Survivor shows are so popular. These people compete with skill and smarts. What do we need for spiritual survival? Jesus meets us and shows us the way according to our capacity. To Nicodemus, the Woman at the well, Martha, and Mary, Jesus led them and touched them to get them through. He’s big enough and wide enough to help us all. (John 3, 4, 11)
Speaker(s): Thomas Schaller, Jesse Feyers
7:00 PM on 1/11/2023
Jesse Feyers –
I’m going to share just a quick thought, so let’s just pray. Let’s pray. We need some prayer. Prayer is
amazing, guys. Prayer is amazing. We were in Richmond this last weekend, and we just felt
everybody’s prayers. The prayers just laid out everything for us. People, places to meet. It really
just lays out everything for us and we just walk by faith. Wow, like this is not me. Just answers to
prayer. So, let’s pray for a great evening, alright? Amen. (Prayer).
Turn to Exodus 10. I just want to look at two thoughts. We had our Richmond harvest this last week.
We were there for just seven days, a whole week. Amazing team. Maybe everybody who came
and was a part of that could stand real quick. If you were part of the Richmond harvest, this
previous one, just stand real quick because the team was amazing. They’re popping up slowly.
Some of them are still injured and hurt by the week. Getting up slower. Lenin! No, but it’s
amazing what you can do when you really just give your whole time for the mission. Like give
your whole week for God and say, God, use me. Just the work that was done in our hearts and
the people’s hearts there. People are so open there. It’s amazing.
Let’s see in chapter 10 in Exodus in vs. 23. This is the plagues he’s talking about. One of them
is locusts and then the next one was darkness. It’s an amazing thing these two little portions.
Maybe we could hear from – vs. 23. Talking about the darkness. This is Egypt in vs. 22-23.
Then in chapter 11, you can see in vs. 7 the last plague. That means like bark. He won’t even
So, two portions I see here. One, we have a light. Even when there’s darkness in the world.
Where we were in Richmond, there is a lot of darkness. There’s a lot of evil and witchcraft. We
see these stores that have these potions and different ouija boards. There’s a darkness there.
We know that. We know there’s a darkness in the world, but we have a light. We have a light
and we are able to bring and share that light with people. I mean, come on! The gift that we
have in us and what it can do in other people’s lives. What it can do.
If you look in chapter 10:1, I love it. God says, vs. 1. You can read that and go, why – there
hearts are hardened. The servants hearts are hardened all around. I could be discouraged and
just look at that, right? But if you read on in vs. 2. I can be outreaching, and we had this a lot of
times. We had great open conversations but I want to talk about these negative and maybe
unfruitful moments in the time. You talk to this person and he tears it down maybe.
Or he’s been hurt by the church and nothing penetrates it seems. But in my mind, I could be discouraged by
that. Maybe it’s not for this present time right now. Maybe what I’m doing with this young man or
this person who has been hurt, maybe it’s not for them right now. Maybe it’s for others in the
future. That’s like a beautiful thought that people can have such a hardened heart and the Lord,
it says God has hardened his heart. But I go by faith and I do it anyways. I do it anyways.
I love what Moses did. In vs. 6, he tells him about the locusts that are coming. He tells Pharaoh.
And he gives him a hard word in vs. 3b. Sometimes, maybe we need to give a tough word for
those people as well. Just because why? Because we love them. We know what this light has
done for us. Let it be so to them. But he gave him the hard word and at the end of vs. 6, it says
he turned away and went out. Like he didn’t give him an opportunity to even answer at the point.
Meaning, you’re going to end up – you’re before God now. I’ve given you the word. I’ve told you
what you said, but your heart is hardened. I’m going to turn away and it’s between you and God.
And why? Why would I do that? It seems like not the right thing to do. But it points it in their
perspective like wow, this person has something like really that they are passionate about. We
say it to them. We walk away in love and they are between God.
But in that chapter 11, there’s a difference between Israel and Egypt. There’s a difference
between the world and the church. There’s a difference between the Spirit and the flesh. John
6:63, talks about how the Spirit quickens, gives life and the flesh – there we go. The flesh profits
nothing. The Spirit quickeneth; the flesh profits nothing.
