The scripture referenced in this sermon is Jesus' conversation with the woman at the well.
We have an opportunity to talk about something that runs to the heart of the gospel. We have a woman here who exhibits complacency. Jesus gives this powerful word about the Father and spirit and truth and worship, and how this is what God is really after, and she says, "ya ya ... one day when the messiah comes it'll all get straightened out, but in the mean time..."
And of course when you're complacent the preacher has an opportunity. And this is what is striking about Jesus' response to her. He's not a very good preacher. Because after all, when you complacent christians are truly complacent, the job of the preacher is to create urgency in you, right? Shape you up, motivate you, and put the lash on your so-called free will so that you'll get busy.
Well this woman is tailor made for such a preacher. She's theologically confused. She's a real sinner. (Five husbands and the one you're living with now is just kind of a live in). So there's real work to be done here to motivate the complacent sinner, and get him busy working on themselves. Isn't that what you often hear? You're supposed to get up there, preacher, and motivate me to believe, right? Tell me what to do.
Jesus doesn't do that. What kind of a preacher is that? No, Jesus doesn't do that because Jesus is not going to be drawn in to the complacency-urgency conspiracy. Jesus is not interested in putting the lash on her to shape her up. And the key to this is in His response to her when she says, "All that - the messiah's going to clear up when He comes." And Jesus said, "He's here. I am He." -- Your time is up. There's nothing to be done. Nothing CAN be done now. I am the one.
We are people who are caught in the complacency-urgency paradigm, constantly wringing our hands over what has not yet happened, anxious over what has happened, anticipating the fullness and the wholeness and the success that may yet come. Jesus is interested in immediacy. Now, is the hour. I am He. The one who is speaking to you.
The christian church paradigm of complacency that must be urged to action is not gospel language. If anything it is simply law language. Your will does not need a whip put on it to perform. Your will is bound to a certain set of performance standards which are going to take you to the grave. So somebody else's will has to do some work here. And that's precisely what Jesus does in the text. We're though talking about our good intentions. We're through talking about what sinners we are. We're through examining, and we're through trying to improve. We're through with all of that. I am here, now, with the living water, and when you drink of it you will never thirst again, for you will find your rest in Me.
You see the gospel speaks, not to the free will that must be put upon and motivated to act. It speaks to the bound will who can do nothing else but act in the complacency-urgency paradigm. The gospel speaks to the bound will. We don't need motivation. We need resurrection. We are dead in sin. And all of our works and deeds, as good as many of them may be, ultimately lead us only to one place...
The grass withers. The flower fades. It is the word of God that abides.