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God's word has power

Built on a Rock
Rev. Dr. Phil Booe, St. John Lutheran Church, Luverne

It is human nature to share the good things we experience in our life with others. If you go on a trip, you write on the postcard, “Wish you were here!” If you go out to a restaurant and you find your meal delicious, you don’t keep it to yourself. You say to the person with you, “Here, try this.” You want to share with them how wonderful it is.
So, for our relationship with Jesus Christ, why does the issue often become a personal and private affair? Why are people so hesitant to share their faith?
In John 1:43-51, Jesus called Philip to be his disciple. There wasn’t much to Philip’s conversion. The Bible tells us, “Jesus found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’” What happened? Philip followed him! Amazing, isn’t it?
This is the same way Jesus called Matthew, too. He walked up to the tax collector’s booth and said, “Follow me,” and Matthew did. He left everything and immediately followed Jesus.
Jesus also approached Peter and his brother Andrew fishing on the Sea of Galilee, and he said to them, “Follow me, and I’ll make you fishers of men,” and they did! After them, James and John, also fishermen, followed Jesus! It’s amazing!
So how is Jesus able to achieve immediate results? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not about what he is saying, it’s about who is saying it. When Jesus calls a person into faith, his words are powerful. They are performative; they accomplish something in the person by virtue of God’s power alone.
God commands us to call others to faith using his word. But this is good news! It means it’s not our persuasiveness that offers faith to a sinner’s heart, but the authoritative word of God.
Do you know what Philip did after Jesus called him into the kingdom? He didn’t keep it to himself. Instead, he went and found Nathanael and told him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph!”
What evangelism! Jesus calls Philip to be a disciple, then Philip goes and finds someone else and calls him to follow Jesus, too.
Nathanael didn’t exactly pack up and follow immediately, like the others. He had his own beliefs about the Messiah. Nathanael questioned, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” What he believed didn’t mesh with what Philip was saying. But instead of giving up on Nathanael, Philip challenged him. He told him, “Come and see.”
Nathanael took him up on his invitation and encountered Jesus and his powerful word firsthand. He was skeptical at first, but he would see Jesus heal the sick, raise the dead, and do many miracles. He would even see Jesus go to the cross on behalf of all people to bring us all into a right relationship with God; to gift you with forgiveness, faith, and everlasting life.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone you knew was there on that last day with you? Of course it would. So, use what God has given you to spread the gospel: his powerful word. Speak with boldness about the hope you have in Jesus and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit.

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