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Third Sunday in Lent: Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-11; John 4:5-42

Called to serve the Lord, we begin with worship, praying and listening to His Word.
Worldly people create problems (Exodus 17:3). Moses asks, ‘What shall I do...?’ (Exodus 17:4). Indecision asks, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’ (Exodus 17:7). He gives victory (Exodus 17:8-9, 13). Joshua is being equipped for special service - ‘in the ears of Joshua’ (Exodus 17:14). God’s great concern is that His people move forward together. The work is not to be left to the few (18:18). God is looking to faithful servants who will ‘bear the burden’ together (18:21-22). There is much to be done, but we must never forget this: ‘prayer and the ministry of the Word’ (Acts 6:1-4). You may not be a Moses or a Joshua, but you can play your part. We rejoice in who God is and what He has done for us. Assured of His presence with us, let us worship Him: ‘Blessed be the Lord...’ (18:10-11).

We are to worship the Lord with joyful thanksgiving.
‘Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord... Let us come before Him with thanksgiving... Come, let us bow down in worship...’ (Psalm 95:1-2, 6). We are to worship the Lord with joyful thanksgiving. We rejoice in the Lord. We give thanks for His love. He is ‘the great God’. He is ‘our God’. He is the God of creation - ‘In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land’. He is the God of salvation - ‘We are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care’ (Psalm 95:3-5, 7). If we are to learn to worship the Lord with joyful thanksgiving, we must open our hearts to Him: ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts’ (Psalm 95:7-8). When we hear the call to worship, we must open our hearts to the Spirit of worship.

In our worship, we are being prepared for God’s heavenly and eternal glory.
God has great things in store for His people! (a) ‘Much more’ (Romans 5:9-10): ‘Justified by Christ’s blood’, ‘reconciled to God’, ‘We shall be saved by Christ from the wrath of God’, ‘saved by His life’. (b) ‘Much more’ (Romans 5:15, 17): ‘The grace of God’ has ‘abounded for many’. In Christ, we have ‘received the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness’. Through Him, we shall ‘reign in life’. (c) ‘More than that’ (Romans 5:3): Our pathway to eternal glory will not be easy. There will be ‘suffering’. God has given us a glimpse of our eternal destiny: ‘grace reigning through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Romans 5:21). ‘We rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God’ (Romans 5:2). Having caught sight of the heavenly and eternal glory, we see our ‘suffering’ in a new light, the light of ‘God’s love’ (Romans 5:3-5).

In our worship, we are equipped for sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Here, we see Jesus’ ministry of love. He brings the Samaritan woman out of her bondage to sin and into the joy of His salvation. Jesus comes to the woman in love. His love overcomes cultural divisions. His love breaks down cultural barriers (John 4:9). This is not simply the story of one woman. It is the story of ‘many Samaritans’ coming to faith in Christ (John 4:39). There are two ‘stages’ in their coming to faith. First, they ’believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony’ (John 4:39). Second, ‘they believed because of His Word’ (John 4:41). The Samaritans came to trust Jesus as ‘the Saviour of the world’ (John 4:42). The woman said that ‘salvation is of the Jews’ (John 4:22). It is also ‘to the Greek’ (Romans 1:16). The Gospel is for all. Pray that the human word will be empowered by the divine Word (1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2:13).

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