MAKING CONTACT – Message #3
Pastor Chuck Hill – Trinity Fellowship Church
January 16, 2010
There’s a man in the Bible with whom most of us are very familiar. His name was Simon Peter.
Now, Peter was a successful commercial fisherman before he became a disciple of Jesus. As you probably know, there were a total of twelve disciples chosen by Jesus to be His closest companions, but Peter seems to have had a very visible role in the group. He had a loud and confident personality — but he often acted before thinking.
He is mentioned first in every listing of the twelve, and along with James and John, Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends – sort of the inner circle of the apostles.
Peter was with Jesus when they went up the mountain of transfiguration where Jesus revealed His glory to the three. And as we read the gospels, we often see Peter stepping up as the leader. He asks Jesus questions; he’s the only disciple who walked on water; he expressed his willingness to die with Jesus, and on the night before the crucifixion he even drew his sword and took action to protect the Him.
While Peter’s eagerness led him to go too far sometimes, his enthusiasm is attractive and compelling.
Peter was more than an enthusiast though. He was respected by the other disciples and was eventually accepted as their leader.
After the resurrection he became the spokesman for them all, preaching the first evangelistic sermons we find in the book of Acts.
He demonstrated great courage when he was brought in before the Sanhedrin.
Sometime later in his life, he wrote the two letters we have in our Bibles by his name, but he is mentioned 153 times in the New Testament by the name Peter.
Now I say that, because he is also mentioned by another name — the name Cephas — which means STONE. This was the name given to him by Jesus when he first encountered Jesus and was called to follow Him.
What’s amazing, is that the name Cephas gives the implication that Jesus saw PETER as a solid man…and a person of great strength and dependability. That’s pretty interesting knowing what we do about his denial of Jesus later on.
Well, tradition has it that Peter was martyred, or murdered in Rome under the rule of Nero, and historians of his day note that he was crucified upside down (at his own request) because he wasn’t worthy to be crucified like his Lord.
Peter certainly he had his faults and made some real blunders, but all in all Peter was a great man of faith and was one to be admired for the life he gave to the Lord. We ought to respect Peter as a leader whose character we can admire, whose writings we can obey, and whose example we can gladly follow.
Now, I share all of this with you because it brings up a pretty significant question:
Who led Peter to Jesus?
Do you think you know? Well, let’s read John 1:19-42 and I’ll show you. John writes,
19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said: “I am
‘ The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “ Make straight the way of the LORD,”’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” 28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
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. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). 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” (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).
John 1:19-42 (NKJV)
Just two weeks ago, we began a series of messages a couple of weeks ago entitled MAKING CONTACT — and the whole point of this study is to prepare and motivate each of us to re-discover God. And I can think of no better way of getting to know God than by getting to know Christ.
As the story of Peter and Andrew indicates, when we MAKE CONTACT with Jesus, everything changes!
This morning I want to give you a better understanding of what happens when we encounter Jesus, I want us to take a closer look at Andrew’s story.
Now, there isn’t a lot written about Andrew in the bible. In fact, he’s only mentioned by name twelve times in the entire New Testament…and some of those are places where all of the disciples were listed. That being said, his life still reveals a couple of key things that we can learn from.
I want you to remember, Andrew was able to experience Jesus’ ministry up close. Like his brother, Peter, he was able to walk and talk with Jesus; to sit by His side and hear Him teach and tell stories. He was able to be there when Jesus turned the water into wine and fed the 5,000.
Andrew was a man of privilege – for he was among the first to encounter Jesus and watch the Messiah move from His baptism by John in the Jordan to His baptism of death on the cross.
Andrew saw it all – even to the day that Jesus instructed them to get busy accomplishing His work and then ascended into the heavens!
What we know of Andrew is brief. But we do know that he was a fisherman in partnership with his brother. He worked an honorable profession, and was probably a man of decent means. And, being a fisherman would have produced a fairly steady income for his family…and so, by the standards of that day — he probably enjoyed a good life.
Now, knowing all of this — it brings up a good question brings up a good question.
