Follow, Jesus, Christ, called, chosen, Phillip, Samuel, Here I am, members, fornication, Andrews, Peter, Nathanael, fig tree

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Readings:

  • 1 Samuel 3: 1-20
  • 1 Corinthians 6: 12-20
  • John 1: 43-51

Follow Me! Leave everything that you have and that you are doing, and follow me.

I want you to imagine, for just a minute, that instead of Philip & Nathanael, that Jesus had called you that day in Galilee.
What would you be leaving behind today?

  • Your house?
  • Your car?
  • Your job?
  • Your pension plan?
  • Your security?
  • Your family?
  • Your spouse?
  • Your children?
  • Your pets?

If Jesus came to Panama City today, would you say yes like Philip & Nathanael?  What scares you the most about this imaginary call this morning?

Follow me!

But you have been called and chosen. Each of us has, with a purpose and a part to play, a job to do.  1 Corinthians 6: 15 says:

6:15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?

Every one of us here today is a member of this calling. And in verses 17 and 19 we read:

6:17 But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?

Jesus calls to us: “Follow me”, the very same way that God called Samuel (by name), and Samuel responded “Here I am”.

We are already two weeks into 2018, and I would ask this morning: what have you been called to do or become this year? What is Divine Purpose pushing you towards?  Most people are more driven by purpose or passion than they actually are by money: how does your calling or purpose define the way you are living your life in 2018? How much time have you spent in these weeks asking yourself: What does “Thy Will be done” mean in my life for 2018? What does “Thy will be done” mean spiritually in your life – what are you called to improve, what are you called to change, what are you called to release and let go of? What does “Thy will be done” mean professionally in your life? What does it mean in your family life?  What does “Thy will be done” mean with respect to your health and fitness? When you look at your Vision Board, what stands out as needing you to change or sacrifice? What are you doing with your time that is important?

Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus prayed to His Father about the great trial He would face. Knowing the pain He would soon experience,

“He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done” (Matthew 26:42, KJV).

In this case, even though Jesus would have preferred not to have suffered as He did, we see him submitting to this purpose in spite of the personal cost. He accepted that his calling involved a pain that perhaps he could not and should not avoid.

But for most of us, the pain of “Thy will be done” is much less and more mundane.  Following Jesus, accepting our calling, and carrying our cross means that we leave aside things we enjoy because we know that they are not helping us grow and become more like Christ. We leave aside ways of life that restrict our spiritual consciousness, and we practice new habits that draw us closer to knowing the Kingdom of God. But I discovered something last year: Purpose (knowing what you are meant to do on this earth) PLUS daily action = Purposeful life! Yes, they are small steps taken each day. Sometimes mundane, like playing scales when you are learning to play a new musical instrument. But because we have the passion of knowing where this is leading, we say “this is the Way“.

How are you investing your time to become more like Christ each day? Are you spending more time in prayer, meditation, learning, or simply just sitting in God’s presence in silence listening to that still small voice? Are you pausing before you walk into each room or your office, allowing God to go before you? Are you pausing when you need to have a difficult conversation and allowing Spirit to guide your words?

“Thy will be done” means that we ask God to handle each situation as God sees best: but it means more than that! I means I am willing to be transformed, by the renewing of my mind, to become the person that is the best version of me that God envisioned.  “Thy will be done” means that  we are aligning our will with God’s will, we are submitting ourselves to this Divine Will and Purpose; it is a request to God that we might do what is pleasing to God, a request for the grace that we need and the insight to know what that will is, and an obedient heart to actually do it.

Follow me.

Have you ever thought, as we pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,”

“What might happen if I really prayed and meant it, ‘Thy will be done’

When we pray, “Thy will be done,” it implies that we’re asking God to overrule our will if it’s not the same as His, and that’s tough. That’s tough to pray because we’re born wanting our way, wanting our will.  (https://www.reviveourhearts.com/radio/revive-our-hearts/thy-will-1/)

But Jesus calls us: “Follow me.”  This is a call to change your way of life, not just a call to come to church on Sundays. We are all born with a deep and meaningful purpose that we have to discover. Your purpose is not something you need to makeup; it’s already there. You know – either consciously or subconsciously – what you are meant to do on this earth.

Thy will be done is a conscious decision to fight for what is right, to not only submit passively to God’s will, but to rise to the challenge of doing what is right and good. It’s the challenge to be in the right place, at the right time, and do what we are asked to do by the Spirit.

In Acts 8, verses 26 to 40, we find Philip speaking with the Ethiopian eunuch. We are told that this eunuch was very important: “a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure.” An angel told Philip which road to go to, and when he got there the spirit of God told him “that person” and Philip risked himself to go and join the eunuch in his chariot.  “And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.” Jesus called Philip “Follow me.” and in the same way, you are called “Follow me”.

When we are following Jesus, and we assert “Thy will be done” – this may be a request for discernment, for guidance, for insight.  It may be looking at a financial decision or how to act in a relationship, and knowing that the right and correct thing to do is difficult, saying “Thy will be done” and taking the high road. Doing what is hard and difficult in spite of the emotional cost.  Taking courage in the knowledge that this is right.

Jesus calls us “follow me” and we have to count the cost of doing this.  We read in Luke 14, verses 26 to 33:

26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

I started this sermon this morning asking:

I want you to imagine, for just a minute, that instead of Philip & Nathanael, that Jesus had called you that day in Galilee.
What would you be leaving behind today?

  • Your house?
  • Your car?
  • Your job?
  • Your pension plan?
  • Your security?
  • Your family?
  • Your spouse?
  • Your children?
  • Your pets?

If Jesus came to Panama City today, would you say yes like Philip & Nathanael?  What scares you the most about this imaginary call this morning?

In 2018, what does “follow me” mean for your life? As you work on your goals and purpose, what areas of your life need to reflect growth and maturity? What changes do you foresee and what habits do you leave behind in the past because they no longer serve you or your life purpose? Jesus calls in 2018: Follow me.