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SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20120902: "Five Reasons I Follow Jesus"

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FIVE REASONS I FOLLOW JESUS

SERMON STARTER

          I got out of my car at Walmart recently and observed how different I was than the younger people around me who were getting into and out of their cars. They were chatting on their cell phones, or "texting" someone with one thumb while they walked holding a small children. Guys were in their tank tops with tattoos up and down muscular arms. Some of the men walking by had  studs in their pierced ears. A young man in a black car slowly inches past me with his car radio volume set at a volume that could crack the lens of your glasses. It was "Check Day" and everybody was flush with their government checks.

          Sure, you can dismiss my observations as the ramblings of a geriatric trying to deal with the generation gap. Still, I couldn't help feeling that I was an alien, an ancient holdover from a bygone area. In short, I am a peculiar person, who doesn't fit in with the values of our present culture.

          Yes, I remember that Jesus didn't say, "You are the sugar of the earth." He said I am part of the salt and light people. I am supposed to look, respond and act differently than the rest of the world. The Apostle Paul told young Timothy, his disciple,

6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NKJV)
          This sermon explores some of the reasons I follow Jesus. While you read it, consider some of the reasons you follow him.

 

Pastor Phil  <><<

 

September 2, 2012 - Pastor Phil Roland

Sheepfold Ministries

 

FIVE REASONS I FOLLOW JESUS

Luke 9:23 - Matthew 16:24,25 - 1 Timothy 6: 6-10

"After following Jesus more than 60 years, I have definitely become peculiar by the world's standards. As I age I have become even more eccentric. There are ample reasons why we must be different from the world around us. Jesus is at the center of them all."     Pastor Phil  <><<

"Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."         Luke 9:23

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."                        Matthew 16:24-25

I.  I FOLLOW JESUS BECAUSE OF HIS INCREDIBLE LOVE

          A. His Love has changed my Heart - 1 John 4:18-19

            "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear

             involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

            19 We love Him because He first loved us."

1. Amazing thing: that Jesus has found me loveable         

                        2. For God so loved the world. . .(Personalize) - John 3:16

                        3. His incredible love found me - Andre Crouch lyrics

                            The Blood Will Never Lose It's Power

"It reaches to the highest mountain
And it flows to the lowest valley
The blood that gives me strength
From day to day
It will never lose its power"

          B. His love sent him to the Cross for me - Galatians 2:20

             "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives

             in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of

             God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

1. He loved me before I had faith in Him

                        2. Following Him for me is Irresistible

          C. His love has made me His own Beloved Child - 1 John 3:1

            "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we

             should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us,

             because it did not know Him."

1. We belong to God by adoption

                        2. We sit at His table without preference

                        3. We love each other as His children - John 13:34-35

                        "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I

                         have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will

                         know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

FIVE REASONS I FOLLOW JESUS, cont., p.2

II.  GOD HAS GIVEN ME HIS SPECIAL LOVE FOR PEOPLE

Mark 12:29-31

"Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. 30 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."

          A. Loving God is the first and hardest Command of Jesus

                        1. Love God when burying a good friend w/tragic death?

                        2. Love God when Injustice happens in your life?

                        3. Love God in Health and Wealth?

                        4. Can you still love him in Poverty and Deprivation

          B. His love causes me to value People over Things

                        1. People are to be loved, Things are to be used

                        2. Who you are is more important than what you have

            C. We develop Habits of Regular Giving into the lives of others

                        1. Giving through your church

                        2. Giving One-on-One w/o remuneration

                        3. "Find a need and Fill it - Find a Hurt and Heal it"

            D. Discover It is more blessed to give than to receive - Acts 20:35

            "I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must

             support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He

             said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "

 

III.  GOD HAS MADE ME A PECULIAR PERSON - 1 Peter 2:9

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:" KJV

". . .His own special people. . ."  NKJ     ". . .a people belonging to God. . ." NIV

            A. Following Jesus for more than 60 years, I am a "Peculiar Person"

            B. How is it I am peculiar, God's special person, belonging to Him?

                        1. I have always looked different

                        2. My values have been different

                        3. I have an unusual set of talents and abilities

                                    a. Played trumpet for 25 years

                                    b. Love graphic arts

                                    c. Love most forms of music

                                    d. What about you? What makes you unique?

