Social media is all the rage these days: Twitter, Pinterst, Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snap Chat, Messenger. Now there is messenger for kids. Everyone is trying to connect online but is there true connection personally? In a world where you “follow” other people and you have others “follow” you.
Katey Perry and Justin Beiber now have over 90 million followers each. Many other celebrities have huge followings. People follow their lives, words, lifestyle, diets and fashion choices. They want to know all about these celebrities, interact with them and be like them. They want to imitate them.
There is nothing wrong with them and to enjoy learning more about people in this manner. It is natural to want to follow those we admire. Following celebrities on Twitter can be fun and enlightening.
However, following people on twitter is one thing but being a true follower of someone is quite another.
A true follower:
imitates their lives
doing what they tell you to do
Choose the right people to follow it is easy to be led astray. Know who you align yourself with. There were so many that were led astray by evil dictators in history:
Hitler had quite the following but was that something to align oneself with?
Stalin? Pol Pot?
Even today many follow evil dictators, gang leaders, and dictators.
Some people are skeptical about tradition and institutions and have a hard time trying to figure out who to follow in the midst of such chaos.
The traditional models, which often came from or were championed by our families, institutions and political leaders, have to some extent broken down. This leaves many people unsure of whom to follow. There is a lot of distrust, discord and synicism.
Jesus said many times “Follow me”. Of all the people who have ever lived, Jesus has the largest number of followers. Over 2.4 billion people in the world today profess to follow Jesus. Jesus’ followers are called disciples. Would you call yourself a disciple of Christ?
Do you want to be with him? Know Him? Be like Him? Do everything that Jesus asks you to do?
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. Sacrifice and offering you did not desire— but my ears you have opened— burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, “Here I am, I have come— it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”
1. The example of Jesus
1. The example of Jesus
When you are going through difficult times you will be strengthened as you remember past blessings and where God has delivered you.
That is what David is writing about here in our text. He was in a slimy put full of mud and mire (v. 1-2).
This can mean any situation here: sickness, sin, depression, fear… the list can go on.
Corrie ten Boom said “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still”.
The “pit” of depression can be a terrible place. In these times we remember all our faults, failures, and disappointments. We start to believe that nothing good could ever happen to us. We feel miserable and helpless. Then we start to think we will never get out of it, never rise above our problems and fulfill God’s call in our lives.
It is in this helplessness I believe we find David and he says “I waited and waited and waited for God”. Anyone like the waiting room?
No one here is shouting for joy when we find out we have to wait are we? We like in a world where we want it done and we want it done not yesterday but 10 days ago! We are people who look for instant gratification.
Well David waited and at last he looked and finally listened. Then he says He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from the deep mud.
After God lifted him out of the slimy pit “He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I would not slip”. (v. 2 MSG).
So right now we see God rescued him and then protected and assured Him of being ok.
God once again shows us that when He does a work He goes beyond what is needed.
After God did that He then put a new song in David’s mouth and his witness led many others to “put their trust in the Lord” v. 3
David describes the great blessing of ignoring what the world worships and following the Lord.
Blessed are you who give yourselves over to God, turn your backs on the world’s “sure thing,” ignore what the world worships; The world’s a huge stockpile of God-wonders and God-thoughts. Nothing and no one comes close to you! I start talking about you, telling what I know, and quickly run out of words. Neither numbers nor words account for you.
David pledges alleigance to God. We need to take note here. There are a lot of people who have wise words to say. There are a lot of leaders who can lead. But none can do what God can do. Here David states this about God. David spurs us on to recognize that nothing or no one compares to God! The world is looking for a sure thing… well guess what He is that! The surest thing, most definitive investment, the only one who can handle what life throws our way. It is too vast to even put into words.
David goes on to say you have given me the capacity to hear and obey. This is the secret to David’s success - praying and obeying. That’s good advice for us this morning to follow this example.
David goes on to offer himself in surrender, entirely, completely to God.
Then I said, “Here I am, I have come— it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”
Alignment with the things of God. He is a God follower, a disciple. Why? Cause God made a transforming difference in His life.
Oh what a change what a difference when you have an encounter with God
Life takes on a new meaning. When you have an encounter with God.
Living and loving each other, loving and serving our God.
