Summary: A call to come out from our comfort zones.
“I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”
Luke 9:18-26, 57-62
There is a great old chorus that I love to sing. Maybe you know it. It goes like this:
“I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus,
No turning back, no turning back.”
Remember it? There are some other verses.
“The world behind me, the cross before me.”
“Though none go with me, still I will follow.”
You get the picture.
Well, it’s mighty easy to sing that song, but let me ask you a question: are you serious when you sing it?
Are you really ready to follow Jesus, no turning back?
Are you really ready to leave the world behind, to really follow though none go with you?
I ask myself, and quite frankly, I don’t like how I answer it all the time.
We are going to look at the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke this morning as we look at the issue of truly following Christ.
My purpose this morning is to get us to take a fresh look at what it means to give it all over to Jesus, and not just talk about it.
I need to tell you that this is not an easy message for me. I might very well step on some toes today.
I would rather come here and preach a nice message about how love and happiness, or something flowery like that.
But God has laid this on my heart.
No one wants to hear about the costs of discipleship. We don’t want to hear that it’s not always easy to live for Christ.
We’d rather hear that it’s nothing but a bed of roses. I know that’s what I would prefer!
I’m a wuss, when it comes right down to it, folks!
But it is not always a bed of roses. It certainly can be at times, but God has not promise it will be that way all the time.
Please turn in your Bibles to Luke 9:18-26 –
-Once when Jesus was praying in private and His disciples were with Him, He asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
“But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And He said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
Then He said to them all: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”-
Then skip down to verses 57-62 –
-As they were walking along the road, a an said to Him, “I will follow you wherever You go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”
He said to another man, “Follow Me.”
But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Still another said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”-
To me, this whole thing boils down to one word: Comfort.
It’s my personal opinion that comfort is one of the church’s biggest problems.
We are much too comfortable in our walks with God, and today we will look at three areas in particular where comfort gets in the way: our OUTWARD LIVING, our OUTPOURING in worship, and our OUTREACH to those around us who need Jesus.
I. OUTWARD LIVING.
We start off by looking at comfort in our outward living, and quite frankly, this is where we will spend most of our time this morning.
A. Comfort in General.
By this is mean, mainly, our material comfort, though we will look at other areas as well.