The Seeker is Found
by Cooper Abrams
Introduction: A soul that comes to Jesus is the most that could happened in a person's life. One is spiritually dead till that day; but once a person believes and receives Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith they then begin to live.
That day of first knowing Christ is important, because it affects all the man's past, present and future. It changes how we look upon the past, certainly how we see our present life and assuredly how he thinks of the future.
It is a wonderful day because the day in which a man comes to Christ his transgressions and iniquities are blotted out, even as the thick clouds are driven from the sky when God's strong wind chases them away. It is like the warm sun appearing after a long storm.
ILLUS: In 1999 Carolyn and I were visiting a Faith Baptist Church on the Eastern Shore of Virginia when hurricane Floyd hit. We were in our 22' traveler trailer through all the storm. We parked the trailer close to the side of their church and the rain came down in torrents and the wind blew fiercely and the trailer rocked and vibrated. The eye of the storm passed right over us. When it was over the sun came out and it was beautiful and calm.
Is it not that a wonderful day to know our sins are reckoned as cast into the depths of the sea and we stand in our relationship with God forgiven, made a child of God and citizen of heaven. (Micah 7:19)
I say that the day in which a soul comes into contact with Christ is the greatest day of its history, because all the past is changed. Whether a person was a gross sinner or a morally decent person makes no difference. The believer's sins great or small are forgiven....completely. We now have the opportunity to make our future right and live the best life possible. The Christian is freed from the guilt of past wrongs and have a unblemished future to now live for Christ free of the destructive influences of sin if we will let the Holy Spirit of God direct us and will obey God's word.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says that the believer is a new creature in Christ Jesus. He then begins to live his life for Christ and begin to learn how really changed he is. So is it when we are brought to know Christ; it is a real, total, radical change.
With many, it is a most joyous event and 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." (Acts 3:8)
He was walking, and leaping, and praising God; do you wonder at it? If you had lost the use of your legs for a while, you would feel like leaping and praising God when you had them all right again; and thus is it with a soul when it first finds the Savior.
Oh! happy, happy day, when the miraculous hand of Christ takes away the infirmities of the soul, and makes the lame man to leap as a hart, and causes the tongue of the dumb to sing!
The day in which a man comes to Christ is also a wonderful day in its effect upon all his future. It is as when the helm of a ship is put right after the ship had lost its way. Now a man sails in a totally different direction the direction he was destined to go. He has purpose for his life and knows his ultimate destiny. His future will never be what his past was. There may be faults; there may be infirmities and shortcomings; but there will never be the old love of sin any more. "Sin shall not have dominion over you." (Rom. 6:14) This is God's own promise to us, given through his servant Paul.
ILLUS: Being without Christ is like being lost in the wilderness. The lost person wanders for days having no direct and not know where he is being afraid, tired, hungry. I teach the Utah Hunter Education course and use a video which shows the dangers of being lost. The video shows a couple out for a days hike up a high mountain trail. Clearly they are unprepared but they are laughing and having a great time. The meet a couple coming down from the mountain and the couple remind them of the danger and ask them are they prepared. They laugh it off and saying they know what they are doing. Three days later searchers fine their bodies.
You know that is a picture of the world around us. We try our bless to tell them about Jesus Christ and how He will forgive their sins and give them eternal life. Yet, they laugh it off or being unconcerned ignore God's truth. Sadly die in their sins and will spend eternity in the Devil's hell.
But what joy there is when one is saved and rescued from sin.
Dear friends most of you here profess to have found Jesus Christ as your Savior, and I thank God, as you do you, that when you by simple childlike faith, believed and put your trust in Jesus Christ he saved you. You have the full assurance of that fact....you are a changed person, a new creation and now an adopted child of God.
Maybe there maybe some here today who have not experienced the new birth. Wouldn't you want to hear how that you can be saved and know your sins are forgiven and you have a home in heaven. For believers it should stir us also to be reminded of how the Lord seeks sinners and of his power to save.
ILLUS: It really doesn't make sense that a lost person would not want to be saved. But many are like that. They do not understand the danger they are in. That the Lord has told us to preach the Gospel and tell men the Good News of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for our sins. Here in Utah in the winter many people like to ski cross country. When there has been heavy snow there is a great danger of avalanche. The TV and radio warn of the danger and yet people ignore the warnings. I guess they think it cannot happen to them. This week an experienced cross country skier with all the safely equipment include a beacon was killed in an avalanche near Weber Mountain. I am sure he thought he was prepared and it was not going to happen to him. Yet.....it did. That friends God's word tells us that every man will one day assuredly die and at the judgment stand before the Lord.
