A Moralist Who Became A Loyalist — Changed Lives Series #4

Stephen Olford: Time For Truth from God’s Word

Nov 26 2023 • 23 mins

References: John 1:43-51 , John 21:2

Nathanael was one of Christ’s twelve disciples. If we were to write his biography, it might be a short volume, for not much is said about him. What we do know, however, is that he was a moral, upstanding man. He was a man of good character. But Nathanael's good character was not enough. He needed more than good character.

The story of Nathanael is a fascinating story. As we study his life, it is not difficult to deduce that he was a man of character. Without question, he was a student of the Old Testament Scriptures. When Jesus spoke of Nathanael as sitting “under the fig tree” (v. 48), there was a special significance about this descriptive phrase. “The fig tree,” in those days, was a sort of booth where devout Jews retired for meditation, prayer and the reading of the Holy Scriptures. He was, therefore, a man of convictions.

He was not a simpleton, not an agnostic, but a devout man. Many believe that he was a disciple of John the Baptist. He was also a man of morality and integrity. Jesus could speak of him as a man “...in whom is no guile” (v. 47). In other words, he was a man of sincerity and straightforwardness.

But with all this there was still something missing in Nathanael’s life. There was an inward dissatisfaction which made him long for the appearance of the Messiah. And that confrontation with Jesus Christ came sooner than he expected; and in our story we see how Jesus Christ transformed a moralist into a loyalist.


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About Olford Ministries International

Encounter is a half-hour program featuring the expository preaching messages of the late Dr. Stephen Olford. Dr. David Olford is the host of the program. These messages come out of the archives of Stephen Olford’s ministry, primarily from his years of preaching at Calvary Baptist Church in Manhattan, NY. Encounter was broadcast on many radio stations throughout the world for many years. Following his death in 2004, the radio broadcasts were discontinued.

About Dr. David L. Olford

Dr. David Olford serves as the Chairman of the Board and President of Olford Ministries International, Inc. (OMI), founded by his late father, Dr. Stephen Olford in 1976, a ministry committed to the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. He joined OMI in 1985. He also serves as the President of the Stephen Olford Ministry Legacy, formed in 2009, to preserve the preaching and teaching ministry of Dr. Stephen Olford. OMI leads Biblical Preaching Institutes and seminars at the Stephen Olford Center in Memphis, TN. and elsewhere.

David received a BA in Ancient Language from Wheaton College and an MA in New Testament Theology from Wheaton Graduate School. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Sheffield (England) in Biblical Studies. He served as the Stephen Olford Professor of Expository Preaching with Union University (TN.) from 2007 to 2016.

In 2009, David’s book, Find Us Faithful: Leadership that Leaves a Legacy was published by B&H Publishing. Together with his father, he coauthored the widely acclaimed, Anointed Expository Preaching. He also compiled the book, A Passion for Preaching, in honor of his father. As both a teacher and preacher, Dr. David Olford has shared his passion for God’s inerrant Word across the United States and in numerous foreign countries.

David Olford and his wife, Ellen, have been married since 1986 and live in Memphis, TN. The Olfords have two adult daughters, Lindsay and Stephanie.