Cross-Cultural Missions

Cross-Cultural Missions

Scripture: Matthew 12:18, John 4:4-30, Mark 5:1-20
Date: 08/22/2015  Lesson: 8
“While pioneering Christian work can be accomplished by foreign missionaries who have cultural sensitivity and a sympathetic understanding of the people they want to win for Christ, the most effective groundbreaking work is done by people with the same background as the target people.”

Amazing Disciples by Amazing Facts

Amazing Disciples by Amazing Facts
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Welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour. We are so thrilled that you have joined us to study God's Word together - to open up His Word - the words of life that we can get to know him better, as a family. Whether you're joining us live on the internet, across the country, around the world, it is by no accident that we are studying together and soon and very soon we will be in heaven together worshiping our Lord. I can hardly wait for that day. Let's sing together before we get into our study.

We are studying, this quarter, on missionaries and what it means to be a missionary and the missionaries through the Bible. So our songs kind of go in that theme. Hymn #358 - far and near the fields are teeming. Let's sing the - all three verses of hymn #358 Far and near the fields are teeming with the sheaves of ripened grain; far and near their gold is gleaming o'er the sunny slope and plain. Lord of harvest, send forth reapers! Hear us, Lord, to thee we cry; send them now the sheaves to gather, ere the harvest time pass by.

Send them forth with morn's first beaming, send them in the noon-tide's glare; when the sun's last rays are streaming, bid them gather everywhere. Lord of harvest, send forth reapers! Hear us, Lord, to thee we cry; send them now the sheaves to gather, ere the harvest time pass by. O thou, whom thy Lord is sending, gather now the sheaves of gold; heaven-ward then at evening wending thou shalt come with joy untold. Lord of harvest, send forth reapers! Hear us, Lord, to thee we cry; send them now the sheaves to gather, ere the harvest time pass by. You know, we are living in the very last days and we all have a part to play in being part of that harvest - part of the reapers - of doing God's work and finishing the work so he can come.

Hymn #361 - hark! 'Tis the shepherd's voice I hear - let's sing all three verses of hymn #361. Hark! Tis the shepherd's voice I hear, out in the desert dark and drear, calling the sheep who've gone astray, far from the shepherd's fold away. Bring them in, bring them in, bring them in from the fields of sin; bring them in, bring them in, bring the wanderers to Jesus. Who'll go and help the shepherd kind, help him the wandering ones to find? Who'll bring them back into the fold, where they'll be sheltered from the cold? Bring them in, bring them in, bring them in from the fields of sin; bring them in, bring them in, bring the wanderers to Jesus. Out in the desert hear their cry, out on the mountain wild and high, hark! 'Tis the master speaks to thee, "go, find my sheep wher-e'er they be.

" Bring them in, bring them in, bring them in from the fields of sin; bring them in, bring them in, bring the wanderers to Jesus. At this time we'll turn our lesson study over to pastor jëan ross. Well good morning everyone, and welcome again to Sabbath School Study Hour. I'd like to thank our song leaders for leading us in our music this morning. And, of course, a very welcome to our church members here at the Granite Bay church and also our friends joining us across the country and around the world, thank you for being part of our study time together today.

Now we've been going through the lesson dealing with missionaries, entitled biblical missionaries. Today we find ourselves on lesson #8 entitled cross cultural missionaries. We're going to be looking at some examples of Jesus ministering to people who are from the various gentile nations that surrounded Israel. But before we get into our lesson, I'd like to invite you just to bow your heads for a word of prayer. Dear Father, once again we thank you that we have this opportunity to gather together to study the Bible and ask for the Holy Spirit, once again, to guide our hearts and our minds.

Let us learn from the great missionary himself. Let us learn from Jesus and his example that he has given us, that we can be effective witnesses for you, for we ask this in Jesus' Name. Amen. We have a free offer that goes along with our study for this morning, it's called alone in the crowd and we'll be happy to send this to anybody who calls and asks. Those who are watching, all you have to do is give us a call on our resource line.

The number is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #714 - 7-1-4. The number, again, is -788-3966 and ask for the book alone in the crowd and we'll be happy to send that to you. It goes along with our study for today. Well, if you have your lesson quarterlies you can open up to lesson #8 - it's page 64 in the lesson quarterly. And again, as mentioned earlier, it's entitled cross-cultural missionaries.

We have a memory verse - Matthew chapter 12 and verse 18 and if you have it in front of you, you can read it along with me - Matthew chapter 12, verse 18. "Behold! My servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom my soul is well pleased! I will put my spirit upon him, and he will declare justice to the gentiles." Now we read this verse in Matthew chapter 12, verse 18, but it really is a quote from the old testament and we're going to be getting to that here in just a few moments and studying that a little bit further. I also want you to notice, on Sabbath afternoon, this is page , halfway through the second paragraph or the last paragraph on that page. I'd like to just read sort of a summary statement of our focus for this week's study. "Even though he, Jesus, focused on Israel, the wider world was his concern.

