Dr. E. Dale Locke
Sermon Series: Easy Street
Week 2: The Real Deal
1. Actor Jim Carey said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous, and do everything they ever dreamed of, so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
What does his statement tell you about the common beliefs people often have about what would make their life great?
2. Continue to memorize our theme verse for this sermon series:
John 10:10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
3. Jesus promised a full life, but sometimes – even as Christians – we don’t feel full; we feel empty. Why is that?
4. Pastor Dale shared that he had been encouraged this past week by what Paul wrote in Colossians 1:27: “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” // How can the truth of this verse help you through times of stress and struggle, when you begin to feel empty?
5. Read John 4:1-26:
Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John — 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
6. What questions or comments come to your mind when you read this passage?
7. Notice that the “living water” Jesus refers to in John 4:10 is another way to talk about the “full life” that he promised in John 10:10. Why do you think he used the expression “living water” in this situation? What does this add to your understanding of Jesus’ promise in John 10:10?
8. Rachel Cruze writes in her book, Love Your Life Not Theirs – “The Comparison/Keep Up With Everybody Game is real. Once when my husband Winston and I were saving for a few days’ vacation in Charleston – a place we had always wanted to go, I tripped onto the online pictures of someone I knew on their trip to Europe…and not just Europe, but Greece…and not just Greece, but the Greek Isles. The pictures showed it all – the unbelievable yacht, the perfect setting, and the most delicious-looking food I’d ever seen. And it wasn’t an isolated event, a few weeks later I was back at it again when I saw my friend’s remodeled kitchen, and another’s perfectly placed family pictures… It dawned on me that if we’re not careful – we will all fall prey to evaluating our current and normal life, with someone else’s highlight reel.”
Can you identify with what Rachel Cruze says here? If so, share from your own experience.
9. Many times a day, each of us chooses between image-management or authenticity. What happens when we choose image-management over authenticity?
10. When we choose authenticity, it does three things:
1) Authenticity Frees Ourselves
11. Why is it so freeing, when we are honest and real about who we are and what’s going on in our life?
12. If we let Jesus gently unmask what is broken, missing or confusing in our life, it frees us to move toward the “full life” that Jesus promised. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Many Christians are horrified when they discover a sinner among the righteous. So we would rather remain alone in our sin. Living alone. Living in hypocrisy. But the one who is alone in their sins is utterly alone.”
What did he mean by that last sentence?
2) Authenticity Frees Others
13. Note what Paul wrote in I Thessalonians 2:8: “…so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
In what ways does it free those around us, when we quit managing our image and instead are authentic about who we are and what’s going on in our life?
14. Read James 5:16: “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
James says that when we “confess our sins“, it helps us move toward healing. Why is that?
15. Author and Speaker, Brene Brown said: “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s a choice to show up and be real. It’s a choice to be honest, and to let our true selves be seen.” She also wrote: “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, it’s the birthplace of belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity. It is the source of hope, authenticity and accountability. If we want greater clarity of purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path we take to get there.”
What did she mean by that?
3) Authenticity Frees the Gospel
16. Look at John 4:39-41:
“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I ever did.’ 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.
42 They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.’”
How did this woman’s shift from image-management toward authenticity free the Gospel to have more effect on the people in her town?
17. Community of Hope’s 6th Core Value is: “In Christ, we are free to be ourselves.” What do we mean by that? How is this different from the atmosphere you might typically expect to find in a church?