Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

 7-30-05

FOUND BY JESUS, AND FINDING JESUS


"The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.  Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."   (John 1:43-45)

When a soul comes to Jesus, it is the most fantastic event in its history.
It is spiritually dead until that day; but on that day it begins to live, and a saved man can calculate his age from the time he first came to know the Lord.
That day is very important, because it affects all the man's past life by blotting out all of his past sin.
The day that a man comes to Christ is the very day his transgressions and iniquities are blotted out.
Isn’t it a great day when our sins are cast into the depths of the sea so that from now on it can be said of them, "They may be sought for, but they shall not be found; yea, they shall not be, saith the Lord"?
I think that the day a person is saved is the greatest day in his life, because it changes everything; past, present and future.
It’s a different life that a man begins to live on the day that he finds the Lord!
He begins to live in the light instead of being dead in the darkness; he begins to enjoy the privileges of liberty, instead of suffering the horrors of slavery; he is put on track to heaven, instead of continuing on the road to hell.
He is such a new creature that he can’t tell how changed he is.
One man that was just recently saved said to me, "Tom, the change in me makes me feel like either the whole world is different, or else I am."
That’s the way it is when you come to know Jesus; there is a real, total, radical change.
Many times it‘s a joyous change.
They feel like the man who had been lame, and who, when Peter spoke to him in the name of Jesus, and lifted him up, so that his feet and ankle bones received strength, was not satisfied with walking, for we read, "He leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God."

Could anyone wonder why he was walking, and leaping, and praising God?
If you had lost the use of your legs for a while, you would feel like leaping and praising God when you could use them again; and that’s the way it is when a person first finds the Savior.
What a happy day it is, when the hand of Jesus takes away the sickness of the soul, and makes the lame man to leap like a deer, and causes the tongue of the dumb to sing!

The day that a man comes to Christ is also a wonderful day, because of the effect it has upon all his future.
It’s like when a ship is turned around; the man now sails in a totally different direction.
His future will not be like his past.
He may have some faults, and there may be sickness and shortcomings; but there will never again be the old love of sin.
Doesn’t it say, "Sin shall not have dominion over you."
This is God's own promise to us, given through his servant Paul.
When Jesus saves a person, He breaks the neck of sin so that it lives a struggling, dying life, and yet it is doomed to die.
The cross of Christ has broken its back, and broken its neck, too, and it must die.
From now on, the man is destined for holiness, and bound for heaven.

Now, friends, have all of you come to Christ?
I know that most, if not all of you have, and I thank God for you.
But if there are any of you who have never come to the Savior, I wish that this might be the night when you will find him.
I am not a preacher, and it’s rare that I have the privilege to preach Christ to you, and like the poet said to--

"Tell to sinners round,
What a dear Savior I have found."

I do pray that anyone here without Christ, will be led by the Holy Spirit to seek and to find the Savior, and then it will be a happy day for you, as it has been for so many others.

I am going to talk to you about Philip's conversion, but first, I want you to notice, in our text, Philip’s own description of it: "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
That is Philip's description of it: "We have found Jesus."
It was a true description, but it was not all the truth; so, for the second point, we will notice the Holy Spirit's description of it: "The day following, Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip."
Philip's account of the incident is that he found Christ; but the Holy Spirit's record of it is that Christ found Philip.
They are both true, however; the second is more true than the first.
We will talk a little about both descriptions of Philip's conversion.

I. First then, PHILIP’S DESCRIPTION OF HIS COMING TO CHRIST is given in these words, "We have found...Jesus," and what he says is perfectly true.

