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FOLLOWING CHRIST (Closed Captioned)

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Sunday, July 11, 2010 Sermon Text: Luke 9:51-62 Let us rise for the reading of this morning's sermon text recorded for us in Luke's Gospel where we read from Chapter 9 beginning with Verse 51: AS THE TIME APPROACHED FOR HIM TO BE TAKEN UP TO HEAVEN, JESUS RESOLUTELY SET OUT FOR JERUSALEM, AND HE SENT MESSENGERS ON AHEAD. THEY WENT INTO A SAMARITAN VILLAGE TO GET THINGS READY FOR HIM, BUT THE PEOPLE DID NOT WELCOME HIM, BECAUSE HE WAS HEADING FOR JERUSALEM. WHEN THE DISCIPLES JAMES AND JOHN SAW THIS, THEY ASKED, "LORD, DO YOU WANT US TO CALL FIRE DOWN FROM HEAVEN TO DESTROY THEM?" BUT JESUS TURNED AND REBUKED THEM, AND THEY WENT TO ANOTHER VILLAGE. AS THEY WERE WALKING ALONG THE ROAD, A MAN SAID TO HIM, "I WILL FOLLOW YOU WHEREVER YOU GO." JESUS REPLIED, "FOXES HAVE HOLES AND BIRDS OF THE AIR HAVE NESTS, BUT THE SON OF MAN HAS NO PLACE TO LAY HIS HEAD." HE SAID TO ANOTHER MAN, "FOLLOW ME." BUT THE MAN REPLIED, "LORD, FIRST LET ME GO AND BURY MY FATHER." JESUS SAID TO HIM, "LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR OWN DEAD, BUT YOU GO AND PROCLAIM THE KINGDOM OF GOD." STILL ANOTHER SAID, "I WILL FOLLOW YOU, LORD; BUT FIRST LET ME GO BACK AND SAY GOOD-BY TO MY FAMILY." JESUS REPLIED, "NO ONE WHO PUTS HIS HAND TO THE PLOW AND LOOKS BACK IS FIT FOR SERVICE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD." This is the Word of our Lord. Let us pray: This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Amen. Text taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION 1978, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Dear Followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ: Don't you enjoy hearing about Jesus' disciples and the different reactions, at different times in Jesus' ministry? Like the example we have before us this morning that Luke recorded for us ... that Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. He was dead set on getting to Jerusalem. That was His goal. That was His purpose. And He sent people ahead of Him into a Samaritan village. No doubt to secure some lodging perhaps. But those people didn't want Him. The Samaritans weren't really good friends with the Jews. Racial tension. They didn't like them; and they didn't want Jesus and His disciples in their town. So, they turned them away. Said: No, we don't want you here. And don't you love the reaction of Jesus' disciples? James and John get together with a wonderful solution: Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven and destroy them? And then we look at our own lives which can so easily turn to God's Law, as a reaction to the world around US! Who of us hasn't thought: God, why don't You just wipe those sinners off the face of the earth? You could just do away with them. It would be so much easier. It's so quick for us, even as the disciples of Christ, to jump to the Law. And use the Law. And here we see God, Jesus Himself, turn to James and John and He rebuked them. I wonder what thoughts went through their heads. Oh how could we have been so stupid. Oh, of course, we shouldn't have thought that. Or why doesn't He use that strength and power that He has to do good? But Jesus just went on to another village ... on His way to Jerusalem. And then Luke recorded for us, some interesting conversation about following Christ and what it means to be a disciple of Christ. No doubt to help the disciples themselves in their life of faith ... in their life of service. What it means to be someone who follows Jesus ... who live in that faith given to them by the Holy Spirit. Who counts the cost, who examines their own lives and puts it in accord with what Jesus wants from us. Because it IS so easy to be like that first person that is recorded for us after the Samaritan village encounter. That person who comes to Jesus and says: Lord, I will follow You wherever You go. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me. My life is changed. I am so loved by God. I realize the forgiveness of sins that is mine. I wanna be with You. I want to follow You. I wanna do everything that You do. I will go wherever You want me to go. I will do whatever You want me to do. That man was excited! He was on fire with faith. And Jesus turns to him and says: Look at the animals. Foxes have a place to go in ... a hole that they call their home. Those birds flying in the air ... have a nest. But the Son of Man has no place to lay His head. [Pause] Having just come from a town ... that had kicked Him out. Gives our life of faith a whole new perspective, when we realize the hardships that Jesus had to face. Relying on the kindness of strangers ... relying on the goodness of His own followers and disciples, to keep Him alive ... to find Him a place to live while on this earth and to provide Him with the necessary things to keep His body and soul each and every day. It's so easy for us as Christians to say: Jesus, I will follow You wherever You go ... till He puts us there till He finds the thing that He wants us to do and then we realize: Here we are! That as a servant of God we're not happy with "here". We're not happy with what we "have". We're not content with what God has blessed us with. And we decide that we need things that are more important, because we look at the world and see what everyone else has ... and we need those things. And Jesus comes to us and says: The foxes have a hole, the birds have a nest, but the Son of Man did not have a place to lay His head. And I don't think that there are many of us in this room that do not have multiple places, in our own homes, where we can lay our heads. The comfort and blessings that come from our heavenly Father are there abundantly for us each and every day. And we thank Him for those things. He's given them to us to use as His disciples. To use where we are for His good! To share with others the message of Jesus Christ! To support the work of the Church! To support the work of missionaries in our own country in home missions, as well as across the globe where you and I could never go! But God wants others to go and calls them to go there. And that we have that blessed opportunity to share ... in that work of spreading the Gospel ... by using the gifts that God has given to us, in service. To realize that sometimes our service to Christ is going to be filled with hardships. It may even be uncomfortable. But our God never leaves us. He never abandons us. He never forsakes us. But He answers that prayer. That prayer for daily bread. That prayer for the forgiveness of sins. And we remind ourselves of that love in our own lives as we continue to follow Him enduring some of those hardships. Looking at the blessings that we have and sharing them with others and supporting the work of proclaiming the Kingdom. Because that