What would cause a man to give up his entire way of live and follow Jesus?
What would cause a man to leave his home, his job, his security and future — all to follow Jesus?
Now you might say, “Well come on…it was Jesus!” And from our view – it seems like a “no-brainer” but we are looking back on history. It must have been quite a different proposition to give it all up and follow Jesus from the other side of the experience!
But the answer to that question is pretty basic. With Andrew (as well as the others) there was a willingness to respond to the beaconing call of the voice of the Holy Spirit within and the call of Jesus without. And that response was one of FAITH and trust in JESUS as the PROMISED MESSIAH!
It’s the same with us…we must respond to the voice of the Holy Spirit with FAITH, trusting in Jesus as the Messiah – and Son of God!
Well, when it comes to FOLLOWING JESUS…the struggle comes with learning how to take all this stuff that we build our lives around and put it in its rightful place?
Now, if you’re honest with yourself – there’s a longing deep in your heart that cries out to you! You may not hear it all the time because the voice often gets drowned out by the constant noise and distractions around you. But the voice is still calling out to you!
It’s like the voice of JOHN THE BAPTIST…crying out like on in the desert.
Its hard to hear that cry within your heart with the TV on, with the radio blaring, with the kids and spouse demanding your attention and all the other stuff you have going on — but I’m telling you, that inner voice of the HOLY SPIRIT is still there calling out to you.
You hear it from time to time, in those still, quiet moments that don’t come often enough, telling you that your life is not what it ought to be, that it is not what it could be.
Now, here’s the thing…too often we hear that voice and we try to respond with some new thing in our life.
We feel the inner tug, and we try to satisfy it with something else…maybe a shopping trip or a weekend get a way. Maybe we look to another relationship or something. Whatever it is, we just try to pinpoint what it is in our lives that isn’t right!
But I submit to you that — that longing deep inside our hearts is really a cry for greater intimacy with Christ (our Maker & Lord).
That voice within is crying out for a refreshing drink from the source of living water. That cry comes from the HOLY SPIRIT as he directs us to encounter the person of JESUS CHRIST in a new way. That cry within is crying out for us to abandon our empty pursuits and re-discover what it means to follow Christ!
That voice is is not just crying out for life, but rather — abundant life!
So, as we consider Andrew for the next few minutes, I want to approach the whole thing backwards. Let’s start with the results what we know this encounter with Christ produced and then go back to how we can have a deeper encounter with Christ ourselves.
The Results of Encountering Jesus:
We see from Andrew’s story, that when we encounter Jesus there are at least two results that are produced in us.
The first is,
1. A genuine encounter with Jesus will always produce a deep desire to tell others about Him.
Look at verses 40-42. It says,
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” (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus didn’t have to twist any arms. He didn’t have to step on any toes or threaten them within an inch of their lives. When Andrew encountered Jesus he was compelled to go and get his brother!
You know, there’s a story in 2 Kings 7 that helps to drive home my point.
It’s a story about the people of Samaria who (at the time) were surrounded by the Syrian, and they had been under siege for so long that everything had become so bad. All of their supply lines to the outside world had been cut off…and they were quickly becoming very desperate for food. So desperate, in fact, that the people had actually begun to eat their own children.
I tell you this, simply to put things into perspective. Life was bad!
Well, as the story goes on, there were four men who had leprosy who came up with a plan. They knew that if they stayed where they were they would die, so they decided to march over to the Syrian army. They reasoned that if the army accepted them, then they could eat and live, and if the army killed them, they were going to die any way. I want to read to you how it goes.
3 Now there were four men with leprosy [d] at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’-the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”
5 At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, not a man was there, 6 for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” 7 So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives. 8 The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp and entered one of the tents. They ate and drank, and carried away silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also. 9 Then they said to each other, “We’re not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”
2 Kings 7:3-9
So what’s my point?
I’ll tell you – when those men came across the provisions and bounty from the find, what they discovered was something so great — that it was to good to keep to themselves! They were compelled to go and tell others!
