Do You Really Know Jesus? #4: New Vision
Text: John 4:31-38
Introduction: Shoe Salesman In Africa
Perhaps you heard about the Yankee shoe salesman who went to Africa and wired his manufacturer,
“I want to come home. Nobody wears shoes in this part of Africa.” So they brought him home and sent another salesman who shipped back order after order. He wrote the home office, “Everybody here needs shoes!”
Sometimes everything changes when you see thing through different eyes. This is especially true when we are talking about the Lord's work.
Lacking Spiritual Vision
In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
The Disciples Didn’t See as Jesus saw.
Disciples unable to see because of their cultural and historical background. They couldn’t wee why Jesus must go through Samaria. The Samaritans were a people of mixed blood and had rebelled against the Kings of Judah, they worshipped idols and did not honor the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
They sure couldn’t see why Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman who was obviously an outcast from her village.
They couldn’t see the spiritual springs of water anymore than the woman at the well, nor could they see the fulfillment of Christ’s mission on earth.
They did not understand when why he no longer needed physical food because he had feasted on the spiritual food of doing God’s will. His deepest hunger was filled by winning a soul unto eternal life. They could not see with the eyes of Christ.
Do we See As Jesus Saw?
Does our culture or background prevent us from talking to and reaching out to those who are in need of Christ?
How will we explain to Jesus one day that we wouldn’t talk to that alcoholic at work with, or that girl I go to college with that dances at the so called Gentleman’s club, or to that teenager who is usually strung out on drugs. If the Lord put me face to face with one of those “Samaritans” would I speak with them or ignore them.
I know that usually none of these are asking to hear about Jesus, neither was the woman at the well. Jesus took the initiative because Jesus saw with eyes that saw people’s souls as well as their bodies.
How long has it been since you tasted the food of heaven?
To experience the fulfillment of doing God’s will by seeing those that are lost around us and bring them to Christ.
To know this feeling is to find a satisfaction of the soul that will overcome the other needs and wants in your life. You will have no need for what the world offers when you taste the meat of doing God’s will.
Just like the disciples, we need to see with the eyes of Christ. We need spiritual vision that sees the soul as well as the body.
Wouldn’t it change our worldview if we could see both the physical and the spiritual parts of life. They are both there just as the body and mind are both there. I can see one but not the other, yet I am aware of both. So must it be with our vision of the spiritual and the physical. We see the physical but we must never forget the spiritual is just as real. Remember the story of Elisha praying for the vision of his servant when they were surrounded by an invading kings army?
Elisha prays for his servant to see
2 Kings 6:15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
Transition: Jesus was trying to do with a lesson what Elisha did with a miracle, give the disciple the ability to see with spiritual vision. He continues that lesson in vs. 35
Looking For Spiritual Vision John 4:35
Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
Jesus Teaches The Disciples To See Souls
He looks out on a green field, that at this time of the year was months away from harvest, but then tells them, “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields for they are white already to harvest.”
At that point the disciples had to realize Jesus was seeing something they weren’t. He was telling them to look not on a field of grain, but upon a field of souls. Souls that were ready for a harvest of eternal life.
Jesus knew that the woman of Sychar had gone back to the village and was even now telling the men of that village about the Messiah. He knew that in a short time the entire village would come to see the One she was talking about. And most importantly he knew that if his disciples remained blind to their lost souls, many would walk away offended, alienated and still lost.
Seeing The World with Spiritual Vision
Does Jesus still tell us to lift up our eyes, to look up, and see the fields of souls ready for harvest? Is he still telling us to see with His eyes instead of ours? Does he still show us impossible things, while trying to get us to see lost souls.
Look with me to Matthew 28:18-29
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
What a vision not just one Samaritan town but all the towns, in all the nations of the world. This is the great commission, this is our marching orders until Jesus comes back. Talk about an impossible sight. We are to disciple, baptize and teach all things Jesus has taught us. We are to do this here in Athens, Texas but also in all the world. We are to cross physical border, language barriers, and cultural obstacles with the Gospel and start churches and we are to all do this until Jesus comes back! How can that even be possible? It can’t be possible until we see with spiritual opened eyes.
I want to share with you our Mission Statement. Now you may say I didn’t know we had a mission statement, well we do because it is the one Jesus gave us in Matthew 28. But let me expand upon it this morning so that it will truly belong to Calvary Baptist Church.
Mission Statement from the Great Commission Matthew 28:19-20
We the members of Calvary Baptist Church, will all strive to fulfill the Great Commission left to us by our founder, Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We will through our love, sacrifice and witness make His presence known in our community, to our friends and families and around the world. We will earnestly tell them of their need of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. When they have accepted Him, we will bring them to God's house and baptize them in the name of the Triune God. We will then instruct them in all aspects of the Christian life and exhort them in their Christian growth and nurture them in Christian love.
This mission we will carry out no matter what the cost in time, money, effort or pride. We will refuse to be stopped by Satan, the world, our own nature or frailties. We vow to press toward the mark that we may obtain the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Then one day to lay that hard-fought prize as a crown at His feet.
This is our mission, everything we do here should be secondary to this task. Do we believe that? Do we accept that? Passively we “say yeah sure, amen or preach it brother.” But let me ask it in another way?
Do you attend church like that? Do you give like that? Do you forgive others like that? Do you raise your kids like that? Are you really living and working in the church as if you truly know you are on a mission from God Himself?
