Your Bibles, if you would turn with me to the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 8 today as we study through this wonderful Gospel, Matthew Chapter 8, when you find your place, if you would honor the Word of God, and we'll stand as we read. Matthew Chapter 8, verse number 18, down to verse 22, our Lord Jesus Christ says, verse 18, Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave commandment to depart unto the other side. And a certain scribe came and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, That is fantastic.
I've been looking for devotions. That's not what he says. He says the foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head.
I'm not quite sure you understand what you're committing to. And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me and let the dead bury their dead. Father, your Word is before us, is our wisdom, is our understanding. We are so blessed to know the grace of God and salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, our worth and our unworthiness. We reflect and are just humbled by the magnificent mercy that you've shown us. What do we have to offer God?
You sit upon the heavens and you rest your feet upon the earth. But you said in your word that to this man will I look even to him who is of a contrite spirit and who trembles at my word. Let us be such. May you look upon our hearts today and may we long for you more than our necessary bread. God, I pray that you would still our hearts of worry and fear and fretting and what the world pulls our minds into. God help us to be still and know that you are God and rejoice in Christ. Let this be a day of truth where the word of God is implanted deep in the soil of our hearts and may we live out in obedience and with joy your truth.
And may we all leave here a little less like ourselves and a lot more like you. We ask it in Christ's name and God's people said, Man, you may be seated this morning. I grew up in a farming community in Clinton County. My grandfather was a farmer, my dad, and we went to a school in Clinton County that made a big deal out of sports.
And so we were involved in a lot of things there, basketball and football and different events. And I remember every year when you get into the season, the coach would say, What's what kind of commitment are you willing to make this year? And they would really preach commitment to us and and rightfully so building discipline and young men and encouraging us to devote our time and our energy, our diets, our intense effort to them. And I want to ask today, what kind of commitment have you made in your relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ? What would Jesus say today was your level of commitment to him? Like if there was a scale of one to ten, one being not committed and ten being like all in, what what number would he rate you at? Are you committed to Christ?
Are you are there areas of your life that you still feel that you're holding back from the Lord in? What do you feel like maybe keeping you from being more committed? The word commitment means to promise to do to give something.
It means to be dedicated, devoted, faithful, carries the idea of being loyal. Today's culture has really lost the meaning of what commitment is. People's marriages are broken, families torn apart, broken promises. I mean, people don't even get married today because they don't want to get into that kind of level of commitment.
People break their word all the time. Very hard to find people today that are defined by loyal, faithful, devoted. Today, if there is one relationship that people treat with the highest possible verbal devotion, but really the lowest level of commitment. It seems to be their relationship with Jesus Christ. It's amazing how people will say that God is first place in their life and that they love God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength.
And I've even had lost people say that to me. I love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. But but if you love him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, this is your life defined by obedience to him. We've all broken that command, haven't we? We've not always kept God first place in our life because the day we sin or the moments that we sin in our life, he's not first place at that moment. I remember having a couple of my office one time in this individual.
They had a lot of issues in their marriage, a lot of different problems, things that were going on for years, and I tried to help them for years. And I asked this gentleman, I said, are you a Christian? Do you know the Lord is your Savior?
Are you are you saved? And he says, oh, yeah. And his wife looked at him like this. She's like. Yeah, I mean, it was it was just like that.
It was like. And he's like, he does one of these numbers. He's like, what? And I asked her, I said, do you think he's a Christian? She's like, there's no way in the world.
He's like, well, you know, I just. I said, let me ask you, friend. I said, if if the 10 closest people in your life, your family and friends were asked the question, are you a Christian believer and follower of Christ? What do you think they would say is like?
Probably not. I've done a lot of funerals. One question that gets raised when I sit down with families is this. I always ask the question, what words define so and so? How would you define your loved one? How would you define who they were?
What are the words that define them? Sometimes sometimes people say they were faithful. That was faithful to everything. He was faithful to his wife. He was faithful to our mother. He was faithful as a worker. He's faithful to the country. He was he was just he was a hard worker. He was loyal. Mom, you know, mom was devoted.
They begin to maybe use some different words. Sadly, those those descriptions are somewhat rare. A lot of times it's Dad loved NASCAR. He was a Buckeye fan. Oh, that's good.
Better than Michigan. Nothing wrong with that. I'm just not quite sure that we want to have the first thing said about us is that we were a sports fan. I'm not quite sure that's the legacy that we really want to leave with the world of our family and friends. Let me ask you today, what kind of legacy are you leaving? When I sit down one day and talk with your family and say, tell me what they were like, you lived with them.
What are the words that would define them? You do enough funerals and you you begin to learn that when somebody says Dad was faithful or Mom was loyal. Boy, there's a lot of reason they just said that. I mean, there is a trail of faithfulness behind that.
There's a weightiness that brought that to the top. I'm just curious what words define you. How would your family, your kids? So often people are defined by pleasures and activities. Very few are defined by their love for the Lord Jesus Christ. You know, Mom and Dad, boy, they love Christ.
