s the middle of the day. Jesus is by Himself sitting at a well. Here comes a Samaritan woman.  It is culturally irresponsible. It is culturally wrong for Him to talk to her.  One, she’s a woman if she’s by herself.  Two, she’s a Samaritan woman.  But Jesus has a great plan and He’s meeting her where she is. He loves her because she’s someone who needs to hear the Gospel and so He asked her a simple question He says, can you just give me a drink of water? And I love this. Have you ever struggled sharing the Gospel? You know you have these times in your life, these divine appointments, and you can just feel it in your gut that you have been put in this place with this person and you can feel the Holy Spirit just wanting you to share the Gospel, but you don’t know how to start.

Well, Jesus just ask her for a drink of water. He didn’t jump into the Gospel. He didn’t jump in and Bible beat the person.  He just said, hey, let’s have a conversation. Let’s build a relationship. Let me get to know you a little bit. And let’s start with, “would you please get Me a drink of water” and He’s going to use that one question to have a conversation that is going to change this woman’s life.

Verse 9.  “The Samaritan woman asked Him ‘how can You, a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?’” She doesn’t understand it because Jews do not have anything to do with the Samaritans.  “And Jesus answered, if you knew the gift of God and if you knew who it is who is saying to you, ‘please give me a drink,’ you would have been the one to ask Him and He would have given you living water.  Verse 11.  “The woman told Him, sir, You do not have a bucket, and the well is deep. Where are You going to get this living water?  You’re not greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it along with his sons, and his flock are You?”

And I love this conversation. Jesus goes, you know, if you knew the gift of God and if you knew who you were talking to, which is the Son of God, then you would ask Me for a drink of water because I can give you living water. I can give you something where you’re never going to thirst again. That’s what He says in verse 13.  He goes “everyone who drinks this water from the well will become thirsty.”  Verse 14.  “But whoever drinks the water that I will give him will never become thirsty again. That water that I will give him will become a well of water for him, springing up to eternal life.  And she says, Sir, give me this water.”  Can you see her excitement, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water from this well.”  So she thinks that he has some kind of secret potion where if she drinks this water, she’ll never have to get thirsty again.   That she’ll never have to come to the well.  Man, this is an odd encounter, isn’t it?

It does not seem strange to you?  Jesus, Samaritan woman. Does it not seem strange that she has carried a large bucket on her head, maybe on her head, in the middle of the day that she’s going to draw water in the middle of the day.  That she’s going to carry that water back to her house in the middle of the day? That’s a whole lot of work when it’s really hot.  You see most of the women would have come to the well, first thing in the morning, when it’s cool.  They would have done all this work early. So why is it that she is there by herself?  She’s an outcast. Not only is she a Samaritan and she’s a Samaritan woman, but she’s an outcast among her own people.  She doesn’t want to have to come to this well every day because it’s hot and it’s a lot of work and we’re going to see why she’s an outcast in just a minute. But she has this idea that Jesus has something for her that will make her life easier. She doesn’t get that Jesus is talking about something that’s spiritual.  And then Jesus loved her enough to confront her about her sins.

You know she’s asked the question, “how can I have this living water?” And while she’s lowering the bucket Jesus continues the conversation.  In verse 16 He says, hey go call your husband and come back here.  And you’re like, where does that fit? Her husband? You’re talking about living water and now You want to talk to my husband?  Who is this guy?

Verse 17, the woman goes, “Well I don’t have a husband” and here it is. It’s going to go from hey, give me a drink, if you knew who you were talking to, you would ask Me to give you a drink. Oh I’m offering you something eternal.  I’m offering you something, living water where you’re never going to thirst again. And here’s this guy sitting here, she doesn’t know who He is, and He says where’s your husband? She goes. I don’t have a husband and then Jesus drops like the bomb own her because He loves her enough to confront her about her sin.

And here’s what He says. “You’re quite right in saying that you don’t have a husband because you have had five husbands and the man that you are now living with is not your husband. What you have said is true.”  Can you see her mouth? I put yourself in that time. Sitting kind of off to the side. Can you not see the look on her face?  Who is this guy? This is how I see it. She’s lowering the bucket down Jesus is asking and then he says this and she just drops the rope and the bucket crashes ’cause she is shocked.  How could He know this?  It’s like “you been talking to my girlfriends?” Did Sally Sue tell you about my life? How do you know this?  She is shocked and amazed and simultaneously I think there’s this light bulb that clicks because in verse 19 she says, “Sir, I see that you are a Prophet.” No joke, He’s a Prophet.  But He’s so much more than a Prophet, but see, like in typical fashion, she tries to deflect. She doesn’t want to talk about her sin, even though He’s lovingly confronted her. She doesn’t want to talk about. Instead, she talks about one of the most controversial topics of the day.   Worship.  She says, well where should we worship the Jews worship in Jerusalem? We worship here on this mountain. Where should we worship? And Jesus says, listen, it doesn’t matter where you worship or how you worship. It just matters Who you worship.

