Summary: We receive courage to do whatever it takes when we follow Jesus.

Title: Follow-Whatever It Takes

Date: 3/26/17

Place: BLCC

Text: Matthew 10.16-31

CT: We receive courage when we follow Jesus.

[Screen 1]

FAS: Several years ago, an enormous financial crisis loomed in Europe. The very survival of the structure of the euro currency, if not the whole of Europe, was at stake. All eyes were on one man: the head of the European Central Bank. Financial markets and currencies plunged all through the morning, and the only question on anyone's lips was, "What will he say?" His words would either cause an implosion or the reversion of the volatility.

On the morning of July 26, 2012, he stood up, and when asked what he would do to protect the euro, he answered in three simple words. "Whatever it takes." At that moment, in human terms, he spoke for the might of the major industrial countries of Europe. As soon as he spoke those words, the markets rallied. The immediate crisis was over. The structure of the currency was secured.

There's a challenge here for us. When confronted with a world in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ, with a world crying out in pain, with a world riven by inequality, poverty, and need, how will we respond? Will we hunker down and ignore the outside world? Or will we be willing to say, "Whatever it takes"?

Whatever it takes to see our communities restored, our workplaces transformed, our world healed? Whatever it takes to see justice and righteousness roll on like a river? Whatever it takes to see our friends, colleagues, and neighbors come to realize that they, too, are known, loved, and called by their Father in heaven?

Ken Costa, "Know Your Why," (Thomas Nelson, 2016), page 201.

LS: As followers what should we be willing to do to see that everyone knows of the hope and forgiveness of our Lord and Savior: Whatever it takes.

What could be too great a cost for saving lives of ones that are lost.

[Screen 2]

What do you receive when you follow Jesus Christ? Don’t we kind of assume if we obey and be good God will repay us with a great reward for following Jesus. But what do you receive right now when you decide to follow Jesus.

A lot of people say it makes you a better person. It is true that following Jesus will tend to make you more generous, more loving, kinder and quicker to forgive. You will be a better mom, dad, son, and daughter.

You name it you are better at it if you follow Jesus. You buy that?

The nicest people I know follow Jesus

But that is not the reward is it? Being a good person?

Some believe if we follow there will be no problems and life will be perfect.

If anyone is telling you that they are not telling you the truth.

It’s like those TV evangelists who get to the end of their message and tell you if only you send them a big check, all your problems will disappear.

Following Jesus is costly. We will talk about that in another sermon in this series. Just know today the reward is not a pain free stress free life if you follow Jesus.

Probably most believe that if you follow Jesus you will get to dwell with God in heaven. That may be true but if you read the gospels you won’t find Jesus calling people to follow him to get in heaven. While Jesus talks a lot about the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven, he doesn’t really attach following Him with where you will spend eternity.

Want proof? Check out the thief on the cross with Jesus in Luke 23.32 -34. After the thief admits that he deserves the punishment of crucifixion, the thief asks Jesus to remember him when he comes to his kingdom.

Jesus answers, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise”. (Luke 23.43)

Hearing this I don’t believe paradise is the reward for following. This thief was already nailed to a piece of wood. He wasn’t following anybody anywhere.

But there is a reward for following Jesus. It is not just the fact you will be a better person or even heaven. So what is it?

There is a destination Jesus has for you when you follow. Jesus has a mission for each one of us. In Matthew we get to listen in on a pep talk he gives the disciples but it isn’t really very peppy. [Screen 3]

Matthew 10.16-23, 16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. [Screen 4] 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.

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