I would like to talk to you about Andrew's and Philip's conversion. I ask you to notice, in our text, the convert's description of it:
Andrew: John 1:41, " He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiahs, which is, being interpreted, the Christ."
Philip: John 1:45, "Philip findeth Nathaniel, 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."
Both Andrew and Philip proclaimed, "We have found Jesus the Messiah."
Yet, there is another side to the account as verse 43 states. "The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip." Andrew and Philip's account of the incident is that they found Christ; but the Holy Spirit's record of it is that Christ found Philip.
They are both true, however; verse 43 is the fuller. We will talk a little about both descriptions of Philip's conversion.
I. THE CONVERT'S DESCRIPTION OF HIS COMING TO CHRIST is given in these words:
"We have found...Jesus," and what he says is perfectly true. If any one of you is saved, it will be by finding Christ, by your personally making a discovery of him, as that man did who found the treasure that was hid in the field.
There must be a search after Christ; but if there be a search after him, we may be certain of this one thing, that there will first be a consciousness of needing him. Philip had sought Christ, or else he would never have said that he had found him; but, before that, Philip knew that there was need of a Messiah.
When Philip looked at his nation and countrymen he knew they needed the Messiah. When he looked into his own heart, he realized he had an urgent need of Him. It was a need that worldly things could not satisfy and need place in one's heart by God that only He can supply.
Jesus had determined to come to earth and redeem man even before the foundations of the earth was laid. He had come and it was actually Jesus who was seeking Philip, but unto now Philip was unaware His Savior seek him. Luke 19:10 says, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
But man must be told that he is a sinner, though most know it. He needs to know there is a penalty for sin and sin brings death as Romans 6:23 clearly says. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life."
ILLUS: A man who is lost must want to be saved. It would be like a man who decides to commit suicide and jumps into the river to down. Someone see him jump and jumps into to save him. At this point the man bent on suicide may not want to be rescued and might attack his savior. To be rescued one must want to be saved.
Years ago I had visited many times with a man who freely admitted he was a sinner, but refused to accept the Lord forgiveness. He rejected the Lord's sacrifice for his sins and he rejected my trying to win him to Christ. He did suddenly of a heart attack and it was in his will to donate his body to the Univ. of Utah for experimentation. When he died he could have awoke to the face of his Creator and God, a son welcomed home. However, he rejected God's help and death ushered him to the Hades to await the final judgment and the Lake of Fire.
Dear friends do you understand that you need a Savior? You never will seek him until you do understand your need of him. You must recognize that there is sin in you, sin for which you cannot make atonement, sin that you cannot overcome.
God gives us a true picture of ourselves in Romans 3:10-18.
You must realize that you need divine help, that you need the One who can be your Brother, to sympathize with you, and be patient with you, and yet who can be the Mighty God to conquer all your sin for you.
Understanding that you need a Savior is the first thing that will prompt you to search for him. Wanting a Messiah, Philip read the Scriptures concerning him. He speaks about Moses and the prophets, and of what they had written concerning the promised Deliverer. O my dear hearers, if you want to find Christ, you must search the Scriptures, for they testify of him!
The great majority of people never read their Bibles at all; or they read only just enough to satisfy their curiosity, or their conscience. Many read without sincerity or read it without understanding the reality that it is God's very word to us.
Perhaps they read the Bible as a part of literature which cannot be quite ignored; but they do not take down the Holy Book, and read it carefully and prayerfully, saying, "Oh, that I might find truth here! Oh, that I might find Christ here!" If they did, it would not be long before they found Jesus.
He who reads the Bible with the view of finding Christ, will not be long before some passage of Scripture will seem to leap up, to attract his attention, as though it were set on fire, and then it will speak to him of Jesus, whispering to him of the great sacrifice on Calvary, and speaking to his heart of divine love and mercy. Philip was a searcher after Christ in the place where Christ is revealed ,--in the pages of Scripture,--and you must be the same if you desire to find Jesus.
With an open Bible before you to guide your understanding, kneel down, and ask, "O God, please reveal Christ to me by thy Holy Spirit; bring me to know him, bring me this day to find him as my own Savior!"
Philip knew the Scriptures that the Messiah would come to redeem the world. He also more importantly realized that the Messiah was come for him. One of the things that every man, who would find the Savior, must understand is that the Savior has come to him personally. That is what Jesus did for Philip. Jesus said, "Come follow me."
