Summary: Refocusing our congregation on the basics, this message point us to some fundamental necessities for the Christian life and living.
• In this story of “Matthew’s call” from Jesus to become a follower and disciple, I believe we can lift out many truths. We can lift out things like “The reality of Jesus’ call” or “Responding to the Call of Christ” or even “The Reason Jesus came”, plus many more truth which we need to know. Yet, many more truths are discernable from this passage.
• As I was driving that moving van for my son this past week, I was meditating on this passage & of all things, the word ‘necessities’ came to my mind. We know what ‘necessities’ are. These are the bare essentials. Thinking about this I thought: In the late 19th century the necessities of life were food, clothing, and shelter, at the end of the 20th century those necessities seemed to be food, clothing, shelter, and a CAR, and today in the 21st century those necessities (as lived out by our culture) are food, clothing, shelter, a car, and A CELL PHONE (& not necessarily in that order). How often have people walked in to our office seeking a hand out – only to get a call on their cell phone. You and I know that this mindset is a snapshot of a culture out of sorts with reality. No one has ever died from not having a cell phone or a car. Necessities are essentials.
• As I drove & thought about the call of Matthew (& others), the darkness of our culture, and the need of mankind, God begin to fashion in my mind this message. I submit to you 3 necessities:
1. The Necessity of the Cross – Have you ever really given any deep thought to the fact that Jesus’ death on the cross was not optional, but was essential? (Romans 3:10, 23, 1 John 1:8-10) I heard Jonathon preach his last message at his former church (last week). Hearing him preach is something I love to do, but not for the reasons many would think. Admittedly, I am greatly sentimental about him on many levels, but not preaching. This is too vitally important.
• Almost every time I hear him speak, he says SOMETHING that his dad needs to hear. Either I need to be reminded OR it’s something I’ve never heard before. Last week was a reminder. Before the formation of the world, Creator God looked down the time line of history & said, “If I don’t do something, that 60 (16, 26, 30, 72) year old is NOT GOING TO MAKE IT. The cross was not His last resort, it was His first and only option. ON THE CROSS hung the hope of every person. If Jesus doesn’t die, we are of all men – most miserable because we have no help today & no hope for tomorrow. Why? Because every person who has ever lived has a sin problem. This sin problem separates us from God. In the Garden of Eden, sin crept in to the lives of the first man & woman so God expelled them from His Paradise – and SIN will never be allow in His paradise.
• Hebrews 9:22 says, “Without the shedding of blood there is not forgiveness of sins.” This means that without the cross, you and I (family, friends, acquaintances, etc) have no promise of heaven, we have security for tomorrow, & we have no HOPE! NO HOPE!
• Do you know what this means? No one can buy their way to heaven, no one can work their way to heaven, no one can live their way or be good enough to into heaven, & no one talk their way into heaven. There is only one way to eternal life – and it goes by the way of the cross because the way of the cross still leads home. It is essential.
• Here is what we need to get our minds, hands, and hearts around: Every person you know, including yourself, who does NOT come to the cross on Calvary’s hill and follow Jesus completely will never see the shores of Heaven. Jesus doesn’t just take whatever someone might give Him, this is an ‘all or nothing’ offer. Just didn’t just ‘sort’ of die, it was all or nothing! This is what he meant in Matthew 16:24-25. The cross is the only hope for the world & and for you!
2. The Necessity of the Church – We know that that Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Over the year, I have spoken on this many times.
• We have talked about the ‘offensive nature’ & ‘defensive nature’ of the church. The church is God’s weapon of warfare in this culture against the darkness of evil. Jesus said that the ‘gates, forces, or powers’ of hell will not stand, prevail, overpower, or overcome it.” Every time I read this passage, the picture I see in my mind in one from WW2. Admittedly, my images from WW2 is from what was depicted on the ‘screen.’ (Audie Murphy’s “To Hell and Back”) The US was ‘drawn’ into the war with the attack on Pearl Harbor. When attacked the young men in this country, by the 1000’s) immediately volunteered to fight and die for the freedom & protection of this country.