Scripture Reading: John 4:1-42 | Acts 8:26-39
Note John 4:4: “He must needs go through Samaria.”
There are several important ‘musts’ in the Gospel of John:
- “Ye must be born again” John 3:7
- “The Son of Man must be lifted up” John 3:14
- “He must increase, but I must decrease” John 3:30
- “He must needs go through Samaria” John 4:4
- “I must work the works of Him that sent me; The night cometh when no man can work” John 9:4
- “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd” John 10:16
- “He must rise again from the dead” John 20:9
- I would like to speak especially on the must in John 4:4—“He MUST needs go through Samaria.” Why does the Scripture say that? Many of the Jews of that day, because of racial and religious beliefs, avoided going through Samaria, by traveling on the east side of the Jorden River. But Jesus chose to go through Samaria. Why? It was because of the great value Jesus placed upon one precious lost soul.
In this message, I would like to speak about the value of one soul! What is the true value of one soul?
WHAT VALUE DOES GOD PLACE UPON ALL THE SOULS OF MEN, WOMEN, CHILDREN, AND YOUTH?
All souls, all people, are of great value to God because “all were created by Him and for His pleasure” (Revelation 4:11).
All the souls of people are of great value to God because of redemption: Note carefully again the words of John 3:14-17. Note especially verse 16: “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son (to suffer, bleed, and die in our place) so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” Every soul, all people, are of great value to God because of Christ’s redemptive work at Calvary.
WHAT VALUE DID THE LORD JESUS PLACE UPON THE INDIVIDUAL SOULS OF PEOPLE?
- Although Jesus often spoke to large crowds of people, He always had time to minister to the individual.
- Some examples are:
- A leper whom Jesus healed. Matthew 8:1-4.
- The blind man that Jesus healed. Luke 18:35-43.
- The man bound by demons in the land of the Gadarenes that Jesus set free. Luke 8:22-39.
- The children whom Jesus blessed. Matthew 19:13-15.
- Zacchaeus: Luke 19:1-10
- Nicodemus. John 3.
- But one of the most notable examples of the value that the Lord Jesus placed upon the soul of one human being is in John 4 where it says that “He MUST NEEDS go through Samaria.” For He knew there was a very needy, lost, spiritually thirsty soul in the City of Samaria who needed to hear the good news. Observe carefully how Jesus spoke to her and led her to put her faith in Him as the Messiah and Saviour. She in turn became like an evangelist bringing others to the Saviour. Many in that city heard Jesus and believed in Him (John 4:39-42). Jesus saw the people of Samaria as a ‘ripe harvest ready to be reaped’ (John 4:34-38). He was reaping the ‘first fruits’ of this harvest, and later, after the Day of Pentecost, when the Church was persecuted and scattered in Acts Chapter 8, the Lord used Philip the Evangelist to ‘reap a large harvest’ of precious souls into the Kingdom of God in Samaria! (Acts 8:4-8)
Note: Just a further note about this woman of Samaria. She truly repented of her sins and became a zealous witness for the Saviour. Church history in the Eastern Orthodox Church records that she also led members of her own family to genuine faith in Jesus the Saviour and Messiah.
The Eastern Orthodox Church states that she was baptized on the Day of Pentecost and was given the name “Photini” the “enlightened one.” She later travelled to the City of Carthage in modern-day Tunisia, North Africa, and won many souls for Christ. She was a powerful evangelist.
Later, she and others travelled to Rome where she was a powerful witness to some of Nero’s family. In Rome, she died a very cruel death as a martyr.
Oh the importance of reaching one precious soul for the Lord! That one soul may in turn win many others to Christ!
In Luke 15 in the Parable of ‘the lost sheep’ the ‘lost silver’ and ‘the lost son,’ the Lord Jesus pointed out that there is rejoicing in Heaven each time one soul repents. This is the value that heaven places upon each soul.
The Lord Jesus demonstrated the great value He placed upon the lost souls of all people when He died for all at Calvary, and He gave His precious life’s blood to be shed for our redemption and then rose again to be our Lord and Saviour.
