Summary: This sermon deals with the cost involved in following Jesus.
WWJG--Come Follow Me
One of the messages that has touched my heart in the most significant ways in this year was Pastor Toby’s Palm Sunday sermon. In it she drove home the reason for why we do what we do as believers in Christ with our gifts, our talents, and our resources. Jesus had sent the disciples to pick up a donkey that was tied outside a house. Now the disciples did not know who the donkey belonged to, nor did have money to buy it, so Jesus told them not to worry. If somebody asked you, "what are you doing taking that donkey, simply tell them--the Lord has need of it--and they will let you have it." You see the owner of that donkey had the qualities of a disciple. When the master makes a request, a disciple is quick to respond, because the Lord has need of it.
Although there are large crowds around Jesus in his ministry, Jesus is never impressed by the size of the crowd. He has a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time thereby making people upset with him, who choose to leave him behind. In almost every group that gathers for Jesus that’s large, there are usually three groups. There is the crowd, there is the congregation and there is the church. For instance.
On Easter we had a very large crowd in worship. Within that crowd was the regular Glenville congregation which comes to service on a regular basis, but even within the congregation is a smaller group which is the church or body of Jesus Christ. There’s a difference between the congregation and the church. One recognizes the importance of the words, "because the Lord has need of it" and the other does not. One is made up of committed disciples, the other is made up of people who just like to belong to the group. Now we exist for the crowd, the congregation, and the church because we have something for all three groups and we want to impact all three. Our goal is to move people from the world, into the crowd, into the congregation and on into the church which is to become a disciple.
We have seen the phrase WWJD. It’s not a radio station. It stands for the words What Would Jesus Do. After Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, Jesus and Peter are walking together. In the last personal recorded conversation between Jesus and Peter, the last thing Jesus says to Peter is, "You must follow me?" With Easter just a few weeks behind us, I’d like for us all to imagine that Jesus is dazzling in his glory and light is radiating from Him, but just as He is about to leave, He turns and gives us a glimpse of His face. We ask Him, "Lord do you have a word for me before you go." He calls back, "you must follow me."
With that He’s gone. Hence the title of my message WWJG. Where Would Jesus Go? You see if we are following Christ, then the only places we should be leaving or heading to are places where Jesus would go. Not just physical places, but into the everyday situations of life and conflict that we face.
One of the popular phrases of today is "now don’t go there, just don’t go there." Sometimes Jesus desires to travel into some of those areas in which we do not want to go. They are considered off limits to him and to others for a number of reasons. Sometimes we like to think of it as our business. "That’s my business and nobody has anything to say about it." Oh really now. Let’s look at our New Testament passage and discover the difference between WWJG and our business.
Jesus has just finished preaching a sermon on how God wants everybody to be saved. God sends his servants looking in the streets, in the alleys, in the back woods, to invite the rich and famous as well as the poor and rejected to come and get a taste of the banquet. The invitation is basically one of come and follow me to the road to heaven You do not have to be like the people who will be left on the outside to deal with the punishment for their sins. The people loved the message. They loved it so much that when the service was over, they followed Jesus right on toward Jerusalem.
Luke 14:25 tells us that large crowds were traveling with Jesus. No doubt some are on his left, some on his right, some behind him and probably some in front. The crowd was traveling with Jesus because they liked what He was intending to do for him. But Jesus is the most honest, down to earth person you’re going to find. He’s going to let you know up front what the cost is. How many of you have ever signed up for something, and got burned because the person who was smiling in your face and telling you what a great deal you were getting, didn’t tell you what the fine print said on the back of the contract.