Summary: 2 of 4 of the series In Pursuit: The Jesus Walk. Those pursuing Jesus and wanting to walk the Jesus walk will watch where they are stepping. In doing so they ask the question, "Am I in the way or am I in the way?"


Luke 5:27-28

Read at beginning of service:

Matthew 16:23-25 (NIV)

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.


Last week we began the series "IN PURSUIT: The Jesus Walk" by introducing ourselves to these three questions,

Who are we?

Who are we following?

Who are we to follow?

From these questions we hopefully have gained the understanding that we are to be followers of Jesus Christ the Son of God. To say we are a follower says we are actively pursuing Jesus – we’re seeking to take the steps He took! The first step in following Jesus as we discovered last week is to recognize that we need to follow who we SAY we’re following! There’s a big difference between SAYING you are following Christ and actually FOLLOWING Him!

Pursuing Jesus and seeking to walk the Jesus walk brings us to our second message, "Watching the Steps We take". It is one thing to follow Christ and it is another thing to be stepping where He steps!

As I was preparing this message there was a mental picture that came to my mind. I remember when I was a child in Thunder Bay and we would get huge massive snowfalls in the wintertime. The amount of snow on the ground would always be way over my head! (Of course I was a much smaller person then). I remember the one day that my dad decided that we were going to build a snow fort together in the backyard. Oh was I ever excited! I was going to help MY DAD build the biggest Snow Fort in the whole neighborhood. So I bundled on my snowsuit, put on my mitts, my toque and scarf and headed outside. But I couldn’t get anywhere! The snow was so high that every step I took I got stuck and had to try and pry my way free before taking the next step!

Then my Dad came outside and began to plow through the snow to our backyard. Seeing the predicament I was in my Dad picked me up an placed on his trail behind saying, "Just step where I step, Darren" Of course when I got on the trail he made I found it much easier going. Then we were in the back yard. My dad started shoveling the snow into a huge pile and I quickly moved in to help with my own little shovel. Not wanting to venture into the deep snow again and knowing that it was fruitless to try I moved in close to where Dad was shoveling and began lifting my small loads onto the growing pile. What I didn’t notice however was that the pile wasn’t growing as fast as it had been. In fact I didn’t know it but I was IN THE WAY of my Dad’s shoveling efforts and he wasn’t able to shovel the snow on as fast. Instead of just telling me to get out of the way however, my Dad simply shoveled out a place in the snow where I could work away adding my contribution to the snow pile.

The reason why this picture came into my mind as I was preparing this message is because a follower of Christ is careful to be in the WAY with Christ not in the way of Christ. A follower of Christ is careful to watch the steps Christ takes and endeavour to step in those places. A follower of Christ is careful to stay on the path that Christ makes. A follower of Christ is careful to not get ahead of Jesus and get in the way of what Jesus is trying to do but instead find the place where Christ has prepared for us to serve!

To be a follower of Jesus Christ means that Christ is the center of our lives as well as all our experiences in life.

Our solar system illustrates for us what it is to follow Christ:

Primarily our solar system consists of the Sun and nine other planets with the Sun being at the center. The Sun holds the solar system together by a gravitational pull or force causing the planets to orbit or revolve around it. The Sun dominates the gravitational field as it makes up 99% of the Solar System’s mass.

Joseph Stowell says, "There is always something at the center that defines and directs everything else that moves around it. As the sun is to our solar system, so the Son should be to our existence"

What is the center of your life to which everything else revolves around? Jesus, career, family, money, goals, friends, self?

Is Christ the gravitational pull in your life? Is He pulling you closer to Himself?

For many Christians, Christ is relegated to one of the tracks circling whatever it is that we have submitted for Him in the center." (Joseph Stowell, "Following Christ", p.19)

Questions often probe our minds and hearts more so than the theological answers we often give to explain away the questions. So let’s ask ourselves this morning, "Are we in the WAY with Christ or in the way of Christ?"are you in the WAY with Christ? (stepping where Christ steps)

Luke 5:27-28 (NIV)

27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. "Follow me," Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

Jesus said to Levi (Matthew) simply, "Follow Me". The Bible records that Levi, "left all and followed Him." Matthew abandoned (to forsake) his business to follow Jesus which meant he left everything to be in the same way with – to embrace personally all that Jesus is about.

