Simple obedience to the Lord can lead to eternally significant moments. Specifically, there is joy in loving unbelievers like Christ. As you are transformed by Christ, the hope is that people will taste the love of Christ simply by being in a relationship with you.
Vision and Values | Core Values
Vision and Values | To Love Like Christ
Vision and Values | Transformed by Christ
Timothy Ateek unpacks what it means to be “Transformed by Christ, to love like Christ” (Watermark’s vision statement). Sharing the love of Christ is a way to be obedient to Him. Here are five ways to tap into the joy of loving unbelievers like Christ:
Good morning, Watermark. How are we doing today? It's so good to see you. If this is your first time to Watermark, let me introduce myself. My name is Timothy Ateek. I'm one of the teaching pastors here, and I'm so glad we get to spend some time together today. If you are just checking Watermark out, this is a great time for you to be exploring what this place is all about, because we are in a series where we are unpacking the vision and values of the church.
If you want to know what we are about, we exist to be transformed by Christ to love like Christ. The hope here is that any person who would call this place home would experience the transforming love and power of Jesus Christ and, because of that, people in your life would taste the love of Jesus simply by being in relationship with you.
Last week, John did an incredible job of unpacking for us what it means to be transformed by Christ, and today, we're going to talk about loving like Christ. Now, there are a lot of different ways we could go talking about loving like Christ. What I want to do today is I want to talk about loving unbelievers like Christ. Specifically, I want to talk about sharing our faith.
Here's what that means. It just means that if you're here this morning and you don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ, it might feel a little weird for you, because it might feel like you are stepping into sort of a family meeting. What I hope you hear is what you can expect from those in your life who consider themselves followers of Jesus Christ. What I ultimately hope you understand is that Jesus Christ truly is worth it.
For those who call this place home, the hope is that we would leave this place, and we would go out into our neighborhoods and into our workplaces and faithfully share the good news of Jesus Christ with those who do not know Jesus. We have been transformed by Christ, and the hope is that we would love like Christ. Specifically, we would love unbelievers like Christ.
When it comes to sharing faith, I, personally, have had really good experiences with sharing my faith and not-so-great experiences with sharing my faith. I think about a time where everything went exactly as it should go. I was working at the Starbucks on Northwest Highway and Preston. It's a fairly large Starbucks. I went in and sat at a six-top, and it was empty. There was no one else at that six-top, and the Starbucks was fairly empty.
There were multiple tables where no one was seated. So, I sat down at this end of the table, and this woman came in and sat down at the six-top, but she didn't sit at the other end of it. She sat directly across from me. When it comes to invading people's personal space, she most certainly did that. It was an out-of-body experience, because when I got taught in seminary how to share my faith… It played out exactly like I was taught.
She sat down. We started talking. The conversation turned spiritual. I was like, "Has anyone ever taken a Bible and shown you how you can know you'll go to heaven when you die?" She was like, "No." I was like, "Can I?" She was like, "Sure." I was like, "This is incredible. This is exactly… If this is what sharing your faith is like and what it's about, count me in. I can do this all the time."
But then there was another experience that didn't go nearly as well. I had been listening to this pastor's podcast. I remember on one sermon he talked about being at a coffee shop, and he saw a guy, and he just felt like he was supposed to go up to that guy and tell him that Jesus Christ loved him and wanted a relationship with him. So I started thinking, "That's what I need to do. I need to just start interrupting people's worlds and telling them, 'Hey, Jesus Christ loves you and wants to have a relationship with you.'"
I remember one time Kat and I were in Austin. We were eating at Potbelly. I just put a bull's-eye on this guy who worked at Potbelly. I was like, "I guess this is the guy who's about to find out Jesus loves him and wants a relationship with him." I think his shift had ended, so he left the restaurant. So, I followed him out into the parking lot. When I say it, it sounds creepy, because it kind of was. I tracked this guy out to his car. He had already gotten into his car.
