PERCEIVING THE LIGHT, #27
"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." (JOH 4:11-18)
Notice how graciously the Saviour brings forth the message of salvation in such a loving, compassionate manner. He has a woman before Him who is grievously fallen in sin. She is a sinful woman who is living with a man who is not her husband.
If you were in a dark room, and stepped outside, where the sun was shining brightly on the snow, it would blind you. This woman, who was so blind in sin, is now sitting before the Light of the World; He turns on a little light at a time. Hes getting her to where shes beginning to perceive the light. It says in verse 19, "Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet." First she saw Him as a Jew. She saw the prejudices separating her and the Jews and she said, "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."
She had a barrier of prejudice in her mind, but now as the light begins to come in, she perceives that Hes something more than just a Jew: He is a prophet. He is taking away the prejudices of her heart, opening her understanding little by little. As our Saviour was speaking to this sinner, her human reasoning could not comprehend how He could draw because of the depth of the well. She saw there was depth in the well, but she could not comprehend how He would be able to draw from it.
We covered in the last chapter that the drawing power of the Holy Spirit and of Christ is not limited to natural things. He didnt need a bucket and a rope. What He would use was the drawing power of His blessed, bleeding, dying love. As He reveals Himself and the love of the Father, He reveals unto us who He is ("If thou knewest who it is that saith to thee"), and it has such a drawing effect. This she didnt understand, but shes starting to receive a little light. Shes starting to see that theres depth in the well, and that He has nothing to draw with: something further was needed. JOH 4:11 says, "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?"
The natural mind has no conception of the depths of the Fathers love. No human mind can comprehend the love of the Father in giving His Son the unspeakable depths of love. The Father restrained His love for His own Son, allowing Him to bleed and die. He was able to restrain His love for His own Son in the Garden of Gethsemane even when Jesus was sweating His own blood and pleading, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." (LUK 22:22-24) The Father was able to restrain this love for the depth of the love that He has for you and me. No natural mind can comprehend such love. There was such depth in that well! The well is the symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ and the human mind cannot comprehend it. ROM 11:33 says, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"
The human mind cannot comprehend such depths of love, such rich depths wisdom and knowledge. In such wisdom the Lord devised the plan of salvation whereby you and I can again be reconciled unto Him, that His wrath was appeased by the love He had in giving His Son. Verse 34 says, "For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?" There is such depth in that love and in the well of waters that we find in Christ.
Her continuing objections revealed the depth of her unbelief. This is where you and I are by nature. By nature, we cannot comprehend, cannot fathom that love; therefore we cannot accept, cannot lay hold of Christ, because we cannot see how He could have such love for a sinner. We cannot put it together in our finite minds. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments."
How can the Father pass judgment and say that He can look upon His own Son and see that He was made to be sin for us that you and I might be made the righteousness of God in Him? Cf. 2CO 5:21. Such judgment is beyond the comprehension of the natural mind. Her continuing objections revealed the depths of such unbelief, such impossibility of the human mind to be able to take hold of it and to comprehend this.
The Lord had replied to her "how" ("How is it that thou, being a Jew" can speak to me, a Samaritan?) by pointing to "the gift of God" which was the "living water." He answered her, and she responded with "Whence?" "Whence can this be obtained?" She knew nothing of where this water was to come from, but she did know that the well was deep. She began to realize there was a depth that she didnt understand. The perception is beginning to dawn upon her; shes beginning to realize something is there beyond her knowledge.
You and I can begin to realize theres preciousness in the gospel, yet not be able to see how it would apply to us. As we begin to grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, we begin to grow in the knowledge of our own sinful nature. That is when we see the preciousness of the love of the Father in bringing us back into harmony with His will by the revelation of His own Son.
"The well is deep," holds a very rich significance. It is a confession that the gift of God is beyond the reach of anything we can reach in ourselves. As she began to comprehend the depth of that well, she realized that it was beyond her natural reach. She realized that there was nothing that she could do to acquire this living water, and thats typical of us all. This message of the woman of Samaria is a type and symbol of the sinners relationship with God. It is teaching us that it is beyond our reach by nature.