They really made a big deal out of the Lord. One way you know what someone loves in life is you simply ask the question, what are they willing to sacrifice for? What you sacrifice for really reveals your devotion. Because sacrifice is the child of love. Love produces sacrifice.
What you love most will cost you something. We just finished a 16 week marriage course on Thursday nights from six thirty to eight thirty. It's been one of the richest things I've been a part of as a pastor. I absolutely have loved it. It was so good that the group that I meet with, we're just going to keep meeting.
I'm like, this is just so rich. It's just wonderful. And we'll be offering that again in the fall, something that if your marriage is good, be a part of it.
If it's not good, you really need to be part of it. Wonderful. But I'm so thankful for the couples who said, you know what, it's worth spending time and sacrificing Thursday evenings to pour into our marriage. Thank you for that.
Thank you for the leaders that were involved in that. You know, Jesus Christ has called us to sacrifice. And in fact, Jesus said there's no greater love than a man have. Then a man would lay down his life for his friends.
No greater love. Than one who would die for someone. And Jesus calls us to that level of devotion for him. And Luke nine twenty three says, whosoever shall, if any man come after me, said, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me. There is a death that you must die.
Jesus said of the people in that day, this people draw off nine to me with their lips and honor on earth me with their mouth and their lips. He says, but their heart is far from me. They make a verbal commitment, but boy, their life doesn't reflect it. Jesus, I love you. I love singing the song how I love Jesus.
But boy, it's real hard to live that one. Their allegiance, devotion and true commitment is not with Christ. It's actually to themselves today.
What do the commitments of your life reveal about what really matters to you? Today, people are inclined to follow Jesus as long as he doesn't cost them too much. Today, people want a Jesus that's on sale. Is Jesus marked down this year, this month? Is there kind of a Black Friday Jesus we can get? Where, you know, I can kind of buy in low and get a good return on my investment to Jesus.
Like, I need him to be a good deal for me. Today, churches and pastors and even Christians are trying to market Jesus to the world to make Jesus more attractive. In marketing, you design a product that literally meets the demands of the people. The customer defines the product. That's what you do in marketing.
Anybody been involved in sales and marketing? You understand what I'm talking about. The slogan is the customer is always right. Some of you don't know this has happened to Christianity in America. I do because I've been a part of the seminars. I've been a part of conferences where this stuff has invaded and infected Christianity in its leadership. I was at a conference with a solid group of people that I thought and they were bringing in CEOs such as the CEO of Dunkin Donuts to teach the pastors how to market Christianity to the world.
How to market it. I don't even know if the guy was saved. After I vomited in my mouth, I thought, is this where we've come? People were told that what you need to do is because the churches are dying off. We've got to do something. We have to we have to attract lost people to come to church. So now they tell you to go out into your communities, talk to people in your community, lost people and say, what kind of church would you come to if you ever came to church?
You do a survey in your community, in your culture, and then you define the church by those demands. This is what Coca-Cola does. This is what Pepsi, this is what all companies do. Will you fill out our survey?
Will you tell us what you like about our product? What would you like us to change? And then they modify that. When I come to the Bible, I find that the church was never designed to be attractive to the world. The church was designed to exalt Christ. How much holiness do you think you would have to sacrifice to make it attractive to the world? I thought Jesus said the world will hate you.
John MacArthur confronts this issue in his book, Hard to Believe. He writes, the church service is too long. You say, well, we will shorten it. One pastor guarantees his sermon will never last more than seven minutes.
You know, that guy didn't come out of lighthouse. Too formal? Wear your sweatsuit. Too boring? Wait till you hear our band. One suburban church sent out a mailer recently promising an, quote, informal, relaxed, casual atmosphere. Great music from our band. And those who come will, believe it or not, have fun.
That's all right, he says, if you're a coffeehouse. But anyone who claims to be calling people to the gospel of Jesus with those is his priority is calling them to a lie. It's Christianity for consumers. Christianity lied. The redirection, watering down, misinterpretation of biblical gospel in an attempt to make it more palatable and popular.
It tastes great going down, settles light, seems to salve your feeling and scratch your itch. It's custom tailored to your preferences, but that lightness will never fill you up with the true saving gospel of Jesus Christ. Because it's designed by men and not God. It is hollow and worthless. In fact, he says, it's worse than worthless because people who hear the message of Christianity light think they're getting the gospel.
They think they're being rescued from eternal judgment when in fact they're being tragically misled. You know, when Paul went to the city of Corinth, which was such a thriving city. It had all the updates and it was kind of the center of the world in many ways of just advancements. One of the things they elevated at Corinth was being a great speaker, fine tuning your oratory skills, eloquence. People in Corinth would go down to the sea and put smooth stones under their tongue and practice their pronunciations and their speaking. And so they said, Paul, when you come to Corinth, you're really going to need to elevate your speech. Speak eloquently. Make sure that you talk in such a way that because people here, we're the educated crowd. We're the ones that, I mean, if you're going to reach this community, you're really going to have to mold into their style.
