I’ve been saying for months, and Andrew emphasized it last Sunday. This moment, this season, in the history of the church is a time for the church to make great strides in kingdom building. Because if church history teaches us anything, it is when the culture is darkest that the light of Christ shines brightest. This has been proven repeatedly. Cultural implosions are often opportunities for gospel explosions. Whether chronicled in Scripture and the expansion of the gospel during the political and cultural upheaval of the 1st century A. D. Or the Reformation.
And the persecuted church around the world today. Periods of cultural instability are often the best time for God’s people to bring the gospel to the hurting. I don’t know if you’ve noticed…you’re living in destabilized times. Let’s leave politics aside. What our nation and the world went through last year and continues to experience is divisive, depressing, dehumanizing, and degrading.
- Evidenced in the rise of suicides among young people
- Return to alcohol and drug use by recovering addicts
- Increases in instances of domestic violence
- Economic instability
The gospel of Jesus Christ was made for times like this. And it’s our biblical responsibility to bring it. Today’s passage can teach us how to do that. How to testify of Jesus; to those who don’t know Him. Without a program or pre-packaged conversation. What we’ll do is learn about the way Jesus recruited his first disciples to see how we can effectively testify for Him. If there’s anything Bible-believing gospel-centered churches are to do, It’s model how Jesus brought followers to Himself.
Passage and Prayer
Again, the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So, they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). 43 The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, “Follow Me.”
Testify of Jesus by asking good questions. (35-38a)
Again, the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?”
The word testify simply means to give evidence as a witness. When we testify or give evidence as witnesses for the Lord it may seem counterintuitive to ask questions.
But let’s look at what Jesus did. Here’s the scene. It’s the day after John baptized Jesus. So, Jesus is still in the vicinity of the Jordan River. John the Baptist is with two men. Andrew who brings his brother Simon (Peter) to Jesus. John the Baptist sees Jesus and says, “Behold the Lamb of God!” John’s already testified that Jesus is the Son of God. (1:34) And he just says it a different way with…the Lamb of God. Then in verse 37, we read…The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
Whatever Jesus said interested Andrew and John enough to want more. Verse 38 shows us the value of asking good questions of prospective Christ followers.
- And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?”
Now remember, they’re walking with God. He’s not asking them what they seek (want) because He doesn’t know. He’s asking them this question for their understanding; their clarification. Jesus wants Andrew and John to consider the consequences of following Him.
Confession time…I have led unknown numbers of people in the “sinner’s prayer” who afterwards showed little or no evidence of following Jesus. Over time I’ve learned the value of asking good questions. So that the potential follower knows what they’re seeking. Because Jesus can’t give people everything they may want.
- Genuine faith without sacrifice
- Trouble-free life
- Religion without a relationship with Him
- Discipleship without discipline
This is one reason church roles are filled with MIA members. They want what the Lord can’t / won’t give them. So, they take what their church can give them. And become satisfied with that. We’re to testify of Jesus by asking good questions.
Testify of Jesus by giving evidence of Him. (38b-39)
They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So, they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
It seems Jesus was more interested in showing Andrew and John about who He was rather than where He spent the night when He said, “Come, and you will see.” We don’t know where He stayed but they were still in the wilderness. So, Jesus could have had a small camp in the desert, or someone may have invited Him to stay with them. We just don’t know The location isn’t important. The fact that Jesus is Lord is what matters.
Come, and you will see that I am who John says I am because we’re going to talk and I’m going to give you more evidence of who I am. Imagine being with Jesus that night. Think of their conversation. The came to where Jesus stayed, and it was about 4:00 pm.
- 10 hours from 6:00 am
They must have talked all night. Jesus letting them see who He is with irrefutable evidence from His words and His word (Scripture). Those would have been His evidence. Think about it, what proof did Jesus give when he was walking with two men on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection?
Luke 24:27 reads, Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
And what did the men say when they finally recognized Him?
- (32) They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?”
Scripture is the most reliable and convincing evidence of who Jesus is.
Hebrews 4:12, reads, For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Interestingly in Revelation, John describes his first vision of Jesus.
Revelation 1:16, In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.
I have no doubt many of you can give a reliable and convincing testimony of when Jesus saved you. But a testimony without the Testament (Old and New) is just a good story. The pages of your Bible do more to prove who Jesus is than your personal testimony. I’m not saying your experience isn’t important, it’s just not what’s most important. Some of you may remember when we learned the evangelistic tool “Share Jesus without Fear” several years back. The takeaway I still use is to have people I’m witnessing to read the verses I share. Give evidence of Jesus through the Word of God. Ask good questions.