I like how it doesn’t say the Spirit profits much. It doesn’t say that. It says the Spirit gives life.
Meaning sometimes when you are in the Spirit, you not going to feel like you’re profiting much
maybe. Maybe, you are dying to self. Maybe it’s less, right? Maybe it’s not profit. Maybe I’m not
physically experiencing anything profiting but there’s life given to me.
And this is what was so eye opening for me in Richmond. Like the team, we were just giving life
to people no matter where we went. We were doing – we called it bus ministry 2.0. There is a
bus that goes there and runs throughout the city, and it’s free all until 2025. So, what do we do?
Free, you know. Free! We hop on the bus and we sit there and people sit next to us and you’re
stuck until your stop. We just fellowship and encourage them…it was just a precious time.
Prayer and knowing that, wow! We have something to give these people. And then we door
knocked. We went door to door near this church we’re renting. Five houses down, there’s a
church there? There’s a church there? People don’t know. Don’t look with your eyes. Be led and
just go. Just go. That’s what Moses did. I’ll put the words in your mouth God told him. Just go.
And we just go and God just shows up and we are just amazed. Absolutely amazed.
It was a great time. P. Tom Smith came down three times with the Culpeper church. We were
there with them too as well Sunday morning service, and maybe one testimony of a guy. His
name is Eddie. Eddie’s 69. He’s from Belgium. He’s been living in the states for 26 years. He
ended up getting saved Christmas Eve service. He received God. Yeah, I know. Isn’t that
beautiful? Christmas Eve. But he doesn’t have much. Very simple man. Not much words to say.
Very good listener though. You can tell he listens. It’s amazing. Like I’m drawn to this man.
Absolutely drawn to him. I met him at a park one time. He just comes.
We pick him up. He just comes. And he came I think five days of the seven. We picked him up. He’s never asking for
nothing. He’s not like feed me. He’s less fortunate and he lives in his van sometimes by a house
that kind of lets him in some days. It’s a weird situation but very humble and he doesn’t want
much but he wants fellowship.
These people are dying, crying out for fellowship but they don’t know where to go. We go up
and like hey, you join us. So, he comes. We gave him a Bible this week. I was taking him home
and he was trying to get in the back seat and it was just me and him. I said, why are you getting
in the back seat? Get in the front seat. Come on! I’m not your Uber or anything. He’s like, I left
my Bible there. I want my Bible. It was beautiful.
He came out twice with us to outreach. I didn’t tell him what we were doing. I paired him up with
Lenin first and then I paired him up with – who did I pair him up with the second time? Did I –
anyway, it doesn’t matter. I paired him up twice. Two different times he came on outreach with
us. He could have been at home. Not answer his phone. Stay at home. But he’s coming. He’s
probably not saying much to people. He’s just watching. And he’s just fellowshipping.
Then the last night, there’s just an experience of great joy and laughter. I haven’t seen this man
laugh – I’m pretty sure he hasn’t laughed this hard since he’s been in America the way he was
laughing. I was just so touched by his laughter and his joy. So, keep praying for us in Richmond.
Thank you, guys. Everybody who comes. We just love the Body and we’re encouraged. Yeah.
Amen. Let’s pray for the offering. We’re going to do the offering now. (Prayer).
P. Schaller –
That was Miles Tanksley and he’s the son of Sedrick and Kim, right? Miles, is your
mom’s name Kim? Kim, right? Yeah. You are awesome. You are a great young man. He is. He’s
a great young man. Wow. He’s in our high school with other high schoolers that are just
awesome, young people. Wow. It’s great. And how about the message that Jesse Feyers just
shared? It has to do with something I want to say tonight.
I have two short messages that I shared in Finland. I will share one of them connected with what
Jesse said and then take a break and you talk a little bit with your neighbor about it maybe and
then the second one. Okay. So, I loved the prayer. Let’s do it again. (Prayer).
Two things very simply. The gods of this world. We can say – I’m not doing good with this right
now. Let’s see. The gods of this world. And we can put here to our fallen nature. I think you
know that you have a fallen nature and by nature, we are linked up with the gods of this world.