Oh what a change what a difference. When you have an encounter with God.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that this too was true for Jesus. Jesus himself quoted
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire— but my ears you have opened— burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, “Here I am, I have come— it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, my God.’ ” First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Jesus prayed and obeyed.
Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, my God.’ ”
The writer of Hebrews goes on to say that the will of God would be fulfilled through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Follow Jesus’ example and offer yourself to do God’s will. Are you willing to go that far? Will you put yourself out there that much? Is there a limit to how far you will trust Him? Follow Him/ Have you and God talked about that?
David states this in Psalms 40:5 that those who surrender fully, those who make the Lord their trust will be blessed!!!!!
You will see all kinds of “wonders” and things you planned for us no one can recount… the would be too many to declare.
Now my simple mind takes this to mean this:
Total Surrender = Blessed beyond measure
You must increase I must decrease
Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.” Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened. When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere. Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.
2. Follow Jesus’ Instructions - The instructions of Jesus
2. Follow Jesus’ Instructions - The instructions of Jesus
Jesus did not have social media, broadcast capacity, big screens or even a simple microphone with which to get the message out. He did not need them!
He had POWER and AUTHORITY which he gave to his followers.
It is fine to use all means necessary to get the word out about the message of Christ. Please hear me this morning I am not knocking that. We must not however get so caught up with modern means that we forget what is at the heart of it all.
Follow Jesus’ example and his instructions, which we read about in our text.
Jesus healed a woman who had been subject to bleeding and then raised Jarius’ daughter back to life. Jarius and the woman were two very different characters: one male, the other female, one an individual, the other part of a crowd, one influential, one seemingly insignificant; one told Jesus about his daughter, the other was called daughter by Jesus, one was healthy and the other was sick.
Both were dependent on Jesus’ power and authority and both reacted in the same way on approaching Jesus. Jarius came and fell at Jesus’ feet (8:41) and the woman came trembling and fell at his feet (v. 47).
Both were right responses. They recognized Jesus’:
prepared to follow his instructions
believe that Jesus had the power to heal
Jesus said to the woman “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace”
Jarius: Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed. Extraordinary power, and extraordinary compassion.
It has been said of Jesus all who touched him were healed Mark 6:56
The power that He has He passes on to us. Power and authority are words that are rightly associated with Jesus’ ministry.
Jesus called together the disciples and gave them power and authority… to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
This is the ministry to which everyone of Jesus’ disciples has been called. His power and authority are available to us today.
3. Follow Wholeheartedly
3. Follow Wholeheartedly
God’s power and authority are given to those who follow the Lord wholeheartedly. Caleb and Joshua back in the book of Numbers are picked out as the exceptions from the Israelites because only two of them followed the Lord wholeheartedly. This is what God’s people are called to do.
Moses warned the people not to turn away from following Him. He warned them not to sin against the Law (you may be sure your sin will find you out v. 23)
The constant challenge in scripture is to follow the Lord with all our hearts and not to dabble with sin.
In the New Testament to follow the Lord is to follow Jesus
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
In this passage we see that much is available to those who follow Jesus wholeheartedly, put their faith and trust in Him and offer themselves to do His will. This is what we are called to!
As we do this, Jesus sends us out into the world with POWER And AUTHORITY to proclaim the gospel and heal the sick.
Jesus sent the disciples out to preach the kingdom of God and He told them to
“Take nothing for the journey - no staff, no bag, no bread, no money and no extra tunic”.
When we travel do we do that? We seem incapable of travelling light. We need to recognize total surrender means submission to Him wholeheartedly.
This morning our challenge is laid out. How far are you willing to follow? Do you follow Him at all? You need to figure out where you stand. If you follow Him do you walk in wholehearted surrender ?? Are you walking in His power and authority?
Would He be pleased with our witness and picked out of the crowd as Joshua and Caleb were for following in wholeheartedness? Examine yourself this morning forget about others. Where do you stand?
We say we align ourselves with Christ but when the rubber meets the road there are conditions to our alignment. Conditions with how far we will go, who we will associate with, who we will even forgive, who we will work with, how we will do the work. This morning judgement of one another needs to die and we need total surrender to God to His power and authority. Then in turn the power and authority we will receive will be life changing, earth shattering and beyond our greatest expectations.