You're going to have to allow your communication to be defined by the wants of the culture. You know what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2 when he writes to them? He said, and I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
For I determined not to know anything among you say Jesus Christ and him crucified. Wouldn't that be a nice title on a pamphlet? And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling in my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. I can tell you, those who would seek to define their church by the world will have a powerless church. They will suck the power out of that church. Those who will define the church by Jesus Christ will have a powerful church. So either a powerless or a powerful church will be defined by who you are seeking to conform it to. The true gospel calls people to surrender their life and conform their life to Christ, not the other way around.
We're not looking to have God look more like us, are we? Today, we're going to look at three commitments that Christ calls people to, three ways that we all can surrender our life to Christ. And verse number 18, he says this, Now, when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart into the other side. Thousands of people were following him. It was estimated around two million people lived around the Sea of Galilee, a sea that was six miles wide, 13 miles long. And all that area in that northern part of Israel was heavily populated around the Sea of Galilee. And he didn't stay in a place very long. He would preach and crowds would build and he would go on another location because in Mark 138, he says, Let us go to the next town that I may preach there also, for therefore came I forth.
He came to preach the gospel to all the cities. Now, there are three people that come to Jesus before he gets into a boat and departs the other side of the lake. It's really a lake calls it the Sea of Galilee, but it's.
It's more of the size of a lake, a large lake, and. And before he gets in the boat and departs to the side with his disciples, there are three men who come to listed here in Matthew one and Luke. Luke's account of this in Luke, chapter number nine, give us the record of three men. Matthew gives us two.
So we're going to look at all three today. And there are three areas that Jesus deals with, three areas of surrender that you and I need to apply to our life. And the first comes in verse 19 and 20 in our text.
And it is the area of surrendering our personal comfort. Verse 19 says, And a certain scribe came and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. Bible says this is a certain scribe. The word scribe comes from the original Greek word grapho, which we get the word writing or graffiti comes from even grammar. The scribe was a Jewish scholar. He was a professional copyist. They didn't have printing presses in those days.
So it was necessary that somebody would copy things down and they did that. Many of them were Pharisees, not all of them, though. These men were experts in the Old Testament law. They were teachers. They in the Old Testament, Ezra was a scribe.
And so these some of these, they were very influential in those days in their communities. And this man comes to Jesus and notices devotion. He says, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. He calls Jesus Master, Didascolo, teacher. This is a this is a honorable title that he gives to Christ because he being a teacher himself is calling Jesus a teacher.
And he says, I'll follow you whithersoever thou goest. I mean, that's a pretty intense statement. I mean, that's a pretty high level of devotion there with his lips. I would have to ask the question, is Jesus impressed with our verbal professions of devotion? Was Jesus like that is incredibly awesome. I am so excited.
Good for you. I was looking for a scribe to be a good follower. You know, it reminds me of Peter. Later in Matthew's Gospel, Peter was told by Jesus and all the disciples were told that Jesus said, the shepherd struck, the sheep will scatter. You guys will all deny me and betray me and flee from me. And you won't last through this night. You're going to shepherd struck. The sheep will scatter. And Peter said, though, so all these other guys may fail. You know, all these other weaklings may bail out. He says, but I will never deny you.
Jesus did not respond. Good for you, Peter. I love your level of commitment. I am so impressed. Somebody says he says, Peter, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.
And if you want to keep talking, it's going to get even more embarrassing for you. These these are the seeds that fell among stony places that Jesus refers to in Matthew 13. Men like the scribe were people who who grew up quickly, but when trial and persecution or any difficulty came, they withered away. These are the ones that Jesus said in Matthew 7 21. Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. But he that what's the word do with not everyone who sayeth, but he that do it. There's a big difference between talk and walk.
Right. And he says he that do with the will of my father, which is in heaven. You can say you're a Christian.
You can say, oh, Pastor Josh, I'm saved. But when your wife is like. There must be a disconnect between your mouth and your life. There is not a joining together of reality to your thoughts. It would be like somebody cheating on their wife and saying, honey, I love you. Your words really don't mean a lot.
In fact, they're they're insulting. Linsky observes in his commentary, he says, such a person sees the soldiers in a parade, the fine uniforms, the glittering arms, and he's eager to join up. Forgetting the exhausting marches, the bloody battles, the graves that are perhaps even unmarked. One of the dear ladies in our church. Jeannie Moore, her brother, went home to be with the Lord. This morning, we made a profession of faith. I trust him into the Lord's hands. But he had four purple hearts.
Serve his country faithfully. Perhaps this man thought, you know, most of Jesus followers are like fishermen. I mean, these are blue collar guys. I'm a scribe. I'm educated. I know the Torah. I'm a teacher. I mean, I would really be the head of the class in this group. Jesus, I will follow you with us, whoever thou goest. And I'm sure you're happy. Jesus is not impressed. This man committed the crime of overpromising and under underdelivering.
