WOMAN AT THE WELL

BY:  TROY NICHOLS

INTRODUCTION

PREREQUISITES TO RECEIVING LIVING WATER

7 QUESTIONS EVERY PASTOR NEEDS TO ASK THEIR STAFF

THERE ARE 9 THINGS THAT A PASTOR IS RESPONSIBLE FOR TO THEIR LEADERSHIP:

THERE ARE TWO THINGS THAT THE PASTOR SHOULD EXPECT AND REQUIRE OF THEIR LEADERSHIP.

NOTE THE 10 TYPES OF PEOPLE BELOW THAT ARE VALUABLE TO A PASTOR:

NOTE THE 3 AREAS BELOW, WHICH PASTORS LOOK AT AND EVALUATE TO DETERMINE YOUR VALUE:

WHERE ARE YOU HEADED?

THERE IS A WAY WHICH SEEMETH RIGHT UNTO A MAN

HYPOCRISY IN THE CHURCH

GIVE ME

THERE’S A TIME TO SOW

UNLOVED AND UNWANTED

LEAH’S DILEMMA – SHE WAS LOVED LESS THAN RACHEL

THE LONELINESS AND HURT OF LEAH DID NOT GO UNNOTICED:

GOD KNEW WHAT LEAH WAS GOING THROUGH AND PROVIDED COMFORT:

NOTE LEAH’S PROGRESSIVE TRANSFORMATION IN THE NAMES OF HER CHILDREN:

WHAT IS IT THAT YOU ARE STRUGGLING WITH IN THIS HOUR?

A WOMAN IN SEARCH OF LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE

JESUS KNOWS YOUR PAIN AND SORROWS

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS AND SEE IF YOU CAN RELATE TO ANY OF THEM:

GOD MOVES SLOWLY IN OUR LIVES FOR FOUR REASONS:

INTRODUCTION

John 4:1-4 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.  And he must needs go through Samaria.

  • Note that Jesus left Judaea to go to Galilee, but went through Samaria.  I think it imperative to point out that he didn’t have to go through Samaria to get to Galilee because there was another road that would have led him there also.  However this other road was way OUT OF THE WAY.
  • The Jews used this other road, not for convenience but because they hated the Samaritans.  They hated them for the following reasons.  One, they were a mixed breed.  Two, they built a rival Temple upon Mt Gerizim to stand in competition with the Temple in Jerusalem.  Three, they only accepted the first five books of the bible as the Word of God.  And so, because there was such hatred and animosity, no Jew would consider walking through Samaria for fear of confrontation.
  • The principle here is simple, many will go miles out of the way just to keep from running into or confronting someone they don’t like.  We can see this principle in local assemblies.  Simply being, you come in and see someone you don’t like and you turn and go the long way around to your seat.
  • Jesus being our example showed us that he didn’t let the feelings between people keep him from obeying his Father.  He wasn’t bound to any geographic location (denomination, organization, etc). 
  • I think it interesting to point out that Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 10:5 not to go into any cities of the Samaritans and here in John 4:4, we see him doing something he told his disciples not to do.  The principle being, don’t get hung up with a word that was spoken in the past, for that was a word for that season. 
  • It wasn’t time to go to the Samaritans’ when Jesus gave that word to his disciples.  There is a season in which the Lord prepares the hearts of those you will later be sent to.  So, if he says to stay away from someone at this time, don’t push yourself on them, for that would be detrimental to both parties involved.  I am reminded here of Isa 50:4 which reads, “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.”              

John 4:5-8 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.  There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.  (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)

  • I think it imperative to point out in principle that Jesus was tired from his journey and wasn’t looking to minister as much as he was looking for something to drink.  His natural need led him to a place where he was sent to meet the spiritual need of another. 
  • Have you ever set out to eat at a certain restaurant and end up running into someone that needed ministering to?  Have you ever set out to go to a certain store and end up running into someone that needed ministering to?  Have you ever set out to go to church to get fed and end up running into someone that needed ministering to?  Have you ever gone on vacation to relax and end up running into someone that needed ministering to?  It is at these times, we witness the Lord directing our footsteps.
  • This woman came to the well at the sixth hour (12 noon).  It was in the hottest part of the day.  No women went to the well at this time; they went either at 6 in the morning or 6 in the evening when it was cooler.  This lets us see that this woman was in principle, “a social leper (outcast – one that is shunned)”.  Simply being, she had a bad reputation in that she had been married five times and was now living with the sixth man as can be seen in verses 17-18. 
  • This woman knew she was the talk of the town and would not be welcome among the other women so she waited until they were gone to come to the well.  In fact, she came at the hottest part of the day to assure no one would be there.
  • Life has a way of painting a picture on ones face.  Simply being, one who has lived a rough life will age quicker than one who has lived an easy life.  With this insight, can you picture with me this woman’s countenance?  She was a failure as far as marriage was concerned.  In fact she gave up on marriage and switched to just living together with the sixth man that came into her life.  She probably had a hard, bitter countenance.  She was probably an edgy, angry, coldhearted, and hardhearted individual.  She had been through so many failures in her life that she has probably concluded that life has nothing good to offer her.
  • Note in verse 7 that Jesus saith unto her and in verse 9, then saith the woman of Samaria unto him.  According to custom, women would not speak or look at a stranger.  In this type scenario, they would pull their veil around them and look the other way.  So, in all reality, she IGNORED (refused to pay attention, disregarded) Jesus.
  • In this case, we see it was the custom of the land that led this woman to ignore Jesus.  What is it in your life that is causing you to ignore Jesus when he comes in your midst?
  • In verse 7, Jesus breaks the silence.  She may have ignored him, but he wasn’t about to ignore her and he is our example.  There is a good principle here for leadership.  Simply being, the ones that seem to ignore you many times could be the very ones that the Lord has prepared for you to minister Living Water to them and thereby set them free.

John 4:9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

  • Now that Jesus breaks the silence, the woman begins to share her heart.  The first thing she is puzzled about is why Jesus being a Jew is asking her (a Samaritan) for a drink. 
  • Note it says the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans, it doesn’t say that the Samaritans have no dealings with the Jews.  In that the woman responded to Jesus, she speaks in principle of those that want a better life but have been intentionally neglected and separated from the very ones that have the ability to bring life to them.

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

  • The first thing I want to point out here is the fact that this woman had no idea who she was talking to.  She put Jesus in a class with the rest of the Jews and therefore assumed he was just like the rest of them.  Have you ever heard someone say, “I will never set foot in a church again?”  Does this mean that every church is bad?  I don’t think so!  However, they are branded as such.  And, when one comes into a true local assembly, many times they can’t see it due to the preconceived ideas they came in the door with.
  • Note the two part statement of Jesus: 1) If you knew the gift of God.  2) If you knew who you were talking to.  The gift of God is the Son of God and it was the Son of God she was talking to.  The word gift implies that it is freely given; it is not earned.  Gods’ gift (Eternal life) was wrapped in the flesh of the Son of Man.  “For in him (Christ) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col 2:9)
  • I am reminded here of Matt 10:41-42 which reads, “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.  And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”  Note the descent here – “a prophet,” “a righteous man,” “a little one;” signifying that however low we come down in our services to those that are Christ’s, all that is done for His name sake shall be rewarded.
  • A cup of water in the eastern countries was not a matter of small worth. In India, the Hindus go sometimes a great way to fetch it, and then boil it that it may do the less hurt to travelers when they are hot; and, after that, they stand from morning to night in some great road, and offer it, in honor of their god, to be drunk by all passengers. This necessary work of charity, in these hot countries, seems to have been practiced by the more pious and humane Jews; and our Lord assures them that, if they do this in his name, they shall not lose their reward.  The rabbis have a similar saying: “He that gives food to one that studies in the law, God will bless him in this world, and give him a lot in the world to come.

Principle:  How you receive me, as a Pastor will determine what you receive from me and because of me. 

  • If you just receive me as a man, you will not be able to receive from the Spirit of the Son that dwells in me.  However, if you receive me as a Pastor of God, set by God, and anointed of God, you will receive a Pastors reward.  Selah 
  • Jesus was both Son of Man and Son of God.  More knew him as Son of Man than Son of God.  The same holds true in our day.

Eph 4:8-13 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.  (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

  • Note the five gifts above.  We have learned that the gift of God is the Son of God.  Gal 4:6 says, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”
  • With this insight, we can say as our Lord hath said, if thou knewest the gift of God and who it is that saith to thee, give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. John 6:44 says, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
  • Any man could come to Jesus and know him as Son of Man, but only those drawn by the Father could come to Jesus and know him as the Son of God.  Even so, any man can come to me and know me as Son of Man, but only those drawn by the Father will come to me and know me as a Son of God, or simply a gift of God.  We can see this truth in the scriptures below.

Matt 16:13-19 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

PREREQUISITES TO RECEIVING LIVING WATER

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

  • The first thing one must do before receiving Living Water is to have a revelation of Jesus Christ who is the source of Living Water.  And one can only receive such a revelation from the Father as can be seen in Matt 16:16-17 where it reads, “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”
  • I think it interesting to point out the progression of revelation in this context.  In verse nine the woman just casually responded with a reply to Jesus.  In verse 11, she calls Jesus sir.  In verse 19 she perceives Jesus to be a prophet.  In verse 26, Jesus reveals himself to her as Christ the Messiah.

John 4:15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

  • Man has gone overboard with salvation and made it as though one can just come and pray a sinner’s prayer and be saved.  However, there are many who have prayed what we call the sinner’s prayer and leave church unchanged and untouched.  The reason being, you can’t be saved unless the spirit of God draws you (John 6:44).
  • So, the woman hears about Living Water from the preacher or Pastor (being Jesus) and then says, “Sir, give me this water.”  Well, that sounds nice enough and polite enough.  However, the Lord doesn’t just give her what she wants, when she wants it.
  • The first thing he does is sends her to get her husband in verse 16.  The truth being, Jesus knew that she didn’t have a husband according to verse 17.  He therefore is dealing with sin in her life before giving her Living Water. 
  • Doesn’t this woman sound like so many in the church today?  Simply being, they want the blessing without giving up sin.  I could say it another way, there are people in local assemblies that know they are walking contrary to God’s Word, doing things they know the Lord would not approve of and yet still expect God to fill them with His Glory and Anointing upon their request.
  • After he deals with her sin, he then deals with hypocrisy in her so-called, “make believe spiritual life.”  We can see this in verse 22 where he said, “ye worship ye know not what.”  I am reminded of Matt 15:7-8 which reads, “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart (affections, desires, passions, purposes, will) is far from me.”
  • Finally, after dealing with the sin in her life and hypocrisy in her spiritual life, we see in verse 28 that she leaves her water pot behind, showing us that she was now in a position to receive Living Water.

I am sure all that hear this message or read these notes will say as the woman, “Give me this water.”  However, before we can receive this Living Water, we must seek to see if there are some things that have to be dealt with in our lives as an individual as well as a local church.  With that said, let’s take inventory as an individual first.

1)  Is there something (bad attitudes, habit, unforgiveness, strife, bitterness, lust, pornography, immorality, hypocrisy, hatred, anger, slanderer, idolatry, etc) in your life that you know the Lord would not approve of?

2)  Do you have any of these problems and simply ignore them while attempting to worship God and expecting him to fill you with his glory and anointing and give you of his Living Water?

Now that we have taken inventory as an individual, it is now time to take inventory as a local church.  And in doing so, let’s see if there are some areas that need to be dealt with prior to us receiving the Living Water we so desire as a local assembly.

1)  Are we on time for service?  Do we start service when we advertise we start?  Eccl 3:1-8 says of time, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” 

  • The Lord is a stickler for time.  Col 4:5 says, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.”  The word “redeem” simply means to rescue from loss or to recover from the power of another. 
  • Have you ever had someone hold you up from being on time somewhere?  Did it upset you?  If you can receive it, they were stealing YOUR TIME
  • Have you ever been late for work and yet got paid at the end of the week like you were on time?  If you can receive it, you stole that time from your employer for your own benefit.
  • On the other hand, I am amazed at the Christians that will rush to be on time for their job but yet drag in late for church.  When we advertise a time for a service, that time belongs to the Lord and neither you nor I have a right to STEAL FROM THAT TIME.  I know that’s TIGHT, but it’s RIGHT!   

2)  Do we support our church with our finances?  Matt 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  A treasure is something that you regard as precious and value highly.