During the more than three years of his ministry, between the baptism and the ascension, on at least six occasions Jesus had direct contact with persons of gentile nations. We will look this week at the Gospel accounts of these contacts. So we'll look at some great stories that I think most of us are familiar with, of Jesus interacting with some of the gentile folks around Israel. On Sunday, the lesson is entitled the samaritan woman and our key passage of study is going to be John chapter 4 and we're going to begin here in verse 1, so if you have your Bibles, I invite you to open up to John chapter 4. We're going to take this verse by verse and we're going to see what lessons we can learn from Christ's encounter with the woman at the well.

John chapter 4, and we're going to begin reading here in verse 1. As you turn to that passage let me give you a little bit of the historical background to our story. The date for this is somewhere between a.d. 28 And a.d. 29.

Some feel that it was December or January of those two years when this story took place. At the time, Israel was divided up into three different provinces. Down close to the area of Jerusalem was the province of Judea, and then just above Judea was samaria, where our story takes place, and above that was Galilee. Now all of these three provinces were ruled by roman rulers, but the two provinces of Judea and samaria were both governed by pontius pilate. Yes, the same pontius pilate that you read about later on in the Gospels.

So let's begin in verse 1 - we're in John chapter 4 - and we're going to begin reading here in verse 1. "Therefore, when the Lord knew that the pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus himself did not baptize, but his disciples), he left Judea and departed again to Galilee." So this is Christ's second missionary trip up to the region of Galilee. Prior to this, on the first galilean trip earlier in the year a.d. 28, Jesus performed his first miracle in the town of cana of Galilee. Do you remember what Christ's first miracle was? Turning the water into wine.

That, sort of, began his public ministry in the area. So now Jesus is going back up to the area of Galilee for his second galilean missionary tour. The question is sometimes asked why - according to the text here - why does Jesus leave the area of Jerusalem or Judea and travel up to Galilee? Well, there's two reasons given: #1) to avoid conflict with the pharisees. #2) To avoid conflict with John's disciples. You see, the pharisees thought that they could build on the growing popularity of Jesus by awakening jealousy in the hearts of John's disciples.

Now following the baptism of Jesus, Jesus went up into the wilderness for 40 days, he came back, some of those early disciples then went with Jesus up to the region of Galilee where Christ performed his first miracle and did some preaching and teaching in the area of Galilee. Jesus is now back in the area of Judea, back close to Jerusalem. He's preaching - the people are coming to hear Jesus and Christ's disciples are baptizing. At that same time, John was also preaching a short distance away and John was baptizing. So word got to the disciples of John that Christ's disciples were also baptizing and the people were flocking to hear Jesus and John's disciples, zealous to defend the reputation of their master - of John the baptist - begin to grumble about what Christ was doing.

And, of course, the pharisees, they were just playing up on this and saying, 'have you heard that Jesus is drawing more people than John the baptist and his disciples are also baptizing?' So when Jesus found out about this, he withdrew from the area of Judea and traveled back up to Galilee. There's an example in that for us. As Christians, we want to do all that we can to avoid controversy, especially amongst the brethren, amen? Amongst church members - because the devil will use that to stir up issues whenever he can. We want to follow the example of Jesus. Alright, looking at verse 4 - John chapter 4, beginning in verse 4 now it says, "but he needed to go through samaria.

So he came to a city of samaria which is called sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph." Now what was the relationship between the jews and the samaritans? Did they get along pretty good? No they didn't. Matter of fact, if you were a good jew and you were living in the area of Galilee, and you needed to travel down to Jerusalem, which is in Judea, for one of those national festivals, the appropriate thing to do was to travel all the way around samaria. Even though the shortest route was directly through samaria, they would often go down to the Jordan valley and travel around so they wouldn't have to encounter or interact with samaritans. The jews and the samaritans did not get along, to say the least. What was the history between these groups of people? Well, it goes all the way back to the days of rehoboam.

Do you remember rehoboam was The Son of Solomon? He ruled the united kingdom following the death of Solomon, but it was at that time that the Kingdom divided, during the reign of rehoboam. Part of the Kingdom, the ten tribes of the north, were ruled by jeroboam. The southern kingdom was ruled by rehoboam, but because of apostasy in the northern kingdom, eventually several years later, the assyrians came around 740 years before Christ and they conquered the northern kingdom and many of the jews were taken captives into syria. Some of the assyrians came and intermarried with the jews and settled in the area that was once occupied by the ten tribes of the north. As time progressed, some of the pagan ideas of those nations surrounding the area mixed in with some of the teachings that the jews had and the samaritans are the descendents of those who intermarried - jews that intermarried with some of these nations surrounding them and they came up with a kind of hybrid-type of religion where they claimed to worship the same God, but they incorporated in their worship various forms of idolatry.

