Follow Me, Said Jesus

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Sermon:

Follow Me, Said Jesus

April 21, 2013

A Christian is a follower of Christ. Jesus asked His disciples, or students, to follow Him. This means to follow His teaching, His attitudes, His instructions and commandments, and His walk of life. We who claim to be Christians, do we follow Jesus in deed, or do we merely pay lip service?

Bernie Parsons 

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Follow Me, Said Jesus

by Bernie Parsons

 

Presented to Load church of Christ on 04-21-2013

Presented to Globe church of Christ on 04-28-2013

 

                                                                       

The last time, we studied the fact that a Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. Indeed, Jesus told His disciples to follow Him.

 

Matthew 4:18 "And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him."

 

Matthew 9:9 "And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him."

 

Jesus called upon these men to follow Him, and they did.

 

Matthew 8:18 "Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.

19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead."

 

When others hoped to follow Jesus, He pointed out to them that there were hardships involved in following Him. He had no place to call home, such as do the foxes or the birds. Those who followed Him would find that He had no certain place to sleep at night.

 

Luke 9:59 "And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

60  Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

Still others showed that they were not dedicated enough to follow Jesus, but preferred to continue in their previous lifestyles. They did not seem to understand that to follow Jesus meant that their lives would change drastically. He compared it to a ploughman who looked back at where he had been, rather than ahead, to where he needed to go.

 

John 21:18 "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

19  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?

21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?

22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me."

 

When Jesus made a remark to Peter about his future, and how that he would be bound, and taken to a place not of his choosing, He still urged Peter to follow Him. When Peter inquired about what might befall another disciple, Jesus said that it was nothing to Peter, and again instructed Peter to follow Him.

 

When we embark upon following Jesus, we cannot base our decisions on what others might do, or what might become of them. Our calling is to follow Jesus no matter where that takes us.

 

Matthew 19:16 "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions."

 

In the above account, we see a man who seemed to seek eternal life, but was not willing to invest himself in the path required to achieve eternal life. Jesus saw that this man’s riches stood between him and eternal life, and so told him to part with his riches, imparting them to the poor. The man went away sorrowful, not wishing to part with his numerous possessions. He was not willing to secure treasure in heaven by following Jesus, but chose his earthly wealth, instead.

 

John 10:1 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers."

 

Jesus said that His sheep recognize His voice, and so will follow that familiar voice. Those who follow Him will have eternal life. The sheep will not follow the voice of a stranger, that is, a deceiver, but will listen for the voice of the true shepherd.

 

John 10:27 "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."

 

If a person is willing to follow Christ, no man can force that follower from the hand of the Lord.

 

Where will the shepherd lead us?

 

Psalms 23:1 "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."

 

We are led to green pastures and calm waters. Yet, we may find ourselves in the valley of the shadow of death. Still, we follow the shepherd.

 

Matthew 16:24 "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"

 

If we follow Jesus, we might well find ourselves nailed to our cross that we take up as we walk in His footsteps. It is in following Christ that we find life eternal.

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