Live by the Satisfaction of Accomplishing the Father’s Work
Series: The Gospel of John
This week, Pastor Matt teaches us to live by the satisfaction of accomplishing the Father’s work by showing us that 1. Jesus is still working, 2. Jesus has prepared a harvest, and 3. Jesus is the Savior of the world.
Citylight Manayunk | November 16, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.
– ESV Study Bible – Study notes on the Gospel According to John
– Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament – The Gospel According to John – -Andreas Kostenburger
– Pillar New Testament Commentary Series – The Gospel According to John – DA Carson
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If you could live on only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? If you could only live on the nourishment of one meal what would it be? This is a patently easy question for me to answer. I’ll take steak every time. I have what can only be characterized as an odd degree of love for steak. Like last year when my very generous mother asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I could have asked for tickets to an Eagles game or something equally as epic, I asked for a gift card to take Andrea out for a really nice steak. Don’t get carried away, my request was almost completely self-serving because Andrea isn’t nearly as enamored with steak as I am. Guys – she orders it medium-well. Gasp! So, for me, it’s steak. How about you? What meal would you live on?
In our passage this morning, the Lord Jesus Christ invites his first disciples, and by extension each of us, to the ultimate meal to live on. Let’s set the scene. The Lord Jesus and his disciples are traveling from Judea (south) to Galilee (north). Jesus is weary from the journey, so they stop at a well in Samaria. Jesus sends his disciples to town to buy food and then brakes every custom and social norm to tell an adulterous Samaritan woman that God’s kingdom is for people just like her who turn to him in faith. The conversation ends abruptly when Jesus’ disciples return from the town where they purchased food and begin urging their weary and exhausted Rabbi to eat. And Jesus says, “I have food you don’t know about.” The disciples start looking around, “who gave him food? If he had food all along, why in the world did he have us walk all the way to town?” But Jesus is talking about a different kind of satisfying sustenance. John 4:34 – Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Jesus lives by the satisfaction of something greater than food and invites us to the same. That invitation is the big idea of our passage this morning: Live by the satisfaction of accomplishing the Father’s work. Now, why should we live by the satisfaction of accomplishing the Father’s work? 1. Jesus is still working 2. Jesus has prepared a harvest. 3. Jesus is the Savior of the world.
JESUS IS STILL WORKING
Jesus lived by the satisfaction of accomplishing the Father’s work, but what was that work? Lord Jesus tells us explicitly a little later in the Gospel of John. John 6:37-40 – All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” Jesus lived by the satisfaction of giving eternal life to all who look to him with the eyes of faith. Jesus lived so that all that the Father gives to him will come to him, and everyone who comes to him, he will never castaway. Jesus lived to raise all who look to him to eternal life. And the ultimate way that Jesus lived to give eternal life was by dying for our eternal death so that we can rise with him forever. I love the certainty of Jesus’ words. They’re so comforting. Jesus did not live and die so that you might have eternal life. He lived by the satisfaction of receiving all that the Father gives to him, never casting them away, but raising them to new life. He lived, died, and rose for the satisfaction of accomplishing the Father’s work, and he’s still working. Each and every follower of Jesus in this room is proof of that. Jesus hasn’t changed; he’s still working. A couple years ago I preached through the New Testament book of Acts. The traditional name for the book is “The Acts of the Apostles” because it records the work that the apostles did after Jesus ascended into heaven. But the further into Acts we went, the more I learned that a better name for the book would be “The Acts of the risen Lord Jesus.” Acts should be called “The Acts of the risen Lord Jesus from heaven, on earth, to advance his gospel to new people and new places through his people.”
Friends, Jesus still lives by the satisfaction of accomplishing the Father’s will; giving eternal life now and forever to all who look to him. And the exhilarating reality is that Jesus is inviting all of us to join in the work. He’s inviting all of us to live by the satisfaction of accomplishing the Father’s work because he’s still working. Listen to Jesus’ very last words before ascending to heaven from which he continues to live by the satisfaction of accomplishing the Father’s work. Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” What an amazing privilege we have! When we pray for the Father to draw our non-Christian friends to Jesus, when we love our non-Christian friends sacrificially, when we invite them into our Christian community, and when we speak to them about the good news of our Savior, we’re joining Jesus in the what he still lives for. We’re joining Jesus in living by the satisfaction of accomplishing the Father’s work because He’s still working. The pressure is off. He’s still working and we join him.
