Summary: Let's see what Jesus' interaction with Nathaniel (in whom is no guile/deception) teaches us about being authentic in our faith and in our world.
INTRO: 1. ILL. A young boy at the beach in his swimming trunks walks up to a lady sitting in the shade of an umbrella and asked her. “Do you believe in God?” Kind of taken by surprise she responded “Yes” “Are you a christian?” She responded “Why, Yes.” “Do you go to church every Sunday?” “Yes I do.” “Do you read your bible and pray every day?” She confidently responded “Yes, I do.” With that the little boy smiled smugly and held out a shiny quarter and asked “Will you watch my quarter while I play?”
a. Like this little boy, the world will never trust us with their souls until they are convinced that we are genuine Christians?
2. There are five things that the world doesn’t need any more of.
a. Christians who pretend to be something their not.
b. Christians who live to please each other.
c. Christians who are plastic, pretentious and insincere.
d. Christians who live carelessly. (flippant about their faith)
e. Christians who cut themselves off from the ‘real’ world.
3. But I’ve got good news for you today. We can be the real deal… our faith can be genuine without us being pious, pretentious and condescending.
4. Jesus was impressed with this man Nathaniel because he found a man who was ‘real.’
Vs. 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
a. “Behold an Israelite indeed” in other words what the Pharisees could only profess to be, Nathaniel was demonstrating as a reality in his life.
b. “In whom is no guile” guile is translated as deceit, fakery, subtlety, or facade.
c. Nathaniel was true, lived righteously with nothing to hide.
d. Jesus himself testified to the genuineness of this man’s character.
e. I want Jesus to stamp my life as ‘genuine.’
5. Nathaniel’s response was predictable… “When knowest thou me?” or How do you know me, from where do you know me?
a. Jesus let him know that when nobody saw him, he was seeing him.
b. His testimony about Nathaniel bears witness to the fact that Jesus not only saw him, but saw in him.
c. Jesus sees beyond what others see.
d. Jesus see us as we really are.
c. Jesus sees beyond the masks that we present to others.
6. There are two dangers in living behind masks.
a. You might start believing them.
b. Others might start believing them.
7. But notice if you will the instant promise made to this ‘real’ disciple called Nathaniel.
Vs. 50, 51 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
a. It appears that being ‘real’ removes the hindrances in our life to see great things happen in our lives.
b. As we can see throughout the word, Jesus has to first bring us to a point of self-honesty before he can give us what he so desires to give us.
I. GET REAL WITH JESUS
a. The revelation that Jesus made that he had seen Nathaniel under the Olive tree was far more than merely that he had seen him in a specific location.
b. Olive trees in gardens was a favorite place for many to retire to pray and meditate.
c. While the Pharisees where ‘performing’ their prayers in the streets to be seen, this man of God was finding himself a private place to get alone with God.
d. Jesus was in fact saying “I knew you in your prayer closet, in that intimate private place where you come to talk with me.”
e. Nathaniel could get real with Jesus because he had been doing it for years.
f. Genuine prayer will remove the masks that stand between a real faith and a mask of religiosity.
A. MASKS HINDER INTIMACY WITH HIM
1. You, like Nathaniel, can feel right at home with Jesus… because he already knows you better than any friend ever has.
2. Yet, for many of us, we are living a guarded life even with Jesus.
3. It’s time to give up the sanctimonious lingo, the Sunday morning religiosity and get real with Jesus.
4. The insecure often hide behind masks because they don’t like what they see, and are afraid to let anyone else in.
5. Intimacy is revealing who we really are… face fear of rejection, vulnerability.
6. But O, the release when we realize that the one who knows us best, loves us most.
B. THE MASKS WHERE JESUS’ FIRST TARGET