Chardon church of Christ

Sermons from the Chardon church of Christ

Follow Me

Posted on January 3rd, 2022

Matthew 4:17-22

INTRO: Good morning. The ministry of Jesus began in the Judean countryside. So today our text will be Matthew 4:17-22 and we will start by reading verse 17 – “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.''” That sounds familiar doesn’t it? Jesus’ first preaching has a ring similar to that of John the Baptist. John the Baptist was teaching about the coming kingdom and baptizing people in the Jordan River. Repentance was the prime need of that generation. People had grown hard and indifferent to spiritual values. John's great call to repentance had been heeded by many and he had many disciples and developed what you might call, well I guess “notoriety” might be the right word.

He had built a huge following already of what the Bible often simply calls his disciples.
They saw John as a great Prophet of God, as someone that they wanted to be like.
But John had one purpose, and that purpose was to prepare people to receive Jesus as the Messiah.

Jesus was in Judea at the time when John was teaching. One day when John was teaching, he saw Jesus walking and he said, to those near him, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. That wasn't some little off-hand statement, it was a powerful statement. It was a statement that really is... it was beyond anything anybody could have imagined.

John is saying, Jesus is the Lamb of God. Jesus replaces the atoning sacrifice. Jesus replaces the entire sacrificial system that the Jewish people have based their hope in God on. That tiny statement carries a tremendous weight behind it. Sometimes we just read through and gloss through that statement like, that was a nice thing to say. John’s statement is prophetic and powerful and life changing. It was a profound revelation that Jesus would do what no animal could do, take away sin.

The next day the Bible tells us that John was again standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and he said, Behold the Lamb of God. Again, that second day, he's there with his disciples, and we get that phrase, “Behold the Lamb of God”.

I want you to notice what God’s word says happens next. John 1:37-39a – “The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?'' They said to Him, "Rabbi'' (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where are You staying?'' He said to them, "Come and see.''”

A couple things I want us to notice from this reading. Number one is we are still in Judea, and I want you to keep that in mind because that's going to be important in this lesson.
Number two, these two disciples are disciples of John, but because of what John has said, they literally leave John, and they followed physically after Jesus. They want to understand, what is it that John meant when he said, Behold the Lamb of God.

Jesus sees them and says What do you want? What are you seeking? What are you looking for? They want to know; Where are you staying? Interesting question—Where are you abiding at this time? Where are you living? What's going on? They had called Jesus “Rabbi”, and by the use of this title, and by their inquiry as to where the Master lived, the two disciples clearly indicated a desire to know more of that Person of whom their beloved teacher had made such amazing statements. Jesus just simply says, “come and see”. Jesus then rewarded the two disciples by inviting them home with him. We are told “...They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day...”

The Bible continues. John 1:40-42 – “40. One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, (that is followed after Jesus), was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah'' (which is translated, the Christ). 42. And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas'' (which is translated, A Stone).”

When Andrew, who goes and gets his brother Peter, first meets Jesus and first really feels like Jesus is something greater than just a Prophet, that He is the Messiah, they are still in Judea.

Fast forward. Not very long after this, Jesus is now in Galilee. John the Baptist has been put into prison, and we know he's going to be executed. At the same time as John is in prison, Jesus is going around throughout Galilee preaching the exact same message that John was preaching in Judea. That is the Kingdom of heaven is at hand and that there is this call for repentance.

It is in Galilee that we continue with scripture. Matthew 4:18-20 beginning with verse 18, “18. Now Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon 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. Then they immediately left their nets and followed Him.”

Remember they had met Jesus down in Judea. They were disciples in the sense that they believed, but committed followers? Not yet. Now they're in Galilee and life is going on.

I. Follow Me.

A. Here we are the beginning of a new year. It's 2022. To be honest with you, I'm really glad 2021 is done and behind us. It was a year that I believe brought division amongst many of us, even families in some cases. I've seen that. A year that left some people feeling lonely. I know that. Isolated, hurting, and some in such disparity that they even took their own life.