  • When you go out to eat, does it shock you when the waitress brings you a check?  Do you squirm in your seat when the waitress brings your ticket?  Do you look to your wife and say; every time we come to this restaurant they want our money?  No it isn’t a shock, no you don’t squirm and no you don’t fuss because the waitress wants money from you every time; because you expect to pay for what you are served when you go. 
  • If that isn’t enough, you give the one serving you a TIP on top of that.  You realize that when you pay for what you were served, you make it possible for that restaurant owner to stay in business, pay their employers, pay their utilities, and buy the necessary equipment needed to cook, as well as pay for the mortgage.
  • I am pressed to ask the question now.  What is more valuable in the sight of God, food for your flesh or food for your soul?  The answer is in John 6:27 where it reads, “Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” 
  • 1 Tim 5:17-18 says, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.  For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward.”
  • Rom 15:27 says, “It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty (obligation) is also to minister unto them in carnal things.”
  • With this insight, lets refer back to the analogy of the restaurant and the waitress.  The word makes it plain that the one that serves you spiritual food is worthy of double honor.  The word makes it plain that you are obligated to bless the one that serves you spiritual food with your material blessings (finances, etc). 
  • If you squirm and fuss every time we mention tithes and offerings, I will know your heart isn’t here.  Those whose heart is in this local ministry will prove it by investing their treasures (finances, gifts, talents, time, etc) here.
  • I don’t know if you realize it, but you show double honor to the waitress by paying the bill (playing a role in paying her salary), PLUS you give a tip on top of the salary to them personally.  How much more deserving is the one that serves you spiritual food?  Simply being, when you participate in giving of tithes and offerings, you are playing a role in supporting your Pastor, overhead as well as other ministries.  However, if your Pastor serves you well and speaks a word into you that changes your life for the better, you would be perfectly in order to give them a TIP (an added blessing). 
  • Have you ever walked up and gave your waitress a tip in person?  I purpose to teach and practice an open altar wherein you can come and give a gift to the speaker while they are speaking if they touch your life and the Holy Spirit so prompts you to do (grace to give – divine influence upon the heart).  For in doing, we show our appreciation to them for the time they spent with the Lord in the word to bring us something good to eat and thereby count them worthy of double honor.        

3)  Are we concerned with our church facility and grounds as to its appearance and cleanliness?  Deut 23:12-14 says, “Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad: And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee: For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

  • I want to give you both natural and spiritual applications from this text.  First, you will note that there was a place OUTSIDE the camp for the waste.  They were to dig a hole for their waste and cover it.   If I were to use this as a natural principle in the local assembly, I would say there is a place outside the sanctuary and classrooms for your WASTE.  It is called a WASTE BASKET or GARBAGE CAN.
  • Each person was responsible for his or her own MESS!  How would you feel if I came to your house and threw my garbage on your floor or left my snotty tissues lying on your furniture?  Well, don’t do it here in the church and you will not have to worry about reaping what you sow or should I say throw. 
  • You have designated places in your home for drinking and eating.  Even so, we have a designated place here in the church for eating and drinking.  It is called the KITCHEN!  Therefore pass the word, no food or drinks allowed in the sanctuary or classrooms unless approved by the Pastor for a special event.
  • Note that the camp was to be holy in that there was to be no waste in it, lest the Lord see it and turn away from his people.  This truth alone should show you the Lord’s feelings on cleanliness.  Even so, visitors will be turned off and not come again when they enter into a church with waste all over the place.
  • Now lets look at the spiritual application.  Deut 23:14 says, For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.”  Another translation reads, “The camp must be holy, for the Lord walks among you to protect you and to cause your enemies to fall before you; and the Lord does not want to see anything indecent lest he turn away from you.” 
  • If we come to church and bring our unrepentant (hasn’t been covered by blood) WASTE (murmuring, complaining, strife, arguing, bitterness, unforgiveness, family quarrels, any and all sins, etc), don’t expect to experience the Lord walking in the midst of us serving Living Water and driving all our enemies away.  Selah.

1)  Are we doing things decently and in order?  1 Cor 14:40 says, “Let all things be done decently and in order.”

  • One English rendering of decent is aboveboard which means honest or good.  We can do a good thing and yet not be in order.  David did a good thing in getting the Ark, but he didn’t do it after due order and it cost him a friend and the Ark (manifest presence of God) as can be seen in 1 Chronicles 13.
  • Many churches have a lot of good things going on but desperately lack order and organization. 
  • It is imperative that all your good ideas go through the Pastor so he can implement them in order.

2)  Are we working together as a body and sharing the load financially, physically as well as spiritually?  2 Cor 8:13 says, “For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened.”

  • I realize that this verse is in direct reference to giving offerings.  However, it is a principle verse in that the Lord doesn’t intend on just a few people carrying the load in a local assembly.
  • I think it a sad day in a local assembly when you call for volunteers or for a work day and you get few if any responses.
  • 1 Cor 12:18 says, “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”  The principle being, you are responsible to share the burden in the assembly the Lord sets you in.  This is how I readily recognize those that the Lord sets.  Simply being, they don’t have to be asked, they come to serve in any capacity needed.  They don’t have to be told to give financially; it is just natural to them.

3)  Are we attempting excellence in every area of ministry?  In the NT you will see more excellent things in Ro 2:18, more excellent way in 1 Cor 12:31, more excellent name in Heb 1:4, more excellent ministry in Heb 8:6 and a more excellent sacrifice in Heb 11:4.

  • Note there were five more excellent things.  Five is the number for grace in the bible which is God’s Divine Influence upon ones heart.  Now would be a good place to ask you a question.  Do you feel the Lord tugging at your heart to manifest EXCELLENCE in your home, on your job, in the world, in your church, etc?

Matt 25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

  • In order for this church or any church for that matter to excel to greatness and excellence on a grand scale, they must first become great and excellent on a small scale.

Ps 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

7 QUESTIONS EVERY PASTOR NEEDS TO ASK THEIR STAFF

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

  • The gift of God as we have learned is Jesus who also happens to be the Good Shepherd (Jn 10:11) or Pastor.

John 4:19-24 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.  Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

  • This woman had been married 5 times, given up on marriage and ended up shacking up with the sixth man that came into her life.  Upon knowing this, one can see a pattern in her life.  Simply being, she is going in circles and living in cycles of pain, despair and defeat.
  • She was a religious woman, however, Jesus revealed hypocrisy in her worship when he said, “Ye worship ye know not what.”  In verse 20 she tells Jesus, “Our Fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
  • I have a question worthy of consideration.  How did she know where her Fathers worshipped?  Someone had to teach her.  However, the teaching that she received took her away from the Lord instead of to him.  The teaching she received locked her into a natural realm (buildings, etc) and thereby kept her separated from the present reality of God’s Kingdom as well as the Good Shepherd (she had no pastor).
  • The Lord is dealing with pastors of local assemblies in this hour and they in turn are required to deal with those in leadership to make sure everything they are doing is after the pattern in the bible or simply being, IN DIVINE ORDER. 

There are coaches that are outstanding and know their sport inside and out but yet fail to raise up good assistant coaches under them and therefore come up short when it comes to consistent victories.  One can look at the sport of football and see there are assistants on the ground as well as in the media tower that are in communication with the head coach for the best play needed to overcome their present situation.  

Principle:  A good leader must develop (enlarge, aid in the growth of, strengthen, refine, to influence behavior towards a certain end) good people under them in order for them to win.

When Bear Bryant retired as coach of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football program following the 1982 season, he was college football’s winningest coach with 323 victories. His Crimson Tide teams won 6 national championships and 13 Southeastern Conference titles. Simply put, he was one of the best coaches of all-time. Below are some of his thoughts regarding life, leadership, success, and football.

1)  Mama wanted me to be a preacher. I told her coachin’ and preachin’ were a lot alike.

2)  It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.

3)  Always be totally loyal (faithful, dedicated) to the institution in which you work.  If you can’t you are in the wrong place.

4)  Always be totally loyal (faithful, dedicated) to your staff and your staff will be loyal to you.

5)  Don’t worry about winning personality contests with your staff.  Anyone can be liked but few there are that are respected.

6)  Beware of yes men, generally they are losers.  Surround yourself with winners.  Get people working for you whose heart is in what you are doing.

7)  Learn from others, be a good listener.

8)  Never quit, set a goal and reach it and then set another goal.  Have a plan for this week, this month, this year, 10 years and plan for it.

9)  Don’t tolerate lazy people – they are losers.  People who are clock-watchers will drag you down.

Principle: A strong team can’t be built with weak people.

There are many local churches that seem to reach a certain plateau as far as membership and then they level off.  This is due many times to no challenge to grow.  So, you have proved faithful in that you can maintain a certain number (perhaps 50, 100, 500, 1000, etc).  The question now comes; do you have the ability to lead a congregation of 100, 200, 1000 or 2000?  Somebody said, what would it take to go to the next level?  Well, below is a brief list of prerequisites that will for sure get you headed in the right direction.

1)  Your leadership would have to be willing to be changed.  They must be pliable and flexible.

2) Your leadership is going to have to be convinced that there is room for improvement and development.

3)  Your leadership is going to not only have to learn leadership principles but also be expected to apply them in their positions.

Fact: You will notice when you begin to apply these principles and head towards excellence and integrity that there will be some that will abort ship.  However, be encouraged for there will be some that will climb in with you in the face of adversity and opposition.

Principle:  When you have the right leadership and the right people in position, church growth is automatic. 

  • It has been said that 95% of success rises and falls on leadership.
  • The Pastor’s success will be determined on the leaders they have working around them.

Revelation: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.  At times, it is therefore imperative that the Pastor performs a routine maintenance check on the chain (leadership) and sees if there are any signs of weakness.

Note below and on the following pages the 7 questions every Pastor needs to ask their leaders:

1)  Do I understand my role as a leader and am I satisfied with my performance?

  • As Pastor, I must first ask questions about my performance & myself before I ask questions about those that I am called to oversee.

THERE ARE 9 THINGS THAT A PASTOR IS RESPONSIBLE FOR TO THEIR LEADERSHIP:

a)      The Pastor is responsible for developing strong effective leadership.  If a Pastor can develop such leaders, they can almost guarantee the success of their church.  If not, they can almost guarantee its failure. 

  • There are times that every Pastor will have to HIRE – FIRE (stimulate or inflame) and INSPIRE leaders in their church.
  • I think it better to be slow to appoint someone into position than to appoint them and find out you made a mistake and need to remove them.  This mistake alone has been the cause of a lot of church splits.

b)      The Pastor is responsible for providing the best possible support to their leadership.  They have to give support to the leaders to create what they need (tools, supplies, environment) to do their tasks. 

c)      The Pastor must be loyal to their leadership.  Simply being, the Pastor must give their leadership the freedom to be the leader of the ministry they have been placed over.  Simply being, a leave them alone policy, while yet accountable for their actions and decisions.

d)      The Pastor must take care of their leadership when possible financially.  Many there are that think that the Pastor should be taken care of and everyone else just volunteer.  This is not the mind of the Lord for a labourer is worthy of his reward (1 Tim 5:18).  Pastor, if you have to start out by taking your leaders out to eat or giving them a gift certificate, at least you are paving the way to be a blessing in greater measures as finances permit.

e)      The Pastor needs to constantly give their leaders verbal support when they are seen to be doing an effective job, whether in private or before the church.

f)        The Pastor needs to provide vision to the leadership.  The leaders need to know and understand the vision of the church.  When the leader doesn’t have a vision, the leadership will begin to look like they are walking around in a maze.

g)      The Pastor needs to provide a successful environment for their leaders to work in.  Ross Perot once said, “People don’t know why they come to work until they don’t have to come to work.”  Simply being, after being away for a short time, they suddenly realized what they had.

h)      The Pastor must be a model for their leadershipSimply being, the Pastor must demonstrate the values that they hold high among the leadership.  Pastor, if you want your leaders and members to be on time, it is imperative that you model such behavior yourself in being on time.

i)        The Pastor must give growth opportunities to their leadership.  It is imperative that you expose your leaders to other leaders of excellence.  It is imperative that you get materials into the hands of those in your leadership that will better enhance their position.  Pastor, it would be wise to have a leader who can take those you are training to other churches where they can see their position in action.

2)  The Pastor needs to ask themselves if they understand the role of each leaders and are they satisfied with their performance.   

THERE ARE TWO THINGS THAT THE PASTOR SHOULD EXPECT AND REQUIRE OF THEIR LEADERSHIP.

a)      The leadership is to be an extension of the Pastor and their ministry. 

  • If the Lord has called and set your Pastor and you have accepted them, you then accepted the philosophy and gifts of that Pastor and what they could do for your congregation.  And now the Pastor has to build a leadership team that will complement their gifts and thereby enable them to bring their vision to pass in your local assembly. 
  • When I talk about being an extension of the Pastor, I am not talking about being a clone; I’m talking about your personality (voice, gifts) but the Pastor’s priorities.  I could say it another way.  You work in your position or environment, but the Pastor’s expectations.
  • The Pastor cannot be everywhere and do everything so it is imperative that they delegate authority to those that are qualified to do what they cannot do.

b)      Each leader must be an equipper of the saints to some degree.

  • In Matthew 9-10 we can see a four-fold equipping process that Jesus had with his disciples.  One, he exposed them to the need as he showed them the sick and hurting.  Two, he enlisted them to the cause.  Thirdly, he enabled them (gave them power) and fourthly, he educated them for the cause.  They were called, appointed and anointed.

3) The Pastor needs to ask if they can define the value that each leader adds to the church and their leadership.

  • It has been said that 70% of the companies surveyed said they would fire at least 2 key employees this year.  The reason, as manager’s stay with the same firm, they lose their effectiveness because they stop contributing new ideas.  Simply being, they have got in a rut.  The Pastor therefore has to take inventory of those that have been in position for a while and see if they are still making contributions that enhance the ministry.