                        4. I haven't presented myself as haughty, arrogant, or proud

                        5. I don't smoke, do drugs or use alcohol

                        6. I never was a dancer (No sense of rhythm and two left feet)

                        7. Eg. One lady asked me on a weekend retreat

                                    "You don't dance or drink. What do you do for FUN?"

8. I don't have my skin disfigured with tattoos - Lev. 19:28

                        "You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor

                          tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD."

FIVE REASONS I FOLLOW JESUS, cont., p.3

9. I don't text and walk or drive

                        10. I don't own an ipod, ipad, or iphone

                                    a. I don't have a clue what an "app" is

                                    b. I'm no computer game freak

                        11. I know a lot about the old silver screen oldies from the era                                         a. Movies were clean

                                    b. Sex was considered dirty

12. I am simply by today's standards "weird"

            B. I go to Church a Lot - Hebrews 10:24,25

            "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,

            25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of

              some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the

              Day approaching."

                        1. I need to be in the company of like-minded people

                        2. I need to be with people who have my values and love God

                        3. I enjoy listening to good Bible-based preaching

                        4. My best friends are believers who love Jesus like me

 

IV. GOD HAS GIVEN ME HIS PEACE - John 14:27

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to

you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

            A. God's Peace IN our Circumstances, not His Rescue FROM them

                        1. It's quite Peaceful in the "Eye of the Storm"

                        2. We have His Promise to be WITH us - Hebrews 13:5

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with

                         what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never

                         will I forsake you." NIV

            B. When we draw near to Jesus, we find His Rest - Matthew 11:28-30

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you

             rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly

             in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My

             burden is light."

 

V.  I BELIEVE JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD - John 20:31

"but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."

A. Only Jesus holds the Keys of Everlasting Life - John 11:25-27

            "Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in

             Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in

             Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" 27 She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I

             believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the

             world."

            B. Only through Jesus can we Live Again

                        1. Have you Trusted Him with your Life?

                        2. Have you Trusted Him with your Future?

                        3. I urge you to do it today!

 

FIVE REASONS I FOLLOW JESUS

LUKE 9:23

"Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."       

MATTHEW 16:24-25

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."         

1 TIMOTHY 6:5-10

6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NKJV)
 

 FIVE REASONS I FOLLOW JESUS

CLOSING ILLUSTRATION

Two seminary students in New Orleans, stopped at a local grocery store. It happened years ago, and one of the students was Don Wilton.

In the store they noticed a scruffy looking couple with a baby dressed only in a diaper. God’s Spirit moved the students in a special way, and they decided to open their wallets and give the family all the money they had.

Don rolled up more than $200 in bills, then he sneaked up behind the barefoot man, stuck the roll in the man’s back and told him not to turn around.

With a gentle voice, Don spoke to the frightened man and said, “My friend, you don’t know who I am. But I want you to know that there is another man and I here tonight who love the Lord Jesus Christ. He has done something for us that we cannot do for ourselves. Because of Him, we just want to give to you something from the two of us.”

The man tearfully received the money and Wilton thought he would never see him again. But years later, Dr. Wilton was teaching at the seminary. One of the new students recognized his distinctive South African voice. It was the man from the store. He told Dr. Wilton that they were desperate that night -- So desperate that they had driven from their home in Alabama to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge in New Orleans.

They planned to take their baby with them, but they decided to feed her first, so she at least would die with a full stomach. That’s why they stopped at the store. But they were so encouraged by the kind words of the man who would not let them see his face, they changed their minds. That act of kindness had set the man on a path to salvation and call to ministry.