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Philip. God needs your common sense
John 1:46 Amplified Bible (AMP)
46 Nathanael answered him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip replied, “Come and see.”
Introduction
God needs all kinds of people in His service. Here was Philip, cautious and practical.
He had seen the Lord but was not jumping up and down with excitement.
He quietly went to Nathaniel and said “We have found the One Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote about—Jesus from Nazareth, the son of Joseph [according to public record].” John 1:45 (AMP)
He had the facts and was as careful in his attention to detail as we would be writing a cheque, noting the signatures, the date of the cheque, the amount.
He never overlooked a thing.
Nathaniel was skeptical. He replied “Nazareth! Can anything good come out of there?”
But down to earth Philip did not argue or set out a case for Jesus. He simply said “Come and see.”
He wanted Nathanael to see for himself.
1. Look at Philip’s method
Philip was not impulsive
He thought things through. When Jesus said “Follow me,” Philip waited to join the others until he had given it some consideration.
The day cam when Jesus saw before Him a crowd of hungry people who had followed Him to a desert place to hear Him preach.
It was mealtime, and they were several hours from anywhere they could get food.
Jesus said to Philip “Where will we buy bread for these people to eat?” (John 6:5)
Instantly, Philip started calculating the probable cost of an adequate amount of food for so many people.
In a moment he replied, in John 6:7 (AMP)
“Two hundred denarii (200 days’ wages) worth of bread is not enough for each one to receive even a little.”
Common sense told him they needed bread and that there were no bakeries nearby.
He had no idea of the miracle Jesus had in mind.
Philip was in Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday
There was tremendous excitement over the entrance of the messiah into the capital city.
Certain Greeks, who were keen to meet Jesus, came up to worship at the feast.
They cam e first to Philip, maybe it was because he had a Greek name, Philippos, which means lover of horses.
They said, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” They wanted to know this religious leader who made such a stir.
Philip was cautious in his dealings with foreigners, almost like an immigration officer is.
They were not Jews. They were Greeks.
What did the Messiah have to do with them? Therefore he went of to see Andrew and see what he thought.
Philip was in the upper room on the night of the last supper
What a privilege that would have been! It would be enough to lift anyone from the depths to a feeling of like being on a spiritual mountain top.
Then Jesus spoke to them the words all believers love in, John 14:6 (AMP)
6 Jesus said to him, “[a]I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
The disciples saw in His face the glory of the eternal, but Philip, ever cautious, and matter of fact even in that hour, said in verse 8. “Lord, show us the Father and then we will be satisfied.”
He wanted to see something more tangible. Many of us are like Philip.
Notice the limitations of such a view of life.
People cannot solely live by visible demonstrated facts
We walk by faith and not by sight. We cannot walk any other way and make progress.
This is true in marriage. No husband knows completely his own wife’s love for him and vice versa. Each lives by faith.
The problem with a practical, commonsense method is that it lacks the faith that leaps over difficulty.
Philip could not picture Christ feeding the hungry multitudes with five loaves and two tiny fish.
He recognised the things that were visible and temporal, but he overlooked the unseen and eternal things. Philip had difficulty with the miraculous.
We live in the presence of mystery. How can a person cast a handful of seeds on the ground and then a few months later, because that seed has been blessed by sunshine and rain, gather a harvest?
How can these things be?
The matter of fact person will miss something of the mystery and grandeur and wonder of life.
Just as Philip believed the five loaves and two fish were inadequate to feed the crowd, many people wonder what their meagre supply of knowledge, wavering faith, or limited goodness will accomplish in the face of need.
Sitting down with a pad and pencil to assess the facts and leaving out Christ, we might as well despair. I know I’ve been there!
Notice the value of these down to earth people for the Kingdom of God
One man looks up at the stars in the sky and is thrilled with the sight
Psalm 19:1 Amplified Bible (AMP)
The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And the expanse [of heaven] is declaring the work of His hands.
Another man looks at the same sky and begins to figure out how many million kilometres the sun is from the earth and how many times bigger some of those stars are than our earth.
This is well and good
Dreamers have a place but so do calculating mathematicians and scientists. We don’t need to agree with everything they tell us but, “man cannot live by bread alone,” nor can we live strictly by hard facts. And neither can people live by visions, dreams, and enthusiasm alone.
There are people in our churches who might not stand out in a prayer meeting
Their religious experiences are so plain and simple, so lacking in sensation, that they would not seem worth relating to.
They would not have the deep experience of John, the warm and compelling enthusiasm of Peter.
Sometimes they feel that they do not really deserve a place in the kingdom.
Yet these very practical and matter of fact people are exceedingly useful in God’s Kingdom.
They make great administrators and are immeasurably valuable in planning and directing the churches programs.
Perhaps best of all, these people, as a rule, are the ones that are able to tell how the principles of the sermon on the mount can be increasingly realised in our everyday world.
Bear in mind where the prophet Isaiah placed his climax in his advice on spiritual efficiency in Isaiah 40:31 (AMP)
But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]
Will gain new strength and renew their power;
They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun];
They will run and not become weary,
They will walk and not grow tired.
Flying, Running, and walking are three ways to advance.
All have their places, but most work in this world is being done by men and women who walk and continue to walk not fainting.
Practical, down to earth people like Philip don’t fly or run often, but they can walk in the way of every day duty and not grow weary.
The Kingdom of God is advanced on the level grounds which normal men and women walk humbly with God and keep doing what they need to do. We should be praising heaven for these people and their contribution to the community, the church, and their home!
Conclusion
Philip was not on the Mount of Transfiguration with Peter, James. And John when the lord was transfigured and His face shown like the sun, but he was there in the valley when five thousand hungry people were fed.
He was there to help meet the needs of people. So God needs people with commonsense like Philip. Commonsense for advancing His Kingdom.