Today, I’m inviting my sweet husband, Tim, to be my guest blogger. He recently preached a sermon and wanted to share it with you here. I hope it speaks to your heart as it did mine.
This may be a little choppy as these were my sermon notes but I think that you will be able to follow it. I started with a verse or verses from John chapter 1 35-51. We will see the first converts to Jesus’ earthly ministry. John the Baptist had been paving the way for him, and now we see him exclaim that he is here and show us how to do the same.
Thanks for reading,
35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
The Lamb of God!”
What we can see in these first converts is that God put a system in place of entrusting this beautiful present called the gospel to ordinary men to spread. He could have used Gabriel and trumpets or donkeys and rocks, but instead he chose to use fallen people. Fallen people to tell the world that God sent his Son to be our Messiah just as the Old Testament had foretold thousands of years before. John was also never afraid of the gospel. He had already seen the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus, and he was ready to tell others that that Son of God he was talking about is now here.
John 1:37 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.
Heard Him! He didn’t whisper, “Behold the Lamb of God.” No! He said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” With an exclamation point! He exclaimed, and what became of his exclamation? John’s disciples heard and followed Jesus! Yes! John was not only the first to recognize Jesus as the Son of God, but he was also responsible for the first two followers of Jesus because of his exclamation. Exclaim the gospel!!!!
John 1:38 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”
They called him teacher because they recognized that they wanted to learn from him.
39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
So we see their journey with Christ getting deeper. They want to know Jesus on a more personal level.
John 1:40-41 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).
What was the first thing Andrew does when he is converted? He goes to tell someone else. He sat and learned from the great Teacher and he next thought was, “I’ve got to tell someone.” I can hear him now. “Where’s my brother. Simon!!! We’ve found him, we’ve found the Messiah,!! Simon!! Simon!! We’ve found the messiah!!” Just like John the Baptist, we see Andrew exclaiming the gospel. Jesus’ first two converts were won by exclamation. And now Simon is about to see how real this Messiah really is.
John 1:42 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
He then changed Simon’s name to Peter. How cool would it be for Jesus to change your name? Jesus looked at Simon and said, “You’re going to be so different. You’re are going to have a different name. Peter is now in the same ranks as Abraham, Jacob, and Paul. When we adopted James, the first thing we did was to give him a new special name, signifying that he is now a member of our family and not the same person that he used to be. Peter is now a member of the family of God. Now here is where Jesus teaches me to not be too dogmatic in this gospel message. He says ok I’m going to give you authority to spread my gospel but I’m still God.
John 1:43 43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him,“Follow me.” Jesus decided to go and decided to find Phillip.
So far we have seen two converts who have came to Christ based on another apostle’s testimony but here we see Jesus directly calling out to Phillip, “Follow me!”
44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
They were buddies from the same hometown -not a coincidence. Undoubtedly Phillip would have heard this gospel message from his buddies. So why did Jesus deliberately seek out Phillip instead of allowing those that he knew to tell him? I believe that it is to show his sovereignty and to keep us from being to puffed up in thinking that it is us who is doing the saving. We can’t save anyone, we can only exclaim the gospel. The miraculous transformation of a sinner’s soul is reserved by Jesus and him alone. So I believe that the Phillip calling is an exclaimition of Jesus’ power. But Phillip doesn’t drop the ball here and say we’ll Jesus called me so I guess that he will personally seek each and every sinner that he wants to convert. Phillip could have said like so many of us do, this salvation cruise ship is nice. I’m going to go up to the deck to tan. Wake me up when we get to heaven or when karaoke starts. No, he immediately goes to tell someone else. He grasps the concept that our journey is not on a cruise ship but instead it is on a coast guard ship in the middle of millions of drowning people, who don’t even know they are drowning and in need of saving.
45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
The first thing Phillip did was to run and tell Nathaniel, (exclaimation point) He exclaimed that the messiah that all these Old Testament prophets spoke us was here. The entire Old Testament suddenly made sense to Phillip now. He now sees that every Old Testament major character was a small picture of who was to come in Christ. In this case Moses was a type of Jesus because Jesus was going to lead his people out of the bondage of sin. Once you see that Jesus is in the entire Bible, you can’t unsee it. It’s everywhere.
John 1:46 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
We see here we see Nathaniel didn’t have a lot of faith. He said (paraphrased), “You mean this guy is from that hick town of Nazareth, That place? Yeah right.” He didn’t immediately grasp on to what Phillip said but Phillip was not dissuaded. He said come see. Now Phillip had just a small mustard seed of faith that was enough to get him off the couch and follow Phillip to Jesus and that little mustard seed is all Jesus needed.
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”
This is a wow momemt. Jesus immediately saw his faith and judged his heart and saw that his intentions were pure. Nathanael was not perfect in the sense that Jesus was perfect but Jesus could see through his rose blood covered glasses that Nathanael was there for salvation. When we get up off our couch and start walking toward Christ our sins are immediately washed away by Jesus.
48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him,“Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
At this point I can see Phillip, (who had just figured out and told Nathanial that the old testament prophets were talking about Jesus), get Really excited. I can see him about to bust like a contestant on family feud and say, “Oh, oh,, he’s talking about Jacob’s ladder. Jesus is Jacob’s ladder. Yes!!! Who can I tell next. This Jesus is amazing!!!”
Genesis 28:12 And he dreamed and behold, there was a ladder[a]set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the Lordstood above it[b] and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring.14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Another WOW moment comes when Jesus is relating himself back to the Old Testament. He says y’all remember that Jacob ladder dream that he had, well I am him. I am the link between heaven and earth and I am the one that was spoken of when God told Jacob that through his offspring the entire earth shall be blessed.. Just to put this into perspective, Jacob’s ladder was 2000 years before this point and time. That would be like the year 4015 from now and a story continuing for that long and really taking that long to be fully explained.
There is an ocean of drowning people around us that need to know that there is a Savior who can pull them out of the darkness and into the light. That before the foundation of man God had a plan. The Bible is not just a random collection of various authored books over thousands of years. It is a systematic explanation of our need for a Savior and our Savior’ s love for us. My prayer is that God would lay a person on your heart to share this message with.