John 4:28-39 Scripture Reading
Jesus conversation with the Samaritan woman was concluded and the Apostles were wondering why He would converse with a samairtan and a woman at that. She went back to town and told the people there about Jesus. Even though she had been a woman of questionable character they followed her out to see Him. Jesus seeing them coming remarked to the apostles about a harvest that was ripe and need of picking speaking of people who needed what He had to offer. ( This is my read on the white fields anyway )
Mondovi - Between Mondovei Wisconsin and Eleva is a farmer who still puts up his grain in sheaves and uses horses. As I see them in the fall when I go to visit relatives it reminds me of days of old when I was a boy and helped throw the bundles of grain on the wagon to take to the threshing machine. They were stacked in such a way as to make it easy to pitch them on the wagon with a fork even for a boy.
Sheaves of grain are much easier to reap then sheaves of people. People just don't stack in easy bundles the same as sheaves of wheat. Each are different and must be handled differently.
If we are going to attract people to the Gospel and to our churches then we will have to look at the way that Jesus did it and imitate Him.
How to attract people.
I. Genuinely Love Them
Matthew 9:36 " And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were downcast and distressed like sheep without a shepherd. "
Command to love - 55 times in N.T. - I John 4:7,8
" Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone who loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God For God is love. " Beloved let us love one another I John 4:7 and 8
Atmosphere of Acceptance
Jesus loved sinners; sinners loved Jesus - Luke 7:31-35
Jesus loved children; children loved Jesus - Matthew 19:14 suffer the little children
Jesus loved strangers, strangers loved Jesus -
Romans 12:13 - practice hospitality ( love of strangers )
Hebrews 13:2 - hospitality to stranger/entertain angels unaware
Attitude of acceptance - inclusion not exclusion Luke 7:36-50
Acceptance without approval - Zaccheus/dishonesty; woman at the well/adultery Consecration comes after conversion.
Discipline comes after the decision Miracle takes place after the decision
Sanctification comes after salvation
How? Memorize names ... Personal greetings ... Touch people (handshakes, hugs, nods)
Whenever you feel yourself growing cold towards sinners - think of the cross
But God demonstrates His own love to us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
II. Genuinely Meet Their ( Felt ) Needs
Matthew 20:21; Matthew 20:32; Mark 10:36; Mark 10:51
What do these four scriptures all have in common?
The question: What do you want me to do for you?
People need acceptance, forgiveness, self-expression, self-worth; purpose for living.
If we respond to their felt needs then we can show them their real needs. James 2:15,16
Am I my brothers keeper? ... Physically ? ... Emotionally? .... Spiritually? ... Relationally ? ... ?
We need to treat all people with dignity and respect.
How? Support groups; Cancer; chemical dependency, child rearing, ? ? ?
Personal relationships - " He's your pet. " " No he is my friend. "
III. Teach Creatively and Practically
The great crowds delighted in His teaching Mark 12:37
The great crowds were spellbound by His teaching . Mark 11:18
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29
" But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger " . James 1:19
Ascertain people's needs - ' I don't know, tell me what you think?
Application of message to people's needs - " Scratch where they itch. "
" People are seeking relief not truth " Rick Warren
Jesus related truth to life
Jesus related truth in an interesting manner ( astounded, amazed, delighted )
1. Stories with a point - parables
2. Simple language not theological gobbly-gook
3. Sinner sensitive - infiltration not isolation or imitation
Entertain - hold the attention of for an extended amount of time.
" If we are boring people will think God is boring. " Rick Warren
" If we are ill prepared, people will be ill advised. " G. Kins
How? Drama, stories, parables, jokes with a point, ????
If we are going to reach people we have to be interested in them for who they are not for what they can do for us.
If we genuinely care for people, we will find ways to reach them that are unconventional but not unbiblical.
During a hike in the woods, a troop of Boy Scouts came across an abandoned section of railroad track. Each, in turn, tried walking the rails but eventually lost his balance and tumbled off. Suddenly, two of the boys, after considerable whispering, offered to bet that they could both walk the entire length of the track without falling off. Challenged to make good their boast, the two boys jumped up on opposite rails, extended a hand to balance each other and walked the entire section of track with no difficulty whatever. Bits & Pieces, A Monthly Mixture of Horse Sense and Common Sense About Working With People, Volume C, Number 2
This is the sermon in a nutshell. We do things better and we live better when we help each other. Whenever we lend a helping hand to another. we are benefitting ourselves at the same time. Creative thinking will always find a way to accomplish the task.
Harvard scholar Charles T. Copeland was once approached by a student who asked, " Is there anything that I can do to learn the art of conversation? "
" Of course there is. And if you'll just listen I'll tell you what it is. " answered Copeland.
There ensued a long and awkward silence which the student finally interrupted with, " Well, I'm listening!."
" You see," replied Copeland triumphantly, " You are learning already! " ><> Gary
" Wherever there is a human being there is an opportunity for kindness. " Seneca