Come and See

COME AND SEE                            John 1:35-51

Audio

 

Introduction

John 1:9-13 (CEB) The true light that shines on all people was coming into the world. The light was in the world, and the world came into being through the light,  but the world didn’t recognize the light. The light came to his own people,  and his own people didn’t welcome him. But those who did welcome him,  those who believed in his name, he authorized to become God’s children,  born not from blood nor from human desire or passion, but born from God. Jesus stepped into a world that both believed and disbelieved. But it’s not as easy as just those two options. WHAT we believe about Jesus is important.

Jami Amerine is the author of “Stolen Jesus an Unconventional Search for the Real Savior.” She identified ten false ideas about Jesus. Here are a few…

Mean Jesus – mean and angry, full of wrath and ranting about about how sin would destroy you.

Political Jesus – How would Jesus vote? Since there were no Democrats or Republicans in His day, we don’t know.

Genie in a Bottle Jesus – Your wish is not necessarily His command.

I’ll Teach You Jesus – How many of us believe in this works-based and punishment-loving Jesus? 

If/Then Jesus – If I do such and such, then Christ will do what I expect.

Will you pray this prayer with me? “Jesus, I said yes to you. I want only you. The real you. All of you. You promised that if I seek I will find. Help me seek the truth and keep my eyes wholly fixated on the true you. Amen.”

The first disciples were getting their first look at Jesus the Messiah. They had to overcome their own impressions of who he was… who they expected.

1. FOUR WHO SAW JESUS

A man who lived in his brother’s shadow

John 1:35-40 The next day John was standing again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus walking along he said, “Look! The Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard what he said, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he asked, “What are you looking for?” They said, “Rabbi (which is translated Teacher), where are you staying?” 39 He replied, “Come and see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40 One of the two disciples who heard what John said and followed Jesus was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter.

Two of John the baptist’s disciples follow Jesus. Andrew is one of them. The other? John? Andrew is always bringing someone to Jesus (6:8;12:22). This is his great example to us. We know much more about his brother.

An unpredictable and unreliable man

John 1:41-42 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Christ[c] ). 42 He led him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

Jesus took one look at Simon and gave him a new name. Simon is now Cephas (Rock). Peter appears as anything but a rock. He is impulsive, volatile, and unreliable. That is not God’s last word for Peter.

An indecisive man

John 1:43-44 The next day Jesus wanted to go into Galilee, and he found Philip. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Philip was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Peter.

Phillip is the only disciple said in this Gospel to have been called by Jesus. He seems out of his element, and perhaps was of limited ability. When faced with feeding 5000, his only thought is that even with a lot of money they could not feed the  multitude. When the Greeks came to him asking to see Jesus he did not know what to do and consulted with Andrew before bringing them to Jesus (12:21-22).  It was Philip in the upper room  asking to be shown the Father – and that is all we ask! (14:8-9)  Jesus went  out of his way to find this rather limited man and to enlist him in the apostolic band. He was a perfectly ordinary man.

Philip, Andrew and Peter were from Bethsaida. Not much is told us in the Gospels about the city. Jesus denounced it as one of the cities where he did most of his miracles (Mt 11:20-24; Lk 10:13).

A man who is initially skeptical

John 1:45-51 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law and the Prophets: Jesus, Joseph’s son, from Nazareth.” Nathanael responded, “Can anything from Nazareth be good?” Philip said, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said about him, “Here is a genuine Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” Nathanael asked him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are God’s Son. You are the king of Israel.” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these!  I assure you that you will see heaven open and God’s angels going up to heaven and down to earth on the Human One.”

Nothing is recorded of Nathanael other than this incident and his presence among the fishermen in 21:2. Some suggest that Nathanael is to be identified with Bartholomew, an apostle who is never mentioned by name in John, just as Nathanael is not mentioned by name in the Synoptics.  Jesus offered a high regard for him. Jesus salutes him as a straightforward person. Nathanael’s response:

“Rabbi” – which he did not use at first. 

“King of Israel” – Nathanael is speaking in the highest terms available to him. He has just been called an Israelite. He is acknowledging Jesus as his king.

2. WHAT DO WE SEE IN JESUS?

One who gives us a New Start (Lamb of God who takes away sins of the world)

One who gives us a new hope (New name)God can capitalize on our strengths (Peter) God finds every person valuable (Phillip).

One who gives us new mission. Keep reading the Gospels to be ‘marinated’ in the story of Jesus.

3. BRINGING OTHERS TO SEE JESUS

Andrew sets the tone for the rest of the Gospel story by going to get his brother to see Jesus. Jesus ends his mission by telling us to go out and tell everyone about Him.

How are we bringing others to see Him?

Living lives devoted to Jesus Christ.

