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"The First Choosing"- Part 2

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews
The Truth Network Radio
January 12, 2022 12:30 am

"The First Choosing"- Part 2

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews

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January 12, 2022 12:30 am

Today's episode is the second half of Pastor Russ Andrews sermon "What Does It Mean To Be A True Follower Of Christ". Listen as he describes how you can Truly Love and Trust Jesus.

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Not Kita Koloff, the Russian nightmare, no, the devil's nightmare here. From it's time to man up. Challenging men to step into their true manhood. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening to the Truth Podcast Network.

This is the Truth Network. Do you feel like you're on a religious treadmill? Do you feel like Christianity is just a system of rules and regulations?

I can do this, but I can't do that. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God, and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living.

For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at findingpurpose.net or connect with us on Facebook. Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. If you will take your Bibles and open up to Luke chapter 5. Tonight I'm just going to cover verses 1 through 11, and I want to answer this question, and I really want you guys to think about this long and hard.

What does it mean to be a true follower of Jesus Christ? Perhaps you've been following Jesus from a distance, and maybe tonight you feel like, Russ, I really want to step up my game. Well, it's not your game. You can't step it up without His hand, but maybe you're ready to get a little bit more into the boat. Maybe you're ready to push out a little bit deeper. Does that describe you?

Who does that describe? Do you feel like you can step it up some more? Are you willing to say, Lord Jesus, here I am. Send me.

I'm yours. I want to serve you the rest of my life no matter what. Is there anything out there in this world that can satisfy you? I can answer that. I'm not Solomon, but I've tried a lot of things.

Nothing ever satisfies. I remember one time I took my family to Grand Cayman Island. Doesn't that sound like a great trip? You grew up down there. Where? St. Croix. Did you know he grew up in St. Croix? Well, you moved there.

Same difference. I thought this could be so much fun. I thought this could be so much fun. We got down there. The boys are fighting about this, about that, arguing about where we're going to eat, all this mess. I said, let's get back home, and this is ridiculous.

It never satisfies. You know what the rich and famous are doing? Where you vacationing over Christmas? Where are you going to be?

What island are you going to? It never satisfies. It's like candy. What's that candy thing you get at the circus? Cotton candy. It just melts in your mouth, and it's gone.

A little sweet taste, and boom, it's gone. Listen, there is no higher calling in the world than to be a follower of Jesus. Do you young guys believe that? It's the truth. I'm telling you.

I'm old. I can tell you. Don't waste your time with all this other mess. Now listen, not only must you hear His voice, but stage number two, when He calls you to follow Him, you have to trust Him. You have to take a step of faith, and listen, every time you take a step of faith, you'll find the solid ground.

Every time. God will never let you down. When Jesus finished speaking, He looked at Peter and said, put out into deep water and let your nets down for a catch. And Simon answered, Master, we toured all night and took nothing, but at your word I will let down the nets. I want you to notice that Jesus does not give them a suggestion.

Hey, you might want to drop your nets over there. What He said, He gave them a command. And notice He did not say, I want you to put your nets down and try to catch some fish. He said, I want you to put your nets down for a catch of fish.

So the command came with what? A promise. You will catch fish. I was talking to a friend of mine who, well, he's really just an acquaintance.

He's real wealthy. He goes all the world fishing. He'd been somewhere down there off of South America, and I said, did you have a good time fishing? He said, Russ, I don't go fishing. I go catching. Okay, excuse me.

Well, you follow Jesus and you're gonna go catching. Can you imagine what Peter was thinking? Look, he's been out there all night.

He's tired. You ever come in from a fishing trip? That's why I don't go offshore anymore. It's just too tiring. And you get back. You might not have caught anything.

You're tired. And then you got to, if you do catch a couple of fish, you got to clean those suckers. Then go to, save a bunch of, save a bunch of money. Don't buy a big boat. Don't buy any fishing equipment. Go to the fish market and get one.

Cost you about $50. That's the same way I feel about hunting. I went hunting.

I'm off, I'm way, forget time, okay, because we make it all night. I went hunting down in Arkansas with Joe McDaniel and I like to do a little duck hunting, but I don't like hunting in the woods for ducks. Put me out there in a nice blind that's got heat in it.

Bring me a biscuit with some coffee and then tell me when you let the ducks go and I'm gonna shoot a couple of them. He took me down into Arkansas. I've got on these waders and we go walking down this field for about a mile and realize we're in the wrong field. And it's about, you know, the sun hadn't even come up yet. Then we walked to another field and now we're getting into water.

Next thing I know, I'm in water like this and there's a bunch of trees around. I said, Joel, first of all, how am I supposed to hit a duck with the trees right there? And then I said, hey, hey, Joel, when does this get fun? Do you know when it got fun? When we got back to the cabinets for breakfast. Then I was having fun.

