Inside and Out
Jesus knows us inside and out. He knows all about us. He knows our internal and our external condition. I invite your attention this morning to the last part of the Gospel of John, chapter 1. I want us to begin reading today in verse 43, and I want us to look at this message entitled Inside and Out.
We pick up the story given to us by the Apostle John at the initial conversions of the disciples. In verse 43, it says, "The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, 'Follow Me.' Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 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.' And Nathanael said to him, 'Can anything good come out of Nazareth?' Philip said to him, 'Come and see.'
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, 'Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit.' 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.' Nathanael answered and said to Him, 'Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!' 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.'"
Jesus reveals Himself to both Philip and to Nathanael, two of His Apostles in our story today. Philip…that's a Greek name so he is of Greek descent...is a fisherman of the village of Bethsaida, a Hebrew word for house of fish right there on the northern inlet there on the Sea of Galilee. Also Nathanael is a fisherman as well from that region.
Jesus has traveled up beyond the region of Judea now north into the region of Galilee, as we know and can tell, in order to find these people who will become His disciples. He does find Philip, whereas in our previous text, we saw Andrew inquiring with Jesus, and Jesus saying, "What are you looking for?" and Andrew wanting to know where He was staying. Jesus tells him, "Well, come and see."
We see from that side, Andrew being the one who is seeking the Messiah. Here we see Jesus is very much involved in the lives of those who are seeking Him, and He just simply tells Philip, "Come follow Me." "Follow Me." That is the invitation He also gives to Andrew when He says, "Come and see." It's the invitation He offers to everyone in this room to follow Him. He invites you into His fellowship. He invites you into His discipleship.
Well, Philip does follow Jesus, and much like Andrew going to Peter, Philip goes to Nathanael. He goes and he says, "We have found the Messiah. He is the One called Jesus of Nazareth." Nathanael hearing the word Nazareth, and knowing the bad reputation the small village of Nazareth had in the Galilean region and knowing the common statement that was made of the Nazarenes said, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip gave him that invitation. "Come and see." "Come and see."
You may be here today because someone has simply invited you to come, to just say, "Come and see." They've not tried to convince you beforehand. They just simply love you enough they want you to experience Christ for yourself. They want to give you that opportunity to hear from the Messiah, to worship the Savior, and to respond to His invitation to come and to follow Him.
When Nathanael meets Jesus, as you see, Jesus tells Nathanael He knows him inside and out. The first thing Jesus does is He says, "You are a man without deceit." That means He knows Nathanael on the inside. Then the second thing He tells him is, "I saw you when you were under the fig tree when Philip came to you."
So Nathanael knows that He knows his external circumstances as well. That's the truth about his outside. Nathanael is so astonished, he is going to say in verse 49, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" This realization that there exists Someone who knew him, both his outside circumstances and the interior of his heart, was transforming in Nathanael's life. So it is with all of those who come to know Christ. Listen, He knows our circumstances. He knows the fig tree we're standing under today. It is a great grace to us…a great grace to us…that Jesus today as the Son of God and the King of Israel knows our condition inside and out.
Listen, if you're in trouble, if you're in something and you're all alone, if there's something so private to you, so scary to you you've not shared it with anyone, if there's an experience you're going through you're sure no one else could possibly understand, if you find yourself in a trauma, you find yourself in grief, you find yourself in fear, you find yourself just perplexed in life…it's a grace for you today to know Jesus knows your circumstance. He knows the situation you're in. Jesus knows. You'll never be in a situation where Jesus is not fully aware of what's going on in your life.
If you believe He loves you and He is stronger than any force in the world, than anything that might be trying to beset you today, the fact that He knows your circumstance is a great grace for you to know.
Also, Jesus not only knows the circumstance we're in, but He also knows our heart. He tells Nathanael, "You're a man without deceit." You know, it may be an even sweeter thing that He knows your inner condition today. It might be one thing that He knows the circumstances you are in, but a lot more powerful that He knows you on the inside.
When Philip said to Nathanael in verse 45 that Jesus was from Nazareth, Nathanael answered bluntly from his heart. Without any posturing at all in verse 46, he said, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" That's the bold statement of a man who is just speaking what's on his mind. He doesn't cover it up. He's doesn't sugarcoat it. He simply says what he's thinking. Then when he comes to meet Jesus, Jesus says, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit."
Now my friends, I don’t think that's just a statement He just pulled out of the air. I think in context, what He is saying is He is responding to what Nathanael has already told Philip. In other words, He is saying, "Here is a man who is not a hypocrite. Here is a man who says what's on his mind. Here is a man who is not deceitful."
