Summary: Living with the Lamb enables us to lead others to the Lamb. Spending time with Jesus makes it so that our hearts burn with desire to lead others to Him. And so all true ministry is born out of people simply getting into the presence of Christ and by being
Lead Others to the Lamb: John 1:40-42
Please turn with me in your Bibles to John chapter 1. Two weeks ago our message was to “Look at the Lamb”, last week it was “Live with the Lamb” and today it is called “Lead others to the Lamb.” Next week is the last in this series and it is called “Life Transformed by the Lamb.” All of this comes from John chapter 1 starting with verse 29 and going through verse 42.
I want to begin this morning by asking us to think about an answer to this question: what is the main ingredient to having an effective ministry? What is the main thing in a ministry that is being used by God; that is, where people are repenting of sin, turning to the Lord, where people are beginning to love their Bibles and to love each other. In other words, what is the main thing that makes a ministry fruitful? Or let me make the question a little more personal, and ask it this way: what would make you and I effective in leading other people to Jesus Christ? How can we lead others to Jesus and have them actually follow Him?
May I suggest to you that the answer is somewhat simple? You see, the greatest ministries ever, the most effective evangelists ever are simply people who spend time with Jesus. They are those who get in His presence and experience His forgiveness and discover His power. And out of the overflow of simply being with Jesus, spending time with Him, learning of Him, fellowshipping with Him, ministry is born, people are led to Christ, and lives are changed for the kingdom of God.
Last week we saw from John chapter 1 that two disciples of John the Baptist began following Jesus, and that they wanted to spend time with the Lamb of God. They wanted to find out where he was staying, and they followed Him and the Bible says, “they spent the day with Him.” But what happened immediately after they spent the day with Him? Let’s look and see:
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?" They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?" 39 "Come," he replied, "and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter). John 1:35-42 (NIV)
Well I love to read the biographies of great Christians, people whom God really used, people like Charles Spurgeon who turned all of England upside down with his preaching, or George Mueller who raised up Christian orphanages and cared for hundreds of children without ever asking anyone for money, or Amy Carmichael who rescued numerous little girls from prostitution in India and became famous throughout the world for her love of Jesus and her ministry to His people. And as I’m reading, I ask myself, “what makes these people so fruitful in their ministry?” Is it possible to boil their lives down to a main ingredient as to how they are used so greatly of God?
Well I think I’ve read enough of these biographies that I’ve seen a common thread running throughout most of them. This common theme, the thing which makes these people so fruitful in their ministries, so effective in their service, is simply this: they live with the Lamb. Day by day, moment by moment, they are in the presence of Jesus. Whether they are alone or ministering to hundreds, they are seeking God’s presence. Whether they are healthy or on their sick beds, they are cultivating the presence and power of God. They are simply people who make it their business to be with Jesus. And He gives them their ministry, and He enables them to be useful in it. And this is the pattern of fruitful ministry all through the ages: people spend time with Jesus, He gives them a ministry, and makes them fruitful in it.
Let me read to you what Charles Spurgeon says about his ministry. Remember, God used this man to change the world. He says this: “People ask me what the key is to effective ministry, and I usually shock them when I tell them I do not know. What I do know is that I love to be with Jesus, that ‘better is one day in His courts than a thousand elsewhere”, and it seems to me that the more I am with Jesus the more effective is my ministry.”