And then, some years later, after the war that came against the tribes of the north, you have Babylon, around 600 years before Christ, that came and conquered the southern kingdom and the jews were taken into captivity into Babylon for 70 years. At the end of that 70-year Babylonian captivity, the jews came back and they began to restore and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. At that time, the samaritans came and asked the jews if they could help in the building of the temple but the jews refused and said, 'you can't help us build the temple because you don't worship the same God that we worship.' Well, this upset the samaritans and for a while they tried to stop the building of the temple. Eventually, the samaritans went off and they built their own temple on mt. Gerizim.

And you'll see how that comes into play a little later on in our story, where Jesus is talking to the woman at the well. And the samaritans claimed that the place to worship was on mount gerizim and the jews claimed the place to worship was in Jerusalem. And as time went on, the animosity between these two groups only grew until they hated one another. So that's why the jews would travel all the way around samaria; they didn't want to interact with the samaritans. So now verse 6 - John chapter 4, verse 6 - it says, "now Jacob's well was there.

Jesus therefore, being wearied from his journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour." Now this well still exists today. Matter of fact, it provides water for a monastery garden that is based at the foot of mount gerizim. It's a very old well. At the time of Jesus, when he interacted with the woman at the well, it was about 1,300 years old - maybe even a little bit more.

So today it's over 3,000 years old and still it produces water, this well over there. It says Jesus was wearied from his journey. Christ and the disciples had headed out early in the morning from the area of Judea up to Galilee. They had walked about 15 or 20 miles at this point. It's also interesting to note that Jesus had never used his divine power to meet any of his own physical needs.

He didn't use his divine power to meet hunger or thirst for himself, but he trusted fully upon his father to provide for all of his needs. It talks about the sixth hour of the day - that is around mid-day - part of the hottest time of the day - that Jesus gets to the well. So the disciples go on to buy food and Jesus is at the well - verse 7 - John 4, verse 7. It says, "a woman of samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, 'give me a drink.

'" Now it was considered part of a God-given duty for a person in the middle east, in those days, to give a drink to someone who was traveling or somebody who was thirsty. But it was interesting that Jesus, being a jew, asked this favor of a woman of samaria. We're going to talk about that here in just a few minutes. There are four things I also want you to note as we look at the interaction between Christ and the woman at the well. Four steps that I think are important to everybody who wants to share their faith - four principles of soul winning.

The first is this: Jesus awakened a desire for something better. That's the first thing that he did when he interacted with the woman. Number 2, he then led her to a point of conviction where she realized her need for something better. He called for a decision, thirdly, and that decision was to accept and acknowledge him as the Messiah and then, fourthly, he encouraged her to action. She had to do something about that decision.

So the first thing Jesus did was to awaken in her a desire for something better, to lead her to the point of conviction where she sensed her need of a Savior, thirdly, he called for a decision, and then, fourthly, he encouraged her to act upon that. Of course, Jesus began the conversation by asking for a favor. He asked her for a drink. Verse 9 - it says, "then the woman of samaria said to him, 'how is it that you, being a jew, ask a drink from me, a samaritan woman?' For jews have no dealings with samaritans." Now we have already talked about why the jews and the samaritans didn't get along; not only was Jesus a jew and she was a samaritan, but Christ was a man and she was a woman and even in society, even amongst the jews, during that time, it was inappropriate for a man to talk to a woman in public. Maybe his wife - that was permitted - but just, in general, to talk to a woman one on one, that was taboo or it was against the tradition or the culture of the time.

So Jesus is talking to this woman - more than that - she's a samaritan. There are a few other notable samaritan stories that we have in the Gospel that teach us lessons. In Luke chapter 10, verse 33, Jesus tells the story of the good samaritan. I think we're all familiar with that story. Jesus tells the story - a parable - about a man who was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho and he fell amongst thieves and the thieves strip the man of his raiment, beat him, and left him half dead.

And then in the story, the priest came by and he couldn't help. The levi came by and he couldn't help, but the samaritan came by. And when the samaritan saw the man that had fallen amongst the thieves, the Bible says he had compassion upon him and he went and ministered unto him. But it also says that the good samaritan poured in oil and wine - into the man's wounds - probably covered him with his own cloak, put him on a donkey and took him to the inn. And then he took care of the man, at the inn, and when he was to leave he gave the innkeeper some money and said, 'you take care of the man and if you spend anything more that I have not given you, I will repay you when I come back again.