They got to looting all that gold and silver and eating and drinking all that good stuff and said, “This isn’t right – this is a great day, let’s go tell somebody!”
Well, let me go back to the story of Andrew and his encounter with Jesus.
When Andrew had spent — only a day with Jesus — it was so good, that he said to himself,
“This isn’t right, I’ve got to go tell Peter!”
Listen, when you spend some time with the Lord, when you really encounter Jesus, you will not be able to keep that to yourself. You’ll be compelled to tell somebody what you’ve experienced!
As your pastor, I don’t have to tell tear-jerker stories and manipulate you to share Jesus with others. That’s not my job…and I’m not going to do that. But if I can help you to connect with Jesus yourself – if I can help you to re-discover how good He is, then the fruit of that experience will be that you tell others about Him.
And it we’re not talking about Jesus to others – then we probably haven’t spent much time with Him lately.
When it comes to evangelism and sharing our faith, we don’t have to memorize some plan. We don’t even have to memorize the entire New Testament. We don’t have to be licensed or ordained or have somebody’s special permission. All we have to do is just spend time with Jesus…and the urge to tell that story with others will be compelling!
Spending time with Jesus, genuinely encountering Jesus will produce a natural desire to tell others what you’ve experienced.
There’s one more thing that I see in Andrew’s experience that I want to mention to you. This is something else that an encounter with Jesus produces.
2. A genuine encounter with Jesus will always produce an attitude of contentment in service.
Think about Andrew’s life – what do we know about him?
He introduced Peter to Jesus; John chapter 12 tells us that he was one of the disciples that introduced some Greek men to Jesus; and we also know that he was one of the disciples who asked Jesus what the signs of His second coming would be. But outside of that – we don’t know very much.
So what does all of that tell us? It tells us that Andrew was probably a simple man with inner strength. He must have been a man who didn’t have to be in the spotlight to be secure. He was a man who was content to serve Jesus even if he didn’t receive a lot of attention! He was simply content with following Jesus and serving the Kingdom of God however he could.
Now, I want to tell you — that’s an attitude that seems to be pretty lacking in people’s lives today. There are too many people who are more driven by being seen than they are serving others! Too often, the church scene has bred the idea that recognition and advancement are more important than service and contentment.
It’s a shame that the American Spirit and the American Dream has curupted our view of ministry. Too often Christians buy into the thought that being the leader, the director, or the boss is the only way to really be happy. But that’s just not the truth.
As counter-intuitive as it may sound, serving and giving of ourselves is more rewarding than advancement and recognition by others. Jesus taught and demonstrate that in His Kingdom — the last shall be first!
The truth of the matter is that without the Andrews of the world, those who work in the shadows, and serve the greater purposes of the Kingdom of God — there would be very little accomplished for Christ!
And this principle doesn’t just apply to Ministry — it also applies to any company, organization or institution in the world!
It’s always the people behind the scenes doing most of the work, unheralded, quietly pursuing the simple but important tasks they’ve been given. When it comes to serving Christ, we need more people who are patient, humble, hard-working, low-key, and content fulfilling their calling and using their gifts to serve the Kingdom of God!
Maybe you’ve heard the story of the farmer who had lived on the same farm all his life. It was a good farm, but with the passing years the farmer began to get bored. He longed for a change – for something better. Every day he found a new reason for criticizing some feature of the old place. Finally, he decided to sell, and so he listed the farm with a real estate broker who promptly prepared a sales ad. As you might expect, the ad emphasized all the farm’s advantages: ideal location, modern equipment, healthy stock, acres of fertile ground, and so on. But before placing the ad in the newspaper, the realtor called the farmer and read the copy to him for final approval. When he had finished, the farmer cried out, “Hold everything! I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to sell my farm. I’ve been looking for a place like that all my life!”
When are we going to learn that the Lord has a way of placing us exactly where He wants us to be?
Andrew’s life teaches us that we ought not covet or envy those with more ability, who are brighter, prettier, more of this or that.
When Andrew encountered Jesus, he was content to serve right where the Lord had him.
And what was that place of service?