He is seated in his car, and I'm like, "Hey!" to the point where he's sticking his head out of the window. I was like, "Hey, I just wanted you to know Jesus Christ loves you and wants to have a relationship with you." I don't know where the communication breakdown happened. I don't know what actually came out of my mouth, but (true story) all that happened… This was his response. After I said, "Jesus Christ loves you and wants to have a relationship with you," he goes, "Chipotle?"
"No, not Chipotle. Um, Jesus Christ loves you and, uh…" I just fell apart, and it was like, "Hey, man, have a good day. Enjoy Chipotle." So, here's the thing. In my experience, when it goes well there's joy and excitement and you want to do it more. When it doesn't go well, there's insecurity, and there can be this feeling of obligation when it comes to sharing your faith.
Then there have been other times in my life where I've sensed God wants me to engage with someone, and I just don't, and there has been shame that I have in some way let God down. I don't know if you can identify with any of that. I would imagine there are many people here who share their faith on a regular basis, so you're just tapping into that joy of sharing your faith, which is awesome. If that's you, my encouragement to you is just keep doing what you're doing.
Then I bet there are a lot of people here who know the feeling of obligation and the feeling of shame that you should be sharing your faith, but you're not. So, my hope today is that it would be an encouragement to all of us to simply take a step. We've been transformed by Christ. We want to love like Christ. My hope is that each person in here who calls this place home and considers themselves a follower of Jesus Christ… My hope is you would begin to tap into the joy that can come from loving unbelievers like Christ.
The way I'm going to encourage us this morning is from John, chapter 4. We're going to look at a story in the gospel of John, chapter 4, where Jesus engages with an unbelieving woman. We're going to look at how Jesus loved an unbeliever, and then we're going to draw five conclusions, or we're going to identify five keys to tapping into the joy that can come from loving unbelievers like Christ. As you turn there, I want you to believe that God wants to do something through you. He wants to use you. You can share your faith, and he can equip you and empower you.
He wants to invite you in to be a part of his mission. You never know what he's doing. You never know how his Spirit is working. You don't know what he wants to do in someone else's life, and you have no clue how he wants to use you in their life. So, today is all about us just being equipped and empowered to go out and tap into the joy…not the obligation, not the shame, but the joy of loving unbelievers like Christ.
A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, 'Give me a drink.' (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, 'How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?' (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)"
From this section, the phrase I want to clue in on is verse 4 where it says he had to pass through Samaria. A good way to help you understand this is simply to show you a map of Palestine during the time of Christ. At the bottom, the blue section is Judea. That's where Jerusalem is. Galilee is the salmon color. That's where Nazareth is. That's where the Sea of Galilee is. Jesus is traveling from the blue to the salmon. He's going from Judea to Galilee, and the text says he has to pass through Samaria, which is the purple part.
A good way of thinking about it is if you're traveling from Austin to Dallas and you say you have to travel through Waco. You get on I-35 and travel north to Dallas. Now, here's what you need to understand. Going through Samaria was the quickest way, but it wasn't the only way. When you look at the map, the route Jesus takes is the red route, which goes straight up through Samaria, but if you look at the green line, there was actually a way around it.
If you've been traveling through Waco sometime in the last three years, you know the traffic that is there due to construction. You don't have to go through Waco. You can hop on 340, which will take you around Waco. There's actually another way to go from Judea to Galilee where you bypass Samaria. Going through Samaria might have been the quickest way, but for many Jews, it was not the preferred way to get to Galilee.
The reason it wasn't the preferred way was many Jews hated Samaritans. It's good for you to know the background on Samaritans. Maybe you've heard of the parable of the good Samaritan, but you don't really know anything about Samaritans. You need to understand that 750 years prior to this encounter with this Samaritan woman, in 722 BC, Assyria showed up in Israel and deported the majority of Jews living in Israel. Then Assyria imported five different nations of captives into the area we know as Samaria.
Those five different nations intermarried with the Jews who remained in the land. Their offspring became known as Samaritans. Samaritans created, basically, a hijacked version of Judaism. They hijacked Judaism and kind of created their own religion. They took a lot of the teachings of Judaism and then adapted them to their own ideas. They even took the temple of Judaism, which was the place where the presence of God resided, and they ignored it and created their own temple for worship.