was Jesus' first and foremost goal. To bring to God's people, to bring to the world the knowledge that He was, the Lord and Savior of all! That His purpose was to suffer and to die and to rise again on the third day to proclaim that He IS the KING of ALL. The One who rules the Kingdom of God and brings that Kingdom into people's hearts, into people's lives, so that they can live for Him and serve Him ... not only in this world, but in everlasting righteousness and innocence and blessedness. And we're so reminded that when Jesus turned to that second person recorded for us in Luke's Gospel and He says: Follow Me. And the man says: I really want to, Jesus, but first let me go back and I gotta bury my father. And then I'll have time and then I'll follow You. And Jesus responds with something that I think most people see as rather harsh. And a rather hard statement. But He says: Let the dead bury their own dead. [Pause] It IS for us a reality of understanding that we can't do anything for that dead body. That person's life is done. It is over and its soul is judged. Yes, we can take care of it in a respectful manner. We can bury it in the ground with the hope of the eternal resurrection. But we're not gonna pray that soul into heaven; we're not gonna change the judgment that has been placed on that soul. That soul has lived in that body. And it has gone to judgment. And it is either WITH God in heaven or it is APART from Him in hell. Yes, plenty of emotional attachment. Plenty of emotional desires when we talk about funerals. And we can think: How could a God not want us to go and be with our family and grieve with our family and support our family and bury that person and then go and follow Him? Because ... He wants all of our love, all of our trust, all of our fear, all of our respect, above everything else. Because we shall have no other gods and we shall put nothing else as a priority before our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That for us ... is really sobering. Because we think of how many times in our own lives, don't we for something less than a funeral, say: God, I'm gonna put You on hold. God, when I get done, with what I need to take care of, then I'm going to be there for You wholeheartedly. I will serve You without any question or any other thing clouding my judgment, but just let me do this. And then I'll have time for You. Of course if THIS doesn't come along. Because we all know how that goes. We finish what we're doing, and all of a sudden the world and ourselves put something else there that we NEED TO DO! That we need to take care of. And, once again, God's back here someplace ... waiting for us to finish what we feel is important to get to Him. But let's look at what IS important and let's put it into context of that funeral. That funeral where all of a sudden people want to become religious. They wanna drag people into church in a casket when they haven't walked into that building in years. Then all of a sudden it's important to pray for them. When in the days of their life we haven't prayed that God would send His Holy Spirit into them, to work with them, to convict them of their sins. God hasn't given us the strength or courage to get off of our butts and go and talk to those people ... about our faith in Jesus Christ, and what that means to us. That's the work that's important. That's about the here and now when it makes a difference. Proclaiming the Kingdom of God is our work as God's followers. As His disciples ... as His servants in this world ... and it's so important because it has eternal consequences. It's a reminder to us, really difficult sometimes for our sinful hearts to hear, that God IS first and foremost in our lives. And we follow Him. We follow Him without looking back. Because that's the third person, isn't it, who said: Lord, I will follow You, but I gotta go back and say good-by to my mom and dad. Or like Elisha ... when Elijah says and anoint him as the one who was going to be his follower. Who was going to be the prophet after he's gone. Elisha said: Elijah, let me go back. I have to talk to my family. And Elijah responds with: Why are you asking ME this? I didn't do anything for you. God's the One who called you. Don't be saying that to me. I don't care if you go back and talk to your family. What is it that God wants? What is it that your Lord wants? He wants someone who's going to follow Him. Keeping their eyes on what's ahead, instead of always turning around and looking what's goin' on behind. Oh, I gotta go over here. I gotta go over there. Oh yeah, now Mom and Dad I said good-by to, but gotta remember Aunt Betty ... oh, she'd be mad 'cause I was home said good-by to them and not to her. You know, all my old friends from high school, gotta go back and say good-by to them. There are all kinds of distractions in our lives. But our Lord calls us to be focused. To be forward-thinking. To be looking ahead to our own eternal life. To the glory that will be ours. To be confident in knowing that our Lord is going to take care of us and He is going to take care of those we love. And those people who love us and love the Lord will understand our following Him. Will understand our devotion to being disciples of God. Will understand the work that we do in the Lord's name. Because they'll be doing the same. Because together, as that Kingdom of believers, as the followers of Christ, we dedicate ourselves to being His disciples. To being focused on His will. Not living as slaves to sin, as Paul told the Galatians, but living with the fruit of the Spirit. Showing love and patience and kindness and gentleness and respect to each other. Not jumping to that Law, which is so easy for us ... God, punish 'em. Yeah ... Then I'll feel better. But reaching out to them and saying: God loves you. He sacrificed Himself for you. I love you enough to tell you that ... to share that with you. I care about you enough that I want you with Me and the saints for all eternity. I want to show you that kindness. I want you to live in that grace that God has given to Me. Because then I'm "in step with the Spirit." "In step with the Spirit" and following in the footsteps of my Lord and Savior. So today He has called us once again to renew that commitment to being His disciples ... to walk in His paths. Let us follow Him. Amen. Let us rise. Now may the peace of God, which goes beyond all of our understanding, keep your hearts and your minds and especially your lives in the one true faith unto life everlasting. Amen.

Video Details

Duration: 19 minutes and 29 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: R & M
Director: Jesus
Views: 66
Posted by: hischild on Jul 15, 2010

This Closed Captioned sermon reminds us, from Scripture, that following Christ means counting the cost and setting new priorities in our lives.

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