Summary: A sermon about following Jesus.
"Call to Adventure"
I was speaking with an elderly man not too long ago.
He had lived a good life.
He had raised a family, had a good job, and was a good person.
But now that he was at the end of his life, he was empty, questioning and a bit terrified.
"What does it all mean?," he cried in dismay.
"We're born; we live our lives and then we die. And that's it."
And then he really teared-up, and said, between sobs: "I'm going to die soon, and then what is going to happen?"
"I don't know what is going to happen to me."
I tried to assure him that God loves him and that when he leaves this world--He will simply move onto eternity with God.
"But I don't believe that," he said.
"When we die everything just stops. And that's the end."
"Oh, what is the point of it all?"
In Hebrews Chapter 11:1 we are told that "faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Then we are told: "This is what the ancients were commended for.
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible...
...by faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going..." and it goes on and on and on.
That chapter of Hebrews is called "The Hall of Faith."
We are not alone in this life.
We are all in the same boat.
Chapter 12 of Hebrews begins with, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us through off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of God.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you do not grow weary and lose heart."
"Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Faith, hope and love.
That's what this life is all about.
Moving forward even though we can't see into the future...
...following the God of love on this great adventure of life...
...trusting, loving, persevering.
Shortly after moving to Capernaum, Jesus is walking beside the lake one afternoon when He sees two men in a rowboat waiting for unsuspecting fish.
What happens next is amazing!!!
Jesus offers them a job with no pay and they accept!!!
They leave their nets and follow Jesus into the unknown.
Had the sales pitch been, "Come and make more money selling iPads than you could ever make selling fish," it might make more sense to our modern ears, but Jesus' invitation and their response is nothing short of a miracle.
Four fishermen drop what they are doing and head off with Jesus.
They don't know what is coming next, but they do know what happened to John the Baptist.
It's been said that their "following" Jesus is the "beginning" of the confession of faith: they are putting aside their old lives in the confidence that, in the way of Jesus, they will find God's grace...
...God's meaning for their lives.
And so we see that, really, the initial decision to follow Jesus has more to do with hope than it does with knowing certain "facts" about Jesus.
These guys didn't know anything about the virgin birth.
They weren't asked to recite a creed or answer any theological questions.
They were just asked to follow in faith and hope.
The learning "about" God would come with the Adventure of following Jesus.
In making new disciples of Jesus Christ, the Church has often followed a certain model...
...of "know, grow, go."
That means, learn the doctrines of the church and the faith first, grow in your knowledge and faith and then go out and follow Jesus.
This model in Matthew Chapter 4 seems to be quite a bit different.
It's "go (or follow), grow and know."
Again, "faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for."
And, as Paul puts it in Romans Chapter 5, "hope does not disappoint us..."
Life will disappoint us.
Materialism will disappoint us.
Pleasure will disappoint us.
The hope that comes through faith in Jesus Christ does not disappoint.
Because if we live by it, we will end up in places we never imagined being, doing things we never imagined ourselves doing, and sharing life, fellowship, service, and worship with other people we would have never imagined ourselves knowing.