Monday, August 21, 2023

Do You Take Jesus at His Word?

“Jesus replied, ‘You may go. Your son will live.’ The man took Jesus at His word and departed.” – John 4:50

Perhaps you’ve heard of the avid hiker who clung to a tree branch after slipping and falling off a mountain ridge. It was just a matter of time before he lost his grip and plummeted to his death. So, he cried out to the great Rescuer in the Sky: “Is anyone up there?”

To his surprise, a reply quickly came: “I am here. Do you believe in Me?” “Yes, I believe in You, Lord,” he replied. “But I can’t hang on much longer. Please help me!” To which God responded, “I will help you. If you believe in Me, there’s nothing to worry about. Let go of the branch. Just … let go of the branch.” After a brief pause the man shouted, “Is anyone ELSE up there?”

That man wasn’t very good at trusting God. But in John 4:46-53, we’re introduced to a man whose family was forever changed, because he took Jesus at His Word. 

In John 4:46, a certain royal official came to Jesus in the town of Cana and begged Jesus to heal his son, who was on his deathbed in nearby Capernaum. Evidently, the doctors could no longer help him, and the medications weren’t helping either. So, he came to Jesus in desperation, begging Jesus to travel back to Capernaum with him before it was too late.

The royal official’s faith in Jesus’ miracle-working ability was impressive but flawed in at least two ways. For starters, he believed that Jesus had to be physically present in Capernaum to heal his son. And secondly, he believed that if his son died, it would be too late for Jesus to heal him. Little did he know that Jesus’ healing power isn’t restricted by time or space.

But the royal official’s bigger faith problem is revealed as Jesus responds to his request in verse 48: “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.” At first, Jesus’ reply to the grieving father seems rather cold and uncompassionate. But the truth is: It was a call to saving faith.

You see, there’s a big difference between believing in Jesus as a miracle worker and believing in Jesus as your Savior and Lord. There will be plenty of people who will spend eternity separated from God who, during their lifetimes on earth, believed that Jesus performed miracles. But sadly, they didn’t believe in Him as Savior and Lord. They had MIRACLE-WORKING faith, but they didn’t have SAVING faith. And without saving faith, we remain hopelessly separated from God and self-condemned. So, Jesus’ response to the royal official is a call to the most important kind of faith—saving faith.

In verse 50, Jesus sends him on his way with these simple yet powerful words: “You may go. Your son will live.” And that’s ALL the assurance the worried father needed to hear. “The man took Jesus at His word and departed.” And within the next few verses we discover not only that the official’s son was healed at the exact moment Jesus had spoken the words “Your son will live”—but also that the man and his entire household believed in Jesus as Savior and Lord. The GOOD news is that the young boy’s life was extended here on earth. But the much BETTER news is that the entire family’s souls were saved for all eternity in heaven.

Scottish theologian William Barclay identifies several excellent character traits that the royal official demonstrates in this passage, character traits that you and I would be wise to emulate.

Character Trait #1: He swallowed his pride and came to Jesus humbly. It’s one thing to believe that Jesus can help you out of your mess. It’s another thing to swallow your pride, humble yourself before the Lord and actually ask Him to help—even when people around you think you’re crazy for trusting in Christ.

Character Trait #2: He refused to be dissuaded from bringing His great need to Christ. Do you hesitate to pray, read your Bible or talk about Jesus Christ in public? If so, you need to follow in the royal official’s footsteps and come to Jesus without concern for your precious ego or reputation. No one should be able to talk you out of trusting in Christ every day and making church a priority for you and your family every week. Never be dissuaded from crying out to Jesus—no matter where you are or who you’re with. Like the royal official, refuse to allow anything or anyone to discourage you from taking your needs to Him.

Character Trait #3: He had great faith in Jesus. He took Him at His Word. When Jesus makes a promise, it’s not a matter of it “may” be true. We are convinced that it “must” be true. Jesus said it. I believe it, and that settles it. In fact, if Jesus said it, it’s settled whether or not I believe it. So, I’d be a fool not to believe the 100% reliable and trustworthy Word of the Lord.