If anyone is saved, it will be by finding Christ.
By that I mean, you must discover Him personally.
There must be a search for Christ; but if there is a search for Him, you can be sure of one thing, that before the search began there was a realization of needing Him.
Philip had sought for Christ, or else he would never have said that he had found him; but, before that, Philip knew that a Messiah was needed.
When he looked around his world, and at His church, he may have said to himself, "Oh, how I wish that the promised Messiah would come!  There is great need for him.  The people need him, the church needs him, and the world needs him."
When Philip looked into his own heart, he may have said, "Oh, how I long for the coming of the Messiah!   I want him, and my need is urgent."
Friends, is there anyone here today who feels like they need a Savior?
You will never look for him, until you do feel your need for him.
You must recognize that there is sin in you, sin for which you cannot make atonement, sin that you cannot overcome.
You must realize that you need someone stronger than you are, and that you need divine help, and that you need One who can be your Brother, to sympathize with you, and be patient with you, and yet who can be the Mighty God who can conquer all your sin for you.
You do need a Savior, and that is the first thing that will prompt you to search for Him.
Philip wanted a Messiah, so he read the Scriptures concerning Him.
Then he speaks about Moses and the prophets, and of what they had written concerning the promised Deliverer.
Friends, it’s the same today, if you want to find Christ, you can find Him in the Scriptures, because they testify about Him!
Oh how I wish that everyone would search the Scriptures, with the definite object of finding the Savior!
Probably, the great majority of lost people never read their Bibles at all; or they read them only enough to satisfy their curiosity, or their conscience.
Perhaps they read the Bible as a part of literature and they can’t just ignore it.
But they don’t pick-up the Holy Book with the intention of reading it carefully and prayerfully.
And when they do read it, they don’t say something like this: "Oh, I hope I can find holiness here!  Oh, I hope I can find Christ here!"
Those who read the Bible with the view of finding Christ will soon discover some passage of Scripture that gets their attention, and then it will speak to them about Jesus, and His great sacrifice on Calvary, and His great love and mercy.

Philip searched for Christ in the place where Christ loves to be,--in the pages of Scripture,--and you must do the same if you want to find Jesus.
But I think Philip also prayed about it.
We are not told to, but I’m pretty sure he did.
I believe he asked the Lord to reveal Christ to him, and to guide him to where He was, and to let him recognize Him.
And if you want to be saved, pray for it!
I do not mean merely saying prayers; what is the good of doing that?
I do not mean simply saying words of your own, merely for the sake of saying them.
Prayer is communing with God; it is asking the Lord for what you really feel you need.
There are car-loads of bogus prayers that are shot down at God's door, as if they were so much rubbish to be thrown away!
Don’t let it be that way with your prayers; but speak to the Lord out of your very soul when you come to the throne of grace.
I cannot give you a better model prayer than the poem I found:

"Gracious Lord, incline Thine ear,
My requests promise to hear;
Hear my never-ceasing cry;
Give me Christ, or else I die.
"Lord, deny me what Thou wilt,
Only ease me of my guilt;
Pleading at Thy feet I lie,
Give me Christ, or else I die.
"Thou dost freely save the lost!
Only in Thy grace I trust:
With my earnest suit comply;
Give me Christ, or else I die.
"Thou hast promised to forgive
All who in Thy Son believe;
Lord, I know Thou canst not lie;
Give me Christ, or else I die."

Why not kneel down, and say, "Dear God, please let me find Jesus by your Holy Spirit; and bring me to know him today as my own Savior!"
I am certain, that Philip realized that he might claim the Messiah for himself.
One of the things that every man, who wants to be saved, must do is to make sure of his right to come and take the Savior.

The question that puzzles many is, "Can I have the Savior?"-“Can a person like me really be saved?”
My dear friends, every sinner in the world is permitted to come and trust in Jesus, if he wants to do so.
Jesus told the crowd, "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
"But," someone may ask, "Will Jesus have me?"
That is not the question; the question is, "Will you have Jesus?"
He says, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
It is you who casts out the Savior, not the Savior who casts you out.
The bolt to the door is on the inside; it is you who have bolted it, and it is you who must undo the bolt, and invite the Savior to enter your heart.
He is willing to come in, and wherever there is a soul that wants him, he comes at once;
Therefore, do not raise any quibbling questions about whether a sinner may come to Christ, or not.
Doesn’t Jesus, himself, ask us to come?
He told us to preach the gospel to every creature, and then He added to our great commission, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
Philip accepted Jesus as the Messiah and his Savior.