Being a church devoted to Jesus Christ and His ways. Honor His presence, wear His name, Driven by His heart. 

Constantly entering into the lives of strangers to the Kingdom as representatives of Jesus.

Conclusion

This year begins with a focus on Jesus … seeing in Him one who gives us a new start, a new hope, and a new mission. Seeing Jesus must move us to bringing Jesus to the world…in our life, in our church, in our hearts.

Psalm 66:1-5 Shout joyfully to God, all the earth! Sing praises to the glory of God’s name!  Make glorious his praise! Say to God: “How awesome are your works! Because of your great strength, your enemies cringe before you. All the earth worships you, sings praises to you,  sings praises to your name!”  Come and see God’s deeds; his works for human beings are awesome…

LIFEGROUP QUESTIONS

1. When Jesus meets Simon he immediately gives him a new name. Did you have a nickname when you were younger? What was it Did it stick through the years? Did you like it?

2. The text today talks about four disciples, three of whom we know very little about. With which one do you identify most? Which one reminds you of you … and which one would you like to be more like?

Andrew – always introducing others to Jesus

Philip – always seems out of his element, unsure

Peter – loud and impulsive, not always dependable

Nathaniel – honest to a fault, cynical about Jesus’ hometown

3. Barclay wrote, “Of course, we have to know Christ ourselves before we can invite others to come to him. The true  evangelist must himself have met Christ first.” As we read about the first steps of faith in Christ these disciples experienced, who was mostly responsible for planting the seeds of faith in your heart?

4. “Come and See” is the refrain we see in this passage a few times. If you were going to invite your lost friend to see Jesus, what is it about Jesus you would like for them to see most?

5. John records more than a dozen names or descriptions of Jesus in this chapter. Scan through the chapter and pick out  one or two that we can use in our worship and prayers to Him – names that are meaningful to you.

6. The earliest disciples were witnesses of the identity of Christ. What are some ways you (either as individual or  group) can be a witness for Jesus in our community? What is one specific action you can take to demonstrate the love of Jesus to others who do not yet know him?

Next Sunday: John 2

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Resource:  Ten False Versions of Jesus

Voice in the Wilderness

A Voice in the Wilderness  John 1:19-34

Audio:

Introduction

On the last day of 2017 we should spend a little time looking back. What did we accomplish? What did we miss? What did we learn? It’s a season for making resolutions. What do you think is the most common new year’s resolution? According to one article:

1. Diet, Exercise, Lose Weight.

2. Read More

3. Learn something new (take up a new hobby)

4. Save Money

5. Be nicer, Kinder, more patient

6. Get a new job

7. Volunteer and donate more to charity

8. Drink less alcohol

9. Relax and get more sleep

10. Make new friends and be a better friend

The Good News: about 41% of Americans make new year’s resolutions. The Bad News: Only about 9.2 % of us will achieve our resolutions. Whether you set resolutions or not, it is important to have your life headed in a particular direction. If you aim at nothing, you’re sure to achieve it! Our text today is more about getting life focused in the right direction, rather than just how to have a better life. I’m convinced if our life is focused on Jesus we will have a better life!

1. Hear the Voice in the Wilderness! (John 1:19-28)

John 1:19-28 (CEB) This is John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?” John confessed (he didn’t deny but confessed), “I’m not the Christ.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” John said, “I’m not.” “Are you the prophet?” John answered, “No.” They asked, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John replied, “I am a voice crying out in the wilderness,  Make the Lord’s path straight, just as the prophet Isaiah said.” Those sent by the Pharisees asked, “Why do you baptize if you aren’t the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?”John answered, “I baptize with water. Someone greater stands among you, whom you don’t recognize.  He comes after me, but I’m not worthy to untie his sandal straps.” This encounter took place across the Jordan in Bethany where John was baptizing. 

John the Baptist didn’t seem to be a likely candidate to pave the way for the ministry of Christ to begin. He had a wild appearance! He had an offensive message! He lived a weird lifestyle! He broke out of the usual religious scenery! He had an unusual purpose: (John 1:23) But John was still a great man with a great message. With personal humility, John pointed away from his work and words to the One who was to come. 

John 3:30 “He must increase and I must decrease.”

The world needed the directive message of John the Baptist –just this time to introduce Jesus. We need a voice in the wilderness as well. Without a focus on Christ our life can be a wilderness.

Wilderness of Sin – around us and within us. Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.”

Wilderness of Divided Attention – so many voices calling out to us every day. Is the voice of God drowned out?

Wilderness of Disappointment  – with God, with other people, even with ourselves.  Many people give up.

Wilderness of Religious Disengagement. Less and less engaged with church and it kills our spiritual life.