NOTE THE 10 TYPES OF PEOPLE BELOW THAT ARE VALUABLE TO A PASTOR:

  • Those that can develop people which is simply to aid in the growth of.
  • Those that are creative in their thinking.  These are the ones that come up with some great ideas when tackling a project or dealing with situations.
  • Those that are team players, which is simply the willingness to make others on the leadership team successful.
  • Those that are gift supporters, which are those that have the ability to do things that the Pastor simply can’t do because they lack those skills.
  • Those that love people or simply those that have the ability to show mercy and compassion.
  • Those that relieve the Pastor of time, which are those that do certain things that, may tie up the Pastor and thereby keep him from doing something more productive.
  • Those that can solve problems, which is simply those that have the ability to find solutions to problems that arise.
  • Those that can fulfill expectations, which are those that can fulfill the expectations of the congregation, which are the customers if you will.  Many in the congregation expect the Pastor to do everything, so it is imperative that the Pastor has staff in place to meet any needs that may arise.
  • Those that attract people which are those that have charisma.
  • Those that close doors, which is those that have the ability to complete an assignment with excellence.  When they tell you they are going to do something, you can count on it getting done.  You can give such a one a job and they will get it done.  Parents, what was your response when your child ran out and left the door open?  I am sure you made sure they came back and finish what they started.  Selah.  So, before you cop an attitude with your children, see if you have left some doors (natural and spiritual) open yourself.
  • With this insight, ask yourself leaders, “How many of these 10 characteristics do I possess?”  Now you have an idea of your value to your church and your Pastor. 

NOTE THE 3 AREAS BELOW, WHICH PASTORS LOOK AT AND EVALUATE TO DETERMINE YOUR VALUE:

  • Production: Does the leader deliver the goods?
  • Potential:  Can the leader deliver more goods?
  • Replace ability:  Can another person deliver your goods?

4) Is the leader growing now (in the word and prayer) and is there potential for more growth?

  • Note the following danger signals when growth is slowing down or the leadership isn’t growing.  They are as follows, loss of vision, loss of interest, lack of commitment, looking for another church, excitement is gone, people become a burden, etc.

5) Is the leader a team player or solo performer?

  • Would the other leaders in your church say their ministries are helped or hurt by the others on your leadership?
  • Jesus had a problem with his leaders in that they wanted to know who was the greatest among them (Lu 9:46).
  • Churches will remain solid as long as the Pastoral team has solid relationships. 
  • Solid teamwork will always beat star performances.  For example, Michael Jordan at one time got 50 points in a game and they lost.  However, we see them come back and play together as a team, and win the title.
  • Teamwork is not based on fairness but on goals.  Teamwork is the ability to take people who have different gifts, but yet only one goal (salvation and teaching to the nations – Mt 28:19-20).  And each person knows their gift and accepts and enhances their gift by using it to help someone who doesn’t have it.  If it’s your gift, you get used, if not, you don’t get used

6) Does the leader have whatever it takes attitude; are they known for having excellence or for making excuses?

  • A sense of responsibility is the clearest indication of mature leadership.
  • There are different levels of maturity in regards to responsibility.  The lowest level is, “I am not responsible.”  The second level is, “I am responsible for myself.”  The third level is, “I am responsible to help those that I lead.”  The fourth level is, “I am responsible to help those that lead with me.”  The fifth level is, “I am responsible to help those that lead me (your Pastor).”

7) Can the leader work through others to get the job done or must they do most of the work?

  • How does the staff member rate on three levels?  One, they do the work for people.  Two, they do the work with people.  Three, they do the work through people.  If you are a good leader, you should be headed towards working through people.
  • On the other hand; as a leader, there will be times that you will have to do work for people when they can’t do it themselves.  There are times as a leader that you will do things with people such as training.  There are times as a leader that you will do things through people by delegating authority to them.
  • To balance this out, it is wrong to do the work for the people when they can do it for themselves.  It is wrong to do work with the people after they have been properly trained to do what they are doing.  It is wrong to do work through people before they have been properly trained and equipped.   

WHERE ARE YOU HEADED?

John 4:5-7 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.  There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

  • Note on this certain day that the Samaritan woman was headed to Jacob’s well with her water pot.  Jacob’s name in Hebrew means supplanter.  One English rendering of supplanter is, “to take the place of.”
  • With the above insight, we can see in principle that the water in Jacob’s well had taken the place of the Living Water, in which Jesus had to offer.  I am reminded of Jer 2:13 which reads, “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”
  • One Hebrew rendering of fountain is SOURCE, thus the people of God left the SOURCE of Living Water for a cistern hewn out by man.  A cistern differs from a well in that a well is fed by underground water seepage, while a cistern stores runoff rainwater. In most cities, each house generally had its own cistern. Rain falling on the roof was collected and channeled to the cistern, usually situated BENEATH the house.
  • A cistern was also called an artificial (man-made, counterfeit, imitation, phony, make believe) reservoir.  If the Lord calls himself The Fountain of Living Water and He is Spirit, it should be easy for us to see that the cistern he is talking about here speaks in principle of man-made leaders or ministries who live, walk and minister in the realm of FLESH.
  • There are three ways to identify individuals, leaders or ministries that have been hewn out.  One, they will be void of Living Water and therefore after receiving from them, you will find yourself not satisfied spiritually at that which came out of them.  Two, they are broken.  This word broken is also translated broken hearted in Isa 61:1 where it reads, The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”  Brokenhearted means CRUSHED by sorrow or disappointment.  With this insight, we can see in principle that they chose leaders that could not bind their broken hearts for they were broken hearted (hurt in past or childhood) themselves.  This is why so many are leaving local churches in this hour.  Simply being, many of these folks need deliverance but their leaders can’t help them, for many of them need deliverance themselves.  The third sign of an individual, leader or ministry that is been hewn out will be that they will not be able to contain the Living Water when it comes to them.  It will simply be too much for them.  In summary, this type person will not be refreshing to those they come in contact with.
  • Note that Jesus said to the woman in John 4:13-14, “Whosoever drinketh of THIS water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
  • This water Jesus was talking to was in reference to the water that was in Jacob’s well.  A well’s resource comes from an underground supply of water such as a spring.  Jacob’s well however was a different type of well.  For it was fed by no spring, nor was water channeled to it as was a cistern.  It was filled only by the rainfall and percolation (to ooze through a porous subject such as mud) drain.
  • Jesus told the woman in John 4:10, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee LIVING WATER.”  The expression, “Living Water” in that culture spoke of spring water, in opposition to DEAD stagnant water contained in cisterns, pools or ponds.
  • Stagnant simply means without motion, not flowing or moving, not active or alert or filthy.  There was mud in the bottom of this well.  I am reminded here of John 15:3 which reads, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” The difference therefore in Living Water (Christ) and that which is derived from Jacob’s well (flesh) is that one cleanses you from dirt while the other has no affect whatsoever on your dirt.  It would be likened to someone filling a tub full of muddy water and then being muddy getting into that water to clean themselves.
  • This woman no doubt came to this well daily and we see her life never changed, in fact it got worse as she went through five husbands and eventually gave up on marriage and started shacking up with men.  One sign that you are drinking from Jacob’s well (flesh), is that your life seems to always be in a constant spiral downward.  
  • This woman intended on drinking this stagnant water while in the presence of Living Water.  This lets us see in principle that she had no discernment.  Even so, you can be under a leader who has Living Water and fail to discern it and therefore continue to drink water from Jacob’s well (fleshly), which will be evident to the leader in that you will be one that will not change for the better, but for the worse.
  • Water came into this well, but had no way out and therefore became stagnant.  The Dead Sea is dead simply because water comes in but doesn’t have a way to flow back out. 
  • A dead sea Christian is simply one that takes the word in (gets puffed up with knowledge), while nothing refreshing ever comes out of them.  This type person can know the word, quote the word and yet still be DEAD.  This type person deceives many because of the amount of word they do have.  However, it doesn’t really matter how many times you have been through the bible as it does how many times the bible has been through you.
  • This woman had a daily relationship with Jacob’s well and remained right at that place and on the same level.  The principle being; if you walk after the flesh, don’t think for a moment that the Lord is going to allow you to go to a higher level.  Simply being, if you haven’t qualified on the level you are currently on by hearing and applying the word in your life, you will not apply the word in your life on a higher level. 
  • We see in the natural realm children falling through the cracks in our schools and graduating with little knowledge.  They are taught to use calculators and computers instead of their brain.  We this happening parallel in the church in that there is leadership that has people in position that have fallen through the cracks and thus are really not qualified spiritually to be in the position granted unto them.  Hence the many problems and frustrations experienced with such individuals.
  • There was mud in the bottom of these wells.  We can see wells used for prisons in Jer 38:6 which reads, “Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon (translated WELL throughout the OT) there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire.” 
  • There were seasons in which scholars say that Jacob’s well became dry due to lack of rain.  With this insight, we can see a very powerful principle.  Simply being, the water from Jacob’s well will take you down into the mire whereas the Living Water will take you up from the mire as can be seen in Ps 40:2 where it reads, “He brought me up also out of an horrible (nerve–racking) pit (translated WELL throughout the OT), out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”
  • A person that is drinking from Jacob’s well will therefore be deceived for a season into thinking they are receiving from the Lord (due to intake of water), but when times of revealing comes, all will see that this person is in bondage deep down to something from their past. 

In closing this message, I want to show you Jacob’s well from another angle with the intention of gleaning some more truths and principles that will be applicable in our daily walk with the Lord.

Gen 25:21-26 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD.  And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.  And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.  And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.  And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.

  • Another translation for verse 22 reads, “The babies jostled (to push ones way by shoving, to contend with someone for something) each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the LORD.”
  • Principle:  Where Jacob is, look for contention (strife & controversy). 
  • Note in verse 26 that Jacob took hold of Esau’s heel.  I am reminded here of Gen 3:15 which reads, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it (Christ and his body) shall bruise thy head, and thou (serpent-generation of vipers in Mt 3:7) shalt bruise his (Christ and his body) HEEL.”
  • I think it imperative to point out that the HEEL is what is used to CRUSH the head of the devil.  However, if one takes or holds your heel, they are in principle holding you back from overcoming what you have the potential and ability to overcome.  Take a moment and think; is there someone around you that seems to have hold of your heel?  Simply being, do you have a great desire for more of God but yet can’t seem to move towards that desire because someone has taken hold of your heel? 
  • Your heel is a soft place and can be bruised or hurt easily.  The principle being, Jacob is going to hurt you in the areas that you are soft in.  For this reason, it is imperative that you walk close with the Lord in order to keep your heart from becoming hardened.
  • I trust you have seen in this message why it is imperative that we forsake Jacob’s well in exchange for the Living Water that flows out of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.

John 4:25-30 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiahs cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.  Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.  And upon this came his disciples, and marveled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?  The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?  Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

  • The woman left her water pot and went into the City (headed in a new direction) declaring the Lord.  The proof that one has exchanged the water from Jacob’s well for the Living Water of God is that they will begin to declare Jesus instead of themselves.  They will be unselfish instead of selfish.  Things no longer have to be done their way, there is now humility within them and they willingly accept the Lord’s way.
  • You can only get water from Jacob’s well if you have a water pot, which speaks in principle in one sense of fleshly desires. 
  • With this insight, we can say that it is time to put your water pot (fleshly desires) down and become a well of salvation according to Isa 12:3 where it reads, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

THERE IS A WAY WHICH SEEMETH RIGHT UNTO A MAN

Prov 14:12 There is a way (course of life or mode of action which is the manner in which one does something), which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

John 4:10-15 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.  The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?  Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?  Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.  The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