Last summer, I tore a hideous tree out of my backyard. If you’ve never torn out a tree, stump and all, it requires a surprising amount of effort. Of course, I enlisted the help of my children. Now, they’re seven and four so you can imagine how much I actually “needed” them for the project. Amazingly, they were genuinely helpful. They worked really hard and played a significant role in removing the tree. What kept them going and engaged? I was working with them. They knew I could tear out the tree myself so when I asked them to join me it was a “no-lose” situation. Friends, Jesus is still working. Jesus will accomplish the Father’s work. He will raise up to eternal life all that the Father gives to him. He’s still working and he invites you to help. Pray (fast), love, invite, and speak because he’s still working. Not only is he still working, the second reason to live by the satisfaction of accomplishing the Father’s work is…
JESUS HAS PREPARED A HARVEST
John 4:35-38 – Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” Ok – everyone from Lancaster can tune me out for the next 15 seconds while I explain to the city people what sowing and reaping mean. When farming or gardening, there is a time to sow seed in the ground, next comes a time to wait and tending, and finally comes the wonderful, exciting, exhilarating time to harvest the crop. Ok Lancaster folks – you can join us again. Jesus is saying that eternal life in God’s kingdom is kind of like sowing, waiting, and reaping. From Abraham to John the Baptist, the faithful people of God, along with their faithful prophets, priests, and kings have been sowing God’s word and waiting for a harvest of souls. Ultimately, the Lord Jesus by dying, going into the ground, and then rising has accomplished the ultimate sowing. Now that Jesus has risen and poured out the Holy Spirit on us, it’s harvest time! Friends, we are living in the time when sinners are coming alive to God through Jesus Christ and we didn’t even work for this. Jesus has prepared a harvest and for two thousand years since his resurrection, the people of Jesus have been having a ball reaping the harvest.
What a wonderful time to be alive! It’s our turn to take our dignified place in living for the satisfaction of accomplishing the Father’s work because Jesus has prepared a harvest. Even sexually sinful Samaritan’s are getting saved. The fields are white for harvest! Question: is that what you see? When you look at NW Philly and our immediately surrounding suburbs, do you see fields white for harvest? When you look at your neighbors, do you see fields white for harvest? When you look at your family, do you see fields white for harvest? When you look at the people you hobby with, do you see fields white for harvest? When you look at your classmates, co-workers, and clients, do you see fields white for harvest? When you look at the other parents at soccer or baseball practice, do you see fields white for harvest? When you look at our current cultural climate, our nation, and our world, do you see fields white for harvest? I think that if we are honest, we see with cynicism. It’s so tempting to see our culture’s rapid movement toward calling evil what God calls good and calling good what God calls evil and throw up our hands in cynicism and wall ourselves off. All we see is decay. But that’s not what Jesus sees and it’s not what the eyes of faith see. Jesus sees our family, our neighbors, our school, our work place, our hobbies, and our culture and say: the fields are white for harvest! Will you suspend cynicism, see with his eyes and confidently pray, confidently love, confidently invite, and confidently speak about Him because the fields are white for harvest? Consider a word here about staying in Philly longer because I think it’s specifically harvest time for us. Let’s lay down our cynicism, pick up Jesus’ perspective, and confidently live for the satisfaction of accomplishing the Father’s work because Northwest Philadelphia and our surrounding suburbs are white for the harvest.
JESUS IS SAVIOR OF THE WORLD
The final reason why we live by the satisfaction of accomplishing the Father’s work is that Jesus is the Savior of the world. This is the declaration of the Samaritans who have come to embrace Jesus as the Christ. John 4:39-42 – 39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” It is only fitting that the Samaritans call Jesus the Savior of the world, and not just the Savior of the Jews. After all, Jesus’ ministry among the Samaritans represents the first cross-cultural evangelism. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior not just of some types of people or some types of ethnic groups. The Lord Jesus does not represent the white man’s religion or the Jewish man’s religion because the Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior of the whole world. The Lord Jesus will raise up on the last day a people from every tribe and every tongue and every nation who look to him alone for everlasting life. We live by the satisfaction of seeing people saved by Jesus because Jesus the Savior of the world. This leads me to two final reflections.
First, no one is beyond saving. There are no “Christian-types”. Jesus is Savior of the whole world; people from every type and every background. Jesus will have a transcultural people for himself. Therefore, we confidently and cheerfully take our place in the harvest, even among the most seemingly challenging of people, because Jesus is the Savior of the world.
Second, you’re not beyond saving. Jesus will not lose even one of all who come and receive him with the empty hands of faith. He will raise you up on the last day. Come to Jesus, he is Savior of a people from all of the world who believe, including you! Double down here. Tie it back to the woman at the well.
Now, let’s get back to your favorite meal. The one you’d live by if you could only have one. The best meal I have ever had was probably a dinner I enjoyed Del Fresco’s steakhouse in Center City. A very kind and generous Citylight couple took Andrea and me there years ago. Words won’t do for how good it was. I’ve probably never been more full. It was one of those meals that you eat and then swear you’ll never be hungry again. Of course, when I woke up the next morning, I was hungry again. It only satisfied for a time. That’s life. That’s everything we look to to live by that isn’t accomplishing the work of our Father; always full, but never satisfied. But when we come to the Lord Jesus we receive eternal life and food that will fill us forever: accomplishing the work of our Father. Let’s enjoy the feast until every tribe, tongue, and nation is around the throne and seated at the wedding feast forever.