Someone might ask, "What can I do to find Jesus?"
Well, what you have to do is this, accept him.
If you were sick, and with the doctor, and he says he has just the medicine you need, you would not say, "No thanks, I think I’ll pass on the medicine, and wait to see If I will get better on my own.”
You know very well that you would take the medicine, and you would look on the bottle to see what dosage you’re to take and when to take it. 
What you do with medicine is simply take it.
"But I cannot make that medicine work to make me better,” you say.
Who said you could?
All you have to do is to take it.
You have to do the same thing with Jesus; take him, accept him, receive him.

Remember the twelfth verse of this chapter out of which our text is taken: "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
That is it, you see, receive him, and believe on his name.
"But surely I have to do some good works," you say.
Without a doubt, you will do good works after you have received Jesus; but as for being saved, you are to do no good works, but simply receive Jesus.

"Oh, but I must lead a holy life!” you say.
Yes, and you will lead a holy life after you have received Christ; but in order to lead  a holy life you must have a new heart, and to get a new heart, you have to receive Christ.
He will change you, he will restore you, and he will make you a new creature in himself.
What you have to do is to receive him, and to believe on his name.

I hope that I am speaking to someone this evening who understands what I am saying.
But I’m afraid they will not believe, even though I state the truth as plainly as it can be preached.
Did you know that you can hold a candle right against a blind man's eyes, yet he will not see even then?
The Holy Spirit must open your eyes so that you can see what it means to receive Christ, or else you will not understand what you are to do.
You are not to give anything to Christ, but instead, you are to take all you need from him.
You are not to bring anything to Christ, but instead, you are to come to him just as you are, and he will bring to you everything that you need.
Then, when you have accepted him by the simple act of faith, you will say along with Philip, "We have found Jesus."
That’s the way a new believer may describe his experience, and a very good one, too: "We have found Jesus."

II. But now, secondly, what is THE HOLY GHOST'S DESCRIPTION?

I will read to you some of our text again; here it is: "The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip."
Jesus finds Philip before Philip finds Jesus; Philip finds Jesus because Jesus has found Philip.

Now, notice, that this verse describes a previous work by Jesus; it came before Philip's own finding.
Jesus went into Galilee to find Philip.
My friends, I recollect very well that, after I had found the Lord, I did not know anything about God’s grace.
I had heard them mention grace during the preaching; but I didn’t understand what it was--I was only nine.
I think at the time I would have been very puzzled about the doctrine of election, if anybody had spoken to me about it, which they didn’t.
But I was sitting down, one day, and thinking about what God had done for me.
I knew that my sins were forgiven, and I knew that I was accepted in Christ, and I knew that I had a new heart, and then, in one moment the revelation came to me, "All this is the work of God."
The instant I saw the truth, I said to myself, "Yes, that is a fact, and God should be glorified for it!  But why has Jesus done this for me?"

I knew that there was nothing good in me before the Lord had so mercifully saved my soul, so I thought, "This is the result of God’s grace; it can’t be anything else."
Then I understood that God acts on us first, and that it is God's will and God's eternal purpose, that we are saved, and therefore He must have the glory for it.
What a revelation it was for me!
I saw that it was all by grace; and I think that anybody who has been brought to find the Savior, and who prayerfully studies the reasons for his salvation, can see the same truth that the Lord revealed to me.