So, Jews looked at Samaritans and despised them. Some Jews even prayed that the Samaritans would not be a part of the resurrection. So, there were many Jews who took the route around Samaria simply because they didn't want to have to engage with them. It's interesting that the text says Jesus had to go through Samaria.
What we need to conclude is that's not saying the only way to get from Judea to Galilee was through Samaria. What it's actually talking about is Jesus responding to the will of God. He had to go through Samaria because he was saying yes to God's will for him and for this woman. Jesus had a divine appointment with a Samaritan woman by a well at about noon.
There's another verse I think is really important in this moment. It comes later in John, chapter 4, but I want to go ahead and read it now. When Jesus sits down by this well, his disciples go into town to get some food, and when they come back, they want Jesus to eat, but Jesus won't eat their food. Listen to what Jesus says in verse 34. "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work."
He's saying, "Do you want to know what nourishes me? Do you want to know what satisfies my soul most? It is to say yes to God's will and to accomplish all of his work." He's referencing coming through Samaria to meet this woman. That's what was nourishing to him. That's what was satisfying to him. So that's where we have to start. If you want to tap into the joy of loving unbelievers like Christ, it starts with cultivating your yes to God's will.
The reason I use the word cultivate is simply because it's a process. It takes work. There are going to be times where you resist God's will when it comes to sharing your faith. We're all going to have to take a step. We're all going to have to grow. It's something you cultivate, but you want to cultivate your yes to God's will. The goal is that the people of Watermark would be a people who are nourished and satisfied by accomplishing the will of God, that Jesus isn't just a part of your life, but he is the point and passion of your life, and the most satisfying thing is to do what Christ calls you to do.
So, what does that practically look like? It looks like you and me waking up each morning hitting our knees and praying a prayer of surrender, us sitting before the Lord and just saying, "Lord God, I will go where you want me to go. I will do what you want me to do. I will engage with whom you want me to engage. I will say what you want me to say. You provide the opportunities. You give me the courage. You make me bold. You give me the words to say, but I will do what you want me to do. God, use me."
Do you know what the great news is? The great news is that simple obedience is what leads to eternally significant moments. Just imagine what would happen if all of the followers of Jesus who are in this room right now began to pray with open hands tomorrow morning, "I will do what you want me to do. I'll talk to who you want me to talk to. I'll say what you want me to say." This place would be buzzing with God stories over the next seven days.
Let me just ask you. Does it feel like everyone but you has God stories to share? Has it been awhile since you've seen God do something significant in someone else's life? If so, I just have to ask: Are you taking steps of obedience and sharing your faith? If you're not, that's why you're missing out. Now, you might sit there and hear that and be like, "And that's what causes me shame." So let me be clear. My goal is not to cause shame. Hey, this message is for me as well. The goal of this message is just to help all of us take a step. If you want God stories of your own, if you want to see God do some eternally significant things, that's the goal of this talk.
Just think about that. Here's a woman drawing water at a well that's farther away than she needs to travel, and she's drawing water at a time which is not optimal. Why? She's trying to avoid the rest of the community because she is a woman with a bad reputation. So, combine that truth with what verse 9 tells us… When Jesus talks to her, John tells us, "Jews have no dealings with Samaritans."
Just put it all together. Jesus talks to a Samaritan woman. He talks to people most Jews despised, but he doesn't just talk to any Samaritan. He talks to a woman who most Samaritans don't want to talk to. Jesus is breaking through social barriers. Do you want to tap into the joy of loving unbelievers like Christ? Then you need to beg God for the courage and boldness to break through social barriers.
Let me ask a question that might be convicting, but we need it, and we need to wrestle with it if we're going to tap into joy. Here it is. Don't miss it. Is there anyone in your life whose beliefs, convictions, and lifestyle are so vastly different than yours that you have no dealings with them? Just think. Are there any individuals who come to mind from your work or your neighborhood? Are there any groups of people in general that their beliefs, convictions, or lifestyle are so vastly different than yours, and honestly, they're so nauseating to you that you have no interactions with them?