One day you’ll stand in eternity and look back and say I wish I had tried for even a week or a month to live as though I really believed God was calling me. I wish I had tithed for just one month, I wish I had witnessed, I wished I had forgiven, I wish I had sacrificed for just one month to see how God was true to his promises.
I challenge you , if you’ll do it for one month you can do it for a year. If you can do it for a year, you can do it for 10, and if you can do it for 10 years then you can do it for a lifetime and if you do it for a lifetime then one day you’ll stand before Jesus your Master and hear him say, “Matthew 25:23 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.”
Do you have the vision, the spiritual sight to see yourself standing before God one day and hearing that verdict?
Let me tell you about one person who saw the vision of Jesus’ white fields.
In England in the 1700’s, there was a pastor. He was a cobbler by trade and practically illiterate. As he worked on repairing peoples shows, he kept a map of the world on a wall of his workshop so that he could glance up and pray for the nations of the world that were without a Christian witness. He became so burdened for an international missionary outreach that he decided to share his burden at a meeting of his fellow Baptist ministers. When he finished, he was told by one of the senior men of God: “Young man, sit down. When God wants to convert the heathen, He will do it without your help or mine.”
But William Carey did not sit down or give up. He could not get the vision of a lost world off his heart. He felt he had to do something, so he learned to read and write in his native tongue, then learned Hebrew, Greek and Latin all it self-taught as he cobbled on shoes. He then took his family and went to Burma and India with the gospel. There this once illiterate cobbler, translated the Bible into more than 20 Indian dialects and languages, established the first university in India and influenced tens of thousands around the world to come to Christ and serve Him.
Carey’s most famous saying was spoken in a meeting in which he was trying to get others to take the Gospel around the world. This is what he said, “Expect great things from God; Attempt great things for God.” He saw with the eyes of Christ and he believed, truly believed, he was on a mission from God.
Transition: That’s what spiritual vision can do. Now look how Jesus continues to teach the disciples and us about that vision and its results.
Laboring In Spiritual Vision John 4:36 –38
And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
Jesus Tells His Disciples Get To Work
With the new, spiritual vision that Jesus has taught His disciples, He now tells them to get to work, to labor in those fields their new eyes can now see.
This is the work of souls and it must be done with spiritual vision, with eyes that can only see what Jesus has taught us to see, and it can be the hard labor but it is the most rewarding work ever given to mankind.
Notice that Jesus tells them the labor consists of two things, sowing and reaping. He also tells them that all those who see this field and enter into it are all working together. You may reap where others have sown, others may reap where you have sown. This is God’s plan and we are simple told to get to the work.
Time For Us To Get To Work
Are we see the field today, are we willing to work for the Lord?
When was the last time I sowed the gospel in the field of a human heart?
When was the last time I reaped “fruit unto eternal life?”
If we’re not working for Jesus, then what are we doing? Why are we here? If the call and commission of God is not enough to move us to begin the work then how terribly blind we have become!
The Lighthouse and the Life Saving Club
Once on a rocky coastline there stood a lighthouse and it’s brave crew. Never were the more courageous men who loved their work. They often launched their small open boats into the roughest seas to rescue ships that had gone aground on the rocks near their lighthouse. The men of the rescue crew were much admired and soon many people began to join the life-saving station. Those who could not row the boats minded the lights. Those who could not mind the lights cooked food or maintained the grounds. After every rescue there would be hot food and warm blankets for the rescued and the rescuers as well. Before long the popularity of the station called for some changes. They need a president and a treasure to oversee the money that was being donated, this seemed like a good idea and so they elected a president and a treasurer. One day during a business meeting someone said, “Our station is getting too small and our rescue crew deserves better quarters let’s build a new lighthouse.” Someone else stood up and said, “You know I don’t think we should call it a lighthouse anymore either. That’s a little old fashioned. Let’s call it a life-saving club. We are bound to get more members that way.”
Everyone agreed and a new lighthouse, I mean, life-saving club was built. It was beautiful with gorgeous carpet and a big gym for recreation. It was built right on the coastline and they even opened up a restaurant in the top floor of the lighthouse, I mean life-saving club. One day there was a terrible ship wreck and the rescue crew jumped into their boats and rowed out to the ship. They pulled scores of people from the water and off the rocks. Bruised and bleeding they were brought back to the life-saving club.
After the rescue at the next business meeting there were several complaints about the last rescue. “They tracked mud all through the foyer”, complained one worker. “They got blood on the gym floor and we had to stop in the middle of a basketball game to make room for all those wretches, “complained another. “Well, no one paid for any of the food they ate either, complained the manager of the restaurant. A huge fight broke our over whether the facilities should be used for actual rescues or if that should be done some where out of sight. Finally, they split. Those who wanted to actually rescue people moved back to the old lighthouse, while those who wanted to enjoy each others company in a nice family atmosphere down by the sea stayed in the club.
Today if you drive down the coastline, you will see every few miles another new and popular life-saving club. They are great places for entertainment and good food. But the lighthouses are hard to find, they tend to call for too much sacrifice and giving to be very popular. And every now and then on a night filled with nature’s stormy fury a ship will crash on the rocks along the coast and the souls in that wreck, praying for help, pleading for rescue simply drown. You see in the life-saving clubs they’re too busy planning, building and visiting to bother to look for people to actually save.
Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”
What He said to them, He says to us, indeed the fields are even broader, deeper and whiter than ever. We must see with His eyes and we must work with His power to sow and reap in the fields of souls all around us.
“That both he that soweth and He that reapeth may rejoice together.”