All right, I'm way off the subject here. So Peter's sitting there. He's been fishing all night and this carpenter tells him to drop his nets. You know what I would have said? Hey, hey, Jesus, you know, I know you know a lot about carpentry. I'm the fisherman. We fished all night.

There ain't none out there. But what did he do? Well, first of all, Jesus spoke with what? Authority. He also spoke in a voice that let Peter know, you can trust me. That's the way Jesus speaks to us, with authority.

And if he says it, you can believe it. So he dropped his nets and the nets began to fill with fish immediately. Peter yelled over to his buddies, hey man, bring your boat over here. They got two boats over there. They're working. They're pulling all these fish in. And they're looking at each other like, can you believe this?

Who is this man? Did this just really happen? So what did we learn here?

Well, first of all, every miracle that Jesus performed had a purpose. And this one was no exception. So remember, Jesus was fishing for who? Fish or men?

Men. And who was in his bullseye? Peter. Why Peter?

Because he was the leader. Remember he said, Peter, you are the rock, and upon this rock I'm going to build my church. And Peter had been listening to Jesus ever since Andrew came and said, we've seen the Messiah.

And guess what? This is the way God works. God rewards faith at some point with sight. Somebody once said, I do not seek to understand so that I might believe, but I believe so that I might understand. That's the way God has designed the world. It's not blind faith.

But you're not going to get all your questions answered. At some point, you've got to take a step of faith. And the moment you do, he lifts the veil from your eyes, and he gives you spiritual sight. This is what Paul is writing about in 2 Corinthians 3, 15 and 16 when he says, even to this day when Moses is read, even today in Israel when they're reading Moses, the Old Testament, a veil covers their hearts. Even today when people are sitting in church and they're hearing scripture, a veil covers many hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, what happens to the veil?

It's taken away. God lifts the veil and gives you spiritual sight. Peter turns the Lord by faith. And as the veil was removed, Peter's spiritual eyes were so open that he could see Jesus in His glory and power and holiness.

And what did Peter do? He felt on his knees. He said, whoa.

Well, he said, depart from me. I'm a sinful man, O Lord. Hey, guys, if you've never had a moment where you've seen how sinful you are, then I would say you haven't really seen who Jesus is. Do you know what God's looking for in a man? He's looking for a man who will say, look in the mirror of scripture and say, God, I agree with you. I'm rotten to the core.

I'm a sinner. So many people believe that man count's basically good. Does anybody watch the news and really still believe that, that mankind is basically good? You've got to be kidding me. Most people say that are very religious in nature.

They are. I've got friends of mine who've told me, I remember one time I was having a conversation. I said, how do you think a person gets to go to heaven? He said, well, I think God puts your good deeds and your bad deeds on a set of scales. And if your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, then He lets you in.

Oh, really? Can you show me where it says that in the Bible? What does the Bible say in Romans 3? There's no one good. No one who does good. There's no one righteous.

We're all what? Sinners to the core. He was basically telling me that He thought His good deeds outweigh His bad deeds. Well, when somebody says that, they do not see how sinful they are and they've never come into the presence of a holy God. Because anybody that does that in scripture, what do they do?

Fall down onto their knees. Look at what Isaac did. In Isaiah chapter 6, he said, woe, woe to me, because God gave him a vision of heaven. He said, woe to me. I'm ruined from a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty. I believe Isaiah was confessing that he tried trouble with his mouth.

Bad language, maybe. Filthy language, which comes from filthy thoughts, and this is Isaiah the prophet. What did Paul say?

He said, the things I want to do, I don't do. The things I don't want to do, those I keep on doing, what a wretched man I am. Russ Andrews, God has revealed to me, I'm not going to go into detail the extent of my sin.

I'm not saying this proudly, but it drove me to my knees, where I cried. I said, God, why did you even use me? See, what God wants to see in any of us is a broken and contrite heart, and most people are not willing to acknowledge that they need a Savior, because they don't see themselves as lost, blind, and sinful. I'm convinced that the man who's seen how sinful he really is, who's come to really understand the grace of God, is the best candidate to be used by God.

Remember John Newton, the slave trader? Horrible, cursing sinner, but one in a storm one night he got saved, and then he went on to write what hymn that we sing all the time? Amazing Grace. Even non-believers love that hymn.

When he came to the end of his life, he said, although my memory's fading, I remember two things very clearly. I'm a great sinner. Christ is a great Savior.

That's what I want on my tombstone. I'm a great sinner. Christ is a great Savior. Thank you, Jesus. If you want to be a follower of Jesus, you first have got to hear Him calling you.