I think about what verse 9 says. "For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans." Just insert your name into that phrase. "Timothy Ateek has no dealings with…" Who? Does anyone come to mind? If someone comes to mind or a certain group of people comes to mind, then ask yourself this question: Does Jesus love that person? If the answer is yes, then why won't you?
Here's the thing. If you won't engage with them, then there's a good chance other Christians won't engage with them, but if you won't reach them and other Christians won't reach them, then who is reaching them? What if God wants to work through you by giving you everything you need to break through those social barriers?
When we were living in Waco, I remember my wife befriended her hairdresser, and her hairdresser and that hairdresser's husband were leaders in the pagan society in Waco. My wife just broke through a social barrier, and she began to befriend this woman from the pagan society to the point where this woman would trust us with her child. My wife would babysit her kid from time to time. Then this couple from the pagan society wanted to have a birthday party for their son, but their apartment was too small, so we hosted this kid's birthday party at our home.
Well, who were the friends who came to celebrate this kid's birthday? All of their friends from the pagan society were showing up to our house, wearing symbols on jewelry that stand completely against everything I believe. These are people who either worship other gods or have some association with Satan in some way, yet they were in our house. We were breaking through a social barrier. When I look at my wife's example of breaking through that social barrier, it reminds me that we have to be a people who look past external sin to the internal need.
We can't just see people for who they are now. We have to see people for who they could be if Jesus Christ captivated their hearts. Just imagine. Have you ever done that, where you just envision someone who is far from Christ one day sharing their testimony? Imagine. I just think of this woman from the pagan society one day standing in a church, testifying of how Jesus Christ met her and brought her to himself. But it's going to require us breaking through social barriers. Now watch how the story continues. Verse 9:
"The Samaritan woman said to him, 'How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?' (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, "Give me a drink," you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.' The woman said to him, 'Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.'
Jesus said to her, 'Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.' The woman said to him, 'Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.'"
Do you see what Jesus does? He starts a conversation with this woman and then turns it spiritual. He starts a conversation about physical water, and then he transitions to talking about living water. She doesn't get it. She's like, "Man, if you have some water that's going to make me not thirsty so I'm not having to do these trips, like, please." He starts a conversation and turns it spiritual. That's the third way we can tap into the joy of loving unbelievers like Christ.
Let me break this point down for you. Start a conversation. When I say, "Start a conversation," I'm not even talking right now about starting a spiritual conversation. I'm just talking about starting a conversation with people you don't normally talk to because you either don't know them or just haven't taken the time to have meaningful interaction with them.
When you go to lunch today, look your waiter or waitress in the eyes, ask them their name, where they're from, and how long they've worked at the restaurant. When you're outside in your neighborhood and you see that neighbor you normally just wave at and then turn and go inside, surprise them. Start walking toward them. They'll be like, "Oh my gosh. What's happening now?" Just walk toward them and ask how their year is starting off.
When you go to work tomorrow, and you're in the elevator with that person that you've never bothered to learn their name, and now you're just too far in… It's like, "Man, we should know this by now." Hey, just be honest. Be like, "Hey, I'm so sorry. Remind me your name again." Or when you pass by someone's desk who you normally just say "Hi" to, stop and be like, "Hey, how was your weekend?" It'll catch them off guard. I'm just talking about starting a conversation. Start a conversation, and then look for opportunities to turn it spiritual.
This is where we freak out and get weird. You're like, "I can start a conversation, but I don't want to jeopardize the relationship by turning it spiritual." Just don't be weird about it. You can do this, people. Here's what I'm going to do right now. I am going to tell you exactly what to say. I'm going to give you all the vocabulary. I'm going to give you the line. You can write it on your hand. You can be like, "Hey, how was your weekend? So, uh, Jesus…" I'm going to give it to you right now. It's a lot smoother than, "Jesus Christ loves you and wants to have a relationship with you." "Chipotle." It's going to be better than that.