And this is a little side note of the message, because Jesus says, “believe me there is coming a time when you will worship the Father, neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. Yet a time is coming and now has come when the true worshippers will worship in spirit and truth.  For those are the kinds of worshippers the Father seeks.”

You see, Jesus wants to tell her, it doesn’t matter if you worship on this mountain, it doesn’t matter if you worship in the temple, it doesn’t matter where you worship, but your worship has to be truthful. It has to be in spirit and it has to be truth and it just has to be focused on the Father.

You know, I think we’ve learned a very valuable lesson about this during the months of COVID, have we not?  The church, through the months of COVID, starting back in March, has been able to worship online. The church has gathered together corporately through the blessings of the internet. They’ve been able to gather outside in parks and in parking lots, and they’ve been able to worship and it’s still been worship.  It’s still been church.  We’ve been able to go into family life centers and some people back into sanctuaries, but none of it matters because it’s been focused on Jesus.  And that is such an important lesson for us to learn during our COVID experience, that we can worship anywhere.

And that is what He’s trying to teach her in this lesson. He’s like, well, first of all, it doesn’t matter where you worship, it matters Who you worship. And really, if you want to read into it a little bit, what He’s saying is you don’t worship the Father at all.  Because your sins have separated you from the Father.  I mean, that’s what He’s driving at. That’s what He’s getting at.  You know, missions and the spreading of the Gospel exists because people aren’t worshiping God.  I’ve said that before and it’s so true, and that’s what He’s doing. He loves her enough to go to her where she’s at. He loves her enough to confront her about her sins. Do you love your neighbors enough to call them and say, hey, I love you man, but what you’re doing in your life is sinful.  Those are hard conversations. Do you love your friends enough to sit down and say you need to stop ’cause it’s not honoring God.  Do you love the world enough to go to places like Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Charlotte, Africa, Asia, Ecuador, Honduras, Romania, Tanzania.  Do you love those people enough to go?

I mean, we love them enough to give and giving is important and we love them enough to pray. But do you love them enough to go?  Do you love them enough to confront them about their sins?  Jesus is not hostile and He’s not judgmental.  He just simply says the lifestyle you’re living is not right.  Let Me tell you how to fix it.

You see, if you just go to your friends and you say what you’re doing is wrong and you don’t tell ’em how to fix it, that’s not helpful.  You gotta show him Jesus by the way you live your life. You gotta tell them about Jesus by telling your story about how Jesus changed you. You gotta tell them about this little baby that was born in Bethlehem who lived His life for three years and then died on the old rugged cross and then was resurrected three days later for you and for me.  That’s agape, love. Do you love enough to knock on your neighbor’s door?  Do you love enough to go to the office next to you?

Jesus loved her enough to confront her about her sins and then He loved her enough to tell her the truth.  And then we continue the story in verse 25 after He talks about, you know, all that the Lord seeks as worshippers who focus on God. Verse 25 “The woman told Him, I know that the Anointed One, Messiah is coming.” That’s very important. We’ll get into that next week. “The Anointed One, the Messiah, is coming, who is being called the Messiah.  When that person comes, He will explain everything.”

Now do you see it?  She’s already searching for it.  She knows she’s already expecting a Savior. She’s already looking for it. She wants to clean up the mess in her life, but she doesn’t know how.  He’s the Messiah.  He’s going to come. And He’s going to explain it. And He’s going to fix it. And He’s going to save me from my sense.  And then the greatest 2 words that have ever been uttered to this woman in her life. Jesus looks at her and says “Egō Eimi”, I AM. Whew!

Now, if you’ve read your Old Testament in which she probably knew this story, well, it goes back to when Moses asked God for His Name and God looked at Moses and said, you tell them, “I AM send you.”  And now Jesus is standing before this woman, and he says, “I AM.”