We have plenty of people who are very deceitful. They, on Sunday, are very Christian, in Sunday School, very biblical. But then during the week, anger, hatred, meanness, and bad tempers control their lives. Here is a man who is prejudiced against the Nazarenes, but he is very out front with it. He's very open, and Jesus says, "Well, there is nothing deceitful about you, Nathanael." And He knows his heart. Sort of a "what you see is what you get." He's not a two-faced man. He's not coy, at least, in his feelings. Not deceitful.
Well, you might wonder how is Jesus going to respond if Jesus knows Nathanael has slammed Him, that Nathanael has said something derogatory toward the potential Messiah? He could stand up and say, "I'll tell you what…you see those rocks over there? Listen to them while they tell you about Me being from Nazareth." He could have put Nathanael in his place, but He didn't because He knows his heart. He knows him on the inside. He knows your heart as well.
You may have come here this morning, and your mind is a million miles away. You came and you've gone through the motions, but there's a bitterness that resides in your heart. You go through the motions, but there's a fear that's really controlling your thoughts even now as I speak. I want to tell you this morning the great grace of God is Jesus knows your heart. Jesus knows where you are coming from just as He knew Nathanael. And as such, to know Jesus understands.
You know, we often speak on the subject of Jesus knowing our inner condition as some sort of a warning. You know, "You better watch what you think because Jesus is going to get you." The fact we can't hide our sins from God. Yeah, that's true. But I also think about how good it is to know Jesus knows my inner condition. He knows me better than anybody knows me. He knows me better than I know myself. He knows all about you. That really has meant a lot to me recently to realize Jesus knows how I think, how my personality mixes in with my thinking. He knows me better than even I know myself.
You know there's an old spiritual song, well it's title, I think, is Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen. Well, there's two senses in which you can take that song. One is that nobody has experienced my circumstances, and of course that's not true. Whatever difficulty you may be going through that would lead you to sing that old song, other people have probably experienced those same heartaches. They've experienced those same failures, experienced those same troubles.
But there's another sense in which the song could be saying that nobody has ever been me in these circumstances. That is very true. Nobody has brought my weaknesses and my sins and my experience to this moment of sorrow or anger or despair. Not only nobody has been me in this experience, but nobody can be in me in the experience I'm going through right now. In other words, no one can know the unique way in which I am living through the circumstance I am in.
When I think of that, well first it frightens me to know how alone I am in whatever the particular sorrow or anger or desire may be. I mean the circumstances may be as old as the world, but my experience through those circumstances is utterly unique because it's going through me. That can be very frightening. Others have experienced it, but they haven't been me experiencing it. That's utterly unique for me. It can be utterly frightening.
Then I think, you know, I'm not alone in this experience because Jesus knows my heart. He knows my mind. He knows my body. He knows everything about me. Though my closest friend or my most loving parent or my dearest spouse can't fully know what I'm experiencing at the moment, I can know Jesus knows. He knows my heart. He knows everything about me. He literally knows me inside and out. There comes a sense of relief that this utterly unique sorrow that nobody else can share, Jesus totally and fully and completely understands it, and I can talk to Him. I can speak to Him.
I may think at times I need to go for counseling or I need to find someone to talk to, but then I realize I can always talk to my Savior. I can always talk to Jesus. He already knows. The most empathetic ear is the ear that is heard in prayer. It's the ear of Christ Himself. The truth that Jesus knows your heart…listen…it will lead you to reveal your heart. The truth that Jesus knows your heart…when you take that in…it's going to help you learn to reveal your heart.
There is nothing more frustrating than to be the hypocrite. There is nothing more frustrating than to have those pent-up emotions, those thoughts, those unique experiences and to feel you can't tell anyone, that you can't express it for fear it will be misunderstood or mistaken. But when you realize Jesus knows it, it frees you, my friends, to reveal your heart, to be able to share your heart, to realize Christ knows you inside and out.
This is exactly what happened to the Samaritan woman at the well in John, chapter 4. Jesus tells her to go get her husband, and in this story, she says, "Well, I don't have a husband." He says, "Yeah, I know all about you. I know how many times you've been married, and I know you are not married to the man you're with now." That revelation in her mind that the Messiah knew all about her and yet He was still talking to her, helped her to open her heart up. You see, she wants to hold all that in. She wants to meet a stranger and not want to reveal that because then what? They're going to judge her.
