Follow Jesus

Follow Jesus

Home Church Service 2/12/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

When our small group meets for worship, we like to discuss what we are learning, in the moment. Sometimes that happens right after the message and at other times we will address something during the message. These messages are designed to be interactive, discussing what we are learning right after I have addressed each point of the message. You will find the questions at the end of each section. In most formats they will appear in bold. Use these questions as a guide to meditate on the points being discussed. Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart and above all, be honest with yourself and the Holy Spirit. After all, He knows any way!

“Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 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?”

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. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). 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).”

                                                                                  John 1:35–42 (NASB95)

Last week we examined the testimony of John the Baptist as he faced questioning put to him by priests and Levites sent by the Pharisees. The Baptist freely confessed that he was not the Christ, Elijah or the Prophet. In the end we find those questioning John are simply looking for his credentials as they are having difficulty Recognizing Jesus, the Christ.

In this morning’s passage, John the Baptist holds true to his testimony as he points the way, once again, to Jesus – the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The Baptist does this as he is standing with his disciples the day after being questioned by the priests and Levites. John the Baptists mission has NOT changed – he still points the way to Jesus that others might Follow Jesus.

John the Baptist proclaims Jesus to his disciples who immediately follow Him. When asked what they were seeking, they asked where He was staying. Jesus answered, “Come and you will see.” So, the disciples came, they saw where He was staying, and they stayed with Jesus. The next day, Andrew, one of the disciples, found his brother Peter and told him so that he too might Follow Jesus as the Messiah.  

As Christ followers, it is our responsibility to proclaim Jesus to those around us. Our task is to help people seek and engage Jesus so they will, first, come to Jesus, then see where He is staying and finally, stay with Him from that day forward. Then they will be ready to help others Follow Jesus as the Christ.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “As Christ followers, how do we help other Follow Jesus?”

We help others Follow Jesus by proclaiming who Jesus is, then helping others seek and engage Jesus.

1). As Christ followers, we must first understand that we help others Follow Jesus by proclaiming Him where others can hear us speak.

Our task is to help other people seek and engage so they will come, see, and stay.

Every time I read or preach through the gospel account of John, something new jumps out at me – this message has been no different. It simply does not matter how many times I read this gospel account I find something new and fresh. As I have been studying the Jewish thought behind this gospel – after all John the author was Jewish – the newness has been intensified. For example, the connection to the Old Testament has always been, at least somewhat, obvious. But as I have learned more about the Torah, it is the depth of the connection to the Old Testament that has intensified. We will look at those connections as we come to them.

There are, certainly, several things that stand out about this passage for our faith as Christ followers. Last week we learned it is our responsibility, as Christ followers, to help people in Recognizing Jesus, the Christ. The witness of John the Baptist bears this out as well. We are to know who we are in Christ – a child of the king, joint heirs with Christ; we are to be confident in our mission – proclaiming Jesus the Christ; we are to trust fully in the One who sent us – we are sent on a mission from God; we are to speak the message that has been given to us – your life in Christ.

That brings us to this morning’s passage. In this passage, we must again follow the lead of John the Baptist. The Baptist is standing with his disciples, only two are mentioned but I would venture a guess there were others there, for John had many disciples, even after he died. So, what is John doing with his disciples? The most likely answer is teaching. We know the Baptist is in Bethany beyond the Jordan, for this is the very next day following his questioning by the priests and Levites. If we read the description of John the Baptist, found in Mark, we know the Baptist is in the wilderness and is, likely, poor.

So, this is a public ministry, not hidden away in a private room, but open to all who would freely come. Again, the passage in Mark tells us that the area of Judea and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him. Let me put this in perspective with today’s world. John the Baptist is a no-name preacher, leading a poor country church, that brings folks from miles around. He does not have a megachurch with a fancy building and more programs than there are days in the week. There is no stage with lights and a fog machine. There is no full-sized worship band playing “Christian rock” music. There is just John the Baptist preaching, proclaiming, and pointing the way to Jesus.

We must see ourselves in the disciples of the Baptist. The preaching of John the Baptist is pure and simple. The message of the Baptist is Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. His purpose is to point the way to Jesus, even for his very own disciples. He wanted people to be where they could grow the most. Finally, he is filled with humility – he is completely selfless. He points the way to Christ and encourages his disciples to follow Him. So, like the disciples of John the Baptist, we must stand, go, or be where the Word is being preached. We must have a hunger that drives us to hear the message.

Then we must hear the Word, the announcement, the proclamation of the Lamb of God. Finally, it is our responsibility to bring people where Jesus is being preached, proclaimed, and announced. One of the biggest reasons people miss Jesus Christ is because they are not in a place that preaches, proclaims, and announces Jesus. They are stuck standing elsewhere in the world of materialism, self and flesh. We must be diligent in helping others hear the Word – the announcement of Jesus as the Lamb of God, that we can then help people Follow Jesus. Another big reason people miss Jesus is because they are not hearing the Word. They are allowing their minds to wander; they are distracted, disinterested, and inattentive. Why? Because most churches are preaching something other than Jesus and His love for us that leads to eternal life. 

