Come and See

Bible Book: John  1 : 40-51
Subject: Soul Winning; Witnessing; Evangelism; Holy Spirit, Work of

From verse 35 to verse 49 in the first chapter of John's Gospel, we have no less than five people coming to believe in and follow Jesus Christ. In rapid succession they come to the one John has called the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. From that beginning the message of this Savior has reached across the years of history, across the miles of the earth and sea, and even into our modern age. Millions have come to place faith in Jesus Christ and to discover the forgiveness, joy and abundant life Christ provides. How has that happened? How has a man who lived 2,000 years ago, in a village from which some said nothing good could come, affected the entire world and the entire scope of history? We know it is because he was and is the Son of God! But even news as wonderful as this could have become buried by some despot, by time or by some false religion. How then has the Good News continued?

The same method which started Christian conversions is still the one God uses today to reach the world with the message of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. What is that method? Let’s read the text and find the answer

John 1:40-51: One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone). 43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and 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 And 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 is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered and said to 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, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Here we discover the secret for reaching the world with the message of Jesus. It has been, and always will be, the witness of one Christian believer to a person who needs Christ. That is what we see in our text. Four of the five individuals who come to believe in and follow Jesus Christ were brought to Christ by one who has already met Christ.

i. Andrew and John were led to Christ by John the Baptist
ii. Simon Peter was led to Christ by Andrew, his brother
iii. Philip came to Christ by direct invitation
iv. Nathaniel was led to Christ by Philip

Soul-winners! That was the secret and it still is the plan God uses to bring people to faith in His Son.

Today, however, the church is leaning more toward a program related ministry within the church to reach people who are lost, or the church is depending on vocational ministers or missionaries to go across the country or around the world to witness. Certainly these people are essential to reaching lost people, but they are not the most important instrument God uses to win the lost to salvation. The greatest need is for every believer to be a witness to those they know and meet.

The story is told of a person who was applying for a job. He came to a place on the application which said: “Length of residence at your present address.” He wrote in: “About 55 feet, not counting the garage.” It is apparent the fellow did not understand the question. Many Christians have not understood that the issue of witnessing is a church-wide matter. If we continue the trend in the church to leave the witnessing to pastors, staff members and missionaries, which is the case in many churches today, we are going to see an even great decline within the ranks of Christians in the next decade. Most Christian denominations in the USA are experiencing the worst baptism rates in decades as we continue into the early 21st Century. We are already losing ground on a percentage basis to some cults and to religions like Islam (Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world).

Let’s look at the facts regarding this matter of witnessing to a lost world.

I. The Conversion

We cannot invite people to accept a Savior we ourselves do not know. We must be saved and we must assured we are saved in order to present the gospel to someone else.

When Philip invited Nathaniel to Christ, he met with some resistance. He simply said, "Come and see!" Philip knew that he had met the Christ and he gladly invited another to come and see for himself. It was the voice of man who knew that he knew what he knew about who he knew!

If we are not saved we will have no motivation to win others. The blind cannot lead the blind, and if they try they both fall into the ditch. Most importantly, if we are not saved, we do not have power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to share with someone what Christ means to us.

Is it possible that some people in the church are not sharing their faith with others because they themselves are not saved? Face it, when we find something we really like, we have no problem telling others about it. I needed some work done on my home and mentioned it to someone. That person brightened and said, “Oh, I know just the person.” I called that individual and he came and repaired my situation. He told me that almost all of his business comes by word of mouth – because one person tells another. In fact, I was telling my son about it and he said, “Give me his number – I need some repair work done as well.” Likewise, if we eat at a great restaurant, we tell everybody that they ought to try it. But, what about our faith in Christ! Do we tell anyone else just what Jesus means to us? Unless God’s people begin to share their faith more openly, others will never come to faith in our Lord.

Note the second thing we need to know about this subject…

II. The Command

Most Christians, really true Christians, desire to please the Lord, yet few realize that Jesus commanded us to go and tell others about Him. I’m not sure most Christians believe it is their duty and God’s will for them to witness to others. We will not take on this awesome task as long as we think it is not our responsibility to do so.

Note what Jesus said in John 20:21, "As the Father has sent me so send I you." What did Jesus mean by that statement? How did the Father send Him? Jesus said He was sent to “seek and to save” that which is lost! Then that is the same thing we are sent to do. Jesus wanted those who follow Him, who know Him, to go and tell others. Now, what do we tell others? We tell them what happened to us. Listen, you don’t have to be a theologian to share Christ with other people. It is okay to say to someone, “I don’t know all the answers to the deep Bible questions, but I do know what happened to me when I trusted Christ as my Savior.” If is not what we know but WHO we know that counts.