They are very narrow. The gods of the world are very narrow and all they know is the evil nature
of the Fall and so in our flesh too, we have a very narrow life in the flesh. We don’t have real
liberty. We don’t have really power. We don’t have the mind of Christ. We have a fallen nature
and we have the gods of this world. They could be described in different ways.
In the first story I want you to look at is in John 3 and 4. We have Jesus’ ministry. The primary
point of the message is that God is so wide and so big and so capable of ministering to us
without the narrowness of the flesh and the fallen nature of the world. We have a wide, big,
awesome big place and that idea is in the psalms. God has set me in a large room. Hosea, we
are in a large pasture. Sheep. In a field and also the big footsteps under our feet. He’s given us
large steps. Though we fall, underneath are his everlasting arms.
It’s not so with these words right here. If you make your career your god, and you say my life is
to be a good life. I have a career. Your good life. That’s your god. It’s a good life. Your
orientation, your philosophy of life is not God. It’s actually me. It’s me. My life. I want to have a
good life. I want a career. I want money. I want security. I want a family. I want a good wife. I
want to live a good life. That’s fine but it’s not big enough for you.
For when you fail, that career cannot save you. When you fail, with your god, your god cannot
pick you up. Your god cannot say you are forgiven. Your god cannot say you made me, – career,
you made me your god and now that you have failed in your career, I have nothing for you. You
have failed. It’s very narrow. This is the reason why our Christian faith is so rich is because it
works. Our God is not like other gods. Our God never leaves us, never forsakes us. Our God
saves us. Our God empowers us. Our God is a living God. Our God speaks to us. Our God is
there for us.
Now, there’s two illustrations in the Gospel of John regarding this. John 3 is Nicodemus and he’s
a Pharisee. John 4 is the woman at the well. Woman at the well. In Timothy Keller’s book,
“Encounters with Jesus,” he said that Nicodemus is the insider. He’s the Pharisee. He’s the Jew.
Nicodemus is the one that knows the Bible. Nicodemus is righteous. He obeys the law. He
keeps the law. He’s like an insider religiously speaking. And the woman at the well is the
outsider. Christ ministers to both of them. Both of them their world is too narrow for life. And the
flesh is like that. It’s not enough for you. You have to have more.
That’s why we are here listening and we’re hungry for the spiritual life. We are hungry because
we have been born again. And this is what Jesus said to the insider. He’s the insider, and I think
you understand that. The insider. He knows a lot. But does he know Jesus? He’s religious but
does he know Jesus? He’s the insider. He goes to the synagogue. It would be like people in the
United States. Maybe they go to church. Maybe they know the Bible. But it’s amazing how they
cannot integrate – I’ll write this down – cannot integrate the teaching, the Word. They cannot
integrate it in everyday life. In daily life.
They will go on Sunday. I did it as a kid. Probably all of us did. I would go to church but Monday
was totally or Sunday an hour after church or five minutes after church, there is no integration. It
didn’t change my life. And you could say I was a Catholic or I am a church goer or I believe or I
pray to God and then Jesus said to this particular man, Nicodemus, the first thing he said to him
was you must be born again. And he could say, I don’t know what you are talking about. And
that’s the work of grace. That’s the work of God. That’s the changed life that Nicodemus needed
as an insider. And that all of the people that are saying they might even say on the street “I’m
born again” but then when it comes to life, are you living in the Spirit? Is your heart stirred to
God? Do you have a thirst in your heart for God? Do you know who he is? Are you realizing to
trust him in my everyday life? It’s the work of grace and the Holy Spirit.
So, here we have the insider story and then let’s look at the outsider. Why was the woman at the
well an outsider but because she was a Samaritan. And she was a woman. It wasn’t appropriate
in the ancient world for a man by himself to talk to a woman by herself when he didn’t know her.
But Christ was not living in those cultural sensitivities cause he’s God. I love it to read and think
about him breaking barriers, social and cultural barriers for the sake of taking somebody on the
outside and giving them something they desperately need.