  • Jacobs name in Hebrew as we have learned means supplanter.  One English rendering of supplanter is to substitute one thing for another.  In this case, we see the woman prior to meeting Jesus drinking what man had provided (substitute for Living Water).
  • Principle: If you drink from that which man provides (independent of God), you will come to know the ways of man.  However, if you drink the Living Water, which comes out from the Spirit of God, you will come to know the ways of the Spirit.
  • I am reminded of Psalms 103:7 which reads, “He made known his ways (course of life or mode of action which is the manner in which one does something) unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.” 
  • There is a wonderful principle here for local churches and leadership.  Simply being, the Lord spoke to Moses (as being head) and showed him the course and mode of action to take.  They in turn followed the course that Moses laid out.  We can see this truth in Exodus 25:8-9 where it reads, “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.  According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.”  Note the order, Moses saw – the people built!
  • The principle here for local assemblies is that the Lord will show the vision (Tabernacle of Moses – body of Christ) to the pastor.  The pastor in turn communicates that vision to the people and they with their gifts, talents, finances, and time bring the vision (body of Christ) into manifestation.  With this, the apostle, prophet, teacher and evangelist will come in and build upon, establish as well as confirm the vision (body of Christ).  (For further study see: Eph 4:11-14)
  • One of the hardest adjustments to make in our day is waiting on the timing of the Lord in all that we do.  There is no in between when it comes to the timing of the Lord.  We either move with him or without him.  When we move with him, you will see lives being touched and impacted.  When we move without him, you will see a FORM of godliness with NO POWER!
  • I think it interesting to point out that the bible doesn’t record that the people had a problem with the vision or details of the vision of Moses; however, they did have a problem with DELAY!  We can see this in Exodus 32:1 where it reads, “And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.”
  • I think it imperative to point out the timetable involved in Exodus 24:15-18.  We see that Moses went up into the mount and a cloud covered it for six days.  And, on the seventh day, the Lord called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.  The principle being, when the Lord sees we are serious to the point of coming past the sixth day (man-flesh), he will then speak to us a word in the seventh day (a word that will bring us into completion). 
  • Moses was in the mount for forty days and forty nights.  This is interesting when you know that forty speaks of tests in the scriptures.  So, not only is Moses being tested during this time period, but also those under him to see if they will wait upon their leader and continue to follow him.
  • There are some powerful revelations to be gleaned for pastors as well as those under pastors.  Moses being the pastor went up to the mount and received a vision as well a word from God that was for those in his congregation at the base of the mount including the other leaders.  However, neither the leadership nor the people of God knew what was going on with Moses or what he was receiving from the Lord.  The truth here being, the Lord doesn’t need to show the leadership or those in the congregation everything he shows the pastor.  Simply being, there are times the Lord will keep the wisdom of your pastor’s decision from you to test you and see if you will still follow them not knowing the outcome at times as they do.
  • I am reminded of Hebrews 13:17 which reads, Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” 
  • Many mindsets today have the attitude, I will submit as long as I agree and of course these types want everyone to think they have the ability to discern and are always nitpicking the pastors way of doing things.  However, I have a question for these; “did God put you in the position of pastor or did he put your pastor in position?  Well, if God put your pastor in position, he already knew beforehand the personality and the methods by which your pastor ministers in.  So, it should be easy for you to understand that it is not up to you to decide if the pastor is doing things the way they should be done.  It is up to you to obey and submit and leave it up to the Lord (who called and set your pastor) to speak with the pastor and deal with areas that need to be dealt with. 
  • Somebody said, what if I decide not to obey and submit to the pastor the Lord has set over me?  Isa 1:19 gives us the answer, “If ye be willing (submit) and obedient (obey), ye shall eat the good of the land.”  When you refuse to obey and submit to the pastor the Lord has placed over you, you shut off the channel from which the Lord has purposed to feed you through for that season of your life and therefore end up dying spiritually.    
  • Getting back to our text in Exodus, you will note those at the base of the mount could only see the mount on fire (Exodus 24:17) and as a result, gave up on Moses (their pastor) assuming that he had been destroyed in this fire.  Therefore, they came to Aaron and pleaded with him to make them gods that would go before them. 
  • Aaron speaks in principle in one sense of one who isn’t fully committed to the pastor that they have been set under to serve.  We see this in Exodus 32:2-6 where he told the people of God to bring unto HIM (he was now taking charge) their golden ear rings and after receiving them, HE fashioned (mould into a form through squeezing or pressure) them a molten calf with a graving tool.
  • I think it interesting to point out that Exodus 32:4 says that Aaron fashioned the golden calf while Exodus 32:35 says that the Lord plagued the people because they made the calf, which Aaron made.  The people here went behind Moses (their pastor) and set out to influence another leader to give them what they wanted.  However, their plan backfired, as they were PLAGUED!  The principle being, “rebellion, murmuring and complaining against those that God has set in authority will always end in spiritual death, ruin and decay.”
  • Did you ever wonder why Aaron made a calf?  The calf was a familiar object in the mind of Aaron (as well as God’s people) in that it was worshipped in Egypt.  The principle being, he may have come out of Egypt but there were still some imprints of Egypt in him.  Even so, there are leaders in our day that have come out of man-made religion and formalism, but man-made religion and formalism hasn’t come out of them.  Therefore, those wanting to revert back to the old ways of doing things will seek out such leaders that will compromise and will move in and begin to influence them in hopes of getting them to do things their way even if it means going around their pastor.
  • In Exodus 32:4 you will hear the people shouting, “these be thy gods (God), O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”  In the Egyptian culture, the worship of the golden calf was star worship; it was the solar bull, the constellation Taurus, in which the sun was at the time of the spring equinox, that was thus represented.
  • I think it interesting to point out here that Aaron made the calf, but the people promoted it to all of Israel.  However, before we are quick to pass judgment, we must check ourselves and see if we are guilty of the same thing in our day, which is STAR WORSHIP.  Simply put, man fashions (moulds) golden calves in our day and the end result is celebrity preachers or ministry (movie) stars (Rev 1:20: stars speak of pastors).  The people begin to exalt these stars and tell everyone what these stars have done for them while leaving God out of the picture.  With this insight, you will better understand what a falling star is (spiritually speaking). 
  • With all this insight, I want to show you yet another powerful truth in the timing of the Lord.  Exodus 24:18 show us that Moses was in the mount for forty days and forty nights.  Exodus 32:5-6 shows that they actually wrote Moses off on the thirty-ninth day.  Wow, they were just one day away from receiving a life changing word from their pastor.               
  • We know by history that those that followed Moses were very excited during the honeymoon (deliverance from Egypt).  However, there came a time when the MIXED multitude among them begin to lust for Egypt (old ways) and so influenced the children of Israel that they started wanting to go back also and eat flesh (ways of man) as can be seen in Numbers 11:4. 
  • There is a wonderful principle here for pastors.  Simply being, don’t be moved by how your followers and leaders follow you when you are on the mountain, wait until some things start happening that they have no power to change.  It is then you will see if there is any mixture (spirit and flesh) in any of them. 
  • I am reminded here of Nehemiah 13:3 which reads, “Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.”

Closing

I received a powerful revelation this week that I want to close this message with.  Simply being, you can have unity, you can have order, and you can all have the same mind in your local church and yet be without the manifest presence of God as can be seen in Genesis 11:1-9 below.  Sad to say, many today while seeking to establish divine order have went to the extremes and begin to worship divine order without seeing that divine order is only a means which serves to get the manifest presence of God in your midst.

Gen 11:1-9 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.  And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.  And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.  And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.  And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.  And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.  Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.  So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.  Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

  • In the natural, it looked as though these folks were doing the right thing in that they were all trying to get to heaven.  However, the problem was that they were trying to get there in their own strength independent of the Lord who is the DOOR-WAY into heaven.  (See John 10:7, John 14:6, Genesis 28:17)
  • I think it also imperative to point out that when you start building, the Lord comes down to inspect what your building and how you are going about building.
  • Since they were no longer able to understand each other’s natural language, they would now have to seek a relationship with the Lord and out of that relationship, they would be able to understand each other’s spiritual language with the end result being, they would have the mind of Christ in a corporate setting.

HYPOCRISY IN THE CHURCH

John 4:10-26 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.  The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?  Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?  Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.  The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.  Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.  The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.  Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.  The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiahs cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.  Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. 

  • The word hypocrite in Greek referred to stage playing or acting.  However, the general meaning is acting a part in life, false, deceptive and deceived, formally and outwardly religious and good, but inwardly insincere and unrighteous.  Thus a hypocrite may come to deceive themselves as well as others around them.  With this insight, lets look at this woman at the well and see not only hypocrisy in her life but also personal deception.

After the woman talks with Jesus just for a few minutes, he (Pastor) begins to speak into her life and reveal her heart as follows. 

  • If thou knewest the gift of God.  The gift of God was and is the Son of the Living God (2 Cor 9:15).  I am reminded here of Matt 16:13-17 which reads, “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”  Those in relationship with the Father will acknowledge or discern the son (1 Jn 2:23). 
  • Not only was she in darkness to the gift of God, she was in darkness to who she was talking to.  This same thing happens today in and among professing believers.  In Eph 4:8 we see that when Jesus ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.  It is therefore imperative that we not only know about these ministry gifts (offices) but that we also are able to properly discern them and hear the spirit of the son speaking through them.
  • When Jesus lets the woman know that he has Living Water to give, she responds by saying that he has nothing to draw with.  He is talking to her spiritual and we see clearly she doesn’t have an ear to hear what the spirit is saying, for she is hung up on the natural water.  The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor 2:14).  There is a powerful principle here for Pastors.  Simply being, if you want to know where your sheep are spiritually, just start talking spiritual to them and wait for their replies.
  • Note the woman has a set way of getting the water out of the well in that she used a water pot.  Jesus however didn’t have a water pot and thus her remark, “thou hast nothing to draw with.” 
  • The woman in the bible speaks metaphorically of the church.  However, we must be able to discern the woman to see if she is manifesting the true church or the harlot (apostate church).  One sign of the apostate church is that she will do things after the flesh due to being ignorant of the Holy Spirit and his ways.  She will have a program and will be thrown into shock when you say you have something contrary to what she has and don’t use her methods to administer it.  She wants to conform spirit to flesh! 
  • I think it interesting to point out that the woman not only told Jesus that he didn’t have anything to draw with, but she also told him that the well was deep.  This woman speaks in principle in one sense of those that think they are deep in the spirit but yet lack the life of the spirit and thus are SHALLOW!  These type people will look at others and belittle them at times like they don’t have what it takes to get as deep as they are.
  • I am reminded here of Acts 17:21 which reads, “For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.”  The word Athenians when studied out means uncertainty.  With this insight, we can better discern those that come with a deep word.  Simply being, if they are receiving their revelation from the Lord and applying it, there will be humility and establishment in their daily walk.  However, if they are receiving their revelation from the tree of knowledge of good and evil or stealing revelations from others (Jer 23:30), there will be an uncertainty (not steady) in their walk with the Lord. 
  • These individuals therefore will not be consistent in the things they do.  They will start things in the name of the Lord and stop midstream.  They are not dependable or reliable; they are unsettled, unpredictable, unsure and up in the air.
  • The next thing the woman asks Jesus is, “from whence then hast thou that Living Water.”  Another translation reads, “Where would you get this Living Water?”  Note that the water the woman is talking about can be seen while the water that Jesus is talking about can’t be seen.  The water the woman is talking about comes from that which man has provided while the water that Jesus is talking about comes from the Holy Ghost (Jn. 7:38-39) or simply the Spirit of the Son (Ga 4:6).
  • Now after all this insight, we see even more clear this woman is walking in deception and spiritual blindness when she asks Jesus, “Art thou greater than our Father Jacob?”  I am quickly reminded of 2 Cor 10:12 which reads, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”  Another translation reads, “Oh, don’t worry, I wouldn’t dare say that I am as wonderful as these other men who tell you how good they are! Their trouble is that they are only comparing themselves with each other and measuring themselves against their own little ideas. What stupidity!”  I trust you see here that the woman is using Jacob (man) as the standard by which Jesus should be measured.  Even so, there are those in the church today that look to a man to as their spiritual ruler.
  • Note how the woman lifts Jacob up.  He is great.  He gave us this well.  He drank from this well.  His children drank from this well.  His cattle (sheep) drank from this well. 
  • This well was a source for almost 2000 years and Jesus being in the earth for only around 30 years came and sat on it.  I trust you see that though Jacob was great in the sight of this woman, it was a fact that what he had provided years ago was not sufficient for the day in which this woman lived.  Even so, don’t get caught up with a word or spirit that isn’t bringing forth the Life of Christ in you as well as those serving it.
  • Man has a tendency to look to man to meet their need.  For example, when Mary was told that she would conceive in her womb and bring forth a son, she responded by saying, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man (Lu 1:31-34).” 
  • When Jesus asked the impotent man at the pool if he would like to be made whole, he responded by saying, “I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. (Jn 5:6-7)” But there is a place after 6 days where we will see no man but Jesus.  We can see this revelation in Matthew 17:1-8 where Jesus took his disciples to a HIGH MOUNTAIN (Mt Zion) and touched them and told them to arise and they lifted up their eyes and saw no man, save Jesus only.
  • Jesus now began to deal with the woman in the area of worship.  No doubt she is shocked as he says, “Ye worship ye know not what.”  There is a reason the Samaritans didn’t know what they worshipped.  Simply being, it is a historical fact that the Samaritans received the five books of Moses but rejected the prophets.  Therefore all that the prophets had to say about the Messiah coming was rejected and thus never entered into their minds or heart.
  • This speaks in principle today of those that take only certain parts of the bible and arrive at an image of God in their mind and end up worshipping another God (a god of their own carnal imaginations) as a result.
  • Jesus goes deeper with her and reveals in a round about way that she is a false worshipper and thus her worship was defective.  For he says, “The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”
  • An individual worships God in spirit, when they are under the influence of the Holy Spirit.  An individual worships God in truth when their heart is led and governed by the word of God.
  • Finally, the woman responds to Jesus the Messiah, “I know that Messiah cometh and WHEN he is come, he will tell us all things.  Jesus then shocks her into reality when he says unto her, “I that speak unto thee am he.” Because the Samaritans rejected the prophets they had no time line or signs to look for and therefore when their Messiah stood in their midst, they saw him as only a MAN
  • This spirit is still around today.  Simply being, while many are looking to the Eastern Skies for Jesus to come, 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”  Now if he is in you, he surely must speak out of you as a Christian.  Wonder now how many times he has talked to you and you thought it was just a mere man speaking to you?       
  • I think it also imperative to point out that because the woman saw the coming of the Messiah in the future, all the things he had to say would have to come in the future also.  Thus this spirit will keep you from hearing the Spirit of the Son TODAY!

