WHOM ARE YOU FOLLOWING?

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WHOM ARE YOU FOLLOWING? by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church

whoareyoufollowing

Introduction: We are at that time in our service when we hear God’s Word so I want to welcome all of you again. I also want to welcome those who are joining us by radio. Thank you for tuning in! We’re in our series on the life of Christ from all four gospels and this morning we are in John 1 for our message titled – “WHOM ARE YOU FOLLOWING?” All of us are following someone in our life – a parent, a friend, a famous personality, and even someone who is dead and gone. The question is not are you following someone. The question is “whom are you following?” If you follow the right person, it’ll be the way of life. If you follow the wrong person, it will be the way of death.

John 1 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He of whom I said, “After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.” 32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” 35 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.

Overall Background: The passage we just read took place after the temptation of Jesus. As you know, Jesus was in the wilderness of Judea tempted by the devil himself. After 40 days and 40 nights, Jesus rejected every attempt of the enemy to entice Him in sin. Having triumphed, Jesus returned from the wilderness to begin His ministry but He did so by coming by the place where John was still baptizing people near “Bethabara beyond the Jordan.” (John 1:28) He came by there for a reason. It was to signal to John that the time had come for the show to start. Since the beginning of time this show had been planned and now the day had come for the “Lamb slain before the foundation of the world” to do what He came to do. How did John respond to this? Verse 29 again – The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Meaning: So far John was the main event. Everything was about him. People came to him and looked up to him. He could have hung on to his disciples but he didn’t. No arguments, deliberations, or hesitations. In fact, he didn’t even let Jesus say a word but humbly and totally he gave up his ministry and pointed to Jesus. Wow! The Bible records it twice. Listen to verse 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” What was the result? Verse 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Would you have done that? We don’t even like to give up our seat in church!

Application: This morning there are 2 questions: 1. “Are you sending people to Jesus?” “Are you telling your spouse, children, and grandchildren to follow Jesus?” 2. “Are you following Jesus?” “Are you looking to Him in your life?” “Is He your focus?” “Is He your Master?” “Is He calling the shots in your life?”

This morning we will address 3 questions about following Jesus:

 I. HAVE YOU SEEN JESUS?

29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him…”

Background: John “saw” Jesus. This sight of Jesus was more than just the physical sight. The Holy Spirit had opened John’s spiritual eyes to really see Jesus! When did this happen? John tells us in verse 32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him. You can be in church all your life and never know Him. ‘but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” The Holy Spirit had opened John’s spiritual eyes.

Have you seen Jesus? I am not talking about your physical eyesight – not just the rays of light entering through the cornea, bending through the pupil, reflecting on the retina, and being transformed into electrical impulses that are send through the optic nerve to the brain. The Holy Spirit has to reveal Him to you.

Someone might say, “I wish I could see Him physically.” Did you know that spiritual eyesight is more blessed than the physical eyesight? After Jesus rose from the grave, he revealed Himself to Mary Magdalene and several of His disciples who were hiding. John 20:19 “…Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.” Later in verse 24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” Eight days later Jesus showed up in that room again and in verse 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Do you remember what Jesus said? Verse 29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Application: Have you seen Jesus? Has the Holy Spirit opened your spiritual eyes to see Jesus?

II. DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT VIEW OF JESUS?

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Background: John could have said many things about Jesus. He could have talked Him being the King of Kings or the Creator of the World or the Prince of Peace. Instead, he repeats the same epithet twice. See again in verse 36 ‘And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”’ Several important points need to be made here:

  • Jesus is the LAMB – Here Lamb does not imply gentleness or willingness or humility or silence. It implies “purity.” Just like on the night of the Passover in Exodus 12 1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying…3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: “On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household…5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. John, the writer of the gospel, repeatedly tries to emphasize this idea throughout his gospel and even into his letters. Listen to 1 John 3 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure…5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.

Even Peter emphasizes the purity of Jesus in 1 Peter 1 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

Lamb implies the purity of Jesus.

  • Jesus is THE Lamb of GOD – Here “THE” (the definite article) emphasizes the fact that there is no one else like Him. He is not one of many. He is the only one. What else? He is the Lamb “OF GOD.” Meaning: He is God’s chosen one. He is God’s offering. Just like on Mount Moriah where Abraham took his son Isaac to sacrifice him. When Isaac asked him in Genesis 22 7 “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” Then in verse 13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The–LORD–Will–Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” At this very place the templewas built. Nicole and I stood near the Temple Mount.
    Western Wall and the Temple Mount

    Western Wall and the Temple Mount (All images © 2015 Abidan and Nicole Shah)

    It was amazing to imagine how through the centuries the Jewish people brought their lambs to the temple to be sacrificed. Now, God was bringing His Lamb to the altar to be sacrificed.

  • Jesus is the Lamb of God WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD – Jesus was not just the sacrifice for the Jewish people. He is for all people. He is the only answer for the sin of every human being. Even more – he takes it away from us and not just for those who lives in the first century but every century until the end of time. He will keep taking it away.

For e.g. This has been many years ago when I was a little discouraged about the church. One day the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart – “Preach Jesus and see what will happen.” John 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

III. WHAT IS YOUR DECISION?

35 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!”

Background: “Behold” – The Greek word is ide meaning “look” or “there it is.” John had to point Him out. I am always amused by the Medieval and Renaissance painters who paint Jesus and make Him look so attractive and easily recognizable. If that’s not enough, they always depict Him with a halo (dinner plate) around his head. Nothing could be further from the truth. He was very ordinary in His appearance. In fact, Isaiah 53:2 says, “…He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.”

When you point people to Jesus, don’t expect them to see Him immediately. Sometimes, it takes time. Sometimes, it takes more than one attempt. Sometimes, it takes pleading. But once they truly see Him, they’ll never turn away.

37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

A few verses down in verse 40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah”…42 And he brought him to Jesus. Later in verse 43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me”…45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

If you’ve seen Him, you have a decision to make. Are you going to follow Him?

If you have seen Him, are you showing Him to others?

Do you know what the motto is of our church? MAKING CHRIST VISIBLE.

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