We are not going to merit it, were not going to earn it with good works, and were not going to obtain it by any man. It is only to be obtained by the precious blood of Christ. Theres only one means whereby we can have it. It is not by keeping the letter of the law. ROM 5:18 says, "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation " You and I, by nature, are condemned criminals. We are sentenced to death. We are on death row. Were only waiting for the day of execution. All that stands between death and us is that period of waiting for the day of execution. We have been condemned to die, but now there is a place of mercy, that after this death (spiritual death), we can again be brought back to oneness with the Father in the way of perfection.
That sentence of spiritual death is removed and we can again live forever.
As you and I become quickened by the Holy Spirit, we learn to depart from iniquity. The Holy Spirit works the new birth in us, and we become renewed in the spirit of our minds. Thereby we are brought back into oneness with the will of God, and into reconciliation with Him. Verse 18 continues, "Judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."
When the Lord Jesus Christ was made to be sin for us, He took our debt that we were not able to pay. He came before His Holy Father as the debtor for our sin. How was He able to pay? How could He be justified? By rendering the perfect obedience that we were not able to render, and appeasing Gods wrath by His blood. Now He can stand acquitted.
Justification can be obtained in two ways. If you get a traffic citation and get summoned before the court, you can plead innocent. If you can prove your innocence, you can be justified (or acquitted) by your innocence; or you can satisfy the law by paying the penalty. In the way of salvation we needed both. Before God could accept the payment of our penalty, the law again had to be restored: perfect obedience must again be obtained. It was the humble obedience of Christ that satisfied the law with perfect obedience on our behalf. That is what purchased our redemption unto eternal life.
Just say, for instance, that you have violated a speed-limit zone of 15 miles per hour by the school. You pay your fine, and every morning to come, you go and do it over and over. You dont have everlasting peace, do you? Theres only one way the law can be satisfied, and that is, in the first instance, by perfect obedience. When Christ obtained our justification by His perfect obedience, the payment of the penalty appeased the Fathers wrath upon our sin. Now perfect reconciliation has been made because in Gods eyes the transgression has ceased. Thats why it is so important that we are able to stand in Christs perfect obedience.
Christ has obtained our justification by perfectly satisfying the law, and His perfect righteousness now being imputed to us. When He appeases the Fathers wrath for our transgressions, theres peace because transgression is no longer imputed to us. The Father can look at you and me in Christs perfect obedience. We no longer have to stand before the Father as transgressors because of Christs perfect obedience to the law.
ROM 5:19 says, "For as by one mans disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Now you and I stand righteous before the Father in the perfect obedience of Christ. This is the precious water of life that we draw from that fountain where sin is washed away. ZEC 13:1 says, "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness." This is where we draw the living water: we draw from His perfect obedience.
Gods purpose, revealed in the sinner at the well, teaches us that He will stop all gainsaying. There is no way that any person is going to stand before the Father and justify himself by gainsaying the Word of God. There are so many people who can justify their doings because someone else violated the law in another way. There is a vain assumption that equation of values is acceptable: "If he can do that, then I can do this, and if thats not sin, then surely this isnt." An old pastor who was found to be living in lasciviousness tried to justify his actions by saying, "Well, David sinned!" So many attempt to gainsay the Word of God. You and I are going to stand guilty before God. All gainsaying will be stopped.
ROM 3:19 says, "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." Thats where you and I are all by nature: were under the law and under the condemnation of the law. Until we come into Christ, until we see that Christ has taken our condemnation for us, and until we see that His righteousness is imputed to us, we stand condemned under the law.
The only way that you and I can become righteous before God is to first have our mouths stopped. We must first stand guilty before God, pleading the sinners prayer. Then Christ becomes the propitiation for our sin, and His perfect obedience becomes ours. Our sense of sin brings us guilty before God: now we see our righteousness is of Him, not of anything that is in us, nor of anything that we have done.
ROM 3:20 says, "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." What is sin? It is the transgression of the law. Anything that you and I do that transgresses the law of God is sin. "By the law is the knowledge of sin." If we didnt know that it says, "Thou shalt not covet," then we would agree with the Apostle Paul in ROM 7: we didnt know that it was sin to covet until the law said, "Thou shalt not covet." When the law is charged home to our hearts we are made guilty before God, and our mouths are stopped, we realize we need a Saviour.
