Follow Me – The First Disciples Call

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Sermon Outline:

1. John the Baptist
2. John and Andrew
3. Peter
4. Phillip
5. Nathaniel

Sermon Text:

John 1:35-51

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip 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.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Sermon Notes

I can’t think of a better definition of a Christian than “one who follows Jesus.” Every time He said, “follow Me” He was headed to the cross as a redemption for our sins. His gospel calls us to embrace Him as Lord of our lives and believe in Him with unqualified obedience. The gospel of Jesus Christ is this: Jesus crucified, buried and risen bodily on the third day (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Gospel literally means “good news”; and there is no greater news than the promise of eternal life, victory over sin, hope beyond the grave, and the complete forgiveness of sins by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone (Eph. 2:8-9).

The book of Revelation refers to Jesus as “our First Love.” This is part of His gospel call: to love Him more than all other loves (Luke 14:25-33). More than father, mother, brother, sister, wife, husband, son and daughter – even your own life. If we want to be His disciple, that is what He requires. It’s not a cheap grace we are saved with, but a costly one. And in like manner, the call to follow Christ should not be a cheap one, but a costly one. As my friend, John MacArthur, so succinctly says, “it is to give all that you are for all that He is.”

Many people profess faith today in Jesus. But when we take a closer look at their confession, their leading desire seems to be just the good opinion of the crowd. The masses in Jesus’ day did this as well. They would come from miles around to hear Him preach, perform miracles, create food and feed them, and do great acts of healing. They professed Him, but they weren’t willing to follow Him. We might call this kind of profession “the between life”; enough to feel religious, but not enough to surrender to Christ as Lord. The between life cannot satisfy, cannot save, cannot bring ultimate joy and contentment. There is no “between life” with Jesus!

Jesus is still calling people today to turn from the hopeless, gray, pretending life of “the between”, to believe solely and wholly upon Him and His Word for their salvation. Once you’ve tasted of the kindness of the Lord in regeneration (1 Peter 2:1-3), the life of the “between” tastes only tepid, lukewarm, moderate, and artificial. IOW, knowing Jesus takes you out of the cult of religion and brings you into relationship with the living Triune God forever!

Today as we look at John 1:35-51, we are given an intimate look at the Jesus’ calling of His first disciples: John, Andrew, Peter, Phillip and Nathaniel. Are you a follower of Jesus? Do you know Him as your Lord and Savior? Or are you living the life of “the between?” It is only surrender by grace through faith to the person and gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that can rescue one from “the between life” now, and from the wrath to come for all eternity. Trust in Jesus today, repent of your sins, and know peace with God forever (Romans 5:1-2).