Summary: Are you following Jesus? We can look into the Word of God and see, because following Jesus takes me to new places in life.

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Are You Following Jesus?

John 1:40-42, Matt 4:18-22, Mark 8:27-30, Mark 8:31-35

Sermon by Rick Crandall

McClendon Baptist Church - May 17, 2009

*Are you following Jesus? The biggest mistake we can make in life is not following Jesus. Matthew Stoll compared it to being in a burning building with smoke all around. Then a fireman comes in and yells, “The building is on fire! All of the exits are blocked by the flames. You need to follow me. I know the only way out.”

*But some of the people respond, “How do I know the building is really on fire?

-Maybe you created all of this smoke just to get us to abandon our comfortable place to follow you.”

*Others say, “I believe there is a fire but I think I would rather find my own way out of the building,” -- not trusting the word of the only one who could save them. How foolish those people would be. (1)

*But are you following Jesus? We can look into the Word of God and see, because following Jesus takes me to new places in life.

1. First: Follow Jesus to a new identity and new invitations.

*Peter got a new identity in John 1. He heard about Jesus. Then he came and listened to Jesus, and in vs. 42: “When Jesus looked at him, He said, ‘You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas, which is translated, A Stone.”

*“Peter” and “Cephas” both mean the same thing: A stone, a relatively small stone. Jesus gave that name to Peter, because it represented his new identity.

-Someone strong and steady.

-Someone who would lead others in the right direction.

-Someone other people could count on.

*Peter was anything but steady when he met Jesus. Peter was very impulsive.

-He was a lit fuse. He was the first to jump in, and the first to speak out.

*On the night before the cross, when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Peter was the one who pulled out a sword and slashed the servant of the high priest, cutting off that man’s right ear. Of course Jesus miraculously healed that ear, but let me tell you: Peter wasn’t trying to cut off that man’s ear. -- He was trying to cut off his head!

*Peter was hot-headed and impulsive, but he got a new identity when he began to follow Jesus. You couldn’t always see it, and it took time to bear fruit. But it was there from the start.

*Everybody gets a new identity when they follow Jesus. So 2 Cor 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Everybody gets a new identity when they follow Jesus.

-We are Christians, believers in Jesus, followers of Christ.

*Who are you then? There are many ways you could answer that question:

-I am a son, brother, husband, proud father of a brand new graduate from LSU!

-But above all things, I am a Christian, someone seeking to follow Jesus Christ.

*Who are you? -- If we have received Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, we can say:

-I am God’s child. - John 1:12

-I am a friend of God. - John 15:15

-I have been bought with a price, and I belong to God. - 1 Corin 6:19-20

-I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.

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