Sure, you've had salespeople do that to you. Lord, I'm all in wherever you go. Better to show your devotion with your life than your lips. Love is not simply a verbal statement. It is a living commitment. That's why in First Corinthians 13, when it gives us the 15 qualities of love, the Bible never defines love with adjectives. All the verbs, all the all the all the words concerning love in First Corinthians 13, they're all verbs. It's not something you describe.
It's something that you do. Love is action. That's why Jesus said in John 14, verse 15, he said, If you love me, you'll keep my commandments. He said in John 15, 10, If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love, even as I kept my father's commandments and abide in his love. Remember when the disciples after the resurrection, Jesus says, Go meet me on a mountain. And Jesus, they were waiting for him and waiting for him. And Peter says, I go fishing. He goes down to see if Galilee goes fishing. Well, Jesus shows up on the shore because they're not where they're supposed to be.
And he says, and they didn't know it was Jesus on the shore. He says, Friends, have you caught anything? Nothing like having a bad fishing day and somebody ask you that, right?
It's always the worst. And you could have caught 50 fish the day before. Every time somebody comes by, it's the day you caught nothing. And they come by, you caught anything?
You're so tempted to lie. Just a few. Of nothing. I've caught nothing. And the worst is when they go sit down and they start slaying them. Well, Jesus says, You guys caught anything?
They said, No. He said, Why don't you cast the net on the other side of the boat? That is even more annoying. When you tell somebody, Oh, I haven't caught anything. He's like, Well, have you tried this lure? Listen, you can take your lure. And give it to me. I'll try it.
Actually, I'll try it. Yeah. So Jesus, they don't know it's Jesus. And he says, Hey, why don't you cast on the other side?
And they probably had to eat some dust. And they they throw the net on the other side. There's so many fish that they can't hardly even get it in. It's sinking the boat. They're pulling it up to shore. They said, That's Jesus. Peter jumps in the water, swims to shore.
They sit down. Guess what had happened just a few days prior? It was Peter was saying, Lord, I'll never deny you. The next morning, he says, I don't even know the man.
I swear I don't know who he is. He's swearing and promising he doesn't know Christ. Jesus sits down and had made breakfast for him that morning. How incredible to the Lord of glory cares about taking care of our appetites as well. He says, Come and dine. I got breakfast ready, men.
They sit down. He he asked Peter in John 21, verse 15, it says. He said, Simon, Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, love is thou me more than these? Do you love me more than these?
He saved him. Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. And people have debated, what does he mean by these? Is he talking about the other disciples?
Possibly. But very likely he was talking about, Do you love me more than these kind of these fish? Because you went back to fishing. I told you to meet me in a mountain. You went fishing again. I have other plans for you.
And you're going back to the old life. Simon, do you love me more than these? You know what he said? Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto them, Feed my lambs. He saith unto them again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, love is thou me. He saith unto him, Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love you. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He says it a third time. Over and over and over, he says, Do you love me? Then do something about it.
Let me ask you a question. Do you love the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you really love the Lord Jesus Christ?
Do you really love him? Then what are you doing about it? Some of you have been faithful.
Some of you love Christ. Some of you had a long week. Anybody have one of those 50, 60, 70 hour weeks this week? Wouldn't have been a nice morning to sleep in.
Some of you all are like, I did sleep in. Listen, my last week was like a 65 hour week and it can be busy. I understand that. Thank you for your commitment. Thank you for your devotion.
Thank you for your time to be here. That's a loving thing to do, isn't it, saying, God, I love your word and I love your people and I love your truth more than sitting in a bed and just being comfortable. And so the tragedy in our world today is so many people can make a verbal commitment to Christ, but there's nothing in their life evidencing it. And how does he respond to this man? He says in Matthew 8 20, he said, The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head. Now, we know that Jesus stayed at Peter's house because Matthew, early in the gospel, just shared that in verse 14 through 17. So he didn't sleep on the ground all the time, though there were times that he did. His point was that he had no constant place to stay, that he was on mission, that in spite of all the miracles and the power that he displayed, his ministry wasn't about self-indulgence. It was about faithful service. I mean, he wearied himself going through Samaria to minister to a woman of Samaria at the well during the heat of the day. In response to this man's great verbal devotion, Jesus doesn't make it easier on him. He doesn't say, Great, I'm so glad you'll follow me wherever you go.
Rather, he says, You need to understand what kind of commitment you're making. He talks about this in the gospel of Luke, Chapter 14, he says, Who builds a house and doesn't first count the cost, whether he has sufficient to finish, lest while he's building, he doesn't finish the product? Jesus, the man says, Oh, I'll go wherever you wherever you go, Christ, I'm in. And Jesus says, Oh, you think this is the easy road?
Or you think this was the the path of least resistance? You thought this was the broad road with your with your food, food, drink and your soft slippers? I was at a preacher's conference yesterday and I had they had a they had a meal afterward and they were making these really nice like lattes. Like you could order whatever you want at this table. I was like, this is fantastic. And one of my preacher buddies is like, Oh, you get one of the little food drinks? And a couple of guys started busting on me.