Testify of Jesus by being an evangelical. (40-42)
One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus.
This is where testifying of Jesus can get a bit uncomfortable. Because this portion of the passage suggests we’re supposed to practice personal evangelism.
- Personally…individually model bringing others to Jesus
Well, don’t we consider ourselves evangelicals? Sure, we do. If we don’t evangelize then are we evangelicals? In other words, if I claim to be an evangelical but I don’t model biblical evangelism, I’ve got credibility issues. That’s like saying I’m a master chef who doesn’t cook, or a barber that refuses to cut hair. This is where evangelical churches have a credibility issue. When we won’t do what we claim to be about. If I don’t testify of Jesus by giving evidence that He is Lord and Savior using Scripture, I’m effectively acting like I don’t believe what I claim to believe. Andrew believed Jesus to be the Messiah. That’s why he brought his brother, Peter, to Him. He was convinced Jesus was the Son of God and that motivated Andrew. He wanted his brother to know Him. Did Andrew have a well-developed Christology; a finely tuned doctrinal understanding of Jesus, lostness, and salvation / soteriology. No, he was a fisherman; he’s just met Jesus. Andrew wasn’t a theologian.
We must be able to give Scriptural evidence of who Jesus is. But that doesn’t mean we all have to be Bible scholars to bring others to Jesus. Because God does the heavy lifting of evangelism. What we know about Him is important; that we know Jesus is essential.
Testify of Jesus by following Jesus. (43)
The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, “Follow Me.”
Have you ever tried to follow somebody by driving behind them? It can be a challenge in city traffic at rush hour or at night. Even dangerous! The easiest way to get to the same place isn’t by trailing behind them, but by knowing where they’re going, and meeting them there. That’s what it’s like to follow Jesus. Know where He’s going and meet Him there. We know where Jesus is going because He gave us the road map.
- His word…the Bible
I’m not only referring to heaven. We testify of Jesus when we follow Him in humility, love, courage, and faith. Every attribute the Lord displayed. This is not a mystery, they’re all there. What you need to know about following Jesus is in your Bible. But that’s not your only resource for following Him. We also have the Holy Spirit.
John 14:16-17, I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
If the Bible is our map…the Holy Spirit is our GPS. What’s helpful about GPS is it sees what’s happening down the road before we can. If there’s an accident 3 miles ahead, it will reroute you to avoid the problem.
John 16:13, But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
Scripture gives us what we need to know to follow Jesus. The Spirit shows us how to follow Him. The Spirit knows what’s to come. He has a macro-view of the future; a world-wide view. And He has a micro-view, your future, just around the corner. He knows how to guide you through the word and ways of God. Listen, if you’re saved, you can’t get lost but you can get off track.
- Can’t lose your salvation
You can be misled / misguided by your own intuition and the wrong intentions of others. And in turn, mislead others. Testify by following Jesus in the Word and Spirit so that others see where to go.
Testify of Jesus by calling for a commitment. (44-51)
The rest of the passage is a series of encounters describing Jesus calling others to follow Him. We already have Andrew and John. Then Andrew takes his brother Simon (Peter) to Jesus. Jesus calls Philip to follow Him. Philp finds Nathanael who eventually comes around to make his commitment to follow Jesus. Each man, by his actions, is calling the next one to make a decision, a commitment. They say again and again, “here’s the Messiah.” And those brought to Jesus must make their decision. Will I follow Him or not?
We know from John 6:66, that many followers chose to abandon Jesus.
- As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.
Testifying of Jesus without calling for a commitment is like asking someone to move in with you. It’s a relationship of convenience. Too many people follow Jesus out of convenience not commitment. That’s one reason our denomination had 287,000 fewer church members in 2019 than 2018. I can almost guarantee a greater loss in 2020. They worship Him, serve Him, and support His work only when it’s convenient for them. That’s not biblical. Which is why most evangelicals don’t testify for Jesus.
I’ll finish with this. The days of convenient Christianity must end. We know Jesus will win the war over evil, but we’re losing the battle for lost souls, not testifying of Him. I ask you to make a commitment to personal evangelism today. Someone’s eternal destiny may be hanging in the balance.
Romans 10:14-15, How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those whom bring good news of good things!”