I was talking to a lady just the other day that had just been diagnosed as being full of cancer. Can you imagine how urgent it is in her heart to find a doctor that can cure cancer? Until you and I have become guilty before God and our mouths have been stopped, we dont sense the need for a Heavenly Physician to heal our spiritual cancer! If none of us know that we have cancer, are we going to search for a doctor that can cure cancer? We dont think we need him, do we? As our mouths become stopped before God, we become guilty before God, because we begin to realize that we have transgressed His law. One transgression of the law is enough to condemn us eternally to hell, and theres no man that can deny that he has transgressed the law. This brings us guilty before God, and we realize we need a Saviour.
As God cultivates the heart to prepare it for the seed of the gospel, we learn well what we read in ROM 7:18. "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not." Thats the Apostle Pauls confession after he has come into Christ. He said that he found that the will is present - he has a desire; hes willing to obey - but "how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do."
When we come to that knowledge we start to understand how far short weve fallen of perfect obedience to His law and how condemning the law is the law has no mercy. Under the law, one transgression demands eternal hell. So how can you and I stand righteous before God except in that perfect righteousness and obedience of our Saviour, except by that water of life, which becomes ours? As we begin to understand the depths of that well, we find that living in the light we have and doing our very best does not satisfy.
I was talking to a lady whose husband had died very suddenly. I tried to comfort her. "Oh, well," she said, "he lived a good life. Im not worried about him." It had only been a week before that I reproved him for taking Gods name in vain. He said, "I do it so frequently, I guess I never even thought about it, that I was doing that." His wife said, "He lived a good life," but by whose standards? EXO 20:7 says, "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." This is the one commandment with a threat that is unpardonable outside of the blood of Christ!
When the Holy Spirit quickens the soul to see our sins, we become guilty before God, our mouth is stopped, and we become beggars before the throne of grace. We see that we need water out of that well, and we cannot reach it in our own strength; we need Christ to draw it. We need Christ to supply the water, because on our own, we would die of thirst.
As we begin to understand the depths of this well, we find, as we receive a little light, that doing the best we can does not satisfy. ROM 5:6 says, "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." We have to see that we are ungodly, that we are hell-deserving sinners, and that we deserve to be cast away forever. It brings us hungering and thirsting after the righteousness of Christ, that we need His blood and perfect righteousness as a propitiation for our sins, that we cannot cover it as Adam and Eve tried with fig leaves out of the garden (i.e., out of the world).
The words "the well is deep," point to the awful depths of suffering to which our Saviour descended to bring us the living waters. Try to understand the depths of His sufferings: how He had our sins planted as a crown of thorns upon His head, how it is you and I, every time we sin, who take a reed and smite Him, driving those thorns into His head. At such a time, He hung on the cross and said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (LUK 23:34) Do we understand the depths of His suffering? Do we understand the depths of such love? Thats when we get a glimpse of the depth of that well.
This poor sinner thought she was speaking to a mere Jew, and her next objection was, "Art thou greater than our father Jacob?" Jesus had told her that if she knew who it was that was talking to her, she would have asked for living water. Now shes insulting Him! "Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?" (JOH 4:12)
Have you stopped to think about the persevering love of Christ? Have you stopped to think about how we have insulted Him, how we have trampled upon His precious blood, willfully sinning, doing that which we know is against His law, knowing that our willful sins drove those thorns into His head? What a provocation, against such tender love, yet He is so patient and loving that He pleads passionately for our forgiveness.
She said, "Art thou greater than our father Jacob?" Do you see how she will insult Him rather than to do as He bid her: ask for the living water? How little she knew "the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink." (JOH 4:10) All He asked for was a cup of cold water, and in so doing He revealed the prejudices of her heart - her prejudices against the law of love. The Lord sometimes reveals the nature of our attitude, our sin, by merely asking that which reveals our responses under the law of love. It revealed her prejudices.
Neither did she have the least comprehension of her own deep need. She had no sense of the depths of Gods grace, which brought Jesus down from heaven to redeem her from all iniquity. See how patient our blessed Saviour is with such ignorance, how patient our blessed Saviour is with those who keep on in unbelief and resisting His grace, how He keeps knocking on the door, saying that if youll let Him in, Hell come in and sup with you. See how patient the blessed Saviour is.
Those who must rationalize the mysteries of salvation are as blind as the open critic. What she was doing was trying to rationalize. "The well is deep, He didnt have a bucket. How was He going to do it? "Art thou greater than our father, Jacob?" Do we try to rationalize the wisdom of God? Were no wiser than the open critic that mocks God. Were no wiser than the open infidel. Even logic leaves them without excuse.
