We will need someone to dim the lights. (To dIm the lights, slide the top two dimmers on the Narthex wall down).
After reader finishes and walks down off the platform, then dim the front sanctuary lights.
I will bring the stand to the center, then switch to the video slide. It should start automatically, and the sound should be at a good level. After the video switch to the title slide, and raise the lights.
They were fishermen. They lived in a small town, maybe a couple hundred, at best. I sure they smelled like fish, the whole town probably smelled like fish. It was hard work, but honest work
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.
When Jesus came by, they are working. Casting a net into the lake, because they were fishermen. That is what fishermen do. They would not be doing anything else, because that is whothey did. It was what there father did, and this was fishing village, it is what the people did. People then did not have many choices then. Most people did not have very much education.
Children would go to Hebrew school, but only for so long. Then it was off to the family business. If you showed promise, you went on for further study, but that was for a few. Still fewer who showed a real heart for God, and real talent would go on further.
It was the elite that went on to become Rabbis. Those elite would find a Rabbi, they admired. Once they found that Rabbi, they would ask him if they could follow Him. This is different.
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
This is different. Jesus found them. The Rabbi does not find the students, the students show there interest in the rabbi, and ask Him if they could follow Him. Jesus turns it upside down.
Jesus is in the small town, not the city. Jesus is in the fishing village, The students are not the elite, not the highly educated, not the promising. Peter and Andrew thought there education was over. Fishing was what they did, it was who they were.
Everything about this is very odd, and because of our familiarity with it, we sometimes miss how strange this is. First, as we said earlier, you apply to learn from a rabbi, this rabbi, went to them. Next, you have to have at the education leading up to to it, they did not. Then, on top of all that, iIt is not necessarily a request. It is a command. Come, follow me.
What would be the Faribault equivalent? Take a young man that did not go to college, but was working here in a factory as welder. A trade he picked up from his family. He lived here, had a place here friends. Maybe he was in youth group as a kid, but now attends church on most Sundays. Then picture a professor from Dallas Seminary walk into the factory as the guy is welding and say to Him Come with me, we are going to travel around the country and preach.
Not would you like to? No Just come and follow me-and I will make you fishers of men. I will make you. Your job is to follow-Jesus will make you, fishers of men, something they could understand. Catching, men for the kingdom of God. They probably understood a little about Jesus, and the kingdom of God, they had encountered Him before.
In John chapter 1, verses 35-42 Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist and he brought Peter to meet Jesus. So they had probably heard about the kingdom of God, and knew they were part of the movement, and they went.
At once they left their nets and followed him.
At once, or immediately they left their nets. It was their chance to be a part of this radical movement. They left their business, their career, their identity, and put it aside. It’s interesting isn’t it? They didn’t even stop to pray about it, or at least it wasn’t recorded, Just radical immediate obedience to the command. Radical, immediate obedience.Imagine if the kingdom of God today was filled with people who were radically and immediately obedient to Jesus.
Simon and Andrew weren’t the only ones with this radical and immediate obedience either, there were others.
Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
They too left the business, and not only that they left their father too. There was nothing holding them back. They are letting go of all of their ties to the world in order to follow Jesus. When these men left everything to follow Jesus they were entering into something entirely different.
To follow a Rabbi, meant literally to follow him. You went where he went, You did what he did You stayed so close to him that literally the dust from his feet would get on your feet. Jesus was calling these men to discipleship, and it was 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You walked where he walked, you ate with him , you listened to his teaching, you learned from him as he lived. You were doing everything you could to be like him. This is not a classroom where you were learning from him you were learning to be like him.
This is something called discipleship. Jesus is asking these men to be his disciples. To live with him and follow him everywhere he goes and to be with him continually, and they go. They give up everything and go.
Is it for us?
This whole idea is so outside of our understanding that we separate ourselves from it. We see this a unique call to these men by Jesus in person for them to be fisher of men. We say that this is a one time unique call by Jesus for them to learn from Him, and carry on the message of the kingdom of God.
Sometimes at best we take another step and say that this call also applies to the Pastor’s and Evangelists. We even say it is a “calling”, they have been called we say. They are the fishers of men, not us.
People even separate the gospel from this call to discipleship. Oh I have answered the call of the gospel some say. I have believed in Jesus and trusted him for the forgiveness of my sins, but this call to discipleship is for the advanced class. This is for the gifted the talented, or for those who want to go on to the advanced class.
We look at it like a two step process. Step one get saved, or believe the gospel, and then there is an optional step two of discipleship. That is a common understanding, however I don’t believe that the Bible teaches that. Instead the call of the Gospel IS the call to discipleship. Your mental ascent to the fact that Jesus is Lord and Savior means that you do what he says.
Let me show you. I want to turn to John 8:28
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.