We read in Matthew 28:18-22 these words from Christ, “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” This is referred to as The Great Commission, and it has been important to the kingdom of God since Jesus spoke those words to His followers. Note what He told them to do – “Go.” We are to go and tell people and help them become followers of Christ. We are to see them through to baptism and teach them to be disciples.

One thing we see in The Great Commission is the fact that Jesus as “all authority, in heaven and on earth.” He commands us to go and tell. He did not suggest it – He commanded it. To obey Christ is to be a witness for Him to others.

Lastly, look at the third issue in our text…

III. The Consequences

We must further know the consequences if we fail to carry out the mandate that our Lord has given to us.

A. The Consequences to the Lost

A lost dog was sent to the pound because it had chewed off its collar. The dog catcher scratched a note and attached it to the dog that read, "Just a nobody, from nowhere, going no place." That, my friend, is the way most people feel in this world. Sadly, people don’t realize that they are going somewhere. When we die, we have to meet God. The Bible states in Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” We have the privilege and opportunity to tell people how to come to the day of death prepared to meet God. In Amos 4:12 the prophet wrote, “…Prepare to meet your God…” That is exactly what everyone will do one day. The only way to be prepared to meet God is to know His Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior. How can they believe unless someone tells them, and you are perhaps the only one who can or will do so!

The late preacher and author Herschel Ford tells about visiting with a deacon one night. It was after 9 pm and cars were racing here and there. The preacher asked, "Where are all these people going?" The deacon replied, "I don't know where they are going, but I'm glad we know where we are going." The lost do not understand where they are going, but since we know the way to heaven we ought to be pointing others to the Way. Jesus is the “way, the truth and the life.”

Regarding consequences, think about…

B. The Consequences on the Church

Christ died for the Church, and we are told by Paul in Ephesians that he loves the Church. I’m not talking about a building called a church but about the Church with a capital “C”. That includes all the people who are saved anywhere in the world. When we fail to witness to others, we are negatively affecting the Church that our Lord died for.

I read some time ago honeybees from Barbados that were moved to cold area. They immediately stopped making honey, even though there was plenty of pollen around to supply their need. In fact, they not only stopped making honey, they started stinging people all around their hives. Someone said that church members are just like those bees. When a church grows cold in the thing God has called it to do, which is carry out The Great Commission, they begin to sting each other. They turn inward and become negative and sometimes even hateful. I will tell you this after 50 years in the ministry, “I’ve never known a soul-winner who was a troublemaker in any church I pastored

There is one more area we need to consider as we think about consequences of not witnessing as we should…

C. The Consequence on the Kingdom

If we do not reach them, the kingdom will miss them. You see Jesus came to save the least, the last and the lost. He loves sinners and the Bible records and His works proved it. When we fail to love those who do not know Him, we are not acting like our Lord. We fail to behave like Kingdom people.

Let me hasten, for time is short. Look at one more consequence of not being soul-winners…

D. The Consequences of our Commitment

It really comes down to a commitment to reach someone with the gospel of Christ. These early Christians had no seminary training, no theological mindset, no acute training in logic, no elaborate Sunday School classes, no denominationally printed lessons books, no CDs, no internet websites, and yet they turned the world upside down. All they knew for sure was that they knew Jesus and were filled with the Spirit. They caused them to make a commitment to go and tell.

Sure, I know the early Christians loved to be trained and taught. I’m sure they enjoyed worship and listened intently as the preachers shared God’s Word with them. But, it seems that they saw their greatest task as not coming to hear but going to tell!

A pastor told me some years ago about attending First Baptist Church, Jacksonville during a summer week when both pastors were away. A man spoke who lacked the stirring ability of those two men, but when the invitation was given, several came to make public their commitment to Christ. Why? Because people in the church had been winning people to Jesus all week long. That is the secret of a truly evangelistic church.


In a little small village in England, a young man decided to step into a church he knew little about because it was snowing and cold, and too far to the church he planned to attend. The preacher had not made it that Sunday because of the weather, so a layman got up and sought to speak. The layman had not planned to speak and simply did the best he could. The young man who came in out of the cold fell under deep conviction. He surrendered to Christ then and there. His name was Charles H. Spurgeon, who went on to pastor the greatest church in the world within a few years’ time. It all happened because a layman, though untrained and unprepared, was willing to stand and share what Christ meant to him.

It is time for those of us who are Christians to stand and speak for Christ among our friends, colleagues, neighbors and relatives. It is God’s and He will bless the obedient.