The Bible tell us that all may come and says, "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (John 4:14). 1 John 2:2 says, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." Propitiation means "to pay in full." He has already paid our sin debt, how He says, "Come follow me."
"But," asks some troubled soul, "will Christ have me?" That is not the question;..... the question is, "Will you have Christ?" He says, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37) .
However, is men who cast out the Savior, not the Savior who casts men out. The bolt to open the door is on the inside as and Jesus is at the door knocking as Revelation 3:20 states, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
You must undo the bolt, and invite the Savior to enter your heart. He is seeking to enter, but He will not enter where He is not wanted. Wherever there is a soul that wants him, He immediately enters.
Philip accepted Christ as the Messiah. Do you ask, "What am I to do that I may find the Savior?" Well, what you have to do is simply this......you have to accept him.
ILLUS: When you are sick the doctor writes a prescription to treat the illness. He included the instructions as to how the medicine is to be taken. My dad before he died would go to the doctor and the doctor would give him medicine. Dad would go home and get a book on side effects of medicines and then see if he wanted to take it or not. Often he would not take the medicine as the doctor prescribed. Mother called dad, "Dr. Abrams."
ILLUS: Many try to get to heaven or come to Christ in other ways. Men have invented false Christs, false churches, false doctrines, false prophets and priests. No false message can save. Why? Because God is the Creator and He is the Savior and it is His plan and no man can change it in any way.
Verse 12 of this chapter says, "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." That is it, you see, receive him, believe on his name.
May say "But surely I can do some good works and in some way earn my salvation." Certainly, a person who savingly coming to Christ will do good works after they have received Christ But for salvation, your works cannot suffice.
You cannot lead a holy life until you have been born again. Only after you have received Christ can do righteous works that honor the Lord. But in order to the lead a holy life you must have a new heart, and to get a new heart, you have to receive Christ. That is the only way. He will change you, he will renew you, he will make you a new creature in himself. What you have to do is to receive him, and to believe on his name.
ILLUS: In the first church I pastored in Utah there was a man I often visited. He was lost and told me in plain terms that he did not believe in God and was not interested in salvation. He would smile at me almost in ridicule each time I tried to witness to him. One morning he began to have chest pains and his wife took him to the hospital. Within a short time he died and went into eternity unprepared. God's word say this man is at this moment in Hades in torment awaiting the final judgment. How tragic to have hear the truth of the love of Christ and have rejected it.
I hope I everyone here today understands what God is telling us. Over the years I have preached God word to many and though the truth as plainly as it can be preached some rejected the Lord.
You are not to give anything to Christ; you are to take all from him. You are not offering Him anything but your belief and trust.
You are not to bring anything to Christ; you are to come to him just as you are, and he will bring to you everything that you need.
Then, when you have accepted him by the simple act of faith, you will say with Philip, "We have found Jesus." That is the convert's description, and a very good one, too: "We have found Jesus."
Dear Friends even at this moment the Lord Jesus Christ is seeking you. That urging in your heart is the Holy Spirit drawing you to the Savior and forgiveness.
I remember very well the day I found the Lord. I remember the urging I felt in my heart. It was a wonderful day. However, I did not at first fully understand all about the grace of God or what had happened.
I had heard Jesus Christ preached and the Gospel resented; but fully comprehended it all. However, I knew I was a sinner and I wanted my sins pardoned. I then said yes to God, and I knew that I was accepted by Christ Jesus, and I knew that I was on my way to heaven.
I knew that there was no merit in me before the Lord had given me mercy. In time I understood more and began to grow in the Lord and in knowledge I learned that God had a will for my life and an eternal purpose. What a revelation it was to me! What a peace and satisfaction came into my life.
May I ask you this morning if you sense the need of Christ in your life? Do you have a sense of sinfulness? If there is such a sense; then, who gave it to you? Where do you think that repentance, that sorrow for sin, that desire after Christ, came from? Where do you think the drawing in your heart even now is coming from? Christ is sowing the good seed of the Gospel in your soul and it is He who is drawing you to Him.
You may never have made a public profession of faith or come to the point in time that you surrendered to Him and ask Him to save you and give you eternal life. He present urging now means it is time to believe and receive Him.
You may be a church member. I was for many years unsaved and did not know Christ as my Savior. My name was on the church roll, but my heart did not belong to Christ. Yet, thanks be to God a country preacher, preached God's truth from the Bible and I heard it.....Jesus Christ working in my heart and I knew I needed Him. That day God saved me. I will eternally be grateful for that.
Where are you today? What is your relationship with the Savior. You have met Him in this message from His word. Will you follow Him as Andrew and Philip did?
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