But now she realizes, "Here is One who already and can accurately actually judge me. He not only knows the sins I've committed, but He knows the circumstances I've been in. He knows what's my fault, what's not my fault, what was given to me, what I've created." It causes and frees her to reveal her heart. So when we get to John 4, she is going back to her neighbors, and she is telling her neighbors about this Messiah. In verse 29, she says, "Come and see." "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"
What a freeing, what a transforming moment to realize you are not alone in your sorrows, in your secrets, in your hopes, and in your dreams. Jesus knows all about you, both inside and the outside circumstances. The Samaritan woman realizing He still wanted to have a relationship, a fellowship, a friendship with her…it transforms her life. It transforms every life that realizes you can still come to the Savior. He knows all about you. "Come and see. Let me tell you about a Man who knows all about me and hasn't rejected me."
You know you've got to admit…unless you are just so steeped in ego that you are blinded to the reality of yourself…if everything about you were laid out in the open, you would decide nobody would be friends with you. If everyone knew what was inside ticking in your mind, in your subconscious, or in your heart, they would run from you. To realize Jesus knows that, and He died for you that He might have a relationship with you.
Oh, what are you hiding now? Why are you holding back now? You see, the only thing that would cause you to continue to live in hypocrisy is the failure to understand Jesus knows all about you. It's that fear that Jesus only knows what I let out, that God only knows what I'm revealing. We become a hypocrite before an omnipotent and omniscient God.
But when we realize as Nathanael did, as the Samaritan woman did, that He knows us inside and out, oh my friends, that is a freeing thing. If that scares you, you don't know my Jesus yet. If it scares you to be real in front of people, you don't know my Jesus yet. In fact, I'm going to tell you, the revealing of the human heart, that's not just a private matter. In fact, the revealing of the human heart should also take place in the ministry of local churches. This is what we are to do.
I invite your attention to 1 Corinthians, chapter 14, that chapter that follows the Great Love chapter of 1 Corinthians. Paul, in giving these instructions to this church, is trying to help them because they're battling with really spiritual hypocrisy. They have those who are standing up and speaking in tongues, and they're dominating the service. They're trying to show everybody how spiritual they are. Paul is saying, and there are people coming in who don't even know Jesus yet, and they're coming into a midst of a hypocritical group.
So, in 1 Corinthians 14, and verse 23, Paul says, "Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?" Verse 24, "But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all."
Listen, if instead of living the hypocritical life, he's saying you instead usher forth the truth about Jesus, then you're teaching those who don't know God. You're teaching those who aren't informed. They are not only convinced by seeing the genuineness of your life but by hearing the gospel message that oozes forth from your life.
I can stand up here and yell at the top of my lungs, and the person sitting next to you is going to preach the gospel to you stronger than I will. I can tell you all about Jesus. I can tell you all about salvation, but that person sitting next to you with their arms folded up, staring at that white, blank wall, with a growl so big they have to smile to tie their shoelaces, that person is going to win the argument. They are going to win today because you're going to look at them and say, "Well, I don't want any of that. I appreciate the preacher speaking where I can hear him, but this is much louder."
That is what Paul is saying, "You can stand up, and you can put on the show, but I'd rather you show the truth of God. Prophesy His truth." Then the clincher, and the reason I'm able to say this, is verse 25. 1 Corinthians 14:25, "And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you." When we live a genuine life, that frees people to reveal their heart.
You know how many people walk out of a typical Sunday service as lost as when they came in, afraid to admit they need Jesus? I can only explain it that they get the impression if they so admit that, they are less of a person, there's such a hypocritical spirit they feel like they've got to act like and be just like…
Listen…they're lost, okay? They don't have the Spirit of God giving them that discernment. So they, more than the hypocrite, are going to respond with negativity and maintaining that hypocritical face. But if they come into a fellowship that is open and honest and worships the Lord and does not live hypocritically, confesses its own sins, confesses its own bad attitudes, falls before a holy God and admits they're not perfect, then the unbeliever will reveal his heart.
He'll reveal his own heart, because he knows it's safe to do so. He'll fall down before God because he saw you do it, and he'll worship Him. He'll walk out the doors a changed man or woman and say, "I don't know everything about the Bible, but I know God is truly among them. Come and see. Come and see." That's what the Samaritan woman did, that's what Philip did and Andrew did, and you and I did when we received Jesus and realized in that moment we could be honest and open before a holy God.
Transcribed by Digital Sermon Transcription