Summary: Each of us has been called to follow Christ, but we need to consider what that means and what it will cost us.
February 3, 2013
Do you ever ask yourself what it is that God wants from you? Maybe what Jesus wants you to do? I have for years -- for too long my relationship to Christ was identified by my work for Him. But now there has been no work as I have not pastored or been involved in ministry for 3 years. It’s just Him and me, and for those 3 years He has led me on a journey of discovery with Him about what it really means to relate to Him without my identity being wrapped up in the work. But I still ask, "What do you expect from me?" Rule following, better husband, being an example on the job site, etc.
Do you ask yourselves those kinds of questions?
Some of you do -- maybe you have been a believer for a long while and you wonder...What does God want me to do? How can I be a better mom, dad, brother, sister, husband, wife, son or daughter? How do I love better? How can I forgive this person, deal with my hurt, share my faith, fix my finances? How do I deal with this sin, bad habit, dysfunction, divorce, loss of hope, depression?
Some of you are new to all of this and are just exploring. Others of you really don’t care. Let’s be honest, you’re just trying to keep a happy face on and be done.
What about our church -- it is a very interesting time for our church as we look for direction. We want answers to the problems we face and the issues that seem to be so divisive. We want answers as we think about calling a new pastor and how we are to proceed with the new constitution.
I am glad God has a word for us today that can solve every bit of this. Actually 2 words: FOLLOW ME
A. Luke 5:27-31 -- notice some things about this
- The call is pretty simple -- follow me (LIVE, LOVE, LEAVE)
- Following leads to a reorientation of purpose -- Matthew walked away from what defined him
- Following should lead to sharing and celebration -- threw a party
- Following will lead to scorn and murmuring -- if it is real
- Following means that you are not in charge -- Jesus is
- Following means that you’re going to be sent out -- Luke 9:1
B. Following Jesus is not easy
- Your flesh will rise up
- Your desires will be in conflict
- Satan is going to pester you
- Evil thoughts will be constant
- Temptations will be great
- Circumstances will pull at you
C. What happens if you don’t follow Jesus?
- Luke 9:23 -- wasted life
- Anger / resentment
- Sorrow -- joy for followers
- Missed blessings
- Lost rewards
Cannot follow Jesus without paying a great cost -- Matthew left EVERYTHING
You cannot serve two masters -- it’s either you or Jesus -- who is in the lead?
In your home? At your job? In your marriage? With your kids? In your finances? With your morality? With your tongue? Your thoughts?
Luke 14:25-33 -- work through passage
Not talking about believing. Lots of people believe and say they love Jesus. Lots of worship even. But all this is internal -- even if expressed corporately. Following is external, and by its very nature raises the issue of what is will cost you.
But the fact remains, Jesus calls us to follow Him. He calls you to follow Him. What does that mean? It means follow
- What if you have to love someone you hate? Follow Him
- What if you have to forgive someone who hurt you? Follow Him
- What if you have to submit to leadership you question? Follow Him
- What if He asks you to do something that makes you uncomfortable? Follow Him
- What if He pushes you further than you want to go? Follow Him
- What if He prompts you to give when you don’t have it to give? Follow Him
- Do you see? The call isn’t to preach or teach or marry or stay single or tithe or witness or anything else -- it is simply to follow Him --to live and love and leave like Him.
Now...what would we look like if we were really following Jesus? Not being Christian, but Christ followers. What would that look like in your marriage? What would that look like with your children? What would that look like in your school? What would that look like at the next party? What would that look like on your job? What would that look like in our church if you and I were really following Jesus?