FOUND BY JESUS, AND FINDING JESUS Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
"The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." (John 1:43-45)
When a soul comes to Jesus, it is the most fantastic event in its history.
It is spiritually dead until that day, but on that day it begins to live, and a saved man can calculate his age from the time he first came to know the Lord.
That day is very important because it affects all the man's past life by blotting out all of his past sins.
The day that a man comes to Christ is the very day his transgressions and iniquities are blotted out.
Isn’t it a great day when our sins are cast into the depths of the sea so that from now on it can be said of them, "They may be sought for, but they shall not be found; yea, they shall not be, saith the Lord"?
I think that the day a person is saved is the greatest day in his life, because it changes everything: past, present, and future.
It’s a different life that a man begins to live on the day that he finds the Lord!
He begins to live in the light instead of being dead in the darkness; he begins to enjoy the privileges of liberty, instead of suffering the horrors of slavery; he is put on track to heaven, instead of continuing on the road to hell.
He is such a new creature that he can’t tell how changed he is.
One man that was just recently saved said to me, "Tom, the change in me makes me feel like either the whole world is different, or else I am."
That’s the way it is when you come to know Jesus; there is a real, total, radical change.
Many times it‘s a joyous change.
They feel like the man who had been lame, and who, when Peter spoke to him in the name of Jesus, and lifted him up, so that his feet and ankle bones received strength, was not satisfied with walking, for we read, "He leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God."
Could anyone wonder why he was walking, and leaping, and praising God?
If you had lost the use of your legs for a while, you would feel like leaping and praising God when you could use them again; and that’s the way it is when a person first finds the Savior.
What a happy day it is, when the hand of Jesus takes away the sickness of the soul and makes the lame man to leap like a deer, and causes the tongue of the dumb to sing!
The day that a man comes to Christ is also a wonderful day, because of the effect it has on all his future.
It’s like when a ship is turned around; the man now sails in a totally different direction.
His future will not be like his past.
He may have some faults, and there may be sickness and shortcomings, but there will never again be the old love of sin.
Doesn’t it say, "Sin shall not have dominion over you."
This is God's own promise to us, given through his servant Paul.
When Jesus saves a person, He breaks the neck of sin so that it lives a struggling, dying life, and yet it is doomed to die.
The cross of Christ has broken its back, and broken its neck, too, and it must die.
From now on, the man is destined for holiness, and bound for heaven.
Now, friends, have all of you come to Christ?
I know that most, if not all of you have, and I thank God for you.
But if there are any of you who have never come to the Savior, I wish that this might be the night when you will find him.
I am not a preacher, and it’s rare that I have the privilege to preach Christ to you, and like the poet said to--
"Tell to sinners round,
What a dear Savior I have found."
I do pray that anyone here without Christ, will be led by the Holy Spirit to seek and to find the Savior, and then it will be a happy day for you, as it has been for so many others.
I am going to talk to you about Philip's conversion, but first, I want you to notice, in our text, Philip’s own description of it: "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
That is Philip's description of it: "We have found Jesus."
It was a true description, but it was not all the truth; so, for the second point, we will notice the Holy Spirit's description of it: "The day following, Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip."
Philip's account of the incident is that he found Christ, but the Holy Spirit's record of it is that Christ found Philip.
They are both true, however; the second is truer than the first.
We will talk a little about both descriptions of Philip's conversion.
I. First then, PHILIP’S DESCRIPTION OF HIS COMING TO CHRIST is given in these words, "We have found...Jesus," and what he says is perfectly true.
If anyone is saved, it will be by finding Christ.
By that I mean, you must discover Him personally.
There must be a search for Christ; but if there is a search for Him, you can be sure of one thing, that before the search began there was a realization of needing Him.
Philip had sought for Christ, or else he would never have said that he had found him; but, before that, Philip knew that a Messiah was needed.
When he looked around his world, and at His church, he may have said to himself, "Oh, how I wish that the promised Messiah would come! There is a great need for him. The people need him, the church needs him, and the world needs him."
When Philip looked into his own heart, he may have said, "Oh, how I long for the coming of the Messiah! I want him, and my need is urgent."
Friends, is there anyone here today who feels like they need a Savior?
You will never look for him until you do feel your need for him.
You must recognize that there is sin in you, sin for which you cannot make atonement, sin that you cannot overcome.
You must realize that you need someone stronger than you are, and that you need divine help, and that you need One who can be your Brother, to sympathize with you, and be patient with you, and yet who can be the Mighty God who can conquer all your sin for you.
You do need a Savior, and that is the first thing that will prompt you to search for Him.
Philip wanted a Messiah, so he read the Scriptures concerning Him.
Then he speaks about Moses and the prophets, and of what they had written concerning the promised Deliverer.
Friends, it’s the same today, if you want to find Christ, you can find Him in the Scriptures, because they testify about Him!
Oh, how I wish that everyone would search the Scriptures, with the definite object of finding the Savior!
Probably, the great majority of lost people never read their Bibles at all; or they read them only enough to satisfy their curiosity or their conscience.
Perhaps they read the Bible as a part of literature and they can’t just ignore it.
But they don’t pick-up the Holy Book with the intention of reading it carefully and prayerfully.
And when they do read it, they don’t say something like this: "Oh, I hope I can find holiness here! Oh, I hope I can find Christ here!"
Those who read the Bible with the view of finding Christ will soon discover some passage of Scripture that gets their attention, and then it will speak to them about Jesus, and His great sacrifice on Calvary, and His great love and mercy.
Philip searched for Christ in the place where Christ loves to be,--in the pages of Scripture,--and you must do the same if you want to find Jesus.
But I think Philip also prayed about it.
We are not told to, but I’m pretty sure he did.
I believe he asked the Lord to reveal Christ to him, and to guide him to where He was, and to let him recognize Him.
And if you want to be saved, pray for it!
I do not mean merely saying prayers; what is the good of doing that?
I do not mean simply saying words of your own, merely for the sake of saying them.
Prayer is communing with God; it is asking the Lord for what you really feel you need.
There are car-loads of bogus prayers that are shot down at God's door as if they were so much rubbish to be thrown away!
Don’t let it be that way with your prayers, but speak to the Lord out of your very soul when you come to the throne of grace.
I cannot give you a better model prayer than the poem I found:
"Gracious Lord, incline Thine ear,
My requests promise to hear;
Hear my never-ceasing cry;
Give me Christ, or else I die.
"Lord, deny me what Thou wilt,
Only ease me of my guilt;
Pleading at Thy feet I lie,
Give me Christ, or else I die.
"Thou dost freely save the lost!
Only in Thy grace, I trust:
With my earnest suit comply;
Give me Christ, or else I die.
"Thou hast promised to forgive
All who in Thy Son believe;
Lord, I know Thou canst not lie;
Give me Christ, or else I die."