ROM 1:19-20 says, "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." If we merely see the creation of God, its all the witness we need to know that God exists!
This woman's question, "Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well?" also points to the antiquity of the "gift of God." See how ancient Gods gift is. It didnt begin at the time that Christ was born. The gospel that Christ was preaching to this woman of Samaria, the gospel that Im preaching to you, was preached to Abraham. It was preached to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. That gospel has never altered. The gospel preached today is no different than that which was preached in Old Testament times. "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. [This same gospel was preached to Abraham!] So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." (GAL 3:7-9)
Do you have faith to believe it? Then you have the same faith that Abraham had. It is the same faith in the same God. It is the same faith in the same Lord Jesus Christ that Abraham had. The same gospel preached unto Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is what Christ preaches to you and me today. What was that gospel? I want you to think about this carefully. The gospel that was preached to Adam and Eve taught that only the blood of an innocent substitute could cleanse guilty souls. Thats the gospel that was preached to Adam and Eve and to Abraham. Thats the gospel that is preached to you and me today: that theres only one way of being reconciled with God, and that is by the blood of an innocent substitute.
EPH 1:5-6 says, "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." You and I will never be accepted in our own works even if we do nothing but pray, meditate, and read the Bible every waking moment of our lives. If thats all weve done in our whole lives, wed never be accepted outside of the blood of Christ. We are "accepted in the beloved," not in anything we have done. Our good works must spring from our love and what Christ has done for us. If our good works spring from any other source, from any thought that were meriting anything of ourselves, well never be acceptable.
We can only be "accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, [Thats how were redeemed: by the blood of Christ and no other way.] the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." The forgiveness of sins will come only by the appeasing of Gods wrath with the blood of Christ. His blood is the only way of appeasing of the wrath of the Father.
Our Saviour is not to be put off when He begins His work. Do you think that if the Lord Jesus Christ has worked in you to save your soul that youre going to run from it? The answer is no. Youre going to find no rest in anything that you may connive to pull yourself away, or in any maneuver you could make to get outside the working of His grace. Hell give you no rest in anything else.
He began His work of grace and answered with gracious patience the insulting ignorance of that woman who said, "Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well?" See the gracious patience of our Saviours response. "Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again." (JOH 4:13) That was some awesome truth! If you and I can be satisfied drinking in the things of this life, were going to thirst again. If we drink of those waters of life which flow forth from our blessed Redeemer, well never thirst again.
Those who drink in the waters of death, those who drink in the waters of pleasure and sin, those who can be satisfied, who can quench their thirst with the things of this life, will thirst again. When man sinned, there was a vacuum created in the soul. The image of God was removed, and it left a vacancy, an empty place. Every human being is seeking something to satisfy that empty place. Some want to fill it with wealth and pleasure. Some want to fill it with satisfaction of every diverse sort, but until we drink of the waters of life, that empty place will never really be filled.
You watch people who strive for wealth; some become so wealthy that theyre the richest people in the world, and the end result is that they commit suicide. There still has never been any true worldly success because that vacuum only gets bigger and larger. As the Lord Jesus Christ asks, "What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (MAT 16:26) Theres a vacuum there that has to be filled, and the Lord Jesus says that if you drink of this water, you will thirst again. You drink of the water that He gives you, and you will never thirst again.
In PSA 73:8-12, we see that Asaph had envied the proud. He had envied the riches and the ease of life of the proud. He said, "They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them." That vacuum is so completely filled with the riches and the things of this world, and they have no need for God. "And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches."
Theyre filling that empty place with something besides living waters, and they will thirst again, yet PSA 73:16-19, "When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me." He envied them, and he could not put together with human reasoning two irreconcilable things: how is it that those people who are ungodly, saying to God that they have no need of Him, are so happy? He began to see that they would thirst again.
Verses 17-19 say, "Until I went into the sanctuary of God [the symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sanctuary means a place of safety, a place of absolute protection, where were safe from the storms of this life.]; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors."
They thirst again. They have no abiding satisfaction. Those who drink of this water are clearly illustrated in EZE 23:32. "Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou shalt drink of thy sisters cup deep and large: thou shalt be laughed to scorn and had in derision; it containeth much." They drink of the things of this life. They drink of the pleasures of sin. "Thou shalt drink of thy sisters cup deep and large." Youre going to be flooded with the filthiness of your sisters cup, and youll be laughed to scorn and derision because this cup contains so much. Jesus said, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again."