Questions for discussion/reflection:

Are you in a place where Jesus, the Lamb of God, is being preached, announced, and proclaimed?

In your own experience, how do you feel when others ask you about your faith? Are you confident in your mission? Do you trust the message you have been given? Or are you filled with far and uncertainty?

Keeping in mind there are ways other than words to proclaim Jesus, how can you help people from missing Jesus?

We help others Follow Jesus by proclaiming who Jesus is, then helping others seek and engage Jesus.

2). The second thing we must understand is that we help others Follow Jesus so they can share what they have found in Jesus.

Jesus will change the lives of those who will seek and engage, then come, see, and stay with Him.

Our end goal in helping people Follow Jesus is, of course, that they share what they have found in Jesus with others. However, there are several things that must happen before we can get to the end goal of sharing their faith. We notice that when the two disciples heard the Baptist speak, they immediately followed Jesus. When Jesus takes notice that they are following Him, He asks them a simple question, “What do you seek?” Notice the question is not WHO do you seek but rather, WHAT do you seek. The question posed by Jesus is meant to continue to draw the two disciples in and engage them. The answer given by the disciples seems to be a bit unusual, but there is truly something deeper here.

The disciples simply ask, “Where are You staying?” It is almost as if they were caught off guard, not expecting Him to speak to them. In reality this question is much deeper than the surface we see. This question is really a form of commitment, in reality they are asking, “Where can we find you?” These disciples are committed to following Jesus, this is not some experiment, and they have no ulterior motives. Jesus asked His question to draw the disciples in and to test their motives for following Him. The disciples answer in such a way to indicate they are committed to follow Jesus. In the Greek, the word followed means a continuous act, a once-for-all act. These disciples are committed to Jesus. 

Jesus now answers the disciples with, “Come and you will see.” This brings us to an important point about the invitation to “Come and you will see.” How many times have you seen a church sign that simply said, “Come and see?” This is an invitation that only Jesus can give. There is a big difference in the King of the Universe inviting you to, “Come and you will see,” and the mandate that has been given to the church by Jesus. Matthew 28:18-20 makes it clear how the church is to make disciples.

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 

                                                                         Matthew 28:18–20 (NASB95)

The church has forgotten that we are to be a force on the move…we are to GO!!We do not and cannot make disciples by sitting in the safety of the four walls of the church. We are to live our lives among people, sinful people, people who may hurt us, cause us to get dirty and may even hate us. Our job is to preach, proclaim and announce Jesus. Our responsibility is to point the way to Jesus, regardless of the attitude of the people. But we can take comfort in knowing that Jesus has promised, “…I am with you always.”

In verse 39 we see the results we truly want for those who do not currently know Jesus. First, we want them to accept the invitation offered by Jesus to come. We have announced and pointed the way to Jesus as the Lamb of God. Jesus will extend the invitation; it then becomes our responsibility to help them see where Jesus is staying. Is it at your church? A small group or Bible study? Wherever Jesus is staying, and people are coming, that is where we want others to be as well. And then, of course, we want them to stay with Jesus. We want them to be in His presence so they can know Him and learn more about Him. We want others to be in the place where they can grow the most.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

Do you hear Jesus asking you, “What do you seek?” Have you ever asked yourself the question, “What do I want from Jesus?”

In what area of your life do you sense Jesus inviting you to, “Come and you will see?”

Where do you sense Jesus challenging you to “GO” as a Christ follower?

We help others Follow Jesus by proclaiming who Jesus is, then helping others seek and engage Jesus.

Our task is not an easy one, but it is our task, nonetheless. At some point Jesus extended the invitation for you to, “Come and you will see.” You have accepted that invitation. I know from my personal experience living a life as a Christ follower is not easy. But it certainly beats the alternative – life without Christ. As I grow older and realize the direction our world is heading, it chills me to the bone at times to think about friends and family who have rejected Christ or are at least turning their backs to Him. But I am also confident that I have been called to be a Christ follower for this time, a time when it appears we are facing the end of the ages.

We must all make the choice if we will follow Jesus or reject Him. No one can make that decision for you or anyone else. It is and always has been a personal choice and decision. Our part is to preach, announce and proclaim Jesus the Christ, the Lamb of God. We must be a voice that is heard and what is heard must always and only be Christ Jesus. We must also keep in mind there are ways to preach, announce and proclaim Jesus without using words. We all know that actions speak louder than words and sometimes, our actions are all we may need.

I encourage you to do a little self-examination. If you have never asked yourself what you want from Jesus, now is the time. If you have never asked the Holy Spirit to come in and shine light on those area’s keeping you from God, now is the time. If you have never examined your motivation for following Jesus, now is the time. Do you follow Him for personal gain or His glory? This life is not easy because if it were – everyone would be doing it. But we can take comfort in knowing that in the response of Jesus to Simon, we can see how He treats us. Jesus looks at us, He studies us and knows us intimately. This can be either a comfort or a warning depending on how you respond to Jesus. Perhaps most importantly, Jesus sees the potential within all of us and He longs to change us to make us everything we can become.

We do all things for the glory of God, through Christ our Lord.

Amen and amen.

Next week: John 1:43:51

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