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The impact of following Jesus.

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Introduction
When you think of Jesus, what comes to mind?
A pius sage.
A militant warrior.
A kind-hearted brother.
A spiritual concept.
Maybe it is the picture that was on the wall of grandma’s house.
Maybe a flannel-graph cartoon character, who loved the little children.
Who do you say Jesus is?
Jesus asked that very question:
Matthew 16:13–15 ESV
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
It is the question that I hope to answer through a series of messages this year.
One of the key ways Jesus is described is something that is absolutely essential in life:
Acts 4:12 ESV
12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Salvation from God is directly connected to the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.
The other day, I decided to read the first three chapters in the Gospel of John. What caught my attention was how many times it addressed subjects as receiving him, believing in His name, believing in him, believe in the word that Jesus has spoken, whoever believes the Son has eternal life. and whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life.
But, what do we actually believe concerning Jesus that brings salvation and a transformed life?
What if we, over time, and due to our life experiences, have distorted who Jesus is?
N.T. Wright - “We have often muted Jesus’ stark challenge, remaking him in our own image and then wondering why our personal spiritualities have become less than exciting and life-changing.”
So, as we begin this New Year, why don’t we once again renew our faith and passion for Jesus Christ.
Theme 2021
The theme that will guide the next twelve months for Racine Assembly of God is focused on what really matters.
Our them is: The Way of Jesus.
The Way of Jesus describes a path, a road, a journey by which we move forward in our faith in Christ Jesus—a faith that invites the work of God to transform our lives.
So, our first series of the year will focus on Movement: Moving Forward the Jesus Way.
And, we move Forward by following Jesus.
See John 1:35-39
Text
John 1:35–39 ESV
35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
Point 1

A witness is God’s method of inviting unbelievers to believe and follow Jesus.

John 1:35–36 ESV
35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
I cannot recall anyone becoming a believer in Jesus without someone directly or indirectly telling them about Jesus.
I am a follower of Christ because my grandparents and parents were followers of Christ. In addition, it was a neighbor who helped me understand the need for Jesus in my life.
Telling the Good News to someone is the method God uses to introduce people to the way of Jesus.
This community and our world depends on someone telling them about Jesus.
KEY THOUGHT: The way of Jesus begins with someone telling someone about Jesus in such a way—and the work of God bring such conviction—that a clear choice of life or death is presented.
Point 2

Following the Way of Jesus is a choice that must be made.

John 1:37 ESV
37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.
Following Jesus is the most important decision a person can make.
It does not mean that that person understands all things—but understands Jesus is worthy to be followed.
Everyone follows somebody or something.
Personality
Wealth and possessions
Social status and popularity
Happiness
But only Jesus can lead us the right way:
John 14:6 ESV
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus makes it clear that choosing to follow him is not the popular decision.
Matthew 7:13–14 ESV
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
The way of Jesus is not a decision that brings ease of life or the absence of suffering.
The way of Jesus is a choice that invites God to change every aspect of your life—conforming to His purpose—demonstrating His image—and engaging in attitudes and actions that brings Him glory.
Point 3

Following Jesus invites genuine fellowship with Jesus.

John 1:38–39 ESV
38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
Jesus took interest in these two men—and asked them a thought-provoking question: “What are you seeking?”
What a person is “following” Jesus, what is he/she actually following?
Religion and rituals
A concept of revolution and counter-culture
Niceness and kindness
OR—following the infinite Son of God—savior and Lord of Life.
Jesus took serious interest and concern about those who were desiring to follow Him.
He invites them to be with Him: “Come and see.”
And doing life with Jesus, these two men (Andrew and John) would experience life-transformation—a life fully dedicated to God’s purpose and work.
Conclusion
The movement we need to engage in is a movement that ushers us to follow Jesus.
Movements, by there very nature, is filled with mountains and valleys—emotional, spiritual, and social highs and lows.
But movements, like that of music—pulls us within a current of beauty and life-change.
Our whole life experiences something new—as we live to follow Jesus—the Jesus way!
Condoleezza Rice - “We join Johann Sebastian Bach in saying (as he wrote at the beginning of his compositions), ‘God help me.’ And we glory in the belief that our Lord answers. Burt we too often fail to say, as Bach did at the end of his magnificent works, ‘(Everything) To the Glory of God.”
Invitation
Invitation to receive Jesus.
Invitation to rededicate to Jesus.
Romans 10:9–10 ESV
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Questions for Personal Reflection and Group Discussion
Have you ever been concerned that you were misunderstanding who Jesus is?
What does it mean to follow Jesus?
What kind of “belief” is necessary to receive the truth of Jesus, which brings salvation?
Why do you think many Christians fail to tell others about Jesus?
Bibliography
N.T. Wright - The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is (InterVarsity Press, 1999).
John Ortberg - Who Is This Man: The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus (Zondervan, 2012
Leith Anderson - Jesus: An Intimate Portrait of the Man, His Land, and His People (Bethany House, 2005).
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