Summary: 2 of 4 of the series In Pursuit: The Jesus Walk. Those pursuing Jesus and wanting to walk the Jesus walk will watch where they are stepping. In doing so they ask the question, "Am I in the way or am I in the way?"
WATCHING THE STEPS WE TAKE
Read at beginning of service:
Matthew 16:23-25 (NIV)
23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
Last week we began the series "IN PURSUIT: The Jesus Walk" by introducing ourselves to these three questions,
Who are we?
Who are we following?
Who are we to follow?
From these questions we hopefully have gained the understanding that we are to be followers of Jesus Christ the Son of God. To say we are a follower says we are actively pursuing Jesus – we’re seeking to take the steps He took! The first step in following Jesus as we discovered last week is to recognize that we need to follow who we SAY we’re following! There’s a big difference between SAYING you are following Christ and actually FOLLOWING Him!
Pursuing Jesus and seeking to walk the Jesus walk brings us to our second message, "Watching the Steps We take". It is one thing to follow Christ and it is another thing to be stepping where He steps!
As I was preparing this message there was a mental picture that came to my mind. I remember when I was a child in Thunder Bay and we would get huge massive snowfalls in the wintertime. The amount of snow on the ground would always be way over my head! (Of course I was a much smaller person then). I remember the one day that my dad decided that we were going to build a snow fort together in the backyard. Oh was I ever excited! I was going to help MY DAD build the biggest Snow Fort in the whole neighborhood. So I bundled on my snowsuit, put on my mitts, my toque and scarf and headed outside. But I couldn’t get anywhere! The snow was so high that every step I took I got stuck and had to try and pry my way free before taking the next step!
Then my Dad came outside and began to plow through the snow to our backyard. Seeing the predicament I was in my Dad picked me up an placed on his trail behind saying, "Just step where I step, Darren" Of course when I got on the trail he made I found it much easier going. Then we were in the back yard. My dad started shoveling the snow into a huge pile and I quickly moved in to help with my own little shovel. Not wanting to venture into the deep snow again and knowing that it was fruitless to try I moved in close to where Dad was shoveling and began lifting my small loads onto the growing pile. What I didn’t notice however was that the pile wasn’t growing as fast as it had been. In fact I didn’t know it but I was IN THE WAY of my Dad’s shoveling efforts and he wasn’t able to shovel the snow on as fast. Instead of just telling me to get out of the way however, my Dad simply shoveled out a place in the snow where I could work away adding my contribution to the snow pile.
The reason why this picture came into my mind as I was preparing this message is because a follower of Christ is careful to be in the WAY with Christ not in the way of Christ. A follower of Christ is careful to watch the steps Christ takes and endeavour to step in those places. A follower of Christ is careful to stay on the path that Christ makes. A follower of Christ is careful to not get ahead of Jesus and get in the way of what Jesus is trying to do but instead find the place where Christ has prepared for us to serve!
To be a follower of Jesus Christ means that Christ is the center of our lives as well as all our experiences in life.
Our solar system illustrates for us what it is to follow Christ:
Primarily our solar system consists of the Sun and nine other planets with the Sun being at the center. The Sun holds the solar system together by a gravitational pull or force causing the planets to orbit or revolve around it. The Sun dominates the gravitational field as it makes up 99% of the Solar System’s mass.
Joseph Stowell says, "There is always something at the center that defines and directs everything else that moves around it. As the sun is to our solar system, so the Son should be to our existence"