When He calls you, you've got to say, you've got to trust Him, and move out of your comfort zone. But third, you've got to be willing to surrender everything you have to Him. Everything. Your career, your family, your health, your mind, your body, and guess what? Your money. There you go.

Don't talk about my money now. Look at verses 10 and 11. And Jesus said to Simon, do not be afraid.

From now on you will be catching men. And when they have brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him. Why do you think Peter was afraid?

I think he was afraid of maybe two things. He was married. That's why it said that Jesus went to Simon's house, mother-in-law, her house, where Jesus pursues marriage. He's got a family. I don't know. It doesn't say much about the wives or the disciples, but some of them were married. They had children, I'm sure. Can you imagine dropping your nets, your source of income, and going off with this man who claims to be the Son of God, and you're not 100% sure yet?

Would you be willing to do that? It's easy to look back. But what had gotten Peter's attention? Well, first of all, we've been listening to him. He saw him heal the demon-possessed man. He saw him heal his mother-in-law.

And then he saw him produce these fish out of the water. This guy is different. I'm willing to give him a try. Are you willing just to give Jesus a try? Or are you willing to give him a chance?

Chance? See, the Lord says He will be with us, and He will provide us with all we need. Matthew 6 says, Therefore I tell you, this is Jesus' words.

Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or store weight in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them? Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life, but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness? And He says, All these things will be given to you as well.

What's He saying? You step out. God loves risk-takers.

Step out and get out of the boat, or push the boat into deeper water. Remember Peter had, you know, walked on water one time, and then he took his eyes off Jesus, got fearful. God wants us to get out of the boat and get out of our comfort zones, and then He promises He'll take care of you.

So what are you afraid of? What are you clinging to for your security? Listen, God has shown me in the past, and I'm, listen, I'm still guilty of this, clinging to clinging to money, you know.

The money is really more of a curse than is a blessing. It is, because what it does, it's really, for a Christian, money is a piece of luggage that, you know, is always pulling you, because you can go do some things, you know. At the beginning of Luke 5, Peter, James, and John were fully devoted to their jobs, yet here they are, I think they've been guilty really of following Jesus from a distance. Are you following Jesus from a distance?

Are you willing to say, Lord, I'm ready to get up close and follow you? At the beginning of this text, Peter called Jesus master, but at the end he calls Him what? Lord. What does it mean when somebody, when you call somebody Lord? It means He's your master. It means He says, do this, and what do you do?

Do it. Is He a good master? He's the best. Is He a good Father? He's the best. Is He a good friend?

He's the best. And let me tell you something, a lot of people think that Christianity is a step down. I can tell you what, it's a step up. I've tried the other side, the other way. I never want to go back. Never. Now I want to give you a few takeaways, and we're going to shut it down.

You ready? By the way, I got these from a minister by the name of Bob Diffenbaugh, kind of a funny name. He's a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. I want to give him credit. These are his thoughts. I kind of put them in my words, but they're his thoughts.

So, and he takes these takeaways from this text. He said that this text is not teaching that those who are the most committed to Jesus must leave their secular jobs to go into full-time ministry. If you're a true believer, what? You're already in full-time ministry.

Okay, you're already there. Probably for most of you, God wants to use you right where you are. That's why He's got you there, but He wants to use you. However, for some of you, Jesus may be calling you to make a very radical change in your life.

He did that with me back in 1999. Now, I have to be honest with you. In my career, I kind of lost interest in what I was doing. It just didn't ring my bell anymore, and I was actually asking God to please call me into ministry, and for about five or ten years, I got nugged, you know, or didn't hear anything.

1999, I was just ready to go. So, I went out to Southeastern one day, and as soon as I stepped on campus, I didn't even think about going to seminary. I just thought, well, gosh, I gotta do something.

I'll just go to seminary for a few years. As soon as I stepped on campus, it's like He said, this is where I want you. When I graduated four years later, 2003, I had no idea what He wanted me to do. I mean, I was clueless, and I even said, Lord, what was that all about?

What was those four years about? Did I misread you? And it took me about three or four months to know what God wanted me to do, and one morning, it was a Wednesday morning in September of, gosh, let's see, 2003, I was trying to decide, you know, gosh, do I join Campus Crusade for Christ, their marketplace ministry, or do I do something different and unique and start my own ministry? Again, it's not my ministry, but start my own ministry, and I woke up one morning. I went to my study, and I opened up the Bible to 2 Samuel 7.

Verse 3 says, these things that you have in mind, Gordon, do them for the Lord is with you. Boom! Is it always that clear? No. But I mean, at that moment, guys, September the something, 2003, I got the date written out of my journal. Finding purpose was born, and you think about it. That's why you're sitting here tonight. Does God have a good plan or what? Can I take any credit for it?

