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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.

-I am accepted. - Eph 1:4-6

-I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. - Col 1:13-14

*Following Jesus leads me to a new identity and new invitations.

-The only reason Peter got a new identity is because he got a new invitation.

*Vs. 40-42 tell us that one of the two who heard John the Baptist speak, and followed Jesus, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. Andrew first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). -- And he brought him to Jesus.

*Andrew brought Peter to Jesus. This was not some half-hearted, lethargic invitation. “Brought” was a word used for taking hold of an animal or even a prisoner to lead him somewhere. Andrew was intentional, passionate and insistent. “We have found the Messiah! You have got to come and meet Jesus!”

*That invitation led Peter to a brand new life -- eternal life. And there is no telling how much good your invitations can do. So follow Jesus to a new identity and new invitations.

2. But also follow the Lord to a new purpose and a new process.

*We can see these things in Matt 4:18-22. This story took place some months after Andrew and Peter first met Jesus:

18. Now Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.

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