Only one kind of grace, absolutely free grace. Free will to choose the salvation extended to us. Many live in legalism, adding to the grace of the Lord. God’s purpose that we who are saved by grace should walk in the works. Just ask for the salvation and it shall be yours. Spiritual life from God enters into us and the flow comes from within. We live in a world hungry and thirsty for Christ. Hearts are open, fields are ripe. (John 4)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Charlie Bing
Sermon # 11663
6:30 PM on 4/14/2019
Praise the Lord. Halleluiah, Praise God. I got to say that a few times. Praise the Lord. Say that a few times. Praise the Lord. A few times. Praise God in the morning, evening, and afternoon, summer time, winter time, Easter time. Praise the Lord. Thank you, Lord. In the good days and bad days. Praise God. God is gracious, forgiving, loving, never fails. He fills us with his Spirit. He anoints us with his grace. God is good to us.
I asked when I became the pastor here. It was April 15, 14 years ago. That’s my celebration of a painful, arduous, difficult, challenging, gruesome – but Jacob loved Rachel so much he worked for her seven years. He loved her so much. Thanks for your prayers, love, and faith. This is the longest time I’ve been in one place as a pastor. Because I’ve been kicked out of every other place! But you guys are putting up!
We had a good message this morning. I got emails and text messages, – Costa Rica, Las Vegas.
I wanted to share for a minute about this verse in Is. 30:20. Turn to your neighbor and ask, what is the bread of adversity? Persecution, loss of loved one, – you didn’t think I was going to call on you! Imprisonment, illness, chastisement, a broken heart, a family difficulty, a broken relationship, a lost job. Who gives you the bread of adversity? The Lord.
vs. 20. The people, the Jews that came out of Egypt had a real challenging time in the wilderness. They had the manna from heaven but eating it in the desert. They had water from a rock. What does God do? He doesn’t take the difficulty away. But yet shall not your teachers be removed into a corner anymore. I wonder if anyone could run over and stand in a corner. The teacher could be removed from the people. Where are teachers? We have adversity. We have affliction. Though I give you that, I will not put them in a corner. Pastor T. J, entry! There he goes! You wanted to come up and take the microphone. You know what I need when my life has trouble? A teacher. You know what I need when I have difficulty? The Bible. I need the Bible to speak to me. I need the spirit of the Bible. I need the anointing of God to teach the Bible.
Our guest speaker is P. Charlie Bing. He started a new ministry called Grace Life Ministries to minister to pastors around the world. This is how we met him. He went to Finland and met our churches there and ministered over there. We’re so glad to have you. Give him a hand.
Do you know what our country needs? Bible teachers. You know what our neighborhoods need? Teachers. We need a word in season. Your teachers will not be removed in a corner but your eyes shall see your teachers and your ears shall hear a word behind you, vs. 21. A word behind me. You’re listening to words in front of you, from me. You are hearing my words but as you hear my words, you hear a word behind you. That’s not the person sitting behind you. You hear a word from God in your heart. You hear the Spirit speak to you. This must happen. This is the healing that happens with people that fall into a pit like Joseph. Joseph was in a narrow pit.
Prov 23:27. A whore is a narrow ditch and a strange woman a narrow pit. I have a feeling this has a huge meaning what happens to us when we fall into a pit. The idea is you messed up. You’ll not get out of this. You failed. You will have adversity. It’s over. The whole thing is limited.
But I heard in Federal Hill church today it was packed out. That’s amazing. The Spirit moving. I love to hear about P. Scibelli in Malawi. 178 graduates in that ceremony and people from Zambia, Malawi and it was a beautiful picture. He face timed me yesterday and is so excited about it. These are people who see a teacher in front of them but hear a voice behind them from God. This is the way. These are my words.