' Now, of course, Jesus told that parable to illustrate how we ought to share, or take care of our fellow man - how we are to interact with others. The jews and the samaritans, they considered each other enemies and yet Jesus said you need to care for one another. You need to love one another. In that story, however, not only is there an important lesson on how we ought to care and interact with one another, but it's also a presentation of the Gospel. In the story, the good samaritan represents Jesus.

Jesus is the one that left the glories of heaven, came to this sin-polluted earth where he talks about the good samaritan pouring oil and wine. Oil is a symbol of the holy spirit, wine a symbol of the atoning blood of Christ. Jesus gave his life and he gives us the Spirit. He ministers to us. He heals us from our sickness of sin.

Of course, the thief in this story would represent the devil and we're all doomed to death. But Jesus comes to our rescue and takes care of us. He ministers to us. So in that parable, we have the good samaritan, really a symbol of Christ. On one occasion in John chapter 8, verse 48, it's interesting to note that the religious leaders were very angry with Jesus - accused Jesus of being a samaritan.

It's probably the worst insult that they could come up with. 'Oh, he's a samaritan' they said. So there are some interesting incidents listed in the Gospels that involved samaritans. Now, look at verse 10. "Jesus answered and said to her, 'if you knew the gift of God,'" - by the way, who is the gift of God? Jesus is the gift of God - John 3:16 - "for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.

" "'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you'" - what? - "'Living water.'" Now the idea of living water was not new with Jesus. Jesus was actually quoting from the old testament. Isaiah chapter 12, verse 3 says this: "therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation." Jeremiah 2, verse 13, "they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters," - speaking of God. John 7:38, "he who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." So the idea of living water - life-giving water - is found all the way back in the old testament. Of course, when the children of Israel were wandering through the wilderness and they were desperately in need of water, the Bible speaks about the water coming from the rock.

That rock represents Christ. That water represents the gift of salvation that Jesus wants to give. Let's look at verse 11, "the woman said to him, 'sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do you get that living water?'" Now the woman is still curious about where he would get this living water from. She began to understand something of what Jesus was saying.

She recognized a need - she felt like he had something that could help her, but when Jesus offered living water, she wasn't quite sure as to the nature of this living water. She said, 'the well is deep. How are you going to get the living water?' Jacob's well was about a hundred feet deep. Perhaps there was some spring that Jesus knew of that she didn't know about that could provide this fresh, refreshing, living water. In a similar way, nicodemus asked Jesus, 'how can a man be born again?' Also, he didn't fully understand or comprehend the gift that was being offered.

Verse 12 - she goes on - "are you" - speaking to Jesus - "greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock? Jesus answered and said to her, 'whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,'" - verse 14 - "'but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will come up in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.'" So Jesus is offering her living water that not only meets our needs now but, more importantly, offers for us eternal life - eternal - eternally in the presence of Jesus - eternal joy and peace, this fountain of living water. John chapter 7, verse 37, "on the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 'if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.'" Jesus is the one offering this life-giving water that brings joy and peace. Now let's look at verse 15. "The woman said to him, 'sir, give me this water,'" - she began to realize that there's something special about what Jesus was offering her - "'that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.

' Jesus said to her, 'go, call your husband, and come here.' The woman answered and said, 'I have no husband.'" Now remember the steps that we mentioned a little earlier? The first is awakening a desire for something better and so Jesus has done that. He's offered her this living water. She realizes she needs the living water so she asks Jesus, 'give this to me.' Jesus, now, wants to lead her to a point of conviction where she sees her need of salvation, and he does so by asking her to go get her husband. Well that was a sensitive point with this woman because she had several husbands in the past and the man that she was with wasn't her husband. Look, if you would, in verse 17, "the woman answered and said, 'I have no husband.

' Jesus said to her, 'you have well said, 'I have no husband,' for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.'" So now she's under conviction. This man knows about my personal life. How does he know? And then she goes on, "the woman said to him, 'sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.'" - 'Well, for somebody to know that much about me, he must have divine help - he must be a prophet.' Jesus is leading her step by step - first awakening a desire for something better, next he's leading her to a point of conviction that she needs a Savior, now he's directing her attention to the fact that he is the solution. He can help her both in this physical area - this living water - but even more important, spiritually he can meet her need. But now she wants to get into a little bit of a controversy to change the subject and in verse 20 she says, "our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.