He’s God.  He’s the Anointed One. He’s the Messiah, and He’s here and He’s explaining everything to her. He says I AM the one who is speaking to you.  I love that.  I love that Jesus loved her enough to go where she was. He didn’t avoid her like the plague. He went to her because she needed to be saved from her sin.  Listen when God’s grace and mercy collide with our shame and guilt, it’s going to be messy, but it’s going to be so beautiful because in that moment when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, His grace and His mercy cleanses us. See, Jesus knows everything she did and Jesus knows everything that we do. The things that you do that you don’t think anybody knows about, God knows.  Jesus knows.   The things you do in the darkness or in the secret, the things that you try to hide from other people, God knows and God wants to save you. He doesn’t want to condemn you. He doesn’t want to send you to hell. He wants to save you from that sin.  He wants to save you by His grace and His mercy. He wants to save you from your guilt.  And that is agape love.

And so the story continues. The disciples come back, and there’s a conversation that He has with the disciples, which is really important. And I encourage you to read that. But while that conversation is going on, she runs away.  She goes back to the town.

Now, I believe, based on her response, she was saved at that well.  You see, He loved her enough to go where she was. He loved her enough to confront her of her sins and tell her the truth about Salvation. She responded by loving Him enough to tell everybody in the town.  Everybody in the town. She goes back to the town and she’s running around and she says in verse 39 “many of the Samaritans of that town believed in Jesus because the woman had testified that He told me everything I had ever done.”

Now, can you imagine this the woman of ill repute, with a bad reputation, runs back to the town she goes, “y’all gotta come to the well. I just met a guy who told me about everything I did” and you’re like, hey, you know everybody knows what you do.  But she’s like no, no, no this guys a prophet. And actually, He’s not a prophet, He’s the Son of God. He is I AM!  The I AM is here. The whole village, did you see it? Many in the village were saved because Jesus loved those people enough to go to them.  He sacrificed His own reputation.  He sacrificed a lot, Jesus made a lot of sacrifices in His life and in His death, He sacrificed once and for all, for our sins because He has agape love.

Verse 40.  “So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they asked Him to stay with them.”  Oh, I love that. Listen when you meet Jesus, you’re going to want Him to stay.  You’re not going to want to get rid of Him. “And He stayed for two days and many more believed because of what He said.”  And verse 42.  “They kept telling the woman it is no longer because of what you said that we believe, because we now have heard Him ourselves and we know that He really is the Savior of the world.”

The impact of this one conversation changed the lives of an entire village. The people that impact the church in the world the most are people who love God and do whatever it takes to love people.  Even those you think are unlovable.  Now I think what is so cool about this story in Chapter 4 is that it comes right after Chapter 3. I don’t want you to miss this.  Chapter 4 comes right after Chapter 3 and in chapter 3, God uttered the words “For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son that whoever would believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”  Make no mistake, it is not a coincidence that right after Jesus uttered those words, He went to Samaria.  Because they are part of the world.

Christianity is not just for white, English-speaking Americans.  Because if you read Revelation, there’s this beautiful scene where every nation, tribe, and tongue will be gathered around the throne of Jesus and they will be worshiping.  They will be worshipping.  So do you love the world enough to take Jesus message to them?  Imagine how many lives are church could change.  Imagine how many lives Jesus could change through our church if we would just follow His example of agape love.

This woman came to the well on this day to quench her physical thirst and she left with a spiritual quenching of her spiritual hunger because she had met the Son of God.  Now we don’t know about the husband situation or how that played out.  But again, I believe that her life was changed.  When you meet Jesus, He’ll change your life.  Are you ready for Him to change your life?  Are you ready to accept Him as your Lord and Savior?  Are you ready to love the world enough to tell them how He is changed your life.

Let’s pray.  Father, I thank You so much for the Word of God.  I thank You for inspiring these writers to write in their own way and explain the things that You wanted them to explain so that we could understand.  Father, we don’t have You to sit down with face to face, but we have Your Word and Your Word from Genesis to Revelation is all about how God loved the world.  God does not desire for anyone to perish. God does not send anyone to hell. It is our own choices that do that. But when we choose to follow Jesus, when our eyes are open to that truth, and when God opens our heart and draws us to Him and we choose to follow Him, our lives will be changed forever because of agape love.  I pray that as a church and as people who are listening today, if you’re a Christian, that you would commit your life to a sacrificial life of loving others more than you love yourself.  And if there’s someone watching who’s never made a decision to follow You, Father, let him do it today. Let them pray and say, just cry out to You asking for forgiveness of their sins and committing their life to saying I’m going to follow Jesus.  Change hearts and minds through Your Word.  We ask this in Jesus Name Amen and Amen.