Summary: Let’s look at how the call that Jesus gave to Matthew when He said, "Follow me," changed Matthew forever and required much of him.
Matthew 9:9; 16:24-26
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.  What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
In this passage, we see a man changed for eternity. Matthew was a Jew who was appointed by the Romans to be the area’s tax collector. He collected taxes from the citizens as well as from merchants passing through town. Tax collectors were expected to take a commission on the taxes they collected, but most of them overcharged and kept the profits. So tax collectors were hated by the Jews because of their reputation for cheating and because of their support of Rome. And we are not told that Matthew was any different.
No doubt he had heard about this man who claims to be the Messiah. I’m sure that tales of his miracles were the topic of many gatherings.
When Jesus called Matthew to be one of his disciples, Matthew had a lucrative career. But all that changed when Jesus spoke those two simple, yet not easy words, “follow me.”
The call to follow Jesus requires much. What does it require? Let’s take a look. First,
I. Following Him Requires Complete Commitment
A. When we commit to something, we make a
promise to do that thing.
B. One Wednesday night after church two boys
were doing their usual activity they do after
church on Wednesday nights, flying paper
airplanes from the balcony. So I told them
that I would give the first one that hit me
with their airplane a dollar. Eventually,
after a LONG TIME, one of them nailed me. So
since I committed to give the winner a
dollar, I pulled out my wallet and handed it
over to him.
C. When he hit me, the boy came running down
from the balcony to receive his reward.
Could you imagine what he would of thought if
I told him to forget it, he wasn’t getting my
dollar? He might think that I wouldn’t keep
D. The same is true in our commitment to “follow
Him.” We make a promise that we will do it.
We will follow Him. To follow means more
than blindly playing “follow the leader,” or
following the directions of a recipe. I
looked up the different uses of the
word “follow.” Here are some of them. “To
go after, to pursue, to abide by, to be a
E. To be committed to something means that
you “stick with it.” You don’t toss it to
the side whenever things go wrong. So many
times we get frustrated when we mess up.
We’re so ashamed and embarrassed, we just
F. But God is saying that following Him requires
commitment. It means that whenever things go
wrong, and sometimes they will, to commit
even more to Him that you will follow, no
matter what. Philippians 3:14 says, “I press
on toward the goal to win the prize for which
God has called me heavenward in Christ
Jesus.” God gives the “press on power.”
He’s telling us to commit to keep pressing on!
Not only does following Him require complete commitment, but…
II. Following Him Requires Absolute Obedience
A. Romans 6:16 asks us the question, “Don’t you
know that when you offer yourselves to
someone to obey him as slaves, you are
slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you
are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or
to obedience, which leads to righteousness?“
B. God has a plan for our lives. I do not
believe that things happen in our lives
accidentally. I once had a pastor that
always used to say that no matter what
happens in our lives, “God is never taken by
C. That plan is fulfilled when we are obedient
to Him. We are all slaves to whom we obey.
When we obey God, we are slaves to Him.
When we are disobedient, we are slaves to
sin. It’s just that simple.
D. To follow Him means that we are obedient to
His Word, to His voice, and to His plan.
How we feel about it isn’t really an issue.
E. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I
have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to
prosper you and not to harm you, plans to