Summary: To see Jesus’ service and increase our commitment
“THE WONDER OF HIS SERVICE”
This summer our youth are going on a mission trip to Mexico. Our youth minister, Doug and his “right hand lady” in this endeavor, Diane Sutton, wondered if they would get enough sponsors to go on a hot, dirty and hard trip like this. When I asked Doug a couple of weeks ago how he was doing for sponsors he said, “It’s great! I’ve got more than enough. We’re going to have more sponsors then kids if we’re not careful.” Now, why would anyone want to do that? Why would you take a week off work to go to Mexico in July, spend time living in rather Spartan conditions just to minister to under-privileged people? Isn’t that a little fanatical? A little extreme? But you know what? When a person is committed to Jesus Christ, they sometimes do things that don’t make sense to everyone else. The use of time, the choice of entertainment, the giving of money, the topic of conversation, the involvement in church, the adherence to certain moral values - seem odd to those who don’t know the Lord. And it’s not uncommon for genuine Christians to appear completely out of step with the world.
And that kind of commitment is not uncommon in this church. From the families that stay behind to lock up; to instrumentalists, choir & praise team members who practice during the week and arrive here at 7:45 to go over it again, to a group of ladies who week in and week out offer their time to fold the Care-A-Gram, to the Elder’s who meet every Saturday morning at 7am for prayer; there are many who give of their time, money and energy to serve Jesus Christ and grow in Him.. Who as Paul says in 2 Cor.- “Give themselves first to the Lord..” When a person genuinely surrenders to Jesus Christ as Lord there comes a whole new way of thinking, feeling, behaving that makes the nominal Christian and the non-Christian wonder just a little bit about why they would do what they do.
I want to be right up front with you. The purpose of this sermon two-fold: (1) For those of you who have not accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; I want you to see Jesus in such a way that you will be motivated to come to Him today, or at least make a commitment to seek out the answers to your questions so you will be ready to make that decision. (2) For those of you who have already made the decision to accept Christ into your life, that you will see your way to completely commit and involve yourself in service to Him. So, as we continue in the incidents of Christ, seeing the Wonder of it all, we come to the calling of His disciples. They are going to serve as an example to us. Vs:11 says “they left everything and followed Him.” Why did they do that? Why would these fishermen leave their occupations to follow an itinerant preacher? Well, as we seek to understand what motivated these men to give their whole selves in service to the Lord, let’s look at the appeal of Jesus, the decision of the disciples and then the application to us.
I. THE APPEAL OF JESUS: Vss: 1-4
I want you first to see the appeal of Jesus. Vs:1- “One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret (Galilee) with the people crowding around Him and listening to the Word of God..” What was there about Jesus that made these crowds surround Him? This is important because I believe that the same things that appealed to the crowds and to these first disciples will still appeal to us today. If you have a Bible I want us to look back in chapter 4, because within that chapter are examples of several of the reasons that Jesus had and has such an incredible appeal.
(1) Jesus was a man of complete integrity. Immediately following His baptism Lk 4 tells us, that Jesus went into the wilderness, where He fasted for 40 days, and then was severely tested by Satan. When Jesus was hungry Lk. 4:3 tells us that Satan said, “Why don’t you turn these stones into bread?” Satan was suggesting that Jesus fulfill His physical desires, His instinct for pleasure over His spiritual needs. But Jesus said, “No.. It is written man does not live by bread alone.” Jesus was never gluttonous; Jesus was never drunk; Jesus was never sexually promiscuous. You have to admire a man who was that pure. Satan then took Jesus to a “a high place and showed Him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.” And Satan told the Lord that all of it could be His if He would just worship the devil. But Jesus said, “No.. It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.” Jesus was never greedy, He never gave in to the desire for an abundance of things. And you have to respect a man who is that unselfish. Then Satan led Jesus to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the highest part of the temple and he told Him if He would throw himself down that angels would catch Him and Satan even quoted Psa. 91, basically using it to say, “Jesus, if you’ll just take a short-cut to popularity, this stunt will really attract a crowd and then you can have them in the palm of your hands.” But Jesus said, “No.. It is written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Jesus was not a crowd pleaser, He never took an ego trip, He never went along with peer pressure even if it meant rejection. And you have to admire a man with that kind of courage. Teg Engstrom in his book on integrity says, “Integrity is doing what you say you’re going to do.” And Jesus walked His talk.