I was like, Yeah, I listen. I have five women on my house. My man card is no longer concernable here. I surrendered long ago. I have Carrie persons.
I have walked in stores with baby dolls. I don't care. Yes. They said and right when I was waiting on the drink, they were naming off people. The guy was talking to his Nathan Woodworth church planter over in Circleville. So you could email him if you like. He's laughing at me.
And then all of a sudden they said Nathan Woodworth. He's like, Oh, I was like, hypocrite, go get your little fee fee drink. I'll be right behind you. This is this is not an easy road. Jesus is saying this is tough, friends. There is a broad path that leads to hell. There is a broad path that says heaven, but it's actually leading to hell and it's very comfortable.
It's very smooth. You can bring your sin. You can bring yourself righteousness. You can bring an easy gospel. But Christ says, if you come after me, there is a death that you die. There is a giving up of all that you have so that you can have all that he is. The Bible says in Philippians one twenty nine for it is given unto you on the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.
Have we forgotten Second Timothy three twelve that says, Yea, all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. I'll follow Jesus. Just don't ask me to share the gospel. Don't ask me to pray out loud.
Forgive someone who offended me. Love others. Jesus makes it clear up front with this man that this is a tough road. How many in life that profess to be saved make empty devotions for Christ? Today, we hear people say, I'll follow Jesus. But then they're told, well, Jesus said, you need to be baptized. Well, you know, I'm just not comfortable getting up in front of people and getting baptized. Oh, you thought this was a comfortable road, huh?
Oh, you thought this was the easy way. You might be on the wrong path. There's a you want to follow Jesus. You better start with the cross, because that's what you've got to get.
He said, if anyone comes after me, there is a denial of self. There is a taking up your cross daily to follow me. Baptism is the first thing you do after you're saved. You know, in the Bible, Jesus got baptized to set an example for us. Jesus commanded that we be baptized, according to Matthew twenty eight, the early church baptized those who trusted in Christ. Acts eight twelve says, and when they were baptized, when they believe Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God in the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women. The Bible always teaches, believe and be baptized, believe and be baptized. Baptism was never optional in the New Testament. If you're saved, I don't care if you've been a professed Christian for all your life, you go to a Christian college.
None of that matters. You need to follow the Lord in baptism. Baptism doesn't save you, but it's an evidence that you're saved. It's the first very first thing you're to do after you're saved. And if you've been saved for a long time and never been baptized, you need to say, God, forgive me for not being baptized.
It is wrong to rebel against God in that. People say, you know, I'm going to pray about getting baptized. I'm like, what are you going to ask God?
Are you sure? It's like, son, take out the garbage. What are you going to do?
Turn around and say, Dad, do you really want me to? Yes. When people say, well, I get nervous, I'm like, great. Get nervous for Jesus.
Good. Jesus hung on a cross naked before the world, suffering unbelievable agony. We say, well, if Jesus isn't marked down on sale, buy in low good return.
I don't want that. If you want the easy Jesus, there are some churches that will promote that. They'll take away the word hell and sin, and they'll never mention abortion, homosexuality, transgender.
They'll never say any of those words. Those churches are marketing you. They're marketing to you. They'll have a band that smokes you out and and has great light show.
And you're dazzled physically and emotionally with that. The guy who came to help me start Lighthouse was a committed atheist who made his mom cry for going to church. He said, Josh, what's crazy? I used to listen to Christian groups. I didn't even know they were Christian before I was saved. He said, I knew nothing of Christ.
He said, I learned nothing. I didn't even know that any idea they were Christian. You cannot mix Christ and Belial. I'm not saying instruments are wrong. I'm not saying smoke is wrong or lights or anything like that, but I'm saying when you're trying to manipulate people's emotions, that's not good. And it's ministering to the basis part of a person. You know, you're made up of a person.
The personage is made up of a will, intellect and emotions. You know what the toddler is in us? It's our emotions.
That's the lowest part of us. I mean, does a two year old make intellectual decisions? You know, mom, dad, I've really thought about this. You know, when you give me my sippy cup here, you know, I really would. They don't they don't think, you know, mom, I know you've had a long day. And thinking about all the things you've gone through.
So when you get around to it, could you could we talk? I have some things that really lay in my heart. You know, they scream out bloody murder, slap you in the face and be like, go give me my drink. You know, I'm a demigod here.
Come on now. You know, raising children, you're basically, as John Roseman said, dethroning a demigod. You're showing them that the world does not revolve around them. And that is a rude awakening for them. They're like, because their whole life you have served them. Come here, my little master, my servant. You know, they they they call you and you do their every beckoning call.
Sadly, some people still have 20 year olds doing that. Ouch. But little Johnny. I know I'm so insensitive. The the call of God, friends, is not a call for ease. It's not a call for comfort. This is Jesus Christ didn't minister to people. He wasn't looking to stir people up emotionally. The toddler part of us is emotions in the church.