" In other words, moving the attention away from her and her life, to something else. There was an ongoing controversy between the jews and the samaritans, concerning the proper place for worship. As mentioned a little earlier, the jews said Jerusalem is the place to worship. The samaritans said, 'no, don't worship in Jerusalem, worship on this mountain.' At the time of Jesus, the temple that the samaritans had built on mount gerizim had been broken down, but the samaritans would still go up onto the mountain and they would offer sacrifices and they claimed that to be the place of worship. So she's beginning to talk to Jesus, now, about worship.

Verse 21, "Jesus said to her, 'woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship The Father.'" - Verse 22 - "'you worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the jews.'" In other words, Jesus is clarifying that salvation is to come through the jews. Our only hope of salvation is to receive the Messiah - to receive Jesus who came through the lineage of David. Verse 23 - Jesus says, "'but the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship The Father in spirit and truth; for The Father is seeking such to worship him.'" In other words, Jesus is emphasizing the point that it's not so much where a person worships, what's more important is how the person worships. What's the condition of the heart. The jews, they worshiped in Jerusalem.

They had the right place to worship, but with reference to the form of worship, Jesus said to the religious leaders, 'in vain you worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.' They had the right place but they had the wrong type of worship. It was not heart-felt worship. Friends, it's easy for us to fall into that same trap of just simply going through the motions, week after week, coming to church, singing the hymns, reading the Scripture, and we lack that true heart-felt worship. It's not so much the place, it's the attitude - it's the heart - when we come to worship God. That's what Jesus is emphasizing.

The time has come for us to worship in spirit and in truth. Now I think this message is very appropriate for us today. Jesus speaks to the church of laodicea in Revelation chapter 3 - the church of laodicea - the seventh church, which represents the church today. The church thinks that she's doing well, that she has need of nothing. And Jesus said, 'you don't - you do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.

I counsel of you,' - Jesus said - 'buy of me gold refined in the fire that you might be rich.' What is that gold that we as adventists, as Christians, need today. It is faith and love. Jesus says, 'buy of me white raiment.' What is that white raiment? It's the righteousness of Jesus, both imputed and imparted to the believer. And Jesus says, 'anoint your eyes with eye salve' - or ointment. What does that eye salve represent? Spiritual discernment.

It's the Holy Spirit. So Jesus says 'you look good on the outside. You think you are rich, increased with goods, but you're in need of a change of heart.' And that change of heart only comes from Jesus. And then Jesus gives us this grand solution to our problem when he says, 'behold, I stand at the door and knock. Wherever one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come unto him and I will dine with him' - I'll eat with him - 'and he with me.

' You see, Jesus wants that intimate fellowship - that relationship - with us. That makes worship of value, in God's sight. Not just simply going through the actions, but having heart-felt communion with Jesus. That's what worship is all about. Now, by the way, true worship is not just something that happens Sabbath morning when you come to church.

It's not like a switch that you turn on when you walk into the church building, but genuine worship really begins on your knees, beside your bed, throughout the week. And when you come to church on Sabbath morning, it is simply the outflowing of what God is doing in your heart and life. Does that make sense? It's not about the music. Yes, we want good music, for the music reflects the glory of God. So we want to do the best that we can.

But it's not about the music or the singing. That's not what worship is all about. It's that connection with God. That's why you can have two people in church singing the very same hymn. The one person is bored to death and the other person has tears coming down their cheeks.

What makes the difference? Do you understand? It's the heart. It's the heart. And Jesus said to the woman at the well, 'the time has come when we are to worship God in spirit and in truth.' He wants that change of heart - that genuine heart-felt worship. Well, going on with our story then, verse 25, the woman says, "'I know that Messiah is coming' (who is called the Christ). 'When he comes, he will tell us all things.

'" Now, it's interesting to note that the woman of samaria linked the coming of the Messiah with the restoration of true worship. And rightfully so. Actually, the word that's used by the samaritans for Messiah is actually 'the restorer' - the one who would come and set all things right - who'd resolve all of the controversies - that involve true worship - between the samaritans and the jews. The Messiah would come and fix all of that. And Jesus says, in verse 26, "Jesus said to her, 'I who speak to you am he.

'" I am the restorer. I am the Christ. I am the Messiah. I'm the one who will define what true worship is.' It's not about the place. It's not how you worship on this mountain or over in Jerusalem, but it's the attitude of the heart.

It's a willingness to do those things that God asks us to do. That's true worship. Verse 27 - it says, "and at this point his disciples came, and they marveled that he talked with a woman;" - again, it was considered highly improper for a man to speak to a woman in public, let alone a jew to speak to a samaritan. The disciples didn't say anything, but they marveled that Jesus would talk to this woman. Verse 28 - it says, "the woman then left her water pot," - there by the well - and she went her way into the city.

