Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 7:55 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “In The Sweet By and By.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 4:1-42 (selected ESV). Not Your Husband (See vv. 1-26) Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. ~ vv. 16-18 Jesus had to go through Samaria on the way to Galilee. I believe the “had to” was a divine appointment, as well as a physical reality. Jesus was tired from his journey. He sat down at Jacob’s well. A Samaritan woman came to draw water. Jesus asked her to give him a drink of water from the well. The woman was surprised at this request, because Jews did not associate with Samaritans. Jesus seized this opportunity, which I believe was the purpose for this encounter all along, to tell the woman about the “living water” which would satisfy her spiritual thirst (her God-void) so that she would never thirst again, i.e. so that she would be fully satisfied and complete in her Lord and not need to look for love and fulfillment any longer in other places. The water Jesus was talking about with her, though, was not physical water, like the woman could supply Jesus from Jacob’s well, but his was the Spirit of God who would give her new life in the Spirit. When we receive Jesus Christ into our lives, by faith, his Spirit indwells us and fills us to overflowing with God’s holy presence, and we are given new lives in Christ Jesus – eternal lives with God forever and ever, beginning at the moment we humble ourselves before God in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. At that moment we are born anew of the Spirit of God, delivered out of slavery to sin, and we are empowered of the Spirit of God to now walk daily in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, and no longer after the flesh. Jesus died to “redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (See: Tit. 2:11-14; cf. Eph. 4:17-24). The woman asked Jesus for this living water, not truly understanding that he was speaking in spiritual terms and not in the physical realm, at that moment. Jesus responded by telling the woman to go call her husband and come back. He knew she didn’t have a husband. And, she told him so. Then he acknowledged to her that what she had said was correct, and, in fact, she had had five husbands, and the man she was now living with was not her husband. I want to stop there, because I believe the Lord wants to say something about this to his church today. Although I understand this woman was not a believer in Jesus Christ, so here Jesus was talking to the unsaved, I believe he has a message here for his adulterous and idolatrous church here in America. I believe he is saying to her that she has had many other “lovers” and the “man” she is now with is not her husband, i.e. I believe he is speaking to her concerning both the US government, with which she is in a covenant relationship via the 501c3 non-profit corporation status, but he is also speaking of her being in an intimate and romantic relationship with man, i.e. with human leaders, teaching, philosophy, marketing schemes, and a human-based gospel which is only part of the true gospel of Christ and/or which dilutes the true gospel to make it more appealing and acceptable to the world. Not only this, but for the adulterous (institutional) church to make way for the church to be infiltrated by the world and human-based religion, and by false teaching and teachers and a diluted gospel, she had to first of all move Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and His Word out the door, so that what is false and worldly and of Satan could be moved inside in their place. She also had to devise a plan to get rid of those servants of the Lord who hold to the truths of scripture so that they would not stand in the way of “progress” of these human-based efforts to conform the church to the ways of this sinful world. Some saints of God are removed through persecution, while others may be removed through death. Then the church is/was able to move false religion(s) into the church and to get the church to accept a “new and better” way which tolerates sin and entertains the sinners. Come and See (See vv. 27-30) Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him. Because of Jesus’ words to the woman concerning her “husbands,” the woman saw that Jesus was a prophet. They had a discussion about the appropriate place of worship of God. Jesus told her a time was coming and had now come when true worshipers of God would worship him in spirit and in truth, regardless of location (or time of day or day of the week), as was evidenced by the fact that the early church met daily in people’s homes and in the temple courts for fellowship, teaching, prayer and the breaking of bread (communion). Then, the woman stated that she knew about the coming of the Messiah, and that he would explain everything to them. Jesus then declared, “I am he.” It was then that the disciples returned and saw Jesus speaking with the woman, and that the woman then left to tell her people to come and see the man who told her all that she ever did. As a result, many people came to hear Jesus for themselves, and many believed. I believe Jesus is speaking now to his adulterous and idolatrous church here in America. I believe he is reminding her of the living water he gave to her which would completely satisfy her, and of his purpose in saving her, not only to free her from hell and to give her the hope of heaven, but so she would be free of the control of sin over her life and so she would walk in the Spirit, and not in the flesh, and in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. I believe he is confronting her with the fact that she has followed after “other lovers” and that the “man” with whom she is now living (man/US government) is not her true husband. And, I believe he is calling her to turn from her sin and to return to him as her only husband/lover and Lord. See the Fields (See vv. 31-38) Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” When we read in the New Testament concerning “the harvest,” I find it has a dual meaning. In one sense it is speaking of divine judgment. In a harvest, after all, there is cutting and separating that must take place in the process of bringing in the harvest. Harvest also has a spiritual connotation in that it speaks of reaping what we have sown, only in a positive sense, though it also speaks of it in a negative sense, as well. When we sow spiritual seed in people’s lives via showing them the love of Jesus Christ, being Jesus to the world around us, and in sharing with them the gospel of salvation so that they can be saved, we are planting seed that should grow into mature plants, i.e. which should grow into mature followers of Jesus Christ. When it is time for harvest, it is time to reap what we have sown, i.e. to receive the fruit in people’s lives for which we have labored. Some of this we may receive immediately after we have sown the seed, i.e. we will get to be present with people when they accept God’s invitation to his great salvation, and we may even get to be part of the process of nurturing them to maturity. Sometimes we may not see the fruit for our labor for many years, or we may not see some of that fruit even until we get to heaven. For instance, God has called me to write out what he teaches me each day from his word and to give it to a runner (the internet) so that the herald can run with it. My job is merely to write and then to post, but beyond that I have no control over where these writings end up or whose lives they touch. I may see some of that fruit in this life, but much of it I probably won’t see until I get to heaven one day. Ok, so back to the idea of the duality of this word “harvest,” I believe the message God would have me share here today is that judgment is coming to America because God has been speaking to his adulterous/idolatrous church for many years now, confronting her with her sin, and calling her to repentance and renewed faith in him, but for the most part she is not listening. She is much like the church of Laodicea (See Rev. 3), and God is about ready to spit her out of his mouth, I believe. Yet, in divine judgment, I believe, much of his church will be revived and then from her the gospel will go forth and many will believe in Jesus. I believe he is saying that it is time for us to be about doing the will of our Lord and to finish (accomplish) his work in planting spiritual seed in people’s lives so that they will be saved. Many Believed (See vv. 39-42) Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” As a result of this woman’s testimony, and of the people coming to hear what Jesus had to say, many believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of their lives. Amen! It is time that we all got about the Master’s work in sharing our testimonies with people so that many can come to know Jesus Christ. We need to stop living like the world around us, and we need to begin, if we have not already done so, to live in the power of the Spirit within us in being the light for Jesus Christ and for his gospel which he has called us to be. Time is running short. Judgment I believe is on the way. Many will die in this judgment, and many will die without Christ. We should stop putting off what we know to do, and we should get serious about the times in which we live and the call of God to go and to make disciples of Christ of all people, teaching them to obey Christ’s commandments (his instructions) to us. In the Sweet By and By / Sanford F. Bennett / Joseph P. Webster There’s a land that is fairer than day, And by faith we can see it afar; For the Father waits over the way To prepare us a dwelling place there. We shall sing on that beautiful shore The melodious songs of the blessed; And our spirits shall sorrow no more, Not a sigh for the blessing of rest. To our bountiful Father above, We will offer our tribute of praise For the glorious gift of His love And the blessings that hallow our days. In the sweet by and by, We shall meet on that beautiful shore; In the sweet by and by, We shall meet on that beautiful shore.