See what an eternal thirst that will be, as Christ illustrated for us in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus! LUK 16:24 says, "And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." They will not only thirst again, but eternally. Those who drink in the pleasures of sin, to satisfy that empty place with the things of this life, will thirst again. The Lord Jesus said that each will cry to the saints to "dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." They will have an eternal thirst that will never be quenched.
Jesus said, "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." (JOH 3:13-14)
Can you think of any better consolation for your soul? When we drink of that living water, well never thirst again. Never, till all eternity, will we thirst again because the "water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." The believer has found that his thirst for the things of this world is quenched. When the Lord comes with His Holy Spirit, and we begin to drink from this living water, it quenches our thirst for the things of this life.
Sometimes, if we have a little financial loss, it can keep us awake at night. It just feels like our whole foundation is going out from under us. "What did we work for all these years?" Yet the thirst for the things of this life will be quenched when we start drinking from those living waters: theres no comparison.
The believer now has his thirst for the things of this world quenched. He also has that blessed fountain of living water in his soul. That fountain of living water springs up "into everlasting life." Look at what we read in COL 1:27. "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles [What is that fountain of living waters that springs up into everlasting life?]; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
That blessed Spirit of Christ becomes formed in you. You no longer thirst after the things of this world. Theres nothing in this world that can satisfy anymore. Now theres only one thing that can satisfy, and that is that blessed living water, which is Christ formed in you as the hope of your glory.
Water seeks its own level! If you have a pipe that goes from this fountain over to that fountain, it can go two thousand feet down and come back up, but the water in that fountain will be at the exact same level as it is in this fountain. It hooks the two together as one body of water. Water seeks its own level, and so it is when "Christ in you" becomes the hope of your glory. That blessed glory of the Lord Jesus Christ becomes ours. As He is filled, so we become filled, and that precious water of life becomes ours: we become filled to overflowing. It becomes a fountain that overflows. "Christ in you, the hope of glory." It is ever springing up to its source.
To the self-righteous Nicodemus, Jesus said in JOH 3:14-15, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: [Why should the Son of Man be lifted up?] That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." I want you to see this same "whosoever." Who is that: "That whosoever" will? Look at that same use of "whosoever" in JOH 4:14. "But whosoever drinketh " Do you see that? "That whosoever believeth should not perish." "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst." Whosoever will, let him come unto Me.
If were outside of Christ, then who is to blame? It is because we are still trying to fill that empty place with the things of this life. Therefore, because of the filth and corruption that we bring into our own hearts, we make no place for this living water. "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." (JOH 4:14) See the importance of this "whosoever drinketh." See why we have to take this personally: "Whosoever drinketh." What does it mean to drink of the living water? When Christ is formed in you as the hope of glory, this grace will reveal itself in your life. When were walking in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus Christ, the world will be able to see it thats why its important. If that isnt there, dont claim youre drinking from it!
ROM 8:9 says, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. [Youre not going to walk in the spirit of this world; youre going to walk in the Spirit of Christ.] Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." If youre not His, Hes not in you. Thats how important it is. If we walk in the flesh, and "have not the Spirit of Christ" we are "none of His." Do you know what the word Spirit means? It means "mental disposition." Can you harbor a heart full of hatred and bitterness for your neighbor? Christ didnt. Thats not His mental attitude. Thats not the law of love. Thats not the Spirit of Christ. Can you harbor unbelief and doubt, not trusting the Lord? He didnt. Thats not the mind of Christ. We need to trust Him. We need to be able to walk according to His revealed will and according to what He has commanded us to do.
Why is this an essential element in our salvation? Why is it so important that we have that Spirit of Christ? ROM 8:7-8 says, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." How can you and I be reconciled with God if we dont please Him? We walk in the imagination of our own heart. We drink of the things of this life. We fill that vacuum in our soul with the things of this life. How can we please God?
Those who have that blessed fountain of living waters implanted in their souls are watered. That blessed Spirit of Christ who wells up in them waters their souls. That right attitude wells up in you. When those fiery serpents are sent in among us, or when somebody is babbling our names and telling the world what terrible creatures we are, we must demonstrate that Spirit of Christ in us. Then our immediate response will be that we see in1PE 2:23-24: "Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."
