Thursday, February 11, 2016

John 1-3

By Hayley Boud

I recently watched the movie, “Gospel of John” and was reminded of my salvation.  When the right time came, the Holy Spirit touched me and I followed Jesus.  I believe this is the same for all who are saved.


The movie of John started with John the Baptist who said in John 1:35, “Behold the Lamb of God”.  Two of John’s disciples heard John and followed Jesus.  These two men spent the whole day with Jesus.  One of the two men (Andrew) was obviously touched by the Holy Spirit because after spending the day with Jesus, he then went to find his brother and told him, “we have found the Messiah”.  Andrew then brought his brother to Jesus. 


This reminds me of my own salvation because I had been going to a Bible study for a number of years and had heard the message but it was only by the Holy Spirit did I understand that Jesus is the Messiah (the Anointed One = the way, the truth and the life).  I can’t take any credit for being saved, it is God’s gift revealed through His Holy Spirit. 


I think it’s also important to remember that John the Baptist spoke words that revealed to Andrew that Jesus is the Lamb of God.  Andrew then passed on the message to his brother.  Therefore, our salvation was the result of God’s servants passing on the message to us and if we want others to be saved, we have to be active in sharing the truth.  We don’t have to freak out and fear what we will say because we can keep it simple and just say one sentence at a time.  All John said was five words and it was enough for Andrew to follow Jesus.  Andrew only spoke five words too.


If we want those around us to follow Jesus, the important thing is to pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to speak through us.  We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help those around us to understand God’s Word and for the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth.  We can say a whole lot of words but without the Holy Spirit, those words will be useless.  We can say only five words and with the Holy Spirit, our friends, our family, our work colleagues, they can begin to follow Jesus.


When Jesus saw Simon, He called him Cephas which means Peter.  The next day Jesus found Philip and said, “Follow me”.  So he did.  When Jesus calls you, you somehow know it’s God and you follow.  It’s a miracle.  How could Philip know it was God?  Imagine you are doing your own thing and someone says, “follow me”.  For example, today my dog peed in my car.  If I didn’t clean up the mess, the pee would really smell after some time in that hot Hamilton sun.  After a few days, my car would stink so bad. 


Imagine if Bertila said, “Take me to the supermarket, now”.  First I would think how rude is this girl.  She speaks in the imperative, demanding me to do something without even asking me nicely or using the word please.  So rude!  Then I would think, I have better things to do such as cleaning my car.  I would even think that Bertila is selfish for expecting me to just drop what I’m doing to take her to the supermarket.  The only way I would do that, is if the Holy Spirit revealed to me.


I think the fact that Philip followed Jesus is a miracle.  I think the fact that we are all gathered here tonight as followers of Jesus is a miracle.  How did we know to follow Jesus?  How did we know it was God calling us?  Let’s remember tonight the miracle of salvation and let’s thank God for all He has done for us.  When Jesus was on earth, He didn’t tell every person He met to follow Him.  There were only 12 disciples.  We are privileged to be one of Christ’s disciples.  Let’s be grateful and let’s also find ways of sharing this with others.  It’s easy to tell someone a simple story of how God has help us. 


We can read in John 1:45 that Philip went and found Nathanael and said, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, Son of Joseph”.  Only the Holy Spirit could have revealed that truth to Philip but ALSO he would have had to have read the scriptures to know that he had found the one the scriptures talk about. 


Therefore, it is important to read ALL of the Bible.  We should not think that the Holy Spirit is all we need to teach us and lead us.  We need to make an effort to read the Word of God so that the Holy Spirit can teach us and lead us.  If we don’t read the Word of God, we will become confused and can easily be led astray.  We might follow after another god because we don’t know what is written in the scriptures. 


Mathew 24:4-5, “And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘See to it that no one misleads you.  For many will come in My name, saying ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many”.  We have to be careful because many will be misled.  Not just a few but many.  I have seen it already where Christians are too lazy to read the Word of God and prefer to listen to preachings without checking if it matches the Bible.  Let’s not be among those that are misled but be like Philip who knew the Law and knew what the Prophets had said. 


When Philip tells Nathanael the good news, Nathanael isn’t convinced and answers, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  Philip tells him to come and see.  When Nathanael meets Jesus, Jesus says in John 1:47, “Behold an Israelite of whom is no guile”. Nathanael answers, “How do you know me?”  Jesus replies, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you”.  Nathanael suddenly believes but only the Holy Spirit can convince.  Nathanael could have thought it was some kind of trick or simply hardened his heart but the Holy Spirit convinced him.


When I became a true Christian, God used scripture to convince me and I tried to wrestle out of it but it was impossible.  I fought all night with God knowing that to be a true Christian meant giving up everything.  Eventually I gave in.  Just like Nicodemus in John 3, he came to Jesus at night time and I’m sure he had to wrestle with God’s words too.


Night time (spiritual night) is the best time to meet with Jesus because we are in darkness and that is the right time for needing light in order to see clearly.  It’s when we are in sin that we need a saviour, John 3:19-21.


John 3:5, “Unless you are born again”, we need the Holy Spirit for a spiritual birth.  John 3:8, “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  That is the way with the Holy Spirit, He goes to whom God wishes.  The Holy Spirit blew on us and gave us life spiritually in the same way God blew on Adam and Eve and gave them physical life.  Adam didn’t ask to be created or given life, that was God’s choice to blow on him.


Before the Holy Spirit touched my life, I was walking around in darkness but I didn’t know it.  Then the Holy Spirit blew on me and suddenly I can see what I didn’t before.  I saw that I was a sinner and that I needed Jesus.  I began to understand the Bible which didn’t make much sense before.  The Holy Spirit blew on me and gave me life.


As this verse says, you can’t see the wind but you can see the effect of it.  When a person is saved, we should see the effect of this salvation, we should see fruit of the Holy Spirit.  We should see joy, patience, love, forgiveness, kindness, gentleness, self-control, faithfulness and peace.  Not only should we see these fruits but they should be growing and getting bigger and bigger.


More than once in my life I have been at a meeting in a Pentecostal church and the believers have asked to pray for me so I can be baptised in the Holy Spirit.  When I explain that I have been baptised, they don’t believe me because they think the sign is speaking in tongues.  This is one thing that really annoys me.  The sign to know if you are baptised in the Holy Spirit is NOT speaking in tongues.  The sign is whether the fruit of the Holy Spirit is growing in you. 


For example, if my lemon tree grew tall and provided shade for my dog and branches for the birds, this would be nice but it wouldn’t prove the tree was a lemon tree.  The lemons prove which tree it belongs.  If I have the fruit of joy, patience, love etc, then I prove I belong to God.  If I have the fruit of selfishness and bitterness, I prove I belong to satan. 


Speaking in tongues isn’t proof you belong to Jesus because even satan can provide you with that gift but what satan can’t do is transform you into the likeness of Christ.  As Jesus said to Nathanael, “you will see greater things than these” and what is greater than seeing people’s lives transformed?  There is nothing greater than seeing a person changed from an impatient, judgemental, rude, proud person to one who is kind, merciful and compassionate. 




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