Tools of the Trade

Remember that T.V. show Home Improvement with Tim the Toolman Taylor. Well, today I want to talk about tools (GRUNT GRUNT GRUNT). We are all men here and we love tools. But any lover of tools knows that you need the right tool for the right job otherwise the job becomes arduous and end up throwing more tools than you use. Even if you have the right tool for the job, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you will get the job done right. Right?

Here are a list of tools and how they really work.

 

Hammer – In ancient times a hammer was used to inflict pain on one’s enemies. Modern hammers are used to inflict pain on oneself. Especially when you drive the wrong nail.

Screwdriver – A divining rod that finds its way to the source of $500 dollars in damage that you end up doing while trying to change out a light socket. I have melted more screwdrivers doing this than I care to admit.

Pliers – A device used to extend your reach the necessary few inches you need to pick up a one-of-a-kind screw that you dropped down behind the new wall it took you two weeks to install.

Multi-Pliers – Contain a handy assortment of sharp and dangerous tools. Best left in it’s leather sheath and worn on a homeowner’s belt to increase testosterone levels.

Electronic Stud Finder – I like this one….This is an annoying device that never goes off when you point it at yourself.

Halogen Light – A work light that lights up your backyard with the incandescence of a football stadium, causing you to cast a heavy shadow over the area you’re working on so that you need to use a flashlight anyway.

Cordless Drill – A device that lessens your chance of electrocution 90% over a standard plug-in tool.

Air Compressor – A mechanical device similar in principal to harnessing the power of your mother-in-law’s nagging complaints and using the resulting airflow to blast old paint off the side of the house.

Chainsaw – Allows you to cut your way out of the shed that you accidentally built completely around yourself.

 

Any of these tools can be used with futility for purposes other than what they were designated for.

I have actually used a chainsaw as a hammer before….but I digress….

The point is that men love tools, some more than others…just ask Brian Fontenot of Calvary Houston. But as believers we all possess a one-of-a-kind tool that is completely unique to the individual who owns it and is able to accomplish a great number of things when used. Notice…I did not say, “when used correctly.” The fact is all we have to do is use it and by itself, it will accomplish far more than we could have ever hoped to accomplish by our own intentions. The fact is that you can use this tool just about anywhere you go for just about any application.

Now…The tool I am talking about is the Makita SawZall…no I am not….just kidding.

Seriously though…The tool I am talking about is our personal testimony. And so today, I want to share with you from the Bible about one particular persons testimony and how it influenced an entire city.

Okay….Turn with me if you will in your Bibles if you will to the Book of John Chapter 4. John Chapter 4 starting at vs. 25

Here we find the account of Jesus at Jacobs Well and His encounter with the Samaritan woman. Now we know that it was Jewish custom that the Jews were forbidden to mingle with Samaritans, much less drink from a dish touched by a Samaritan, and we know that it was considered very improper for a Rabbi to speak to a woman, much less a Samaritan woman, but here we find Jesus not only having a conversation with a Samaritan woman, but revealing His true identity to her.

And so we will pick up the story here in vs. 25 where.

The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” – Jhn 4:25 NKJV

Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am [He].” – Jhn 4:26 NKJV

And just on a side note, if anyone ever asks you where in the Bible does Jesus proclaim to be the Christ, you can point them here as just one of many citations.

And so moving on….we read vs,27

And at this [point] His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman;

Again, this would have been considered to be taboo at that time in history.

yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” – Jhn 4:27 NKJV

The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, – Jhn 4:28 NKJV

“Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” – Jhn 4:29 NKJV

Then they went out of the city and came to Him. – Jhn 4:30 NKJV

And so what does the Samaritan woman do…well she does what most of us did when we first heard the Truth of Jesus…we forgot everything and ran to tell the world the amazing truth starting with those closest to us. But back to Jesus and the disciples.

vs. 31

In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” – Jhn 4:31 NKJV

But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” – Jhn 4:32 NKJV

Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him [anything] to eat?” – Jhn 4:33 NKJV

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. – Jhn 4:34 NKJV

And guys, that is what we are all supposed to be doing. We should be in the business of bringing people to Christ. Our primary goal in ministry should be to see others come to know the Lord. There should be such a deep hunger in us not only to hear and read the Word of God, but to live it out and see that others are fed to overflowing. Food is something that nourishes the body. The body will not survive without food for an extended period of time. The same is true with service to the Lord. Service to the Lord and doing His will is nourishment to our spiritual bodies and when we fail to nourish our Spiritual Bodies, we become malnourished and unfit for service of any kind. Even worse, we begin to drain the life out of others that around us and we become a plague to an otherwise healthy body. And so the Lord says here that His food is to do the will of God and to finish His work (which He did when He said “It is Finished” -referring to the completed work on the cross).

Vs. 35

“Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and [then] comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! – Jhn 4:35 NKJV

We as human beings have become keenly aware of the cylces of life, the seasons change and with them come some recurring events that we can count on occuring year-in and year-out. This principle is evident in all cultures, and especially in those agrarian cultures where the seasons brought forth a harvest that culminated in entire populations being fed for the entire year that followed.

Ands so what we have here is an illustration of what Jesus would have known to be common to His audience. Jesus points to a harvest of another kind. Jesus was talking about a soul harvest! The fields Jesus is speaking of are a reference to the vast multitudes of people who were ripe for salvation!

Vs. 36

“And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. – Jhn 4:36 NKJV

And what a privilege it is to be one who sows and one who reaps. You know the glory of salvation belong to the Lord, but what a great experience we have to share in that miracle. 1 Thessalonians 2:19 speaks of the celebration of souls being won for Christ. Both the one who shares the Gospel recieves a blessing and certainly the one who recieves Salvation is blessed all the more with eternal life! While The Gospel is the power of God to save (Romans 1:1.6), ultimately, the Holy Spirit is the One responsible for the Salvation of the saint.