Jesus is talking about who He is, and that he will be crucified .
Even as he spoke, many believed in him.
They believed him, they believed the gospel. Now, Jesus does not just stop there, and say very good, see you later, instead he starts to talk about this thing called Discipleship.
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
If you hold to my teaching-you are REALLY my disciples-if you do what Jesus says, you are His follower. If you do what he does, then you will be like him.
When you really believe-then you do as He says. The evidence of your belief is your following HIM. The proof of the fact that you have believed Him-is that you are doing as he does, that you are like Him. Some say well is it faith or works? It isn’t an either or. It is a faith that is evidenced by works. If I believe that you are going to come pick up at 4:00, if I trust that you are going to be their and and that you are reliable, I will go outside and wait for you to show up. My actions demonstrate my belief.
You also see this at work. The company puts out a new policy, a new way of doing things. There are people that work there that do not trust leadership. They do not believe that they know what they are doing, so they continue doing things the way they have always done them. If the employees really trust leadership, they wont have a problem following the policy because they are demonstrating it by following the policy.
The call of the Gospel is call to discipleship. The call of the Gospel is a call to follow Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the person who helps you do that. The Holy Spirit is the person who changes your heart to make you into someone who has a passion and a desire to follow Jesus. If you do not follow Jesus, you must ask yourself, have you really believed the gospel? Is there a heart change present that changes you into a follow of Christ?
We showed that the call of the Gospel is a call to discipleship, now what does a disciple look like? We can do a whole series on discipleship, but today I want to give you just a few marks to get you started. You can use these to asses if you are a disciple, a follower, or if you need to go back, check your heart and see what it is about the Gospel you do not fully believe.
Three really simple things you can remember for today, and use this whole week to look at wether or not you are a disciple or if this is something you need to examine.
Really Simple. Follow, Join and Be.
Follow me Jesus said.
A disciple is a follower, he walked in the dust of the rabbi, He went where he went where the rabbi went and did what the rabbi did. The disciples left home, and work, and family and followed Jesus 24/7. They ate with Him, they walked with Him.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
If you love Jesus, then you will keep His word. We can’t physically follow Jesus now that Jesus is in Heaven, but we have His word, we can follow His word.
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
And we will come and make our home with Him! To follow Jesus, means to follow His word, and then we will be with Him. Just like the disciples were with Him. Now, we do not have the physical Jesus with us, but we do have another person of the Trinity with us, the Holy Spirit.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
The Holy Spirit is with us, and will teach us as we are a disciple and we are spending time in His word. To follow Jesus means to spend time in His word , and learn from Him.
I know that sounds like an 80’s youth group curriculum or VBS slogan, right? Join Up with Jesus! That is probably a slogan in my memory form 20 years ago, and I sincerely hope I am not plagiarizing some one. It sounds corny but you have to Join with Jesus.
The disciples, were called to leave their identity of fishermen to join with Jesus’s mission to be made into a new identity of fishers of men. When the Holy Spirit, changes your heart he enables you to be able to become this new person. You are now no longer a sinner, you are a child of Gods. You are to be so-with Jesus you are to be like Jesus. You are to do what he does love what he loves, You are to be like Him. That may mean that you need to be ready to give up whatever you need to in order to follow him. You may be asked to give up your old identity to be joined into Christ’s family.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
Must deny themselves. That means that you as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, because you trust in Jesus that HE knows what is best for you, you trsut that HE knows better for your life than you do. He makes you into what HE wants you to be.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
As we are following Jesus by spending time in His word, and learning from the Holy Spirit. And as Christ is giving us a new identity, making us fishers of people, changing us from the inside out, it is important for us to be.
Be in community
The disciples spent time in community with Jesus and one another as they followed, and learned, an changed. Christianity is not done alone. Unfortunately for introverts, it is not. Christianity is lived out in community. Community can be tough. We don’t always agree with one another. Sometimes we find it hard to like one another. But this is not optional for disciples.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
We are commanded to love another to be in community with one another. The early church spent time in community.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Disciples Follow Jesus in community, They study His word in community, they pray in community. They live life together.
The Call of the Gospel is the beginning of Discipleship. It is a call to believe that Jesus is the Lord the and Savior of the world. It is an understanding that have not followed Jesus, and we need to be forgiven through the sacrifice of the Cross, and risen to a new life as a follower of Jesus. This process begins with an acknowledgment of sin., Confessing to the Lord and asking Him to forgive you and change your heart to be His follower. You can do this today.
You do not need to follow your own ways any longer. Today you can trust Jesus with your life, ands ask Him to help change your heart to make you into His follower. If you have done this but are struggling with what it means to be a Christ follower, and you are felling stuck or that you are not following Jesus as you should please talk to me, I would love to help you, or talk to any one else in this Community who see Jesus in them, ask them they will help you.