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Leave it all behind

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Follow Me

John 4:28–29 NLT
The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?”
Heavenly encounters. This evening I want us to think about where we would be without that heavenly encounter.
When you encounter Jesus He tells us to leave something behind and follow Him. We see evidence of this over and over of this. Isn’t that true when we think of savlation as well? Took off the old robe put on the new?
At the altar burdens are left, sin is left, old life laid at His feet to take on forgiveness, grace and mercy and salvation!

The Disciples dropped their nets

Call of Disciples

When Jesus chose his disciples he spoke to them where they were and told them to “Follow Me”.
Matthew 4:18–22 NLT
One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.
Mark 1:16–20 NLT
One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.
There are a couple of other examples in and
Wheh Jesus called the response from the disciples was immediate. They left their nets to follow Him.
Mark 4:20 NLT
And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
Mark 1:18 NLT
And they left their nets at once and followed him.
There was no hesitation, they obediently followed Him.
Let’s talk about that word “Follow” (Greek akoloutheo) one of the first uses of this word is in the gospel where Jesus calls His first disciples. Their decision to follow Jesus meant they had to leave somethings behind.
Jesus first priority, number one priority in life. He was first and all other things were subject to the decision to follow him.
So when the call came “Follow me” they responded obdietly, this decision forever changed the disciples lives and God used them to change the course of history.
Their response was remarkable. Scripture states that “Immediately they left their nets and followed him (, ).
For the first disciples following Jesus meant leaving some things behind.
Tonight let’s look at another couple examples of being called by Jesus.

Samaritian Woman

The Samaritian Woman had an encounter with Jesus. She was surprised that Jesus would even talk to her because Jews refused to have anything to do with Samaritians. Here is another Heavenly encounter. Jesus asked her for a drink of water because he was resting in the heat of the day and the woman was getting water at the well. The woman brought up that she was a Samaritian and He was a Jew. She knew there was a difference between them. She knew that she had to point out the differences because this lady had already been shunned but we don’t know all that at this point.
But it is not normal for someone to get water in the heat of the day. She was out at that time because she was hiding. From what we find out later. Jesus responds with verse 10.
John 4:10 NLT
Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
Doesn’t that bring joy to your heart. Jesus knew all about their differences. He knew that she was a Samaritian and that she was hiding something about her life but He offers love and acceptance in the midst of it all.
Jesus’ words sparked interest in her. Where is this living water you speak of?
In verse 15 is her response
John 4:15 NLT
“Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”
Then Jesus tells her to go get her husband. This is where things get uncomfortable for this lady. You can almost see it in your mind her shifting with discomfort. I am sure she must have said in her mind oh no here we go again, judgement and shunning. I should be used to this by now.
But to her surprise that was not Jesus’ resonse. Jesus knew all about her life and her past and the sinful life she was living, but He still offered her a better life.
The woman is amazed that Jesus knew all this, they just met for goodness sakes. Then Jesus and the Samaritian woman have a heart to heart conversation and you can track that in . Jesus reveals to this lady that He is the Messiah. He proclaims His truth to her. This revelation means something to this lady. The disciples come back on the scene and are surprised that Jesus is talking to this lady but did not have the nerve to question Jesus on it.
The lady met her Savior that day. She left her jug at the well and went away from that meeting place transformed by Jesus and had to tell others of this Messiah.
John 4:28–29 NLT
The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?”
She accepted Jesus and turned from her old life embraced new life in Christ. She left her jug behind due to her excitement and went away to spread the great news.
And the people came streaming in to see Jesus. (v. 30).
Jesus knew about this lady’s sin but loved her and offered her more! And what is great is she accepted it and shared it.
Love is something if you give it away you end up having more. This is certainly evident here.

Rich Young Ruler

This is found in I want to talk about bits and pieces of this encounter for the sake of time tonight.
But you can look at it later and see this encounter in more detail.
Not every person who met Jesus took Him up on the offer. This young mand was one of those cases.
As Jesus was traveling His reputation went before Him. News of who He is and what He had been doing spread like wild fire throughout the land. As Jesus started to make his way towards Jerusalem a man came running to Him wanting to know what he needed to do to inherit eternal life.
Jesus asks him a question, why do you call me good? Giving glory to God for who He is. Then He goes on to tell him the ten commandments. The man stated that he has obeyed the ten commandments. Then Jesus felt deep love for him and told him there was one more thing that he would need to do. Here is the verse that explains it all to him:
Mark 10:21 NLT
Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Mark 10:
This young man was so excited to meet Jesus. He could hardly wait for Jesus to reveal the truth of etenal life. I truly believe he wanted to be obedient but in the end the cost for this man was too great. He was willing to miss out on eternal life because of material possessions.
Mark 10:22 NLT
At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
What a heart breaking response. Here He would have gained much more than the things he had here on earth but he could not see past it. It was just too much for him to leave behind.
Here we see the uniqueness of Christ.
There is no other way to eternal life but through Jesus. You cannot get there by keeping the ten commandments, doing good deeds, giving money, or through any other god. It is through Jesus only He is the only way.
John 14:6 NLT
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
Here in the veres we are looking at the evidence is once again clear.
Mark 10:23–27 NLT
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”
Mark 10:23-
The key is surrender. The key is submission. The key is Yield to Him.
Faith is the key that unlocks the door, because when we surrender, submit, yield, have faith in Jesus, we then have relationship with Him. That is the only way. I don’t care who has told you differently they are wrong. Do not be misled!
We must confess our sins, as for forgiveness and surrender to Him! It will be the best decision you have ever made.
This evening let’s talk about trust - Do you trust Him?