She was so eager about finding the Messiah and this offer of living water that Jesus was extending, that she left her water pot and ran off to town to tell everybody that she had found the Messiah - she had found the Christ. And look at verse 29 - she said to the people, "come, see a man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" So she was a missionary. She encountered Jesus. She received the gift that Jesus wanted to give her, and she now wanted to share that good news with somebody else.

You see, evangelism and witnessing at its very core, is really sharing with others what Jesus has done for you. If you've never experienced that living water - that peace and that joy that comes from being right with God - that joy of forgiveness, cleansing. How are you going to share that with somebody else? But if we come to Jesus just the way that we are and we receive that forgiveness, that cleansing, that gift of life that Christ wants to give us, then we can't help but share it with somebody else. And that was her experience. She had tasted the good living water from Christ and now she had to tell everybody about it.

Well on Tuesday the lesson is entitled dealing with demons and there are actually two Bible stories here - two encounters that Jesus had with people who were not jews. And I want us to take a look at that. The first one is in Luke chapter 8, so let's go to that just a chapter forward - Luke chapter 8 and we're going to look at verse 26. Luke chapter 8, beginning here in verse 26. We have another story of Jesus dealing with a non-jew.

Luke chapter 8, beginning in verse 26, "then they" - that's Christ and the disciples - sailed to the country of the gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee." Now I just want you to picture this in your mind, if you can see the - in your mind's eye - the sea - Galilee and the area - and then you have the sea and then you have the Jordan connecting the sea of Galilee down to the dead sea. Jerusalem or Judea is, of course, down closer to the dead sea. The area of Galilee on the western side of the sea of Galilee, that's where most of the fishing villages were located and that's where most of the jews lived. But on the eastern side of the sea of Galilee it was very desert-like terrain - steep cliffs, somewhat rocky - not much grew on the eastern side of the sea of Galilee and that's mostly where some of the heathens lived - the gentiles lived in that area. So Jesus and his disciples had gotten into a boat and they'd crossed over the sea of Galilee.

It was during that trip, where there was this terrible storm on the sea - Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat and the disciples woke Jesus up and said, 'Lord, don't you care that we perish?' Jesus calmed the storm. So the disciples are still shaken up by that experience they'd had the night before and they are now coming to shore and they're bringing their boat onto shore and they encounter this demon-possessed man. Actually, it's two of them, as you read some of the other Gospel accounts - in Matthew and in Mark. Let's look at verse 27. It says, "and when he stepped out on the land, there met him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time.

And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs." In the area on that eastern side of the sea of Galilee, there were a number of limestone rocks and they could dig out these caves or these tombs in this limestone, so it was all over the place. Now there is one place, in particular, that Bible scholars feel is the very place where this story took - occurred. There is a little beach area where a boat could actually land and just off to the side there is a steep cliff that goes straight down into the water. The top of the cliff has a flat area and then it kind of goes down into the water. It's the only place on the eastern side of the sea of Galilee where this story could actually take place and so they feel this is the spot.

And it is close to a town - not far away - which was occupied by gentiles during the time of Jesus. Now Matthew talks about two men, here we find in Luke just one. And some have said, 'well, why the difference?' Most likely this was the one who was the leader of the group. Maybe he was the one that suffered the most - and he appears to be the spokesman of the two. And so that's the one that he's focused on here in the Gospel of Luke.

Verse 28 - it says, "when he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, 'what have I to do with you, Jesus, son of the most high God? I beg you, do not torment me!'" Can you think of a story elsewhere in the Gospels where someone who was possessed with an evil spirit said something very similar to Jesus? Can you think of an instance? Yes, it was in capernaum, Jesus was just beginning his galilean ministry and he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath and while he was preaching a demon-possessed man interrupted the service. Do you remember that story? And he came running forward and Jesus rebuked him. He had many spirits within him, but those evil spirits also confessed Jesus to be The Son of God. And Jesus told those evil spirits to be quiet, similar to what's happening here, where these evil spirits acknowledge Jesus as the holy one of God. Verse 29, "for he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man.

For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness." Now these chains, really, are a symbol of sin. In his case there were literal chains, but also Jesus came to break the chains of sin in the lives of people. In Luke chapter 4, verses 18 and 19 you have the story of Jesus, now in nazareth - it's on the Sabbath - and he enters into the synagogue and he's given a scroll to read, of the prophet Isaiah. And Jesus quotes - or reads - from Isaiah chapter 61, verses 1 and 2, which says this: "...because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives," - that's what Jesus is doing in this story - the recovery of sight to the blind and to set at liberty those who were oppressed. So part of Christ's mission was to come and set at liberty those who were oppressed by the evil one.