In closing this message, I want to give you some signs to look for in the life of a hypocrite in the light of the scriptures.

  • Matthew 6:2: They sound their own trumpet both in the church and in the street in hopes of being recognized.  Beware of a lot of personal pronouns in their conversations.
  • Matthew 6:5: They love to pray long prayers especially when there are a lot of people around.
  • Matthew 6:16: They can’t keep it a secret when they are fasting; they have to make you aware in some sort of fashion.
  • Matthew 7:5: They have beams in their eyes and thus can’t help their brother with even the smallest thing.
  • Matthew 15:7-9: They talk religious but their heart is far from God.  They teach what man has taught them instead of the spirit of truth (See: 1 Jn 2:26-27).
  • Matthew 16:3:  They can’t discern the signs of the times.  They will be telling you the Lord is doing one thing while he is doing the exact opposite.
  • Matthew 22:18:  They will make every attempt possible to discredit valid ministries.
  • Matthew 23:13: They through their teachings keep people from entering into the Kingdom of God.
  • Matthew 23:14: They devour widow’s houses.  They take advantage of them to the point of having them to will their properties over to them when they die.
  • Matthew 23:15: They have converts, but they are not genuine, they are hellions.
  • Matthew 23:23:  They take the parts of the bible that benefit them and forget the rest of it.
  • Matthew 23:25: They are caught up with external rules, ordinances, dress and apparel while neglecting the inner man.
  • Matthew 23:27:  They appear to be something outwardly that they are not within.
  • Matthew 23:29: They appear to be innocent when they are guilty.
  • Luke 13:15: They will take the same scriptures they used to bring you into bondage and use them when it benefits them.
  • Job 34:30: They snare those they lead.
  • Proverbs 11:9: They will kill their neighbor with the words of their mouth.

Isa 33:14-17 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?  He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.  Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.  Selah

GIVE ME

John 4:7-9 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.  (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)  Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

  • One English rendering of give is to be the source of supply.  With that said, “what is your response when you hear the word GIVE?”  How does it make you feel when I say you are my source of supply?  Somebody said, I thought the Lord was your source.  Well, you are exactly right.  However, you need to know that my source lives in you.
  • Isn’t it interesting that we usually have some remarks to make whenever the word give comes up in church?  Jesus simply said, GIVE me to drink.”  And, instead of just giving, she had to start asking questions.
  • I think it interesting to point out that the woman left her water pot with Jesus and he made her a water pot.  She sowed little and reaped much.  The truth being, your harvest will always be greater than the seed you sowed. 
  • Do you support your church with your finances?  Do you support other ministries that the Lord sends you?  Are you persuaded that the Lord is pleased with how you give? 

Mark 6:7-13 And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.  And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.  And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.  And they went out, and preached that men should repent.  And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. 

  • The staff was common among shepherds and thus in principle to bring a staff with you would identify you as a shepherd.  The staff or rod was used for chastising, for support in walking and represented authority.
  • When a valid minister comes in your midst, they will have a staff with them.  They will bring chastisement where needed.  They will show you how to walk and stand up under pressure.  Finally, they will show you truths concerning the Kingdom of God and the King who rules it.
  • Jesus told his disciples to take no script.  A script was a leather wallet that was used to carry money or food.  I wonder how many preachers would fare today with this command?
  • Jesus told his disciples to take no bread.  They had to trust in the Lord to move on the hearts of those they were sent too, to feed them.
  • Jesus told his disciples to take no money.  They had to trust in the Lord to give them favor with man and that man would give into their ministries, which would enable them to return home.
  • They were to enter into a home when they came into an area to minister and remain at that one place, not moving from house to another.  Thus it was an honor and blessing to have the disciples to come into their homes for they brought the peace and blessings of the Lord upon the place they were staying. 
  • I am reminded here of II Kings 4:9-10 which reads, “And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.  Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.”  I wonder how many today would take a loan out to build a room on their house for the man or woman of God to stay in when they were in their area.
  • Note the words of Jesus in Mark 6:11, “Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the Day of Judgment, than for that city.”  Folks, we need to understand the severity of rejecting and not hearing those that the Lord sends us.  Whether you know it or not, these have the authority when they leave your city to shake the dust off from under their feet against you.
  • I am sure you can see that we have drifted a long way since the first century church in the area of financial support for ministries.

Luke 22:35-36 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.  Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

  • Note the backdrop here.  Jesus sent his disciples out in such a bare condition because they were not going far, nor would they be gone long.  This would serve to teach them to depend upon God and the kindness of their friends (as they were moved upon by God to be generous to them and meet their needs above and beyond).
  • However, Jesus is preparing his disciples now for a season wherein they were going to have to take their provisions with them.  Before, they were in their own country, their journeys were short, and thus there was no need for them to provide for themselves.  But “now” Jesus was going to the cross and his disciples were going to be sent beyond their local area into the world, among strangers, trials, dangers, and wants, something they had not experienced.  
  • I am reminded here of Philippians’ 4:12 which reads, “I (Paul) know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”
  • Sad to say, there are many preachers that can’t come and be a blessing today beyond their local borders because they don’t have the provision and can’t depend on having their needs met where they go.  As a result, folks miss out on what the gift of God has to offer them.

1 Cor 9:11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?

  • Have you ever considered the comparison of what you give a minister versus that which they give you?  The truth being, “that which they impart into your life is of far more value than anything you could ever give them in return as far as money or possessions goes.
  • Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  A treasure is something that you regard as precious and value highly.  One English rendering of treasure is, “any person or thing considered very valuable.”
  • I am reminded here of 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 which reads, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
  • With this insight, we can see that the ministers of God are very valuable to you because of the treasure in them.  The treasure being, Christ, the Living Word of God, the anointing, hope, encouragement, deliverance, instruction, wisdom, understanding, gifts of the spirit, fruit of the spirit, compassion, etc.  To balance this out, even so is each member of the Body of Christ valuable to you for each one has the same treasure in them. 
  • When you go out to eat, does it shock you when the waitress brings you a check?  Do you squirm in your seat when the waitress brings your ticket?  Do you look to your wife and say; every time we come to this restaurant they want our money?  No it isn’t a shock, no you don’t squirm and no you don’t fuss because the waitress wants money from you every time; because you expect to pay for what you are served when you go. 
  • If that isn’t enough, you give the one serving you a TIP on top of that.  You realize that when you pay for what you were served, you make it possible for that restaurant owner to stay in business, pay their employers, pay their utilities, and buy the necessary equipment needed to cook, as well as pay for the mortgage.
  • I am pressed to ask the question now.  What is more valuable in the sight of God, food for your flesh or food for your soul?  The answer is in John 6:27 where it reads, “Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” 

1 Tim 5:17-18 “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.  For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward.”

Rom 15:26-27 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.  It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty (obligation) is also to minister unto them in carnal things. (See other translation below for these verses)

Rom 15:26-27 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.  Yes, they were pleased {to do so,} and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.

  • With this insight, lets refer back to the analogy of the restaurant and the waitress.  The word makes it plain that the one that serves you spiritual food is worthy of double honour.  The word makes it plain that you are obligated to bless the one that serves you spiritual food with your material blessings (finances, possessions, talents, gifts, etc). 
  • If you squirm and fuss every time a minister mentions giving, that is a sure sign that your treasure isn’t Christ and thus your heart is not there to give.  For those whose heart is in the ministry that the Lord has brought them too will prove it by investing their treasures (finances, gifts, talents, time, etc) there.
  • I don’t know if you realize it, but you show double honor to the waitress by paying the bill (playing a role in paying her salary), PLUS you give a tip on top of the salary to them personally.  How much more deserving is the one that serves you spiritual food?  Simply being, when you participate in giving in your local church, you are playing a role in supporting your Pastor, overhead as well as other ministries.  And, if your Pastor serves you well and speaks a word into you that changes your life for the better, you would be perfectly in order to give them a TIP (an added blessing). 
  • Have you ever walked up and gave your waitress a tip in person?  I purpose to teach and practice an open altar wherein you can come and give a gift to the speaker while they are speaking if they touch your life and the Holy Spirit so prompts you to do (grace to give – divine influence upon the heart).  For in doing, we show our appreciation to them for the time they spent with the Lord in the word to bring us something good to eat and thereby count them worthy of double honor.        

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

  • God not only gave us His Son, He gave us his Kingdom (Lu 12:32), his Spirit (1 Jn 4:13), his nature (2 Pet 1:4), his name (Acts 9:15), his word (Jn 17:14) his armor (Eph 6:11), his righteousness (Ro 4:6), his faith (Gal 2:20) and all things that pertain unto life and Godliness (2 Pet 1:3).  Do you get the picture?  God is GENEROUS!   
  • The word SO in this verse means, “in this way, referring to what precedes or follows.”  Simply being, the way that God showed His love was to GIVE!
  • Gods manifest love preceded the act of giving with a thought.  Many there are that think about giving, but fall short in action and thereby fall short in revealing the GENEROSITY of God to those around them.  I am reminded of I Jn 3:18 which reads, My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”  Another translation reads, “Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions.”

I Jn 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

  • GOD IS A GIVER!

Eph 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

  • Few there are that know and understand why they have been blessed with a job.  The truth is clear here that the purpose for working is so you can give to those in need.  The word give here is interesting when studied out, it simply means, “To give a share of.”

THERE’S A TIME TO SOW

Eccl 3:1-2 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

  • In the natural we understand the seasons of sowing.  Simply put, we don’t go out in the middle of winter and sow tomatoes.  However, I see many leaders as well as saints sow a word out of season and as a result fail to produce a harvest of life in those they sowed into.  Selah
  • I am reminded of Isa 50:4 which reads, “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.”  “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it (Pro 15:23)!”

Matt 10:5-6 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

John 4:1-7 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.  And he must needs go through Samaria.  Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.  There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 

  • Note there was a time when Jesus told his disciples not to go into any Samaritan city as well as a time when he would later go into a Samaritan city.  The reason being, it wasn’t time for them to receive the seed.  Even so today, there are times that the Lord will lead you to stay away from certain people for a season and then later on release you to go to them and sow a seed that will assure you of a harvest.  

Luke 8:5 A sower went out to sow his seed.

  • The sower sows the seed in the field.  We look in Matthew 13:38 and see that the field is the world.
  • The sower sows HIS SEED!  Every seed brings forth fruit after its kind.  Sow the seed under the right conditions, and it will develop its own life in the plant.  Even so, sow the Word of the Living God under the right conditions in the right soil or heart and it will bring forth a character and life after the likeness of the character and life of God.

Did you ever wonder why some people hear the word over and over and still seem to remain unchanged?  In this message, we purpose to show you why in order that you can help such people including yourself.

  • Luke 8:11 tells us that the seed is the Word of God.
  • Jn 1:1,14 tells us that the Word is the Son of God.  The seed therefore is the Son of God.  We can see a picture of this in John 12:24 where it reads, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn (seed) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
  • Note the relationship with the seed and the ground.  If the seed didn’t fall into the ground and die, it would abide alone.  Simply put, there would be no relationship with the ground which speaks of the heart of man.  Jesus laid down His body (shell of seed) in order that the LIFE in Him might come forth in the ground or heart of man and thereby He could fellowship with man and not abide alone.
  • 1 Jn 3:2 shows us that we are the sons of God.
  • 1 Jn 4:17 shows us that as He (Jesus) is, so are we in this world.
  • We as sons of God are also the SEED of God. Matthew 13:3738 bears this out where it reads, “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good SEED are the children of the kingdom.
  • We walking in the footsteps of Jesus set out to come into the hearts of man as the good seed of the Kingdom.  When man receives us into their heart, in not many days, they will begin to experience the life within us now coming forth in them and out of that will come spiritual fellowship one with another.  We can see a picture of such fellowship in I Jn 1:1-3 where it reads, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus is going to sow you and I (born-again believers) as the good seed of the Kingdom into the field, which is the world (Mt 13:38).  And, upon sowing us, we are going to find ourselves coming into contact with four different types of ground or hearers.  Knowing that, I think it imperative that we understand each of them in order to be able to effectively minister to them as well as identify what type ground or hearer we may be at this present time.

  • Note first of all that all the soil is basically the same earth.  It is what has happened to it or what has been added to it that affects how it produces.
  • If the Word of God fails to accomplish its work in your life and heart, you may find the problem is in the soil of your heart.  We can see an example of this in Hebrews 4:2 where it reads, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”

Luke 8:5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.

