This is the audio from the September 25, 2022 sermon, “Loving the Outcast: Share TRUTH!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.
Text: John 4:4-42
There are people all around each one of us who have experienced some form of rejection and the accompanying feeling of not belonging. I suspect that there are people you know who live as an outcast . . . perhaps that person is even you. The good news is that Jesus loves people, including those who are outcasts of society. When we examine God’s Word to see how Jesus loves people, we ought to learn how He would have us love people. Today’s message takes a look at the story of a Samaritan woman who seems to be living as an outcast of her community yet had an encounter with Jesus that changed her life and the lives of many in her town. When Jesus stepped up to love this outcast, He did so by sharing truth in a way that was gentle and loving. We love like Jesus when we learn to share . . .
- Time. John 4:4-8
- How often do we use our lack of time or our tiredness as an excuse not to love people like we should? As Jesus passes through Samaria, we read that He is tired from the journey and sits down by the well. Instead of ignoring the other person there, Jesus engages this woman in conversation with a simple request that she was capable of meeting. In the midst of His weariness He shares His time. When we seek to love the outcast like Jesus does, we must choose to share our time whether we feel like it or not.
- Respect. John 4:9-10
- While a common saying today is that respect is earned not given, Jesus seems to show a pattern of giving respect whether a person has done anything to earn it or not. This Samaritan woman was a bit confused about why a Jewish man would be asking her for anything, let alone even speaking to her. I believe Jesus wanted her to know He understood the differences and common practices but had enough respect for her to treat her like a person. When we seek to love the outcast like Jesus does, we must choose to share a respect that comes from the common ground that exists because of our need for Jesus.
- Understanding. John 4:15-18
- With a foundation of time and respect, Jesus begins to reveal to this woman an understanding that she had likely never experienced before. He was able to talk with her about her past and her current way of life in a way that did not bring the conversation to an abrupt end. There was something about the way Jesus offered exactly what she needed, living water, that caused her to not only believe her life was understood by Jesus, but also to understand the offer of Jesus was far greater than anything she had ever experienced. When we seek to love the outcast like Jesus does, we must choose to “walk a mile in their shoes” and share an understanding that can bring us to unity in Christ.
- Teaching. John 4:19-26
- I suspect many times when we want to share truth we like to jump right to the “teaching” part. Jesus did get to the teaching, but it was teaching built on a growing relationship of time, respect, and understanding. There are many who believe that the woman in the text attempted to change the subject because she was uncomfortable with Jesus talking about her personal life. I tend to think she believed she finally found a person who could answer her deep questions about worship which God finds acceptable. Jesus takes the time to teach her not only about the rules of worship given by God through the Old Testament law, but also how those rules were really meant to bring people into a lifestyle of worship wherever they were. When we seek to love the outcast like Jesus does, we must choose to share teaching with gentleness and respect.
- Humility. John 4:39-42
- One of the greatest hindrances to loving people like Jesus does is a lack of humility that keeps us from seeing people like Jesus does. Even when Jesus identifies Himself as the Messiah this woman is waiting for, He does so with a gentleness that contains no hint of condemnation or condescension. While the Bible is clear about Jesus being the ultimate example of humility, I also marvel at the humility of this woman who goes back into the village to proclaim she had encountered the Messiah. To go from outcast to evangelist only takes place from a position of humility. When we seek to love the outcast like Jesus does, we must choose to share humility in a way that serves others according to their need.
Today, how will you love those who are outcasts?