After a raging fire swept through his house one night, a young boy crawled out his bedroom window onto the roof. His father called to him from below, “Son, jump! I will catch you!” But the boy was petrified. He couldn’t see his dad. All he could see were flames and smoke. So, he called back, “Daddy! I’m scared! I can’t see you!” To which his father replied, “That’s okay, Son! I can see you, and that’s all that matters.” So, the boy took his father at his word and jumped safely into his arms. Jesus calls you and me to do the same—to take Him at His word and jump by faith.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for worship on Sunday at 8:30am or 10am at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestreaming on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit

Maybe He Can Change Your Life, Too

"The true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks."  John 4:24

Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia is widely regarded as one of the best mayors in American history. He effectively led New York City through the most difficult years of the Great Depression and World War II. Although LaGuardia had a short frame, he had a BIG personality, and he loved people of all ages. It wasn’t unusual for him to ride the New York City fire trucks or take entire orphanages to baseball games. And when the New York newspapers were on strike, he went on the radio and read the daily comics to the kids.

Well, one night in January 1935, Mayor LaGuardia showed up at the night court that served the poorest ward of the city. LaGuardia dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench himself. An old woman was brought before him, charged with stealing a loaf of bread. She told LaGuardia that her daughter was sick and that her son-in-law had deserted her and their two kids. The old woman said she stole the bread because her grandchildren were starving. But the shopkeeper from whom the bread was stolen refused to drop the charges, insisting that the woman had to be punished to teach a lesson to others in that bad neighborhood.

LaGuardia sighed, turned to the woman and said, "I've got to punish you. The law makes no exceptions: ten dollars or ten days in jail." But as he spoke, he reached into his own pocket and pulled out a $10 bill. Mayor LaGuardia said, "Here is the $10 fine, which I now remit; and furthermore, I am going to fine everyone in this courtroom 50 cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat. Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant.” 

The next day, New York City newspapers reported that $47.50 was turned over to the shocked grandmother who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed her starving grandchildren. Fifty cents of that amount was contributed by the embarrassed grocery store owner. The remaining 70 people in the courtroom not only coughed up 50 cents each; everyone in the room rose to give the mayor a standing ovation.

I’ll bet you agree that a grace like that DESERVES a standing ovation. And so does the amazing grace that Jesus showed to the Samaritan woman at the well.

As I discussed in last week’s column, the Samaritan woman had little or no social standing. She was a five-time divorcee who was sexually promiscuous. It’s pretty clear that she was a social outcast. Yet, in John 4:16-24, Jesus urged the woman to receive the spiritual truth He was offering her and to step into the grace of God. Jesus explained that true worship isn’t confined to a certain building in a certain place: “A time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem….The true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks” (vs. 21-24).

In this passage, Jesus highlights two differences between false worship and true worship:

Difference #1: False worship is a selective worship, but true worship transcends time, space and ritual (v21). Jews and Samaritans held different views regarding where God should be worshiped. The Jews claimed that God HAD to be worshiped in Jerusalem. But the Samaritans insisted that God HAD to be worshiped on Mt. Gerizim, there in Samaria, where the Samaritans had set up a temple of their own. Jesus, however, pointed out that true worship can’t be confined to a specific place—because GOD can’t be confined to a specific place. Is our God so small that He’s stuck inside a 30 x 30-foot room on top of the temple mount? No way! Our God is a BIG God. His glory not only fills the earth; His glory fills the heavens and the earth.

Difference #2: False worship is an ignorant worship, but true worship involves a personal knowledge of God and His Word (v. 22). The Samaritans had tossed out most of the Old Testament, leaving only the first five books. So they were largely ignorant of who God was. But God has given us several wonderful gifts to help us NOT be spiritually ignorant. First, He gave us His Word—but we have to read and listen to His Word and hide it in our hearts. The second gift God gave us is our brains. It’s wonderful when our emotions are engaged when we worship God, but true worship requires our minds to be engaged. The third gift God gave us is His Holy Spirit—our most faithful Teacher and personal Tutor, Who opens our minds and hearts to the truth of God’s Word.

When I think of the grace that Mayor LaGuardia showed the granny who stole the loaf of bread, I can’t help but wonder how that grace changed her life and the lives of her hungry grandkids. And when I think of the grace that Jesus showed the woman at the well, I can’t help but wonder how His grace changed HER life and the lives of those she shared that grace with.

At the end of the account of the woman at the well, she runs into town saying, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did” (v. 29). In a matter of minutes, she goes from simply having a little bit of intellectual knowledge about God to knowing God personally—because God in human flesh came to the well to have a one-on-one conversation with her. I believe that God has called you and me to do the same thing. Sometimes it's simply about telling someone, “Jesus Christ changed my life. Can I tell you what he did for me? Come with me to church on Sunday. Perhaps He can transform your life, too. Come and see a man who changed my life. Come and see!”