The church marketing teams have found that out. That's why they do the concerts for 45 minutes, because it stirs people's emotions. You know, we could do that. We could get bands and they hire people in and do all these things. When I came to Xenia 13 years ago, I said, God, I will not come and do that.
That's what I grew up in. I will preach Christ and him crucified. You bring the people and I'll just preach the message. We will not build this on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God, we're not looking to touch people's emotions. We're looking to see people's souls transformed to see their intellect informed with the truth and their will surrender to the king. And when that happens, your emotions will be injected with passion and zeal for God.
We don't go to the toddler first. We go to the truth. You want to you want to test new songs these days with the Bible? Why don't you just read through the Psalms? That's the hymn book of the Bible. Read those and then read the songs that they sing these days for 45 minutes, the same 13 words. And they sing it over and over and over and over and over.
Call it the 7-Eleven, don't they? So have you have you been baptized? Have you have you committed to God in that area? You don't need to pray about it, commit to it. We have a foundation class that myself and Braden teach on Sundays. We will walk through these foundational lessons for you.
You need to plug in there next Sunday at nine fifty five is when the class starts right after the early service. Christian, are you seeking to be comfortable? I mean, for some people, it only took time change in one inch of snow. And they're like, yeah, I can't come this day. I step on anybody this morning. You're like, I bet I'll raise my if you're calling me to raise my hand, I'll do a preacher.
I ain't going to do that. All time change got you, didn't it? That old bed came along. You're like, ah, and then there's snow.
Oh, that's a yes. You know what happened last Sunday? One of the first people that were here was a 94 year old man whose health is so bad he literally walks like this. And he was here by like eight a.m. I said, hey, Neil, good to see you this morning. I said, time change didn't get you, did it? He's like, nope. My wife told me with time to get up, I won't be here.
That man drives himself to church. Tell you what, friends. We need we need to we need to sometimes step back and say, what kind of commitment am I making to God? Life groups or be involved in life groups, man, we just launched a whole new thing in life groups that's coming out in April 16th. We had that this morning with all of our life groups in here. Some super exciting things we're doing. You need to be plugged in on life groups on Wednesday nights at six thirty.
We had about 360 people here Wednesday plug into Wednesday night service. We're going to the Second Corinthians. Man, it's just verse by verse, some powerful stuff we're going through in Chapter two.
Be here Wednesday. We have kids ministries that are fantastic for the kids, for the teens, the youth. Secondly, there is a surrender of not only. Not only do we see the surrender in verse number 18 and 19. But we also see, secondly, the surrender of possessions in verse 21 through 22. It says in another of his disciples said in him, Lord, suffer or allow.
That word means allow me to first go and bury my father. No loose gospel account of this. It adds that Jesus had actually given this man a personal invitation to follow the Lord. In Luke nine fifty eight, it says Jesus said in him, foxes have all birds of the air have nest, but the son of man had not where to lay his head. But then in verse fifty nine in Luke nine, it says, and he said to another, follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go bury my father.
I just think up front. What an incredible opportunity and invitation to have the Lord Jesus Christ to tell you, follow me. I mean, personally being invited to follow Christ.
Wow. Matthew even calls this guy in verse twenty one, a disciple, a mafia taste. It's a learner, a follower, pupil. One who follows another's teaching. Now, this may have been a genuine disciple. This may have been a genuine believer. But it could also have been a verbal disciple that wasn't a genuine disciple, as John eight talks about. Jesus said there in John eight verse thirty one, if you continue in my word, then you're my real disciples. His reply.
Look what he says to this man. It seems so abrupt and somewhat. Or in this situation, it seems so like like it would it would make sense, like like it would be acceptable. Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
I mean, it seems reasonable. In those days when someone died, they buried them the same day. So this is not what you need to understand. This this guy's dad is not dead. His dad's still alive. He was dead.
He would not be there with Jesus. He'd have been burying his dad. It was it was a common phrase in those days to say these kind of statements.
It's still said in those parts of the world. You know, let me bury my father, wait till my father. And what it was was saying, I need to stay at home until my father died so that I could receive the inheritance.
I don't want to lose all my inheritance by leaving the house quite yet. I mean, his dad may have gone on to live for quite some time. He was devoted to Jesus, but this man was more devoted to his money. How does Jesus respond to those who make worldly possessions a higher priority than than God's work?
Who put their financial interest over Christ's interests? In Matthew eight, twenty two, Jesus said, Follow me and let the dead bury their dead in Luke's account. It says in Luke nine, verse 60, he said, Let the dead bury the dead, but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
Go preach the kingdom. Now, what does he mean by the dead bury their dead? That seems paradoxical. That seems impossible.
Ridiculous. Dead people don't bury dead people. What he's saying here is let the spiritually dead, let people that are not saved worry about burying their dead and getting their inheritance.
You let you let the people of this world worry about possessions. You go do heaven's work. This man was like Demas, who Paul said in Second Timothy for 10 Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world. There are people that even in this room, I believe God would call you to preach, call you to the mission field, call you to surrender your life to the gospel ministry, call you to do something of eternal importance.