Because, first of all you began to think about God and Jesus more often?
But, who was it that made you so thoughtful?
You would never have found Jesus if you had not become thoughtful, instead of happy-go-lucky and indifferent.
Who made you think about the things of God?
What was the influence that caused you to feel that you must think about eternity, and heaven, and hell?
For sure, it was God the Holy Ghost going forth, in the name of Jesus Christ, and dealing with you in mercy.
Only then, did you have a sense of your need and of your sinfulness.
There was a time when you didn’t feel that way, so who was it that made you aware of such things?
Where do you think that repentance, and that sorrow for sin, and that desire for Jesus, came from?
Did all of that grow out of your own fallen human nature?
No; believe me when I say, it was Jesus who sowed the good seed in your heart, and he was the One who made you feel your need for Him.

Next, when you read the Bible, you understood it.
You understood that Jesus was the only Savior; you saw that He was able to meet your needs, and you understood the plan of salvation.
Who made you understand it?
I know that it is simple enough for a child to understand; but no one ever does understand spiritual things except by the action of the Spirit of God.
It was the Holy Spirit who gave you the spiritual power by which you were able to grasp the simple truth concerning the way of salvation.

Then you began to pray.
I have already spoken about that.
But who taught you to pray?
And why did you begin to cry and ask, "God be merciful to me, I know I am a sinner!"
You could feel the groaning of your spirit, and the anguish in your heart, as you cried to God!
Who gave you that anguish?
Who broke you all to pieces, and made every broken bone cry out for mercy?
Who could it be but Jesus who did such a mightily work in your soul by the power of the Holy Spirit?
And when you yielded yourself to Christ, and when you believed in Jesus, and found salvation, where did that faith come from?
Isn’t it always the work of the Spirit of God?
Isn’t faith the gift of God, and wasn’t it in your case?

Once, when I was a little child, I thought I saw a needle moving across the checker board; and I should have been wondering who made the needle move like it did.
But I was old enough to understand that somebody was moving a magnet underneath the board, and the needle was following the magnet which I couldn’t see.
In the same way the Lord, with his mighty magnet of grace, is often at work upon the hearts of men, but we think that their desire for God, and their faith in Jesus, comes entirely from them.
In a sense, the desire and the faith are their own; but there is a divine force that is at work upon them, producing these results.

It is Jesus finding Philip, though Philip does not know it.
Philip thinks that he is finding Jesus, but behind the veil it is Jesus finding Philip.
My friends, I think this was a very delightful work for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Notice how it is put: "The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip."
In my mind, I see Jesus looking for Philip.
He will look for any lost soul in the same way.
It’s a journey that is never too long for him, and he never wastes a day.
It says, "The day following Jesus would go forth, and findeth Philip."

I prayed that my Lord would delight to come forth, and find some of you!
Tonight you are in a place where He has found many others; I pray that he will find some of you.
Perhaps you do not know why you came here.
You did not mean to get out tonight; but here you are in this crowd, listening to what I have to say.
My Lord has found many precious jewels here.
You may feel like you are nothing but a poor pebble, but to Him you are a diamond of the finest quality.
Dear Lord, find some more of your jewels tonight!
Lord Jesus, come and find Philip, and find Mary, and find Tom, and then let Philip and Mary and Tom declare that they have found you!

When our dear Lord goes forth to find a soul, He is very good at it.
He said to Philip, "Follow me."
I will gladly end my sermon right here if my Master will preach to some of you His two-worded sermon, "Follow me," "Follow me," "FOLLOW ME."
Jesus may say to you, "Come, poor soul, you do not know the way!’Follow me.' You want some one to go before you, to be your leader. 'Follow me.' You want some one to be your shelter, your companion, your all. 'Follow me.'"
That is what you have to do mother; father.
You may have been worrying about what you have heard from different preachers, but Christ says to you "Follow me."
That is what you have to do, young man.
You have been reading those self-help books till you are confused and don’t know what to do next.
Burn them.
Jesus says, "Follow me."
I know that some have become distracted with all sorts of silly talk; let that go to the dogs.
Jesus says, "Follow me."
The crucified Savior says, "Follow me."
Take him for your own.
The risen Savior says, "Follow me."
Take him for your life.
The Savior on the throne says, "Follow me."
Take him for your joy.
The Savior who will be coming in glory says, "Follow me."
Take him to be your hope.