Let me give you some examples of how to turn the conversation spiritual. We're going to put them on the screen. I encourage you to write these down and use them. When you go to lunch, and you're talking to the waiter or waitress… They bring out your food. I've used this several times, and it has always gone well. Just simply say, "Hey, we're followers of Jesus, and we're about to pray for our food. Is there anything we can pray for you for?" (I know you grammarians are freaking out that I ended the sentence with for. It's okay.)
That has always gone well for me. They will share more with you that you can build on in the conversation. When you go to work tomorrow and people ask you what you did this weekend, tell them. "Here's what I did on Saturday. Sunday… Hey, we went to church yesterday, and it was meaningful. Hey, do you go to church anywhere?" You're in the conversation. You just turned it spiritual. That's it. "I went to church yesterday. Do you go to church anywhere?" You can follow it up. Just say, "Hey, we've never talked about this, but is faith something that's important to you?" You're in the conversation. That's it.
This is a question a friend gave me a long time ago, and it has been helpful in so many different situations. I've asked this question to the guy working the counter at a gas station or with Uber drivers or walking up to a guy on the beach. This fits in any situation. Just say, "Hey, I'm a follower of Jesus, and I believe in prayer. Is there anything you or your family needs that I can ask God to help you with?" That's it. People are usually very grateful that you would even ask.
If you know someone is going through a really tough time, ask them, "Hey, where do you usually look for help or hope when life is tough or stressful? I know, for me, when life is tough, I don't know what I would do without my faith in Jesus. Do you have a faith?" That's it. You're in the conversation. Or what about this one? Just try it out. If you've been in relationship with someone for a long time, and you feel like, "Man, it would be too weird for me to bring it up at this point; it has been too long," just say this: "Hey, we haven't talked about this before."
If you're at lunch with a coworker… "Hey, we've never talked about this before, but my faith has become increasingly important to me. Do you have a faith?" That's it. You're in the conversation. People love to talk about themselves. The more you ask, the more you'll learn, and the more opportunity you'll have to turn the conversation spiritual, but remember the caveat. Be intentional without being aggressive. That's what Jesus did. Look at verse 16.
She didn't get that he was talking about living water, not physical water, so Jesus comes at her a different direction. "Jesus said to her, 'Go, call your husband, and come here.' The woman answered him, 'I have no husband.' Jesus said to her, 'You are right in saying, "I have no husband"; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.'" I love her response. She said, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet."
Do you see what he does? He just comes at her another angle, but he's not aggressive. The way Jesus talks to her… All he does is state reality back to her. "You're right when you say you don't have a husband, because you've had four, and the one you're with isn't your husband." He's being truthful without being judgmental. Chris Sherrod says there's compassion without compromise. We know she doesn't feel judged because she sticks around and talks to him. She continues to engage with him.
Some people equate aggressiveness with godliness. If you're one of those people that sharing your faith looks like bullying people and proving to them how you are right and they're wrong, don't be surprised when they just shut down. No one ever gets shamed, scared, or bullied into heaven. Heaven will not be filled with people scared of going to hell. Heaven will be filled with people who fell in love with Jesus.
So, I am begging you. If your personality tends to be aggressive or abrasive, beg God to awaken that tact gene that has been dormant for decades. Use tact. I'll just give you an example. I've been in conversation with someone before about spiritual things where they've looked at me and been like, "So, are you telling me I'm going to hell?" That's a loaded question. "Do you believe I'm going to hell?"
Here's how I would answer that. I would say, "Okay, well, let me explain it this way. If the Bible is true, then heaven is all about Jesus. One of the things that makes heaven heaven is being with Jesus. If you don't want to have anything to do with Jesus, I assure you you will not enjoy heaven. How unloving would it be for Jesus to force himself on you for all of eternity? He loves you too much to do that. So, let me encourage you to think about it this way.
If there is a God and he's perfect and heaven is perfect and you and I are imperfect, how do we reconcile imperfect people living in a perfect place with a perfect God? Wouldn't our imperfection in that perfect place make it imperfect? You can't reconcile it no matter how hard you try. The beauty of God's love for us is that he sent his Son Jesus, who was and is perfect, who lived a perfect life, who was punished on the cross for all of our imperfections, and he rose from the dead as a demonstration that he has defeated our imperfections.
