John 1:43-45 - The Witness of Philip

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“The Witness of Philip”


Philip’s experience (v.43-44)

A.      He was sought by Jesus personally (v.43a)

              Jesus Himself went forth and sought Philip—Philip was not seeking Jesus there is none who seeks God (Romans 3:11).

              Jesus traveled a long distance to find Philip

1.       Galilee was a long distance away & shows how far Christ will go to reach a soul, Jesus will go to

Þ      To any sin no matter how terrible it is

Þ      To any place no matter how terrible or shameful

Þ      To any condition no matter how hopeless or helpless

Þ      To any person no matter how shameful or guilty

2.       Every believer should go any distance to reach a person, no matter how depraved that person is.

3.       There are too many people in this world that seem to be unreachable: alcoholic, poor, prisoner, lowly etc.

"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

`For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; `I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' (Matthew 25:35-36)

                (Remember the person in prison is guilty of the most serious offenses & sins)


Jesus is seen is fulfilling His mission in seeking and saving Philip.  He came into the world for the very purpose of seeking and saving the lost (Luke 19:10; John 10:10; John 18:37; 1 Timothy 1:15). 

B.      He was called by Jesus personally – He called Philip to “follow Him” (v.43b)

Follow (akolouthei): to become a close companion, a close follower, a disciple. Two significant ideas are in the word: union and likeness, or cleaving and conformity. To follow Christ means...

·      to cleave, to be united to Him, to be in close union with Him.

·      to become like Him, to be conformed to Him.

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (John 10:27)

"If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. (John 12:26)

"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (Luke 9:23)

(Luke 9:23-26) Dying to self


Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny yourself, take up his cross daily, & follow Me.

(John 8:12; Colossians 2:6; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6)


              In Jesus’ day they knew what it meant to “take up” a cross.

              They saw criminals bearing their own cross to the place where they were to be executed.

              Some were even executed on the side of the road that led in & out of the city.

1.       The cross is always an instrument of death.

2.       Christians are to deny themselves, humbling themselves to the point of death (Phil. 2:5-8; 2 Cor. 10:3-5)

3.       Christians are to put their will, desires, wants & ambitions to death & follow Jesus doing His will.

              There is several ways the believer dies to himself (Romans 6:11-13).

1.       The believer must know several things & count himself crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20; 5:24).

·         The believer has been freed from the enslaving power of sin; it no longer is his master. 

·         Verse’s - 6, 7, 11, 14, 18, 22

2.       The believer reckons or counts himself dead to sin, but alive to God (Romans 6:11).

3.       The believer does not let sin reign in his body (Romans 6:12; Col. 3:5).

4.       The believer does not yield his members as instrument of sin (Romans 6:13a).

5.       The believer yields himself to God (Romans 6:13b cf. Romans 12:1-2).

6.       The believer yields his bodily members as instrument of righteousness (Romans 6:13c)

              Dying to ourselves needs to be repeated daily (Matthew 19:16-30) the rich young ruler could not do this. 

C.      The City of Bethsaida (v.44)


Bethsaida: Jesus carried on a large ministry in Bethsaida, but the gospels tell us nothing about the city itself. The city was denounced by Jesus because of its rejection of Him (Matthew 11:21; Luke 10:13). (Cp. Mark 6:45; Mark 8:22; Luke 9:10; John 12:21 for other references to the city.)

II.                Philip’s first concern: Nathanael (v.45a)

A.      Philip Followed the Example of His Lord

Jesus had just challenged Philip to “follow” Him, to become just like Him, and he did.

Following the example of his Lord, Philip did exactly what Jesus had done to Him, he found his friend Nathanael.

Philip became a personal soul–winner like his Lord!

1.       All true witnessing must begin at home (John 1:41) Andrew found his brother Peter.

Household salvation is a very precious truth (2 Timothy 1:5).

a.       It often happens that God uses one of a household to draw the rest to himself.

b.       God calls an individual, & uses him or her as sort of a spiritual decoy to bring the rest of the family to God.

Has God used you in that way?

Do you have a brother or sister who still do not know the Lord?

Are you giving your maximum effort to lead your family to Christ?