Luke 8:12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

1) The Wayside Hearer:

  • The term for the untilled ground located at the outer edge of the field is the pathway or the wayside. The soil of this area becomes solidly packed (crammed, filled to capacity) due to repetitive walking over by the workers as well as the beasts (oxen). 
  • The plow has come over this path but never cut into it.  This type hearer represents those whose hearts have become hardened due to being run over and hurt many times by those around and close to them (spouses, fellow Christians, employees, employers, ministers, children, family members, etc).
  • This type ground couldn’t receive the seed so it speaks in principle in one sense of one being in a state of mind where one becomes calloused to the word of God, though it is the very word that they need to hear in order to be set free.  We can see a picture of this in Jer 6:16 where it reads, “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” 
  • How can one arrive at such a place?  It happens gradually.  Each time we are hurt or rejected, the temptation comes to withdraw and upon doing, the process of hardening begins.
  • Since this type ground can’t receive the seed in its condition, it also speaks in principle of a person who is not rooted and grounded in the Word and thereby will be tossed to and fro in their daily lives by the least little wind that comes their way. 
  • When the word comes to this type ground, it is trodden down which speaks of putting something down (under your feet).  We can see a picture of man putting Jesus (Word) under their feet in Hebrews 10:28-31 where it reads, “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?                For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
  • Matthew in his account of the wayside hearer states that when one hears the word of the Kingdom and doesn’t understand it, then cometh the wicked (people with twisted minds) one to snatch away that, which was sown in their heart.  One Greek rendering of understand is the coming together with in union.  Thus, one characteristic of one whose heart is hard is that they will not become one with the word that they heard.  Simply put, they walk independent of the Lord after the flesh.
  • The wayside hearer in principle has no intention of receiving the seed (word) when they come together: as the highway was never intended to be sown.  These will sit in service and the word will go in one ear and out the other.  We can see a picture of this in James 1:21-25 where it reads, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
  • Right after a word has been revealed to you through a spirit filled minister, you will be pressed to do one or two things as can be seen in John 18:4-6 wherein it reads, “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?  They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.  As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.”  Simply being, when the word is revealed to you, you will either fall backwards away from that word or forward into the word.
  • Note that the devil (or demonic influence) hangs around this type of ground (hearer) in hopes of keeping them in the same condition they are in by stealing the Word out of their heart, lest they should believe that word and be saved.
  • We have already established the fact that we as children of the Kingdom are GOOD SEED.  Knowing this, you need to understand that not only does the devil want to take the word from you; he wants to take this one from you that has come to you as SEED. 
  • Somebody said, how could the devil attempt to remove one that has come to bring me life?  Here are some of his tactics.  One, after hearing the Word, someone comes up to you and begins to criticize the minister or pastor and thereby causes you to become critical or skeptical of them also.  When you entertain such an individual, your heart will begin to harden towards the very minister that was sent to give you life.  Two, after you hear the word and then go and share it with a person under demonic influence (knowingly or unknowingly), they will advise you to stay away from that certain minister or church.
  • Many there are that have come to a local church, been touched and then left because of something that someone under demonic influence (knowingly or unknowingly) told them about the church or minister.  For those that think they are above being under such influence, lets consider the great apostle Paul in Gal 1:13 which said, “For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it”  And if that isn’t enough, Jesus said this in John 16:2, “They (religious spirits) shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” 
  • If you are sitting under a ministry and that ministry is feeding you and bringing life to you, you would be wise to stand up for such a ministry in the face of opposition as can be seen in Jn 18:19-23 where it reads, “The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.  Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.  Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.  And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?  Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?”
  • In conclusion, note that the devils purpose is to keep you from believing, being saved and delivered.  Knowing this, be on the lookout for those that try and persuade you to stay away from a person or ministry that is carrying a Word that will set you free or is growing you up lest you shut off the channel the Lord has chosen to bring you deliverance.  Selah  

THERE’S A TIME TO SOW

Eccl 3:1-2 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

Luke 8:6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.

Luke 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

Stony Hearer

  • Matthews’s account of this parable states that those on the rock have no root in themselves and endureth for a while: but when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by they are offended (Mt 13:21). 
  • Mark’s account of this parable states that some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away (Mk 4:5-6).
  • The backdrop here is a shallow ground with a layer of bedrock just under the surface.  Did you ever wonder why just when you think you are getting through to some folks they suddenly vanish?  It’s not like they wanted to vanish, it’s just the word revealed an area in their life where it could not take root and thus they withered away.   
  • The stony hearer will receive the word with joy only to see them a few days later walking in defeat for they have no root.  There are things in their lives they are not letting go of and thereby the word can’t get rooted in them.  What is your bedrock?  Is it unforgiveness, habits, bitterness, anger, worldly desires, jealousy, etc.?
  • The stony hearer will endure only till tribulation (pressure) or persecution comes because of the word they received into their ground.  Simply put, they will love the word till it begins to press them in areas of their lives that need to be changed and then they will get offended at the word and at times even the one delivering the word and thus begin to withdraw or fall away from both.  These simply didn’t count the cost.  They didn’t consider what the Word of the Living God would require of them (their life).  I am reminded here of Rev 1:9 which reads, “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
  • Patmos means, “place of my killing.”  On account of its rocky, barren, and desolate nature the Roman government used the island as a place for criminals.  Oh what a God we serve!  It was in this rocky, barren, desolate place that John overcame and received a revelation of Jesus Christ.  Can you relate?  Do you feel like you are at such a place?  If so, don’t give up now!  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory, which shall be revealed in us (Ro 8:18).
  • You must note that the stony hearer after hearing the word will spring up quickly.  Once again, this is a great principle for leadership as they wonder so many times how one can stand and testify one service and be down the very next one.
  • The stony hearer will fool leadership and others at times because there is soil on the surface.  Simply put, outwardly they are manifesting joy, but just under the surface is a layer of bedrock, which speaks of those things that have not been dealt with.
  • Note that when the sun was up, it was scorched and because it had no root, it just withered away.  The principle here is simple; you will know these that have no root when the SON (word) RISES upon them for they will not be able to stand up under HEAT!
  • Revelation: If you are rooted in Christ, you will be rooted in water and when the SON (word) RISES upon you, that water will be drawn through you and will cleanse and refresh you.
  • You will find it hard to draw life from the stony hearer for they are very shallow.  Though outwardly they seem to be joyous, as you begin to come into their life through fellowship, you will hit bedrock (hardness) just under the surface.
  • Because the stony person has no root, you will find it is hard for them in the area of making commitments (relationships, assembling with the brethren, studying the word, praying and the list goes on and on).
  • I think it interesting that a hen can contribute by laying an egg but a pig must commit to give you meat with those eggs! 

Ezek 11:17-19 Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.  And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.  And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

Jer 23:29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

         If there are areas of bedrock in your life, give way to the hammer of Gods word and allow him to chip at it until it is all gone.

Luke 8:7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.

Luke 8:14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

Thorny Hearer

  • Note that this seed fell among the thorns.  This lets us see that there were already weeds in the soil before the seed of God came.
  • The word choked here is the Greek word “soom-pnee’-go”.  It is derived from two other words, “soon” which is a preposition that denotes union and “pnee’-go” which means to strangle.  We put the two together and learn that the thorny hearer is choked by that which they are in union with or have their mind fixed on, which in this case is cares, riches and pleasures of this life.
  • The thorny hearer will be harder to reach for their mind will be preoccupied with the cares of this life.  Have you ever called someone and the operator came on and said that all the circuits were busy and you were instructed to call back later?  The same thing happens to the thorny hearer.  Simply put, when the Lord makes an attempt to speak to them, there are too many demands, pressures, and thoughts calling them at the same time He is calling, thus the word doesn’t get through to them.
  • The thorny hearer will listen to you when you share the word with them, but just as soon as they leave your presence or the service, all that you brought to them, all the exhortation, all the encouragement, all the life, all the joy, all the peace, all the love is suddenly choked out. They are on their way home now and can’t remember anything you told them.
  • The thorny hearer will have no peace in their hearts due to their mind not being fixed on the Lord.  Isaiah 26:3 says “thou wilt keep (maintain) him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”  There is a vast difference between faith and trust.  Faith believes for what it can see.  Trust is confidence though not knowing the outcome.  We can see a picture of both faith and trust in Dan 3:16-18 where it reads, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us (faith) out of thine hand, O king.  But if not (trust for better or for worse), be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”  Their Patmos (place of my killing) was a furnace and I think it interesting to point out that they as John received a revelation of the Lord in a place of tribulation (pressure).
  • The word care speaks in one sense of a distraction.  Distraction is made up of two parts, “dis” which means to deprive or remove from something and traction, which is the act of drawing or pulling.
  • Principle: When we lift Jesus (word) up in our lives and keep our eyes on Him, He will draw us unto himself (John 12:32) and thus keep us in perfect peace.  Knowing this, we can see that a distraction will deprive or keep you from enjoying the PEACE of God while drawing your attention to the cares of this life and thereby cause you to eventually become depressed (low in spirit).
  • I am reminded here of Josh 1:8 which reads, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” 
  • Worry over something in our lives is a sure sign that one is trying to accomplish or work out something in their own power.  This is where one-steps into the role as God and wake up to the reality that apart from God, there are some things they just can’t do.
  • The thorny hearer will be a lot easier to spot for you will hear in their conversations what has their attention.  Jesus said out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.  Simply put, what fills the heart will come out of their mouth. 
  • This is a hard saying, but you worship (give devotion) that which has your attention.  Now would be a good place to ask what has your attention (Self or Lord).  Are you more concerned with your feelings or God’s purpose being fulfilled in your life?  Your answer will reveal to whom you are devoted.  Selah   
  • The riches of this life played a part in choking the word out of the thorny hearer.  This speaks in principle of those that are more concerned with an abundance of wealth and material possessions than they are with the Lord.                We can see a picture of such in Rev 3:17-18 where it reads, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”   
  • The pleasures of this life or world choke the word out of the thorny person.  Somebody said, what is wrong with pleasures.  Well, there is nothing wrong with pleasures, as long you don’t shut the Lord out. For example, one can go fishing and that is a pleasure.  However, that is one area that the Lord would love to pop up and give you some wonderful revelations concerning ministry and his purpose for man as can be seen in the lives of the disciples in Luke 5 and John 21. 
  • A thorny hearer brings no fruit to perfection. This lets us see in principle that this type of person will not complete what they started. Just when it looks like they are going to hang in there and bring forth, they will wither away.
  • Note that the seed fell among thorns.  Thorns in the scripture speak metaphorically of a slothful (lazy) man in Pro 15:19, froward (disobedient, stubborn, obstinate which means difficult to manage or control) man in Pro 22:5, false prophets or false ministries in Mt 7:16.
  • The seed falling amongst those that are lazy will be choked out as laziness overtakes it.  The seed falling amongst those that are disobedient will be choked out as rebellion overtakes them.  The seed falling amongst false ministry will be choked out as false doctrines and teachings overtake them. 

Jer 4:3 For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground (plowed but left unseeded), and sow not among thorns.

Num 33:55-56 But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.  Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.

  • The things (rebellion, unforgiveness, jealousy, strife, anger, hatred, etc) you refuse to drive out will be your thorns in the days to come.
  • We can see in these verses that people were thorns.  There are some relationships that you can avoid and some relationships that you should have avoided and now are reaping some thorns.  If the latter is true for you, ask the Lord to change the heart of this one that has become a thorn in your flesh and then believe Him to do it.

Luke 8:8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Luke 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance; Ga 5:22-23) with patience.

Good Hearer

  • Matthew’s account of this parable reads, “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty (Mt 13:23)
  • Marks account of this parable reads, “And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. (Mk 4:20)
  • Looking at the three writers, we can see that a good hearer receives, responds, produces and is steady and persistent (refuses to give up or let go).
  • The fruit of hearing and listening to the Lord is the transformation of our character.  The more we listen to Him, the more He will work on us causing us to become more like him.
  • To “bring forth fruit” is simply to help others to meet Him, receive Him and commit their life to Him.
  • When we listen to the Lord, He will let us know the people that are ready to receive His seed and we can then be assured of a harvest in the hearts of those we have been sown.  It is common for the Lord to have you develop close friendships with those that you will eventually sow His seed into.
  • If you listen to the Lord, you will be able to listen to people and hear their hearts and then when you speak into their lives, you will be on target.  Simply put, you will speak the very word they need for that which they are facing or going through.
  • The good hearer is honest (reputable, genuine, trustworthy) and has a good (reliable, dependable, obedient, stable) heart.
  • The good hearer after hearing the word will keep it as we have learned.  This speaks in principle of those that will be committed to the vision and to the body where they are placed and will bring forth fruit to perfection.  Simply put, what they were sent to do, they will complete.
  • Now that we have covered the four types of hearers, you should be able to identify each one more fluently.  Now comes the time to make a choice.  Are you willing to surrender all your soil (heart) to the Lord and thereby allow Him to keep all things out of it that would hinder you from walking in victory and bringing forth fruit?

