Two Soul Winners
Roy Blizzard III © 2014
Text John 1:40-47 KJV, 40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. 42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jonah: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. 43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. 44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 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. 46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
This is the story of two men who were won by others to Jesus. I am here to tell you that anyone who really knows Jesus will want others to know him too and experience Jesus and his power to transform their lives. This is one of the greatest proofs that someone has really accepted Jesus as their savior. Have you ever seen people who claim to be a Christian, but they never talk about it to anyone? In fact you’d be hard pressed to even know many even went to church.
There are four evidences of life whether in an Amoeba, one of the smallest and simplest forms of animal life, or in a man, one of the most complex forms of animal life. They are these: 1) Assimilation 2) Elimination 3) Growth 4) Reproduction. So if we are alive spiritually, we will want to reproduce my own experience as a believer in Jesus in another. This is what Andrew did; as well as Peter. The moment Andrew left Jesus’ side to seek his brother; the Good Shepherd was no longer alone in His search for lost sheep. He had a missionary comrade. It was one of the greatest moments of a lifetime.
This is an interesting narrative. Two of John the Baptist’s disciples had heard Jesus speak, and had “followed” Jesus. We read of Andrew. One of the two that he went to find his brother Simon Peter. In John 1:41 it says, “…He first findeth his own brother Simon…” These words lead us to infer that there were two brothers sought and two were found. If Andrew alone had found his brother, the word first would have had no meaning. If James did not stand in opposition to Simon Peter as an object of a brotherly search, the evangelist John who was communicating this passage could have hardly said of Andrew, “…He first findeth his own brother Simon…”. The evangelist couldn’t mean that both Andrew and he went forth in search of Simon. I believe that we can infer that the same heavenly impulse which led Andrew to unite with Jesus was also strong in the heart of John too, who was probably the second of the two.
Something profound stirred these men. They couldn’t rest until they brought others to Jesus. The reaction was immediate. It did not follow a course of lectures. It wasn’t a sales campaign that had been carefully engineered and executed. There was no bonus pay involved. There were no ratings to be achieved through enlistments achieved. No one had told them they had to do this. It wasn’t the work of any committee. No. A spark had been struck within the soul of each man. Andrew held within his soul the secret of the Ages. He had discovered the Kingdom and the abode of its King and the beginning of the new earth. He burst with an eagerness to share his discovery with someone. He became a man with a mission. Such a man as this is Alive!
Had ever a brother had a greeting for a brother such as this? 41) “We have found the Messiah!” Prophets had promised, centuries had passed and generations had searched. Hopes had risen and fallen. Great men had left their marks on history for both good and evil, but these few words “We have found the Messiah!” close the long watch of the world in the greatest search for all times.
This is the certainty which arms the believer with the power to arrest the soul bound for hell. It is the message which makes every other message in the world seem minor in comparison. Bear this message one time to someone in need and hungry for salvation and you will live and thrill in that moment as you have never lived of thrilled before.
Andrew quickly bore it to a heart that was ready. There are always hearts that are ready, you just have to find them. Four constant miracles support each other; The Sower, the Seed, the Soil, and the Harvester. God created man and only God can satisfy the needs of man.
Peter and Bartholomew often called Nathaniel were two of the most rugged individuals in Galilee; one independently impetuous and the other independently cautious. The one representing the extreme left and the other the extreme right; Christ met the needs of both.
Andrew brought Peter to Jesus. That was Andrew’s way. The disciple Phillip would do things a bit differently. That was his way. But what a moment it was for the heart of God. This was the first fruit of human effort in the New Kingdom of God. In the same 24 hours, Andrew found his savior and his brother. Having been with Jesus empowered him to lead his brother to Christ. The power becomes “inherent”. It is given to those in the kingdom.
Remember this incident that Luke reports in 5:5-10? 5) And Simon answering said unto him, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net”. 6)And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake . 7)And they beckoned unto their partners,which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them.And they came, and filled both the ships,so that they began to sink. 8)When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees,saying, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord”. 9)For he was astonished, and all that were with him,at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10)And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee,which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, “Fear not; from hence forth thou shalt catch men”.