Whatever your wilderness, hear the voice in the wilderness calling you to Christ.

2. Keep Your Eyes On Jesus (20-34)

John 1:29-30, 34  The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one about whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is really greater than me because he existed before me.’ …. I have seen and testified that this one is God’s Son.”

*He is the Lamb of God (29)

A common expression for us, but this is the only time in Scripture that the term “lamb of God” is used. Jesus is referred to as a Lamb. 

Sacrifice (Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and tormented, but didn’t open his mouth. Like a lamb being brought to slaughter, like a ewe silent before her shearers, he didn’t open his mouth.”)

Victor. Revelation 7:17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’  ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

*He is the Sin Remover (29b)

Taking away the sins of the world / my sin. The very thing that can keep us from what we want most in life is our own sin. In this new year we cannot continue to walk in sin and still believe that we are enjoying the best of what God had to offer.

Romans 6:23  The wages that sin pays are death, but God’s gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

*He is Able (30, 34), he is both Eternal (30) and the Son of God (34)

Whatever else has our attention today, we should turn our eyes to Jesus the eternal Savior.

Conclusion

Whatever other new year’s resolutions you might have, we can’t afford to leave off two: Hear the voice in the wilderness, and keep your eyes on Jesus. 

“Keep thine eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to Him; when thou liest down at night look to Him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail thee.” – Spurgeon

We are to follow Him. We are called to spend our days with Jesus … learning, imitating, growing. We are to share Him. (John 1:40-42). John the baptist pointed to Jesus. John’s disciples beheld him, followed him, and now are sharing him. As we share we remember that we are introducing the lost to Jesus … but not Jesus to the Lost…for He already knows their name.

Psalm 32:1-2 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.

LifeGroup Questions

1. We can all think of New Year’s Resolutions we haven’t kept, can you name one you have kept? Or one you intend to keep this year?

2. Who do you think is more like John the Baptist today, and why:

*A Yelling Street Preacher

*A Preacher in the Pulpit

*A Christian Serving the Poor

*A Disciple sharing faith with a lost person

3. John Calls Jesus the “Lamb of God” – a unique expression in all of Scripture, found only here. The reference is unclear, though there are several possibilities.

*The Passover Lamb – when children of Israel’s lives were spared in Egypt due to the blood of the lamb on the doorposts.

*The lamb led to the slaughter in Isaiah 53:7, the suffering servant prophecy.

*The lamb of the daily sacrifices offered morning and evening in the Temple.

*The Triumphant Lamb of apocalypse. (Revelation).

Any of those may be what John has in mind, but which one holds the most significant meaning to you?

4. Twice in John 1 Jesus is presented as being “unknown” (see vs. 10 and 26). In what ways was Jesus “unknown” in those two verses? What is it about Jesus that seems to be “unknown” today? Is there something ‘unknown’ about Jesus that you wish you knew?

5. Who has been a “John the Baptist” in your life – someone who has served as a spiritual guide and one willing to talk to you if they see something amiss?

6. Name one thing about Jesus you wish the whole world knew.

Resources

http://www.wcvb.com/article/top-ten-new-years-resolutions-of-2017/14501135

Five Discipleship Goals for 2018

 

Five Discipleship Goals for 2018

1. READ YOUR BIBLE DAILY. (1 Peter 2:2)

Read your Bible daily, if you would be strong

To witness for Jesus and overcome wrong;

“I’m busy” you say, as you lay it aside

But when you neglect it you’ll surely backslide.

2. KEEP LOOKING TO JESUS. (Colossians 3:17)

Keep looking to Jesus, He never can fail

And walk in His footsteps in every detail;

The world’s bright attractions will fade from sight

When you look to Jesus, your Savior and Light.

3. PRAY WITHOUT CEASING. (Luke 11:9)

Pray without ceasing, you can count on Him

Who cleanses and keeps you a victor o’er sin:

There’s nothing so great that our God cannot do,

And nothing so small that He won’t do for you.

4. CONFESS HIM TO OTHERS. (Matthew 10:32)

Confess Him to others, be bold for your King

To those who are living in darkness and sin;

What help can you better to all recommend,

Than this blessed Jesus – the needy one’s Friend?

5. DO SOMETHING FOR JESUS. (James 1:22)

Do something for Jesus, He did all for you,

Your Joy is complete when His will you do;

So seeking to please Him through each new day

His presence shall gladden each step of your way.

(Author Unknown)

Christmas Eve

You are invited to join us Christmas Eve morning at 10:30 for a time of worship in song, Scripture, and communion. If you do not currently have a church family we would love for you to visit with us. Forsythe Church of Christ prays for our community to have a peaceful and joyous Christmas season.

John Dobbs, Minister

Daniel Kirkendall, Associate Minister