And the interesting thing about the story is as she’s talking with him, he’s able to read her. He
perceives. He understands her. He knows her pain. He knows what her need is. He doesn’t say,
“you must be born again” in the story. He doesn’t really quote Scripture in the sense of – we’ll
see a little later – but he did with Nicodemus. That as Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the
wilderness and people looked at it and were healed, so the Son of Man will be lifted up. And
remember, Nicodemus was part of the burial of Jesus. And Nicodemus saw Jesus lifted up on
the cross. What a story that is.
So, we have layers in life. And this woman has these layers and Christ knew. He could say to
her, go call your husband. And she said I don’t have one. And now comes his ministry. His
ministry. You’ve had five husbands. Maybe she was a woman that couldn’t live by herself.
Maybe she was a woman – we don’t know what kind of woman but she had a need. Very
understandably, she had a need like all of us. And he had a ministry. And it’s not narrow. It’s for
her. It’s really wide. And she said, well, we worship on this mountain but you are a Jew, and you
teach that you are to go and worship in Jerusalem. And he said, the hour is coming and it is
here and now is that they that worship him will worship him not in Jerusalem nor here but
worship him in spirit and in truth. See how wide Jesus’ is. You don’t have to be there in
Jerusalem. Worship the Father in spirit and truth.
In the world we are living, there’s such a need for diversity in ministry. There’s such a need like
Jesse mentioned. There’s such a need for us to walk in the Spirit and understand what the heart
of God is for people. And how he can touch people. That woman said to Jesus, oh, you are a
prophet. We know that the Messiah is coming and he will tell us all things. And Jesus said, he
that speaks to you is he. Wow. He revealed himself to her. He showed her. He opened up more
than he has done to others. Many times when he was manifesting, he would say keep it quiet.
Keep it to yourself. Sometimes when he healed, sometimes when he spoke. And he spoke in
parables so people wouldn’t understand. But then he revealed his secrets to his friends and the
Spirit of God does that with us as well.
So, we have these two stories back to back. John 3 and then John 4. I’m just touched because
when we were in Finland – I have a map here of Finland. We were here in Helsinki. Over here in
Turku and up here in Riihimaki. You can’t see that. Riihimaki is there. Helsinki and Turku here. I
was so impressed with the love, the loyalty. I mean imagine 48 years ago, we went there and
the same people 48 years ago. The same people if they are alive. The same people. This is
something that the flesh cannot do. The flesh is too narrow.
Have anybody- I was thinking about these survival TV shows. By the way, I saw Nathan came. I
saw Benscu, Mika. Roger Robbins and Lizzie were there. Nine people from Latvia came.
Sweden. Some Swedish folks. We just had a rich time. I was thinking about these survival
shows. Survival that you see on TV. I asked Ulla to look up on the internet those shows and
count how many. I think she counted 45 of them. And why do people like survivor shows? Huh?
Yeah. We sit in our big chairs and watch people try to survive and live maybe through them. I
One thing about those people that survive, they have to be trained. A couple things about them.
They have to like be deliberate. They have to have the skill. They have to be prepared. They
need the preparation for it. And then maybe they survive. And we’re watching it. We enjoy it as
entertainment. Maybe you do. I don’t care so much about it, but I think it’s fascinating for people.
I was thinking also, there are people that survive physically in a desert or a mountain or an
ocean. They survive by the training and their skill and deliberate efforts. And then thinking about everyday life and surviving in this world. And who is prepared for the temptations that are in the
world? Who is prepared to take on the devil and the flesh?
I was thinking we are fascinated by people who physically survive in terrible circumstances and
then Jesus is telling us, come unto me because without me, you don’t have what you need.
Therefore, many are destroyed. Many people are destroyed. Eaten up and destroyed.
I have a paragraph from a – let’s see. This was David Foster Wallace, best selling post-modern
novelist known around the world, and he gave a speech to a graduating class. He said,
“everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason” –
and by the way, he’s an atheist. This is what he’s saying. “The compelling reason for maybe
choosing some sort of God to worship, is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you
alive. If you worship money and things, they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will
never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth.”
“Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure, and you will always feel ugly. And when
time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before your loved ones finally plant you.
Worship power and you’ll end up feeling weak and afraid and you’ll need ever more power over
others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, and you’ll end
up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. Look, the insidious thing
about these forms of worship is not that they are evil or sinful. It is that they are unconscious.