That Spirit of Christ wells up in us. It doesnt respond with reviling for reviling. Christ is in us. That Spirit of Christ wells up in us, suppressing that spirit of reviling, extortion, hatred, and sin. Now if we have someone persecuting us, we bless those who curse. We speak well of those who are slandering our names to the world: we lift them up as Jesus commanded in MAT 5:44, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"
I gave an illustration about two people who were having a quarrel. A lady was talking to a man who told her all the terrible things about this friend of his. When he finished, she asked, "But dont you believe hes honest?" He answered, "Well, yes, Ill have to admit that." So that was the end of the conversation. The next day she was talking to the other friend. He was telling her all the terrible things he knew about this man. When he was finished she said, "But theres one thing about it. When I talk to him, he tells me that youre an honest man."
"Oh, I cant believe it!" Then he started telling some good things about the other man, so she quickly ran back and told him that. (You see you can be a talebearer if you do it right.) Two weeks later they were best friends again.
When Christ is in you, and He begins welling up as living waters in your soul, that Spirit of Christ reveals itself in your every mental thought. Thats the Spirit of Christ: your mental disposition, your attitude, how you respond to others. Do you try to overcome evil with good? Are you a peacemaker? Jesus said in MAT 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
HOS 6:3 says, "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." That is to say if we follow on in the footsteps of Christ, if we follow on in that mental disposition. Do you know what that means? The rain coming down upon us symbolizes the Holy Spirit. We get that refreshing dew of the Spirit in our souls; it comes upon us as the rain, "if we follow on to know the LORD," if we have that Spirit of Christ, if that precious fountain of living water is springing up in our soul instead of all these evil thoughts and all this bitterness that we have by nature. As we start feasting upon the living waters, that mental disposition, that attitude of Christ, reveals itself in our hearts.
When we follow on to know the Lord, He comes upon us "as the latter and former rain." He richly blesses our soul. We see this in a symbolic way in PSA 65:10. "Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly." We bear the right kind of fruit when the Holy Spirit comes upon us as the rain. We start seeing that "Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof."
When that blessed rain of the Spirit comes into our heart, then our heart becomes soft, it becomes fruitful, and it starts bearing the fruits of the Spirit, which are love and temperance: "thou blessest the springing thereof." Such a soul is satisfied even in calamities, afflictions, and persecutions, and can patiently endure them by looking unto Jesus. In every affliction we see were only walking in the way of the cross. "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." (LUK 9:23) Then we start seeing things in such a different light.
Instead of looking at man and all the terrible things he has done, take your eye off these fiery serpents that God has sent to nip us in the heel. We must get our eyes off ourselves and look unto Jesus, and we shall live. How do we live? By walking in His footsteps. By reviling those who wrong us? No, when He was reviled, He reviled not again.
1PE 2:20-21 says, "For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps."
This sinner at Sychars well was at first too prejudiced against Jesus to give Him a cup of cold water, but as the Word began to persuade her, she became willing to be indebted to this Jew. JOH 4:15 says, "The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw." What was the first thing that happened? She first asked "How;" then she followed with "Whence?" Jesus spoke of spiritual water, and yet all she sought was to be spared the trouble of having to draw. She still didnt see the depth of the well.
So what then was the next step? Her conscience had to be reached! A sense of need was established by laying her conscience bare to see her sin. What did she see? JOH 4:16-18 says, "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."
He laid her conscience bare and there can be no pardon until there is a confession of sin.
1JO 1:8-10 says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
The Apostle Paul said in ROM 7:8, "But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence " What hes saying is that when the law was charged to his heart, and he saw the criminality of every transgression of that law, it "wrought in me all manner of concupiscence." Do you know what that word concupiscence means? It means "a longing desire for that which is forbidden." His heart was laid naked and bare, and he saw the corruption of his heart and how he was longing for forbidden things, for the water that perishes.
Verses 8-9 continue, "For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." This is what the Lord Jesus did to that woman at the well: He charged her conscience by showing her that He saw every sin of her heart; then she began to perceive that He was a prophet. Amen
These on-line sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a daily devotion. See also our sermon notes.
We pray this sermon has been a blessing to those who read it. If you share this sermon with a friend, please let us know. Thank you.