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for worship on Sunday at 8:30am or 10am at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestreaming on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit 

Monday, August 7, 2023

A Savior for Social Rejects

“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.” – John 4:10

It’s one of the best-known and loved moments in the Book of John: Jesus' conversation with the woman at the well. It's one thing for Jesus to SAY that God didn't send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save it; Jesus' exchange with the Samaritan woman PROVES it. 


The story is in chapter 4 of the Book of John. Traveling through Samaria, a weary Jesus was resting by the well of Jacob when a Samaritan woman came to draw water. When He asked her for a drink, she was surprised He had talked to her at all. Most Jews would have nothing to do with Samaritans, believing that the Samaritans’ bloodline and morals were corrupt. When she asked why He had spoken to her, He replied, “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” (v. 10).


In the conversation that followed, Jesus revealed what He already knew about the woman: that she had been divorced five times and now lived with a man who wasn’t her husband (vs 17-18). Eventually He even revealed to her that He was the Messiah (v. 26). When their conversation ended, the woman left her water jar and ran to tell her neighbors: “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did” (vs. 28-29). She left the well a changed person, ready to share Jesus with others.


Jesus’ discussion with the woman at the well is revolutionary for what He said—and for who He said it TO. He didn’t just have a shallow conversation in a public place with a Samaritan man. He had a deep, spiritual conversation in a public place with a Samaritan woman, at a time when many rabbis wouldn’t speak to ANY woman in public. And not only did Jesus have a public conversation with a Samaritan woman. He had a conversation with a notorious, scandalous Samaritan woman—a woman of very low moral character. Was the Samaritan woman unworthy of God’s mercy and grace? Yes. But so are you. The woman at the well was no less deserving of God’s mercy and grace than anyone else. And Jesus didn’t love her any less than anyone else. Jesus understands better than anyone that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).


As far as we know, the Samaritan woman never DID give Jesus that drink. Jesus was tired, hot and thirsty, but He put His own personal needs aside to extend compassion and mercy to this broken woman. And when His disciples returned and offered Him food, He said, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about” (v. 32). By ministering to the woman at the well, He was satisfied.


For this passage, I’ll draw some Life Lessons from three of my favorite Bible scholars and teachers:


Life Lesson #1: “There can be no conversion without conviction” (Warren Wiersbe). It’s been said that every good teacher must do three things: Teach, Model and Inspire. Here in John 4, we see Jesus doing all three. First, he TEACHES the woman some vital truths about what matters in eternity—not physical water, but the spiritual water of salvation. And throughout the conversation, Jesus MODELS this truth: Dear woman, you matter to God, and you also matter to Me. He didn’t just talk about God caring for her – He showed it. But the teaching and the modeling by themselves didn’t transform this woman. Jesus had to INSPIRE her to change. And He inspired her to change by calling attention to her sin. Jesus didn’t do this to shame her or condemn her. He did it to convict her so that she would confess her sin, turn from it and be saved.


Life Lesson #2: “There are two revelations in Christianity: the revelation of God and the revelation of ourselves. We never really see ourselves until we see ourselves in the presence of Christ; and then we are appalled at the sight” (William Barclay). After her encounter with Jesus, the woman at the well makes a complete 180-degree turn. When she first comes to the well, she’s by herself for a reason. She’s walking away from any social interactions. She’s walking AWAY from spiritual conversations. She knows she’s a sinner, because 100 different people have already told her so – and she DOESN’T want to talk about it. But by verse 28, she’s a changed woman. She’s no longer walking AWAY from her neighbors, she’s running to them. She’s not AVOIDING spiritual conversations, she’s INITIATING them. And most remarkable of all, she’s no longer denying her past sins. She’s admitting them—telling people, “This man told me everything I’ve ever done, and He has accepted me and forgiven me anyway!”


Life Lesson #3: “Notice that Christ asked the woman to receive Him and His gift without any prerequisite change in her life. After she believed, and because she believed, her way of living would be changed” (Charles Ryrie). In some churches, when someone wants to receive Christ as their Savior and Lord, they’re told: First, you have to start doing this. Or first, you have to stop doing that. The woman at the well had plenty of changes that she needed to make. But Jesus didn’t require her to change ALL her bad behaviors BEFORE she got saved. First, she needed to get saved. That was true for her, and it’s also true for you. If you’re waiting to get your life in order before becoming a Christian, you’re putting the cart before the horse. The Bible says that when you turn from your sin and become a baptized believer and follower of Jesus, God will give you the gift of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit specializes in helping us change our bad behaviors. So, the question is: Are you ready to stop making excuses and begin following Jesus today?


Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for worship on Sunday at 8:30am or 10am at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestreaming on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit