Summary: # 4 in series - A Study of the Book of John -“That You May Believe.” Three things about following Jesus from the text.
A Study of the Book of John
“That You May Believe”
Sermon # 4
“The Requirements of Following Jesus!”
When it comes to sharing our faith, two things are true of us. First, we all desire to see our friends and loved ones come to know Jesus. The second is that we all feel somewhat at a loss about going about doing anything to see that happen. Bill Bright the late founder of Campus Crusade for Christ has said, “Millions of surveys which we have helped to take around the world indicate that approximately 98 percent of the Christians do not regularly introduce others to the Savior.” – [Bill Bright, president of Campus Crusade for Christ, quoted in Why Christians Sin, J. K. Johnston, Discovery House, 1992, p. 140. 9 www. bible.org/illus./witnessing- evangelism)]
When it comes to personal evangelism our biggest hurdle is fear. Fear that I might do more harm than good. Fear that I will not know what to say. Fear that I may invade someone’s privacy.” But perhaps the greatest fear, is the fear that I may fail.
Yet when we are faithful to share Jesus with others, He is responsible for the results. “You may or may not be aware of the story Edward Kimball, a Sunday school teacher. He had a young man in his class who was concern about and he determined in his heart to talk to him about Jesus. But just the thought of talking to this rather crude young man left him trembling in his boots. But he set out one afternoon to the shoe store where he worked. He was a timid and soft-spoken man the opposite of what you think of when you think of a bold evangelist. He went into the shop frightened and unsure whether he even had the courage to confront his young man with the gospel. When Kimball recalled this incident years later said, “I never could remember just what I said: something about Christ and his love and that was all.” He said that it was decidedly a “weak appeal.” But this young man gave his life to Jesus. This young man’s name was D. L. Moody, and he became a best known evangelist of his generation.”
There is another type of evangelism that I want to mention, some call it invitational evangelism. Any one can do this! Statistics tells us that, “70% to 90% of persons who join any church in America come through the influence of a friend, relative or acquaintance. No amount of theological expression from the pulpit can overcome a lack of invitational expression from the pew.” [Herb Miller. How To Build A Magnetic Church. (Nashville: Abington Press, 1987) p. 32 ]
We have a wonderful opportunity to invite our friends, neighbors and co-workers to church. September 10 is our Old Fashioned Sunday. This is perhaps the most non threatening service of the year. You can invite them to come with you to hear the old-fashion singing and enjoy some of Bro. Duane’s fabulous BBQ. In the process they will also hear the old-fashioned gospel. Our goal for the day is 500. I believe this is an easily attainable goal. If each of us invites someone to join us for the service could easily far exceed our goal. Will you pray about who God would have you to invite.
This morning I want to share three things about following Jesus from our text.
First, Following Jesus Required Honest Reflection (vv. 35-38)
Previously in our study of John’s gospel we learned that Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the World. Andrew’s personal encounter with Jesus took place the day after John had announced that Jesus was the “Lamb of God.” (John 1:29).
In verse thirty-five we read, “Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. (36) And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!" (37) The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. (38) Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi" (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where are You staying?"
It is almost as if John the Baptist is presenting his disciples to Jesus and saying to them, “You are prepared. Now go. He is the One we have been waiting for.” What they heard must have struck a responsive chord, for immediately they followed Jesus. Andrew and his companion (who was probably John) were not satisfied hearing about Jesus they wanted a direct personal relationship with Him. They evidently were to shy to approach Jesus directly but followed Him at a distance. They may have been drawn initial to some extent by curiosity, but whatever it was, they must have been drawn on immediately by the question Jesus asked of them. When he saw them following him he turned and said to them, "What do you seek?" Those are the first words of Jesus in the Gospel of John and they are very remarkable. They are also the very first words Jesus uttered in his public ministry; and they come in the form of a question. These four words go right to the heart of life. In them Jesus asks the most profound question in anyone’s life: "What are you looking for?"