You heart a voice behind you saying this is the way; walk in it. What I want to say is you are in a pit and God will say you got problems. A divorce has devastated your heart. When you were a child, your dad molested you. You have adversity. You lost another job. There is something just – you are struggling in your heart. This is me. Our God, our God, our God. Not the god of the world. Our God, our God. You don’t get stuck in life. You don’t get stuck in a pit. He says behind you this is the way; walk in it. Joseph was taken out and went to Egypt in the prison and out of prison and that’s beautiful. He’s saying our God, our God, he “unstucks” you. It doesn’t make sense, I know! Our God, our God, our God. Liberty, hope, love, freedom. I’m not saying your circumstances change and we can’t change the past but our God teaches us to forget the things that are behind and press on. When you find God you find Christ and you find Christ and we say praise God. There is another spirit in this world. There is a spirit in the world that wants you in the pit. There is a spirit in people that say I’m staying in the pit. This is me. I like the depression. I like the fear. I like the guilt. I like hurting myself and other people. That’s dysfunctional.
There are people that make that decision. If we are humble and like that, we humble ourselves before God and hear the teaching. We start to believe there is something better than my negativity and depression. I start to give it up and worship a living God and find joy and peace in our life. Sometimes in psychology and I’m not against it but a lot of it replaces God’s word, the teaching of the Bible. A lot of people are listening to people talking and they define the pit for you and a label and throw some pills in the pit. Pills in the Pit is a good title of a message. This is you and you’re not getting out of there.
Why is all of this happening? Because people don’t have a teacher. They are not listening to the teacher. They are not learning to live in faith. They are not putting on the Lord Jesus Christ and living by faith in them. They suffer and feel this is their life.
Though I give you the bread of adversity -they will stand in front of you and your eyes will see them and you will hear a voice behind you. Isn’t that good. I’m thankful for that and this Body that prays fervently for our brothers and sisters around the world that are finding the reality of Christ in the secret place of the Most High.
Ec. 9, the words of the wise are heard in quiet more than the cry of fools out on the street. The cry of the fools out on the street, we hear a lot going on everywhere. Here we have the words of the wise and are able to hear it and embrace it. Embrace it and believe it and walk in it.
I’d hate to break that sound with my voice. Good evening. It’s good to be back with you. It’s been several years. I love being with you. Happy Palm Sunday. Last year I heard 4,000 were coming through and seeing the play. I hope it’s a good week. No matter how dark it gets, Sunday is coming. Resurrection always gives us hope. My ministry is Grace Life. I share the gospel of grace with unbelievers and the grace of the gospel with believers. Let me say that again. I share the gospel of grace with unbelievers and the grace of the gospel with believers because grace doesn’t stop with salvation. That’s what we are going to talk about. I have a few newsletters and a handful of books out there you might want to take a look at. If you want them, just pop a $10 down and we’ll call it good. If you don’t have it, just take one, but there’s not many. I’m a little confused though because the ministry does take me around the world. I recently came from the Philippines and India where we are training pastors. Things are different in the east than they are in the west. In the east, they begin their messages with an apology. In the west, we like to begin ours with a joke. I’m a little confused and I guess I need to apologize I don’t have a joke!
Eph 2:8-9, you know this by heart, I bet you. We’re going to begin there and I’m going to illustrate the truth of this passage for you. We’ll take about grace and its role in salvation and in the Christian life. If I was to ask you why the Bible was written, some people would say it was written to show us how to be saved. Others would say, no, it was written to show us how to live a godly live. Who is right? Both.
We see that in Eph 2:8-10. What is grace? Grace is unmerited favor of God given to those who don’t deserve it. It comes from the word “gift.” There’s no such thing as costly grace. Only one kind of grace, free grace. He’s telling the Ephesians he reminded them of how they are eternally saved. How many can say by grace I have been saved? I imagine there might be a few struggling and say I can’t say I have eternal life if I were to die tonight. How does that grace get to us? Through faith. “Faith” and “believe” are the same word in the original language. Faith means we hold out empty hands to God and receive the gift that he gives to us. Then it says “that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” You bible says “it is the gift of God” but it’s not in the original language, “it is.” That not of yourselves, the gift of God. What is the gift of God? Faith? Does God give us faith to believe? That doesn’t make sense. God doesn’t believe for us. He has made us in his image with the responsibility and the free will that we can exercise to believe in him and receive that free gift. So what is “that” referring to? That is referring to the free gift of salvation. That’s not of ourselves. God originated it. It was his idea from before the foundation of the world.