When we put our faith in him, do you know what happens? All of his perfection is credited to our account, making a way for us imperfect people to spend eternity with a perfect God in a perfect place. That's how much he loves us. The question is…Will you allow yourself to be loved by God or not?" Do you see it? There's tact. There's intentionality. You're intentional but not aggressive.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.' The woman said to him, 'I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.' Jesus said to her, 'I who speak to you am he.'"
There's a lot we could explain in this passage right here. All I want you to see is this is the first time in the Gospels where Jesus self-identifies as the Messiah. He actually only does it twice, once here and once when he's on trial. John the Baptist asked him, "Are you the Christ?" and Jesus didn't even answer him, but to this Samaritan woman, he self-identifies as the Messiah.
Here's why that is so important. This woman has had four husbands, and the one she's with isn't her husband. What you need to know is rabbis regarded two or, at the most, three marriages as the maximum for a woman. Women could not divorce their husbands in Jewish law, so if they wanted a divorce, they would either have to approach the court and try to compel the husband to divorce her or the woman could pay the husband to divorce her.
So, this woman has probably, most likely, spent years in turmoil, moving from man to man, marriage to marriage, appearing in court after court, making deals with husband after husband to divorce her to the point where she is way beyond what is considered socially acceptable. So now she lives a life of shame and loneliness, avoiding contact with the rest of society, yet Jesus Christ, the Messiah, has to go through Samaria. Why? To dignify this woman and show her the Messiah can even receive her. Isn't that beautiful?
This is an overwhelmingly beautiful display of the grace of God. What is grace? It is unearned, undeserved favor. We, as followers of Jesus Christ, have the privilege and the joy of telling people they have not out-sinned the grace of God. My hope is God gives us opportunities to engage with people who will respond to the gospel and say, "Yeah, but I've lied. But I've cheated. But I've abandoned my spouse and my kids. I'm an alcoholic. I'm a drug addict. I've lived a homosexual lifestyle. I've had an abortion. I've taken someone's life."
We have the opportunity to say, "Yes, and the size of your sin reveals the size of our God, because not even you, not even me, has out-sinned the grace of God. That is how good he is." This is our privilege. This is our joy. So, if you want to tap into the joy of loving unbelievers like Christ, then communicate the sufficiency of God's grace for them.
What does she do? She leaves her physical water. That's what she came for. That's what she needed most in this moment, but she leaves it, because that's not what she needed most. She leaves and goes back to town with…what? Living water. She has been transformed by Christ, and now she goes and loves like Christ. She goes to the unbelievers in her town and shares Christ with them.
What happens is the town starts coming out to see Jesus. If you were to read the end of the story, you would see that revival begins to take place in Sychar. What I want to point out to you is what Jesus says to his disciples when this woman has gone back into town. Jesus has a really honest conversation with his friends, which I think is so important for us in this moment.
Verse 34, which I've already read to you: "Jesus said to them, 'My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 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.'" Do you hear what Jesus is saying to his friends, which we now hear today at Watermark Community Church?
He's saying, "Today is the day of salvation." God is working now. The Spirit of God is moving and transforming now. If statistics are true, tens of thousands of people will put their trust in Christ today. Do you want to be a part of it or not? Do you believe God wants to use you and can use you to share the gospel with someone who will put their trust in Christ? Live with urgency and expectancy.
I just want you to think about this. What if the Spirit of God has been working so powerfully in the lives of 20 people at your work that if someone were to share the gospel with them tomorrow, they'd put their trust in Jesus immediately because the Spirit of God has already been working, illuminating their minds, convicting their hearts, and regenerating their spirits? Live with urgency and expectancy.
Back at the end of November when Black Friday hit, I took advantage of the sales to buy a new TV. We'd had the same flat-screen for 16 years. I was like, "It's time," so I bought a new TV. I called a company that mounts TVs on the wall, and they sent this really nice guy out. I didn't turn the TV on before we mounted it. We took it out of the box, and this guy did a perfect job of mounting it on the wall.
