Summary: In our text there's only one follower of Jesus, but he finds someone who found someone, and they each brought someone to Jesus, who in turn did the same. Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.
Bringing People to Jesus
Our missionaries in NYC are seeing some great ministry right now, reaching out to those suffering in their area from the storm damage. People are guarding their possessions in their driveways. Looters have been stealing anything they can. They even broke into a local police precinct and of all things, they stole all their toilets. Police said they don't expect to find the looters because they 'have nothing to go on.'
In our text there's only one follower of Jesus, but he finds someone who found someone, and they each brought someone to Jesus, who in turn did the same. [read text]
Each and every believer is different, and the way they came to Jesus is unique from how another was reached. But all have these fundamental things in common.
1. I have violated God's standard of perfection. I am a sinner. Rom. 3:23 "I'm not a BAD sinner." The Bible says nothing about degrees of sin. One sin disqualifies us all from heaven.
2. I deserve spiritual death in hell. Rom. 6:23 Sin must be paid for. Justice must be done. God's perfection and holiness demand justice.
3. I cannot save myself. No amount of good works can undo my sin. There is no compensation I can make for my sin. There is no scale measuring good deeds vs. bad deeds...and if there were, the Bible says our good deeds are empty and hollow and yet the gravity of our bad deeds would tip the scale hard!
ill.--imagine you are guilty of a crime and stand before a judge for sentencing. You begin to say, "You have no idea how many good things I have done." He will say, "That has nothing to do with your crime. I'm glad to hear you are otherwise a good person. Maybe we can arrange to get you a certificate to hang on the wall in your jail cell." And any certificates that people could take to hell with them would burn up...they are just fig leaves with which they tried to cover the nakedness of their true shame.
Mankind today continues to try to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. We don't need a boost from beneath, but a birth from above!
4. Only Jesus can save me. He's not just one way to heaven...He's the only way. You go God's way or you don't go at all!
"Come on Pastor, are you really saying that a Buddhist without Christ can't go to heaven? Muslim w/out Christ / Hindu / tribesman with a bone thru his nose?" Yes, and I'll take it a step further. A Baptist without Christ can't go to heaven either!
You may have your name on the church membership list, but if you are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life you aren't saved! You may have gone thru some religious ritual, but if you don't have a relationship w/ Jesus Christ you aren't saved!
5. I must turn to Jesus for salvation.
All conversions have these things in common. But the circumstances which lead up to our conversion is unique. 5 different people come to Jesus in our passage.
How People Come to Jesus:
1. Personally and individually.
John the Baptist has two followers by v. 35. Andrew, and John, the writer of this gospel. He never calls himself John, but 'the other disciple' or 'the disciple whom Jesus loved.' As they walked, Jesus walked by, and v. 36-37 shows what happened. They left John the Baptist and followed Jesus, and immediately began seeking out others! Andrew found his brother Peter. Jesus found Philip, and Philip found Nathanael. Suddenly we have 5 following Jesus. Each made a personal, individual decision. We would like to see people saved in masses in a coliseum or over a TV broadcast, but actually people come to Jesus one at a time, as each one is reached by one. It's truly the Bible way! Raise your hand if you were reached by the personal efforts of one.
Now you may have been saved at the same time as others, but not because you were following them, but because you made an individual, personal decision of your own. Being in a Christian household doesn't make YOU a Christian. Being in a Christian nation doesn't make you a Christian. Being in a church doesn't make you a Christian.
Billy Sunday: "A cat may have kittens in an oven but that don't make 'em biscuits."
"Well, I've ALWAYS been a Christian." No! You must at some point follow the formula above. When did you realize you were a sinner, and that your sins had to be paid for, and that Jesus paid for them, and you must receive Him and His gift of eternal life.