That’s what he is saying in chapters 1 and 2 through verse 7. Salvation by grace is God’s gift to us. We receive it through faith. We don’t work for it or earn it because we would then be able to boast. Really that’s a terrible thought when you think about it that we could come to God and say the death of your Son on the cross for my sin was not enough. Let me add my two cents to it; let me add my good works, my good intentions, my promises to live a good life. Let me change a few things. No, God says that’s not what a free gift is. A free gift means you receive it freely. vs. 8b. One of the reasons we teach pastors around the world and as you know because you have a wonderful world wide outreach, is because so many people are lost in what we call legalism. They are adding works to the front end of the gospel. You are not saved until you do this list of things. I had one pastor come up after one of our training weeks and he said to me I have to repent. I’ve been keeping people out of heaven. He said I’ve been giving them a long list of things they have to do to be saved. Now, today, he’s spreading that message all over Ghana and West Africa through a wonderful, digital ministry. He’s committed to the idea that God’s grace is absolutely free. But it doesn’t stop there. That’s how we are saved, right?
We need to go on and read verse vs. 10. We get our English word “poem” from the Greek word “workmanship.” For what? Good works. Are works important? Not to get salvation but after salvation. They are expected of us. Look what he says. We should walk in them. Not that we will walk in them or are guaranteed but that we should walk in them. It’s God’s purpose that everyone saved by grace walk in good works. Is that clear? Works are a result not a requirement; they’re a consequence not a condition otherwise grace couldn’t be free. That’s what that verse says and it’s very familiar to us.
I want to turn to another story that illustrates what is going on here in Jn 4. Most of the chapter is the story of the woman at the well, the Samaritan woman. We’ll have to cut to the chase pretty much but I’ll just remind you what is happening. Jesus wanted to go to Galilee in the north and he was in Judea. Usually Jews would go west over the Jordan River up the Transjordan into Galilee. Why would they do that? Because they didn’t want to go through Samaria. Because Samaria was considered an unclean land with unclean people. When Assyrians conquered Samaria in 722 B.C., they took some of the Jews out of the country and they intermarried with the Jews remaining. The Jews in the South considered the Samaritan people half breeds, unclean. They wouldn’t walk through their land. Jesus said he needed to go through Samaria. I’m not going to say much about this but just notice what’s happening here. He’s going out of his way not to go out of his way. He said he came to preach the gospel first to the Jews but here he wanted to at least be sure to not avoid them like the Jews had been doing for centuries. When the Samaritans wanted to help the Jews rebuild the temple and the Jewish people in the south said no. You’re not coming down here. Now Jesus is reaching out to them by going through their land. He’s breaking a religious barrier, a geographic barrier and a social barrier by talking to a woman alone at a well. So he stops at a well, and there’s a woman there. It’s called Jacob’s well.
vs. 7. John adds an editorial content for us. He says for his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The disciples are gone. Jesus is there. Give me a drink. Here comes the lady with the water pot probably balanced on her head. She probably had done it every day for most of her life. She was probably an older woman. We’ll find out why.
vs. 8-9. John adds his editorial comment, “For Jews have not dealings with Samaritans.” She was just as surprised as any Jew would be that this Jewish man was speaking to her at all, much less her alone and that he was in her land. There is a lot of things wrong with this picture from a Jewish perspective. It shows the love of God and the outreach of God.
vs. 10. If you knew the gift of God. There is that word again, gift. If you knew the free gift of God. Unfortunately, many people don’t know the free gift of God. Many don’t understand salvation is a free gift that there is nothing that can be done to earn it or deserve it. Jesus said just ask and I’ll give it to you. Just ask. What does “ask” mean? Ask means you are just trusting someone at their word, taking them at their word. Someone says if you need anything, just ask me. If I need something, I just ask them. I believe what they promise. So Jesus says, if you would have just asked me, I would have given you living water. Ask/give because it’s a gift. Nothing else to do but ask.
vs. 11-13. She’s trying to embroil him in a little religious controversy that they had at the time.
vs. 13. Here’s a woman who has been lugging water. That’s a hard job. You and I didn’t grow up doing that, but many of the cultures I talk to I ask how many hulled water. Many hands go up. Oh, you have? My goodness, we have one here in Baltimore. Hard work, isn’t it? Water is 8 pounds a gallon. That’s hard work. She was older because she went through five husbands and on the sixth one. She wasn’t a young girl. She has been doing this all her life. She says, where are you going to get this water from?
vs. 16-17. Jesus was promising her not some water she would have to haul off but would come out of its own strength and its own power from within and burst into everlasting life which will be a fountain that never ends. Living water. Living water not stale well water she would have to haul, but living water.
