On the Second Row…”Come Follow Me”
Nettie writing in for WPT South with a sad heart over the life my family will lose but with a peace that only comes from a faith in Christ. My little grandma’s (she’s only 70 pounds and 4’ 9”) heart is failing and she is fighting off 5 different infections in her body. She is 81 years young and the favorite of a big Italian family.
She’s had countless visitors over the past week of loved ones who want to see her for what might be the last time. She was unresponsive, but she literally (kicking and everything) fought her way back to be able to communicate with us and demand that her hair be brushed. I have been talking to my 5 year old to try to explain that Maw Maw Annette will be in heaven soon, and his reaction brought a smile to my face and peace to my soul. “I’m happy,” he said. “Why are you happy, Louis?” we asked, perplexed. “Because Jesus is in heaven.” Louis, with childlike faith, understands that she will be in a place without pain, heartache, anger, violence, or anything that we experience here on earth. She fought the good race and is ready to go home. I wonder if I didn’t have faith in God or believe there is a heaven, how I would feel right now. How would I help Louis to understand? How do people do it without God? I’m grateful she made the decision and when she does go, she will be greeted by a cheering crowd.
Pastor Derek spoke this Sunday on making a decision to follow Christ and sticking to it. The message was titled “Come Follow Me,” and is about Jesus’ desire for disciples, not just Christians.
In Matthew 4:18-22, Jesus told Simon and Andrew he would send them to be fishers of men, and they threw down their nets and followed him. Pastor said there is a call today for disciples who will throw down their agendas to follow after God’s agenda. Church should not be just a convenient duty but should be everything. “Jesus does not want to be an addition to your life; He wants to change your life,” Pastor D said.
Pastor said that many people want enough of Jesus so He can fix their problems, but they don’t want to change. He said we need to move beyond being just a student who learns information but doesn’t change. We need to become an apprentice; an apprentice wants to be like the master. The apprentice wants to think like the master.
All of this requires us to sacrifice. Sacrifice is the surrender of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.
Philippians 3:7-10 states, “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.”
Pastor D said, “The life you desire to live will never happen until you start living it now.” Jesus has to be first. He said we should take time to learn from elders in the church. If a pastor or leader wants to spend time with you, to impart knowledge, do you make yourself available?
Pastor gave a few examples of what following Jesus should look like.
Come, follow me is:
- A call from pettiness to significance. “Get out of the drama mama world,” Pastor D said. It is too much self! We must decrease in order for Him to increase in our lives. We have to sacrifice our old self. Romans 12:1-2 states, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” And if you read Acts 4:8-14, Peter tells the crowd and tells us today that Jesus should be the cornerstone of our lives.
Come, follow me is:
- A call to sacrifice-to give up what we have in this world to take hold of something greater. We’ve made church a quick fix. We are not cattle. We are sheep, and we need to be led, Pastor D said. So many people don’t want to actually change or sacrifice, but when Jesus shows up, everything changes.
John 6:60-68 talks about what it takes to follow Jesus. The passage states, “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’ Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, ‘Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.’ From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. ‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.'”
Many people turned away because they could not accept Jesus’ teaching. This is still happening today because it is hard to lay down our own fleshly desires everyday. But in the end, where will you be? If I am laying in the hospital ICU saying goodbye to my family and friends, I want to know I will be going to a better place. I want to know that I know that I know that Jesus will be there waiting.
February 22, 2018