"Follow me," "Follow me," that is the text for tonight, and that is the sermon, too.
Jesus said to Philip, "Follow me," and Philip followed Him at once; and he not only followed Christ himself, but he began immediately to try to get others to follow him.
Please notice also that Philip was found by Christ in a very different way from the other disciples.
Two of them had been found through the teaching of John the Baptist; but Philip had apparently had no teaching.
Another of the little band had been found through the private testimony of his brother; Philip may not have had any relative or friend to speak to him, but the Savior just said to him, "Follow me," and he followed him.

My friends, do not begin comparing your salvation experience with somebody else's.
If the Lord Jesus Christ calls you, and says to you, "Follow me," and you follow him, if there never was another soul saved in exactly the same way, it does not matter at all.
If you have come to him, and trusted in him, you are saved.
The sum of all that I have to say is this.

Do not worry like some people do, about God's purpose for your life, and about the secret working of the Holy Spirit, and about how this can be consistent with your following Jesus when he calls for you.
They are perfectly consistent.

Some people have asked me to reconcile two things; and I have said to them, "Ok, but first tell me what your problem is, and I will reconcile them."
"Well” they say, "you tell me to believe in Jesus, and yet you constantly preach that faith is the work of the Spirit of God.”
“That’s true, I do.”
And then they say, "And yet you say that men are to choose Jesus?"
“I do.”
"Well, how do you reconcile those two things?"
Show me that there is any difficulty about the two things, and then I will reconcile them.
You imagine there’s difficulty, because in reality there is none.
I believe that God has predestinated whether I am going to the office to count the offering at the close of this service; but I will go there as well as my legs can carry me.
"Oh!" then you say, "You believe it’s a matter of your own free will?"
Yes, I do.
"And yet you believe it to be God's eternal purpose?"
Yes, I do.
"Well, then, reconcile the two things."
Again I say that there is no problem here; there is nothing to be reconciled, because both statements are true.
You might as well ask me to reconcile the land and the water.
There is no quarrel between them, and I don’t want to waste any time on needless arguments.
You come to Christ; and if you do, it will be because the Holy Spirit draws you.
If you find the Savior, it will be because the Savior first found you.
Perhaps, in heaven, you may see some difficulties, and get them explained, but down here, you don’t need to see them, and you don’t need to ask to have them explained.

Salvation is all of God's grace, from first to last; however is it true that the grace of God leads men to do what Moses did, to make a choice and to choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
God grant that you may make an equally wise choice!

I have just one more thing to say, and then I’ll be done.
Philip, and Peter, and Andrew, were all from the city of Bethsaida. 
The verse said, "Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter."
These three good men, these three apostles, were all from Bethsaida.
That ought to give some comfort to many of you, because there are some of you here tonight, who are from Bethsaida.
There are people sitting here tonight who I believe are from Bethsaida.
But you say, "We never were there in all our lives."
Listen.
Bethsaida was one of the places in which Jesus had done many of his mighty works; and maybe you remember that when the people refused to repent, Jesus made this sad statement, "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee."

Now, there are some of you here who have heard the gospel for many years, and have seen the power of the grace of God in your families, but it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon, and for Sodom and Gomorrah, in the day of judgment, than it will be for you, inasmuch as you have rejected the Savior.
But, just like these three men, Philip, and Peter, and Andrew, who were from Bethsaida, why don’t you also come to Christ?

Why shouldn’t you become members of His Church, and, if it’s the Lord's will, witnesses of His saving grace?

Let’s pray to God that that’s the way it will be!
Oh, how I long in my soul for the salvation of every one of you!
I want to end with this statement from God’s Word: "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."

Receive Jesus, and trust in him.
I hope you will do so, with God’s help, and for Jesus’ sake.
Amen.

 

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