Absolutely none. I've been a bad sinner through these years, even in ministry. You know why? Because I still have these sinful desires in my cotton-pigging heart, and you know what? I'm sick of sinning. Y'all sick of sinning?

I am. But we're going to sin until the day we die, unfortunately, but hopefully we're progressing, and I am progressing, thank God, but I give Him all the credit. So how do you know what to do? I give you, you want to know what to do? You pray. You read God's Word. You seek the advice of godly counsel. You listen to His voice, and He will guide you.

What does it say? Proverbs 3 5 6, trust the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding, and all you always acknowledge Him, and He'll do what? He'll make your path straight. He will direct your life, men. You young guys back there.

Proverbs 3 5 and 6, okay. You guys are going to read it. I'm talking to you guys. These old guys, it's too late for them.

I'm kidding. Okay, we've got to go on, guys. I'm over time. Following Jesus, number two, begins with the realization that you're unworthy, needy, and helpless without Him. Those who are self-sufficient have got no time for God, and God's got no time for them, because they're too self-sufficient, too busy with this world. Following Jesus requires, number three, total trust in Him as your all-sufficient Savior. You must know Him intimately. You must trust Him completely, and you must lean on Him continuously all the way to the finish line. Just like my good buddy J.L. Williams did when he died. He was finishing.

He hit the tape running, and that's what I want to do. To follow Jesus, number four, you must be willing to let go of, to turn away from those things upon which you trust. You ready for that list? Your health, your money, your education, your popularity, your popularity.

Did you hear that? Your popularity. You cannot be popular with the world and popular with God. The Bible even says, if you're a friend of the world, you're an enemy of God.

You cannot serve two masters. If you're popular with the world, you're not that popular with God. Sorry to break that bubble, but you're not. I was telling the guy today that back in my college days when I used to drink a few beers, and I'd get a little buzz going. If y'all think I'm funny now, which y'all probably don't, I thought I was real funny back then.

That made nobody else see what I did, but I remember this guy said, I wish I like it when rust gets like this. Well, I don't like it like that. I don't ever want to go back there, but see the world wants me to be the old Russ. I've got no interest in being the old Russ.

None, and I've got some friends that I wish I could still be real friendly with because I really like them a lot, but we're following two different paths, and you got to decide which path you're on, okay? Are you gonna be friends with the world or friends with Jesus? So you got to let go of your, you got to let go of your popularity, your worldly success, and listen, God may, listen, he may want a lot of you guys to keep making a whole lot of money.

Why? So you go to Grand Cayman? No, so you can fund ministries and your church. Most of the money raised in the world that goes to missions, I think about 90 percent comes out of America, which is probably the only reason God has not wiped us off the map. Number five, if you want, if you're to follow Jesus, then we must do what Jesus did. He came to save and seek the lost, and that's what he wants us to do. He wants us to be fishers of men. Will you join me guys in being fisher, being a fisher for men? Okay, will you? Look at all these empty seats in here. Can y'all believe a guy won't come here, a great lecturer like me? I'm full of it.

I know what my wife tells me every day. Finally, we should not make hasty commitments to follow Jesus, nor should we call on others to do so. Jesus did not press these men to make a hasty decision.

He called them over the course of time. Important decisions are not made quickly. Pastor Bob Diffenbaugh says, decisions which are good ones, which are lasting ones, are those made slowly, prayerfully, and deliberately. It basically took 10 years for God to answer my prayer. Lord, here I am.

Send me. I want to close with this prayer that was written by Jim Elliott in his journal back when he was in at Wheaton College back in the 1950s before, you know, he went down to Ecuador to take the gospel to the Alca Indians, and he was speared to death. Do you know that those Indians later became believers because their wives went back in to share the gospel with them? And they said the day they speared them to death, they could hear angels singing. Do you know how they knew that? Because when these Christian ladies began to teach them hymns, they said, this is what we heard the angels singing.

They said there were lights above the trees as they were spearing these five-minute deaths. But this is what Jim Elliott wrote in his journal when he was at Wheaton College. Again, he was martyred in 1956.

This had to have been in the early 1950s. He said, God, think about your heart right now, guys. In fact, close your eyes, guys. I'm going to close with this. Close your eyes.

Think about your heart. This was Jim Elliott's prayer. God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life, and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Yours. I seek not a long life but a full one like You, Lord Jesus. He died when he was in his mid-twenties. Jesus died when he was about 33.

Do you want a long life or a full life? Jesus says, follow me. Being a Christian is not about being religious but about having a dynamic, alive relationship with Jesus Christ. You've been listening to Finding Purpose with Pastor Russ Andrews, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. You can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources at findingpurpose.net or connect to Finding Purpose on Facebook. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local men to study God's Word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at findingpurpose.net.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-28 23:39:36 / 2023-06-28 23:50:41 / 11

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