John 7:37 talks about how those who believed in him would receive the Holy Spirit and out of their heart would flow rivers of living water. And he spoke to them about the Holy Spirit. That’s what he’s talking about. This spiritual life, this life of God that comes into us and flows out of us and satisfies every thirst we could ever have. That’s why people pop pills. That’s why people take drinks. That’s why people have affairs. That’s why people have five husbands because they are thirsting for something that they can’t find. They don’t have the relationship that fulfills. Everybody thirsts for something. We don’t know it but everybody is thirsting for eternal life. Jesus is the only one who can give that. What is the condition for eternal life? Ask. Ask means believe. The gospel of John is unique be because it’s called the gospel of belief sometimes, the gospel of faith. I see this living water here. It has dew on the outside so it’s very appealing. Nothing like water when you need it. The gospel of John is unique because it uses the word “believe” in the verb form 98 times, almost 100 times. It’s only used 150 times in all the New Testament. Two thirds it is used in the gospel of John, always in verb form. That is why John is called the gospel of belief. Not only is the word used there. He has pictures all through the book about what it means to believe like the word “ask.”
In chapter 3, he talks about whoever looks on him has everlasting life.
He’s referring to Numbers 21, whoever looks on the serpent on the pole is saved. So looking is like believing.
Jn. 6 eating my flesh and drinking my blood. He interprets that for us. That means to believe in Jesus for eternal life.
Jn. 10 entering the sheep fold, so entering is like believing. He talks about those who hear my voice, so hearing is a way of saying one who accepts his word or hears his word. We have all these pictures, but do you notice what they have in common? Ask, look, drink, eat, enter, and hear. None of them are complicated and none involve works. They’re all simple actions anyone can do. Eternal life is available to anyone who believes Jesus Christ for it. That’s the message to unbelievers like this woman at the well.
That’s Eph. 2:8-9.
What about Eph.2:10. God has created us for good works. We are not finished with our story yet. The woman believed because she went in the village and she was very shrewd. She said to the women there, come see a man whose told me everything I’ve done. Could this be the Christ? You notice she didn’t preach to him because if she did, they wouldn’t have listened. Right men? She asked him a question and they went to find out for themselves. They go back and they find Jesus and talked to him and many came to believe in him.
That’s in vs. 39.
vs. 42. This little woman with her witness, new found gift tells the men about it and the city, all the people in the city come out and believe. You can just see them coming out in streams.
vs. 27. Remember the disciples were away. They were away getting food. They marveled Jesus talked with a woman. Why? It was inappropriate socially.
vs. 27. Yet no one said what do you seek or why are you talking with her? The woman left her water pot and it goes on.
vs. 31. The disciples said, Rabbi, eat. They had brought the food back. They had their Chick-fil-A bags!
vs. 32. He said I have food to eat which you do not know. What is he talking about?
vs. 33-34. That’s his food, do God’s will and finish it.
vs. 35. It must have been that time of year when he was saying, heh, wait four months and we’ll reap the harvest. Wheat probably. If it wasn’t harvest time, what was he talking about? Maybe he sees the Samaritans streaming out of the village to come to him. And he’s saying lift up your eyes a little bit higher than the field of wheat that’s here in front of us and look. Look, it’s ripe for harvest. These people are ready to pick right now. They’re hungry. They’re thirsty. They’re coming. That’s the kind of world we live in. It’s hungry and thirsty and people come to know Christ. I have to admit, in America we don’t see it like that. In China, there are people coming to Christ by the thousands every day. In India, especially the lower cast, people that nobody pays attention to, are coming by the thousands. In the Philippines, same thing. Their hearts are open and the fields are white. I’m sure you get reports from Africa. People are hungry and you don’t have to apologize to them about sharing the gospel with them. The fields are white and that’s why you are sending people out there.
vs. 36. Jesus says, my will, my food is to do the will of him that sent me.
vs. 36. The one who works in the harvest will get paid for it.
vs. 37-38. Hear a different message now. Jesus talked to an unsaved woman about the free gift of living water. Now to the saved disciples about work and food and reward, wages for their work if they join Jesus in his work of working in the harvest and finishing God’s work.
