Monday, November 2, 2009

The Payoff of Patient, Persistent Preaching - John 1:35-40

“Again, the next day John was standing with two of his disciples,
and he looked upon Jesus as He walked, and said,
‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’
And the two disciples heard him speak,
and they followed Jesus.
And Jesus turned, and beheld them following,
and said to them, ‘What do you seek?’
And they said to Him,
“Teacher, where are you staying?’
He said to them, ‘Come and you will see.’
They came therefore and saw where He was staying;
and they stayed with Him that day,
for it was about the tenth hour.
One of the two who heard John speak,
and followed Him, was Andrew,
Simon Peter’s brother.”
(vs 35-40)
John's great sermon was not lengthy nor verbose, but it was full of grace, truth and power. In the previous verses he simply challenged his listeners to “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

Here, on another day, he preaches basically the same message. We find no mention of any converts from John’s original oration of this truth, but here in verses 35-40 we see the first converts to the cause of Christ. This sermon moves Andrew and another to follow Jesus.

I picked up J.C. Ryle again this morning and was greatly encouraged by his thoughts on these verses. He writes:

“We see, for one thing, in these verses, what good is done by continually testifying of Christ. The first time that John the Baptist cried, ‘Behold the Lamb of God,’ no result appears to have followed. We are not told of any who heard, inquired, and believed. But when he repeated the same words the next day, we read that two of His disciples ‘heard him speak, and followed Jesus.’

“This simple story is a pattern of the way in which good has been done to souls in every age of the Christian Church. By such testimony as that before us, and by none else, men and women are converted and saved. It is by exalting Christ, not the Church – Christ, not the sacraments – Christ, not the ministry; - it is by this means that hearts are moved and sinners are turned to God. To the world such a testimony may seem weakness and foolishness. Yet, like the ram’s horns before whose blast the walls of Jericho fell down, this testimony is mighty to the pulling down of strong-holds.

“The story of the crucified Lamb of God has proved, in every age, the power of God unto salvation. Those who have done most for Christ’s cause in every part of the world, have been men like John the Baptist. They have not cried, ‘Behold me’ or ‘Behold the ordinances’ or ‘Behold the Church’, but ‘Behold the Lamb!’ If souls are to be saved, men must be pointed directly to Christ.

“One thing, however, must never be forgotten. There must be patient continuance in preaching and teaching the truth, if we want good to be done. Christ must be set forth again and again as the ‘Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.’ The story of grace must be told repeatedly, - line upon line, and precept upon precept. It is the constant dropping which wears away the stone. The promise shall never be broken, that ‘God’s Word shall not return unto Him void.’ But it is nowhere said that it shall do good the very first time that it is preached. It was not the first proclamation of John the Baptist, but the second, which made Andrew and his companion follow Jesus.”

Good words. May God cause us to be faithful, patient and persistent proclaimers of the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.

In His glorious grace,

No comments:

Post a Comment