1. It was a year in which some believed that Christians were tested and failed to act like Christ. A year when even some Christians put themselves before their fellow man. It was a year that when we look back on it, we say, I just want things to go back to being normal.
2. We hear that phrase. We may have even said that phrase. I just want things to go back to being normal. But I ask you, what does normal mean?

B. Here in Matthew we see what was normal for Andrew and Peter, and normal for the two brothers, James and John, the Sons of Zebedee. These four men are back in Galilee fishing. That's normal for them. Normal is life goes on.

1. Normal for many people is “I love the time that we come together on Sunday. I love the singing, the fellowship, the learning”. These things we do indeed love. But then eventually you’ve got to get back to life. For some getting back to life just simply means “I love Jesus, but following Him?” Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell this same story.
2. When you have time look up every single instance the phrase “follow me” in the Old and New Testament, and then read the verses where it was used. When you come to this particular one, the calling of these original Apostles, ask your self, what does it mean to follow Jesus?
3. Normal is; I come to Church and I worship and then I go home and I do my thing. Monday comes around and life begins and you go to work and you get everything done. You might have a few spiritual highs during the week, and then Sunday comes back around and we have our wonderful fellowship and worship. We say okay, that's normal.

II. Responding to the call.

A. As I listened to God speak to me in this scripture, I had to ask myself how I respond to the calling of Jesus to “follow him.” I needed to really examine what that phrase means and what my response should be, and what my response is in reality.
B. These disciples, what do they do when Jesus said, Follow me? Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell the same story. Luke gives us the most detail. Matthew and Mark make a statement that is almost identical. In Matthew 4:20 – “Then they immediately left their nets and followed Him. Mark 1:18 – “And immediately they left their nets and followed Him.” Luke 5:11 – “So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.”

1. When Luke gets done with his story, it's a longer story, they left their nets and followed Him. It does not make a difference what translation you use, the response is the same, immediately, at once, their life changed. They gave up being “normal”.
2. Peter says in Luke 18:28 and in Matthew 19:27- “See, we have left all and followed You.” They left everything to follow Jesus,... they just left.

C. How do we make this real? How do we make this applicable? How do we take what God is saying in Scripture and say, that wasn't just a good story, it wasn't just a calling of those disciples. It is the calling of every single Christian—follow me. What does that phrase mean to us today?

1. For them, it wasn't to get back to normal. For them, it was leave everything that they trusted as normal. Are we ready to consider that?
2. For them it was, I'll walk away from the nets, I'll walk away from my livelihood, I'll walk away from everything that I know. I don't even know where I'm going to sleep tomorrow night. I'm going to follow Jesus.

D. We are very quick to say, Well, that was the original twelve Apostles, and that's not life today. I suggest we are being a little too quick if that is our thinking. Perhaps we are dismissing something we should not dismiss.

1. Do I have to give up my job to follow Jesus? No. Do I have to give up believing that my job is what makes my life? Yes. I have to make sure my job doesn’t interfere with making Jesus the Lord of my life.
2. Do I have to give away everything that I have in order to follow Him? No. Do I have to give up believing that the things of this world are what satisfies my deepest needs and brings me the joy that I have been seeking? Yes I do. The things of this world are simply gifts from God as I walk with him in humility, obedience, and surrender.

E. It's a mindset change that brings about a change of my life because I start thinking differently. Following Jesus is more than calling myself a Christian on social media. It is giving up everything, not because I have to, but because I believe that what I gain is far more valuable than what I give up to get it.

1. It's not okay when we do Sunday, but tomorrow we get back to life. Monday comes for each of us and our routines kick in. Many of us love routine, I know I do. Routine is safe. Routine means I know what's going to happen next. I don't worry about it. I don't have anxiety over it because there is a routine.
2. If you have Jesus in your life, really in your life, what do you do? I want Jesus, but I want Jesus to fit my routine. I want Jesus on my Sundays. I want to talk about Jesus at the times and days that fit my routine. Am I following Jesus to the point of wherever He leads me, I will go?

