Summary: We can still follow the steps of Jesus. God's Word shows us how. 1. We must repent (vs. 17). 2. We must respond to God's call (vs. 18-19a). 3. We must be re-created (vs. 19b). 4. We must rely on God for the catch (vs. 19c-22).
Following the Steps of the Savior
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Feb. 13, 2013
*Over the years, I have known maybe 15 or 20 people who got to visit the Holy Land. They all said what a blessing it was to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.
*Most of us can only imagine what it would be like to sail on the Sea of Galilee or climb the Mount of Olives. But because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the gift of God's Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, because in Hebrews 13:5, Jesus said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you," and because in Matthew 18:20, Jesus promised, "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them," -- because of all these things, we too can walk in the steps of Jesus!
*Even if we never leave Caldwell Parish, we can still follow the steps of the Savior. God's Word shows us how.
1. First: We must repent.
*We see this truth in vs. 17, where Matthew says: "From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'"
*Here God gives us an emphatic call to repent. It's the same call given by John the Baptist back in Matthew 3:2: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" It's the same command our Risen Savior gave to most of the churches in Revelation 2&3: "Repent!"
*It's the same cry heard down through the ages as men of God called people back to the Lord: "Repent!" -- "Change your mind. Turn around. Turn to God. Turn back to God." Repent whoever you are, whenever you need to, and however you need to. Repent.
*Of course we need to repent of any known sin in our lives. And all of us need to repent in some ways, because none of us is perfect. All of us need to repent, because God both desires and demands it.
*The Lord gives us an emphatic call to repent. What did Jesus say to the woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8:11? He said: "I do not condemn you; go and sin no more." That's repentance. In 2 Timothy 2:19, Paul put it this way: "The solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: The Lord knows those who are His, and Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." That's repentance.
*One of the best pictures of repentance in the Bible is the parable of the prodigal son in Luke's Gospel. This rebellious young man squandered all of his inheritance with prostitutes and wild living, but after he lost everything, he repented.
*As Jesus describes the young man's repentance in Luke 15, we see 3 clear changes.
-First, his mind changed.
-Then his will changed.
-Then his action or direction changed.
*Listen to the Lord in Luke 15:17-20:
17. "But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! (His mind changed.)
18. I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,
19. and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants."' (His will changed.)
20. And he arose and came to his father. . ." (His action changed. The whole direction of his life changed. That's repentance.)
*And remember the wonderful reception the young man received when he returned to his father. Jesus tells us about it in Luke 15:20-24.
20. "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
21. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
22. But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.
23. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry;
24. for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry."
*Church: This is surely a picture of our Heavenly Father, for in Luke 15:7&10, Jesus has already told us twice about the great joy in Heaven when even one sinner repents.
*And we have every reason to repent: We need to repent. We can repent. And we have a great place to turn when we repent, for "the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Better than that, we have a great person to turn to: Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! We just need to turn to the Lord.