Moving on Vs. 37

“For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ – Jhn 4:37 NKJV

“I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” – Jhn 4:38 NKJV

And so, the law of sowing and reaping is evident. The fact is that we may be the ones that do the sowing and we may never see the fruits of our labor on this side of glory, but we can rest assured that God will not allow our labor to be in vain when our labor is for His glory. On the flip-side, we might be the ones who by simply sharing our testimonies, have the privilege of leading someone to Christ who has been primed for the occasion by several other faithful servants of the Lord. How do I know….well I have seen it both ways in my own walk. Some I have shared the Gospel with only to find out later that they had come to know Jesus, and others that I have shared the sinners prayer with and seen first-hand a commitment to Jesus. And the interesting fact is that we might never fully understand in this life the kind of ripple effect that our faithfullness to sharing the Word of God might have on time and eternity. All we can see in the carnal world is the evidence before us, our experiences. But beyond my personal experiences, we see in the next verse…

And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I [ever] did.” – Jhn 4:39 NKJ

So here we have a woman, whose testimony which by the way would not have even be allowed in a court of law, swaying the heart of an entire city! And what I want to drive home today is the fact that everyone of us has this tool for sharing the Gospel. If we would have been the one to approach Jesus at the well that day, and might I say that everyone of us have had a “Jesus at the well moment,” at some point in our own lives. What would Christ have revealed to you.

I’ll tell you what He revealed to me. He showed me that I was not made to pollute my body with the drugs and alcohol that I had allowed myself to become in bondage to. He showed me that the women that I had been chasing and giving my heart to out of sinful lust were objects of my misplaced affections. He showed me that I was made to love and not only that, but that I was made to love Him. He showed me that apart from Him I would not only continue to drown in my own self-induced misery, but that it would be compounded by a world that would take advantage of me and my circumstances and leave me worse off than it had found me. But then….then….He showed me the Truth, and in doing so, He showed Himself to me, just like He did thousands of years before with a Samaritan woman at a well.

And so just like the Samaritan woman, I went off to the city and told everyone who I knew what He had done for me, and how He had revealed to me every ugly thing that I had ever done.

I would like to say that all of my friends all freaked out and gave their lives to Jesus, sadly, that was not the case, but I will say that over the years, my life has become a living testimony and perhaps one of you will reap the fruit of that which I have labored for.

I like the poem that Pastor Ron Hindt of Calvary Houston has shared on occasion. It goes….

Your writing a Gospel a chapter each day

By the things you do and the words you say

Some hear this Gospel whether faithless or true

and Say what is the Gospel according to you?

I pray that the Gospel I live out in my life is faithful. Amen?

And so… moving on…. we read in vs. 40

So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. – Jhn 4:40 NKJV

Watch this! Vs. 41

And many more believed because of His own word. – Jhn 4:41 NKJV

Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard [Him] and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” – Jhn 4:42 NKJV

And brothers is that not a beautiful thing! When we share our testimonies it is not so that we can gain followers or level up as if it were some kind of spiritual video game. We are sharing our testimonies in the hopes that our experiences will weigh heavily on the hearts of those who we share with. We hope that somehow we can relate to them on a level that will sway them to desire the freedoms which we have been so blessed to receive. Our motives are to see them come to Christ right then and there, or at least to plant a seed so that someone else can lead them to Jesus. Of course we know, again, that it is the Holy Spirit that does the work, but we are given tools so that we can be blessed to take part in what even the Angels of Heaven are in awe over. We are given tools so that we can get a job done. Sure there is some satisfaction in using a tool and seeing it help us to complete a job well done, but what are we doing it for?

If we are using the right tool for the right job, then we should be using our testimonies to reach the lost for the Glory of God. The only righteous ulterior motive is this. The Apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 9 (when he speaks of becoming all things to all men) he says, “And this I do for the sake of the Gospel that I might be a partaker of it with you!” WOW. Paul’s only ulterior motive, which really wasn’t much of an ulterior motive at all, was to see others come to know the Lord so that he could have more brothers and sisters in Christ.

This Samaritan woman’s testimony accomplished something great, in that it pointed others to Jesus. And would it be to God that our testimonies would do the same.

And so here we have a city of people declaring that it was no longer the testimony of the woman alone that had lead them to recognize that Jesus was the Christ, the Savior of the World, but the fact that they had heard it straight from the source.

And I love that. My testimony may be phenomenal, it might bring people to tears. Others may relate and see that there is hope for them. But unless it points others to Christ, I personally would rather not have a testimony.

I am reminded of what John the Baptist said earlier in the book, in chapter 3: vs 30

John said, “He must increase, but I [must] decrease. – Jhn 3:30 NKJV

And would it be to God that we would all have that attitude in us.

But I say all of this as an encouragement. If you have been saved, you have a tool that no one can dispute. It is as unique as your fingerprint, in fact it is a fingerprint, the fingerprint of God on your life. No matter if you have been a seasoned saint walking with the Lord for decades, or if you are new believer who has only recently begun a walk with Jesus, you have a powerful tool for witnessing to others. When God laid His hands on you and freed you from the bondage of sin and death, you actually were not only given the tool of a testimony, but you also became a tool in the hands of a master craftsman. What work are you going to allow Him to do with your life?

– See more at: http://calvarykaty.org/tools-of-the-trade-your-testimony/#sthash.4mZvWxxo.dpuf

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