2.       If you have no brother or sister then go to your friend like Philip did (John 1:43-45)

3.       Commit the word to faithful men who will be able to teach others as well (2 Timothy 2:1-2).

III.             Philip’s conviction: Jesus was the One prophesied (v.45b)

A.      Note Four Points About Philips Decision

#1 Philip was extremely joyful – “We have found Him”

There was excitement & rejoicing in his heart.

Jesus met the needs and craving of his heart.

1.       "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 NKJV)

2.       "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. (John 6:37)

3.       On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. (John 7:37 NKJV)

4.       For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness. (Psalms 107:9 NKJV)

#2 God’s eternal plan for man & the world in which he lives in is recorded in Scripture—Instruction Manual to Life.

1.       "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. (John 5:39)

Paul told Timothy in the last days evil men & imposters will grow worse & worse, deceiving & being deceived,

1.       But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  

2.       All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17 NKJV)

#3 Philip and Nathanael knew the Scripture.  They were familiar with the prophecies of the Old Testament.

1.       This means that Philip and Nathanael “Studied to show themselves approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15).”

2.       This means that Philip & Nathanael “desired the sincere milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:2-3).”

3.       They “hungered & thirsted after righteousness (Matthew 5:6).”

#4 Jesus was identified as the Messiah John 1:45 See (p.5-6) of this study for Prophecies concerning Jesus.

B.      Knowledge: Grounded in the Great Truths of Scripture

This does not mean you need to be a Theologian

It does mean that you must:

1.       Understand the basic content of the gospel as it is contained in Scripture & be able to articulate it.

2.       Ministers & believers are called and entrusted with the Gospel (1 Thess. 2:1-4 cf. Romans 10:13-15).

An official proclamation of victory!

This was used in times past to describe a message an army or General sent back to their King that they were victorious in battle or had destroyed their enemies, thus “Good News.” 

This fits the message of the Gospel since it is the message of Christ and how He had totally defeated our enemies (sin, death, the Devil) and a message which is worthy to be spread with great joy and confidence Romans 1:16-17!  

3.       Remember, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16; 1 Thess. 1:5)

C.      You Must Be Planted

To be an effective witness you must be planted if you are to bear fruit.

What must be true of a seed if it is to sprout and be fruitful?

#1 – It must be alive.

                A dead seed will not germinate

If you are to bear fruit as a Christian you must first of all be alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-10 cf. Colossians 3:1-3)

1.       Remember even a living seed will not produce fruit it is simply left alone on a shelf somewhere.

2.       It must be planted in the ground

In the same way, you will never bear fruit as a Christian if you just sit on a pew: Get involved in witnessing


#2 – Colossians 2:6-7

Since we have received Jesus Christ the Lord, we are to continue to walking and serving Him as the Lord of our lives!

                There are three things in particular the believer is to do.

1.       The believer is to be rooted and built up in Christ (v.7). There are two pictures in this statement.

Þ      The picture of being rooted is that of a tree.

The believer is to be like a towering tree that has its roots deeply planted in the ground.

a.       The ground provides strength against wind and storms

b.       The ground is nourishment for life. The believer is to draw his nourishment and strength from Christ.

c.        Psalm 1:1-3… Jeremiah 17:5-8 … John 15:1-5… Ephesians 3:14-17


Do not uproot yourself or your roots will never go deep!

Þ      The picture of being built or constructed is that of a building.

Jesus Christ is the foundation for life, the only sure foundation. Therefore, the mature believer is a person who has built his life upon Christ & obedience (Matthew 7:24-27)

a.       If you want to build a good foundation, you must depart from iniquity cf. 2 Tim. 2:19.

The point to note is this: the emphasis upon a strong attachment and a flow of nourishment and life from Christ to the believer. That is, the believer is to:

1.    Walk in a continuous, unbroken communion and fellowship with Christ.

2.    His life and mind are to focus upon Christ without interruption.

3.    Draw all nourishment and strength from Him. This is critical, for there is no other permanent nourishment or strength—not that

lasts forever and imparts eternal life to the human soul.

2.       The believer is to walk established in the faith just as he has been taught (Phil. 1:27; 2 Thess. 2:16-17). 

Þ      The word "established" means to be firm, stable, holding fast and not letting go.

This shows the utter necessity for strong teachers in the church.

When believers have strong teachers, they are to learn all they can about the faith and hold fast to it. They are not to let it go.

