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COME AND SEE; BEHOLD, #11

"Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee." (JOH 1:45-48)

We want to pay special notice to some of the words in these verses. We want to see how they follow through in the significance of what’s being taught.

Philip finds Nathanael, and tells him, "We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." The immediate response is, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" How are we going to come to the final determination? Philip answers, "Come and see."

The emphasis here is "see." It is what we see; it isn’t what we hear. We, like Nathaniel, have already heard that this is He, but how do we know? Where is the place of our assurance? It is by what we see. "Come and see."

Jesus saw Nathanael coming, "and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed." Again, it is what Jesus saw. "Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered…Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee." It is what Jesus saw in Nathanael. It is by coming to see that we know. There is our evidence. There is our assurance.

Last week we spoke about the dove as a symbol of the holiness which is visible in those who have received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. John said in JOH 1:33, "And I knew him not [John had no knowledge who Jesus was. He did not know Him as a person.]: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost."

If you look back, you will see that John the Baptist is speaking of the Messiah in verses 26 and 27. He said, "I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose." But John himself could not identify the person that Verse 28 says, "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." The Lord revealed unto John that this was He, because he must baptize Him. But it was that descending of the Holy Spirit and its remaining upon Him, that John saw as the unquestionable evidence that this was indeed the Messiah.

So what was the undeniable evidence that Jesus was the Messiah? John the Baptist saw and heard what we read of in MAT 3:16-17, "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

John the Baptist witnessed this. He heard the audible voice from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove. John witnessed these things.

What does God's Word give us as the undeniable evidence that Jesus is the Messiah? Is it the voice from heaven? No. Is it the presence of Jesus? No. What is it that He gave John as the undeniable evidence that He was the Messiah? After he had seen the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus, after he had heard the voice from heaven, he said, "And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God." (JOH 1:34) It was the visible seeing of that Spirit of holiness that descended upon Him and remained upon Him. Thereby he "saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God."

Where is the evidence that you and I have been baptized with the Holy Spirit? It is that He is able to be seen in our lives. The Spirit of holiness has descended upon us and remains upon us.

Not only did John speak of seeing the dove descending upon Jesus as the symbol of holiness, but also seeing His walk caused John to testify of Jesus’ Sonship. After the Spirit of holiness had descended upon Him, John saw His walk. JOH 1:36 says, "And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!" In other words, look: it is visible; see that Spirit of holiness that has descended upon Him. "Behold the Lamb of God!"

Do you know why this was necessary? The death of Jesus, apart from His holiness, would not have been an acceptable sacrifice before the Father. If the Lord Jesus Christ was not without spot and without blemish, if He had not been without sin, His sacrifice could not have atoned for my sins. It was what the Father saw in that holiness, that spotlessness of Christ, that made Him that acceptable sacrifice. Outside of that spotless nature of Christ, that holiness, His sacrifice would never have been acceptable. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2CO 5:21)

"He hath made him to be sin for us…." He was made our substitute. How could He be our substitute if He had sin of His own, if He were not spotless?

"He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." We have now His righteousness imputed to us because our sin was imputed to Him. But before this could be acceptable in the eyes of the Father, that Spirit of holiness must be there. The Father Himself must be able to behold Him as that perfect sacrifice, as that "Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." He must be able to behold Him as without sin.

By His sinless nature Christ was able to appease the Father's wrath upon our sin by becoming our substitute. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." (GAL 3:13)

He was "made a curse for us." He hung on a tree. He accepted our curse. By Christ’s taking our curse, "that we might be made the righteousness of God in him," we were able to become the recipients of that blessed Spirit with which our Saviour was baptized. You and I could never have become the recipients of that Spirit - we could never have become baptized with the Holy Ghost - if He hadn’t taken, as our substitute, our curse upon that tree.

GAL 3:14 says, "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." It was the blessing of Abraham that could come upon us. He was made a curse. See verse 13 followed by verse 14. He was "made a curse…Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." It is by His perfection, it is by His holiness, and it is by His taking of our curse that made it possible for us to be recipients of that promise of the Holy Spirit.