But you say, but it would cost me so much to do that. Choose your world. Live either for here and now or there and then. Not everybody's called to be in full time vocational ministry, but all of us, I believe, are called to surrender our life fully and totally and serve him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. What are you living for today?
What are you investing your life in? Jesus said in Luke, 14, 33. And in Luke, 14, 33 is just a couple of weeks before Christ's crucifixion. He is journeying to Jerusalem.
There is an entourage of upwards of 200,000 people they've estimated. And he turns around and says this to them in Luke, 14, 33. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath cannot be my disciple.
Wow. You can't be a follower of Christ if you're not willing to give up everything for him. Is that easy? You say it was Jesus who want me to live homeless?
No. What he's saying is he's not saying go sell everything and give it to Jesus. What he's saying is you need to surrender everything you have to Christ. You become the owner of nothing and the steward of everything. You own nothing. It's not your car. It's not your house. It's not your bank account. It's not even your spouse. It's not your children. Those aren't your things.
It all belongs to God. And if he says I want that, you need to give that. Help them with this, then give that to them.
Help them with that. It's a life of surrender to him. Let me ask you, what do you spend your finances on? That is a real telltale of what is in the head of your life.
What is leading your life? Matthew 6 verse 21, Jesus said, Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. You know, in Mark 12 verse 41, it says Jesus set over against the treasury and beheld how people cast into their money into the treasury. Two thousand years ago, he was literally watching. We had like a big offering plate up here, and Jesus stood up here today just watching how you gave. You think anybody here today, you'd be like, Oh, I better be a little more faithful in my giving today.
If Jesus is watching 2000 years ago, you think he's still watching? And know this, Jesus doesn't need our money. We need to give our money to him more than he needs it, because money will destroy us. Money will destroy people. You know, 80% of marriages fail because of money related problems. Luke 6 38, it's not that Jesus wants you to be a pauper.
He says in Luke 6 38, Give and it shall be given unto you good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over shall men give unto your bosom, for with what measure you meet with all shall be measured to you again. Nothing wrong with having nice things. Nothing wrong with having possessions. Nothing wrong with those things.
It's wrong when those things have you. Don't forget, my brother was teaching in Chillicothe on tithing one month, and went to visit a gentleman that was a part of our church, and he was a principal at a school. He was very successful in his life, in the area of things that he did. And I went out to visit him because I hadn't seen him for a couple weeks, and I went out and I said, Hey, I said, I've been missing you guys at church. And he said, Yeah, I just can't stay.
I can't go to church and hear that kind of preaching. I'm too convicted and I can't give. He said, We just have too many things that we just, I mean, I'm standing in a half million dollar house. This has been 15 years ago with his boat and camper and I don't know how many cars.
Building on a new addition at the time, huge house. Nothing wrong with having those things, but it's wrong when you can't handle somebody telling you to honor God with your finances because you're loving your life so much that you're robbing from God so that you can enhance your sandcastle. Why, I wonder one day when he looks back, he's going to be like, You know what? I'm so glad I made that kind of a legacy for my family.
I hope my kids realize how devoted I was to building a nice house, nothing wrong with nice house. But when you're robbing God for your own gain, there is a real problem. Thirdly, Jesus said this and let me say this. I believe that before God calls people to surrender to him, many times he makes them radically successful. Before I went into full time ministry, I was just profoundly blessed financially by God and the jobs that I was in, making $1,000 a day. Just incredible prosperity in the work that I was doing and the business stuff. And it was then God was saying, Hey, you need to know I want you to go full time.
Said, All right, give me another couple of weeks. I remember my brother in law was the same way. He was he wanted to be a sports trainer for the Bengals or a professional team.
He was in Ohio by his sophomore, junior year in college. He was already working with the Bengals team, radically successful. And God said, Now you got a taste of it. Now I want you to come and follow me all in. You know, it's interesting when you read about Jesus and the disciples. In Matthew four, when he calls them to like drop their nets and follow him. Twice he calls them to do that in both were the most radically successful fishing days of their life. They caught so many fish in Matthew four.
Luke five talks about this as well. They were breaking their nets, getting it in. And now he says, Now drop your nets and follow me. Jesus, we just we just banked it right here, man. I mean, we're going to be wealthy.
I've been living as a little shack over here in Capernaum, and we're really going to do well. And you know what they did? They dropped their nets and follow Christ. 2000 years later, you think that was a good investment? Choose your world. Choose what you're going to devote your life to. Here in John 21, what I was just talking about, he said, Do you love me more than these?
They caught so many fish that day. Said, Do you love me more than these? Feed my sheep. Stop. I could bless your life radically on Earth.
That's not what it's about. There is a higher calling for you. Something greater God wants to do in your life. Somebody here today, maybe you need to surrender to God. Maybe you need to say, God, I need to surrender to missions. I need to surrender to the ministry. I need to surrender to full-time vocation. Or maybe you just need to surrender to full-time willingness to do whatever God would want.