3.       The believer is to walk overflowing with thanksgiving (Phil. 4:4, 6; 1 Thess. 5:18; Heb. 13:15).

Þ      Christ Jesus the Lord has done so much for the believer—so much that flows on and on, never ceasing, not even for one moment of any day. Therefore, the believer is to learn to walk in an unbroken spirit of thanksgiving—a thanksgiving that overflows in praise to the Lord moment by moment throughout the day.

D.      Hard Work – Matthew 25:14-27 cf. Matthew 9:35-38 The harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers are few.

Not all Christians are noted for their hard work or diligence.

In fact, some Christians are quite lazy.

Shortly before His crucifixion Jesus told a story that pointed up to this truth encouraging His followers to be diligent.  

1.       Do we do this?  Sometimes we do.  The Lord places a great opportunity before us.

2.       & Instead of considering it an opportunity, we think of it as a burden.

3.       Some Christians seem to think of every opportunity is a burden.

“A person who regards everything as a burden cannot be a faithful servant of the Lord; he cannot even be a faithful servant of men… Our characters need to be disciplined till we cease to find work irksome and can delight in spending time and strength and material resources without stint in order to serve others.”

E.      Be Programmed for Rejection 2 Timothy 2:1ff.

Do not be ashamed of Christ – 2 Timothy 1:8, 12, 16…Psalm 40:9-10; 119:46

F.       Characterized by Love – 1 Corinthians 13:1-8

The Final Point is this: If we are to win others for Jesus Christ, everything we do must be characterized by Love.

Is everything I do characterized by Love?

Not in just one area of our live but in all times in all places until the Lord Jesus returns?

1.       Love is & must be the mark of Christ’ disciples (John 13:33-35)

2.       Christ’ disciples must grow more & more in love (Philippians 1:9-10; 1 Thess. 4:9-10)

3.       Christ’ disciples must labor in love (Heb. 6:10 cf. 1 Thess. 1:3)

4.       Christ’s disciples must love in deed and not in word only (1 John 3:18-19)

5.       Christ’s disciples must put on love (Col. 3:13)

6.       Christ’s disciples must love one’s enemies (Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:27-31)

(1:45) Scripture, Fulfilled—Prophecy, Fulfilled:

Prophecies Fulfillment
Genesis 3:15 The Promised Seed of a Woman Galatians 4:4; Luke 2:7; Rev. 12:5
Genesis 12:3; Genesis 18:18; Genesis 22:18 The Promised Seed of Abraham Acts 3:25; Galatians 3:8 (Matthew 1:1; Luke 3:34)
Genesis 17:19; Genesis 22:16-17 The Promised Seed of Isaac Matthew 1:2; Luke 1:55, 72-74
Genesis 28:14 (Numbers 24:17) The Promised Seed of Jacob Luke 3:34 (Matthew 1:2)
Genesis 49:10a Will Spring From The Royal Tribe of Judah Luke 3:33; Hebrews 7:14
Deut. 18:15, 18 Will Be a Prophet John 6:14; Acts 3:22-23
2 Sam. 7:13b (2 Sam. 7:13; Isaiah 9:1, 7; Isaiah 11:1-5) Will be the Eternal Heir to David’s Throne Matthew 1:1 (Matthew 1:6; Luke 1:32-33)
2 Sam. 7:14a Will be God’s Son Mark 1:1
Isaiah 35:6; Isaiah 61:1-2 (cp. Psalm 72:2; Psalm 146:8; Zech. 11:11) Will Meet the Desperate Needs of Men Matthew 11:4-6
Job 17:3 Will Ransom Men Ephes. 1:7 (1 John 2:1-2)
Psalm 2:1-2 Will Be Rejected By the Nations Luke 23:36a; Luke 23:38
Psalm 2:7 The Son of God Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5; 5:5
Psalm 8:2 Is to Be Praised Matthew 21:16
Psalm 16:8-11 Will Be Resurrected Acts 13:34-35; 2:25-28, 31 (Matthew 28:1-2; Mark 16:6, 12, 14; Luke 24:1-53)
Psalm 22:1 Will be Forsaken by God Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34
Psalm 22:7 People Will Wag Their Heads at the Cross Matthew 27:39
Psalm 22:18 Clothes Gambled For Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34; John 19:24
Psalm 22:22 To Secure Many Brothers Hebrews 2:12
Psalm 31:5 Commends His Spirit to God Luke 23:46
Psalm 40:6-8 Fulfills God’s Will Hebrews 10:5-7
Psalm 41:9 Is Betrayed by Judas John 13:18; Acts 1:16
Psalm 45:6-7 Is Eternal & Preeminent Hebrews 1:8, 9
Psalm 68:18 Will Lead Captivity Captive Ephes. 4:8-10
Psalm 69:21 Offered Drugs on the Cross Matthew 27:48; Mark 15:36; Luke 23:36; John 19:28, 29
Psalm 69:25; Psalm 109:8 Judas’ Fate Acts 1:20
Psalm 89:26-27 Exaltation Phil. 2:9 (cp. Rev. 11:15)
Psalm 95:7-11 Hearts Hardened Against Hebrews 3:7-11; Hebrews 4:3, 5-7
Psalm 102:25-27 Is Creator & Eternal Hebrews 1:10-12
Psalm 110:1 To Be Exalted Matthew 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42; Acts 2:34, 35; Hebrews 1:13
Psalm 110:4 The High Priest Hebrews 5:6
Psalm 118:22-23 The Stone Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11
Psalm 118:25, 26 The Triumphal Entry Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:9; John 12:13
Psalm 132:11, 17 The Son of David Luke 1:69; Acts 2:30
Isaiah 7:14 The Virgin Birth Matthew 1:23
Isaiah 9:1, 2 A Light to Those in Darkness Matthew 4:15, 16
Isaiah 11:2 The Spirit Rests Upon in a Special Way Luke 4:18-21 (cp. Matthew 12:18; John 3:34)
Isaiah 11:10 To Save the Gentiles Romans 15:12
Isaiah 25:8 To Conquer Death 1 Cor. 15:54
Isaiah 28:16 The Stone Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:6
Isaiah 40:3-5 To Have a Forerunner Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4-6
Isaiah 42:1-4 To Minister to the Gentiles Matthew 12:17-21
Isaiah 49:6 A Light to the Gentiles Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47, 48; Acts 26:23
Isaiah 53:1 Would Not be Believed John 12:38; Romans 10:16
Isaiah 53:3-6 To Die and Arise Acts 26:22, 23
Isaiah 53:4-6, 11 To Die for Man’s Sins 1 Peter 2:24, 25
Isaiah 53:4 To Heal & Bear Man’s Sickness Matthew 8:17
Isaiah 53:9 To Be Sinless 1 Peter 2:22
Isaiah 53:12 To Be Counted a Sinner Mark 15:28; Luke 22:37
Isaiah 54:13 To Teach as God John 6:45
Isaiah 55:3 To Be Raised Acts 13:34
Isaiah 59:20-21 To Save Israel Romans 11:26, 27
Jeremiah 31:31-34 To Make a New Covenant with Man Hebrews 8:8-12; Hebrews 10:16, 17
Hosea 1:10-11 To Bring About the Restoration of Israel Romans 11:1-36
Hosea 1:10 The Conversion of the Gentiles Romans 9:26
Hosea 2:23 The Conversion of the Gentiles Romans 9:25; 1 Peter 2:10
Joel 2:28-32 The Promise of the Spirit Acts 2:16-21
Amos 9:11-12 The Lord’s Return & David’s Kingdom Reestablished Acts 15:16, 17
Micah 5:2 The Birthplace of Messiah Matthew 2:5, 6; John 7:42
Habakkuk 1:5 The Jews’ Unbelief Acts 13:40, 41
Haggai 2:6 The Return of Christ Hebrews 12:26
Zech. 9:9 The Triumphal Entry Matthew 21:4, 5; John 12:14-15
Zech. 11:13 Judas’ Betrayal Matthew 27:9-10
Zech. 12:10 The Spear Pierced in Side John 19:37
Zech. 13:7 The Scattering of the Disciples at the Cross Matthew 26:31, 56; Mark 14:27, 50
Malachi 3:1 The Forerunner, John the Baptist Matthew 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:27
Malachi 4:5-6 The Forerunner, John the Baptist Matthew 11:13, 14; Matthew 17:10-13; Mark 9:11-13; Luke 1:16-17

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