This baptism of the Holy Spirit (that is, this Spirit of holiness, which we receive through faith) is also the unquestionable evidence of our relationship with Christ. That now becomes our undeniable evidence. Why? "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (ROM 8:6) That spiritual mind, that spiritual or carnal attitude, is what unquestionably identifies us as who we are.

"To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." I want you to see that Scripture uses this distinction to make the unquestionable separation. Verses 7 through 9 continue, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

My mental disposition is that which is visibly evident to the world – my attitude. Can I sit here and tell of wonderful experiences I’ve had, and all the assurance I have of salvation, while with the other side of my mouth I’m speaking bitterness and slander about my brother? No. That is demonstrating a wrong attitude, I’m demonstrating a carnal mind that is a spirit of the flesh. Then I cannot say I’m "not in the flesh, but in the Spirit,"because that is not the Spirit of God.

"Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." If we don’t have that Spirit of holiness, the Holy Spirit that has descended upon us and is remaining upon us, we are "none of his." See how positively this identifies who we are.

The Spirit of God that dwells in the people of God can be seen in the Spirit of Christ that is in you - that mental disposition, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."

Can we say we love God and hate our brother? No. The attitudes revealed by the carnal mind are as dynamically opposed to the fruit of the Spirit as east is from west. We have one of the two: you cannot say that you have a carnal mind, that you’re a Christian, but that you are a "carnal Christian," because the works of the carnal mind are the exact opposite of the works of the fruit of the Spirit.

How can any person say, "How do I know if I’ve been saved?" All we have to do is examine our own heart. Do we have the fruits of the Spirit or do we have the fruit of the flesh? Look at GAL 5:19-21: "Now the works of the flesh are manifest [It is obviously seen. It’s as clear as the sun in the sky.], which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

We need to examine our heart. What is it that dwells in our hearts? The fruit of the Spirit is just the exact opposite. It is dynamically opposed. It is removed as far as east is from west. It is not hatred and wrath and strife. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith." (GAL 5:22)

Do you see how the world can see that Spirit of holiness? The dove is the symbol of the baptism of the Spirit because it is the symbol of holiness. When that visibly has descended upon us, the world can see it by our attitude. What is our attitude? Is it the fruit of the Spirit? "Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." You and I by nature have these affections and lusts, but we have crucified them. This is the visible baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Christ's baptism of the Spirit was sealed with the visible sign of a dove, which is the symbol of holiness. As we see in SON 6:9a, "My dove, my undefiled is but one…." The dove is the symbol of an undefiled spirit.

It’s an amazing thing when the Lord opens our understanding to see that names are symbolic: names of some of the apostles and some of the people in the Bible. When we learn to understand the meaning of these names, they are such beautiful symbols of what the Scriptures are teaching.

When Peter came to Jesus, Jesus called him by his name. "And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona." (JOH 1:42) Peter didn’t come to Him and introduce himself, saying, "I am Simon the son of Jona." The Lord Jesus saw him coming. "And when Jesus beheld him [in other words, when He saw him], he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona."

Simon comes from the root word Shama (shaw-mah) in the Hebrew. It means obedience. The word Jona, comes from the root word, Yownah (yo-nah) in the Hebrew, and it means, dove. Stop and analyze this. The Lord Jesus says, "Thou art Simon the son of Jona:" in other words, obedience which is revealed by the Spirit of holiness.

With this in mind, turn to MAT 16:17-18. "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona [That word Bar-jona means the son of Jona.]: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…."

Do you know what that word Peter means? JOH 1:42 says, "Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone." The name Peter means a stone.

"And upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (MAT 16:18) Built upon which rock? What does this teach us? This stone, or this rock, or this foundation, upon which the church is going to be built, is obedience and holiness. See this in MAT 7:24. "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock."

"Thou art Peter, and upon this rock…." What rock? Simon Bar-jona: obedience, holiness. Upon this foundation I will build my church. It’s precious when we start to see through this that it is obedience and a Spirit of holiness that is the foundation upon which the church of Christ shall be built.