Do you Trust Him?

A lot of us have trust issues today. We are skeptical and that skepticism can block us from the greatest relationship of life. It can be so freeing to trust. But so many of us are so afraid to do that because we have been burned in the past, hurt or misled or left out. All of these things contribute to our inability to trust comepletely.
I want to share with you a illustration:
Lab Coat:
My friend and I can laugh about it now, but it wasn’t very funny years ago, when it all went down.
📷
I was in my last year of college, tired from a busy day and getting ready for bed when it hit me … I have clinical rotations in the morning and forgot to wash my lab coat! Thankfully, my best friend, Shyni, who was also my next-door neighbor, was planning to do her laundry that evening. She was more than happy to add my dirty coat to her load.
What a relief! Now I could rest … or not.
Unfortunately, the “I like to be in control” side of me got the best of me that evening. I couldn’t help but periodically check in with my friend. Was my lab coat in the washer? Dryer? Rinse cycle? Spin cycle?
Umm … none of the above.
My lab coat hadn’t even made its way down to the basement laundry room!
“Don’t worry, I’ll get it done,” my friend reassured me. But with no immediate action behind her words of reassurance, I wasn’t feeling very reassured.
Before I knew it, I was back in her apartment, and these words were coming out of my mouth: “Can I please have my lab coat back? I think I’ll wash it myself.”
Needless to say, she was annoyed by my lack of confidence in her — and I was annoyed by her lack of urgency.
Talk about tension. It was no longer a lab coat issue; it was now a trust issue. After all, isn’t that what most relationships are all about?
Trust.
1 Peter 5:7 NLT
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
Throughout the Bible, God asks His children, in so many words, Do you trust Me?
Do you trust me, O Israel, to only collect a day’s worth of manna? () Do you trust me, Achan, to not collect the spoils of the land of Jericho? () Do you trust me, Gideon, to stop hiding in the wine press? () Do you trust me, Joseph, to marry the woman with child, conceived by the Holy Spirit? ()
It’s easy to say we trust God as we lay our cares at the altar on Sunday, only to begin pacing the floors on Monday. Then, by Tuesday, we’re asking for our “dirty lab coats” back — which can represent any number of burdens — and the weight of those cares is once again on our shoulders.
1 Peter 5:7 NKJV
casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
tells us to begin “casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].”
The word “cast” refers to intentionally relocating an object. God wants us to hand Him anything that weighs us down. But we have to be willing to hand it over … and then let Him handle it.
In the illustration about the lab coat thsoe two ladies had been friends since we were 5 years old. If there was any friend they could trust, it was each other. But their way of doing things might have been different, but in the end, the other girl always got the job done.
The Bible tells us God’s ways are also different than ours. His ways are higher. That’s just one of the ways He offers hope when trusting Him is so hard.
Isaiah 55:8–9 ESV
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Friends, if anyone can handle our stuff — our cares, our fears and even our dirty laundry — it’s God, our heavenly Father.
Friends, if anyone can handle our stuff — our cares, our fears and even our dirty laundry — it’s God, our heavenly Father.
Friends, if anyone can handle our stuff — our cares, our fears and even our dirty laundry — it’s God, our heavenly Father.
Cast your cares on Him, and leave them with Him.
Conclusion:
Tonight, I want us to take note of where we are with the Lord.
What do you still need to leave behind?
What are you holding to as a back up plan?
What do you need to surrender? Leave behind?
Do you need to forgive yourself too?
What habits do you need to drop?
What is stopping you from growing deeper with God?
What is stopping for choosing to trust God?
Is it expectations?
Is it people in this church?
Is it things you cannot let go of?
Can you not relax in His embrace?
God is ready and waiting to give you everything you need as you wholeheartedly come to Him.
Tonight we have looked at a lot of scripture and we can draw some extreme interpretations from these passages and then generalize them for everyone. It would be wrong of us to assume that based on the accounts of the first disciples that everyone who follows Jesus needs to leave EVERYTHING behind.
However, we are called to make Jesus our number one priority in our life and that will mean we have to leave some things behind. We need to root out things that take Jesus’ place. He must be first priority. The things we have to leave behind will look different for everyone. Some people will be called to move to a distant land, serving unreached people groups. This means having to leave family and friends and daily comforts we enjoy here at home.
Others will be called to leave behind a job or a dream that conflicts with God’s call on their life. Everyone who follows Jesus will be changed in such a way that they must leave behind something of their former ways of life that are sinful and dishonorying to God.
Tonight, we need to focus on our priorities. When Jesus becomes the greatest priority in your life, it reorients everything. Your job, approvals, marriage, money, possessions, or whatever used to be first in your life has to give up its place.
Jesus cannot be primary when something else already claims that spot. When we follow Jesus we must be ready to leave some thigs behind at a minimum they do not get to be our first priority any longer.
Is Jesus your highest priority? What might you need to “leave behind” to make it that way?
Leave it all behind - Come to Him, follow Him and heed the immediate call
Travis sing The Well - Casting Crowns
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