Donate to The 'God Is Just A Prayer Away' radio broadcast

Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012

FOUR DAYS - MARCH 22, 2009


John Chapter One

Sermon of the Week #200910 – March 22, 2009

In the first chapter of John there are four days that run together in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. Day number one begins when a delegation of Jews from Jerusalem came to the wilderness to interview John the Baptist. Their first question was, "Who art thou?" We cannot imagine with what sarcasm they asked this question. "Who are you? You did not go to our Bible College. You are not accredited. Your degree is not recognized by the mainstream of God's people. What are your credentials? Who are you?”

John confessed and denied not, He confessed, “I am not the Christ.” One well-known imposter was asked if he was Jesus and his answer was "I'm not saying I am, and I'm not saying I'm not."

Next they asked him if he was Elijah. Again he said, "I am not." John refused to say that he was the reincarnation of Elijah. The angel told Zacharias his father that he would go in the spirit and power of Elijah. He was not Elijah resurrected from the dead, but he went with the spirit of Elijah. The Christian can say our Elijah has come.

Then they said, "Who art thou that we may give an answer to them that sent us." John said, "I am a voice crying in the wilderness." Jesus was the Word and John was a voice. Then he told them there is one standing in the midst of you whom ye know not. The same thing is true today, Jesus is standing in the midst of us at all times, and many are not aware of his presence. Jesus is the unknown neighbor to many. The unknown neighbor in spite of the fact of the calendar with its BC and A D reminding us the date line is tied to the cradle at Bethlehem. The unknown neighbor in spite of the existence of church buildings, sometimes on every corner. The unknown neighbor in spite of the Bible as the all time best seller, the unknown neighbor in spite of the fact most hear his name mentioned everyday in profanity, and in recent years blasphemed in most every movie, and worst of all the unknown neighbor in most churches. The unknown neighbor living in the midst of us like Jacob after his dream of the ladder that stretched from earth to heaven, and he said, “The Lord was in this place, and I knew it not.”


And now on the second day there were two great statements of John that need to be noticed. The first one is when John identified Jesus. Jesus said in Matthew 11:11 that John was more than a prophet. He was more than a prophet because he not only prophesied the coming of Jesus, but unlike the great prophets of the Old Testament, John in addition to making the prophecy could point to the fulfillment of the prophecy when he pointed to Jesus and declared: “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”

That statement of John, may not have registered on their minds, but it was an obvious reference to the scapegoat in Leviticus 16 on the day of Atonement when a goat was sacrificed, and his blood placed on the head of a live goat with the sins of the people, and taken far away; in like manner Jesus the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.

Notice that John did not say sins he said sin. This is what is called THE COLLECTIVE SINGULAR. He took all the sins of all the people who ever lived or ever will live: all the immorality, all the murders, all the stealing, all the drug addiction, all the drunkenness, all the blasphemies, all the lies, and felt the shame and the guilt of every one of those sins as though He Himself was guilty of all. Paul said it for us when he said that He was made to be sin that knew no sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Actually there were two plans God could use for getting rid of sin. The first was, He could have gotten rid of all sinners and if He had used that plan, He could have started out in the Garden of Eden. However He used the second plan and sent Jesus too die on the cross and take away the sin of the world. 

Then the second statement of John was when he said, he saw the Holy Spirit descended on him from heaven in bodily form as a dove. This reminds us of Noah when he sent forth a dove out of the Ark for the second time, and she returned with an olive leaf. Noah knew then it was safe to leave the Ark: God had made peace with men. And then again we are reminded that the Holy Spirit descended from heaven on the day of Pentecost; the apostles preached the first gospel sermon, and God made peace that day with 3,000 when they accepted the terms of Peter: "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." I also like that statement at the end of the epistle in the book of Hebrews: "Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of an eternal covenant, even our Lord Jesus Christ, make you perfect unto every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is well pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ; to whom be the glory for ever and ever.” God has made peace with men through the blood of Christ.


Again on the morrow, that would be day number three. On this day John, Andrew and Peter would meet the Lord. John was standing, and two of His disciples, and He looked upon Jesus as He walked, and said for the second time, "Behold the Lamb of God." The two disciples followed Jesus, and he turned and asked them, "What seek ye?" They said, “Rabbi, where abidest thou?” Jesus did not tell them where He lived. He knew if He told them where He lived, and they put off coming to see Him until the next day, He might not be there. After all He did say one time that the foxes have holes and the birds of the heaven have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head. So He gave no address, but said, “Come and see.”

However they did call him Rabbi, which means teacher and that, indicated they wanted to be taught. What are you looking for when you follow Jesus? Do you want to be taught? One survey I saw indicated that people are looking for several things in a church. The last thing on the list was the doctrine. No way can you separate the Lord from His doctrine, neither can He be separated from His baptism since we are buried with Him. You cannot separate Him from the Lord Supper since it is done in remembrance of Him. You cannot separate Him from His Church since it is His bride. What are you looking for as you follow Jesus? One of the two, who followed Jesus, was Andrew. He finds first his own Brother Simon and brought him to Jesus.

Notice that again. Andrew finds first his own brother Simon. When Andrew met the Lord the same day he became a soul winner, he called his own brother Simon, and brought him to Jesus. The woman at the well in John 4 met Jesus and the same day went into the city and told everybody, "Come see a man who told me all things that ever I did." And Jesus told Legion in Mark 5 after He had cast out a legion of demon, “Go to thy house, and to thy friends and tell them what great things the Lord hath done for thee, and how He had mercy on thee,” and he did.