The word stone comes from the same Greek word as the name Peter. I looked them up, and that word stone that we see in JOH 1:42 ("by interpretation, A stone") is the same Greek word as the word rock in MAT 16:17-18. There’s the foundation upon which the Lord Jesus Christ will build his church.

Philip found Nathanael and urged him to come to Christ in JOH 1:45. "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." All the commentaries agree on one point: that Nazareth was a notoriously wicked city. The city of Nazareth was notoriously wicked with murder, adultery, idolatry, and every base sin imaginable. Yet here the man comes and says, "We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth." Do you understand why Nathanael asked, "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?"

This is why the answer of Philip becomes so relevant! Verse 46 says, "And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? [Did Philip stand there and preach to him? No.] Philip saith unto him, Come and see." What he knew is that Nathanael would see that Spirit of holiness in His attitude, in His person; that he would see that He was not notoriously wicked as were the men of Nazareth.

All the preaching in the world is not worth the breath it takes to proclaim it unless what we see corresponds with what we hear. So many of these TV evangelists make so many sob stories over television; then the next thing you see on television is that they’re riding down the street with a prostitute or they’re put in jail for stealing and conniving. What does this do? It brings blasphemy upon the very name they were preaching. All their preaching isn’t worth the breath that it takes to proclaim what they’re saying unless their life corresponds with their words, unless what we see corresponds with what we hear.

Philip knew that if Nathanael would just see that blessed Spirit of holiness that descended and remained upon Jesus, then he would have his question answered: "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?"

The seal of the Spirit is not only the most powerful evidence we can receive as the earnest of our salvation, but "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." (ROM 8:16) When Nathanael came to Jesus, not only could he see, but the Spirit that rested upon the Lord Jesus Christ bore witness with the spirit wherewith he had been baptized, that it was the same Spirit. The Spirit will bear witness with our spirit "that we are the children of God."

As Jesus saw Nathanael, He saw that same Spirit of obedience and holiness which He saw in Peter, which was evident from what we read in JOH 1:47. "Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" In each instance, when He saw Peter coming, He said, "Simon Bar-jona." I want you to see how powerfully it comes through in the gospel. He "saw Nathanael coming to him." The Lord Jesus knew he was coming beforehand, but the Scriptures put the emphasis on when He saw. Then He said, "Behold:" in other words, now I want you to see. Jesus saw. He’s setting an example for you and me. How do you and I know? Behold, take notice, and look. "Behold an Israelite indeed:" in other words, not makeshift, not a hypocrite, not a put-on, but something genuine, "an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!"

Why does He select the word guile? Do you know what the word guile means? It comes from the Greek word dolos, which means a trick, a wile, or a gimmick. In other words, there was nothing put-on about the man: he was genuine.

I heard a pastor say one time, about a certain elder in the church, "That’s one thing about him: he seems to be able to turn his tears on like a faucet. Any time he needs a few tears, he just turns the faucet on." It was just put on, fake, and it was obviously fake. But what the Lord Jesus said about Nathanael was that he was genuine. There was no guile in the man. He was genuine – no gimmicks. How did He know? He could see by the attitude that he had.

It is important that we realize that it was when "Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, [that He said]...Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" It is important that we understand, so that we don’t lose some of the key words in a verse.

He said, "Behold an Israelite indeed." Our Saviour not only looks upon the heart, but He looks into the heart. You and I can see on the outside what a person’s attitude reflects, but the Lord looks not only upon the heart, but into the heart.

"For the word of God is quick [Who is the Word of God? The Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word was made flesh. The Word of God is the Lord Jesus Christ.], and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (HEB 4:12)

When the Lord Jesus looked upon Nathanael, He could look into his heart. He knew the thoughts and intents of his heart, and He saw that there was not the hypocrisy that was in the Pharisees and scribes of His day. He saw that there were no gimmicks, there were no wiles, no tricks, nor guile. He saw that when discerning the thoughts and intents of his heart.