While he is in my house and we're putting this TV up, the conversation turns spiritual, and we begin to talk about Jesus. I share the gospel with him. I share that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and that the wages of sin is death, yet God demonstrates his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, and that it's by grace we are saved through faith. It's not of ourselves. It's the gift of God so that no one may boast. I shared all of that with him.
It was new news to him. You could just see that he was hearing something he hadn't heard before. It was such an enjoyable conversation. I really enjoyed getting to meet him and get to know him. He left my house that evening. Well, last Sunday morning… Saturday night we had been watching a show. What I didn't tell you is that that TV… I turned it on and wasn't pleased with the quality, so I took it off the wall, took it back to the store, got a new TV, higher quality, brought it back, and put it on the wall.
Last Saturday night, we're watching a movie. It was working perfectly. Sunday morning I grab the remote, push the power button, and the TV won't turn on. We come home from church. I take the TV off, trying different outlets, trying everything. It won't work. It just straight-up stopped working. So I package it back up. Guys, I'm about to lose my ever-loving mind. I'm just telling you. It reached the point where my wife Kat was like, "Maybe you should just take a break and go and do something else for a little bit." It was that type of…
So, I package the TV back up. I take it back. If you're keeping count now, I got my third TV in a month and a half, came back, and I called this guy who had helped me before. He comes back. He puts the TV on the wall. The conversation turns spiritual again, and we have another conversation about Jesus. I'm sharing with him that there is nothing more important than Jesus. If you're here today (and I hope you are), I still believe in what I said, that there is nothing more important than Jesus, and my hope is you would put your trust in Jesus today.
As we talked, I felt like I could see in his eyes the Spirit of God beginning to awaken his mind and his heart to reality. Then I prayed for him, and he left. When he left, here's what Kat said to me: "That's why our TV broke. That's why it broke: so he would come here and you would share that with him." Do you know what I felt in that moment? Joy. I felt nourished. I felt what Jesus talked about. I felt nourished doing the will of God.
So, here's my commitment. I want more of that joy in 2023, and I want more of it for you as well. Let's tap into the joy that comes from loving unbelievers like Christ. We've been transformed by Christ to love like Christ. Here's how I want us to end our time today. I want us to end our time by simply praying, praying for the Spirit of God to move and praying for God to use us. I'm going to ask you to do something that might be uncomfortable, but I want to invite you to get on your knees. For all of the followers of Jesus in this place, for us to get on our knees and for us to beg God to move in and through us.
If that makes you feel uncomfortable… We're going to turn the lights off. You can just sit right where you are. I'm going to put two prayer prompts on the screen. They just give you the wording, they give you the verbiage, to pray to God. The first one is "God, may your Spirit move miraculously in the lives of…" That's just an opportunity for you to pray for people by name. Think of all of the people in your work, your home, and your neighborhood.
Ask the Spirit of God to move miraculously in the lives of the unbelievers who you know. Then the second one… You can read it. It's that prayer of surrender I mentioned earlier in my talk. May this be a moment where we, the people of Watermark, the people of God, sit in surrender to the Lord, asking God to do a great work in the lives of those who don't know him and to do that work in us and through us. So take a minute. This time is yours. Pray, and then I'll close us.
Lord Jesus, we do pray that we could see you do a miraculous work in the lives of our unbelieving family and friends. This week, Lord, I pray… Today, Lord, may it be the day of salvation for many of the people we know and have been praying for. Lord, hear our prayers for all of the names of people who were just prayed for in this room. God, I pray that your people, those who consider themselves followers of Jesus Christ… I pray for myself, Lord. Lord, may we go where you want us to go. May we do what you want us to do.
May we engage with those you want us to engage with. May we say what you want us to say. Would you provide the opportunities? Would you provide the courage? Would you provide the boldness, God? Would you provide the words? Would you have your way in us and through us? God, use us for your glory. May we experience the joy as soon as today and tomorrow. May we experience the joy that comes when we love unbelievers like Christ. We love you. In Jesus' name, amen.