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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor


The Second Sunday In Lent

Option #1: “Don't Change the Subject!”
John 4:5-26
Rev. Wayne Dobratz

Introduction: I never talk about religion or politics. It’s difficult these days to avoid them. You talk about both subjects on the life issue. You can’t avoid them when speaking about sexuality or "gay rights." Recent presidential scandals forced a discussion about these issues as well. Some of us try to be so politically correct that we refuse to discuss these subjects. Jesus wasn’t concerned about that and we shouldn’t be either. Listen and learn as Jesus tells the woman at the well: "Don't change the subject!"

I. About sin

       A. Note this was real guilt before God, not the guilt "feelings" of some modern therapists–cf Ps 51: heading & vv1-4

       B. Contrary to modern inclinations "not to get involved," Jesus confronts her–text, v15-18–see also 2 Samuel 12, passim

II. About Jesus as our only Savior

       A. It is politically incorrect these days to believe in Jesus as the only way to eternal life

       B. But Jesus is "that prophet" Moses promised to come to God’s people–cf Deut 19:15-16

       C. Jesus says we must "listen to Him" to hear the Father–John 14:23-24, Lk 10:16. (Note: We can change the subject all we want about where to worship or how to worship, but we cannot change the subject about the life/death importance of listening to Jesus–see text, verse 20, 23-24)

III. About forsaking sin

       A. Parents are reluctant to speak to their children who are cohabiting. Grandparents are uneasy speaking to their children when grandchildren aren't being raised in the Christian faith. Jesus doesn’t allow us to change the subject–text, vv10, 13-14, 17-18

       B. Repentance means to "change your mind" about sin and to forsake it. The Handbook of Bible Application reminds us: Repentance opens the way for relationship with God. Repentance has two sides—turning away from sins and turning toward God. To be truly repentant, we must do both. We can’t just say that we believe and then live any way we choose; neither can we simply live a morally correct life without a personal relationship with God, because that cannot bring forgiveness from sin. Determine to rid your life of any sins God points out, and put your trust in him alone to guide you.

IV. About your responsibility for the lost: she goes from madam to missionary in the space of minutes–text, v28-30, 39-42b. We cannot deny our responsibility for those with whom we have a God-given "bridge" of relationships–cf Ps 51:12-13, Matt 28:8, Lk 24:9, John 1:45-49, Isa 45:22, Lk 2:17-18, Acts 4:12, 17:11-12, 2 Cor 5:19-21, 1 John 4:14-18

Taking the gospel to people wherever they are—death row, the ghetto, or next door—is frontline evangelism, frontline love. It is our one hope for breaking down barriers and for restoring the sense of community, of caring for one another, that our decadent, depersonalized culture has sucked out of us. (Charles Colson)

The people of Jesus’ day thought holy men were unapproachable. But Jesus’ work was in the marketplace. He made people feel welcome and that they had a place. His life was a constant demonstration that there were only two things that really mattered in this life—God and people.They were the only things that lasted forever. (Rebecca Manley Pippert)

Winning the world to Christ means winning individuals. (Erwin Lutzer)

Witnessing is not a spare-time occupation or a once-a-week activity. It must be a quality of life. You don’t go witnessing; you are a witness. (Dan Greene)


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Option #2: "Left Behind?"
Genesis 12:1-8

Rev. Kelly Bedard


Introduction: The Left Behind Series continues to attract and detract Christians and non-Christians alike. Is it based on the Bible and, if so, is it an orthodox interpretation of the same? Whatever, there is no doubt about the following things that the Bible enjoins us to leave behind.

1. Undue love of country and family: e.g., Abraham leaving an idolatrous nation and family (Genesis 12:1-8)

2. Over-reliance on good works (do/due religion) as opposed to Paul's teaching of justification by grace/faith (Romans 4:1-5, 13-17)

3. Over-reliance on the proper place and manner of worship: e.g., the woman at the well (John 4:5-26 [27-30, 39-42])

A concluding Law/Gospel word:

"I sought the Lord and He answered me..."
(Psalm 34:4)


The love of the father embraces not just the return of the son but also the leaving of his child. That's really important: the whole movement of leaving and returning is a movement done under the loving eyes of the father. The father does not say, "Don't go." That's not the spirit of the story. The spirit of the story is, "Yes, son, go. And you will be hurt and it will be hard and it will be painful. And you might even lose your life, but I can't hold you from taking that risk. And when you come back, I am here for you, just as I am also here for you now."

In a very deep way, you in your life are always leaving and returning. It's not just a one-time event; it's an ongoing experience. So today, get in touch with your leavings and your returnings. I believe that in a very deep sense one has to be convinced of God's love in order to take the risk of leaving once in a while. There are moments when you may want to take a step back and go off for a while and then come back. Try to believe that God loves you as a person who's leaving and returning. Try to believe God awaits your return.

Thank you, Father, for letting me go and taking me back.
--Henri Nouwen  

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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:31 PM