Today mentoring is about as close as we come to understanding what it is to be in the way with Christ. A mentor is a trusted friend or counselor who helps to guide and direct your life by giving practical teaching and wise counsel. For the most part mentoring is a lost art and we suffer because of it.

In the setting of the New Testament times it was not uncommon for a man to attach himself to a rabbi (teacher). The attachment was radical in nature because the one who wanted to follow would literally give up everything. The purpose for such an attachment was four-fold:

To know God and His ways

To understand God in His righteousness as revealed through the Law

To replicate the ways of God in his own life.

To please God.

When one followed a rabbi he was committing himself to do certain things. One, he would stay with the rabbi all day long so as to watch him and learn from him. Two, he would serve the rabbi in that he was willing to do whatever the rabbi asked of him. Three, he would surrender his will to the rabbi. He was through doing his own thing.

We find this so radical and unorthodox in nature, because we have been taught just the opposite. We are taught to follow no one – be yourself (self-serving) and surrender to no one for that is a sign of weakness.

Christ is not to merely be a mentor to our lives. He is the Way we are to be in, the Truth we are to be about, and the Life we are to be living! His call to us to follow Him is to make Him the center of our life, that passionate pursuit to which everything else in our lives revolves around. As the center of our lives He establishes all that we are about and hope to be.

If Jesus was to look over His shoulder, would He see you and me following Him? In all measures of our lives…finances, relationships, career, church? Are we on the path with Him? Are we staying with Him or straying from Him, serving Him or serving self, surrendering to Him or fighting against Him?You see when you follow yourself you’ll find yourself in snow that’s over your heads and clawing for each step. Jesus is looking at you this morning and is saying, "Come follow Me, Step in my steps!"When Jesus called to Matthew, Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow Him He was asking them to abandon everything about their lies and to embrace Him as the Way for their lives. They understood and left to follow. Do you understand? Are you in the WAY with Christ?

or are YOU in the way of Christ? (getting ahead of what Christ is doing)

Matthew 16:23-25 (NIV)

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

It is important for followers of Christ to make sure they don’t get ahead of where He is leading them. It’s important that they step in the steps He is making and go to the places He puts them!

We are quite satisfied to relate to Him; accept His liberation from hell; praise Him; find comfort, solace, and joy in Him; and be intrigued by Him. But few are bent toward following Him unconditionally. (J. Stowell)

Peter had just made a brilliant God given confession as to who Jesus was (Matthew 16:16) but quickly found himself in the way and hindering the work of Christ only a few moments later! I believe there is a strong spiritual lesson here for all of us. Yes we believe in Jesus and may be fully aware of who He is – but are WE in the way of allowing Him to accomplish His work in our lives? Do our thoughts, careers, relationships, finances, thoughts, words, actions and so much more get in the way of following Jesus?Following Jesus means giving up our lives and in doing so we truly find life. The way it was originally designed. That is why Jesus said,

Luke 9:23-24 (NIV)

23 Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.

Whatever designation we want to tag ourselves with, be it Christians, believers, Pentecostals, disciples, or followers – our position is clearly defined with the words of Christ… "Get behind me." That is the natural position of a follower!

We must not be so hard on Peter, for all of us at times are too mindful of the things of man rather than the things of God. We all have trouble keeping up with Jesus as we are so easily distracted to look here and there, even with good intentions as Peter had. We say, "Hey I just want to contribute to the snow fort – I just want to help!" and Jesus replies, "That’s great – but you’re in the way of what I am doing – go to the place I’ve prepared over here for you and follow Me!"

Our followship is to be the denial of self thus putting to death those selfish desires that lead us astray and THEN getting behind Jesus so as to radically follow Him wherever He leads us!!


What is the singular passionate pursuit of your life? What characterizes your daily life? Who or what does your life revolve around? It is vitally foundational that you discover the answers to these questions. For in doing so you will also discover if you are in the WAY or YOU are in the way!

Will your life testimony be…so he left all, rose up, and followed Him?

This sermon was preached by Darren Ethier at Hanover Pentecostal Church on September 10,2000. This message is Part 2 of the series IN PURSUIT: The Jesus Walk. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, Copyright © 1873, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Thanks goes to Robert Aubuchon for the inspiration for this message came from his sermon, "In the Way or In the way"- part of the Series: Following Jesus