There are certain views and prejudices which stand between many people and a full knowledge of Jesus Christ and a true joy of salvation. Certain views and prejudices create fixed ideas and limits which make it impossible to obtain this knowledge and joy. For some people everything must fit into these limits or else be left outside. This charge is frequently brought against religious people. Religious people are frequently charged with being narrow-minded and having a fixed outlook and nonflexible.
Examples of this charge include:
1. A man who claims his religion is the only true religion.
2. A man who claims he has full revelation and unless you agree with and accept all his doctrines you are wrong.
1. A man who says all forms of religion are wrong.
For the non-religious, religion is only meant to apply to a certain type of person. Many non-religious people recognize religion as something that does some type of people good. They feel it is all right for some, but they don’t feel they are the type. They say religion is not appealing to them, but fail to realize this is true because they have not given religion a chance. Their outlook is cramped and confined and their view of the Truth is that it is something which can be fitted into their mind, instead of something their mind needs to absorb and be fitted to. These narrow-minded views result in not understanding the mysteries of life and the things which make life worth living. These narrow-minded views result in the inability to find true fellowship with one another.
The view Christ came to teach:
Christ taught that we are the same and there are no barriers. He came to banish and break down divisions whether religious or non-religious. He came to proclaim that all men and women are one in nature and have one great need, a true knowledge of God. Christ constantly referred to God as Father in order to stress this. The first move on the road to being a Christian is to stop being a social, moral, or intellectual snob. The way to obtain salvation is to realize the need for it and to seek it. This is the theme of the New Testament: the humble find salvation, but the proud and arrogant ever remain on the outside. The people who consider themselves in a special and particular position never find happiness, for God does not legislate for special cases, but for mankind. He provided a Savior for the world in His Son. It is therefore our own responsibility if we consider ourselves to such exceptional people that a world-Savior does not include us.
The story of Jesus speaking to the Samaritans recorded in John 4:41,42 illustrates these truths and the working out of this idea. “And many more believed because of his own word; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard [him] ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world”. This story reveals the power of God and the Gospel. However, there is a casual element in the story. It shows us the great possibilities that are in life for all of us if we just take advantage of them. Nothing could be quite as casual as the chance meeting of Jesus and this woman. They just happened to meet and talk about a drink of water. From their conversation came the salvation of the woman and a large number of people from her town. This is the very essence of the Gospel; that there are infinite possibilities which are present in the most unlikely circumstances. That is how the Gospel is spread.
Think of the woman going out of town to the well. She was a burdened sinner who returned a redeemed soul. Life under the guidance of God is full of this kind of situations. You never know when God is going to appear or when the Holy Spirit is going to descend. You never know when Christ is going to deal with you and remove your burden and give your soul release. That is why every Christian must be optimistic. Just when you are about to convince yourself that your struggle is all in vain and your fighting is useless – just then, when least expected, you are rewarded with victory. Thousands of times this has happened and it is the belief of the Christian, who believes in the unity of the human race and who regards all men and women as being equal. It is his belief that what has happened once can always happen again – that if one man has been saved, all men can be saved. He who doesn’t expect, doesn’t receive.
Consider all this in the light of the Samaritans and you will see how an honest, open, unprejudiced mind is rewarded. The Samaritan men were in the city following their occupations, not thinking of anything in particular. Suddenly the woman appears and shouts, “Come see a man which told me all things that I ever did. Is this not the Christ?” The Samaritans knew the woman well. They were aware of her notorious character. She was living with her sixth husband or at least one who passed as her husband. She was one of those unfortunate people who had gone down and down, who had broken every moral law and desecrated every thing that is required as sacred. Her life was in a hopeless mess, but at that moment she was a messenger of the Gospel. She was the one who called upon the people of Samaria to come out of the city to see Christ. There is enough Gospel in that fact alone to save the whole world if we could but see it.
Consider the reaction of the men. They are asking, “what is this woman talking about? What is this hysterical outburst?” Thank goodness she found someone who can frighten her and bring her to her senses. We can easily add, “religion is quite useful in slums and pagan countries; such people need something to change them.” The messengers of Christ are strange people. They are sometimes the last you would expect: ex-convicts, ex-drunkards, ex-everything immoral. Would you be prepared to listen to them?
Consider the woman’s message. If the messenger seemed strange, the message was even more so. She said, “Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did.” Not a man who told her all her good points, nor praised her. He was a man who told her of her faults and her sins. He revealed all her past with all it’s horror. In other words her message was, “Come see a man who told me the truth.” She had met a man whose religion was personal, one who stated honest bare facts. This is the very secret of the Gospel. It understands human nature. We are usually prepared to listen to a man who is serious and earnest. Jesus’ message may lash out and hurt us at times; nevertheless, His message shows that He is out to help us. Jesus exposes our sins and weaknesses, but He does not stop at that. Why was this woman shouting about this? Not because He had exposed her sins, but because He had removed them.
The result of the woman’s message was that what happened to her happened to those whom she spoke to. Their lives were changed. They knew their sins had been forgiven. They became filled with this joy and they turned to the woman and said, “now we believe, not because of thy saying, for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, Savior of the world.
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