“Come and See…Go and Tell!” #1

Sunday May 10th, 2015

Come and See … Go and Tell!” #1

Psalm 34:1-8; John 1:43-51

 

There are so many fascinating things about the life and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. One great thing that I personally admire as I think about the life of Jesus of Nazareth is His compassion for those whom He lived with and for us. Jesus was so passionate about inviting people.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus says to Simon Peter and his brother Andrew in Matthew 4:19, “and I will make you fishers of men.” Shortly after that in Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” In Matthew 19:14, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Throughout the gospel narratives Jesus continues to say, come.  That doesn’t always mean that it’s an easy decision.  In fact, it will cost you something. That’s why Jesus says in Matthew 16:24, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Christianity is more than a system of beliefs; it is an active faith, a faith that will be willing to get up out of its chair and on its feet, a faith that will be responsive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and will to walk wherever He wants us to walk.

 

The Simplicity of the Christian Message

The Christian message is this: Come into the presence of God. See what God has done.  And then go into the world and tell others.  It is a peculiar movement of coming and going, always coming and going.  The temptation has always been for God’s people to come, but then just to sit at the feet of Jesus.  You remember in Matthew chapter 17 Peter wanted to build three tabernacles on the Mount of Transfiguration. It was such a great experience.  He said, “I never want to leave here.  Let’s just stay up here.” But Jesus said, “I don’t want you to stay up here on the mountaintop.  I want you to go down in the valley. That’s where the people live.”  That’s the place where the Christian life is to be lived…out in the world, in the work place, in the classroom, in the home…but not in the church. You come and see.  Then you go and tell. That’s what we are called to do. As I reflect upon a great story that comes from the gospel of John 1:43-51, please allow me to share a couple observations with you this morning:

 

First: Come and Keep Coming

You and I need to come closer to Christ and the real challenge is to keep coming. Philip’s invitation in John 1:47 is a reminder to all of us, sinners and lukewarm Christians alike, to come as we are. Come with your imperfections, come with your sins, come with your questions, come with your doubts, but come, as Philip said to Nathanael, come and keep coming so that you can see, perceive, experience it for yourself. You don’t have to hold back because you haven’t got all your theological “i’s” dotted or your ethical “t’s” crossed. Come exactly as you are. But come also for what you can – and by God’s grace actually will – become through the very act of following Him.

 

As a father, I know the joy I felt when our children took those first baby steps. We clapped and cheered and smiled broadly, even shed a tear, at those first daring but wobbly steps. Of course, that baby walking wasn’t really very good walking, not as grown-up walking goes. The joy parents feel in those awkward early steps is rooted in the knowledge that as a child grows, the steps will become longer, well- balanced, and much more graceful. So also God, our Heavenly Father, rejoices in the early, awkward steps you and I take toward Him. God rejoices in our first faltering steps toward Him because those baby steps are a harbinger of the bolder and more graceful strides we will one day make as we grow in Him.

Second: Found People Find People

There is a second wonderful truth I see in John chapter 1. As mentioned, in the gospel narratives, there is a simple yet a profound pattern. It goes like this: “come and see. Go and tell.” Andrew meets Jesus and sees in Him the long-expected Messiah ~ the Hope of Israel. One day after spending some time with Jesus, Andrew said to himself, the teaching of Jesus is so good. Andrew said to himself, this is the ONE we have been waiting for. Andrew said to himself, I can’t keep it for myself. I will be selfish if I do not share these good news with others. I have to share Jesus with family and friends.

 

So, Andrew told Jesus, “Hold on, I’ll be right back. I’ve got someone who’s got to hear this message, someone who’s got to check this out, someone who’s got to come and see.” Andrew dashed and looked for his brother Simon and brought him to Jesus. When Simon got there, he was in for a shock. Jesus told him “You are Simon. You name will now be Cephas – a rock for you will stand boldly for the gospel.” Simon was probably bewildered by what had just happened. He came to see and he was transformed and he was no longer the same person he was just a moment ago. What we see here is evangelizing, reaching out to people, by asking them to just come and see.

 

The next day, Andrew thought about going back home to Bethsaida in Galilee. Then he thought again about this good news he has been exposed to and decided to share it with someone from his hometown. He found Philip and told him the good news and asked him to come and see and he will not be the same again. Philip came to check out Jesus and the Word took a hold of Philip so that when Jesus commanded him saying “follow me,” he immediately did so. Once again, we see that all you have to do is ask your family and friends to come and check out Jesus. Ask them to come and see and they will not be the same again.

 

There is another great story that we also see in John chapter 1. The found people find people. They have been found and now they are in the business of finding others! Philip, who has been introduced to Jesus by his friend Andrew, is now tries to introduce his friend, Nathanael, to Jesus. Philip tries unsuccessfully to evangelize Nathanael. Philip was so full with the Word that it was burning like a fire in his heart, like a fire shut up in his bones. He could not hold it, he could not keep it to himself so he went looking for his friend Nathanael and in John 1:45 told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote– Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Philip continued, “come and check him out, come and see and you will not be the same again.” But Nathanael doubted. Some of the people you invite will doubt but don’t give up. Philip didn’t give up. He insisted, “Nathanael, just come and see for yourself, check him out and you will not be the same again.” I will say more about Nathanael’s statement next Sunday.

 

Friends, as I conclude today, let me remind you one more time with our challenge. According to the gospel narratives, especially the gospel of John, this is how the first disciples were made. They were invited to come and see, either by Jesus Himself or by one of their friends, and they did and their lives were forever changed. Today we launch a new idea as one way to reach out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to our community, neighbors, friends, family members, co-workers, etc.  I called this initiative “Come and See Initiative.”  This initiative is based on John 1:46, where we see Philip extending an invitation to his friend Nathanael to “Come and See the Messiah.”  You will find in your pew racks index cards.  Please tear them in half.  Write a name of a person that you would like to pray for.  Keep half for yourself and the ushers will collect the second half.  Today and over the next couple Sundays we will collect the names of beloved ones who are away from the Lord or have become lukewarm.  Ushers will collect these names and we will place them at the foot of the chancel cross.  No one but you and the Lord will get to know these names.  We will pray for those people today and over the next few weeks and your responsibility is to go and extend the invitation ~ “come and see.”  Let’s see what happens when the church does it part.  Let’s see what happens when we take our faith seriously! Amen.

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