John 1:35-42; 12:20-26
Richard C. Statham, senior pastor
Salem Baptist, McDonough
The vast majority of sincere Christ-followers are well acquainted with the great commission: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). The question today for the average Christian should not be “Do you know it?” but rather “Do you do it?”
Declining baptism numbers and church attendance among Southern Baptists would indicate the answer to be “no.”
Biblical “belief” does not just involve intellectual ascent but also includes practical application. For example, the Great Commission is meant to be practically acted upon, not just intellectually embraced.
The apostle Andrew is mentioned in the Bible only a few times but those occasions grant the reader a strong glimpse into his heart. It is obvious that Andrew, described in the Gospels as a disciple of John the Baptist, had a spiritually sensitive heart.
John the Baptist does not cry out “behold the Temple” or “behold the synagogue” nor did he cry out “behold the high priest”. But he did declare to his disciples and others, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World”(John 1:36). What John knew concerning Jesus, he shared with those around him. John the Baptist’s declaration of the Gospel began immediately with those under his influence – his disciples.
Andrew’s first response to John’s declaration was to “follow Jesus” (John 1:37) and inquire of him. Having encountered Jesus and beginning to believe He may be the long awaited Jewish Messiah, Andrew went “to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’” (John 1:41).
In keeping with the pattern of his teacher, Andrew points his brother Peter to Jesus. This gives us the first glimpse of Andrew’s style of evangelism. Some men are mass evangelists – John the Baptist, The Apostle Peter, Billy Graham. Andrew — like most men, women, boys and girls who take seriously the great commission — was a relational evangelist.
Andrew heard the good news — “Behold, the Lamb of God” — and he soon heralded the news to those within his circle of influence beginning with his more familiar brother, Simon Peter. The Bible says Andrew “brought him (Peter) to Jesus” (John 1:42)
Take a moment to consider the importance of this one evangelistic seed being sown. Most people like to play the “what if” game. What if Andrew had never told Peter about Jesus? What if he had remained silent? We won’t know because he did tell Peter about Jesus and in fact, brought him to Jesus.
When I was a student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Chuck Kelley defined personal evangelism as “sharing the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God.” What a truth it is. You nor I can save anyone but we certainly can point others to The One who can – The Lamb of God. The Godhead does the saving but chooses to share the Gospel through our witness.
Andrew also was sensitive to the working of The Holy Spirit around him even at the busiest times. Once during the feast of Passover some Greeks approached Philip and said, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus” (John 12:21). Philip, uncertain of what to do, went and told Andrew. Andrew knew exactly what to do – he, along with Philip, took them to Jesus.
It is our responsibility as Spirit-filled Christ Followers to bring men to Jesus. It is God’s work to save them. The amazing beauty of God’s Story of Redemption is that God chooses whom He uses and then uses whom He chooses!Every Christ-follower has been chosen to partner with the Lord and His Bride – the Church to share the joyful news: Jesus Saves!
This past weekend I texted one of our staff pastors to ask him a question to which he quickly replied, “Call me.” He and his wife were on vacation in Orange Beach, AL. After he answered his phone I asked what they were spending their evening doing. His reply, “I just helped save a drowning man.”
Pastor Bobby and his wife, Valerie, were sitting on the shore enjoying the sunset when he heard loud voices speaking Spanish. Though he could not interpret their words, he knew it was urgent and soon realized a man was drowning off a nearby jetty.
Bobby, 62, and a former life guard ran towards the cries and swam out to aid another man in rescuing the drowning man while Valerie called 911. Pastor Bobby used the lifesaving skills he had learned years earlier to pull both men — an amateur swimmer and the drowning man — to safety. Professional rescue personnel soon arrived and took the man to the hospital to be evaluated. The amateur swimmer who first swam out to the aid of the other thanked Bobby for coming to their rescue, knowing he would not have been able to save the man alone.
What if Pastor Bobby had chosen to ignore the cries of those in need? What if he used the language barrier as a reason to ignore? What if he had said, “I’m off the ministry clock on vacation”? What if?
We will never know because he believed men were drowning and chose to be involved in rescuing them even while knowing it could cost him his own life. As a result two men were saved.
Now three men would enjoy another sunset.
Questions to consider:
Do you believe the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe – Jew and Gentile (Romans 1:16)?
Do you believe that it is the responsibility of every Christian to share the Gospel with others?
Do you believe that “every Christian” includes you?
Do you believe true belief acts?
Who do you know within your circles of influence that needs a Gospel witness?
Will you commit to “share the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit and leave the results to God”?
Will you go with urgency knowing that without the Gospel others are “drowning”?