That’s Eph. 2:10. God created us to do good works. Jesus is telling his disciples this is my food and to be your food. Take part in the harvest and reap fruit for eternal life. That’s the wages you’ll receive. Treasures in heaven. Rewards in heaven. People that would not otherwise be there that you’ll see in heaven, in the kingdom and in eternity.
What I want you to see is there are two different messages. The message to the unbeliever is salvation is a free gift and someone like the woman at the well needs to ask God for it and receive it freely and will receive everlasting life like living water. The message to the disciples is you need food and your food is to do God’s work and work in his harvest specifically and you’ll receive wages or rewards for that.
One sinful woman, and saved disciples. One condition of asking; conditions for working. The result everlasting life; the result wages or fruit for eternal life. One is an instantaneous event whereby she could be saved and another is a lifetime practice. One is called salvation and the other is called discipleship. One is justification and the other is sanctification.
Get it now? Why was the Bible written? Was it written to tell us how to be saved? Yes. Was it written to tell us how to live a godly life? Yes. I call salvation A truth, and Christian life B truth. That’s what my book out there talks about. A truth and B truth.
Tonight I may be speaking to someone who is really thirsty and has not found the answers, not found the security of their salvation in Christ. You may think you have to work harder or stop doing this or start doing that. Our message to you is the same what Jesus said to the woman. All you have to do is ask Jesus for eternal life and he’ll give it to you. He could have told this woman that she needed to stop doing what she was doing with these men and turn from all of her sins, but Jesus never said that, did he?
I like to fish. There are two parts to fishing. One part is catch and the other clean. Catch before you clean. Christians don’t have to be clean to come to Christ. They come to Christ and then God and the church cleans them up.
Surely he wants her to change her life. Surely he wants her to give up her men and give up her adulterous ways. Surely he does. But the most important thing he wants her to be in heaven with him and in the kingdom for all of eternity. And that’s a free gift.
If you are struggling with doubts about your salvation, that’s what you need to understand. It’s absolutely a free gift. You’ll never be good enough to earn it. You have to simply ask God for it. No hoops to jump through, no aisles to walk or prayers to pray except God I’m asking you for the gift of eternal life. Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins that separated me from God. He promised it, and I believe God that Jesus who died on the cross took my sins on himself and rose from the dead. He’s alive today and will give you that gift. Can you just say that in your heart to God? And you have the gift of living water.
What about most of us here who raised your hand who already would say I know I’m saved. Jesus said there is work to do. It’s not finished. There is a big harvest out there. The work to do starts with coming to church and getting together and then pulling our resources and our gifts and our abilities and saying how can we reach the world. I know that Greater Grace World Outreach is doing exactly that all around the world by planting churches and sending missionaries. I’ve been with them in Scandinavia and seen them in other places. Every person you witness to is part of reaping that harvest and every dollar you give that goes to missions is spreading that message and taking part in that harvest.
My friends, you and I know that we don’t have a lot of time left on the earth. It’s probably a good thing the way things are going but a lot of people don’t know Christ. The fields are ripe to harvest and if we don’t get to the harvest, what happens? It goes to waste.
I was in India with a team that I brought and I turned to one pastor and India is nothing but people everywhere. They’re everywhere. People. People. 1.4 billion. They are everywhere. As we drove down the road through the crowds, I said to my friend, look at all these people that don’t know Christ. What will happen when they die? You know what this pastor said to me which I’ll never forget? Fertilizer. Fertilizer. That’s what happens to people when they don’t know Christ. That’s the most they can look forward to.
My friends, there is a harvest ready to be harvested. It is white. What are you going to do? What has God called you to do as part of the work? What can you volunteer for? What can you help with? What can you give? Who can you support? Let’s pray.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.