If Jesus lives in you He will live in others through you. Jesus has said in Matthew 4:19, “…Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” The tragedy of tragedies is that many Christians do not realize this power and it lies within them dormant because Fear immobilizes them. Andrew could never have done this in himself. He was too common, too ordinary. Peter wouldn’t have tumbled for any sales pitch. Bur something electrified Andrew. An assurance gripped his spirit. He was the bearer of a message that was unassailable. “We have found the Messiah!”
Try that on someone. Say to that searching heart, Jesus is my savior, he can be your’s too. Jesus had words of life for Simon and Bartholomew, the keys to their potential. Jesus told Peter that he would be called Petros. In the Dead Sea Scrolls we know this meant firstborn, not stone. So Jesus was telling him that he would be the spiritually firstborn of Jesus’ Kingdom. To Bartholomew Jesus told him in John 1:50&51, “…Behold greater things than these you will see.” 51) And Yeshua (Jesus) said to them all, “Amen, Amen, I say to you hereafter you will see Heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the son of man.”
He, like Jacob of old, was to experience the stairway to glory. It was a wonderful thing to have the gates of heaven open for the first time.
Phillip is another soul winner named in the first chapter. While Andrews message is, “We have found the Messiah”, Phillip’s message is, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
Here is the record in John 1:43; The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, “Follow me.” The meeting of a soul and its savior is the result of causes hidden deep in God. It is not a chance that draws the dew to the desert flower. Jesus determined to go into Galilee and so to Phillip.
Jesus’ initial message was so simple any child could say it. “Follow me.” But it was a complete digest of all the Law wrapped up within those few words. It all could be kept through Jesus who offers himself to Phillip.
As on a later occasion when Moses and Elijah vanished and three apostles saw no man but Jesus only, so Phillip finds a complete world, a complete eternity within Jesus. That is his testimony: “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
Just as in history there is a David and a Jonathan, Paul and Timothy, so there is a Phillip and Bartholomew. Andrew found his brother, Phillip found his closest friend.
While all these men went to the synagogue, these men were tough men working tough trades but all had a hunger far beyond the Law and the Prophets. The good men will raise objections where rough and ill-mannered will tumble into God’s grace. But when you have Bartholomew you’ll have not the cursings and the denials of discouragement of the panic stricken Peter at the night of betrayal. However, both men are worthwhile and both have a place and usefulness in Jesus’ Kingdom.
Bartholomew’s doubts come first, Peter’s doubts come later. One says, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth.” The other says, “I know not this man.”
It is even more difficult to lead a good man to Jesus out of a sensible, easy, man-made religion than it is to lead a rough man out of the gutter to Jesus. Andrew can find Peter, Phillip can find Bartholomew. Today there is someone that you can find; someone that you alone must find if they are to ever be won to Jesus.
Phillip handles Bartholomew’s skepticism beautifully. He says, “Come and see.” The burden of proof is always on the skeptic. Phillip acted on the principle that a man who has never met Jesus is unqualified to decide his claims.
Phillip didn’t try to argue. It would have been useless with Bartholomew. He fell back upon his experience. What Jesus had been to him he could be to his friend. Is there a better argument than “See what he has done for me?”
It only takes a moment in Jesus’ presence to dissolve doubts. What Andrew can’t do for Peter, Phillip can’t do for Bartholomew and I can’t do for you, Jesus can do at once. Jesus saw Bartholomew coming to him. Just as he opened Peter’s heart so now he opened Bartholomew’s heart and says to him, “behold and Israelite in whom there is no guile.”
Bartholomew’s first words to Jesus were so revealing. “Whence knowest thou me?” Jesus says to him, “Before you ever saw me, I saw you.” Or “before Phillip ever called you, I saw you.” That is what makes soul winning possible. Jesus is already standing with outstretched arms towards the people he waits for us to call. He is reaching towards them long before we do. He understands the hidden desires, the heartaches, the hunger within our spirits. He understands and cares.
There is only one message to carry to the lost world around us. Andrew carried it to Peter. Phillip carried it to Bartholomew. We have found the Messiah. Carry it every day this week to someone you meet. Someone within your reach needs Jesus.by