Whole Life Change
In this sermon on Jesus' words to "Come and follow me", we are reminded that holiness is a whole life change that means total obedience to Jesus.
Trophies of Grace
Have you ever met one? Our early Salvation Army records are full of them. Many notorious sinners became witnesses for Christ and what he could do in people’s lives.
They were common people becoming uncommon saints, the fallen becoming followers, the unholy now embracing holy living. (Commissioner Phil Needham)
But that didn’t mean they withdrew from the world and camped inside their citadels and their barracks. The Salvation Army has a tradition of holiness that is lived out and proven on the battlefields of life.
Holiness means that all of our lives has to change. Let’s hear Jesus’ call to us again this evening:
Jesus calls his first disciples
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Matthew 4:19 ESV
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Jesus arrived on the shore of Galilee on this day to change the lives of Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John forever. Disciples in Jesus’ day literally followed their rabbis wherever they went and imitated them.
Discipleship [with Jesus] was a life that began in relationship with the Master and moved into all areas of their experience. This is the beginning of kingdom life. (Michael J. Wilkins).
The Disciples’ Response
Matthew 4:20 ESV
Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
Matthew 4:22 ESV
Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
And Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John show us that the only appropriate response when the Son of God calls you is to obey immediately. Jesus called, and they responded.
Matthew 19:27 ESV
Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”
The fact that they “left their nets” and “left their boat and their father” implies they were leaving everything behind to follow Jesus.
A Total Way of Life
Jesus’ call continues to be “Follow Me”. Holiness is a total way of life. It’s a personal relationship with Jesus that we live out in every relationship in our lives - with our families, our friends, our colleagues and business associates, our neighbours and our fellow Salvationists.
The Salvation Army’s holiness is a real-world holiness. It is lived out in specific circumstances and in specific relationships.
It is simply absurd to say that you believe, or even want to believe in [Jesus], if you do not [do] anything He tells you.... But you can begin at once to be a disciple of the Living One - by obeying Him in the first things you can think of in which you are not obeying Him. We must learn to obey Him in everything, and so must begin somewhere. Let it be at once, and in the very next thing that lies at the door of our conscience! Oh, fools and slow of heart, if you think of nothing but Christ, and do not set yourselves to do His words, you but build your houses on the sands. (George MacDonald, 19th Century preacher).
As this sermon on "come and follow me" reminds us, Jesus is inviting you and me to follow him. To live in obedience to him. How’s your obedience today?
If you found this podcast sermon on come and follow me helpful, would you please do something for me?
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