Come, Follow Me!

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Think back to your first experience with ministry.
Does anyone remember your first?
After you were saved and God used you and you knew it was for His Kingdom with a focus on Him....
You think about it for a second...
There are two moments that stick out to me.
I guess the first would be my Sophomore year in HS.
I had just been saved and felt a call into ministry, specifically missions at that time.
I went back to my pastor and told him that and he told me that I should preach. So, I wrote my first sermon and preached it.
I don’t remember all of it, but it was pretty bad. All that I can really remember is how terrified I was to get up there. And, afterwards all the pastor critiqued me on was by telling me that I shouldn’t use the word “crap” in a sermon.
I mean really, at that point in my life, that was a better choice than other words that I could have said.
The second time that I remember is right at the beginning of my senior year. I had just returned for church camp where I fully surrendered my life to Him. I responded to the call to ministry, specifically youth ministry at this time.
The youth leader asked if I wanted to lead one of the youth group lessons and I said “sure.”
Again, no clue on what the message was that evening, but I did have one of the students visit with me afterwards and received Christ as her personal savior.
I remember thinking how awesome that was! To be a part of someone salvation!
So, how about you? Anyone remember your first experiences in ministry?
Thanks for sharing - if anyone shares :)
As we look at the story today, we look at the beginning of the ministry for some of the disciples.
So, as we read, we have Peter, Andrew, James, John, and maybe some others?
Jesus comes by while teaching a crowd....He jumps on a boat to continue teaching....
When He finishes He tells Simon (Peter)..
Luke 5:4 NIV
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
To which Peter responds and says
Luke 5:5 NIV
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
So, they drop the nets and begin catching fish....tons and tons of fish!
The boats began to sink there were so many fish....
Peter is just ecstatic and runs to the feet of Jesus and repents… he says
Luke 5:8 NIV
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
In this moment, something clicks for Peter.....He must have understood, at least on some level, who Jesus truly was.
You see, I think if most of us saw this, we’d be like, “hey that’s cool,”
but for Peter, this hits on a different level.
This was Peter’s livelihood. This is the catch of a lifetime!
This is the peek of his career!
Think about your jobs…what would be the peek of your career?
What could happen where you think “I have made it!” “I have finally done it!”
This is where Peter was.
And, he probably could have sold those fish for a lot of money...
So, he sees this miracle…and he understands something about who Jesus is...
He falls at his feet and repents...
And, Peter will never be the same again...
Jesus then tells them in Matthew’s telling of the story
Matthew 4:19 NIV
19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
3 words that will change the course of history for these 4 men, and for many many other!
3 words that will echo through the ears of believers for all of eternity
Come. Follow. Me
“And I will send you to fish for people”
What Jesus did here with this miracle was likely a foreshadowing/metaphor of what these men would do.
They would eventually tell the world about this Jesus.
So, for these four: Peter, James, John, and Andrew, they see this miracle and begin to follow Jesus.
As we dive deeper into this message, there is somewhat an outline for one example of how someone came to maturity in Christ and His call.
I have preached pretty heavily for a year and a half now about doing what God has called us to do.
I am not going to suggest that this is the only way that it happens for people. But, this is an example and I think it would do us good to remember some things.
So, the first thing that happens is they have:

1. Have an Experience with God

Jesus show up in a pretty cool and mighty way
The last few weeks we talked about Balaam and how God opened the mouth of his donkey to speak.....
I’m convinced God wants to show up in mighty ways,
But for this message, it is clear that these disciples had an experience with God.
I think that when we come to know Jesus, we too have and experience with God.
God likely showed up in our lives in some way and so we chose to submit to Him and accept His gift of salvation.
You know, there are tons and tons of people out there who are longing to have an experience with God.
There are many approaches to this:
Some will just say “I will believe in God if I just see a miracle”
I heard Brant Hansen say one time and this is roughly paraphrased: “would that really matter? God did that all throughout scripture and people still doubted. I am not sure that there is anything that God can do to convince us outside of us being open to it.”
I believe that we are all created in God’s image. We all long for a creator that loves us.
My brother Pastor Jason Addis, who pastors the church in AR that I pastored is married to Rachel. Rachel says all the time that God created us with a God-shaped hole in our heart.
I am convinced that all of us are longing for God, we just don’t know exactly what that means....
And then, we have an experience with Him!
Some people choose to accept as Him and draw close to Him while others reject it or ignore it.
But these disciples, chose to accept it!
The second thing that happened in this particular sequence is:

2. Repentance

So, Peter, has this experience with God and is overwhelmed…he throws himself at the feet of Jesus and says “go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man”
Once Peter understood who Jesus was, he knew that he could not be in the presence of Him because he was a sinner.
I believe that once we have an experience with God, if we truly understand who He is, it will lead to repentance.
Often times, pastors or preacher preach repentance in almost a negative way. It has such a negative connotation.
“oh this is something that we have to do to follow Jesus.”
When really, repentance is a good thing!
For us to recognize that we are broken and in need of a savior is a gift from God!
We should be excited to repent and turn from the things that are hurting us and destroying our relationships, our marriages, and our families!
Because, we should understand that once we repent and turn to Jesus, the healing begins!
It’s a gift that God gives us by His grace!
If we turn to Him, He will take those broken and hurtful things from us and fill us with Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control
Thank you Jesus, that by your grace, we can repent of the things that bind us, and rejoice in the restoration that you do in us! We can be made new and whole!
So, typically, we have an experience with God and it leads to repentance.
The third in the sequence is

3. A Request to Follow and a Command to Go

“Come, follow me” and I will send you out to fish for people
The request to come, is both an invitation and a command.
You see, Jesus, is inviting these disciples on a journey
A journey where they will experience things that they have never experienced before!
They are going to learn things, see things, and do things that were simply unthinkable and unimaginable....
They are being invited on a journey that will forever change them.
We too, are invited on the same journey!
It is an invitation, but it is also a command. If I am looking correctly, there is no question mark.
Jesus doesn’t say, if you want to, follow me.
No, He knows that they will follow, but also, that they had to.
We too, have to.
Not in the since that God is forcing us to follow Him. It’s till an invitation, but in order to be with God and be made whole, we have to follow Him.
John 14:6 NIV
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus is the way....there is no other way, truth, or life. If we want to know the way, it is through Jesus. If we want the truth, it is through Jesus. If we want life, it is through Jesus.
We are invited....and yet, we have no other choice if these are the things that we want....
But, this isn’t a bad thing....
This will be hard, no doubt....but it will be awesome!
It will be life-giving…
So, how are you going to respond today?
So, we have an experience with God, we repent, and we follow. Now what?
I want to show you something that I learned this week and it just gets me so jacked up...
So, as we read in Luke 5, this is one of the first miracles of Jesus, but the first for some of the disciples to see. This is the beginning of their journey.
Let’s flip over to John 21 verse 1. What do we see?
Jesus and the miraculous catch of fish!
So, up to date here, Jesus has died and been resurrected. He has already shown Himself to the disciples.
John 21:1–3 NIV
1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
John 21:4–6 NIV
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. 6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
John 21:7–9 NIV
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
So, here is what is so awesome! At the beginning of their ministry, the disciples see this miraculous catch of fish!
And at the end of their ministry with Jesus, they see the same thing.
And, here is what is even better…we didn’t read it, but look at verse 19. What two words does Jesus say that we would recognize?
John 21:19 NIV
19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
and again in
John 21:22 NIV
22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
So, they beginning of their ministry, they are called to follow Jesus.
And, at the end of their ministry, they are called to follow Jesus.
And, everything in between!
So, for us to step out in our call, we
Have an experience with God
Follow Jesus
We remember
Worship Team
Peter knew exactly who it was on the beach when he remembered what Jesus did for them in the beginning!
When we follow Jesus, we need to remember the things that Jesus has done for us!
We have an enemy who wants us to forget what God has done for us!
He is constantly trying to distract us. Or justify away what God has done.
Let’s not forget! Let’s tell people what God has done! And do it over, and over, and over again!
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