They are default settings.”
I would disagree with him on that last part. They are evil and sinful. They are narrow.
Worshipping money and beauty and your own intellect is not what we are designed for. We are
designed to glorify God and to know God. Jesus is making every effort when he comes into the
world to touch our hearts and for the Spirit of God to show us who God is. When we realize who
God is and we’re satisfied like the woman at the well. If you knew who the gift of God and who it
is that offers it to you, you would ask of him and he would give you water and you would never
thirst. She’s thinking of the well. She says give me this water so I don’t have to come here every
day. But he’s talking about the water that satisfies the thirsty soul. That satisfies us deeply in our
hearts. Wow. That’s the first message.
One more and it is short I guess. Let’s go right to it. It’s John 11. Are you following this with me?
Okay. Wow. Is it true, you know? Is it? Here is Jesus. This goes like this way. There’s two
sisters, Martha and Mary. Jesus is going to minister to them in two different ways. They both are
different. They are different people just like we have the insider and the outsider. He ministers to
them in two different ways. So, Martha and Mary both are saying to him after the death of their
brother, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
Let’s read the first one. That was from Martha in vs. 20-21. I think of this as two different Body
members or two different kinds of people. We’re not all the same. Just like Nicodemus is very
different from the woman at the well. But Martha is like going out to meet Jesus. She is running
out to meet him because she wants to talk to him and tell him the following, vs. 21-22. I think
sometimes we have those words, but they are not in our hearts. I counsel you and encourage
you to not only have the language but have it in your heart.
I remember when I first became a believer, I went to a Pentecostal church at the college
campus area where I was living. And they would say, “Praise the Lord!” I was serious about the
faith. I was new. I didn’t know what that really meant. They would say, “Praise the Lord!” Then,
they were always saying it. Praise the Lord the car came. Praise the Lord. The sun is shining.
Praise the Lord. It was like a phrase that we used. We can do that and it’s not necessarily
But I think Martha maybe represents us in many ways. Lord, I know that you can do anything.
You can heal cancer. You can answer the prayer. I know that you can do this and you do that.
And then he answered her in vs. 23-24. I don’t know if she was satisfied with the answer but he
goes further. vs. 25-26. He’s kind of pushing her a little bit.
I love it that God can push us a little bit, can’t he? He can speak the truth to us. Help us. We
may not have such a capacity because the sorrow at the moment is so great. It’s amazing that
she’s even interested in being and receiving a ministry from him and he is ministering to her. But
we could say maybe – I want to be careful here. Not that Jesus is quoting Bible verses or Jesus
is theologically like oriented to the woman, but he is ministering to her.
That part of ministry is part of our ministry. We have Bible verses for our problems. We have Bible verses that we quote
when we get in trouble. We have Bible verses and this is one part of the ministry. But it doesn’t
always touch us. It’s not enough because God is bigger, wider, and we see this when he comes
to Martha’s sister.
Let’s just go to the sister there in vs. 28-32. We could say she is hurting. Both of them are. But
one of them his ministry is with those words and the other sister it is a little different. Because
she says in vs. 32-35. This ministry is not the teaching. It is the weeping. This ministry to the
woman is not the theology. It’s the tears. This woman, this woman, Mary, is saying the same
thing Martha said. “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” He doesn’t say to
her. He just says, “where have you laid him? And he wept.” and that was all.
What I want to say is God is so wide. He can take care of all of us in different ways. One day he
will teach you and exhort you. Another day, he’ll weep with you. One day, he’ll carry you.
Another day, he’ll say you carry my cross. One day, he’ll say believe me. Trust me. Another day,
he’ll say I know your unbelief but I will seek you, Peter. I will find you. I will carry you. I will take
care of you because I am God. There is no God like me.
That’s why if you go back to this little sketch here, this one, when you make your career your
god, you will lie down in sorrow. When you make your flesh your god and your life, you will not
have what you need. But learn who God is and worship him and be before God. God will fill you
with the Spirit. Help you in life. Touch your heart. Affect your mind, your emotions, your will. God
will motivate you and move you in the Spirit and lead you in places you would never have gone.
This world is very narrow and it’s destructive. But our God is a living God.
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.
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