The Gospel and the Outsider – Gospel in Life

The Gospel and the Outsider

Tim Keller |  October 3, 2010

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  • Sharing Your Faith
  • Salvation
John 4:1-26
RS 325-02


Our passage today is really about evangelism. The gospel writer shows Jesus evangelizing a woman, and then, when she figures out who he is, she runs off and evangelizes her friends. This is a wonderful picture of how evangelism works. Christians talk about their faith with others and then they invite others to embrace the faith for themselves.

Many modern people can be skeptical of this idea of evangelism. In a pluralistic society like ours, encouraging others to adopt your beliefs and convictions is not generally welcomed. However, evangelism for Christians, no matter what kind of society we’re in, is both reasonable and necessary. Let’s look at these four things in Jesus’ offer: 1) the freeness of his offer, 2) the greatness of his offer, 3) the process by which he makes the offer, 4) and the singleness of his offer.

John 4:7–26

When Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman and revealed himself as the Messiah, it underlined the importance of sharing the good news about Jesus. When the woman told others about Jesus, many people came to believe in him, showing us that sharing the gospel is both reasonable and necessary, even when people may doubt. This story teaches us about why and how we should share the gospel, and highlights the special and generous gift of salvation, freely given through Jesus.

1. The free gift of salvation

Despite the societal rules of the time that said Jews and Samaritans, or men and women, shouldn’t talk to each other, Jesus broke these rules by talking with a Samaritan woman. This surprised and delighted the woman, and showed us that salvation is a gift of grace, not something we earn by being religious. Jesus’ actions show love and humility, challenging societal norms and the idea of being religiously superior.

2. The incredible gift of salvation

Jesus compares his gift of salvation to living water, underlining how much our souls need the spiritual fulfillment only he can give. Chasing after things like sex, romance, money, or power doesn’t satisfy our spiritual hunger. Only Jesus can do that, promising not just satisfaction, but a life-changing experience leading to eternal life. Because Jesus’ offer is so amazing, it makes sense for us to share this ‘living water’ with others.

3. How to share the gift of salvation

Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman shows us that sharing the gospel is deeply personal and relational. He uses the idea of “living water” to help her realize she’s been looking for fulfillment in the wrong places. This story reminds us that only Jesus can give us salvation, and that dismissing Christianity without fully understanding it is not intellectually honest. It encourages us as Christians to boldly say that only Jesus can save us.

4. The one and only gift of salvation

Jesus, by sacrificing himself, eliminates the need for temples, priests, and sacrifices. His selfless act of dying on the cross bridges the distance between God’s holiness and our sinfulness. Because of his sacrifice, he can offer the water of life to anyone, no matter what they’ve done in the past. All they have to do is believe in him. The Samaritan woman’s story, even though she had a difficult past, emphasizes this truth and encourages us to share this message of salvation with everyone.



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