Verse 30 - "Jesus asked him, saying, 'what is your name?' And he said, 'legion,' because many demons had entered him." A legion, back in roman times, consisted of about 6,000 foot soldiers and about 7,000 - or 700 horsemen. 6,000 Footmen and about 700 horsemen - that was a legion. So these demons, they were many and they referred to themselves as 'legion'. Verse 31, "and they begged him" - speaking of Jesus - "that he would not command them to go out into the abyss." In the Greek there, it's the same word that's used in Revelation chapter 20 for bottomless pit. It just means a dark, empty, desolate region.

And they begged him, 'don't let us just go out there, send us to a place.' And there was a herd of swine - verse 32 - that was feeding there on the mountains. So they begged him that he would permit them to enter into them and he permitted them to do so. Now, of course, the devil was always trying to hinder the work that Jesus was trying to do. And the thinking was, if the evil spirits entered into this herd of swine and pigs ran off and drown themselves - as they did - that, of course, would create some feelings in the hearts of the people that lived there and they wouldn't listen to Jesus. But Jesus overruled and, actually, this turned out to be a good thing, as you'll find out later on in the story.

Verse 33 says, "then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned. When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Verse 35, "then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid." So here the man is in his right mind, sitting and listening to the teachings of Jesus. Verse 36 says, "they also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed.

" Verse 37, "then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the gadarenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And he got into the boat and returned." Now, of course, the destruction of their pigs had something to do with the reason why they wanted Jesus to leave, but it was good for Jesus to leave, because that gave the one who had just been healed the opportunity to testify of what Jesus had done for him and to prepare the way for Christ's next visit, and that's exactly what happened. Verse 38 - it says, "now the man from whom the demons had departed begged him that he might be with him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, 'return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.' And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him. So it was, when Jesus returned, that the multitude welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him.

" I said a little earlier, evangelism, at its real core, is sharing with others what Jesus has done for you. Now you might think, well, you know, I just don't have sufficient Bible knowledge to really get into a theological discussion with someone. What happens if they ask me a question and I don't have the answer? Well, really friends, you shouldn't worry. Yes, you want to learn as much as you can, but you shouldn't allow your lack of knowledge to stop you from sharing your faith. Ultimately, you have an experience with Jesus, amen? And that's what you can share with somebody else.

By the way, nobody can really argue with your experience with Jesus because it's your experience. You're sharing what Jesus has done for you. People not only want to know the truth, they want to see the truth. Matter of fact, seeing the truth demonstrated in somebody's life, is far more compelling than just hearing the truth. So evangelism is showing, or sharing, what Jesus has done for you personally.

When we share our faith, there is a power to really draw somebody's heart and to awaken a desire within that person to hear more and study further. So here we have this encounter with these non-jews and, of course, the results - remarkable. Next time Jesus comes the whole village was ready to hear the teachings of Christ. There is one other story that I want us to look at. Hopefully we'll have time to finish it.

It's in Matthew chapter 15, verse 21. This is where Jesus meets a non-Jewish woman who has a special request of him and Christ responds somewhat differently to her at first. Matthew chapter 15 and we're going to begin reading here in verse 21 - Matthew 15:21 - it says, "then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of tyre and sidon." - Verse 22 - "and behold, a woman of canaan" - a non-jew - "came from that region and cried out to him, saying, 'have mercy on me, o Lord, son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.'" A couple of things I want you to notice about this verse: here we have this non-jew that is coming to Jesus and she's crying out saying, 'Lord, son of David.' What's the significance of her calling Jesus The Son of David? Who is The Son of David? The Son of David was to be the promised Messiah - the Christ would come through the lineage of David. So she recognizes Jesus as being fulfillment of those old testament prophets. She said, 'he is The Son of David.

He is the Messiah. He's the one that can help.' The jews refused to acknowledge Jesus as The Son of David - as the Messiah - but here a non-jew sees in Jesus the fact that he is the Christ - The Son of David. She comes and asks for help. Her daughter was severely possessed by an evil spirit. Look at verse 23.

"But he" - Jesus - "answered her not a word. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, 'send her away, for she cries out after us.'" Have you ever felt ignored by God? I'm sure she must have felt ignored by Jesus. She came and she had this urgent request and she cried out and said, 'Lord, son of David, have mercy on me.' And Jesus just kept going. He acted as though he hadn't heard. Had Jesus heard her? Yes he had.

Matter of fact, if you read on in the story, this is the only thing that Jesus did in this region. So he left Israel, went up into this region outside of Israel, performed this miracle and then came straight back. Jesus knew her need and he actually went up there to meet her to meet her need, but when she came with her request, Jesus said nothing. You know, we're not alone if we feel as though God is ignoring us and, of course, he isn't. But there are many instances where God-fearing men and women experience the silence of God - where they asked and nothing happened.