UNLOVED AND UNWANTED

John 4:7-9 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.  (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)  Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

John 4:15-18 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.  Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.  The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

  • The Jews would be under no kind of obligation to the Samaritans—would borrow nothing from them—would not drink out of the same cup or well with them—would not sit down to meals with them, nor eat out of the same vessel—would have no religious connection or any commercial dealings with them.
  • The Jews cursed the Samaritans, and believed them to be accursed. Their most merciful wish to the Samaritans was, that they might have no part in the resurrection; or, in other words, that they might be annihilated.
  • With this insight, I trust you can see why the woman was amazed that Jesus was communing with her.  This woman truly was unloved and unwanted by the Jews.  If that wasn’t bad enough, she had been through five husbands and was living with a man now.  It is evident to us looking back that she didn’t find the love and acceptance she so desired in religion (man made) or marriage.  
  • Can you relate?  Are there groups, individuals, churches, etc that have shut you out and made you feel unloved and unwanted?  Have you been through relationship after relationship only to be hurt time after time?  Do you feel unloved and unwanted by your spouse?  Do you feel unloved and unwanted by your parents?  If so, I know you will be blessed and encouraged by this message.

Gen 29:30-35 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.  And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.  And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.  And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.  And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.  And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.

  • Jacob worked 7 years for Rachel and ENDED up with Leah.  This speaks in principle in one sense of those devote all their time and energy towards a specific goal and fall short of it in the end.  This is one reason many people have decided not to ever step foot in another church.  Simply being, after being told one thing in the beginning and then devoting all their time, talents, and finances towards the vision, they saw things come out different in the end.
  • Note that Jacob ended up with Leah.  The word ended is rendered, “to come to an end.”  The truth here is that a seven-year period in Jacob’s life came to an end.  He started this period with Rachel and ended it with Leah.  In his mind, he started out good and ended bad.  Can you relate?
  • Jacob is upset with Leah and doesn’t mind if Leah and the whole world know it. The principle being, Jacob is upset with this period of his life. Can you hear him saying, “It isn’t right?” The person in this type of situation will let you know that they are ticked-off and could care less if everyone else knows it. Are you in a period now in your life where it seems like things just aren’t fair? The good news is, this period must end and give way to a new period.
  • Leah’s name in Hebrew means to be weary, to be offended, to be exhausted or wore out, to be tired of doing something. Can you see the principle? Jacob ended up in a place of EXHAUSTION! He had worked hard and still didn’t get what he wanted.
  • How many of you have labored much in the ministry or relationships and feel like you have come to a period in your life where it doesn’t seem like you will reach your destiny? The good news is; you must go through this period in order to enter into the next period of your life.

LEAH’S DILEMMA – SHE WAS LOVED LESS THAN RACHEL

  • Everyone needs to feel loved. Jesus teaches us to love in Matthew 22:37-39 where  it reads, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
  • Principle: You can only love others to the degree that you love yourself.
  • If you don’t think much of yourself, you probably will not think much of those around you. And, if you aren’t pleased with yourself, you will be judgmental and those around you will never be able to please you, for you will always find something wrong in their life.
  • The main reason people can’t love themselves is the fact that they don’t really know who they are. Simply being, we are made in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26).  We are His image in the earth.  With that insight, how can I love God and not love myself?

I Jn 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

  • Note that it says, “Every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. This lets us see that it is possible to be born again and not have love for people.
  • I could give you the analogy of a baby. Simply being, the baby can be born into the world, but it will take a relationship being established between the baby and the parents in order for the baby to be able to love. Now, if the baby is born and no love is shown to it, the baby will have a hard time expressing love to others when it grows up.
  • With this insight, you can better discern those that have an intimate relationship with the Lord verses those that are just born again and going through the motions.

I think it imperative to point out that though we are taught to love one another from the scriptures, there are many that fail to do so for one reason or another and as a result, there are many in the world today that do not feel loved. The following illustrations bear this truth out so beautiful.

  • Ida Fay Oblesby, writing in the P.E.O. Record (January 1983), tells the story of a little eight-year-old girl in a Pennsylvania orphanage who was shy, unattractive, and regarded as a problem. Two other asylums had her transferred, and now this director was seeking some pretext for rid of her. One day someone noticed this little girl was writing a letter. An ironclad rule of the institution was that any communication from a child had to be approved before it was mailed. The next day, the director and her assistant watched the child steal out of the dormitory and slip down to the main gate. Just inside the gate was an old tree with roots showing above the ground. They followed and watched as the child hid the letter in one of the crevices of the root. Carefully looking around, the little girl scurried back to the dormitory. The director took the note and tore it open. Then, without speaking, she passed the note to her assistant. It read, “To anybody who finds this: I love you.”
  • A woman once told the story of her childhood. She was a victim of polio and felt she was a burden to everyone including her own family. She felt unloved and unwanted. She said, “When my mother left me in Sunday School, I always asked to wear her locket. She thought I liked the locket. That wasn’t it at all. I knew I wasn’t worth coming back for, but I knew she would come back for the locket.”
  • Who will cry for the little boy, lost and all alone?  Who will cry for the little boy, abandoned without his own?  Who will cry for the little boy, he cried himself to sleep?  Who will cry for the little boy, who never had for keeps?  Who will cry for the little boy, who walked the burning sand?  Who will cry for the little boy, the boy inside the man?  Who will cry for the little boy, who knows well hurt and pain?  Who will cry for the little boy, who died and died again?  Who will cry for the little boy, a good boy he tried to be?  Who will cry for the little boy, who cries inside of me?  Who will cry for the little boy, I will cry, I always do.

I realize that even with all the above mentioned, there will still be some that would dare to say, “you don’t know what I am going through.” They will say, “I even wonder at times if God even loves me.” So, for the sake of touching the hearts of these, I want to take you in the scriptures and give you some people that can identify with your pain.

  • David felt alone at times as can be seen in Psalms 142:4 where it reads, “I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.”
  • I think it imperative to point out the desperation that David was in. One, there was no man that would know him. The word know here is rendered in the Hebrew to acknowledge. Simply being, no one paid attention to what I was going through. Two, refuge failed him. A refuge is a place where one can go when in trouble. Thus in principle, the ones that he once could run to are now not there for him. Three, no man cared for him. The word cared here means to seek or to ask. The principle being, no one came to check on David and if that is not bad enough, no one even asked about him.
  • Paul felt abandoned as can be seen in II Timothy 4:16-17 where it reads, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.”
  • When Paul needed someone to be there the most, they left him. However, you will note that when all left, the Lord stayed! Therefore, be encouraged if you are in a place where it seems like everyone has abandoned you for there is one that has not left you. Selah.
  • Job felt hopeless in his circumstance as can be seen in Job 7:6 where it reads, “My days are spent without hope.”
  • The word spend is rendered, “to end.” The word hope is rendered, “a cord.” Thus, it could read like this, “my days end without a cord.” Have you ever ended a day and felt like there was nothing to grab a hold of and even wondered if you could make it through the night? Well, put your shouting shoes on, for this was just a period in Job’s life, for later you will see that he received double of all that he had lost after he prayed for his friends (Job 42:10).

THE LONELINESS AND HURT OF LEAH DID NOT GO UNNOTICED:

  • The Lord always knows our circumstances as can be seen in Psalms 115:12 where it reads, “The LORD hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.”
  • The word mindful is rendered, “to mark.” The principle being, the Father has marked you. He has singled you out and the good news is, he is going to bless you and you shall look back on these trying times and praise the Lord for what he brought you through! “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom 8:18)

GOD KNEW WHAT LEAH WAS GOING THROUGH AND PROVIDED COMFORT:

  • Gen 29:31: When God saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb. She would now be able to receive seed and bring forth life. The principle being, if you are being hated, despised and rejected, you are a prime candidate to receive a revelation from the Lord. And, that what you receive will be what it will take to bring you into the place the Lord has for you.
  • Gen 29:32: God looked upon Leah’s affliction and gave her a son. The word affliction here is also rendered distress.
  • Distress is made of two parts. One, “di” which means two and stress which is rendered a special weight placed upon something important.
  • The something important is YOU! There were two things upon Leah. Once, she was hated. Two, she was barren. And, because she was important to the Lord, he ENLARGED HER. He gave her a son. Even so are you important to the Lord and He is very aware of what you are going through. I am reminded here of Psalms 4:1, which reads, “Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress.” What is the weight upon you?
  • Gen 29:33: God heard that Leah was hated. The principle being in one sense, she wasn’t being loved like others around her were being loved. Have you ever been in a place where you saw someone show love to someone around you, but come short of showing you that same love? The Lord knows your pain and is going to move on your behalf!

NOTE LEAH’S PROGRESSIVE TRANSFORMATION IN THE NAMES OF HER CHILDREN:

  • The birth of Reuben, which means, “Behold a son.” Our foundation is the Son. We must behold Him and see Him as Lord in our life.
  • Names are significant in the bible in that they express the feelings and emotions that accompany a birth.
  • A lady was asked about the names of her children. Their names are Eany, Meany and Miney. What about Moe? There ain’t gonna be no Moe!
  • Note the situation that Leah is in. She is married to a man who never wanted her and thus refused to give her the love she so desperately needed.
  • The Lord moved for Leah and gave her a son and this no doubt sparked some hope in her that surely Jacob would love her now. Surely Jacob would now pay her some attention.
  • The sadness here is that Leah has no hope of being loved because of who she is, but only because she gave Jacob a son. Even so today, there are those in the church and world at large that have no hope of being loved for who they are, so they set out to give people things in hopes of being loved.
  • The birth of Simeon, which means hearing.  Leah is getting a revelation here that the Lord hears.
  • The birth of Levi, which means joined or attached. Here Leah is getting a revelation that she is joined to the Lord and he will never leave nor forsake her.
  • Can you relate with Leah? She still has hope that Jacob is going to love her for what she is giving him. Hear me clearly; if the person can’t truly love you without you giving them something, the love shown you after giving something to them will most likely be superficial or simply shallow.
  • In the Eastern culture, the following blessing is spoken to the mother of more than one son. “What has God willed? How glorious. How fortunate! Now your husband will love you and your name will be great.” Can you better understand now why Leah’s hopes are becoming more realistic? However, she isn’t after Jacob to love her with the high level of love he had for Rachel. Simply being, the attachment she was after now was not based on affection, but on obligation. Even so, there are those that will give to you and then expect you to love them solely on the basis of what they give you.
  • The birth of Judah, which means, praise. This is the place of maturity. You first behold Jesus, you know that He hears you; you know He will never leave and forsake you and then you can praise Him!
  • Note that three sons did not change Jacob’s heart towards Leah, but the birth of the fourth son shows a change in Leah’s heart. Simply being, her focus is not now on gaining Jacob’s love but to praise the God who had seen, heard and blessed her with children. Even so, you would do wise to get your eyes off of your circumstances and just begin to praise the Lord for all the things He has already done in your life.
  • Up to this point, Leah had been thankful for her children but her focus was on the effect that it would have on her relationship with Jacob. Thus, her motive in having children wasn’t right and therefore wasn’t fair to the children. Simply being, the love they were going to need, Leah would not be able to give because she was not getting the love she needed.
  • The greatest lesson Leah learned out of having these four children was when she recognized that to be loved and blessed by God was far greater than to be loved by her husband (Jacob). Though she still desired the love of her husband, she would now be content with the abundant love of God. I am reminded of Hosea 2:16 which reads, “And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi (my husband); and shalt call me no more Baali (Lord).”

Conclusion:

How many of you can relate with Leah and say that you have been through or perhaps even in similar circumstances in this hour?

  • Perhaps you were unloved as a child. Or, you may be in a marriage with little or no love. Perhaps, your single and hopes of marriage are fading. Perhaps, you continually feel alone and that no one cares. No matter what your problem may be, the solution is all the same.  Run to the Lord!

I John 5:4 For whatsoever (whosoever) is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

II Cor 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place.

Romans 8:32 He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.

  • Note that Leah’s situation does not change, SHE CHANGES! Simple being, out of pain and rejection, she develops a relationship with God.
  • Leah’s victory is a relationship with God that would have not happened if she had not been hated and rejected.
  • Principle: One of the Lord’s goals is to have an intimate relationship with you. Therefore, in the light of this teaching, we can see in principle that whenever we are mistreated or rejected, a closer relationship with God is nigh at hand.
  • Up to this time, you would have been distracted by your circumstances, now you have come to a place where you make the decision to focus on the Lord and to put Him first in your life.

WHAT IS IT THAT YOU ARE STRUGGLING WITH IN THIS HOUR?

  • I may not be able to give you hope that your circumstance will change, but I can sure give you hope that you can change and a deeper relationship with the Lord can result from your present circumstances!

I could take these four children that Leah had and give husbands a revelation on what their wife is seeking from them.  1) Reuben, which means behold a son.  Your wife wants you to behold her or simply give her some attention.  2) Simeon, which means hearing.  Your wife wants you to be attentive and listen when she is talking to you instead of tuning her out or walking away while she is talking.  3) Levi, which means companion.  Your wife needs to know you are there when she needs you and that you will never forsake her in time of need.  4) Judah, which means praise.  Your will needs you to praise her at times for the things she does.  She needs you to tell her how good she looks. 

A WOMAN IN SEARCH OF LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE

John 4:15-18 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.  Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.  The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

John 4:28-30 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the MEN, Come, see A MAN, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?  Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

John 4:39-42 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.  So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.  And many more believed because of his own word; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.

