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The Importance of One: John 1:45-46

I’ve heard stories of who your One person is that you have been praying for.  It’s a wonderful thing to talk about together.  This one person is important.  We’ll be in Matthew 13 and John 1 today.  Let’s think about Matthew 18.  Jesus tells a story of a shepherd.  Think about a shepherd with 100 sheep.  99 are with him and one is lost.  Does he not go after that one?  Jesus said one is important.  It’s not the Father’s will that one should perish.  At some point in our lives we were that one.  Someone helped us connect with God.  Our one matters to God.  What’s the next step for us to help our one person connect to God?

Commit to being and intentional witness.

                        45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Matthew 13.45-46 (ESV)
Jesus tells us what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.  Jesus is with the disciples and is talking about how important it is when we find something of great value.  The next step in an intentional action.  The story Jesus uses here is of a merchant.  A merchant isn’t a person who makes something nor are they a person who owns a store.  A merchant goes out and finds things.  He is the middle man.  He knows how to place a value on something.  He knows what people want to buy.  This merchant in the story today is one who trades in pearls.  Pearls were luxury items.  Pearls are less valued today.  Why?  We have equipment that helps us dive into the ocean to search for pearls.  This was a dangerous job back then.  Some people lost their lives searching for pearls.  They were more expensive than diamonds.  The merchant would go in search of the pearls that would bring the greatest price.  He found one pearl and sold all that he had for that one pearl.  If he had seen thousands of these what did this one have that was so great? 

Jesus is describing the Kingdom of Heaven.  It’s worth it.  When you find God it’s worth giving up everything else!  This is the reason we want people to connect to God.  Merchants spent their whole lives searching.  Sometimes people are searching to fill an emptiness.  We can see this in some of our friends, they’re searching for comfort.  We can step in and share what we found that they’re looking for. 

When we find the one who knows our soul we want people to know that.  In John 1 Jesus calls the disciples.  Andrew led people to Jesus, we have Peter’s response to Jesus.  We have a theme: Worship, Grow, Go.  As we worship God we understand that there are people who don’t know God and that’s why we go.  We aren’t always sure what to do.  We need a willingness to go and tell.  We believe Andrew brought Phillip to Jesus.  Phillip is now telling Nathaniel about Jesus in verse 45:

Go and tell.

                        45Philip 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.” 46Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 
                                                                                                                                                                                    John 1.45-46 (ESV)
Phillip is excited about finding Jesus.  He tells Nathaniel.  In finding Jesus their future is now secure. 

It’s fall.  We all have that fall hangover.  It’s raining today.  It’s a perfect morning for something pumpkin spice!  Every fall there is a new something that’s pumpkin spice.  We’ve got to try it!  When we do we get excited about it and tell other people about it.  We get excited and try to get others excited as well.  As we discover  who God is we have that “wow” moment.  This is what my heart longs for!  You have got to meet Jesus!  In verse 46 what Phillip encounters is that Nathaniel is skeptical.  This also happens to us when we tell people about Jesus too.  They really wonder if Jesus can really change their lives.  We aren’t always sure what to do when this happens.  They were in Caana.  Nazareth was close by.  We are more skeptical of places that are close by us.  Nathaniel is from Caana. And cannot believe that anything of value can come from Nazareth.  I’m from Louisiana.  We made fun of the people in Mississippi.  Phillip is saying Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament.  Nathaniel is playing through his mind about the Old Testament and there’s no Nazareth mentioned there.  Jesus often surprised people.  Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not Jerusalem, for example.  We encounter this skepticism today.  In our culture the church has always been around.  People have heard of churches.  They wonder if it really makes a difference.  We encounter skepticism and when we face it we can tell them we have met Jesus and he has transformed our lives.  Phillip tells Nathaniel to come and see.  We are inviting people to come and see Jesus.  He calls us to recognize and repent of our excuses.

Recognize and repent of excuses.

We may be excited about growing in our faith but have we encountered resistance?  What do we do when people don’t have a positive response to God?  We become hesitant.  We haven’t developed that habit.

                        49Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 
                                                                                                                                                                                    John 1.49 (ESV)
When Nathaniel meets Jesus he says Jesus us the one!  Jesus told Nathaniel he saw him sitting under a fig tree.  Scholars used to sit underneath fig trees.  These were wealthy and affluent people who studied and dug into the Old Testament.  Nathaniel didn’t go around talking about this.  He knew Jesus knows him.  Nathaniel was searching for God and he realized that Jesus knew him.  Jesus was the one he was searching for.  Our job isn’t to convince people Jesus can fix all their problems.  It’s just to bring people to Jesus. 

I was teaching a weekly study and Crystal was invited by her cousin and Crystal brought her boyfriend with her.  She had no church background.  They were very curious.  They believed in God but weren’t connected to God.  I mentioned that we were having communion and I thought that I should explain it.  The juice represents the blood of Jesus.  Crystal and Joey still didn’t understand.  I set aside the study that day and I opened Exodus.  We talked about the blood over the doorposts and how this is like the blood of Jesus, Passover.  They looked perplexed.  I explained what it means for Jesus to pass over us.  They know a little about God but knew little about why God would come to earth for us.  A year or two later I baptized their daughter.  A cousin invited her cousin to Bible study.  They all came to Jesus because one person invited one person.  Our job is to bring people into the presence of God.  We are 10 times more likely to invite a believer to church.  Less than 2% will invite an unbeliever. 

Excuses:

·       Growing inclusiveness – Is Jesus really the only way?  The younger you are the more you probably wrestle with this.  It creeps into our lives.  If we think all are going to Heaven then there’s no hell.  We really don’t believe in hell.
·         Busyness – I’m just too busy.
·         Fear of Rejection – This is a real fear.  We hate being rejected.  75% of people are very open to an invitation to church and to talking about spiritual matters.  They know you go to church.  Some are offended you haven’t invited them yet.  They wonder why you never talk about it.
·         Desire to be Tolerant – The truth is that God is a stumbling block.  Truth is narrow and offensive. 
·         Losing the Habit of Witnessing – It’s easy to stop being intentional.  Good thing that habits can be picked back up!
·         Lack of Accountability - Nobody asks us about sharing our faith.  What if you knew someone was going to talk about this and ask you about it?  We are more likely to do it if we know people are talking about it. 
·         Failure to Invite – When is the last time you invited someone to church? To your home?
The average church is not intent on reaching the lost.  In the average church is takes 85 people to reach just 1.  For an entire year 85 people reaching just one shows we have a lack of passion in our churches.  Look around you.  We love Jesus.  We celebrate Jesus together.  We believe in the hope we have in Jesus Christ.  We believe God can transform lives.  I challenge you to repent of these excuses. 

Adapted from an original message by Johnny Hunt, FBC Woodstock, GA
Sermon Notes are taken, transcribed and posted by Jeni Martin Johnson.

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