III. The response.

A. Do you recall the parables in Matthew 13 about the treasure in the field and the pearl of great price? Matthew 13:44-46 - “44. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46. "who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” The kingdom, the church, Christians, our following Christ is what is being talked about. It is giving up everything, that is, as in my reliance upon those things, in order to rely upon Jesus. That doesn't mean I quit my job. What it means is Jesus becomes my focus, even in my job. Do I let Jesus lead me?

1. Jesus says, I'll make you fishers of men. I enjoy fishing. Not so much anymore perhaps but there was a time in my life when I so looked forward to going fishing. I admit I love fair weather fishing. I love fishing when it's easy. Sitting on the bank of a lake, or on a dock and just relaxing with a rod and reel.
2. When Jesus called those disciples to come and follow Him, what were they doing? They were fishing. But they were not relaxing in the fresh air and sun, not caring if they caught something soon or not. No. Luke tells us that they had fished all night long and caught nothing.
3. In Luke 5:4-5 Jesus says, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch”. Peter really didn't want to and said, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing”. Then he said “nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net”.
4. What happened? Luke 5:6-7 - “they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.” They caught such an enormous amount of fish they had to call their business partners, who we learn from verse 10 were James and John, and have them come over and help them to bring those fish in. What happened was a miracle, and they knew it.

B. I would have to say that that would have been the best day of fishing ever. And then... on the best day of fishing ever, Jesus says, Stop, quit your life. The best day you ever had. Come and follow me. Really?

1. How do we translate that into 2022? I have the best day of my life, and Jesus is saying, I want to enter it, blow it out of the water and tell you what I'm offering you is even greater than what you think you have. You just come follow me.
2. Jesus challenged them. Challenged them to make a decision which they did immediately. Their lives were forever changed from that moment. They had to make a decision; Do they leave the safety, comfort and stability of their life to follow this Jesus or do they just enjoy the spiritual times and keep their life their own? They chose to leave their nets and follow Jesus.

CONCLUSION:
Boy, that's a tough thing to do. I like normalcy. I like routine. I want Jesus to fit my life, not me fit His. That's what I want, but that is not what God wants. Jesus is saying to us; “I want to change you so much that you're going to be radically different from what you were before, because following Me will change you like nothing else”.

Again I ask, What about us. Here we are in 2022. With limited stability in this life and limited security of finances, we have to decide, do I just want Jesus on Sunday and days that bring me spiritual joy; or am I willing, am I willing, to give up my belief of security in this world to gain the reward of being a follower of Christ?

You have to decide. Am I willing to follow Jesus?

Am I willing to leave everything... the assurance, the knowledge, everything that is life as this world defines it, and say, God, whatever you want from me, not just today, not just tomorrow, but whatever the day brings, just lead me.

One more scripture I would like us to read this morning, Colossians 3:16-17 – “16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Then Paul says; “17. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

“Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus ...” We are to respect the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ in everything. The parts of our life this applies to are: (1) that of personal morality and conduct; (2) the things done in public assemblies of Christians; (3) in the whole area of thought and action (word or deed); and (4) even in the secret purposes of the soul. In short, "do all" in the name of the Lord.

In just a moment we will sing what we call “the invitation song.” I hope you will sing this song with meaning in your heart. I hope you will truly consider the words and truly count the cost of what it means if you do not make your commitment to Jesus.

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We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; and be baptized for the remission of our sins... If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.

If anybody needs to respond, either to dedicate themselves to Christ and be buried with Him in baptism, or to ask for prayers on their behalf, won’t you come forward as we stand and sing our Invitational song.

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Reference Sermon: Jeffrey Dillinger

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