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21 May 2007 @ 03:32 pm
Notes on Sunday's Sermon: "Who Will Follow Jesus?" Part 1  
It takes a certain kind of person to be a follower of Jesus. What kind of person would that be?
Luke 9:57-62
The Cost of Following Jesus

57As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
58Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
59He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."
60Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
61 Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family."
62Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

Excuses instead of obedience...

There's more to following Jesus than showing up on Sundays, giving money, doing all the right Christian sort of things, that make one look good to others. It involves prioritizing God's will in all aspects of one's life.

1 Peter 2:21
21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Some want to set up their own stipulations on what involves following Jesus. They will follow, but it will be on their terms.
Do we call ourselves the same as those in
Luke 9:23-26 ?
23Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? 26If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Proverbs 3:5
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
       and lean not on your own understanding

Jesus is to be at the forefront. Was he being harsh, or was he making a strong point because it is so important to make that commitment?
He told the truth. He is the truth.
 
John 14:6
: Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Some are not aware of their shortcomings, they have become too wrapped up in their own religiousness and in their own self absorbed righteousness, to be repentant of their sins.

Romans 3:23
...
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...

1John 1:8
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Example of two kinds of prayer: From one who was self righteous, and from one who truly humbled himself before the presence of the Lord.
Luke 18:9-14
9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about[a] himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' 13"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
14"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

It is a matter of trust in the Lord, trust in what Jesus said and in the promises of God.
Examples of those who did not follow Jesus:

Felix
Acts 24:24-25
Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, "That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you."

King Agrippa
Acts 26:24-29
24At this point Festus interrupted Paul's defense. "You are out of your mind, Paul!" he shouted. "Your great learning is driving you insane." 25"I am not insane, most excellent Festus," Paul replied. "What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do."
 28Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?"
 29Paul replied, "Short time or long—I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains."

It is not enough to be almost persuaded, like King Agrippa, or to wait for a more convenient time, like Felix.

To simply believe is not enough.
James 2:19
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

Positive examples of those who truly followed Jesus
:

The Philippian Jailer
Acts 16:25-34
25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!"
 29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
 31They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household." 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.

Saul of Tarsus, formerly one of the greatest persecutors of the early church.
Acts 9:11-17
11The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight."
 13"Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name."
 15But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."
 17Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19and after taking some food, he regained his strength.