Note: Isaiah 53; 1 Corinthians 15:1-5; 1 Timothy 2:1-6; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Peter 1:18-20; Revelation 5:8-10.
WHAT VALUE DID THE EARLY CHURCH PLACE UPON THE LOST SOULS OF THIS WORLD?
The disciples heard our Lord’s great commission. Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-49; John 20:21; Acts 1:8.
How did the early Church respond to the great commission?
The Book of Acts records how the Early Church, in the power and direction of the Holy Spirit, carried out their Lord’s command, proclaiming the good news of Jesus, both in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and then to the uttermost parts of their then known world. Preaching both to large crowds, as well as in homes, to individuals—leading them to faith in Christ, and discipling them. Each soul was vitally important to them.
Those scattered abroad because of persecution went everywhere preaching the Word.
Philip went down to Samaria and preached Christ unto them, and a great number of souls were won to Christ and were baptized and then received the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:5-17)
But the Lord also led Philip the evangelist to a desert road to preach the gospel to a man from Ethiopia, Africa, who was hungry for the truth. He was led to genuine faith in Jesus Christ, was baptized in water, and went on his way back to Africa rejoicing. It is believed that this man carried the gospel back to Africa to his own people in Ethiopia. Oh, the great value and importance of reaching each precious soul with the gospel of Christ.
Those who are won to Christ and discipled, may in turn win many others to Christ.
The ministry of Paul—Paul and his team ministered to both crowds as well as individuals. Note Paul’s words in Romans 1:14-17; He felt he was a debtor to all. The Book of Acts and some of Paul’s Epistles record what Paul was willing to go through to reach lost souls for Christ.
Paul called Timothy his spiritual son in the faith. (2 Timothy 1:2) He had led him to Christ and later took him with him, mentoring him, and eventually Timothy became a very dedicated fellow worker of Paul’s in the gospel.
Note Philippians 2:19-22. In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul exhorted Timothy with these important words: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
THE CHURCH OF TODAY NEEDS A FRESH VISION OF THE VAST RIPENED HARVEST FIELDS ALL AROUND US AND ACROSS THE WORLD; PRECIOUS SOULS FOR WHOM CHRIST DIED. EACH SOUL IS OF GREAT VALUE IN GODS SIGHT.
Note the words of Jesus in John 4:34-38, “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields which are ripe already to harvest.” This is so very true for us today as well!
Also, note Matthew 9:37-38—it is harvest time today! Will you become involved in helping to reap the spiritual harvest of precious souls all around us and in the regions beyond?
You can become involved in helping to bring in this spiritual harvest through your prayers, your sacrificial giving, and by going with the Gospel of Jesus to the lost. In Proverbs 11:30 we read, “He who wins souls is wise!”
At harvest time on the farm, all work together in helping to bring in the harvest. Today we all must join hearts and hands together in doing our part in helping to bring in the spiritual harvest of precious souls all around us and across the world.
We could mention many examples in our personal ministry both on the mission field, and here in Canada, which clearly demonstrate the great value of reaching and then discipling precious souls for Christ.
So many times, we have seen those won to Christ and then discipled, in turn reaching many others for Christ and then discipling them. This is how the Church has grown and multiplied. This is also how the Lord has raised up leaders in the Church, who today give oversight and leadership to the Churches. To God be the Glory! Lord give us a vision of the true value of each precious soul!
Jeremiah 8:20 is a very sad passage of Scripture; “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!” In Closing, the words of a song come to mind…
“Lord give me a vision, O help me to see, the need all around me, souls lost without thee! Lord make me a blessing, as onward I go, By telling the story that others may know.” “Lord give me a vision, of fields that are ripe! Of sheaves we must gather, err cometh the night! Dark shadows are gathering, And some will be lost! Some neighbour or brother, How awful the cost!” “Lord give me a vision, lest empty I stand; There at the great Judgment, No sheaves in my hand! No labour of love, to offer my King! With nothing but leaves then, The Master to bring!"
In his senior years, when Lloyd was no longer able to travel, he sent sermons to pastors he had mentored in Africa.
The sermon notes that you find here, are the last ones he sent to them.