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Follow Me

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Intro to “Are you in” campaign

This may be offensive, although after last week I highly doubt it.
I like watching championship poker on TV.
My favorite part is when one of the players decides to go “All in”, meaning they are putting all they have in their pot on the line, risking it all with the cards they have.
In at sense they are saying “I am willing to risk all I have because of the value of what I have been dealt.
You may have noticed the flashes we have been putting in the announcements every week “Are you in?”
It is a question we will be asking for the season of our church.
It is a question of examination- to take a look at ourselves and ask “Am I in?” Where do I need to “lean in” and/or get plugged in?
It is a question of connection- Am I connected to God, to others, and to ministry?
It is a question of commitment- Am I committed to Christ, His Church, to His people and the church He has called me to?
Really it is a question of discipleship- are you a disciple of Jesus Christ?
Matt 4:18-
Matthew 4:18–22 ESV
18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Before we can answer that we have to know what a disciple is…that’s where we will begin today.

What is a Disciple?

In Jesus’s day:
“A follower of a master, an intimate companion in some common endeavor, often learning and promoting a particular ideology.”
Disciples in Jesus’s day would seek out a wise and respected teacher, whom they would ask to become their disciple.
They would follow the teacher around, listen to what he taught, and watch how he lived.
They would seek to become like their master.
Jesus embraces this model, and it becomes His method, His way of life for believers.
We see it in how He calls his first disciples.
First: Matt 4:18-22
Matthew 4:18–22 ESV
18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus calls them to FOLLOW Him.

A Follower

The verb here is δεῦτε (duete) ὀπίσω (opiso), which literally translates “Come behind me!” or “Come after me!”
Jesus was calling the disciples to leave their jobs, their families, and their livelihood to “come after” him.

So a disciple is:

Someone who increasingly submits themselves to Jesus in everyday life.

The word “increasingly” is important here.
We often think of becoming a Christian as similar to joining a political party.
I believe the same things they believe and want the same things they want.
When it comes down to it they can count on my vote.
It doesn’t necessarily change your every day life.
You aren’t looking to political figures for how to make every day decisions.
Being a Christian, a disciple of Christ, is “coming behind Jesus”.
It is asking the questions:
What does it look like to follow Jesus in my marriage or in my singleness?
What does it look like to follow Jesus with my money?
What does it look like to follow Jesus as an employee, a boss, or a student?
What does it look like to follow Jesus with my free time, alone time, or whatever time we have?
It is seeing the Christian life as more than a one time decision and/or an event on your calendar.
He is your calendar as everything you do is increasingly being submitted to Him.

Jesus says He will CHANGE THEM.

“I will make you” is the Greek work “ποιέω” (poero) which literally means- to give certain properties to something/someone.
Jesus is saying “If you follow me you are going to be changed.” Or you will walk away eventually.
He is calling Peter here, whom He has already encountered in
John 1:40–42 ESV
40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
Jesus meets Peter and immediately changes his name.
“When Peter is brought to him, Jesus assigns a new name as a declaration of what Peter will become. This is not so much a merely predictive utterance as a declaration of what Jesus will make of him.”
When Peter is brought to him, Jesus assigns a new name as a declaration of what Peter will become. This is not so much a merely predictive utterance as a declaration of what Jesus will make of him.
D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 156.
Fast forward to and read Peter’s sermon on the
Fast forward to and read Peter’s sermon in .
Peter was a fisherman, a simple man, but following Jesus changed him.
This is what baptism represents in our church. The death to the old self and the raising of a new person through the blood of Jesus.

So a disciple is:

Someone who is progressively being changed by Jesus in everyday life.

Again notice the word “progressively”. We are not instantaneously transformed into who God wants us to be when we come to Christ, but there will be a marked change in us who are following Christ.
Think of who He is calling to follow Him:
He is calling Peter here, whom He has already encountered in
John 1:40–42 ESV
40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
Jesus meets Peter and immediately changes his name.
“When Peter is brought to him, Jesus assigns a new name as a declaration of what Peter will become. This is not so much a merely predictive utterance as a declaration of what Jesus will make of him.”
Fast forward to and read Peter’s sermon in .
Peter was a fisherman, a simple man, but following Jesus changed him.
This is what baptism represents in our church. The death to the old self and the raising of a new person through the blood of Jesus.

Jesus REDEFINES their MISSION.

These were fishermen, it was their lot in life, what they were trained to do, what they got up in the morning to do.
Notice that when Jesus calls them to follow there was a leaving behind of things
Matthew 4:20 ESV
20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
matt
Matthew 4:22 ESV
22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
They left their jobs, they left their livelihood, and they left their father.
It is significant that James and John were in the boat with Zebedee.
Zebedee would have been the one who trained them and told them what to do. They would have obeyed their dad in order to be successful and safe on the boat.

So a disciple is:

Someone who increasingly obeys Jesus in everyday life.

This is hard for our culture, because we don’t like to “obey”, to be told what to do.
But the reality is each and everyone of us is obeying a path, following a vision of what we think is right, and on a mission to accomplish something.
A disciple of Christ is someone who’s path, vision, and mission is increasingly being defined and redefined by Jesus.
ILLUSTRATION:
If someone told you there was 3 billion dollars waiting on you at BB&T in downtown BG and all you had to do is walk there to get it, what would you do?
the trip is going to be long, hard, and costly, since you are going to be making some sacrifices to get there.
But the reward is incredible.
There may be temptations along the way to give up or to go somewhere else, but knowing the reward, knowing the promise makes sticking the course so much more appealing.
This is what it means to “obey” Christ.
It is to follow Him, let Him change you through His Spirit, and let Him define your mission and your path.
It is saying “Jesus’s way is the best way.”

How do we become disciples of Christ?

1) We hear the call of Jesus to come follow Him.

That is the very reason some of you are here today.
You have realized the emptiness of life, the shame of your sin, the darkness you are walking in.
You are beginning to not only hear the truths about Jesus, but believe them too.
Jesus wants you to respond like the disciples in our passage today
To stop giving excuses, to stop saying “maybe later”, to stop saying “I am just not sure yet.”
He is calling you to leave your nets, get out of the boat, leave behind your past allegiances and to follow Him.

2) We put ourselves behind Jesus.

As we study God’s Word
As we seek out Christian community to help us follow Jesus
As we pray and grow in relationship to Jesus.
He is not a political figure we agree with, He is the risen Lord who we need to submit our whole lives to.

3) We allow Jesus to change us through His Spirit.

I say allow, but ultimately He will change us when we are truly a part of His family.
Romans 12:2 ESV
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
A True disciple of Jesus cannot and will not stay the same.
Paul gives us a list of how we will be different in
The FRUITS of the SPIRIT are the marks of how the Spirit of God is working in our hearts and lives to CHANGE us.
I am not by nature patient, but the Spirit CHANGES me, TRANSFORMS me.

4) We embrace the way of Jesus over any other way.

Paul shares of the incredible inheritance we are promised as Christians in .
He is directing the oppressed and suffering believers to look to the promised reward of their obedience rather than the struggle of their current circumstance.
If we as a people would wake up every morning and seek to make Jesus’s promises and His way the focus of our minds and the direction of our intentions how hope-filled and transformative would our days be.

Conclusion

Over the next weeks and months we want to give each and every person opportunities to say “I am all in.”
The temptation is to just be busy doing things, but our prayer is that we as a church would become growing and transforming disciples of Jesus.
For today, where ever it is you find yourself today, begin by opening your hands in submission as I ask you “Are you in?”
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