No one knows!
And it doesn’t matter – because when you encounter Christ like Andrew did, you won’t care what He wants from you – you’ll gladly respond with contentment and a willingness to serve.
Let me remind you of something Jesus said,
“…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.”
Alright, let me end with a few thoughts on…
How Do We Encounter Jesus!
How can we have a fresh and reviving encounter with Jesus?
What are the steps?
Let me show you something beautiful in verses 35-39. It reads…
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. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).
The beauty of it is this: there is no plan!
There are no simple 3 steps or 5 steps to encounter Jesus.
Encountering Jesus is a very personal experience that happens in different ways for different people!
- How did John the Baptist experience Him? He baptized Him and witnessed the fulfillment of a promise.
- How did Nathanael encounter Jesus? Jesus told him what he had been doing that afternoon.
- How did Paul encounter Jesus? As a bright light on the road to Damascus.
Encountering Jesus may be different for every one of you according to your personalities, your interests and so forth, but it will always be in accordance with Scripture.
You may experience Jesus as you study the Scriptures and you come to understand some great truth of the Bible and you break out in praise and joy.
You may experience Jesus as you talk with Him in prayer and see the prayer answered.
You may experience Jesus as you walk along in the woods and witness the awesome handiwork of God in His creation.
You may experience Jesus as you kneel before Him in worship.
How did it happen for Andrew? John the Baptist pointed Jesus out to him as the Lamb of God. The Passover feast was only days away, so the imagery would have been fresh – this was the long awaited Messiah who would take away the sin of the world. This was the One sent from God that Moses and the prophets had foretold.
Andrew went to Jesus and began following Him, and Jesus asked Him a question that every one needs to answer today. He asked:
“What do you want? What are you looking for? What seek ye?”
In other words, Jesus says to Andrew and He says to you today, “Why are you following me?” Andrew and John were so surprised by the question that all they could think of to say was, “Where are you hanging out?” The Lord responded in form by saying “Come and see.” What a response!
Listen, you’ll never encounter Jesus until you’ve answered His question first. “What seek ye?” I daresay that most people, and most of you have never seriously thought about why you’re following Jesus. You attend church week after week, you may even read your Bible and pray and serve in some capacity, but you’ve never really given much thought about why you’re following Jesus. You see, you can do all the things “good Christians” do and never really follow Him, never really encounter Him because you’re just going through the motions. When you’re going through the motions there’s that heart’s cry again telling you that you’re missing something. Something’s just not right.
Folk, I want to tell you this morning that there’s good news. In a world where most people are living in Samaria and are starving to death, I feel like those lepers who have stumbled on to something so great that I’ve just got to tell you – you can satisfy that longing in your heart. It’s easy enough. Let me tell you how. Here it is – are you ready for this profound thought that could revolutionize your life?
You need to spend some time with Jesus.
That’s it! What did Andrew do when he followed Jesus and spent the day with Him? The Bible doesn’t say, but let me help you here – get into the Word and study it. Pray. Do lots of praying. Journal your prayers and spend some time thinking about what you’re studying. Get alone in a new environment and experience the handiwork of God. Sometimes my most special moments with the Lord come when I get out by a lake or river and just sit down and think on the Lord and His Word and pray.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, tradition claims that Andrew went on to preach in southern Greece, then later in the Ukraine and in southern Russia. He too was crucified, a cruel death for a man who loved the Lord, and who faithfully and quietly served Him until his death. Why did he do it? He did it because he had experienced Christ and learned that there was something bigger in this world than just meeting out a daily existence.
I hope today that you’ve come to realize that same thing. Why spend your days existing and getting by when you can experience the fullness and the richness that only comes through absolute surrender to the Son of the living God?
Listen to these verses from the Psalms:
“As the deer pants for the living water, so my soul longs after thee, O God. My soul thirsts for for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before Him?”
“O God, you are my God; early will I seek you: my soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see your power and your glory…”
“I stretch out my hands unto you: my soul thirsts for you, as a thirsty land.”
Do you thirst for Christ today?
“If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.”