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Summary: How can we find the faith to follow Jesus?

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Finding the Faith to Follow Jesus

Matthew 8:18-34

Sermon by Rick Crandall

McClendon Baptist Church - July 15, 2007

*How long has it been since you lost something? I lose stuff all the time. I can’t find my glasses or I can’t find a note I needed. Sometimes I even lose stuff on my computer. Last week I lost the little Allen Wrench that fits the screw on my faucet handle in the kitchen. I know where I left it -- or I know where I thought I left it -- But it’s not there. I even looked in some places where I knew I didn’t put it. It wasn’t there either. I’m glad it was only worth a few pennies. But tonight I want to talk to you about finding something priceless: How can we find the faith to follow Jesus? The Word of God shows us how right here.

1. First: Keep measuring the Master’s sacrifice.

*Listen again to what happened in vs. 18-20...

18. Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side.

19. Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.’’

20. And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’’

*Why did Jesus say that? One reason is that He wanted us to know the high cost of commitment to Him. Of course, it’s worth the cost! But being a Christian is not always a piece of cake. It can be very hard. People will stand against you when you stand for Jesus. Sometimes even people in your own family.

*Jesus wanted us to know that, but at the same time, He was pointing to His own sacrifice -- just a small part of His great sacrifice for us. “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

*No one who has ever lived could make a sacrifice like the Lord made for us. Jesus left His throne in Heaven for us. He died on the cross for us. Paul put it this way in Phil 2:5-8, Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

*After Jesus was brutally beaten and mocked with a crown of thorns. He was nailed to a cross. And on that cross He said seven things. One of these sayings from the cross in John 19:28 was simply: “I thirst!”

Jesus became thirsty, and the great preacher Charles Spurgeon commented:

-"Who was this that said, `I Thirst?’

-"It was he who balanced the clouds and filled the channels of the mighty deep.

*"He said, `I thirst,’ and yet in him was a well of water springing up to eternal life!

-"Yes, he who guided every river in its course and watered all the fields with grateful showers--he it was, the King of kings and Lord of lords, before whom hell trembles and the earth is filled with dismay, he whom heaven adores and all eternity worships--he it was who said, `I thirst!’

*Matchless condescension --from the infinity of God to the weakness of a thirsting, dying man! -And this was for you.” (1)

*Focusing on the Lord’s sacrifice can strengthen our faith. The more we focus on what Jesus has done for us, the more we will see that we can trust Him. As Craig Nelson once wrote:

Jesus is the only one in the universe who has, once and for all, completely and totally proven Himself trustworthy by shedding His blood and dying on the cross. He no longer needs to prove He is trustworthy, yet He does so on a moment-by-moment basis in every circumstance and situation in which you find yourself.

Trusting in His commands will bring about the healing, restoration, and reconciliation needed in every relationship you have had or will ever have. By trusting your entire body, mind, soul, and spirit completely into His hands, you will experience His peace.

Jesus has promised us that nothing can take you out of His hands. (See John 10:28-29) The apostle Paul proclaimed, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword.” (Romans 8:35)

There is no person, or tragedy, or calamity, or accident, or natural disaster, or anything in the universe that can pull you out of the hands of Jesus. His hands are grasping you, holding you with a firm grip. He has your life under His control. He can be trusted in every circumstance in which you will ever find yourself. (2)

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