People in the scripture who met the Lord were like Adam in the Garden of Eden, he was miserable by himself, and God made Eve for him. That principle is true in the church. A person who finds Jesus is not satisfied until he can find someone else. A church that is not concerned about evangelizing must be a very miserable congregation. Go tell somebody about Jesus, if a person cannot preach or teach they can still seek the lost by sending others. Evangelizing needs to be the combined effort of the whole church.

The word Peter means stone. Perhaps there is more here than we see at first glance, thou art stone, Jesus saw what he could become. He sees what we can become also. It was Peter himself who said that we are precious living stones built up a spiritual house. As members of the Church of Christ we are all called stones by the Holy Spirit. The Church is not built on Peter any more than it is built on all of us who are members of the Church of Christ. The Church is built on the foundation of the fact that Peter expressed when he said, "Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God.” Paul tells us in 1n Corinthians 3, "Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid which is Jesus Christ." And now day number four.


On the morrow that would be day number four, Jesus called Philip. The call of Philip was different than the call of the others. It was John the Baptist that pointed out Jesus to Andrew and John. Andrew brought his brother Simon, Philip would bring Nathanael to Jesus, but the call of Philip was different in that Jesus himself called Philip. It was a personal invitation.

Many today can say they learned of Jesus from family, friend, or the preacher, but some like Philip receive a personal invitation. I had a personal invitation like Philip as far as the preaching ministry was concerned. Now I did not have any dreams, I saw no visions, or hear any voices, nor was I struck by lightning, nor was I walking by the seaside as I frequently did, and heard the audible voice of Jesus saying follow me as it was with four of the fishermen. But one day I was reading through the gospel according to Matthew and got to the end and read the Great Commission where Jesus said, “He had all authority in heaven and in earth.” He said, “Go, and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to observe all things I commanded you.” And then he said, “ am with you always ever unto the end of the world.” And I thought that applies to me. I memorized those verses, one thing led to another and here I am. It was a personal invite I received by reading the words of Jesus. The New Testament is also a personal message to you from Jesus.

Then after Philip was invited by Jesus he went and told Nathanael, who said, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Nathanael was prejudiced, he had heard that old saying before, and his mind was made up before he saw the Lord or heard anything He had to say. Many have already made up their minds what they believe by what they have heard and do not want to hear any more. Philip did not argue he said, “Come and see.” Have you ever read it for yourself? Open your Bible and read it for yourself: Come and see.

Nathanael came to see for himself and Jesus said, "Behold an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile." Nathanael said, "Rabbi, whence knowest thou me?" Jesus said, “I saw thee yesterday when you were under the fig tree.” Nathanael said, "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Israel."

Jesus not only said he saw him; He told him the day He saw him. It wasn’t a week ago, or the day before yesterday, it was yesterday. He not only saw him, but He told him the place where He saw him, under a tree. And then He told him what kind of a tree it was where He saw him. He named the kind of tree; it was a fig tree. 

Nathanael got the message. He knew there was no way any body could see what he was doing under that tree. He knew if the Lord could see him there, He could see anybody anywhere anytime. Nathanael said, "Rabbi thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel."

Now just what was it that Nathanael was doing under that fig tree? Well of course the scripture does not say, but since Jesus spoke of a ladder going up down from heaven to earth one might guess, Nathanael was thinking about the similar dream of Jacob who saw a ladder going up from earth to heaven.

Jesus told Nathanael that he would see greater things than these. What were the greater things he would see? He would see Jesus raised the dead He would see Him give sight to the blind. He would see the resurrected body of Jesus. He would see Him taken up into Heaven He would some day see Him coming again on the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory. He saw Him now as the King of Israel, but he would see Him later as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You shall see greater things than these. You shall see the heavens opened and the angels ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

The angels were always at His beck and call. In Gethsemane He said He could call twelve legions of angels, this no doubt at a moments notice. They ascended and descended at His birth. They ascended and descended at His temptation. They ascended and descended in the Garden of Gethsemane. They ascended and descended at the resurrection. They ascended and descended at His Ascension. They will accompany Him when He returns in the Second Coming. But the angels are also busy ascending and descending to day as we read in Hebrews 1:14 “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit eternal salvation?”

Remember the angels ascended, and descended on Jesus the Son of man according to that analogy of Jesus? He is the ladder that reaches from earth to heaven. During the ministry of the first congregation I served, I asked an elderly elder, to pray the closing prayer of benediction at the close of the service. I have never forgotten the words of that prayer he prayed; “Oh Lord help us to remember; Heaven is not gained by a single bound, but by climbing the ladder round by round.” I believe that the Lord Jesus must have said Amen that day.

What better way is there to say it? The first rung on the ladder to heaven is hearing the gospel. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Faith does not come by opinion, or by what I think, but by the word of God. The second rung is faith. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved. The third rung is repentance. Repent and be converted that your sins may be blotted out. The greatest trick of the Devil is to fill the churches with people who never repented, and the line between the world and the church is blurred. The fourth rung in the ladder is confession. That if thou shall confess with thy mouth thou shall be saved. The fifth rung in the ladder to heaven is baptism. Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins. The sixth rung in the ladder is a faithful life. He that endures unto the end the same shall be saved. Which one of these six rungs in the ladder to heaven will save? Is there any scripture that teaches that any one of them alone will save without the rest? Heaven is not gained by a single bound, but by climbing the ladder round by round.