Verse 13 continues, "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."

It is the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, who said, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" He saw honesty. He saw uprightness. He saw that there was nothing fake about the man, that his heart, the thoughts and intents of his heart, were genuine, holy, and humble.

When Nathanael heard Jesus say, "Behold [that is, see, take notice of, behold] an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" A man in whom there is no Pharisaical pride, no hypocrisy.

We read in JOH 1:48, "Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? [This, to him was humbling. This did not elevate his pride, it was a humiliation.] Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee." The Lord Jesus gave him honorable mention before the brethren. The Lord Jesus gave him honorable recognition. What effect did it have? It made him humble. He said, "Whence knowest thou me?"

Our blessed Lord will "give the world" the opportunity to witness believers’ integrity. We make ourselves offenders if we depart from iniquity. We are often made out as offenders for a word. We have our integrity called into question, and we are made out as some type of hoodlum in the eyes of the world because we stand for what is right. But in the Day of Judgment, the Lord will allow the world to become eyewitnesses of our integrity when we walk in the Spirit of holiness, which is in the image of Christ.

See what we read in PSA 37:3-6. "Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday."

Your integrity will be as obviously and conspicuously set forth as the light, as the sun in the sky, "and thy judgment as the noonday," not a setting sun, not a rising sun, but at noonday. So your integrity will be set forth before the world.

Jesus told Nathanael, "Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee." Think of the blessed consolation we have in knowing our Saviour knows our hearts’ desires and our labors of love.

One time my mother was telling me about her father, or her grandfather. He had hit a mule with a piece of wood, and he was afraid the mule was going to die. Then, after he had prayed that the Lord would spare that mule so that the Lord’s name would not be blasphemed on his account, the Lord showed him what a blessing it was that the Lord knew all that was in his heart. The Lord knew and understood that the desire of his heart was that the Lord’s name would not be blasphemed: not that his name would be great, but that the Lord’s name would not be blasphemed.

Now we have our labor of love, and we strive, and we’re so misunderstood by our brothers and sisters in the Lord - we’re so misunderstood by the world - but the Lord understands our hearts. The Lord understands us, and He will not leave us without a reward.

Look at HEB 6:10. This to me is such a precious piece of Scripture: "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, [see the law of love here] in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister."

What does this mean? Does this mean that we are sinful creatures, that we can never do anything that pleases the Lord? No, because the Lord looks upon us in Christ. He is not unrighteous that He should forget our work and labor of love.

You have shown love to His name. We love Him with our hearts, our souls, and our minds, and how do we reveal it? "In that ye have ministered…and do minister" to the saints. It is in our labor of love to the saints that we reveal our labor of love to the Lord. We have shown much love to His name by this, and the Lord sees it. He’s made honorable mention of Nathanael: "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" and He said this before the brethren.

The Lord not only knows our labor of love, but He is much more delighted with it than any man can ever realize. The Lord is delighted when we labor in love to His name.

"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left." (MAT 25:31-33)

See who is called together as He sits upon His throne of glory: all nations are going to be gathered together, all the holy angels will be called to attention. That’s when He divides the sheep from the goats. Before the eyes of every person that ever lived, before the eyes of all the holy angels, and before the King of Kings, sitting upon His throne: in this setting He separates between the sheep and the goats.

Nathanael was so amazed, not only that Christ should have seen him under that fig tree, but over the honorable testimony which Jesus made of Nathanael's integrity.

Now see what an honorable testimony Jesus will make "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him…and before him shall be gathered all nations."

"Then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory" and shall speak of those on His right hand, making honorable mention of their integrity. The Lord will make mention of the integrity and of the labor of love of His people before all nations and before all the holy angels. I want you to see what a testimony that will be.

"Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?" (MAT 25:34b-37)

Now He’s telling us what His deciding factor is. Do you see that Spirit of holiness? Do you see that foundation, that perfect obedience, and that Spirit of holiness which now becomes the deciding factor? What is that? Jesus said if you love me, keep my commandment. What commandment? If you love me, then do as I have done: loving your neighbor "as I have loved you." (JOH 15:12)

So now He has gathered together all the holy angels, all the men, all the women, and all the children – every human being that ever walked upon the face of the earth. Before this multitude, He says, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For [because] I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat…." Think of the honorable mention of our integrity in that day. Think of those who are on the left hand who did not do these things. What a shame that will bring upon them.

"…I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?" (MAT 25:35-37)

On the Judgment Day Christ's people will say, "When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?" (MAT 25:38-39)

We read in JOH 1:48, "Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me?" ("How did you know my integrity? How do you know these things?") He made no boast of them.

Jesus answered Nathanael, "Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee." Do you know when that was? When you didn’t know I was watching you. When you were out in your ordinary course of life; when I was looking in your heart and knew every thought and intent of your heart, when you thought you were in secret: in other words, in your secret life. The secret thoughts and intents of your heart were naked and open before My eyes. I was watching. I was looking on. I was observing your attitude when you were under that fig tree, before you came, before you knew that you were under My scrutiny, before you knew that I was looking.

On the Judgment Day Jesus will say, "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (MAT 25:40) They didn’t realize that at the time they were doing this to God’s dear children, that they were doing it unto Him. It was in their private life that He was observing their attitude - when they didn’t know they were being watched.

When the woman of Samaria began to realize how transparent she was before Christ, she ran unto the men of her village, and she proclaimed, "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?" (JOH 4:29)

When you and I understand what it is to be that transparent before God; when we learn to realize that the Lord Jesus Christ is looking into every thought and every secret intention of the heart, every motive that we have that causes us to do this, or this, or this: then we start to understand that He is the Messiah.

She said, "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?"

When Nathanael began to realize his transparency before his Saviour, he said, "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel." (JOH 1:49b) How did he know? Because of how totally transparently he stood before Jesus. "Behold an Israelite…in whom [there] is no guile…when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee." Now he began to realize that the Lord Jesus had been looking into every thought and secret intent of his heart. Then he said, "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel."

To those who have received grace, more grace shall be given. The Lord gives us the parable about the talents. One had only one talent and hid it in the earth. One had two and he made two more. One had five and he labored and came up with ten talents. Those who have grace shall receive more grace.

Look at JOH 1:50-51. "Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. [In other words, this is evidence to you, you will see greater evidence yet.] And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."

This is what Jacob saw in GEN 28:12. Jacob saw that very ladder whereby the angels of God were ascending and descending. "And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it."

This is what we see in Christ: that He is the avenue that reaches from earth to heaven, that the angels are ascending and descending upon the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Lord Jesus Christ who has opened that way. This is what we will learn to see as we walk in the way of obedience. As we understand what it is to have that Spirit of holiness, we will learn to see and to understand that the ladder, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the avenue, the freeway that leads from earth to heaven. It is thereby that we find our entrance into that kingdom. This is what Jacob saw.

Again we see a response of amazement in Jacob. Look at GEN 28:16-17. "And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."

Jacob was amazed. Nathanael was amazed. When the Lord showed Nathanael these things, he was in amazement, and said, "Rabbi." Jacob said, "How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, [and I knew it not.]"

Nathanael asked Jesus, "Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee." Jesus knows us long before we ever know Him. Jesus looks upon every thought and intent of our heart, and He knows the foundation of our salvation – and what is that? "Simon…son of Jona." It is that foundation upon which salvation is built. It is that foundation that is hearing and doing the will of God with delight. Not only that we do it, but also that we do it with all our hearts and it is our greatest delight. Then sin becomes the most grievous thing we know.

"For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me." (ISA 45:4-5)

That is in effect what Nathanael said. He was under that fig tree. He said, "when did you see me?" Then the Lord Jesus said that He saw him when he was under that fig tree. Before you ever knew me, I was watching you. I was looking into your heart. I understood the foundation that you were building upon: obedience and holiness. Amen.


These on-lines sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a  daily devotion. See also, our sermon notes.

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