Summary: 5th sermon in a John series
Come and See: Principles for Evangelism
It is perhaps the Christian’s greatest fear. What is it? personal evangelism, sharing one’s faith with another person. After all, I may not know what to say. They might ask me a question I cannot answer. I might fail. I am not gifted in evangelism. That’s the pastor’s job, isn’t it? I am afraid.
Indeed, witnessing is one of the most neglected commands in all of Scripture. While Bible reading and prayer are also disregarded by the average Christian, I dare to say that witnessing has to be the least practiced of the Christian disciplines. When we consider the fact that Jesus’ final words to the church were a challenge to spread the gospel to all the world, it seems ironic that most Christians have never personally led another individual to Christ or shared their faith with an unbeliever.
You say, “Pastor Devin, I am afraid. I cannot think well on my feet.” You know what? There is not a Christian witness alive who has not felt the same fear at one time or another. We all have feelings of anxiety when we share the gospel with an unbeliever. So, fear is no real excuse.
You say, “Pastor Devin, I do not know what to say. I am afraid they will ask me a question I cannot answer. What do I say to someone?” We learn in today’s sermon a very basic method of evangelism. It is perhaps the simplest of all witnessing tools. I call it the “come and see” method of personal evangelism. What is it? Before we get into the principles themselves, let’s examine our text together.
When we left off in John’s Gospel, we had been introduced to the Gospel’s first witness of who Jesus is. We heard the testimony of John the Baptist, and we learned that Jesus is: the Lamb of God; the Pre-existent One; the One who baptizes with fire; and the Son of God (anointed by God). We also found out that the Baptizer defined his role as that of a forerunner. He was one called to prepare the way for Jesus. He was a voice of preparation.
Today, we discover that John the Baptist displays the ultimate aim of the proper witness when he directs his own followers to Jesus. There is a transfer in the text from John to Jesus. John simply wants others to see Jesus, not him. Look at this first section (35-37).
For the second time, the apostle uses the phrase the “next day” to specify that these events took place in a 3-day cycle. On the first day (v.29), John identified Jesus amidst the crowd. This time, on the second day, the Baptist is with two of his disciples, yet his purpose remains the same—he wants to point people to Jesus (even his own followers).
This section, which extends to the end of the chapter, displays what could be labeled “intimate evangelism”—pointing those closest to you to Jesus. And that is exactly what John does. He points his own followers to Jesus. “That is Him, the Lamb of God.”
In v. 37, we observe this transfer take place when the text states: “and they followed Jesus.” John accomplished his goal. He got his followers to follow Jesus. The word follow in John’s gospel is a word used for discipleship. It means a willingness to forsake all and follow Christ only. It involves the idea of surrender. And here, John’s two disciples, Andrew and ? (possibly John), follow Jesus.