  • Note that she wants this water that she can drink and thirst not.  The principle being, what she has been drinking up to this point in her life has not quenched her thirst.  What is it in your life that has your affections?
  • Another translation of verse 15 reads, “Give me some of that water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again and won’t have to make this long trip out here every day.”  The principle being, she was devoted to what she was doing, she dedicated time to it daily, only to end up in frustration and discouragement.
  • I am reminded of how hard my daughter worked this year to make the senior squad in cheerleading.  She went as far as having a private trainer to help her in her gymnastics.  Her previous coach said she was the most improved cheerleader she had and felt she would have no problem making the senior squad.  However, when the time came, she did make the cheerleading team, but not the senior squad.  Therefore, her thirst was not quenched after all her long hours of preparation. 
  • Many people live half of their lives only to wake up to the reality one day of no sense of purpose in their lives.  They look back and see a pattern of events in their lives, but yet still find themselves longing for something else.      
  • Note Jesus response upon her saying, “Give me this water.”  He simply said, “Go, call thy husband.”  I am reminded here of 1 Corinthians 11:3 which reads, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.  Men, if your wife is thirsty, the Lord is going to enquire about you first. 
  • Principle: When there is proper alignment in the home, there will be water flowing from Christ the head to the man, from the man to the wife and finally, from the wife to the children.
  • The woman finally responds, “I have no husband.”  In fact, she had five husbands (men) behind her and was now living with a man (sixth man).  I am sure you can readily discern that this woman has a problem.  However, before you are quick to judge her and get all bent out of shape, we need to get to the heart of the matter by asking her why she decided to give up on marriage.
  • Consider with me the following and see if you can relate.  She had a longing to be loved and respected for who she was.  However, instead of finding what she needed in the Lord, she set out to find a man who could give her what she was looking for.  When the first man failed to meet her need, she went on another search thinking that there has to be a man out there somewhere that can meet this longing I have. 
  • This woman sucked the life out of the men she was married to and came up short time after time.  And if that isn’t bad enough, no doubt these men were trying at one time to get love and acceptance out of her also.
  • I am reminded here of Romans 1:25 which reads, “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”  Simply being, the creature or the man in this case takes the place of God.  Here is how it plays out.  The woman says, if YOU like me, I feel loved.  If YOU smile at me, I feel good.  If you are important and like me, I feel important.
  • Sad to say, man is not the only thing the woman seeks for fulfillment, she may at times seek possessions for fulfillment.  For example, if I can get some new furniture in my house, I will be happy.  And if my neighbors see that I am getting new furniture, it will make me feel important.  The truth being, her hunger for possessions is really a misplaced longing for God, but her mind is mixed up due to man-mad religion among other worldly things and she has convinced herself that God isn’t her answer, but what she needs is MORE STUFF!
  • Well, we have gone from men to possessions.  How about clothes?  You would be surprised at how many women go shopping for clothes when they are feeling down.  The reason being, they know inside that people will notice them now that they have new clothes.  The truth being, they were looking in the clothes rack for what could only be found in God.  
  • From man, to possessions, to clothes, and now to food.  Simply being, how many times have you seen a woman when in a state of depression run to the refrigerator in search of something to eat?  In this scenario, they are looking in the refrigerator for what can only be found in God.
  • The truth being, there is an empty hole in all of us that only God can fill.  When people are in ignorance to this truth, they try to numb this longing with relationships, possessions, clothes, food, drugs, music or alcohol.  These type people will set in front of a TV and try to fantasize of living in another world.  The truth being, what is behind the TV screen and all these other things is really your hunger and craving for God.  With this insight, why would you want to be addicted to something, which can never satisfy you?
  • I could add yet something else to this growing list.  The woman will seek power and control in hopes of finding fulfillment.  As long as she has power and control, she is fine, but attempt to take it and she just may throw a fit, for that is her security.  However, if these would be honest with themselves, they will tell you that they are still thirsty.  Simply being, there is still a longing in them that isn’t being met by their power and control they are exercising.  They have set themselves up as God and don’t even have the power needed to free themselves, much less change what is needed around them.
  • Principle:  You know one has had an encounter with the Lord when one suddenly and abruptly sets their water pot aside. 
  • I think it imperative to point out here that man working independent of the Lord and the anointing will not be able to persuade the woman to set her water pot aside.  Simply being, man independent of the Lord doesn’t have what it takes to fill the void in the heart.
  • Another sign that one has had an encounter with the Lord is that their focus is not on themselves any longer, but it is on others.  Simply being, they can’t wait to go out and tell all they know about a man named Jesus who can quench the thirsting of the soul.    
  • I think it interesting to point out in verse 28-29 that it says she went into the city and said to THE MEN, “Come see A MAN.”  No doubt, her idea of what a man is has suddenly changed after meeting Jesus (a Man of God) or simply meeting God in man (in the person of Jesus).  She will no longer compare men with men.  She will now measure men by the MAN even the Lord Jesus Christ.  Upon doing this, she will be an effective instrument in the hands of God to cause the men to lay aside their water pots also in exchange for the Living Water that Jesus has to offer.
  • We can a picture of this in verse 30 where we see them coming out of the City unto Jesus.  I am reminded here of John 12:32 which reads, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”  Though this is in reference to Jesus being lifted upon the cross, there is a wonderful principle here.  Simply being, when we lift Jesus (word) up in our lives, He will draw those around us to himself as can be seen here with the Samaritan woman where MANY of the Samaritans came to believe upon Jesus through her encounter.
  • In closing, I want to give you a very powerful principle to ponder on.  Simply being, one woman’s misplaced affections were holding up salvation to a whole city.  I could say it another way, one woman’s selfish desires were holding up salvation to a whole city.  Have you misplaced your affections?  Are you more concerned with getting what you want without even considering what the Lord may want for you?
  • Principle:  What has your affections will eventually affect you.  And, what affects you is going to affect others.  We can see a picture of this in Matthew 13:33 where Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”  I think it interesting that modern day bread makers call leaven STARTER.  What a name!  We are going to see that when it enters, it is going to start something (whether it be for good or evil). 
  • What kind of impression are you leaving on those who know you?  What kind of impression are you having on your children as they observe your lifestyle after professing to be a Christian?
  • Are you God’s crime stopper?  Simply being, do others change their behavior when you come around or come into the room?  Does your presence bring conviction upon those who are not right with the Lord?  Do you provoke people to live a holy life by your own lifestyle?

JESUS KNOWS YOUR PAIN AND SORROWS

John 4:15-19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.  Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.  The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.  The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

  • I think it imperative to point out that Jesus saw a pattern of pain and sorrow in this woman’s life.  However, her pain and sorrow was due to her choices that she made in life.  The principle being; though the Lord has laid out a purpose for our lives while in this earth, we can deviate from that purpose at times in ours lives by making wrong decisions.  The good news however is that the Lord uses the pain and sorrows from those decisions to get us back on path and thereby bringing his will to pass in our lives.  I am reminded here of Jer 29:11 which reads, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
  • Jesus looked past this woman’s fault into her destiny and in doing so gave her a window of opportunity to step out of her cycle of pain and sorrows.  Oh that we might get our eyes off the faults and flaws and fix our eyes on God’s purpose in each individual.  In his 1997 autobiography, Johnny Cash described how his wife stuck with him through his years of amphetamine abuse.  “June said she knew me – knew the kernel of me, deep inside, beneath the drugs and deceit and despair and anger and selfishness, and knew my loneliness,” he wrote. “She said she could help me. … If she found my pills, she flushed them down the toilet. And find them she did; she searched for them, relentlessly.”

With this foundation, I want to now take you into the life of a woman named Hagar and give you some truths and principles that I believe will strengthen and encourage you as well as present a window of opportunity for you to make some new choices in your life.

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS AND SEE IF YOU CAN RELATE TO ANY OF THEM:

  • Has God made any promises to you?  Does it appear at this time in your life that there isn’t anyway these promises can be fulfilled? 
  • Have you ever had a promise from God that when you reminded him of it, it is though he didn’t answer you? 
  • Are you guilty of getting in yourself and trying to help God bring his promises to pass in your life?
  • Why does God wait so long to answer your prayers?  When God is silent, what actions should you take?  What actions do you take?
  • Is there someone in your life right now that you have been praying over for years and yet nothing seems to be happening?
  • Is there a struggle in your marriage, your family, on your job, in the world, in your finances that seems to never end and yet God seems to be silent in the midst of such struggles?
  • When pressure mounts, do you have the reputation of running away from your problems instead of standing in the midst of them?
  • Do you have the reputation of going from job to job, relationship to relationship, church to church rather than staying under the authority where God has placed you and allowing God to work on your behalf?
  • Have you ever totally given your children or spouse to God? 
  • With these questions before us, let us go into the scriptures now and get some answers that will help us better understand the season of pain and suffering.  Before doing so, let me give you this powerful truth.  There is pain and sorrow that you can bring on yourself as the woman at the well did, while there is another pain and sorrow that comes upon you because of someone else’s bad choice that may be close to you.  It is this latter pain and sorrow that I want to talk about in this message.

Jer 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

  • I trust you see and understand that God has a predetermined purpose for your life and that he will bring it to pass no matter what the cost!  
  • One of the hardest things for us to come to grips with is that God can use our mistakes as well as our wrong choices to bring about a testimony of His grace and mercy and thus in the end, bring to pass his will and purpose in our lives as well as our ministries.  

Gen 16:1-6 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.  And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.  And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.  And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.  And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.  But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face. 

  • We can see the promise of God (a child) to Abram and Sarah in Genesis 12:1-7.  And, in verse four, we can see that Abram was 75 years old when he received this promise, which would have made Sarah 65 as we shall see later. 
  • How many of you can think back now and remember something that God told you was going to happen in your life, your ministry, your job, your business, your church, your family, your spouse, your children, etc?  How long has it been?  Do you believe God said it then?  Why would you doubt it now just because it hasn’t come to pass?
  • Note that God had made a promise to Abram and Sarah.  I am reminded here of Num 23:19 which reads, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”
  • The problem here with Sarah is that she had run out of patience waiting on the promise of God.  And, instead of waiting any longer, she now sets out to devise a plan wherein she can help God out. 
  • Heb 10:36 says; “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”  What is the will of God in this situation?  Well, how about starting with 1Thes 5:18 which reads, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  Simply being, why not get alone with God and thank him that he is taking so long.  Thank him that he is teaching you to totally depend on him.  Thank him that he is teaching you what faith is really all about.  Thank him that he is developing patience in you.  Thank him that he is allowing your flesh to run its course until there is nothing left but him.

Gen 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

Gen 17:15-17 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.  And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.  Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?

Gen 18:1-15 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.  And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.  And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.  And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.  And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.  Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.  Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?  And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?  Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.  Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh

  • Note in verse 14 that there was an appointed time (fixed time or season).  You must know and understand that there are some appointments coming up on your calendar where the Lord has predetermined to grant you what has been promised to you.  Don’t give up now!  
  • I want to point out here in Gen 17 that it has been 24 years since Abram received the promise of a child.  No doubt, he had come to a place in his life where he just assumed what was promised him was not going to happen.
  • Are you wondering in this season in your life if something promised you by God is going to happen since days, weeks, months and years seem to have come and gone?  Well, I have a provoking thought for you to consider.  We see in this text in Genesis 17 that the promise came to Abraham 25 years after it was promised to him.
  • I know it seems like it seems like it has been a long time to you, but if many of us would subtract 25 years from our age, we would come to a place in our life where we wasn’t even saved yet.  So, looking at it like that, it hasn’t really been that long, has it?
  • Our problem is that we live in a microwave society and therefore it is hard for us to grasp and accept the slow ways of God.  It’s hard to accept the fact that God really isn’t in a hurry.    

GOD MOVES SLOWLY IN OUR LIVES FOR FOUR REASONS:

1)  By moving slow, he develops dependence in us that we become more dependent on him and less dependent on man.

2)   By moving slow, he develops faith in us.  Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please   God.

3)  By moving slow, he develops patience in us.  Romans 5:3 say that tribulation worketh (employs) patience.  We have been taught from this verse not to pray for patience for you will reap tribulation.  That isn’t what it is saying at all.  In fact, it is quiet the opposite.  Simply being, tribulation or pressure employs patience and therefore patience comes to your aid in times of pressure thus allowing you to be an over comer even under pressure.

4)  By moving slow, he allows us to exhaust all our human efforts in order that our strength be turned to weakness, thus allowing his strength to come forth as 2 Cor 12:9 reads, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Job 23:8-14 Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.                My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.  Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.  But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.  For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.

Isa 8:17 And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.  (See other translation below for this verse)

Isa 8:17 I will wait for the Lord to help us, though he is hiding now. My only hope is in him.

  • God delights in his children when though the heavens seem to be brass over them, they still wait patiently for him to move in their lives and bring every promise to pass in their lives just as he has declared.

I trust you have been blessed by this teaching.  We have each one of these messages available to order on cassette for any size love offering to God’s Healing Ministry.  Your support enables us to send our tapes around the world.

WOMAN AT THE WELL, THE [Troy Nichols]          1

 

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