Follow Me and I Will Make YouSeries: Follow. James Dewhurst September 29, 2019
Follow Me and I Will Make You!
Today, we are excited to begin an 8-week sermon series together called – Follow! Over the next couple of months, the majority of our small groups are going to be discussing our Sunday messages throughout the week as well.
The series that we are starting together today, is intended to create significant roots in your Christian Walk. Nearly 80% of our nation today says they believe in God. In other words, 4 out of 5 people in America like God, but do they follow him? Throughout this series together, we are going to be taking a look at what it truly means, not only to be a disciple of Jesus but also a disciple-maker. Are we just fans, or are we followers?
Today, as we jump into the first message in our Follow series today, we are going to focus on 7 words Jesus spoke to his first recruits – Follow me and I will make you!
26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. 27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). (ESV)
1 Peter 4:16
16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. (ESV)
The word disciple appears nearly 300 times!
One of the most fundamental rules of communication on the planet is that when something is repeated, it is usually because it is important. God considers becoming a disciple so important, that he mentioned it 297 more times than he mentioned the word, Christian.
Another name for disciple is “student”, but more importantly, it means to follow, to learn or to imitate Jesus.
In the world today, there are nearly 3.2 Billion people following someone on social media. That is 42% of the world’s total population! Just about everybody is following somebody. The reason following people on social media is so popular, is because it is easy. Following people today requires nothing more than like a person’s vacation posts, pics of their dog, or the latest recipe they made for dinner that day. Our culture’s concept of following is shallow because it requires no real commitment!
Jesus has a completely different idea in mind when he calls people to follow him.
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (ESV)
The word Follow in the Gr. means constant fellowship, not occasional or temporary.
26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. (ESV)
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (ESV)
35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (ESV)
27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (ESV)
18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’ ” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For 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.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” (ESV)
+While this story talks about money, that’s not what it’s about. This story reveals the difference between people who are fans of Jesus and people who are followers!
+The Rich Ruler in this story was a good moral man, but there was something in his life he still loved more than Jesus. When Jesus asked him to give it up, he walked away!
+Peter, who was one of Jesus’ disciples, got a front-row seat to this defining exchange, and passionately responded to Jesus -“We have left everything to follow you.”
+What defines the difference between a friend and a follower of Jesus is surrender!
+Jesus responded to Peter by letting him know that because of his surrender, God was going to multiply back to him way more than he ever surrendered!
We’ve adopted a social media Gospel! We look and like, but don’t commit and follow!
Paul Washer – “If following Jesus isn’t costing you anything, it’s only because you have bought into ‘American Christianity’.”
Someone else said – “It costs to follow Jesus, but it costs a lot more not to.”
Andy Stanley – “Following Jesus forces me to focus on where I am, rather than on where you are not!”
David Platt – “Followers of Jesus don’t always know where they are going, but they always know who they are with.”
Two thousand years ago, Jesus walked up to a handful of men and birthed the New Testament church with two words, Follow Me!
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. (ESV)
+In this incredible story, we see the first four disciples (Peter, Andrew, James, and John) invited by Jesus to become followers.
(They didn’t have to accept, but they all did!)
+They not only left their boats and nets, but James and John left their father in the boat!
+The Bible not only tells us that they left, but it says they left immediately.
(They didn’t say bye to their friends, families or foes. They just dropped everything, and left!)
+The most amazing part of this story is the meaning of the word left! The Gr. translation here means: to let go of oneself!
(They left behind themselves and followed Jesus!)
25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (ESV)
When we let go of our natural life, God replaces it with a supernatural one!
Little did these four men know that by dropping their nets, in a few short years, they would be standing in front of the most powerful rulers on the planet, and be a part of turning the world upside down.
What could God do if we left ourselves behind?
15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” (ESV)
1 John 3:16
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. (ESV)
I want to close with an invitation and a promise Jesus offered his first disciples:
Jesus said to them in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you…”
1. Follow Me!
What’s so powerful about Jesus’ invitation to the disciples, is that none of them had it together when Jesus invited them to follow. Jesus chose 12 ordinary sinners to change the world. Peter had emotional problems and a big mouth. Judas was a backstabber. James and John were elitists and full of pride. But Jesus still invited them to follow!
Luke 14:13 (NIV) “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.”
Come with your doubts! Come with your addictions! Come with your fears! Just Come!
A.S. – “Being a sinner doesn’t disqualify you from following Jesus. It’s a prerequisite.”
2. I Will Make You!
Philippians 1:6 (NKJV) “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
– Jesus changed Mary Magdalene from demonically possessed to spirit-filled!
– Jesus changed Simon Peter from being emotionally unstable to a rock!
– Jesus changed James and John from being hot-headed to humble!
– Jesus changed doubting Thomas from a skeptic to a martyr!
Michelangelo – Was famous for sculpting images of men like David and Moses out of raw stone. But instead of trying to fashion the person from stone, He believed he just needed to chisel away the excess stone to reveal the existing image. One of his most famous sculptures is a half-finished image of Matthew, that he quit out of frustration.
Not so with Jesus! He promises that if we just follow, He will make us into his image!
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