Abraham experienced the silence of God. After God had told him to take his son and offer him as a sacrifice, Abraham must have prayed earnestly for those three and a half days as they journeyed to mount moriah and nothing was said. He experienced the silence of God. You have job, in his suffering, who cried out and he experienced the silence of God. It seemed that God was ignoring him.

Of course, God eventually answered but not when job thought he should. You have the experience of Joseph - there he is in a prison for many years - crying out for deliverance and it seems that God isn't listening. Even Jesus experienced the silence of God. In the garden of Gethsemane he cried out, 'father if it is possible, remove this cup from me. Not my will, thy will be done.

' And on the cross Jesus said, 'my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' The lesson is this: the silence of God is there to test our faith. Don't get discouraged if you're praying about something and it seems that nothing is happening. Just keep praying. And this woman was very persistent in her request. After all, she was asking for her daughter and Jesus was her last hope.

And so she was persistent - she kept asking and asking and asking. There's an example for us, especially as parents, don't give up asking for your children, amen? Just keep asking - keep asking. The next part of the verse says the disciples came to Jesus and they said, 'send her away because she's bothering us.' Matter of fact, they look at Jesus and it looks as though Jesus is ignoring her. The disciples thought, 'just send her away. She's irritating us.

' Have you ever been discouraged by Christians - by the disciples of Jesus? When they don't respond the way that you think they should respond? Sure. We've all experienced that. Sometimes those who are the closest to us prove to be some of our greatest discouragements. Jesus was deserted by his disciples. Don't look at people - even fellow church members - don't allow them to discourage you.

Keep your requests before God. Keep asking. Others are sometimes there to test our faith. And then verse 24, "but he answered and said, 'I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'" And then, verse 25, "then she came and worshiped him, saying, 'Lord, help me!'" Her circumstances were not favorable, for she was not a jew. It looked as though Jesus wasn't listening.

Even the disciples were trying to tell her to go away and all she had left was simply casting herself on the mercy of Jesus. She comes and she worships and says, 'Lord, please help me.' One of the most common phrases that you read about in the book of Psalms is the phrase, 'his mercy endures forever.' When you have nothing that you can present to God, just present his mercy back to God. Ask for mercy. He loves us to come to him just the way that we are and we can plead his mercy. Verse 26, "but he answered and said, (Jesus said) 'it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs.

'" Now, notice her response - verse 27 - "and she said, 'yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master's table.'" What an incredible response. She said, 'yes, Lord, it's true, I'm not deserving of the best, but Lord, I'll take just that which falls from the table.' Oh, by the way, she's also acknowledging that even the dogs in the master's house are under the care of the master. Yes, Jesus had come for the jews, but the whole world was under his care. And she acknowledged that. She said, 'Lord, you are our master too and we don't deserve the best portion, but we'll take the crumbs that come our way.

' And Jesus, again, marveled at her faith. If you look in verse 28, "then Jesus answered and said to her, 'o woman, great is your faith!'" - He didn't say this to many of the jews. He said this with reference to the centurion, but he didn't say this to the jews. They were the ones that had all the blessings. And yet, this non-jew recognized Jesus as a Savior.

"Let it be to you as you desire.'" And the Bible says, "and her daughter was healed from that very hour." She trusted in the power of the Word of God. She didn't give up with her requests. She kept pressing into the throne of God and God heard and answered her request. What a wonderful story that encourages us to keep asking - keep relying upon God's mercy. Don't look to your own goodness but trust in the goodness of Jesus.

In the book Desire of Ages on page 401, we have a commentary on the story that we just looked at. Let me read it. It says, "the Savior is satisfied." That's after this exchange, the woman is persistent. "He has tested her faith in him. By his dealings with her, he has shown that she, who had been regarded as an outcast from Israel, is no longer an alien, but a child in God's household.

And, as a child, it is her privilege to share in the father's gifts. Christ now grants her request and finishes the lesson to his disciples." So not only was this an important lesson to the woman herself, but it was also an important lesson to the disciples - that they were to realize that Jesus would come, not just for them, but his gift is for everyone. Well, friends, it looks like we are out of time for our study of the lesson. Just some great insights that we find in the story of Jesus. I'd just like to remind our listening friends about our free offer for today.

It's a book entitled alone in the crowd and we'll be happy to send this to anybody who calls and asks. The number is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #714. Again, the number is 866-788-3966 - ask for offer #714 - we'll be happy to send that to you. Until next time, may God richly bless you until we get together to study once again. Amazing Facts has impacted my life.

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