Summary: How well do we follow when Jesus calls us to follow? Oftentimes it requires an abrupt stop, an about face, and then a totally new direction.
Sermon Title: Prepare to follow
Sermon Text: John 1:43
Sunday, June 25th, 2000 – Evangelical Church of Oskaloosa
Scripture introduction: I think most young Christians are told when they ask what they should read first in the Bible, is to read the book of John. It tells quite clearly that Jesus is, was and always will be God. John records the miracles that can be only through the hands of God and recounts the statements that could come from only God Himself. Jesus tells us who He is in this book. He is the bread of life, the light of the world, the door for the sheep, the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life, the way-the truth-the life, and the true vine.
Jesus was deity and He performed signs that indicated that. Jesus changed water into wine, healed a man’s son without going to his bedside, healed a man who was lame, multiplied bread and fish to feed many, walked on water, caused a blind man to see, and raised Lazarus from the dead on the fourth day. These miracles showed that Jesus is God. He had the power of the elements at His fingertips. The Creator, walking among His creation, helping His creation and sadly so many rejected him then and even more so today.
Jesus was also fully man. His body grew tired, His soul was troubled, and He groaned in His spirit. Andrew told his brother We have found the Messiah. Nathanael concluded, You are the Son of God.
In this Gospel, John is urging us to trust in Jesus for eternal life. And he gives three reasons to do so. First, because the Father is in Christ, and Christ is in the Father. Secondly, Christ came from God and God sent Him. And thirdly, that Christ is the Son of God.
John reveals the Bibles most important message. We are to believe and follow Jesus because only He is the way to eternal life.
Please join me reading God’s Word.
Scripture reading: John 1:43
The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He *found Philip. And Jesus *said to him, "Follow Me."
The first thing that we need to realize is that when we are asked or commanded to follow, this indicates that we are going in a direction other than the desired course of which we are being asked to follow. What things do we need to do on our end to effect the changes that will accomplish the goal of following?
First, we must stop going in the direction that we were heading. This may or may not be easy to accomplish. A good example is a freight train with 50 cars loaded with coal, traveling at 50 MPH, is not going to be able to stop on a dime so to speak.
The second thing that we must accomplish in order to follow is to change the direction that we are facing. This is also not always the easiest feat to accomplish. We will once again use a freight train as an illustration. In order to turn that train around isn’t as easy as just scooping it up and that’s that. It requires a little switching and that can be time consuming. Sure a train can go for a short distance at slow rates of speed in reverse, but that is only a short term solution. Try walking backwards sometime. If we shuffle our feet slowly and we are heading in a way that is straight and without obstacles, we will more or less remain safe. If we run in one direction, focusing on the opposite, we are heading for disaster.
Thirdly, once we have oriented ourselves to the proper direction we must begin to move forward. Now we need to be aware that as we go forward, there are many things that Satan has put along the path to distract us. We read in Matthew 7:13-14, 13 "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Let us pause for a moment of prayer!
POINT 1: The first step to following Jesus is that we must Stop what we are doing. Now before we get into that further, let’s look at some words that do not accompany this section of Scripture. Jesus told Philip, "Follow Me." Now it doesn’t say that we are to follow Jesus next month, next week, tomorrow, or even in an hour or so. I’m going to hazard a guess and say that it means to follow Jesus Now! Because in Luke chapter 5, where Jesus calls His disciples we read, "Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men." 11 When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him. It doesn’t say anything about putting an ad in the paper and selling the boat and the fishing business first, instead we read they left everything and followed Him. In the book of Acts chapter 8 and the account of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, 26 But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, "Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza." (This is a desert road.) 27 So he got up and went. So we see that Philip wasted no time in following the angel of the Lord’s command. We have run into too many situations where we see people making excuses for not following, or taking there time to get started. Even the prophet Jeremiah had a protest to what God was calling him to do. We read in Jeremiah chapter 1 verses 4-9