Thirdly, and we'll be done. There was a third surrender that God calls us to, and it's in Luke 9, 61 and 62. This is the third man that Matthew doesn't record, but he's recorded of, spoken of in Luke. In Luke chapter 9, verse 61, it says this. The man said, Lord, I will follow thee, but let me first go bid them farewell which are at my house. He wanted to follow Jesus, but he had a split devotion.
I mean, it sounds reasonable. Yeah, go home and tell them, you know, hug them and love them and all that stuff. But Jesus knew this man's heart, and he knew that this man's passion to follow Christ could be dried up and affected by going home to a family that could possibly discourage him. I mean, if his family were devoted to Christ, they would have been on the shore that day as well.
But they're not. And so Christ says in response to him, in verse 62, no man having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit or usable for the kingdom of God. Let me ask you a question.
Does Jesus seem like he was just wanting to make it easy on people? We've looked at three people, and each time he's like, oh, you want to follow me? Foxes have holes, birds of hair and nests, but a man hath not where to lay his head. Oh, just wait till inheritance done. Well then, the dead buried the dead, you follow me. You preach the kingdom.
Let me go bid them farewell, he says. You're not even fit for the kingdom. You're not fit. You're not usable if you have a split devotion here. Is this the kind of Jesus that most people understand?
His point is this. It's not possible to serve God with a divided heart. I have witnessed people over and over through the years who said, you know, I feel God calling me to this or that, and then they talk to their family about it and their parents talk them out of it. We didn't send you to college all those years so you can go be some poor preacher on the mission field. We don't want our grandkids being raised up on the mission field.
They get upset. And so I think those parents forgot those aren't your kids. Oh, you forgot you're a steward?
Did you forget? You think they're safer in your hands, right? Oh, you think you'll bless them more with your wisdom, huh? Better the Holy Spirit doesn't call them, right? Today, God is calling us to surrender everyone in our life, what anyone thinks of us, and just put him first above all of that. He said it this way in Matthew 10 37. He said if you love, look what he says here, he that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. He that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. I've had people say it's hard to love Jesus more than my kids. Well, you think it's going to be loving to your kids to make them an idol in your life? The best love I can ever show my kids is to love God most. When I put God first, that's the greatest thing.
Could I ever bless my kids more than putting God first in my life? That's the greatest thing I could ever do for my wife. Loving my wife first would be horrifying for her. When I love God most, that's what's blessing for her. You ever seen somebody who puts their spouse on the throne?
Then their expectations don't get met because your spouse could never meet all your expectations. That seats for God. You put God first, your kids don't even get in line second.
Knock them down to the third. It's God's spouse than kids. So if you want to smooch your wife in the kitchen when your daughters are in there, hey, you're third in line. Get out, we were in the kitchen before you.
Get out of here, kids. As I close, what would the Lord say about your level of commitment to Him today? Would He say you're devoted?
Would He say that you have true commitment or would He say there's a lack of commitment? What today is keeping you from following Christ more? What do you need to say, I need to surrender to Christ today? We looked at three areas today, personal comfort.
Are you seeking to follow a comfortable Jesus? Possessions and people. I can tell you those three things will keep people from going all in for Jesus. The fear for us is not going all in, the fear is not going all in. Because you will leave today in one of two ways. Either you will leave today with the Lord on the throne of your heart or something else.
And if you put something else on the throne of your heart, I can tell you, you're going to walk out of here committing idolatry and it will not be a good ending for your life. You may look good on earth and you may have prosperity here and things may go well, but I can tell you eternally, you're missing out on what God could have done. The greatest fear we should have is not surrendering to God. The greatest fear is that we wouldn't surrender to God. That we wouldn't get God's best for our life. What God could have done with our life.
The impact He could have made. I believe Jesus come along today and He says, follow me. Follow me, I got something I want to do with your life.
There are plans I have for your life. If you would just surrender to Him. Never forget, when Eric Woodworth got saved, he just went from all out to all in and he never looked back. Today he's preaching to people in Honduras. He has preached in probably 35 states across this country, in hundreds of churches.
God used that young atheist boy because he just said, God, here am I, send me, whatever you want. Today, why don't you give him your heart, see what God could do with your life. Let's all stand this morning.
If your heads bowed, knives closed. If you're here today and you say, Lord, I need to make a recommitment to you. I need to redirect my priorities.
My attention has been on things of this life, on the temporary. Why don't you come today and spend some time at the altar. The altar is open, you can come and pray. Maybe you need to come and be saved. Maybe you don't know if you stood before God today that you would be in heaven.
I'd love to meet you in the front. Maybe some women that can talk with you for altar workers can come down at that time. Whatever your need is right now, why don't you come today?
Why don't you come today? Father, we thank you for your mercy and your grace. We thank you for your loving kindness. God, we ask right now that your Holy Spirit would have his way in our hearts. Be with those today that may not know the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that you would bring salvation to those that are lost and bring surrender to those that are saved. Be glorified in this time, we ask in Jesus' name, Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-21 14:15:34 / 2023-03-21 14:38:16 / 23