GREESNBORO — When Mark Harris preached during the recent
statewide evangelism conference he didn’t just talk about how God transforms
lives — he brought a picture of the real thing.
Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, told
the story of a Charlotte woman who got pregnant at age 18, suffered through a
marriage marked by domestic violence that ended in divorce, and ended up
leading the largest Internet-based prostitution ring in the country.
Sallie Saxon was eventually found guilty and charged with a
two-year prison sentence. Her husband was also found guilty and sentenced to 21
months in prison. Though she faced prison, Sallie knew she was already free.
She knew because one day, about a year before her sentencing, she prayed to
receive Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior.
Sallie, 60, is now involved in ministry through First Baptist
Church in Charlotte and in her community. She ministers to pregnant women in
need and is a supporter of 40 Days for Life.
Harris didn’t tell the audience that sitting among them that
night was Sallie Saxon. When he asked her and her husband to stand, they did so
as a reminder that God’s grace and mercy are enough to forgive sin, heal broken
hearts and forever change lives.
Harris’ message from John 4 told another story of redemption
and salvation. Harris described Jesus as a sensitive Savior who planned to go
through Samaria one day in order to meet a Samaritan woman who needed to know
about living water.
The Samaritan woman Jesus met that day came to the well
during a time when others would not be there. She did so because she was an
outcast, someone not looked kindly upon by others in the town. Jesus was tired
from His journey when He met the woman. Yet, “our Savior, no matter how tired
He got, never let anything stop Him from meeting a person in need,” Harris
said. “He was always seeking to minister.”
Harris challenged those in attendance to consider whether or
not they are willing to be devoted to ministering to those who need Jesus
Christ. When it comes to ministry, “there’s a price to be paid,” he said.
Whether time, resources or reputation, believers must be willing to give it all
for the sake of Christ.
“God expects that He can put people in your path so you can
share the gospel,” Harris said. “You’ve got to be sensitive.”
The woman could not understand why Jesus, a Jew, would talk
to a Samaritan, especially a Samaritan woman. Yet, Jesus overcame her national
and racial prejudices when He took time to minister. When Jesus told the woman
He could give her living water she was still thinking on a material level, as
she did not understand who was speaking to her. Jesus had to explain to her
that He is living water and that all those who trust in Him will never thirst
“People who try to quench their thirst with this world
always get thirsty again,” Harris said. “The wells of this world never satisfy.”
From prosperity to sexual gratification to filling the calendar with church
activities, nothing will satisfy like the love of Christ.
Harris said believers must never lose sight of the fact that
the greatest, deepest need of every person they meet is on the inside; they
need Christ. “The people in your community aren’t just bodies,” he said. “They
each have a soul. They will spend eternity somewhere. I fear tonight we’ve
Jesus always cuts to the heart of the matter, Harris said. Jesus
knew the Samaritan woman was living with a man who was not her husband. “He
loved her enough to confront her with the truth,” Harris said. “No one can ever
get a drink of living water until they face up to their sin.”
After her encounter with Jesus the Samaritan woman went and
told others about Him, and through her testimony many in her town believed and
worshipped Jesus. “Worship has never been nor will ever be about a place,”
Harris said. “It’s always been about the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
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